Explaining the New Influence of Ukrainian Civil Society
Ukrainian pro-democracy activism since Euromaidan has been called a “civic awakening,” and civic coalitions have been credited with new strength and influence over the process of democratic reform. However, neither history nor theory predicts success for these groups: civil society was largely marginalized after the Colour Revolutions, and Ukraine remains a “competitive authoritarian” polity in which incumbents are strongly motivated to block democratic reforms. If this new civil society influence is real, it presents a puzzle: what accounts for this unexpected result? This thesis offers case studies of two important democratic reforms enacted in 2015: political party financing and civil service reform. Using a process tracing analysis of available evidence, this thesis seeks to clarify the extent and character of civil society’s new influence in post-Euromaidan Ukraine, and to identify the conditions and strategies that may be allowing activists to overcome the marginalization or co-optation that followed the Colour Revolutions.