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WCED Lecture. “Trading Hard Hats for Combat Helmets: The Economics of Rebellion in East Ukraine.”

Tuesday, March 24, 2015
12:00 AM
1636 International Institute/SSWB, 1080 S. University

Using new data on violence and economic activity in East Ukraine, Professor Zhukov will evaluate the relative power of “identity-based” and “economic” explanations of domestic political conflict. Identity-based explanations expect areas inhabited by Russian speakers to see higher levels of rebellion against the Ukrainian government, while economic explanations suggest that rebellion will be most pervasive in areas potentially harmed by trade openness with the EU and trade barriers with Russia. Zhukov asserts that the driving factors behind the Donbas rebellion are economic, rather than cultural. Even after adjusting for factors like Russian language, exposure to Russian state television coverage, proximity to the border, policing, population density, terrain, roads, and spillover from neighboring towns, his findings reveal that the size of the local mining and industrial labor force remains the strongest predictor of rebel activity and the most consistent determinant of a municipality’s likelihood of remaining under rebel control.

Yuri Zhukov is an assistant professor of political science at the University of Michigan, and a faculty associate with the Center for Political Studies at the Institute for Social Research. His research focuses on the causes, dynamics, and outcomes of conflict, at the international and local levels. His methodological areas of interest include spatial statistics, mathematical/computational modeling, and text analysis. Zhukov received his Ph.D. from the Department of Government at Harvard University. He also holds degrees from the Graduate School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University (M.A.) and Brown University (A.B.). Zhukov’s research has been published or is forthcoming in the American Political Science Review, Foreign Affairs, International Studies Quarterly, Journal of Conflict Resolution, Journal of Peace Research, Journal of Strategic Studies, Political Geography, Conflict Management and Peace Science, Naval War College Review, Small Wars and Insurgencies, and several edited volumes and general-audience publications.

Sponsors: Weiser Center for Emerging Democracies; Center for Russian, East European, and Eurasian Studies

Yuri Zhukov, assistant professor of political science, U-M