Stalled on Substance: Democratization and Public Opinion in Post- Orange Revolution Ukraine

Publication Date: 
22 Dec 2010

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This paper examines the relationship between socio-economic factors and democratic consolidation. Democratic consolidation is the process (institutional, behavioral, attitudinal) a young democracy may go through to achieve a sustained, stable and progressive democracy. Thus far, democratic studies literature has focused on the effects of democratic institutionalization on consolidation and stability.  Yet, few researchers are conducting quantitative analyses to understand the socio-economic conditions that facilitate and/or stall democratic consolidation.

This study attempts to understand the failure of Ukraine to achieve consolidation after the Orange Revolution by moving beyond institutional achievements and analyzing substantive, socio-economic indicators that have stalled democratization. This analysis operationalizes a rich body of literature on democratization through application of public opinion data. In doing so, it identifies substantive elements of democracy that are significant predictors of democratization in Ukraine.

The research findings suggest that democratic consolidation is unlikely to occur unless Ukraine develops a more representative party system and economic conditions improve. This paper uses Ukraine as a test case for understanding countries stalled in the democratization process, and invites future studies to develop new ways of democratic assistance that move beyond an institutional focus.

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