LECTURE ON UKRAINE’S POSTCOMMUNIST TRANSFORMATION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF REGENSBURG
On the 10th of December, Mykola Riabchuk, the Senior Research Fellow of the Ethnopolitics Department, delivered a lecture at the University of Regensburg on “Thirty years of post-communism: What the 1989 East European revolutions have wrought and what they have not?” In his talk, he distinguished three different groups of postcommunist states that have either completed successful transition from dictatorship to democracy, or patently failed to transit, or – like Ukraine and most postcommunist states in the European part of the former Soviet Union and in the Balkans – were stuck in a grey zone of partial reforms and illiberal, largely imitative democracy. The main reason for this, he argued, was a weakness of local civil society and failure to remove decisively the old ruling elite from power and to radically change the political and economic system in their countries. The Balkan states were luckier in this regard insofar as they were guided by the EU and encouraged by the eventual membership prospects, while the post-Soviet states were left in the cold, under highly destructive influence of the increasingly authoritarian Russia. Ukraine, nonetheless, still is trying to complete the unfinished 1989-1991 anti-authoritarian and anti-colonial revolution, and is likely to achieve the defined goal, despite all the problems and obstacles on the way.