Oleksandr Fisun is Professor of Political Science and Department Head at the V.N. Karazin Kharkiv National University in Ukraine. His primary research interests are comparative politics and democratic theory. He has held visiting fellowships at the Woodrow Wilson Center’s Kennan Institute, the National Endowment for Democracy (Washington DC), the Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies at the University of Toronto, the Ellison Center for Russian, East European and Central Asian Studies at the University of Washington (Seattle), Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies at the University of Alberta (Edmonton), and the Aleksanteri Institute at the University of Helsinki, Finland. He has published Democracy, Neopatrimonialism, and Global Transformations (Kharkiv, 2006), as well as numerous book chapters and articles on comparative democratization, neopatrimonialism, regime change in post-Soviet Eurasia, and Ukrainian politics.


Project Summary

The project is devoted to the analysis of the Ukrainian political system after the Euromaidan revolution and the breakdown of Viktor Yanukovych’s super-presidential regime in February 2014. Although immediately after the Euromaidan new democratic elites came to power, informal institutions continue to dominate the formal ones, and the patron-client ties, personal loyalty, and clan “membership” still persist as organizing principles of the system. These patrimonial principles determine the formation of political parties, the majority of appointments to public office, and the structuring of relations among political players at the national and regional level. I intend to explore the decisive role of informal politics and shadow patron-client networks in Ukraine that remain an under-researched topic for a long time and investigate how a neopatrimonial democracy in which state capture is the primary gain, unexpectedly stimulates competitive politics.


Major Publications

Previous Terms

Mar 01, 2001 - Aug 01, 2001: "The Puzzle of the Post-Soviet Democracies: Neo-Patrimonial Interpretations" Mar 01, 2007 - Aug 01, 2007: "Understanding Post-Soviet Politics: Neo-Patrimonial Interpretations"