Decentralization, regional diversity, and conflict. The case of Ukraine (2024)

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Decentralization, Regional Diversity, and Conflict. The Case of Ukraine

The Dark Side of Decentralization Reform in Ukraine? Deterring or Facilitating Russia-Sponsored Separatism?

2020 •

Jaroslava Barbieri

This chapter argues that Ukraine’s decentralization process can carry as many risks to the state’s unity as Russia’s ambition to federalize Ukraine. In particular, the author looks at how “fake” territorial communities and special economic zones promoted by regional elites with an assistance of the pro-Russian NGO “Ukrainian Choice” and Russian “curators” distort the vocabulary and tools of the decentralization reform to establish a parallel system of power, and destabilize Ukraine’s constitutional order. The transition period leading up to the completion of the reform offers a window of opportunity to sow separatism. In fact, the link created between the reform and the granting of “special status” to Donbas as part of the Minsk process postpones, indefinitely, the decentralization-related constitutional amendments (including the institution of prefects as a form of state oversight over local government bodies). Thus, the author assesses possible threats to Ukraine’s national security associated with offering autonomy to Donbas. The chapter features in the edited volume: Shelest, H, and Rabinovych, M. (eds.), Decentralization, Regional Diversity, and Conflict. The Case of Ukraine, Basingstoke: Palgrave McMillan.

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Shelest H., Rabinovych M. (eds) Decentralization, Regional Diversity, and Conflict. Federalism and Internal Conflicts. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham

Regionalism in Ukraine: Historic Evolution, Regional Claim-Making, and Centre- Periphery Conflict Resolution

2020 •

Oksana Myshlovska

This chapter examines the historical constitution of the present territory of Ukraine and its administrative-territorial system, identity and regional cleavages and the evolution and dynamics of claim-making and center-periphery contention related to them in different regions, namely Transcarpathia, Crimea and Donbas, since the late 1980s. It examines different forms of accommodation of claims such as an asymmetric state structure in the case of Crimean autonomy, power devolution, free economic zones, subsidies and budget disbursem*nts, power-sharing at the national level, and local and regional legislation on historical memory and languages. Beyond the widely acknowledged role of external intervention in the escalation of conflict in eastern Ukraine in 2014, the chapter focuses on the long-term nonviolent contention related to regional cleavages prior to the escalation of the conflict and political exclusion. The chapter shows that while there has been an increasing identification with Ukrainian citizenship and support for decentralization since 2014, important regional differences in terms of historical memories, attitudes to the Euromaidan, and the nature of the ongoing conflict remain and may be loci of vulnerability to future regional mobilizations. The effect of the ongoing reforms in decentralization and democratic governance on the resolution of center–periphery conflicts and the accommodation of regional claims remains to be seen.

SWP Berlin

Working Paper - Ukraine's Decentralization Reform

2019 •

William Dudley

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Gwendolyn Sasse

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Актуальні проблеми державного управління


2019 •

Андрій Маєв

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Constructing a Political Nation: Changes in the Attitudes of Ukrainians during the War in the Donbas

Olexiy Haran, Maksym Yakovlyev, Igor V . Burakovsky

What effect did Russia’s attack have on Ukrainian society and on public opinion? And how, in turn, did changes in public opinion and in society influence Ukrainian identity and politics? This book, prepared by the School for Policy Analysis, National University of Kyiv–Mohyla Academy with the participation of the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation, shows that contrary to the Kremlin’s expectations, Russian aggression has in fact led to a strengthening of the Ukrainian political nation. The book covers national and regional dimensions of changes in the attitudes of Ukrainians during the war in the Donbas: identity issues, political and party preferences, approaches to decentralization and the conflict in the Donbas, economic sentiments, changes in foreign policy attitudes toward the EU, NATO, and Russia.

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Local versus regional approaches to peace in Donbas

2020 •

Karen Madoian

Following the Euromaidan protests and the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Ukraine has witnessed continued violence in the east of the country, with approximately 13,000 people killed, including more than 3,300 civilians, and as many as 30,000 wounded.1 After a period of stalled negotiations, 2019 brought new momentum to the peace process: Ukraine’s new president, Volodymyr Zelensky, and his political party ‘Servant of the People’ won an unprecedented majority in the 2019 elections, gaining full control over the executive and legislative branches of power with more than 70% of all votes cast across the country.

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The Minsk Conundrum: Western Policy and Russia’s War in Eastern Ukraine

2020 •

Duncan Allan

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The Soviet and Post-Soviet Review

Dnipropetrovsk Oligarchs: Lynchpins of Sovereignty or Sources of Instability?

2019 •

Orysia Kulick

The choices made by oligarchs and citizens in Dnipropetrovsk during and after the Euromaidan rebellion of 2013–14 were not just event-driven manifestations in response to domestic and internal pressures. They were responses shaped by historically-composed social structures and interrelationships forged over decades within the region, across southeastern Ukraine, and in relation to competing centers of power — in Kyiv, Moscow, Washington, Brussels and beyond. This paper argues that Dnipropetrovsk — and its leaders — played a crucial intermediary role in not only deescalating tensions in southeastern Ukraine more broadly, but also by buttressing the Ukrainian state in a time of existential crisis. In this analysis, oligarchic self-interest is taken as a given and one factor among many, including the signaling of interventionist intent from an external patron and also deeper, regionally specific, economic and structural forces. This piece brings into the analysis a historian’s understanding of contingency, arguing that analyses of developments in southeastern Ukraine (in the past and present) should strive to better situate regional actors not only in space but also time, so as to better understand the complex set of forces and heterogenous social temporalities shaping their choices.

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The Elephant in the Room: Ukraine between Decentralization and Conflict

Francesco Palermo

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Decentralization, regional diversity, and conflict. The case of Ukraine (2024)
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