top of page


Re-thinking Approaches to International Mediation of the Ukrainian Crisis


Dr. Prof. Tetyana Malyarenko


The crisis in Ukraine since late 2013 has seen four successive internationally mediated agreements that have been at best partially implemented. Drawing on document analysis, extensive fieldwork and key informant interviews, the proposed project will examine the feasibility and viability of a number of options for settlement of the conflict in Ukraine‘s Donbas and explore the constraints and opportunities for international mediation to achieve them. The aim of proposed project is to examine the feasibility and viability of a number of scenarios for settlement of conflict in Ukraine with particular focus on the analysis of constraints and opportunities for international mediation and peace-keeping missions for the conflict resolution


Decentralization Processes and the Mitigation of Intra-State Conflicts:  Ukraine in Comparative Perspective


Dr. Prof. Tetyana Malyarenko, Dr. Prof. Stefan Wolff


Anchored in the wider literature on the drivers of intra-state conflict and post-conflict institution building, the project develops a nuanced and comparative approach to understanding the utility of decentralization, conceived as a process involving the negotiation, implementation, and sustainable operation of territorial self-governance arrangements in the mitigation of intra-state conflicts. The major theoretical contribution of the project is the development of a theory of conflict mitigation qua decentralization processes. The major policy contribution is the application of this theory to a specific type of conflict, represented by the case of Ukraine.


The Future of Conflict in the European Neighborhood: State Capacity, Resilience, and External Leverage


Dr. Chad Briggs, Dr. Anatoliy Dirun, Dr. Gregory Simons, Dr. Nino Kemoklidze, Dr. Prof. Tetyana Malyarenko, Dr. Prof. Stefan Wolff, Dr. Vadym Osin


The project investigates what role institutions can play in the prevention of conflict escalation and strengthening resilience of states and societies to internal and external shocks, crises and/or deliberate destabilizing actions by various actors with a specific focus on the post-soviet countries (Ukraine, Georgia, Moldova, Belarus and the Baltic states). By investigating the origins and dynamics of conflict with a particular focus on the Ukrainian conflict, we  examine its causes and dynamics: (a) in a retrospective view, (b) in a comparison with other conflicts in the post-soviet space and (c) with respect to the short-term and long-term consequences of conflict in Ukraine for other potential and latent flashpoints in the ‘contested neighborhood’.


Addressing Cyber and Hybrid Security Threats and Threat Actors


Dr. Prof. Yuriy Danik, Dr. Chad Briggs, Dr. Gregory Simons, Dr. Taras Lyutyy, Dr. Prof. Tetyana Malyarenko, Mr. Bogdan Zawadewicz


The research project assesses cyber and hybrid (where cyber is the component) threats and cooperation challenges between the EU and Eastern Partnership countries, including Ukraine in providing the cyber security. It explores new forms of cyber power and cooperative mechanisms, which the EU, its member states and international partners have to implement for the protection of their economies, critical infrastructure, fundamental rights and freedoms online.

The goal of this project is to foster information exchange and cooperation between the European Union and Eastern Partnership countries in strengthening resilience of cyberspace, and supporting cyber capacity building in partner countries.

The research project is aimed at the creation of cooperation mechanisms between governmental and non-governmental actors to address the evolving cybersecurity reality and assessment of additional measures to improve the EU’s cybersecurity resilience.

Through a participatory approach, the project facilitates the emergence of policy recommendations that focus on a new comprehensive concept of European security as well as Ukraine-EU cooperation in strengthening resilience that can link internal and external dimensions of European security and enhance EU’s ability to work with its neighbors and partners.


Understanding the Dynamics of Emerging De-Facto Entities

A research on the causes of, and likely mitigation measures for the conflict in Eastern Ukraine


Dr. Prof. Tetyana Malyarenko, Dr. Prof. Stefan Wolff

How can institutions in Ukraine be strengthened in their effectiveness and legitimacy in order to mitigate the risk of further conflict escalation and establish peace? How can the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics be effectively (re-) integrated with Ukraine in the course of the implementation of the Minsk Agreement, taking into account more than six years of violent conflict between Russia-backed rebels and pro-government forces as well as specific political and socio-economic processes within Donetsk and Luhansk which will impact their future relations both with Kyiv and Moscow? These are questions that are of pressing political relevance, yet they remain poorly examined in contemporary scholarship and there is, to our knowledge, no systematic account to date of the underlying dynamics of conflict and conflict management in relation to Donbas either specific to the case or using a comparative approach.


Territorial self-governance and conflict management: innovative approaches to institutional design in societies at risk

Dr. Prof. Tetyana Malyarenko


Anchored in the wider literature on the causes for contemporary conflict and post-conflict institution building and rigorous empirical testing, the project proposes a nuanced and comparative approach to understanding the effectiveness of power-sharing and territorial self-governance arrangements in the prevention and settlement of blended conflict in an antagonistically penetrated region and strengthening resilience of the state and society to external and internal crises.



Connecting Human Rights and Conflict Resolution in Eastern Ukraine


Dr. Prof. Tetyana Malyarenko


The project explores and explains how the changes in the nature and means of war (in particular, the usage of irregular warfare and occupation by proxy) impact the evolution of international human rights protection mechanisms to be employed in the zone of armed conflict in weak and fragile states and on the territories with weak state governance. The research focuses on the dynamics of conflict in eastern Ukraine leading to the establishment and entrenchment of self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics. The research is based on two assumptions. First assumption is that the current ‘no peace, no war’ situation in eastern Ukraine (permanent low-intensity conflict, isolation of Donetsk and Luhansk by Kyiv and their non-integration by Moscow) is mutually beneficial for both countries, thus, the status quo will likely be cemented. The second assumption is that the status quo creates favourable conditions for strengthening institutions, endogenic legitimacy and local identity in DPR/LPR that, in fact, facilitates their transformation from the ungoverned territory into other forms of a quasi statehood - either Russia’s occupation by proxy or de-facto state.

In Search of Peace: Conflict Management in Divided Societies


Dr. Prof. Stefan Wolff, Dr. Prof. David Galbreath, Dr. Chad Briggs, Dr. Nino Kemoklidze, Dr. Prof. Tetyana Malyarenko, Dr. Anatoliy Dirun, Dr. Aurelian Lavrik, Dr. Plamen Petrov, Mr. Bodgan Zawadewicz, Mr. Sebastian Relitz


Conflict management is a process that aims at channeling the violent manifestation of an incompatibility of goals between two or more parties into a political process where their disputes can be addressed by non-violent means.

Existing scholarship on conflict and conflict management covers a great breadth of different theoretical persuasions, methodological approaches, and empirical material. While there is no consensus per se on the causes of conflict and the most promising strategies of its management, thorough engagement with different schools of thought in itself is essential for a better understanding of the conditions of peace. Yet, the deficits of many existing theories of conflict are that they offer singular explanations (e.g., greed vs. grievance) while neglecting that the great number of people participating in conflict are often motivated in very different ways. Similarly, theories of conflict resolution either build on singular explanations of the causes of conflict (e.g. poverty) and offer singular solutions (e.g. development) or are ideologically/normatively driven (e.g. advocating an US model of federalism/presidentialism) – in both cases, they neglect the complexity of factors (at local, state, regional, and global level) that determine whether any particular conflict settlement can succeed. Integrating different theories into a broader framework of analysis, enriching it with our own field work and experience, and contributing to the development of a sustainable research agenda informing high-quality teaching and policy-making is thus the underlying intellectual rationale of this project.

bottom of page