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  • Author: Arkady Moshes, Ryhor Nizhnikau
  • Publication Date: 03-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Since the Euromaidan Revolution, self-identification and attitudes within Ukrainian society have changed profoundly. This report takes stock of the identity changes both nationwide and in three major oblasts, namely Lviv, Kharkiv and Odesa, representing in this study the Western, Eastern and Southern regions of the country respectively, to identify new differences and unity points. To this end, the report focuses on two major issues, looking firstly at the trajectory of the identity shifts nationwide and in three key regions, and secondly, at their political effects. The question of the sustainability of the changes is also addressed. Taking the regional aspect into consideration is crucial given that cleavages have traditionally had a visible regional pattern, and that the identity shifts coincide with a realignment of centre-periphery relations within the context of the ongoing reforms, particularly decentralization. The report also furthers understanding of the potential risks – or lack thereof – of this process for the Ukrainian state. This publication is part of a research project “Ukraine after Euromaidan” conducted by the Finnish Institute of International Affairs. The project is implemented with the financial support of the Nordic Council of Ministers 2020.
  • Topic: Revolution, Local, Decentralization , Identity, Euromaidan Revolution
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Ryhor Nizhnikau
  • Publication Date: 08-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: During his first year as President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelensky prioritized presidential power-building. In order to do so, he relied heavily on the old system and established practices, such as “hands-on” management and the personalization of state agencies. Institution-building was replaced by the targeted fine-tuning of the dominant system. Some important reforms launched by the government in autumn 2019 were later stalled and reversed. As before, the adoption and implementation of comprehensive reforms will largely depend on Western pressure and conditionality. The major problem is that there are multiple centres of power in the country and the president’s actions only produce an illusion of control, while in reality the system is fragile and unstable. During the rest of his presidency, Volodymyr Zelensky will increasingly depend on oligarchs and govern through situational alliances. In exchange for their support, he may have to acquiesce to their continued dominance over the economy and the restoration of their influence in politics. Instability will intensify as his personal popularity wanes and economic and political crises deepen.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Leadership, Institutions, State Building, Transition, Elites
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Eastern Europe
  • Author: Tyyne Karjalainen
  • Publication Date: 10-2020
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The European Union is renewing its Concept on Strengthening EU Mediation and Dialogue Capacities after more than a decade. The new concept is being launched at a time when international peace mediation is at risk of lagging behind in the face of accelerating power politics. The United Nations Security Council seems to be paralysed, and many peace processes frozen solid. Regional actors, such as the EU, now have a window of opportunity to strengthen their role, albeit amid difficult circumstances, as learnt, for example, in Ukraine and Syria. This Working Paper suggests that the EU has special abilities to build on in peace mediation, including exceptional resources for capacity-building and mediation support. Capable of harnessing the resources of the member states, civil society and private mediation actors alike, the EU can build tailor-made, multi-level processes for resolving conflicts, and make the essential change-makers pull together. However, there is still room for improvement in EU action, for example in the evaluation of mediation, to which end this research sheds light on several concrete steps that the EU can take in order to optimize its efforts.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, United Nations, European Union, Peace
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine, Middle East, Syria
  • Author: Arkady Moshes, Ryhor Nizhnikau
  • Publication Date: 04-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: Despite the momentum for fundamental change that emerged in Ukraine after the Euromaidan revolution of 2014, the incumbent elites were able to safeguard many traditional mechanisms for extending their stay in power and effectively impeded the systemic transformation. After the presidential and parliamentary elections of 2019, Ukraine will face an increased risk of populism and radicalization of the political agenda on the one hand, and apathy and disengagement among the population on the other. In these circumstances, the West should be ready to increase its involvement in Ukraine, but also to step up conditionality in order to influence the behaviour of protectors of the old system, interacting more with the pro-reform constituency in Ukraine.
  • Topic: Elections, Revolution, State Building, Euromaidan Revolution
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Arkady Moshes
  • Publication Date: 12-2019
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The French-German-Russian-Ukrainian top-level encounter could not and did not deliver a prospect of resolving the conflict in Donbas, but the limits of the possible are now clearer. No certainty, but the “draw” may push the parties closer to a sustainable ceasefire.
  • Topic: Diplomacy, International Cooperation, Humanitarian Intervention, Peace
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, France, Germany
  • Author: Veera Laine
  • Publication Date: 09-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The initiative to create an autocephalous national Orthodox Church in Ukraine, proposed by the political leadership of he country, now seems more likely than ever before. The Russian Orthodox Church duly risks losing its economic support and status in the Orthodox world, which has political implications for Russia as well.
  • Topic: Religion, Catholic Church, Secularism
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Kristi Raik
  • Publication Date: 10-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: The liberal, norms-based international order is being challenged by two contradicting trends: the rise of power politics and geopolitical conflicts, on the one hand, and the diffusion of power and increased importance of networks, on the other. This paper explores how increased connectivity is shaping the agenda and practice of EU foreign policy and re-defining the traditional tensions between realist and liberal approaches to global politics. It argues that the EU should develop foreign policy strategies that utilise networks as an asset against power politics, looking at two examples of how a network-based approach can help the EU to defend its values and interests: networks for resilience against hybrid threats, and networks for supporting Ukraine. These cases shed light on how the concept of networks can contribute to the EU’s strategy in today’s fluid global politics and unstable regional security environment.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Regional Cooperation, European Union, Liberal Order
  • Political Geography: Europe, Ukraine
  • Author: Arkady Moshes
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Finnish Institute of International Affairs
  • Abstract: While speculation about whether Russia may repeat the Crimean scenario in Belarus should not be totally dismissed, exaggerated alarmism would not be appropriate either. Rather, Moscow’s policy is aimed at making sure that Belarus and its leadership remain critically dependent on Russia.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Military Strategy, Empire, Annexation
  • Political Geography: Russia, Europe, Ukraine, Belarus, Crimea