|Education||Belarusian State University|
University of Manchester
University of Bath
Elena Korosteleva (Belarusian: ;) is an academic researcher and principal investigator focusing on democratisation and the politics of Europe. She is an expert on the politics of Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova; as well as academic expert on the European External Action Service (EEAS), European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) and Eastern Partnership (EaP). She is fellow of the European Institute for International Law and International Relations. Korosteleva holds doctoral degrees from the University of Bath and the Belarusian State University Minsk and was previously British Academy postdoctoral research fellow at Glasgow University.
Korosteleva is Jean Monnet Chair and professor of International Politics in the School of Politics and International Relations, University of Kent. She is Director (Professional Studies) of the Global Europe Centre (GEC), a member of the International Advisory Board for GLOBSEC and European Strategy Council; Professorial Fellow of the Dahrendorf Forum at the LSE and is visiting professor at the College of Europe and Visiting Fellow of the Belarusian State University, Minsk. Previously Korosteleva was Jean Monnet Chair and Director of the Centre for European Studies (CES), at Aberystwyth University. Korosteleva joined the Editorial Board of the newly launched Cambridge Journal of Eurasian Studies.
Korosteleva's work centres around the critical analysis of the European Union's (EU) European External Action Service (EEAS), European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP), European Neighbourhood and Partnership Initiative (ENPI) and Eastern Partnership (EaP) in relation to the Post-Soviet states of Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova. She is an expert in the politics of Belarus, third wave democratisation in Eastern Europe and charismatic political leadership. She publishes extensively in monographs, academic journals, book chapters and government briefing and policy papers. Korosteleva has acted as an expert for the Parliament of the United Kingdom and European Commission.
Korosteleva has been awarded £3,776,443.00 for the COMPASS  project, funded by the Research Councils UK Global Challenges Research Fund which aims to open up communication with academics in former Soviet states of Azerbaijan, Belarus, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan by setting up hubs of excellence in research in these countries.
She and her research partner, Siddharth Saxena from Cambridge University, say this is a research initiative to empower the target countries in research, impact governance and public policy outreach. COMPASS will enable a sea change in the UK's strategic relationship with the region.
The University of Kent and their Co-Investigators, Cambridge Central Asia Forum (Jesus College) and the Centre for Development Studies, University of Cambridge, have years of experience in collaborating with the region in supporting their research.
Korosteleva, working with colleagues from the Belarusian State University and University of Kent is project lead for an Erasmus+ International Credit Mobility project to support bilateral student and staff mobility between the Belarusian State University and Kent and the first large-scale mobility and co-operation programme between Higher Education Institutions in the UK and Belarus.
Korosteleva, working with Piret Ehin of the Centre for EU-Russia Studies (CEURUS) at the University of Tartu, Estonia and Professor Stefan Hedlund of Centre for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Uppsala University has received funding from the European Commission for a three-year, EUR1million, EU Horizon 2020 twinning project entitled UPTAKE (UPpsala, TArtu, KEnt).
The project is designed to increase research productivity and excellence and promote international visibility and integration of the three universities in the field of Russian and East European Studies by creating a dynamic, comprehensive, open and sustainable framework for co-operation and transfer of knowledge. Specifically, the project includes the launch of an ambitious new academic conference series, the organisation of four international summer and winter schools, extensive inter-institutional mobility, joint supervision of doctoral students and postdoctoral fellows, coordinated promotion of research outputs, joint conceptualisation and launch of new collaborative research projects, as well as extensive dissemination and communication measures.
Korosteleva and her team of doctoral students' evidence,submitted to the United Kingdom House of Lords European Union Committee was cited in the report Europe in the world: Towards a more effective EU foreign and security strategy. The committee noted:
46. It became clear in the course of our inquiry into EU-Russia relations that the current confrontation is driven both by Russian domestic and political considerations and the geopolitical ambitions of the current Russian administration. Even a settlement in Ukraine will not guarantee that the Union will be able return to harmonious relations with Russia. Therefore, the future of EU-Russia relations, the security of neighbours such as Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova, as well as the long-term alignment of countries such as Azerbaijan and Armenia--neither of which, in the words of Professor Elena Korosteleva, Mr Igor Merheim-Eyre, Ms Eske Van Gils and Ms Irena Mnatsakanyan, Global Europe Centre, University of Kent, "enjoys very close relations with the EU"--remain in the balance.
