The article surveys and discusses different definitions of regime type in Ukraine and whether they provide a sound understanding of the regime emerging in Ukraine and other CIS states since the late 1990s. Ukraine and the CIS witnessed democratic regression and therefore could not be assumed that they were on a ‘transition’ path to a consolidated democracy. The majority of CIS states have either already moved to fully authoritarian regimes, such as Russia. Or, like Ukraine, they remained as unstable competitive authoritarian regimes which exhibited a ‘hybrid’ fusion of the former Soviet system and the emerging reformed economy and polity. Ukraine’s oligarchs during Kuchma’s second term preferred a fully authoritarian regime but they were also divided among themselves and faced a formidable opposition. These factors blocked the creation of a fully authoritarian regime under Kuchma and led to the victory of the opposition through Ukraine’s Orange Revolution.

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