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WVU political science professor exploring the political crisis in Ukraine

Ukraine has been a focus of world attention since political turmoil erupted in late 2013. Russia’s annexation of Crimea, and violent conflict in the eastern part of the country, made Ukraine the center of an international crisis and brought back memories of the Cold War.

Erik Herron, Eberly Family Professor of Political Science at West Virginia University, has been studying politics in the region for two decades and has been conducting research to better understand the origins and consequences of the conflict.

He recently received a National Science Foundation grant to investigate how democratic elections could be conducted during a civil war. The grant allowed him to survey election administrators and collect data on election processes inside and outside zones of conflict.

Herron also served as an international election observer in Ukraine’s October parliamentary elections, leading teams of monitors deployed by the Committee for Open Democracy.

“This conflict is one of the most critical events in the post-Cold War era, especially in Europe, and it has the potential to escalate into something far more serious,” Herron said.

“Understanding the Ukrainian government’s reaction to challenges directed at its territorial integrity can help the U.S. and Europe better manage their responses to the conflict.”

Herron’s research on Ukraine has been featured in numerous political science journals and in The Washington Post. He will be presenting preliminary findings from his NSF-funded research at the Southern Political Science Association Conference (Jan. 15-17) and at a George Washington University symposium (Jan. 21).

For more information, contact Erik Herron at



CONTACT: Devon Copeland, Director of Marketing and Communication, Eberly College of Arts and Sciences 304-293-6867,

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