Korosteleva was commissioned by the Slovak Atlantic Commission as principal investigators to undertake a nationwide representative survey in Moldova between 19 October and 7 November 2013 aimed at measuring public knowledge, perceptions and preferences in relation to the EU and its policies.
The key findings suggest public support of the EU and its policies has slightly eroded, which is reflected in the respondents' perceptions, levels of interest, attitudes and behavioural preferences. The EU remains attractive for Moldova - but is not a default option yet. It requires continuous reinforcement: the fear of uncertainty and negative anticipations of change currently prevail in public perceptions of the EU, causing a loss of trust, and reciprocity in EU-Moldova relations. The Eurasian Customs Union (ECU), on the contrary, tends to be seen as a model which may potentially offer a quick-fix solution for stability, prosperity and security
Korosteleva was commissioned by the Office for Democratic Belarus as principal investigators to undertake a nationwide representative survey in Belarus between 20 May and 4 June 2013 focusing on the country's relations with the EU and the (Eurasian) Customs Union (ECU); as well as public perceptions, values, and attitudes towards the afore-mentioned entities.
Three particular trends are observable in Belarus's public relations:
52. Professor Elena Korosteleva (University of Kent) has studied Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova, three of the Eastern Partnership countries. She had observed that the EEAS could be beneficial both as a global force and for overcoming divisions in government and institutions, but thought that a number of management problems needed to be addressed to achieve coherence and continuity in competences at the lower levels of the EEAS, especially in delegations. She also advocated a clearer delineation of roles and responsibilities in relation to Member States and efforts to engage with host countries. Structural reform was needed to replace divided structures, loyalties and competences by "collective service to the common good."
Korosteleva's primary research focus is on the conceptual and methodological limitations of the Eastern Partnership initiative, especially concerning the notion of partnership, as the focal point of the initiative. Through a major ESRC research project she examines the EU's relations with Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova in contrast to the international relations approach adopted by Russia. She notes that the top-down EU-centric governance approach (based on EU rule and norm transfer) clashes with the notion of partnership, which is based on reciprocal exchange and co-operation on issues of mutual interest.
Korosteleva's research of the existing EU practices in Eastern Europe has so far revealed two-level tensions.
First, from the examination of official documents, elite interviews and public surveys across the EU border, it has transpired that conceptually the EU has limited uniform awareness of what it is trying to promote in its eastern neighbourhood under the aegis of 'shared values', 'collective norms' and 'joint ownership'. Not only is there a discrepancy in the EU's own rhetoric - juxtaposing its 'universalist' values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law (Europeanisation), with its 'realist' security 'needs' to protect its borders and safeguard its own citizenry (securitisation); there is also an evident clash of the EU's vision of good governance with what the neighbours perceive to be such, stemming from their own unique historical experiences and cultural traditions.
Second, empirically, the EU seems to favour a 'top-down' governance approach (based on rule/norm transfer and conditionality) in its relations with outsiders, which is clearly at odds with a voluntary idea of 'partnership', and explicitly limits the input of 'the other' in the process of reform. In the absence of a workable notion of partnership, external governance (unintentionally) circumscribes the EU's actions to the EU-centred vision of governance, without necessarily connecting it to the 'visions' and 'needs' of the partner states. Consequently, without the substantive knowledge of its partners, the EU encounters protraction even from the most 'enthusiastic' neighbours, such as Moldova and Ukraine; and resistance from those who are not sufficiently motivated by the 'universal' appeal of EU governance.
Korosteleva's The European Union and its Eastern Neighbours: Towards a more ambitious partnership? (2012) explores the EU's relations with its eastern neighbours. Based on the extensive original research - including surveys, focus-groups, a study of school essays and in-depth interviews with key people in Belarus, Ukraine, Moldova, Russia and in Brussels - it assesses why the EU's initiatives have received limited legitimacy in the neighbourhood has been so poorly received.
