Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies

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Shyrokykh, Karina

Dr. Karina Shyrokykh



Utrikespolitiska institutet (UI) /
Swedish Institute of International Affairs
P.O. Box 27035
102 51 Stockholm

Website: Webprofile (UI)
Website: Private Website

Main Research Areas

  • External democracy promotion
  • Authoritarian diffusion
  • Transgovernmental networks with a particular emphasis on the European Neighbourhood Policy
  • Disinformation in Russian foreign policy

Research Projects

Challenges of illiberal multilateralism: The role of Russian-led international and regional organizations in regime stability and change

Postdoctoral Project

Multilateral cooperation nowadays is no longer dominated by the organizations set by Western liberal democracies; non-democratic states, in particular, Russia is being actively involved into establishing new multilateral organizational. While major organizations led by Western states build on the premises of universal human rights, democracy and good governance, organizations led by non-democratic regimes do not only establish cooperation without reference to democratic principles, but also oppose democracy promotion of the former. The objective of this project is to understand why and how illiberal organizations proliferate, as well as the challenges arising from illiberal multilateralism, such as whether they might pose threat to their liberal counterparts. By drawing on machine learning techniques for text analysis, the project will first map spatial and temporal variations within and across Russian-led multilateral organizations. It will then analyse the formal design of these organizations by the means of case study. Lastly, utilizing the means of time-series cross-sectional analysis, the project will investigate whether membership in illiberal organizations can undermine the effects of external democracy promotion and stimulate authoritarian diffusion among their member states. By combining innovative research methods with international relations, and comparative politics literature, I will produce new empirical data on the institutional design and membership in illiberal organizations and illustrate the link between illiberal multilateralism and challenges posed by the latter to external democracy promotion.

Roads to Human Rights: EU’s Instruments of Human Rights Promotion in the post-Soviet States — completed

Doctoral Project at the Graduate School

The European Union (EU) perceives its inner security and prosperity as being largely dependent on security and prosperity in the neighbouring regions. It is also led by the belief that sustainable peace, development and prosperity are possible only when grounded upon respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law. The EU has, therefore, been paying particular attention to the aforementioned issues in the closely located regions. Throughout the years, the EU has developed tight economic and political relations with the post-Soviet states which grant the EU a unique opportunity to use these ties to stimulate and coerce states of the region to improve their situation with human rights. This project takes a close look at these instruments and the conditions under which such instruments are more likely to positively impact the human rights situation in the post-Soviet region. Among other, it sheds light on the effects and possible side effects of the EU’s human rights promotion and provides a number of recommendations for policy-makers. An important contribution of the present project lies in the practical realm, providing an argument for a more nuanced and individually-tailored human rights policy accommodating the contextual situation. Although showing that human rights promotion can yield a desired outcome, the results suggest that the contextual factors of human rights promotion are the key for success. In sum, the present project sheds light on the impact of the EU’s human rights promotion outside the accession context, opening a new page in the discussion on the effects and side effects of EU foreign policy. It is fair to argue that linkages and leverages that the EU has over the states in the region could be skilfully used to promote human rights. Developing or, on the contrary, scaling down the trade and assistance cooperation, imposing costs on the abusive states and investing into state capacity, can all be impactful measures to promote respect for human rights. Given the large scale of the developed cooperation and vulnerability of many states in the region to potential relations’ interruptions, the EU has a unique opportunity to constrain domestic repressions.

Please also see an overview of her project as poster presentation from June 2016 (pdf)

Curriculum Vitae

Karina is an Associate Research Fellow at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs. 06/2017-08/2017 Postdoctoral Fellow at the Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies (Munich, Germany). 05/2017 Ludwig-Maximilians Universität (Munich, Germany), thesis defense / viva voce. 2016 Visiting scholar at Political Science Department at Stockholm University (Stockholm, Sweden). 2016 Visiting scholar at the Centre for Comparative and International Studies, ETH Zurich (Zurich, Switzerland). 11/2013 - 05/2017 Doctoral candidate and teaching assistant at Ludwig-Maximilians Universität / Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies (Munich, Germany), thesis submitted in November 2016. 2013 Stockholm University, Department of Political Science (Stockholm, Sweden) Research and teaching assistant within Transdemos and Transaccess projects. 2011 - 2012 Uppsala University, Uppsala Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies (Uppsala, Sweden) Research Assistant. 09/2011 - 06/2013 Stockholm University (Stockholm, Sweden): International Master Program in Political Science (with focus on global governance, MA thesis: "Norm Diffusion in Sporting Organizations. The Case of Sport for Development and Peace").  09/2009 - 06/2010 Central European University (Budapest, Hungary): Master Program in Nationalism Studies (with focus on identity and national movements, MA thesis: "Jewish Politics in Austrian Bukovina: Czernowitz Yiddish Conference 1908"). 09/2007 - 06/2008 International Solomon University (Kyiv, Ukraine): Master Program in Philosophy (with focus on history of political thought). 09/2003 - 06/2007 International Solomon University (Kyiv, Ukraine): Bachelor Program in Philosophy.


  • 06/2017 – 08/2017 Postdoc-Fellowship of the Graduate School for East and Southeast European Studies to initialize a Postdoc project
  • 2010 Research and trip graduate grants from Central European University
  • 2009 Full Scholarship for graduate studies at Central European University
  • 2007 Graduate scholarship for academic excellence at International Solomon University
  • 2004 Undergraduate partial scholarships for academic excellence at International Solomon University


Journal Articles and Book Chapters

Compromising on Values? Human Rights Pressure and Competing Interests of the European Union in the Former Soviet States. In: European Foreign Affairs Review 23 (1), 2018, S. 119-141.

The Evolution of the Foreign Policy of Ukraine: External Actors and Domestic Factors. In: Europe-Asia Studies 70/5, 2018, S. 832-850.

Effects and side effects of European Union assistance on the former Soviet republics. In: Democratization 24 (4), 2016, pp. 651-669. (online: 15 Jul 2016, pp. 1-19; DOI:

Why does Leo Strauss read the works of Maimonides? On the connection between modern and medieval political philosophy. In: Journal of Ukrainian Orientalistics, special issue on Jewish Studies. 2011, pp. 112-123.


In Defense of Liberal-Pluralism by Upendra Chidella, Parameshwar Rama Bhat and Vikram Singh Sirola. In: CEU Political Science Journal 7(1), 2012.

Emergency Politics: Paradox, Law, Democracy by Bonnie Honig. In: CEU Political Science Journal 6(2), 2011.

Further Publications

With Dovilė Rimkutė: The Role of EU Agencies in the Acquis Transfer: The Case of the European Neighbourhood Policy countries (= TARN Working Paper Series 14/2017), Oslo 2017. URL: