Policy Memos

The West and the Imprisonment of Yulia Tymoshenko: When is Positive Leverage Not Enough?

Policy Memo:


Publication Date:




When is Western leverage ineffective in shaping a neighboring country’s internal policy making and enforcing democratic norms? I address this question by analyzing the failed attempts of Western governments to prevent the jailing of Ukraine’s opposition leader, Yulia Tymoshenko. I argue that prevailing theories that account for the effectiveness of Western leverage by focusing either on the attractiveness of conditional benefits offered to a target country or the latter’s structural characteristics are inadequate to explain Tymoshenko’s case. Instead, I draw on bargaining models of international relations to show that the characteristics of a contested issue may limit the ability of outside actors to exert positive leverage to prevent democratic regression in hybrid regimes. [...] 

More (PDF)

About the author

Associate Professor of Political Science
Baylor University