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Illiberal and authoritarian tendencies in Central, Southeastern and Eastern Europe

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Edited By Florian Bieber, Magdalena Solska and Dane Taleski

Even though the democratic decline has been deemed a global phenomenon, the question of how it manifests itself in the postcommunist world and how it varies across different regions with divergent levels of democratic consolidation has not been sufficiently addressed yet. This book tries to fill the gap and examines the causes and nature of the deteriorating quality of democracy in Central Europe as well as the reversal or stagnation of democratization processes in Southeastern and Eastern Europe. The political elite plays a key role in initiating legislative changes that may lead to democratic backsliding. Its constant commitment to the rule of law and to the practice of selfrestraint in securing the independence of judiciary and the rights of political opposition appears hence indispensable for sustainable liberal democracy.
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12. Ukraine after Euromaidan: Increased Pluralism amid Patronal Politics (Oleksii Sydorchuk / Olexiy Haran)

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Oleksii Sydorchuk and Olexiy Haran

12.  Ukraine after Euromaidan: Increased Pluralism amid Patronal Politics

Ukraine’s development after the turbulent events of Euromaidan and the ensuing Russian aggression saw increased space for political competition and social activism against the backdrop of continued patronage politics. Reinvigorated civil society mirrored the consolidation of Ukrainian society around the need to resist the foreign threat and implement sweeping reforms, while the disintegration of authoritarian vertical government and the collapse of the party system paved the way for the dissipation of power and the intensification of political struggle. Yet, high-level politics remained dominated by informal networks and patron-client relations, which trumped formal rules, undermined reform progress, and constrained post-2014 liberal gains. Struggles between representatives of vested interests and reformist forces will, to a great degree, determine Ukraine’s ability to resist implantation of Russian authoritarian model and safeguard its democratic achievements.

Keywords: civil society, Euromaidan, informal networks, patronal politics, political institutions, reforms, Russian aggression

Introduction

Throughout its independence period, Ukraine’s democratic development has been a series of uneven steps forward intermingled with drastic reversals. Until the Euromaidan revolution of 2013–2014, the political regime oscillated between periods of growing authoritarianism under Presidents Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yanukovych and increased openness and competitiveness during the presidential tenures of Leonid Kravchuk and Viktor Yushchenko. Euromaidan, known also as the Revolution of Dignity, was a popular reaction against threatening monopolization of power under Yanukovych who first...

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