Dr. Olena Nikolayenko will be delivering a lecture based on her recently published book Youth Movements and Elections in Eastern Europe.
At the turn of the twenty-first century, a tide of nonviolent youth movements swept across Eastern Europe. Young people demanded political change in repressive political regimes that emerged since the collapse of communism. The Serbian social movement Otpor (Resistance) played a vital role in bringing down Slobodan Milosevic in 2000. Inspired by Otpor's example, similar challenger organizations were formed in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, and Ukraine. The youth movements, however, differed in the extent to which they could mobilize citizens against the authoritarian governments on the eve of national elections. This book argues that the movement's tactics and state countermoves explain, in no small degree, divergent social movement outcomes. Using data from semi-structured interviews with former movement participants, public opinion polls, government publications, non-governmental organization (NGO) reports, and newspaper articles, the book traces state-movement interactions in five post-communist societies: Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Serbia, and Ukraine.
Olena Nikolayenko is Associate Professor and Associate Chair for Undergraduate Studies in the Department of Political Science at Fordham University. She is also an Associate at the Davis Center for Russian and Eurasian Studies, Harvard University. Nikolayenko received her Ph.D. in political science from the University of Toronto and held visiting appointments at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, Stanford University; the Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies, Princeton University; and the Department of Sociology, the National University of Kyiv–Mohyla Academy, Ukraine. Her research interests include comparative democratization, social movements, political behavior, women’s activism, and youth, with a regional focus on Eastern Europe, Russia, and Central Asia. Her recent book, Youth Movements and Elections in Eastern Europe (Cambridge University Press 2017) examined tactical interactions between nonviolent youth movements and incumbent governments in Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Serbia, and Ukraine. Her articles appeared in the Canadian Journal of Political Science, Comparative Politics, Europe-Asia Studies, International Political Science Review, Slavic Review, and other journals. Her research was supported by the Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, International Center on Nonviolent Conflict, Jacobs Foundation, Open Society Institute, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.