Dr Sarah Whitmore

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

Reader in Politics

School of Law and Social Sciences

Sarah Whitmore


Sarah Whitmore is Reader in Politics, who joined Oxford Brookes University in 2003. 

Teaching and supervision


Modules taught


  • POLI5005 Dilemmas of Governing: Russia and East Europe After Lenin
  • POLI5008 Researching Politics and International Relations 2: Methods
  • SOCI6013 Rethinking Public Space and Democracy: State and Society in Contemporary Russia pathway

Module Leader for:

  • Independent Study Module
  • Dissertation in Politics
  • Interdisciplinary Dissertation in Politics
  • Dissertation in International Relations
  • Interdisciplinary Dissertation in International Relations
  • Dissertation in Politics and International Relations


Potential research students

Sarah is currently supervising three PhD students as Director of Studies: Carl Mohr, Huw Houssemayne du Boulay and Sofya Omarova. She 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: 

  • Jasmin D'allagnola, PhD 2021, The impact of globalization on national identities in
    post-Soviet societies (Director of Studies)
  • Rico Isaacs, PhD 2009, Between Informal and Formal Politics: Neopatrimonialism and Party Development in Kazakhstan (Director of Studies) 
  • John Crabtree, PhD 2008, The Peruvian Party System, 1980-2007 (Second supervisor)

Research Students

Name Thesis title Completed
Huw Houssemayne du Boulay Post-Soviet, postcolonial: Crimea, national identity and territorial integrity in Russian government discourse 1991–2015 Active
Sofya du Boulay (Omarova) Spectacles of Power: How authoritarian regimes legitimise their rule in Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan Active


Sarah's research focuses on the evolution of formal institutions, and their significance in structuring and reproducing power in Ukraine and Russia, their relationship with informal practices and the implications this has for the political system. She has a long-term interest in legislative politics and state-building, particularly in Ukraine. Her current British Academy funded research project together with Professor Bettina Renz at the University of Nottingham is investigating the importance of the political and strategic context for military reform in Ukraine. A second focus is Ukrainian state functioning during war. She has given briefings to the FCO and the US Department of State on Ukrainian politics, as well as giving regular media interviews.

Research group membership

  • State and Society Research Group

Research grants and awards

  • British Academy SRG19/190038 (co-investigator with Prof. B. Renz, University of Nottingham), 'What kind of military does Ukraine want and need? Assessing the importance of strategic and political context for military reforms' (£9,984)
  • 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 post
  • ESRC Postdoctoral Fellowship No.T026271291, 1 November 2002 - 31 October 2003 (£27,227.42)
  • ESRC Research Studentship No. R00429834861, 1 October 1998 - 31 August 2001.



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Professional information

Memberships of professional bodies

  • Membership of Editorial Board: Soviet and Post-Soviet Politics and Society series, Ibidem-Verlag, Stuttgart


Sarah has undertaken consultancy on Ukrainian domestic politics 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.

Further details


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 News, BBC 5Live, BBC World Service, LBC, 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.

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, Staffordshire University


  • Russian and Ukrainian