The European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) of 2004, and the subsequent Eastern Partnership (EaP) of 2009 heralded a new form of relations with the EU's neighbours - partnership based on joint ownership and shared values - which would complement if not entirely replace the EU's traditional governance framework used for enlargement. These initiatives, however, have received a mixed response from the EU's eastern neighbours. It shows how the key elements of "partnership" have been forged mainly by the EU, rather than jointly, and examines the idea and application of external governance, and how this has been over-prescriptive and confusing.
Korosteleva's second major publication from this research is an edited volume entitled Eastern Partnership: A New Opportunity for the Neighbours? (2011). This book, written in partnership with in country experts, offers a collective assessment of the development and impact of the European Neighbourhood Policy and the Eastern Partnership Initiative on its eastern neighbours - Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova in particular, with Russia's added perspective. The volume uniquely bridges the perspectives of all parties across the EU's eastern border, in an attempt to understand advantages and problems related to the effective implementation of the EU policies in the eastern region. The undertaken research points to the prevalence of the top-down and conditional governance approach in EU treatment of the outsiders, which is not only Eurocentric and prescriptive in nature, but also falls short of the declared partnership principles. Without the understanding of partners' internal dilemmas and needs, which could only be achieved through the equivalence and reciprocity of partnership, the EU would struggle to make the policy effective and legitimate in the region, and to buttress its reputation as a 'credible force for good' on the international arena.
Korosteleva working with Derek Hutcheson (eds) explore how the countries of the former Eastern Bloc and Soviet Union have exhibited remarkable diversity in their post-communist regime paths in The Quality of Democracy in Post-Communist Europe (2005). They argue that whereas some states have become demonstrably more democratic and have moved in the space of fifteen years from the periphery to the centre of European politics, in others the political and economic climates seem hardly to be better, and their societies no more free, than in the final years of the Cold War. Assessing progress towards democracy in the former Eastern Bloc - or the lack of it - requires a qualitative examination of post-communist polities. This research brings together a number of perspectives, both macro and micro-analytical, on the 'quality' of democracy in post-communist Europe.
Korosteleva with Colin Lawson and Rosalind Marsh (eds) argue in Contemporary Belarus between Democracy and Dictatorship (2003) that Belarus is unique among the states of the former Soviet bloc, in that after a decade of transition', the country remains stalled' and backward-oriented. Political and economic changes are characterised by half-measures, and recently a new suppression of dissent has been introduced; the country balances between the prospect of democracy and a retreat to authoritarianism. These developments contrast starkly with the many democratic changes in neighbouring states and suggest a possible alternative path for future development in Eastern Europe. Korosteleva provides a thorough overview of current developments in Belarus. It looks at historical, political, economic and social changes, and at international relations, especially relations with Russia and the European Union, considering all these factors both in their domestic and international contexts and defines the type of democracy, if any, which exists in Belarus, exploring the prospects for further democratisation.
Korosteleva with Stephen White and John Lowenhardt (eds) continue the analysis of Belarusian politics in Post Communist Belarus (2005). They note that Belarus is one of the least studied European states to emerge from the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. In fact, few Western specialists paid much attention to its affairs during the Soviet era. Nevertheless, Belarus constitutes an important and sensitive border region between Russia and the western part of the continent. In Postcommunist Belarus, a stellar group of contributors examines the issues and the search for identity that Belarus has confronted in the period leading up to and following independence. The country is run in an authoritarian fashion by President Alexander Lukashenko and many observers, both inside and outside Belarus, would use the term "dictatorship" to describe his rule. Belarusian authorities prefer to emphasise the strong support of the people for the president and his cautious approach to economic reform. It seems unlikely that the country can hold out permanently against the wider pressures of democratisation and economic reform that are transforming its neighbours. The country's situation offers political scientists many facets for comparison with established models. Belarus is grappling with challenges that are conceptual and psychological as much as they are political, economic, and social.