The European Union (EU) has encouraged democratic development in a number of post-communist states. This article examines the extent of EU involvement in Ukraine and its results. It notes that there has been a substantial disconnect between the rhetoric of Ukraine’s ‘‘European Choice’’ and authoritarian trends in the country. Ukraine signed a series of agreements with the EU, but membership in the organization was never offered. The EU’s interest in Ukraine, however, was rather meager and it never gained means to have much leverage. As authoritarianism became more pronounced, the EU began to disengage from the country. The article argues that part of the problem was that the EU never applied political conditionality to Ukraine as it had with other states. The ‘‘Orange Revolution’’ opens up new possibilities and challenges, and the EU now must come to grips with a more democratically and Western-oriented leadership.
The collapse of communism has led to a number of different research agendas in post-communist political studies. These include political culture, “transitology,” nationalism, institutionalism, and political economy. This article critically reviews these approaches, comparing them to the more general lines of research in comparative politics. It asks what contribution each is making, and argues that a political economy perspective may be the most interesting and revealing for post-communist societies.
This paper applies the concept of delegative democracy to contemporary developments in Russia and Ukraine. They qualify as examples of this phenomenon insofar as leaders in these states are elected by the people but use their democratic legitimacy to justify authoritarian behavior. Factors which contribute to this trend are a deep socio-economic crisis, existent political culture, and a lack of institutions to safeguard democratic norms. While recognizing the various arguments endorsing this solution, this paper concludes that this form of rule is unlikely to live up to its promises and ultimately undermines the emergence of a representative, pluralist democracy.