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UTENRIKS-Internasjonale forhold - utenriks- og sikkerhetspolitikk og norske interesser

National Values and Political Reforms in Post-Maidan Ukraine

Alternative title: Nasjonale verdier og politiske reformer i post-Maidan Ukraina

Awarded: NOK 10.2 mill.

The VALREF project addresses the fundamental changes in the framework for state- and nation-building in Ukraine after 2013/2014. The expectations of a wider liberal European order based on stable state consolidation and nation-building, a persistent orientation toward open-market economies and international trade, and a security environment founded on predictability and cooperation were challenged after the annexation of Crimea. At the same time, a new set of political preferences has formed, and new criteria for state- and nation building have emerged. VALREF will address the implementation of political reforms in post-Maidan in Ukraine, and whether reform policies gain resonance in shifting public opinion. We ask: ? What do the Euromaidan event and the conflict with Russia mean for state reforms and national consolidation in Ukraine? ? What can the Ukrainian case bring to the theoretical field of state- and nation-building? To answer these research questions, we aspire to an innovative model that combines tracing the new cycle of reform policies with grounded empirical research into changes in public perceptions. The model for examining changes in public opinion will be further streamlined at the VALREF workshop in the beginning of October 2021. Central to the project is an opinion survey, which was planned to be carried out in 2022 and 2024. The war in 2022 has entailed an adjustment of the data collection. The project has carried out two smaller omnibus surveys in 2022/2023 and the analysis of the period 2013-2020 is based on survey data from Info Sapien's monthly omnibus surveys (2013–2020).

The VALREF proposal departs from the hypothesis that national consolidation is a policy conducted by elites, and one fraught with challenges. We also hold that there are few things that are more crucial in the life of a state and a nation than popular upheavals followed by armed conflict. Events of this kind are formative in the sense that they transform political preferences, rock the established political order, and create tensions among the populace. The political equilibrium prior to Euromaidan 2013 - which was based on what Lucan Way terms "pluralism by default" - a stalemate where no single faction of the elite could impose its order on another, where regional differences underpinned and sustained the stalemate, and where civil society could oppose a shift in an authoritarian direction - is no longer valid. To analyse political change the VALREF proposal builds on a model derived from North, Wallis and Weingast, who classify states as Limited Access Orders (LAO) and Open Access Orders (OAO). As their model offers few theoretical assumptions for explaining issues of nationhood and national identity, we pair it with theoretical approaches and expectations derived from the literature on nationhood, nationalism, and national consolidation. This also involves a caveat: a major motivation for the use of the LAO and OAO model lies in the fact that earlier models applied in explaining conditions for national consolidation in Ukraine are now partially defunct. We engage with this literature, but we cannot assume that the models used in explaining national consolidation prior to Euromaidan will have explanatory value after Euromaidan. Moreover, we cannot assume that Ukraine now has combined features of limited access to political decision-making with opening access to political decision-making. This has to be tested empirically, through rigorous survey-based research.

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UTENRIKS-Internasjonale forhold - utenriks- og sikkerhetspolitikk og norske interesser