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Transitional Justice in Post-Euromaidan Ukraine

Swimming Upstream

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Igor Lyubashenko

The book focusses on transitional justice policies implemented in Ukraine since the beginning of 2014. The author covers investigations and trials, vetting, historical justice, as well as two issues that only partially refer to the «transitional justice toolbox»: attempts to deal with the consequences of the armed conflict in Donbas and elements of institutional reforms that supplement transitional justice efforts. He explains constrains faced by each of the mentioned policies and interrelationships between them. The author comes to the conclusion that the Ukrainian case presents both similarities and significant differences in comparison to other post-communist countries, which implemented such policies much earlier. Furthermore, there is no evidence supporting the thesis that the implementation of these policies provides visible effects in terms of democratisation of the country.

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7. Conclusions: Lessons learned from Ukraine’s transitional justice policies

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7.1. Ukraine’s political development after the Euromaidan

The period of time covered in this book – the slightly more than two years that have passed since the end of the Euromaidan protests – was an extremely dynamic period in political terms. Although it was declared that “Ukraine returned to a democratic trajectory in 2014”,1 the movement along this trajectory appeared to be uneven, and the final destination remains uncertain. An objective assessment of policies analysed in the chapters above requires putting them into a wider context.

The start of 2016 in Ukraine was marked by an intense political crisis illustrated by tensions within the governing coalition. After a failed attempt to dismiss the government in February 2016, the political parties of Batkivshchyna and Samopomich left the governing coalition (another minor partner, the Radical Party, did so already in December 2015). As a result, the government remained without support of an absolute majority of MPs – the remaining fractions of Petro Poroshenko’s Block (BPP) and the People’s Front lacked the necessary 226 mandates. Due to declining public support for both these biggest fractions, neither was interested in early elections. As a result of a frantic search for a way out of the crisis, Arseniy Yatsenyuk resigned as prime minister in April 2016 and a new government was established, headed by Volodymyr Hroysman, the former speaker of the parliament and a close ally of President Poroshenko. Formally, the governing coalition remained unchanged. The deficit of votes, which was...

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