Institute for European, Russian and Eurasian Studies

William and Helen Petrach Program on Ukraine

The IERES Petrach Program conducts a large number of activities that improve the understanding of Ukraine in Washington and in the broader American and international contexts.


A major ongoing project brings together scholars from Washington, the US and Canada, the EU, and Ukraine to study the evolution of state-building and reform efforts in Ukraine over twenty years of independence since 1991. The goal is to determine the factors that facilitate reform and those that hinder it. This multi-disciplinary collaborative effort will contribute to the academic literature on political and economic change and offer practical advice on how to make reform more successful.

This project sponsored a major international workshop examining reform prospects in Ukraine in November 2011. A follow-up workshop, funded by an Elliott School SOAR grant, took place in June 2013. It will contribute to the literature on Ukraine by producing new research results on Ukraine and putting these into a much broader comparative perspective. This project will result in an edited volume and specific policy advice for key officials in Ukraine and the US.

Full-time faculty publishing major works on Ukraine in recent years include Henry Hale (World Politics, Journal of Democracy), Robert Orttung (Freedom House), and Sharon Wolchik (World Politics).


IERES's journal Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization produced a special issue on Ukraine (Spring 2013), which included the following articles:
Serhiy Kudelia, "If Tomorrow Comes: Power Balance and Time Horizons in Ukraine's Constitutional Politics"
Nadia Diuk, "Youth as an Agent for Change: The Next Generation in Ukraine"
Susan Stewart, "Public Procurement Reform in Ukraine: The Implications of Neopatrimonialism for External Actors"
Taras Kuzio, "Yushchenko versus Tymoshenko: Why Ukraine's National Democrats Are Divided"
Tanya Zaharchenko, "Polyphonic Dichotomies: Memory and Identity in Today's Ukraine"
Mykola Riabchuk, "Why We Speak Like That: Ambiguous Discourses of an Ambivalent Transition"
Emmanuelle Armandon, "Popular Assessments of Ukraine's Relations with Russia and the European Union under Yanukovych"

Additionally, the journal will publish in July 2013:
Serhij Vasylchenko, "The Negative Consequences of Proportional Representation in Ukraine"
Olena Rybiy, "Party System Institutionalization in Ukraine"

Recent PONARS Eurasia Policy Memos
Serhiy Kudelia, "The Price of Brotherly Love: What Will Russia Lose from Integrating Ukraine?"
Arkady Moshes, "Will Ukraine Join (and Save) the Eurasian Customs Union?"
Arkady Moshes, "Will Europe Walk Away from Ukraine?"
Volodymyr Dobovyk, "Ukraine and the United States: Assessing their Relationship on the Eve of the Elections"
Oleksandr Fisun, "Electoral Laws and Patronage Politics in Ukraine"
Olexey Haran, "Polarizing the Country? Yanukovych's Authoritarian Game between Russia and the EU on the Eve of Ukraine's 2012 Parliamentary Elections"

PONARS Eurasia held an academic workshop in November 2012 in Kyiv, in collaboration with the Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation.  Participants presented 15 working papers on regional comparative politics and foreign policy. The program also hosted a well-attended public seminar, "What Now? Politics and Foreign Policy in Contemporary Ukraine," as well as hosting meetings with Ukrainian government officials. 

Additionally, the PONARS Eurasia program sponsored a 2010 Workshop in Odessa and a 2010 Washington Workshop with speakers Olexiy Haran (University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy) and Oleksandr Sushko (Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation, Kyiv).

Faculty Exchange with Ivan Franko National University of Lviv

IERES has a regular faculty and graduate student exchange program with the Ivan Franko National University of Lviv. In recent years GW faculty Harvey Feigenbaum and Sharon Wolchik visited Lviv and several Lviv faculty members have come to IERES, including:

Roman Moskalyk , associate professor, "Strategies of Multinational Negotiations and Policy Advocacy: Lessons for Ukraine"
Iryna Yeleyko, associate professor, Faculty of International Relations, "The impact of policy on labor migration in North America"
Yuriy Kyrylych, Ph.D. student, "Problems of uneven socio-economic development in the world under globalization"
Liliya Ukraynets, associate professor, "The Evolution of the Relationships in the US-India-China Triangle in the Context of Globalization"  

