Maria Popova | REDS Seminar: Is Ukraine too corrupt to join the EU? Anticorruption reform, corruption perceptions, and measurement debates

Maria Popova | REDS Seminar: Is Ukraine too corrupt to join the EU? Anticorruption reform, corruption perceptions, and measurement debates

Thursday, May 2, 2024
12:00 PM - 1:15 PM

In-person: Reuben Hills Conference Room (Encina Hall, 2nd floor, 616 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford)

Virtual: Zoom (no registration required)

  • Maria Popova
Maria Popova REDS seminar

Ukraine's EU accession depends greatly on success in tackling corruption. Since 2014, Ukraine has built an extensive anticorruption institutional architecture, which has produced significant policy outcomes, but perception indices still show Ukraine as trailing most other European countries. This article summarizes Ukraine’s post-Euromaidan anticorruption reforms in the context of similar reforms pursued by other post-Communist EU candidate states pre-accession. The article then examines Ukraine’s corruption perceptions’ indices trajectory in comparative terms and wades into the debate over whether different types of perception indices proxy well for corruption incidence. The comparative look suggests that Ukraine is better prepared for EU accession in terms of control of corruption than is widely assumed.


Maria Popova is an Associate Professor of Political Science at McGill University and Scientific Director of the Jean Monnet Centre Montreal. She also serves as Editor of the Cambridge Elements Series on Politics and Society from Central Europe to Central Asia. Her work explores the rule of law and democracy in Eastern Europe. Her first book, Politicized Justice in Emerging Democracies, which won the American Association for Ukrainian Studies book prize in 2013, examines the weaponization of law to manipulate elections and control the media in Russia and Ukraine. Her recent articles have focused on judicial and anticorruption reform in post-Maidan Ukraine, the politics of anticorruption campaigns in Eastern Europe, conspiracies, and illiberalism. Her new book with Oxana Shevel on the roots of the Russo-Ukrainian war entitled Russia and Ukraine: Entangled Histories, Diverging States is now available from Polity Press.


The REDS Seminar Series aims to deepen the research agenda on the new challenges facing Europe, especially on its eastern flank, and to build intellectual and institutional bridges across Stanford University, fostering interdisciplinary approaches to current global challenges.

REDS is organized by The Europe Center and the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, and co-sponsored by the Hoover Institution and the Center for Russian, East European and Eurasian Studies.

Learn more about REDS and view past seminars here.


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