Ukraine decentralisation in the Context of Resolving the Crisis

The paper will discuss three main institutional designs aimed at decentralising the central government in Ukraine – the devolution of power to local territorial communities, the territorial autonomy of Donbas, and the federalisation of the state.

Kyiv Metro Bridge spanning across the Dnipro River in Kyiv

Amidst the raging war in the Donbas region of Ukraine, the Minsk Agreement signed by Ukraine, Russia, Germany and France on 12 February 2015, calls for decentralisation as a key element of the constitutional reform of Ukraine to be enacted by the end of 2015. Despite the fact that the terms of the Agreement are being breached by parties to the conflict, decentralisation of power is widely seen as crucial for resolving the crisis and bringing peace to the country.

Decentralisation being too vague a notion, what kind of a decentralisation project will achieve the stated objectives?

Summary

  • The paper discusses
    three decentralisation designs considered by either of the parties to the conflict in the east of Ukraine as instrumental in resolving the crisis: the devolution of power to local territorial… Click to Tweet
  • Devolution of power to local communities is already being implemented by the government of Ukraine and regarded the most optimal design by Ukraine’s donors and partners – the World Bank, the EU and OSCE – the autonomy of Donbas and the federalisation projects are part of the rhetoric of the self-proclaimed entities in the eastern regions of Ukraine at the negotiation table with Kyiv.
  • Each of the decentralisation projects bears risks for territorial integrity and long-term development given the current level of state capacity and crisis. Click to Tweet
  • Only the devolution of power to local territorial communities, if properly implemented, will delegitimise claims of the rebel groups in the Donbas region, prevent any secession attempts in the future, and strengthen the state.
  • Confederation is not brought up by any of the parties to the conflict as an option and is a very unlikely institutional design under the given circumstances as there are no two istinct nations to form clear-cut units and therefore, for practical reasons, this design will not be covered in the paper.

Alesia Kompaniiets Decentralisation Projects In The Context Of Resolving The Crisis In Ukraine

Alesia Kompaniiets Decentralisation Projects In The Context Of Resolving The Crisis In Ukraine
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Author

  • Alesia has a solid track record of managing international programmes and capacity development measures gained in the course of her work at GIZ, British Council, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine. Alesia holds MSc in Security Studies (distinction) from University College London and specialises in state capacity, civil war dynamics, and state-building strategies. 

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