20 Feb 2013: CEES Seminar
Issued: Thu, 13 Sep 2012 17:42:00 BST
Will Ukraine's political regime (again) soon change? Analysis of elite circulation after parliamentary elections
Dr Mychailo Wynnyckyj
Associate Professor and Director of Doctoral School, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, Ukraine
Erasmus Mundus IMRCEES Visiting Scholar
5.30pm (tea and coffee from 5pm), Room 916, Adam Smith Building
In 2010, five years after the Orange Revolution seemed to relegate Viktor Yanukovych to political oblivion, the leader from Donetsk was elected President of Ukraine. His regime has been characterized by a revival of foreign policy reversals away from the EU, imprisonment of opposition leaders, sluggish implementation of promised economic reforms, increased social tensions on linguistic lines. The President's electoral base continues to be the industrial, Russian-speaking Donbas, and it is from this region that the vast majority of Ukraine's current political elite hails.
Dominance of regional factors in defining the composition of Ukraine's political elite is not new, but a single region has never dominated Ukraine's political landscape to such an extent. The rise to power and consolidation of Ukraine's Donetsk-based politicians can be traced to the 2002 Parliamentary elections, when a sizeable number of individuals who had previously never held national-level political posts (primarily business owners) gained elite status. Surprisingly, in the aftermath of the Orange Revolution of December 2004, and notwithstanding two successive Parliamentary elections in 2006 and 2007, elite circulation in Ukraine was minimal.
Circulation suddenly became pronounced in November 2012 as a result of the rise of Klytschko's "Udar" and the nationalist "Svoboda" parties in elections to Ukraine's Parliament. Regional cleavages reflecting economic and identity differences continue to define Ukraine's voting patterns, but polling data (and indeed election results) shows opposition to President Yanukovych growing nationwide with alternative centres of power appearing outside of the Donbas. With Presidential elections scheduled for 2015, a window of opportunity seems to exist for Ukraine's partially renewed political elite to consolidate and enact regime change.
Enquiries: Ammon.Cheskin@glasgow.ac.uk, +44 (0)141 330 2845/5585