Visiting Scholars

Serhiy Kudelia, assistant professor of Political Science at Baylor University, "Ukraine's Institutions"
Olena Rybiy, junior research scholar, I.F. Kuras Institute of Political and Ethnic Studies, National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, "The Algorithm of Institutional Analysis, as Applied to Political Institutions in Ukraine"
Alexandr Osipian, associate professor of history at Kramatorsk Institute of Economics and Humanities, NCEEER Carnegie Research Fellow, "Uses of History and Regional Diversity in Ukraine's Elections, 2004-2010: The Failed Reforms in a Divided Society"
Oleksandr Sukhodolia, Fulbright Scholar, National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, "Energy Security of Ukraine: Geopolitics, Economics, and Governance"  


Iryna Yeleyko, Ivan Franko National University, Lviv, "International Labor Migration and Migration Policy"
Tanya Zaharchenko
, University of Cambridge, "Understanding Polyphony: Ukraine's Fluid Identity/ies"
Serhiy Kudelia, Baylor University, "Ukraine: Democracy in Danger," co-sponsored with the National Endowment for Democracy
Olga Onuch, Oxford University, "When 'Ordinary People' Join In: Understanding Moments of Mass Mobilization in Argentina (2001), Egypt (2011), and Ukraine (2004)"
Taras Kuzio, "Ukraine's 2012 Parliamentary Elections"
Roman Moskalyk, Ivan Franko National University, "Strategies of Multinational Negotiations and Policy Advocacy: Ukraine's Experience"
Marlene Laruelle, IERES, "Xenophobia and Labor Migration: A New Paradigm for Framing Identity Debates in Ukraine?"

Other Projects

IERES also cooperates with North American organizations dedicated to Ukraine, including hosting the 2010 annual alumni conference of the Canada-Ukraine Parliamentary Program (CUPP) and co-hosting a dinner with the US-Ukraine Business Council for IERES's 2010 workshop on the Ukrainian presidential elections.

Ivan Franko National University

Ivan Franko National University in L'viv, Ukraine

Ukraine's economic and political transition since 1991 exemplifies the challenges and opportunities that face the countries of the former Soviet Union. The 2004 "Orange Revolution" drew renewed attention to Ukraine and the Institute has sponsored numerous events that have analyzed and discussed Ukraine's recent political changes and its relations with Europe and Russia. As Ukraine's future continues to take shape, the Institute, with the generous support of the Petrach Endowment, will help bring clarity to the complicated transition in Ukraine.

Mr. Petrach was born in Dobrotvir, Poland (now Ukraine) and served successively in the Polish, Soviet and Czech armies against the Germans in World War II. He twice escaped from German prisoner-of-war camps and was also imprisoned in the Soviet Gulag for three years. Mr. Petrach graduated from L'viv State University in 1939 and taught as an assistant professor from 1945-1948 at Bacumov College in Czechoslovakia. He moved to Canada in 1948, and met his future wife, Helen, while visiting relatives in the United States. While Helen worked as a librarian at the Library of New York Academy of Medicine, Mr. Petrach obtained a position with the National Security Agency as an instructor of advanced Slavic languages. On retirement he received a medal citing his "outstanding" and "dedicated service to the Government of the United States, 1965-1993." After Helen's retirement, she took an interest in the stock market and was very successful. Mr. Petrach created "The William and Helen Petrach Endowment for Ukrainian Exchanges and Programs" at the George Washington University in her memory.

Read Mr. Petrach's remarkable autobiography. P D F icon

Events Combating Kremlin Disinformation about Ukraine
April 2, 2015

Party and Voter Learning in New Democracies
April 3, 2015

The First Uzbekistan Initiative Workshop
April 6, 2015

Islam and the Dynamics of Ethno-confessional Regimes in Russia, 1990-2012
April 7, 2015

Between Byzantium and Brussels: The Politics of Orthodox Churches in the European Union
April 9, 2015

Central Asia Cinema Club Film Screening: Beshkempir
April 16, 2015

Islam, Secularism and Security in Central Asia and Beyond
April 21, 2015

Do Color Revolutions Really Happen?
April 23, 2015

» All upcoming events

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Professor Marlene Laruelle authors article on US sanctions on Alexander Dugin in Foreign Affairs.

Professor Harris Mylonas publishes article on events in Greece in 2013 in the European Journal of Political Research.

Professors Marlene Laruelle draws attention to Kazakhstan's attitude toward the Eurasian Union and Sebastien Peyrouse analyzes Kyrgyzstan's prospects for accession therein in the most recent edition of the Russian Analytical Digest.

Professor Robert Orttung quoted in an article in Vice News about online tactics used by EU, NATO, and Russia.

Professor Marlene Laruelle publishes a paper on the mythmaking of Novorossiya (available on

Professor Robert Orttung and two undergraduate IERES students - Elizabeth Nelson and Anthony Livshen - write an article in the Washington Post on how Russia Today operates across different language platforms on Youtube to spread Kremlin messages about Ukraine. 

