Chapter 9: Ukraine’s Democratisation Path Post-Orange Revolution: Examining the Internal and External Impediments to Successful Democratic Reform in Ukraine

  • Nicholas Ross SmithEmail author


The Orange revolution raised hopes for a positive upsurge in Ukraine’s democratisation trajectory. However, more than a decade after the Orange Revolution, it is clear that Ukraine has made little progress with regard to democratisation. This chapter identifies two important factors, one internal and one external, which help explain, in part, the lack of tangible democratic reform in Ukraine. Internally, it is argued that the role of elites (oligarchs) has been detrimental to Ukraine’s democratisation efforts. Externally, it is argued that Ukraine’s geopolitical positioning in Eastern Europe is a bulwark to the potential external diffusion of democracy. Ultimately, because of Ukraine’s geopolitical positioning, any positive democratic gains will have to be driven from within; a difficult task given the entrenchment of oligarchs.


European Union Democratic Reform Western Balkan Country European Neighbourhood Policy Democracy Promotion 
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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Centre for Research on EuropeUniversity of CanterburyChristchurchNew Zealand

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