The 'Euromaidan,' Democracy, and Political Values in Ukraine
48 Pages Posted: 8 Sep 2016
Date Written: September 3, 2016
This paper examines the political system, attitudes towards democracy, and their determinants in Ukraine before, during and after the “Euromaidan.” The research question is as follows: What type of political system has emerged in Ukraine since the “Euromaidan?” The related research question is to what extent political values in Ukraine are supportive of democracy. This study is based on theories of democratic, semi-democratic, and authoritarian political systems, democratization, and political culture. A number of major survey-based academic studies, conducted primarily before the “Orange Revolution,” concluded that mass political values in Ukraine were generally supportive of democracy, and that they did not preclude emergence of a consolidated democracy. Many previous studies presented the “Orange Revolution” as a democratic revolution that transformed Ukraine from semi-democracy or competitive authoritarianism to democracy. Democracy was often regarded as the most likely future path of political development of this post-Soviet state. The Western and Ukrainian media, the Western governments, and the Maidan government in Ukraine also generally presented the “Euromaidan” as a democratic revolution that overthrew the authoritarian government as a result of mass peaceful protests. However, there is lack of academic studies of the political system and democratic values in Ukraine since the “Euromaidan.” This paper compares political systems in Ukraine before, during and after the “Euromaidan.” It uses data from different waves of the International Foundation for Electoral Systems surveys, the Pew Global Attitudes surveys, and the World Values Surveys to examine public attitudes towards democracy in Ukraine before and after the “Euromaidan.” It also compares democratic and authoritarian preferences in Ukraine with those in Poland and Russia, two similar post-communist countries with differing political cultures and divergent trajectories of democratization. Finally, this study implements multiple regression analysis of the determinants of attitudes towards democracy. It analyzes effects of political party preferences, regional historical legacies, religion, ethnicity, and other factors on pro-democracy views. The study also discusses implications of its findings for the prospects for liberal democracy in Ukraine and for the conflict between the West and Russia over Ukraine.
Keywords: Democracy, conflict, public opinion, political culture, Ukraine
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