How have regional executives helped holding democratic elections in post-Euromaidan Donbas?

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 A co-author of "Why Nations Fail," Daren Acemoglu, suggests that after Euromaidan, Ukraine obtained a new chance to foster inclusive political institutions despite the conflict in Donbas.

The recent article of Valentyna Romanova “The Comparative Analysis of Regional Governors’ Approaches to Fostering Inclusive Political Institutions in Post-Euromaidan Donbas” published in Kyiv-Mohyla Law and Politics Journal (3 (2017): 71–89)[1], was inspired by Acemoglu’s expectation.

 Acemoglu and Robinson state that in theory inclusive political institutions have two conditions: "a state with capacity and a broad distribution of political power".[2] In practice, it is not easy to ensure more state capacity and to make political power more broadly based in society at the same time; still Acemoglu and Robinson state that democracies did so in order to become successful nations.

 Valentyna Romanova compares the approaches of three regional executives in post-Euromaidan Luhansk oblast (including a former civil society activist Heorhii Tuka)[3] - key actors in regard to agenda-setting and decision-making in the region – towards the distribution of power that is operationalized as holding democratic elections. The early 2014 parliamentary elections; the 2015 local elections; and the 2016 by-elections of an MP in electoral district No 114 in Luhansk oblast are analyzed in the article.

 The finding is that all three regional executives had security concerns related to the conflict, while two regional governors (Heorgii Tuka and Hennadii Moskal) were concerned about the electoral perspectives of those candidates and parties whom they considered responsible for the conflict in Donbas. The study does not find convincing evidence that civil society inclusion in regional public administration affects the respective regional governors’ approaches. The stage of the conflict in the region during the electoral campaign is more likely to determine regional governors’ approaches towards holding elections.

 The study highlights that despite security and other concerns after Euromaidan, elections were held in those areas in post-Euromaidan Luhansk oblast where possible. This is claimed to be a step towards a balanced increase in state capacity and the distribution of power, in line with the concept of inclusive political institutions suggested by Acemoglu and Robinson.

 Romanova’s article was referred to in the recent publication by Carnegie Endowment for International Peace “Ukraine’s Civic Progress and Partial Reform”(authored by Olga Burlyuk and Natalia Shapovalova).[4]



[2] Daron Acemoglu and James Robinson, Why Nations Fail: The Origins of Power, Prosperity, and Poverty (New York: Crown Publishers, 2012).

[3] Hennadii Moskal was a regional governor in Luhansk oblast in from September 18, 2014 – to July 20, 2015. Heorhii Tuka was a regional governor from July 22, 2015 – to April 29, 2016. Before that Tuka was a civil society activist. No similar appointments happened before Euromaidan. Yurii Harbuz was appointed as a regional governor on April 29, 2016.