Oligarchic Influences in the Current Foreign Policy of Ukraine

  • Date: –17:00
  • Location: Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies (IRES) Gamla torget 3, 3rd floor, IRES Library
  • Lecturer: Lidiya Zubytska is a George F. Kennan Fellow at Kennan Institute, The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.
  • Organiser: Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies (IRES)
  • Contact person: Jevgenija Gehsbarga
  • Phone: 0184711630
  • Föreläsning

What has been the role of oligarchs in forming foreign policy in post-Maidan Ukraine? Come, listen and discuss with our visiting scholar Dr. Lidiya Zubytska.

ABSTRACT

When the Euromaidan revolution engulfed Ukraine in 2014 under its national and EU banners, there was little doubt as to the direction in which the new political leaders would be taking the country: towards its closer relations with the EU. Multiple economic, ideological and security factors compelled the Ukrainian post-revolutionary politicians to such choice.

While each of them played a unique role in the foreign policymaking of post-Euromaidan Ukraine, Dr. Zubytska posits that another important variable merits scholarly attention - the influence of oligarchic interests. In this project, she addresses it by advancing a new theoretical model to analyze a way in which regime transitions impact political actors’ decision-making process, and thus translate into foreign policy choices. Dr. Zubytska argues that political actors at the helm of a state in transition are severely impaired in their ability to calculate their own re-election prospects under transitional uncertainty, and so are primarily concerned with securing their personal and political fortunes during and past their initial term.

In this context, Ukrainian oligarchs provide a wealth of material, organizational and reputational resources to the political decision makers. Dr. Zubytska advances that the changes in the Ukrainian leadership during the period of transition led to changes in their oligarchic connections. Such change in oligarchic interests influenced the corresponding foreign policy change that took place. In this research, she process-traces empirical data in support of her theoretical argument to provide an in-depth study of the current foreign policymaking in Ukraine.

THE SPEAKER

Lidiya Zubytska is a George F. Kennan Fellow at Kennan Institute, The Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. Her research is focused on domestic factors shaping foreign policy choices in states undergoing political transition. In particular, she studies how party politics, economic reforms and social movements impact foreign policymaking in transitional post-Soviet states. Lidiya co-authored publications on Russia’s foreign policy quest for its unique place in the world, as well as on the role of regional organizations in the post-Soviet space. Her current research projects include oligarchic influences in the foreign policymaking of Ukraine and beyond. Lidiya holds a doctoral degree in political science from the University of Kansas.