Document Type

Dissertation

Degree

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Political Science

Date of Defense

1-20-2018

Graduate Advisor

Joyce Mushaben, Ph.D.

Committee

David Kimball, Ph.D

Kenny Thomas, Ph.D.

Jeanne Wilson, Ph.D.

Abstract

As the mounting protests from Maidan Square in Kyiv led to the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovich, Ukrainians found themselves at an unavoidable fork in the road in their history. For years the country had become a new frontier of Western influence, forcing a decision between tightening economic and cultural ties with Western countries or with Russia. The basic question many Ukrainians now faced included choosing between their Soviet past or a potential liberal democratic future. Furthermore, the Russian takeover of Crimea became the first major invasion of a European country since 1968. This military maneuver stunned the international community and precipitated radically new relations between Western states and Russia.

From an academic perspective, modern Ukraine presents an excellent case to study in political science an international relations. This country and the recent events that have taken place there, lends itself to an almost infinite number of research questions on post-communist development, democratization, marketization, geopolitics, energy politics and foreign influence. The focus of this paper is to examine how Western versus Russian institutions and agents, influence a third actor, Ukraine, in the post-communist world. The following discussion will: 1) address the case of Ukraine within international relations and geopolitics of the region; 2) analyze the different ways in which the two sides exert influence; 3) and how those instruments shape policymaking in four policy areas: reform, economics, energy, and security.

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