On January 12-13, 2023, the International Scientific Conference “Democracy in the Process of Changes” was held at Maria Sklodowska-Curie University (Poland). In their speeches, the participants of the conference emphasized that the Russian military aggression became a catalyst for radical changes not only in Ukraine and in the countries that support it in the fight against the enemy, but also in the Russian Federation itself.

At the panel discussion of the conference “Democracy vs. dictatorship in the context of Russia’s war against Ukraine”, the Head of the department of Political institutions and processes of our Institute, Corresponding Member of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Professor Galyna Zelenko, presented her report on the topic “Russian military aggression as a catalyst for socio-political transformations in Ukraine”.

International scientific conference “Democracy in the process of changes”

For a long time, the speaker noted, socio-political processes in Ukraine developed extremely contradictory. A high level of paternalism, political absenteeism, a rather low level of political culture, and the inability to use the so-called “tools of democracy” were present and hindered the development of democracy. The consequence of these and other phenomena was the radicalization of the political scene, a low level of trust and, accordingly, membership in political parties, public organizations, public anomie and distrust of state authorities, sometimes polar opposite foreign policy orientations, etc.

However, during the years of the Russian-Ukrainian war, which began in 2014, significant changes occurred in the political identity of Ukrainians. So far, socio-political divisions caused by the dilemma of national, linguistic or religious (church) self-identification, and the choice of foreign policy priorities have significantly weakened. These changes enabled, along with the existing clan-oligarchic system, the country’s dynamic movement in the direction of Euro-Atlantic structures.

During the work of the international conference

The speaker noted that now there is every reason to talk about the completion of the process of forming a political nation in Ukraine, about significant gains in the development of social capital, which is based on institutional trust, caused in particular by such a phenomenon as volunteerism, etc. That is, G. Zelenko emphasized, there have been significant qualitative shifts in the socio-cultural sphere, thanks to which a peculiar window of opportunities is being formed for qualitative changes in the political regime in Ukraine. At the same time, according to the speaker, war is primarily a terrible human and colossal economic loss, which forms potential lines of socio-political divisions and which should already be the subject of accurate study.