Pipeline politics: Russian energy sanctions and the 2010 Ukrainian elections

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In early 2010, the 'Orange Revolution' in the Ukraine came to an end. The pro-Western President, Viktor Yushchenko, was replaced by the pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovych. This paper argues that Russian energy sanctions helped pave the way for Yanukovych's election. The Kremlin undermined the Ukrainian economy by exploiting the country's dependence on Russian oil and gas, imposing harsh price increases and financial terms and even cutting off supplies in 2006 and 2009. In the end, I argue, these measures fit the 'classic model' of economic sanctions: impose pain until the population turns against its government and removes it. Uniquely, however, this paper links sanctions to the long-standing literature on elections in the U.S. and other democracies which shows how economic decline influences voting behavior. A certain level of sanctions may cause a predictable change in election outcomes in the targeted state. This opens, I believe, an important new potential avenue in research on sanctions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-122
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Eurasian Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2013

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • History
  • Sociology and Political Science


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