Geopolitical conflicts, sanctions and international knowledge flows: EU–Russia collaboration during the Ukraine crisis

Teemu Makkonen, Timo Mitze*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


This article studies the development of scientific co-publications between EU countries and Russia since the start of the Ukraine crisis in 2014. We investigate if economic sanctions and counter-sanctions imposed during the crisis affected EU–Russia knowledge flows even before all science collaborations between the EU countries and Russia were eventually suspended as part of the EU sanctions in 2022. Our econometric analysis uses a gravity model framework and a comprehensive dataset covering more than 540 million scientific publications and 8.6 million international co-publications for 35 countries (EU, BRICS, Belarus and Ukraine) during 1995–2018. Findings indicate that the imposition of EU sanctions and Russian counter-sanctions from 2014 onwards had a significantly negative effect on EU–Russia co-publication intensities. As a lower bound estimate, we find that sanctions reduced the EU–Russia scientific co-publication intensity by 15% at the aggregate level. Effects are higher in specific scientific fields. We uncover transmission channels of this effect, for example, related to dual-use technologies and growing resentments, and assess the robustness of our estimates. Time–dynamic regressions show that the sanctions effect on scientific collaboration increases over time. This underlines the susceptibility of global knowledge flows to geopolitical conflicts.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWorld Economy
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • economic sanctions
  • EU–Russia relationship
  • gravity model
  • knowledge flows
  • scientific co-publications
  • Ukraine crisis


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