Cover Osteuropa 1-3/2022

In Osteuropa 1-3/2022

Fragmented, Unstable, Pluralistic
Ukraine’s Political System before the War

André Härtel

Deutsche Fassung


Since the 2000s, Ukrainian politics has been characterized by weak institutions and strong informal forces. The plurality of economic and regional interest groups has prevented the establishment of a stable authoritarian vertical of power. At the same time, it has prevented a stringent reform policy. President Volodymyr Zelens'kyi, who was elected in 2019, also ran up against this problem. He fell out with the country’s most powerful oligarch, parts of the judiciary, influential local leaders, and numerous media outlets. Increasingly, he tried to exercise his authority by going around them, which led to accusations that he was establishing an authoritarian system. Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, conflicts over Ukrainian domestic politics have been set aside. The political class is united. The army and society are acting together to defend Ukraine’s sovereignty, freedom, and right of self-determination.

(Osteuropa 1-3/2022, pp. 319–329)