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Democracy and security in Ukraine:  Unpacking local resilience and prospects for reconstruction 

May 17, 2022 , kl. 15:00 16:30

Conventional security discourses did not predict the magnitude and endurance of resistance efforts in Ukraine, considering the asymmetry between Russia and Ukraine in terms of military capacity. Based on our own research on local democracy in Ukraine, we propose that sweeping decentralization reforms combined with widespread multipronged democratic innovations, including a digital transformation of the state, in recent years has significantly contributed to Ukraine’s resilience. The purpose of the event is to revisit the state of Ukrainian local democracy before the war and discuss how this has contributed to the resilience and problem-solving capacity that we see today. 

 In this event, we aim to identify major underlying factors that account for the support for and engagement with the state, civil society, and business in Ukraine, with a specific eye to previous achievements and practices on the local level of governance, much of which has continued to function even through the war. 


Yuliya Bidenko, Karazin Kharkiv National University 

Marcia Grimes, University of Gothenburg 

Mariana Vershynina, Deputy of the city council of Ivano-Frankivsk 

Oksana Huss, Bologna University 

Oleksandra Keudel, Kyiv School of Economics 

Panel Topics 

The panellists, drawing on interviews with local government officials and a survey of over 200 civil society organizations, along with first-hand experience, will explore the following topics: 

  • How the bottom-up nature of the decentralisation effort, as well as its inherently participatory character, gave rise to a transformation in the relationship between citizens in the state (from citizens without citizenship to citizens against the state, to citizens and the state).  
  • How the state-society networks, collaboration, contestation, and communication evolved and operated, based on the example of successful local anti-corruption initiatives and the implications for donors.  
  • How the collaborative and communicative processes can be characterized and how they may account for Ukraine’s resilience in the war. 

Round Table Discussions

In the second part of the event, we will provide facilitated space for the participants to join group discussions on the directions/principles for the support to the state, civil society, and business in Ukraine. The breakout rooms will consist of round table discussions by the participants.

  • Room 1: Decentralisation support, donors and peacebuilding, hosted by Delog
  • Room 2: Child and youth-friendly cities in Ukraine, hosted by UNICEF
  • Room 3: Partnerships with businesses
  • Room 4: Partnerships with NGOs and Volunteers
  • Room 5: Information and communications for peacebuilding
  • Room 6: Sister Cities and municipal partnerships