The authors compare civil society development in Russia and Ukraine in recent years in terms of civil society’s structure and relationships with the state and the broader society. They find major differences in 1) the treatment of civil society by state actors and 2) the level of trust placed in civil society by the population. They use these and other findings to assess civil society’s ability to play economic, political and social roles as defined by Michael Edwards in Civil Society (Edwards, 2009) and discover important differences emerging with regard to the political and social roles.

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