Professor Rilka Dragneva-Lewers

Dr Rilka Dragneva-Lewers

Birmingham Law School
Professor of International Legal Studies

Contact details

Birmingham Law School
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Rilka Dragneva-Lewers is Professor of International Legal Studies at Birmingham Law School. She works on regional integration, EU external policy, legal reform and international diffusion of norms with a special reference to Eastern Europe. Her recent publications focus on Eurasian economic integration and its overlaps with EU initiatives in the post-Soviet region. Rilka’s work has strong comparative and interdisciplinary elements. Her expertise in the field has enabled her to engage in interactions with policy-makers and leading think-tanks, law reform technical assistance projects, and professional training activities.

Rilka is a member of the editorial board of Review of Central and East European Law and International Journal of Law and Management.


  • LLB (Sofia University, Bulgaria)
  • MA (Sussex)
  • PhD (Sussex)


Rilka Dragneva-Lewers joined the Birmingham Law School in September 2012. Previous to that she was at the School of Law, University of Manchester (2006-2012) and Department of Law, University of Leiden (The Netherlands) (1999-2006). Rilka has been a visiting lecturer at the University of Sussex (2001) the Faculty of Law, University of Trento, Italy (2003 and 2004). Between 1999 and 2004 she was also actively engaged in technical assistance programmes and consulting activities in Eastern Europe for the World Bank, IFC and the EBRD. She was a legal counsel of a large foreign trade company before embarking on her academic career. 

Postgraduate supervision

I am interested in supervising high quality postgraduate research projects in the following areas:

Preferential trade agreements and regional blocs; Comparative regional economic integration law; Eurasian economic integration
EU Neighbourhood Policy and external relations with Eastern Europe and Eurasia; EU-Russia relations
Legal reform; Law and Development; External promotion of rule of law and good governance
Comparative Corporate Governance

Find out more - our PhD Law  page has information about doctoral research at the University of Birmingham.


Professor Dragneva’s recent research focuses on regional integration in the post-Soviet region, EU’s Eastern policy and the related critical issues of legality and institutional design, overlap and compatibility of integration regimes, and implementation of international obligations.

Rilka has participated in a number of high profile research projects, including: H2020 EU-funded collaborative project ‘EU-STRAT: The EU and Eastern Partnership Countries - An Inside-Out Analysis and Strategic Assessment’ (May 2016- April 2019), the AHRC-funded project ‘Ukraine’s Hidden Tragedy: Understanding the Outcomes of Population Displacement from the Country’s War-Torn Regions’ (November 2016- July 2018), and the ESRC-funded project ‘Russia and the EU in the Common Neighbourhood: Export of Governance and Legal (In) Compatibility’ (January 2013-September 2016).



  • R. Dragneva, K. Wolczuk (2015) Ukraine Between the EU and Russia: The Integration Challenge (Palgrave Macmillan)
  • R. Dragneva, K. Wolczuk (eds.) (2013) Eurasian Economic Integration: Law, Policy and Politics (Edward Elgar)
  • R. Dragneva (ed.), (2007) Investor Protection in the CIS: Legal Reform and Voluntary Harmonization (Brill/Martinus Nijhoff)

