Побудова демократії в Україні: основні протиріччя


  • Maksym Rozumnyi National Institute for Strategic Studies (Kyiv, Ukraine), Ukraine

Ключові слова:

building democracy, civil society, political nation, oligarchy, republic


Initially, the project for building democracy in Ukraine was characterized by a certain contradictory nature and suggested that liberalization of forms of public life should have been superimposed on the relatively intensive processes to form a political nation.

During the entire period of social reforms in Ukraine the public awareness has been focusing on several marks of national development. The concepts of “building a state”, “building a civil society” and “formation of a political nation” were most widespread. Their value and strategic priorities often competes with each other in reality.

The focus on “building a state” unambiguously makes the national idea of state sovereignty higher than the social idea of democratic self-government. Although a national idea is usually based on conservative values, as it has not been based on substantial tradition since Ukraine’s independence (institutions and public practices), it has quite quickly lost its motivation. The project for “building a civil society” cannot be directly connected with a certain historical period of Ukrainian independence to date, as it was present in the public sphere with a utopian background, which was not fed by connection with reality so much as extreme remoteness from the same. This status of a distant, yet inapproachable ideal spawned both the advantages and disadvantages of the concept of a “civil society”.

The project to “form a political nation” emerged in the Ukrainian intellectual space later on, when the projects to “build a state” and “build a civil society” had started to become ceremonial attributes of public communications rather than products reflecting the current trajectory of the country.

Today therefore, the concepts of a “civil society” and a “political nation” are equally present in the public awareness of Ukraine as landmarks of national development, public and political transformations and are often used as mutually complementary components of a single strategy.

The path of democratic transit in Ukraine emerged as more complicated. Here, the authoritarian political regime had not managed to consolidate itself, when faced with the activism of the civil society. On the one hand, it was part of a society oriented toward the national modern that stood against the restoration of post-Soviet authoritarianism and, on the other, a considerable layer of intellectuals and businesspersons oriented toward the postmodern version of liberalism and globalism.

The theory of democratic transit, which was mainly formed within the limits of the institutional approach, paved the way for democratic management institutions to adopt a decisive role in transforming non-liberal communities. It proposed a simple solution. As liberal transformations in the West resulted in formalization of the respective standards, values and practices in the form of democratic institutions, an adverse effect could be expected and the emergence of a liberal society based on democratic institutions.

The end result was unexpected in some respects, resulting in a so-called façade democracy, with a significant portion of actually functioning social standards and principles degraded to demonstratively feudalistic forms. At the same time, however, the institutional frame (or façade) of the political system remained “improved”. Moreover, client-based, corrupt and demonstratively criminal social structures not only learned to utilize the institutions of representative democracy, but also managed to fit the democratization changes themselves in the context of their own corporate strategies.

In terms of political history, the previous period of Ukraine can be characterized as an oligarchic consensus; ruined at a certain stage by an attempt to monopolize power by Yanukovych’s surroundings.

The 2014-2015 crisis resulted in the political domination of “political projects”, rather than parties in the classical sense, as major subjects of political competition, projects, which, given the character of their emergence and functioning, balance between business start-up logics and the promotional laws of pop stars.

The most important means of assessing the quality of democracy, Ukraine has degraded, during the period when it was supposed to actively arrange its democratic bases. One answer may be that the conscious efforts targeting democracy have not yet spawned sufficiently comprehensive consequences. However, it is already clear that instead of adopting progressive social innovation, we have social mutation, which resembles the expected result according to certain exterior features, but which radically contradicts the conception of reform.

Oligarchy in the Ukrainian political and social context means a situation, when wealth is used to preserve a monopoly of power and power is converted into wealth. In fact, an oligarchy means usurpation of power, when people are deprived of sovereignty and major management facilities are appropriated by an organized group.

Only the republic may become an alternative to oligarchy in Ukraine. The republic, as we understand it, denotes a kind of political organization of citizens, who founded the state, based on common values and generally accepted rules of community life.

Біографія автора

Maksym Rozumnyi, National Institute for Strategic Studies (Kyiv, Ukraine)

Максим Розумний 

Центр досліджень проблем Російської Федерації Національного інституту стратегічних досліджень (м. Київ)






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