Professor Eliot Sorel to lead panel on mental health in Bucharest from June 24 to June 27 as part of an international congress integrating primary care, mental care, and public health.

Professor Robert Orttung, together with students from GWU and the University of Chicago, publish an article on Russian television and the Internet.

Professor Marlene Laruelle writes an article on youth patriotic clubs in Russia (available on

Professor Marlene Laruelle publishes article entitled "The Ukrainian Crisis and its Impact on Transforming Russian Nationalism Landscape" in Ukraine and Russia: People, Politics, Propaganda and Perspectives.

Professor Cory Welt was quoted by the Voice of America on the implications of Ukraine’s Minsk II cease-fire agreement.

Professor Cory Welt was interviewed by Imedi, a Georgian television station, on the role of Georgian officials in Ukraine’s government.

Professor Robert Orttung is interviewed by the National Public Radio in an audio clip entitled "'Frozen Conflict' in Ukraine Opens Door for Corruption."

Professor Robert Orttung co-authors article for Foreign Policy website about how Russia uses frozen conflicts to destabilize its reform-minded neighbors.

Professor Cory Welt was quoted by Deutsche Welle on the possibility of U.S. arms provision to Ukraine. His comments on the same subject for PONARS Eurasia were published in the Washington Post’s blog The Monkey Cage.

Professor Harris Mylonas discusses the Greek financial crisis in a Voice of America article.

Professor Robert Orttung co-authors op-eds in the Washington Post about Putin's approval ratings and in the Moscow Times about Russian propaganda.

Professor Peter Rollberg, IERES director, was quoted in the New York Times' review of Andrey Zvyagintsev's new film "Leviathan." He was also interviewed in an original IERES video about his thoughts on the work.

Professor Harris Mylonas was interviewed by Bulgarian newspaper Presa about Greek elections, and he and Akis Georgakellos wrote a report on the elections as well as an analysis of the new government's attempts to re-negotiate Greece's bailout terms. These pieces are part of the Washington Post's blog The Monkey Cage, and the latter has been mentioned by other Washington Post articles and the German-language Blogumschau news forum.

Professor Marlene Laruelle published a paper in the Russian Analytical Digest on Central Asian nations' reactions to the crisis in Ukraine.

Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović, a visiting scholar at the Institute from 2002-2003, was recently elected president of Croatia.

Professor Henry Hale was interviewed about his new book Patronal Politics on the Scholars' Circle radio show.

Professor Harris Mylonas was quoted in a Wall Street Journal article about the political situation in Greece.

Professor Peter Rollberg, IERES director, was quoted in the New York Times' review of Andrey Zvyagintsev's new film "Leviathan."

Professor Henry Hale was interviewed by CNN on Putin's popular support.

Professor Peter Rollberg was interviewed by BuzzFeedNews about Johnson's Russia List, which is published through IERES. The article was reprinted by the Ukrainian service

Professor Robert Orttung co-authors article on increasing media censorship in Russia.

Professor Marlene Laruelle writes article on Russia's policy-drivers in the Arctic.

Professor Eliot Sorel analyzes recent presidential elections in Romania.

Professor Marlene Laruelle's paper on Russia's policy towards Central Asia published in EUCAM.

Associate Director Cory Welt analyzes the current Georgian political climate in Foreign Policy.

Professor Hope Harrison authors an article in The Washington Post about five myths surrounding the Berlin Wall and another article in The Wilson Quarterly about German perspectives on the fall of the Wall. Read the articles here and here. In addition, a German-language article of hers devoted to the fall of the Wall recently appeared in the Berlin Tagesspiegel, and she was recently filmed in a video created by the US Embassy in Germany where she explains the building and fall of the Berlin Wall.

Assistant Director Robert Orttung authors an op-ed in The Moscow Times about Ukraine's recent elections.

Assistant Director Robert Orttung authors an op-ed in The Moscow Times on the Kremlin's international propaganda practices.

Recent Mumbai water conference covered by the Times of India.

Participants in a recent conference Central Asia Program speakers quoted by Al Jazeera on Uyghur affairs.

Professor Marlene Laruelle authors an op-ed in The Moscow Times on Russian nationalism and Eastern Ukraine.

Associate Director Cory Welt was interviewed on Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict, Russia, and U.S. policy. Read the transcripts here and here.

Professor Marlene Laruelle writes a policy memo for PONARS on the Kremlin's views on Russia's European identity.

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