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Authoritarian Regionalism and Sustainable Development: Eurasian and Global Challenges

6 hour course by Anastassia Obydenkova (Uppsala University-IBEI)

  • Schedule: 28 & 30 June 2023 (10:00–13:00)

This course aspires to shed light on autocracies-led regional international organizations, their strategies to engage with neighbouring states and implications for sustainable development in Eurasia (including Russia, China and the EU's near neighbourhood – post-Communist and post-Soviet region). Regional international organizations (RIOs) (such as the EU, for example) became important actors in the world politics of 21st century in democratization and diffusion of values of sustainable development and in implementation environmental reforms. However, the 21st century also witnessed the increase in number of autocracies-led RIOs. Examples of these organizations are the Commonwealth of Independent States, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, the Eurasian Economic Union, among others. The influence of this "authoritarian regionalism" has radically increased in terms of both geographic scope and intensity, creating an unprecedented challenge to democracies and democratization worldwide, as well as for sustainable development. This course will address the impact, importance, causes and consequences of these international organizations in global politics and in Eurasia. Understanding and analysis of authoritarian regionalism and its implications for sustainable development are relevant from both scientific and policy perspectives.

While studies and scholars and policy-makers debate focused on nation-level (e.g., on Russia, on Ukraine, on Belarus, or on China's led regional organizations), the role and the impact of RIOs on sustainable development and democracy were left outside of the mainstream debates. This course aims to augment our understanding of the current events through focusing on their external triggers – Autocracies-Led RIO (phenomenon, that is also known as "authoritarian regionalism"). The influence of these RIOs set up by autocracies, however, is a global phenomenon and exist in other regions of the World. The influence of these RIO has radically increased in the last few years. The goal of this course is to analyze autocracy expansion through the RIOs in Eurasia and their implications for sustainable development in the EU near neighborhood and beyond. 

Anastassia Obydenkova is an associate professor at the IRES, Faculty of Social Science, Uppsala University (Sweden). She holds a PhD in Political and Social Science from the European University Institute (Florence) and MA in Political Science from the Central European University (Budapest – Vienna). She was awarded Fox Fellowship at Yale University, Fung Global Fellowship at Princeton University, and she was Senior Research Scholar at Harvard University.

She studies modern autocracies, international organizations, global environmental politics, sustainable development, comparative regionalism, democratization, post-Communism, with area-focus on Eurasia and China. Her work on these topics had been published in such journals as World Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Post-Soviet Affairs, Review of International Organizations, Intelligence, Journal of Common Market Studies, Environmental Research, Democratization, European Journal of Political Research and Journal of Democracy, among others.