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About The Book

The book Post-Communist Ukraine by Bohdan Harasymiw is one of the most comprehensive and penetrating studies of the political and social realities of independent Ukraine during the first 10 years of its existence. The masterfully written, multi-faceted analysis presented in this 483-page documents and explains that country's successes and its more frequent failures during its transition from authoritarianism to democracy.

Chapters include:

  • Ukraine—On the Road to Democracy?
  • Agreeing on the Rules of the Game
  • President Kravchuk and the Philosophy of State Building
  • State Building in Ukraine: The Practice of State Organization
  • Coercive Control
  • Nation Building
  • Parliament and Elections
  • Party Systems, Presidential Elections, and the Public
  • The Economy: The Slow Road to Reform and the Fast Road to Riches
  • National Security, Defence, and Foreign Policy
  • From Communist Dictatorship to Pseudo-Democracy

Taking a comparative approach, Bohdan Harasymiw breaks free of the usual historical-cultural mode of dealing with Ukrainian politics. Step by step, he examines the primary elements of a modern democratic state and the degree to which these are in place: an agreed-on set of rules of the game in the form of an accepted constitution; a state capable of governing and claiming the loyalty of its people; a parliament representative of the public and able to legislate; a bureaucracy skilled at fashioning and implementing public policies, and not just following orders; a nation of fellow citizens living as a community; political parties channelling the interests of, and responsive to, their followers; elections that reflect the preferences of the voters; and policies ensuring the security and well-being of both state and society. These are analyzed in the light of other countries' experience with these institutions and processes. As a result, a comprehensive portrait of Ukraine's politics, which can be characterized as "post-Communist" but not yet "post-Soviet," emerges.

About The Author

Bohdan Harasymiw

Bohdan Harasymiw

Bohdan Harasymiw is professor of Political Science, University of Calgary. Trained as a Sovietologist, Harasymiw has concentrated on political elites in his publications, but has now shifted focus to studying democratic transitions, primarily in Eastern Europe, Russia, and Ukraine. His other publications include Soviet Communist Party Officials: …


  1. A review in Forum, No. 107, Spring-Summer 107 2003, p. 32
  2. Andrew Wilson's review in the Canadian Slavonic Papers, Vol. XLV, Nos. 3-4 (September - December 2003), pp. 509-510
  3. Robert S. Kravchuk's review in the Nationalities Papers, Vol. 31, No. 4, December 2003
  4. Gwendolyn Sasse's review in Zeitschrift fuer Ostmitteleuropa-Forschung 53 (2004), H. 3 (in German), pp. 469-470
  5. Kataryna Wolczuk's review in Europe Asia Studies Vol. 56, No. 6 (September 2004), pp. 921-22

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