Book chapters

  • R. Dragneva (2020) ‘Pork, Peace and Principles: the Relations between the EU and the Eurasian Economic Union’, in R. Petrov and S. Lorenzmeier, ‘Contemporary Issues of EU External Relations: From Sgared Competences to Shared Values’ (Springer, forthcoming 2020) [A  previous version is published as IEL Working Paper 02/2019].
  • R. Dragneva (2018) ‘Dispute-resolution and regional integration in the post-Soviet space’, in H. Ruiz Fabri, R. Howse, G. Ulfstein, eds., International Trade Tribunals (Cambridge UP)
  • R. Dragneva (2017) ‘The Eurasian Economic Union: Balancing Sovereignty and Integration’, in Petrov, R., van Elsewuge, P. (eds) Post-Soviet Constitutions and Challenges of Regional Integration (Routledge), pp. 48-70 [an older version available as IEL Working Paper 10/2016]
  • R. Dragneva (2017) ‘The Association Agreements between the EU and Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine: constitutional issues of sovereignty and legitimacy’, in Petrov, R., van Elsewuge, P. (eds) Post-Soviet Constitutions and Challenges of Regional Integration (Routledge), pp. 71-88
  • R. Dragneva, (2016) ‘Corporate Governance in Russia: Law, Instrumentality and Political Order’, in Ngwu, F., Osuji, O., Stephen, F. (eds) Corporate Governance in Developing and Emerging Markets (Routledge), pp. 76-91
  • R. Dragneva, K. Wolczuk (2015) ‘EU Emulation in the Design of Eurasian Integration’ in D. Lane & V. Samokhvalov, eds. The Eurasian Project and Europe: Regional Discontinuities and Geopolitics (Routledge), pp. 135-152
  • R. Dragneva, K. Wolczuk (2013) ‘The Eurasian Customs Union: framing the analysis’, in Dragneva, Wolczuk (eds) Eurasian Economic Integration, pp. 1-12
  • R. Dragneva (2013) ‘The legal and institutional dimensions of the Eurasian Customs Union’, in Dragneva, Wolczuk (eds) Eurasian Economic Integration, pp. 34-60
  • R. Dragneva, K. Wolczuk (2013) ‘Commitment, asymmetry and flexibility: making sense of Eurasian economic integration’, in Dragneva, Wolczuk (eds) Eurasian Economic Integration, pp. 204-221
  • R. Dragneva, K. Wolczuk (2011) ‘EU Law Export to the Eastern Neighbourhood and the Elusive Demand for Law’, in PJ Cardwell, ed., EU External Relations Law and Policy in the Post-Lisbon Era (TMC Asser/Springer), pp. 217-240
  • D. Williamson, G. Lynch-Wood, R. Dragneva (2010) ‘Exploring the Regulatory Preconditions for Business Advantage for CSR’, in C. Louche, S. Idowu, W. Leal Filho, eds., Innovative CSR (Greanleaf Publishing), pp. 37-61
  • R. Dragneva, A. Dimitrova (2007) ‘Patterns of Integration and Regime Compatibility: Ukraine between the CIS and the EU’, in K. Malfliet, L. Verpoest & E. Vinokurov, eds., The CIS, the EU and Russia: Challenges of Integration (Palgrave/Macmillan), pp. 171-201
  • R. Dragneva (2007) ‘Towards Free Trade in the CIS: Challenges of Law and Policy’, in S. Bakhin, ed. International Public and Private Law: Problems and Perspectives (St. Petersburg), pp. 114-132 [Revised version published in Russian in the leading academic law journal Pravovedenie, Jan 2008]
  • R. Dragneva (2007) ‘CIS Model Legislation and Its Contributions to Company-Law Reform and Harmonization’, in Dragneva, ed, Investor Protection in the CIS, pp. 1-44
  • R. Dragneva (2007) ‘Legal Regulation of Shareholder Rights in the CIS’, in Dragneva, ed, Investor Protection in the CIS, pp. 45-84
  • R. Dragneva, G. Maassen (2007) ‘Cumulative Voting and the Protection of Minority Shareholders in the CIS’, in Dragneva, ed, Investor Protection in the CIS, pp. 85-104
  • R. Dragneva, W. Simons (2002) ‘Rights, Contracts and Constitutions: The Experience of Russia’, in F. Feldbrugge, W. Simons, eds., Human Rights in Russia and Eastern Europe (Kluwer/Martinus Nijhoff) [Revised version published in “Права, договоры и конституционные суды: опыт России”, Цивилистические Записки. Межвузовскии Сборник Научных Трудов, Вып. 3, Essays in Honor of S. Alekseev, Moskva/Ekaterinburg 2004, pp. 406-440]
  • P. Tchipev, R. Dragneva (1999) Mass Privatisation Funds: The New Institutional Investors in the East? A Comparative Study of CEE Mass Privatisation Schemes,’ in Dimitrov, M., Andreff, W., Czaba, L., eds., Economies of Transition and Varieties of Capitalisms (Gorex Press)

