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Ukraine: The Lingering Soviet Headache and 25+ Years of Hybrid Rule

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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Ukraine remains far from a robust democracy and qualifies as a consolidated hybrid state. Despite more than 25 years of government development since independence, Ukraine continues to experience difficulty shedding the legacy of the Soviet era in order to advance to a truly democratic state. This thesis seeks to understand Ukraines regime development and why the country experiences difficulty strengthening democratically. Drawing on theories of democratic consolidation and the rise of hybrid regimes, this thesis explains how and why Ukraine has consolidated into a competitive authoritarian state of government vice a true democracy. Analyzing six different criteria of regime development, including choices, institutions, elections, accountability, civil society, and economics, this thesis determines that while democracy exists on paper, overall, more than a quarter century of political development in Ukraine failed to bring robust democratic governance to this nation. As a result, Ukraine remain in a hybrid condition with democratic and autocratic elements living in constant tension with each other. Thus, the prospects for a strong democracy in Ukraine in the near future remain wishful thinking at best, unless Ukraine can find a way to radically break with its past.

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  • Government and Political Science

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