Dr Sarah Whitmore

BA (Hons), MSocSc, PhD (Birmingham), PGCTHE

Senior Lecturer in Politics

Sarah Whitmore is Senior Lecturer in Politics, who joined Oxford Brookes in 2003. She is also an Honorary Fellow of the Centre for Russian and East European Studies, University of Birmingham.

Her research focuses upon post-Soviet politics and she is interested in the evolution of formal institutions, their significance in structuring and reproducing power in post-Soviet states, their relationship with informal practices and the implications this has for the political system. Her empirical focus is predominantly on Ukraine and Russia. Her current research project is investigating the meaning and significance of disruptive practices in Ukraine's parliament. She has given briefings to the FCO and the US Department of State on Ukrainian politics, as well as giving regular media interviews.

Education and work

  • 2002-3 ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship, University of Birmingham
  • 2002 PhD (awarded Ashley Prize for Best PhD in the Social Sciences at the University of Birmingham)
  • 1998 MSocSc (Distinction), University of Birmingham
  • 1994-6 Teacher of English Language, Kyiv, Ukraine
  • 1993 BA(Hons) History and Politics


Sarah has considerable media experience, give live interviews on TV and radio as well as to newspapers on Ukrainian politics. These include BBC 2's Newsnight, BBC World, BBC World Service, BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Oxford, Newstalk 106 (Dublin), the European Voice, Den'(Ukrainian daily newspaper), Radio Ukraine International, Radio France International and The Dallas Morning Post.

Membership of Editorial Board

Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society series, Ibidem-Verlag, Stuttgart


Sarah has undertaken consultancy on Ukraine for the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the US Department of State, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy with the Agency for Legislative Initiatives, Washington-based NGO the Center for Public Integrity and served as an election monitor for the OSCE.

External Grants

ESRC Research Grant (No. RES000221132) Project: Parliamentary Oversight in Ukraine and Russia, principal applicant, 1 April 2005-31 December 2007 (£36,880.00). British Academy Postdoctoral Fellowship, July 2002, awarded but declined in conjunction with obtaining a permanent academic postESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship No.T026271291, 1 November 2002 - 31 October 2003 (£27,227.42)ESRC Research Studentship No. R00429834861, 1 October 1998 - 31 August 2001.


Russian, Ukrainian



  • U23102 Politics in Comparative Perspectives
  • U23128 Russia and East Europe After Lenin
  • U23132 Researching Politics and International Relations 2: Methods
  • U23178 State and Society in Contemporary Russia

Module Leader for:

  • U23188/U23288 Independent Study Module
  • U23199 Dissertation in Politics
  • U23190 Interdisciplinary Dissertation in Politics
  • U23299 Dissertation in International Relations
  • U23290 Interdisciplinary Dissertation in International Relations
  • U23134 Current Issues in Politics and International Relations


Potential Research Students

Sarah is interested in supervising PhD research on aspects of post-Soviet politics, particularly with regard to state-building, the development of institutions and governance.

PhD Completions: 

  • Rico Isaacs, PhD 2009, Between Informal and Formal Politics: Neopatrimonialism and Party Development in Kazakhstan (Principal supervisor) 
  • John Crabtree, PhD 2008, The Peruvian Party System, 1980-2007 (Second supervisor)


  • Books
  • Journals


  • (co-authored with Rico Isaacs),'The Limited Agency and Life-cycles of Personalised Dominant Parties in the post-Soviet space: the cases of United Russia and Nur Otan', Democratization (forthcoming, 2013)


  • 'Shou prodolzhaetsya: vybory, "Edinaya Rossiya" i rezhim Vladimira Putina' ('The Show Must Go On: Elections, United Russia and the Putin Regime'), Neprikosnovennyi Zapas, 2013, 65(1), pp.22-32
  • 'Parliamentary Oversight in Putin's Neopatrimonial State. Watchdogs or Show-dogs?', Europe-Asia Studies, 2010, 62(6), pp.999-1025
  • 'Osnovni napriamy pidvyshchennia efektyvnosti parlaments'koho kontroliu v Ukraini', (Raising the Effectiveness of Parliamentary Oversight in Ukraine), Parlament, 2010, No.1, pp.30-31
  • 'Tsvetenie molodosti ili plesen' starosti? Parlamentskiy kontrol' v Gosudarstvennoy Dume chetvertogo sozyv' (Green Shoots or Withering Roots? Parliamentary Oversight in Russia's 4th Duma), Neprikosnovenniy Zapas, 2008, 57(1), pp.111-121
  • ‘Ukraine's European Integration and the Role of Parliament' in Nathaniel Copsey and Alan Mayhew (eds) European Neighbourhood Policy: The Case of Ukraine, Seminar Series in Contemporary European Studies, University of Sussex: Sussex European Institute, 2007, pp. 45-57
  • ‘Man spielt den Regeln und nicht nach den Regeln: Politische Ungewissheit in der Ukraine' (‘Playing with the Rules, Not by the Rules: Political Uncertainty in Ukraine'), Ukraine-Analysen, 2007, no. 19, pp. 2-6
  • ‘Challenges and Constraints for Post-Soviet Comittee Systems: Exploring the Impact of Parties on Committees inUkraine', Journal of Legislative Studies, 2006, vol. 12, no. 1, pp.32-5
  • ‘"Damit mussen wir leben": Das neue Parlament und das neue Regierungssystem der Ukraine' ('We have what we have' The New Parliament and the New Political System in Ukraine) in Heiko Pleines (ed.) Die Ukraine unter Prasident Jushtschenko Auf der Suche nach politischer Stabilitat, 2006, No.75 ed., Forschungsstelle Osteuropa Bremen Arbeitspapiere und Materialien pp. 35-39
  • ‘State and Institution Building under Kuchma', Problems of Post Communism, vol.52, no.5,September-October 2005, pp.3-11'
  • ‘Does Institutional Design Matter? Evidence from Ukraine's Parliament, 1990-2000', in I. Bredies (ed.), Zur Anatomie der Orangen Revolution in der Ukraine: Wechsel des Elitenregimes oder Triumph des Parliamentarismus?, Stuttgart: Ibidem, 2005, pp.85-113
  • State-Building in Ukraine: The Ukrainian Parliament, 1990-2003, RoutledgeCurzon, 2004
  • 'Faction Institutionalisation and Parliamentary Development in Ukraine', The Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics, 2003, vol.19, no.4, pp.41-6
  • 'Fragmentation or Consolidation? Parties in Ukraine's Parliament', Research Papers in Russian and East European Studies, ResPREES 02/02, University of Birmingham: 2002, ISBN 07044 23626. Downloadable PDF available from:


Dr Sarah Whitmore

Tel: +44 (0)1865 483747
Fax: +44 (0)1865 483937

postal address

Selected Publication

State Building in Ukraine: The Ukrainian Parliament, 1990-2003 State Building in Ukraine: The Ukrainian Parliament, 1990-2003,

When Ukraine became independent in 1991, it inherited an underdeveloped set of state institutions with which to manage its transformation to statehood. The task of establishing a legal base for the operation of the new polity was the responsibility of the