Journal articles

  • R. Dragneva, C. Hartwell (2020) ‘The Eurasian Economic Union: Integration without Liberalisation?’, Post-Communist Economies, DOI: 10.1080/14631377.2020.1793586
  • R. Dragneva, K. Wolczuk (2016) ‘Between Dependence and Integration: Ukraine’s Relations with Russia’, Europe-Asia Studies Vol. 68 (4), pp. 678-698
  • R. Dragneva, K. Wolczuk (2014) ‘The EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and the Challenges of Inter-Regionalism’, Review of Central and East European Law Vol. 39 (3), pp. 213-244
  • R. Dragneva, A. Dimitrova (2013) ‘Shaping Convergence with the EU in Foreign Policy and State Aid in Post-Orange Ukraine: Weak Incentives, Powerful Veto Players’, Europe-Asia Studies Vol. 65 (4), pp. 658-681
  • R. Dragneva, A. Dimitrova (2010) ‘The Politics of Demand for Law: The Case of Ukraine’s Company Law Reform’, European Journal of Law Reform 12 (3-4), pp. 297-318
  • Dimitrova, R. Dragneva (2009) ‘Constraining External Governance: Interdependence with Russia and the CIS as a Limit to EU's Rule Transfer in the Ukraine’, European Journal of Public Policy 16, pp. 853-872
  • R. Dragneva, J. de Kort (2007) ‘Legal Regime for Free Trade in the CIS’, International and Comparative Law Quarterly 56, pp. 233-266
  • R. Dragneva, E. Ioriatti-Ferrari (2006) ‘Contract Law Harmonization and Regional Integration: Can the CIS Learn From the EU?, Review of Central and East European Law 31, pp. 1-44
  • R. Dragneva (2004) ‘Is ‘Soft’ Beautiful?: Another View on Law, Institutions and Integration in the Commonwealth of Independent States’, Review of Central and East European Law 29 (3),  pp. 279-324
  • R. Dragneva, E. Millan (2002-03) ‘Transposing the “True and Fair View” Concept in the Legislation of Hungary and Poland in the Context of EU Enlargement’, Review of Central and East European Law 28 (2, pp. 183–209
  • Dimitrova, R. Dragneva (2001) ‘Bulgaria's Road to the European Union: Progress, Problems and Perspectives, 2:1 Perspectives on European Politics and Society pp. 79-104. [Reprinted in C. Ross (ed) Perspectives on the Enlargement of the European Union, Brill, Leiden 2002, pp. 139-164]
  • R. Dragneva, W. Simons (2001) ‘Corporate Governance Revisited: Can the Stakeholder Paradigm Provide a Way Out of ‘Vulture’ Capitalism in Eastern Europe?’, 27: 1 Review of Central and East European Law [Special Issue, eds. R. Dragneva, T. Jersild] pp. 93-111. [Revised translation published in “Пересмотр корпоративного управления: можно ли с помощью концепции сторон, заинтересованных в результатах деятельности компании, избежать «дикого» капитализма в Восточной Европе?”, Цивилистические Записки. Межвузовскии Сборник Научных Трудов, Вп. 2, Moskva / Ekaterinburg 2002, pp. 464-487]
  • R. Dragneva (2001) ‘The Reality of Models: Reflections on the CIS Model Law on the Limited Liability Company’, 27: 1 Review of Central and East European Law [Special Issue, eds. R. Dragneva, T. Jersild] pp. 113-131
  • R. Dragneva (1998) ‘Legal Regulation of Contractual Relations in Transition to a Market Economy: the Case of Bulgaria’, 29(3) IDS Bulletin 51

