Populists, Reformers, Russian Soft Power and War: Ukraine's 2019 Elections

Thursday, April 11, 2019
Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room, 1219 International Affairs Building (420 W 118th St)

Please join the Ukrainian Studies Program at the Harriman Institute, Columbia University for a presentation by Taras Kuzio (National University of Kyivan Mohyla Academy & SAIS Foreign Policy Institute, Johns Hopkins University).

Five years after the Euromaidan Revolution of Dignity, Ukraine held presidential elections in March and will hold parliamentary elections in October 2019. The elections will not witness the traditional battle between 'pro-Western' and 'pro-Russian' forces because 16% of traditionally pro-Russian voters and 27 election districts are under Russian occupation in the Crimea and Donbas, the Party of Regions no longer exists, and the Communist Party is banned. Russia’s annexation of the Crimea, the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian war in the Donbas and Azov Sea will provide the background to an election that will resemble those held in Europe and the US where populists battle against reformers. With Russian soft power in Ukraine in terminal decline, as seen in the emergence of a Ukrainian Orthodox Church independent of Moscow, the 2019 elections will be a test if Ukraine's reforms and European integration will continue and prove to be irreversible by the 2024 elections.

Taras Kuzio is a Professor in the Department of Political Science, National University of Kyiv Mohyla Academy and Non-Resident Fellow at the Foreign Policy Institute, School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, Washington DC. His previous positions were at the University of Alberta, George Washington University, University of Toronto, and Chief of Mission to the NATO Information and Documentation Office in Ukraine. Taras Kuzio is the author and editor of seventeen books, including (with Paul D’Anieri) The Sources of Russia's Great Power Politics: Ukraine and the Challenge to the European Order (2018), Putin’s War Against Ukraine. Revolution, Nationalism, and Crime (2017), Ukraine. Democratization, Corruption and the New Russian Imperialism (2015), From Kuchmagate to Orange Revolution (2009), and Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives on Nationalism (2007). Author of five think tank monographs, including The Crimea: Europe’s Next Flashpoint? (2010), 38 book chapters and 100 scholarly articles on Ukrainian and post-communist politics, democratic transitions, color revolutions, nationalism, and European integration. He has been the Guest Editor of Communist and Post-Communist Studies, East European Politics and Society, Demokratizatsiya, Eurasian Geography and Economics, Nationalities Papers, Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, and Problems of Post-Communism.