Professor Elena Korosteleva, an expert in Eastern European politics, has warned that the crisis in Ukraine could ‘spill over’ into other countries in the region. Professor Elena Korosteleva, whose research has been used extensively by the European Commission to inform policy, also says that Western governments should not regard the release of Yulia Timoshenko as the panacea to Ukraine’s leadership vacuum.
Professor Korosteleva, of the University’s School of Politics and International Relations, commented: ‘The fluid situation in Ukraine may be the beginning of a wider regional realignment. Moldova is very similar to Ukraine, to the extent that it has two population groups: those seeking greater European influence and those wishing to align with Russia. Like in Ukraine prior to the crisis, people are also concerned with the implications of reforms that the Association Agreement with the EU might bring. The Ukrainian split is likely to exacerbate the ongoing Transdnistrian problem, where a Russian speaking minority declared independence from the rest of Moldova in 1992 and where Russia troops are currently stationed.
‘Belarus is a different matter. Although the country is slowly Europeanising, President Alexander Lukashenko, the country’s long-standing leader, does not and will not tolerate public demonstrations in Belarus. Lukashenko would put down any insurrection with ruthless efficiency.
Professor Korosteleva is Professor of International Politics and Director of the Global Europe Centre (Professional Studies) at the University of Kent. She is the author of a number of books on Eastern Europe, including EU Foreign Policies in the Eastern Neighbourhood: the practices’ perspective (Routledge).