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The Dark Side of Decentralization Reform in Ukraine: Deterring or Facilitating Russia-Sponsored Separatism?

  • Jaroslava Barbieri
Chapter
Part of the Federalism and Internal Conflicts book series (FEINCO)

Abstract

This chapter argues that Ukraine’s decentralization process can carry as many risks to the state’s unity as Russia’s ambition to federalize Ukraine. In particular, the author looks at how “fake” territorial communities and special economic zones promoted by regional elites with an assistance of the pro-Russian NGO “Ukrainian Choice” and Russian “curators” distort the vocabulary and tools of the decentralization reform to establish a parallel system of power, and destabilize Ukraine’s constitutional order. The transition period leading up to the completion of the reform offers a window of opportunity to sow separatism. In fact, the link created between the reform and the granting of “special status” to Donbas as part of the Minsk process postpones, indefinitely, the decentralization-related constitutional amendments (including the institution of prefects as a form of state oversight over local government bodies). Thus, the author assesses possible threats to Ukraine’s national security associated with offering autonomy to Donbas.

Keywords

Special status, Fake territorial hromadas, Separatism, Special economic zones 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jaroslava Barbieri
    • 1
  1. 1.University of BirminghamBirminghamUK

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