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Olena Yermakova

ESR 12: Escape from liberalism. The right-wing turn in Central and Eastern Europe and the problem of ‘otherness’ (Jagiellonian University)

Olena’s research project explores the theme of ESR12 from both the supply and the receiver sides of ‘othering’ and illiberal right-wing populist discourse. The research narrows down CEE to Poland and focuses on its biggest inner ‘othered’ group that is immigrants from Ukraine. It aims to explore the ‘othering’ discourse produced by populist radical right parties (PRRP) in Poland, primarily PiS, in order to examine how and why PRRP use discursive legitimisation strategies​​to construct an enemy ‘Other’. Subsequently, the research project aims to capture interactions between the discourse and some of its ‘othered’ receivers, the immigrants, explore their experiences and perceptions of it, and how their identity has been influenced by it.

Prior to her PhD, Olena studied languages at the Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv. In addition to her studies, she was an active member of the European Youth Parliament NGO, was elected to the Board of the Ukrainian branch of the organisation twice and organised international educational conferences for young people. This experience sparked her interest in European affairs, prompting her to study for an MA in European Interdisciplinary Studies at the College of Europe in Natolin (Warsaw) and develop an interest in Central Europe as well as migration studies. In between her degrees, she worked for the press team of the Ukrainian Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, gaining experience in government and political communications.

She is supervised by Zdzisław Mach and Magdalena Góra at Jagiellonian University and Isidora Jarić at the University of Belgrade.


Email: [email protected]

Twitter: O_Yermakova

Work in Progress:

The Mythology of Law and Justice’s (PiS) Migration Discourse

Academic publications:

2019: “The mythology of Law and Justice’s migration discourse”, in Politeja,​

‘Othering’ of LGBT movement as an Element of Contemporary Populist Discourse in Poland (under review)

Blog posts:

14/7/2020: LGBT resistance to Polish populism, or “what true Poland looks like”: notes from an LGBT protest in Krakow

11/5/2020: Streets of Rage? Why asking Ukrainians to love their neighbours might show they are still streets apart

10/05/2019: Ukrainian Politics is Like a Box of Chocolates… You Really Never Know What You’re Gonna Get, with M. Cole, also available on the UCL SSEES Research Blog  

14/05/2019: The joker becomes king: what happened in the Ukrainian election and why Chantal Mouffe might also vote for Zelenskiy, with M. Cole, also available on the UCL SSEES Research Blog

Conferences, workshops and lectures:

01/2019: Research symposium “Tackling right-wing populism: theoretical, political and activist perspectives” (University of Westminster, London, UK), as participant

02/2019: International student conference “European politics and migration” (Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland), as paper presenter

05/2019: Lecture “Migration in political discourses in Central and Eastern Europe” (Institute of European Studies, Jagiellonian University, Krakow)

12/2019: Lecture “The fall of communism: perspectives from Poland and Ukraine, preconditions of delayed transformational fatigue” (Faculty of Philosophy, University of Belgrade)

12/2019: International conference “Contemporary populism and its political consequences: discourses and practices in Central and South-Eastern Europe” (University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia), as paper presenter

02/2020: Workshop “Jewish art and tradition 2020” (University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia), as participant

05/2020: Lecture “EU-Ukraine relations within the European Neighbourhood Policy: causes and consequences of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution” (Université Paris I – Panthéon Sorbonne, online)

09/2020: UACES Virtual Conference, as paper presenter and co-organiser of panel “LGBT Activism in the Age of Populism in Central and Eastern Europe: Poland, Serbia and Lithuania”

10/2020: International conference “Muslim migrants in Europe – overcoming social stigma” (Halina Niec Legal Aid Center, Krakow, Poland)

12/2020: Lecture “CEE and conflicts in the European Neighbourhood: Ukrainian crisis” (Institute of European Studies, Jagiellonian University, Krakow)

Other relevant activities:

05/2019: Co-organised a panel debate “European Election results: what do they mean for Central and Eastern Europe?” (Centre for European Studies, Jagiellonian University, Krakow)