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Department of Political Science

Promoting and Defending Democracy during War

Panel 3

Wednesday 13 September

Paulina Pospieszna
U. of Adam Mickiewicz, Poland

There are different means and instruments of democracy promotion available to states, NGOs, and international organizations in order to pressure other states to democratize or to protect and respect democratic values and norms. These tools include more direct forms, such as conditionality, aid, diplomacy, sanctions, and military interventions, or more indirect means such as socialization and ties. Some of them are coercive measures (e.g., sanctions) and other provide incentives (democracy assistance). In general, democracy promotion instruments are designed to have an impact on target groups through encouraging and demanding.

This panel is designed for students who, having a basic understanding of what democracy is and how countries democratize, want to delve deeper into the specific area of international democracy promotion, i.e., influences from outside nation-state that help democratize a country. The panel will begin with the major theories and concepts found in the democracy promotion literature. It will provide how external democracy promotion works, outlining major actors (international governmental and non-governmental organizations, countries) and key strategies that international actors have to facilitate elections, democratic institutions, strong civil society and/or to protect human rights and other democratic values. We will also discuss 1) challenges, such as democracy promotion backlash or shrinking civic space, lost credibility and trade-offs; as well as 2) effectiveness of democracy promotion efforts (e.g., Which tool—democracy aid or democratic sanctions—is more effective if the EU wants to influence the level of democratization in recipient countries?). Then, we the panel will discuss the specific context of democracy promotion during the war and if/how the Russian invasion of Ukraine reshaped democracy support policies. The panel will focus on sanctions and aid as the response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and the instructor will share her recent research in this area by focusing on the EU’s democracy promotion and protection activities in Ukraine, as well as on Poland’s support for Ukrainian civil society before and during the war..