“The EU and Ukraine’s Public Opinion: Changing Dynamic”, Olexiy Haran, Petro Burkovskyi (IAI, Italy) 

After the collapse of the Soviet Union, Ukrainian society and political establishment chose a different path of transformation than Russia. Ukraine gained its independence peacefully and without internal conflicts thanks to an agreement between the national-democratic opposition and the so called “national-communists”. The West appreciated the facts that 1) Ukraine was the first state from the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) to re-elect both president and parliament in the 1994 democratic elections; 2) in contrast to Russia’s 1993 constitution, which established a model of creeping authoritarianism in that it placed massive authority on the president, Ukraine’s 1996 constitution was a compromise between the president and parliament; 3) again in contrast to Russia, political opposition in Ukraine was much stronger. In fact, only one president, Leonid Kuchma (1994–2004) was reelected. The rest, except fugitive Viktor Yanukovych (2010–2014), lost elections to their opposition rivals. In parliamentary elections opposition parties defeated ruling rivals in 2006, 2007 and 2019. All Ukrainian governments also had to take the interests of the country’s different regions into account. Thus, this system was much more balanced than the Russian model. From the point of view of Western political science, “pluralism by default” emerged in Ukraine, i.e. unplanned and unintentional pluralism.

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