Cover Osteuropa 2-4/2010

In Osteuropa 2-4/2010

Democratisation without Democrats
The Oligarchs in Ukrainian Politics

Heiko Pleines

Deutsche Fassung


Ukrainian politics is dominated by a group of big businessmen. These “oligarchs” built up gigantic fortunes in the 1990s and forged large industrial holdings. They supported the authoritarian regime of President Leonid Kuchma; therefore, their power was to be curtailed after the Orange Revolution. This did not happen. As was the case beforehand, they influence opaque political decisions and procure for themselves competitive advantage by means of corruption. But, because the oligarchs now support various political camps, their role has changed. The power-political stalemate of oligarchic interests could lay the foundation for long-term democratisation.

(Osteuropa 2-4/2010, pp. 123–134)