Working papers, policy papers, blog posts

  • R. Dragneva, ‘What role for the Eurasian Economic Union in Greater Eurasia?’, policy paper for a LSE IDEAS report on Greater Eurasia (May 2019).
  • R. Dragneva, ‘Interdependencies in the Eastern Partnership Region’, EU-STRAT Policy Brief No. 4/2019 (March 2019)
  • R. Dragneva, ‘The Eurasian Economic Union: Putin’s Geopolitical Project’, FPRI Research Paper (October 2018).
  • L. Jonavicius, L. Delcour, R. Dragneva and K. Wolczuk, ‘Russian interests, strategies, and instruments in the common neighbourhood’, EU-STRAT Working Paper No. 16/2019 (March 2019).
  • R. Dragneva, L. Delcour, M. Jaroczewicz ‘How Bilateral, Regional and International Regimes Shape the Extent, Significance and Nature of Interdependencies’, EU-STRAT Working Paper Nr. 8 (March 2018)
  • Kuznetzova, I., Mikheieva, O., Dragneva, R., Gulyieva, G., Mikhnenko, V. (2018) ‘The Social Consequences of Population Displacement in Ukraine: The Risks of Marginalisation and Social Exclusion’, Policy Brief.
  • R. Dragneva, L. Delcour, L. Jonavicius (2017) ‘Assessing Legal and Political Compatibility between the European Union Engagement Strategies and Membership of the Eurasian Economic Union’, EU-STRAT Working Paper No. 07/November 2017
  • K. Wolczuk, L. Delcour, R. Dragneva, K. Maniokas, D. Žeruolis (2017) ‘The Association Agreements as a Dynamic Framework: Between Modernization and Integration’, EU- STRAT Working Paper No. 06/ September 2017
  • R. Dragneva, K. Wolczuk (2017) ‘The Eurasian Economic Union: Deals, Rules and the Exercise of Power’, Chatham House Research Paper
  • R. Dragneva (2016) ‘Can the Eurasian Economic Union be a Part of a New Constructive EU-Russia Settlement?’, Dahrendorf Forum, 13 May
  • R. Dragneva (2016) ‘The Inter-Parliamentary Assembly of the CIS: Does it have an impact on human rights in the post-Soviet space?’, in A. Hug, ed. ‘Institutionally Blind? International Organisations and Human Rights Abuses in the Former Soviet Union’ , The Foreign Policy Centre, London
  • R. Dragneva, K. Wolczuk (2015) ‘Trade and geopolitics: should the EU engage with the Eurasian Economic Union?’, European Policy Centre, April 2015
  • R. Dragneva, K. Wolczuk (2015) ‘The EU and EEU: geopolitical problems cannot be addressed by technocratic measures’, European Leadership Network, March 2015
  • R. Dragneva, K. Wolczuk (2015) ‘The Eurasian Economic Union – What kind of alternative to the Eastern Partnership?’, in A. Hug, ed. ‘Trouble in the Neighbourhood? The Future of the EU’s Eastern Partnership’, Foreign Policy Centre, February2015
  • R. Dragneva, K. Wolczuk (2014) ‘The (E)U-turn on Ukraine: Pragmatism or Surrender?’, CREES Blog 26 September 2014. Reprinted in Ukrainian Week, 3 October 2014 (published in collaboration with The Economist).
  • R. Dragneva, K. Wolczuk (2014) ‘EU Pragmatism has rewarded Russia’s brazen trade bullying’, The Conversation 25 September 2014
  • R. Dragneva, K. Wolczuk (2014) ‘Eurasian Economic Integration: Institutions, Promises and Fault-lines,’ in D. Cadier, ed., The Geopolitics of Eurasian Economic Integration, LSE IDEAS Special Report June 2014
  • R. Dragneva (2014) ‘Can the CIS Survive the Ukraine Crisis?’, CREES blog 10 May 2014
  • R. Dragneva, K. Wolczuk (2013) ‘What kind of Eurasian Union might Ukraine be joining?’, Dec 2013, ElgarBlog, reposted by London School of Economics, Leiden University, and Global Policy Journal
  • R. Dragneva, K. Wolczuk (2012) ‘Russia, The Eurasian Customs Union and the EU: Cooperation, Stagnation or Rivalry?’, Chatham House Working Paper REP BP 2012/01. Revised versions in Open Democracy Russia, 25 September 2012 and in National Security and Defence Nr 4-5 (141-142), pp. 94-97
  • R. Dragneva, J. de Kort (2006) ‘Russia's Role in Fostering the CIS Trade Regime’, Leiden University Department of Economics Research Memorandum 2006.03

View all publications in research portal


Russia and the EU in the Common Neighbourhood: Export of Governance and Legal (In)Compatibility

Eurasian economic integration (post Soviet countries)

EU initiatives in the post-Soviet region

Legal aspects of trade with Russia and the Eurasian Economic Union