Why Ukrainians Are Rallying Around Democracy

Issue Date October 2022
Volume 33
Issue 4
Page Numbers 37–46
file Print
arrow-down-thin Download from Project MUSE
external View Citation

Read the full essay here.

In democratizing countries it seems to make sense that any prolonged crisis will turn citizens away from democracy, from its “rules of the game,” and from the institutions tasked with upholding them. If ever there was such a country, surely it is Ukraine. Long beset by political instability and corruption, it has in recent years seen its crises become biblical: pestilence (in the form of covid-19) and war (in the form of Russian aggression and later the all-out Russian invasion launched on 24 February 2022). Instead of losing confidence in democracy as the best form of government, however, Ukrainian citizens have done the opposite, survey research from the MOBILISE Project reveals a staggering 35 percentage-point rise in Ukrainians’ support for democracy over just three years. Ukrainians moved toward greater support for democracy between 2019 and 2022 precisely because ordinary citizens were able to observe democracy in action and working even in the face of major compounding crises.

About the Author

Olga Onuch is professor of comparative and Ukrainian politics (chair) at the University of Manchester and principal investigator of the MOBILISE Project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council of the United Kingdom government. She is the author (with Henry E. Hale) of The Zelensky Effect (2022).

View all work by Olga Onuch

Image Credit: Chris McGrath/Getty Images