Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Kazakhstan election observations attract research grant

Tuesday, 08 March 2011

Dr Rico Isaacs of the Department of International Relations, Politics and Sociology has recently been awarded a British Academy Small Research Grant Award of £4,046 for a project entitled Assessing the Effectiveness of Democracy Promotion in the Former Soviet Union: OSCE Election Observation Missions and their Impact on Elections and Democratisation in Kazakhstan. Rico describes his research below: “Election Observation Missions (EOMs), the organised observation of elections, have been central to the Organisation for Cooperation and Security in Europe’s (OSCE) strategy to promote democracy in former Soviet states. While existing scholarship has critiqued democracy assistance programmes in various parts of the world, there has been little research on the effectiveness of EOMs in former Soviet states. This project will assess the effectiveness of EOMs in ensuring freer and fairer elections in the former Soviet Union through a case study of Kazakhstan. In an effort to be more responsive to local conditions the research will examine the broader impact of OSCE EOMs over time from 1994 to 2007 on the attitudes of election officials in Kazakhstan towards democracy, elections and the administrative aspects of the electoral process. In doing so the research will engage not just existing scholarship on democracy promotion but will also inform policy towards democratic assistance in the region by ensuring it is more responsive to the interests and needs of recipient states.”