Charnysh, V., E. Finkel. 2017. "The Death Camp Eldorado: Political and Economic Effects of Mass Violence." American Political Science Review 111 (4): 801-818.
Transfer and redistribution of wealth accompany most violent conflicts throughout the world, yet the local-level political and economic effects of this phenomenon remain unexplored. We address
this omission by examining the long-term impact on the surrounding communities of the Nazi
death camp Treblinka in Poland, where nearly a million Jews were murdered. The assets of murdered
Jews sometimes ended up in the hands of the local population. We are able to identify the enduring
impact of these property transfers on local economic and political outcomes because the exact location
of Treblinka was exogenous to the characteristics of surrounding communities. We find that communities
located closer to the camp experienced a real estate boom but do not exhibit higher levels of economic
and social development. These communities also showed higher support for an anti-Semitic party, the
League of Polish Families. Our findings speak to an important but overlooked challenge to post-conflict
reconstruction and reconciliation.
Charnysh, V., S. Markus. 2017. "The Flexible Few: Oligarchs and Wealth Defense in Developing Democracies". Comparative Political Studies 50 (12): 1632–1665.
Based on an original large-N dataset of individual Ukrainian oligarchs and
qualitative evidence, we test competing perspectives on the political power
of big capital. We find, surprisingly, that neither the assumption of direct
power by the oligarchs, nor the mobility of oligarchic assets, help tycoons
protect their fortunes against shocks. Instead, the indirect strategies of
party support and media ownership significantly enhance business wealth.
Empirically, we profile postcommunist oligarchs by examining the political
and economic activities of 177 Ukrainian oligarchs from 2006 to 2012.
Theoretically, we contribute to the literatures on instrumental and
structural power of capital, and on the interactions between extreme
wealth, rule of law, and democracy. In doing so, we contrast the logic of
flexibility, according to which oligarchs benefit from political adaptability
and deniability, with the logic of commitment compensation, according to
which oligarchs benefit from direct power when the rule of law is weak.
Charnysh, V. 2015. “Historical Legacies of Interethnic Competition: Anti-Semitism and the EU Referendum in Poland.” Comparative Political Studies 48 (13): 1711-1745.
How do historical legacies shape contemporary political outcomes? The article proposes a novel attitudinal mechanism through which distant interethnic competition can influence political preferences in the present. It theorizes that historically conditioned predispositions at the local level can moderate the effects of national-level framing of a policy issue. Using Poland as a test case, I show that subnational variation in support for EU accession was influenced by populist claims about the increase in Jewish influence in the postaccession period. Anti-Semitic cues resonated with voters in areas with historically large Jewish populations and a contentious interethnic past, where latent anti-Semitism persisted throughout the communist period. To provide evidence for this argument, the article draws on rich historical and contemporary data at the county, town, and individual level of analysis and utilizes novel research methods.
Charnysh, V., P. Lloyd, B.A. Simmons. 2015. "Frames and Consensus in International Relations: the Case of Human Trafficking." European Journal of International Relations 21 (2): 323-351.
This article examines the process of consensus formation by the international community regarding how to confront the problem of trafficking in persons. We analyze the corpus of United Nations General Assembly Third Committee resolutions to show that: (1) consensus around the issue of how to confront trafficking in persons has increased over time; and (2) the formation of this consensus depends upon how the issue is framed. We test our argument by examining the characteristics of resolutions’ sponsors and discursive framing concepts such as crime, human rights, and the strength of enforcement language. We conclude that the consensus-formation process in international relations is more aptly described as one of ‘accommodation’ through issue linkage than a process of persuasion.
Charnysh, V., C. Lucas, P. Singh. 2015. “The Ties that Bind: National Identity Salience and Pro-Social Behavior.” Comparative Political Studies 48 (3): 267-300.
At the psychological level, ethnic conflict can be seen as an extreme result of normal group identification processes. Bridging perceived intergroup boundaries is therefore key to improving intergroup relations. In contrast to the dominant association of nationalism with racism, chauvinism, xenophobia, and intolerance, we highlight the constructive potential of national identification. In a survey experiment, we find that the increased salience of a shared (Indian) national identity increases donations by members of a dominant ethnic group (Hindus) to members of a rival, minority group (Muslims). This effect is moderated by social status (caste). We suggest that national identification leads to a greater transformation in the behavior of low-status members of an ethnic group because they are more likely to be drawn to national identity as an enhancement of their social standing. Our study has implications for theories of social identity and interethnic cooperation, as well as for the literature on nationalism.
Charnysh V. 2013. "Identity Mobilization in Hybrid Regimes: Language in Ukrainian Politics." Nationalities Papers 41 (1) : 1-14.
In 2012, a new language law in Ukraine allowed cities and regions to elevate the status of any minority language spoken by at least 10% of their population to “official” alongside Ukrainian. I argue that the law fails to protect genuine linguistic minorities and is likely to further undermine linguistic diversity in certain Ukrainian regions. More important, the law prolongs the vicious circle between Ukraine's lack of democracy and its politicians' reliance on identity cleavages to gather votes. I argue that the continuing exploitation of identity divides is increasing the popularity of extreme right parties and widening the gap in policy preferences between Ukrainian and Russian speakers. However, the current ethno-regional cleavages do not stand for irreconcilable identity attachments and their impact can be mitigated. The EU could contribute to this outcome by providing expert opinions on minority and language rights; demonstrating a commitment to Ukraine's territorial integrity and independence to de-securitize the minority rights discourse; and increasing individual-level contacts between the EU and Ukraine to promote a broader European identity.