School of Politics and International Relations

Image of Jokubas Salyga

Jokubas Salyga

Doctoral Researcher, Faculty of Social Sciences



Jokubas is a third year PhD student at the School of Politics & International Relations and a Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Social and Global Justice (CSSGJ) and ZEIT-Stiftung Foundation. He holds a BA in International Relations from the Queen Mary, University of London, an MA in International Relations as well as an MSc in Social Research Methods from the University of Sussex.

His general expertise lies in the area of historical sociology of state formation and capitalist development in the Baltic littoral.

Expertise Summary

Jokubas is broadly interested in the following research areas:

  • Historical sociology of post-communist transformations
  • International political economy (with focus on Europe)
  • Resistance to neoliberalism in Eastern Europe
  • Historical materialist interpretations of the USSR
  • Baltic historiography

Teaching Summary

Jokubas has taught on the following undergraduate modules:

M11006/M1156 Problems in Global Politics

M12089 International Political Economy and Global Development

Research Summary

Doctoral Thesis Title: State, Capital and the Trajectories of Social Change in the Baltic Littoral

Contributing to the debates crossing disciplinary boundaries of international historical sociology, critical political economy and area studies, this thesis engages with trajectories of capitalist development and state formation in the Baltic republics. It aims to decipher the transformations involved in configuring social relations of production, state-forms and capital accumulation strategies in three national contexts throughout the periods of inter-war independence; Soviet occupation; post-communist transformation; European 'integration'; and 'post-crisis' restructuration.


Chapters 1 and 2 overview current historical sociology and political economy approaches to the study of Baltic socio-economic history and situate the project within historical materialist canon. Chapter 3, then illuminates and periodises uneven and protracted contours of capitalist development in the Baltic littoral (the North-South developmental gap) in the late nineteenth century and reflects on the formation of modern states against the backdrop of defeated socialist revolution. It argues that rather than attesting to a compromise between capital and labour, the institutionalisation of modern statehoods and consolidation of capitalist relations of production after eulogised land reforms in the early 1920s, did not eliminate conflicts along class lines. Instead, these are shown to have been exacerbated due to agricultural integration in the inter-war imperial division of labour, the consequences of which have been laid bare after post-1928 slump augmenting three distinctive shifts to authoritarianism. Moving beyond orthodox inclinations to depict the period of Soviet annexation through the lenses of 'totalitarianism', 'colonisation' or 'atomisation', Chapter 4 makes the case for understanding the period as an instance of (continued) state capitalist development. Accordingly, this part of the project is concerned with unravelling the continuities in the social (class) bases of inter-war and post-war 'social formations' and shedding the light on the so-called 'Sovietisation' reforms as pertinent examples of a broader internalised competitive accumulation debacle. The chapter offers an account for the bridging of developmental gap between littoral's north and south and unearths Baltic workers' struggles against the state-capitalist regime at the point of production. This part of the project also surveys the backgrounds and social compositions of Baltic National Fronts, which serve to demonstrate how alliances around future restructuring have been built between forces dissenting and espousing Soviet system. An engagement with the dialectic of continuity and change characterising post-communist transformation then informs the approach of Chapter 5. Herein, the lineages of neoliberal cadre formation in three contexts are traced. This is accomplished through accounting for the role the small cliques of state management played at fostering the conditions for multinational capital's 'penetration' of the littoral through monetary, taxation and privatisation reforms. At the same time, the account advocated here departs from a simplistic formula, according to which the 'target states' in Central and Eastern Europe are restructured in the interests of 'transnational capitalist class' by attributing an important agency to (understudied) domestic capitalist class forces as well as labour in the the first decade of 'transition'. It is argued that a careful engagement with social forces at the 'national' scale in particular, forms the foundational basis against which the nature of 'Baltic revolutions' has to be evaluated. Chapter 6 addresses the integration of Baltic economies within 'new' international division of labour and their accession to the European Union. In doing so, it reflects on particular ways in which these states were internationalised and evaluates the systemic outcome of 'integration' manifest in an extremely 'hard landing' during the global financial crisis. Discussing the application of 'internal devaluation' strategy to remedy the disastrous outcomes of capital accumulation regimes instituted in the littoral throughout the early twenty-first century, Chapter 7 finally considers a plethora of modes in which Baltic working classes sought to resist neoliberalism. This is fulfilled through resorting to the primary materials from semi-structured interviews with Baltic trade unions and civic organisations. The project concludes with reflections on wider questions pertaining to the 'problem-solving' nature of political economy and sociological research in the region, areas of interest for future studies and the appeal of class-based analysis in such endeavours.

Supervisors: Andreas Bieler and Gulshan Khan

Antinomies of Monetary Restructuring in the Baltics: Historical Bloc, Authoritarianism and Neoliberalisation presented at Trajectories of Change Conference, ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius Foundation, Berlin, 25 May, 2018.

The Limits of Coordinating Transitions: Towards Critical Political Economy of Baltic Post-Communist Capitalisms presented at Trajectories of Change Conference, ZEIT-Stiftung Ebelin und Gerd Bucerius Foundation, Berlin, 22 April, 2017.

Transition as Coordination: Beyond Institutional Varieties of Baltic Capitalisms presented at the BISA-IPEG Annual Conference, University of Leeds, 15 October, 2016.

Past Research

Jokubas has been previously affiliated with the Centre of Global Political Economy, at the University of Sussex, working as a research assistant on the project of internationalisation of renminbi.

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