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The Aleksanteri Institute

Unioninkatu 33 (P.O. Box 42)
00014 University of Helsinki

Past Aleksanteri Conferences

Yuriy Matsiyevsky (Ostroh Academy National University, Ukraine)

Ukraine's Regime Dynamics since the 2014 Revolution

Has the Ukraine’s regime changed since the 2014 revolution? What effects does a revolution have on the stability or change of a hybrid regime? To answer these questions I examine the changes in formal and informal institutions and the quantitative and qualitative composition of elites after the change of power in Ukraine in 2014. I argue that despite greater than in the post-orange period quantitative renewal of elites, qualitative change has not occurred. Meanwhile, the old operational code of elites’ political culture, composed of corruption, clientelism and informal deals, continues to operate. The lack of elites’ renewal and the dominance of informal rules over formal procedures – two factors that keep the institutional core of Ukraine’s hybrid regime unchanged. Moreover, the case of Ukraine proves that this informal core possesses a considerable adaptive capacity. Ineffective institutional equilibrium – institutional trap that evolved in Ukraine in the mid-1990s, demonstrates the ability to persist even under extreme challenges posed by a revolution and war. Ukraine will hardly be able to change its trajectory until the qualitative renewal of elites takes place. Elites’ rotation and /or quasi-replacement, what we observed in Ukraine in 2004 and 2014, did not produce genuine elite’s renewal. If internal (economic decline and the threat of protests) and external (the war in the east) threats are not able to change the elites’ rent-seeking behavior, therefore, hybridization, rather than democratization or resurgence of authoritarianism, should be considered a dominant trend of the post-revolutionary dynamics in Ukraine.