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Two days later there was another post-communist milestone that was just as important but much less noticed: the first anniversary of the Maidan uprising in Ukraine, which occurred on November 21st. Remembering Havel was a way to reaffirm core democratic values. Recognizing the importance of what started in Ukraine a year earlier was a much more urgent and contemporary exercise focusing attention on issues that affect our core national security.

Even if they have sometimes taken place in the periphery of our vision, these have been transforming events, with consequences that have reverberated far beyond Ukraine. A new Ukraine has emerged from all of this turmoil and struggle. There was a session bringing together religious leaders from different faiths—Greek and Roman Catholics, Orthodox Christians, Protestants, Muslims, and Jews. There was also a panel of seven Jewish leaders.

Everyone there was speaking as a Ukrainian.

Elections and Democratization in Ukraine | Sarah Birch | Palgrave Macmillan

The Maidan uprising was not only a momentous historical event but also a profoundly democratic one, with the protesters embracing a concept of citizenship involving individual responsibility to uphold democratic values and to serve the larger community. Ukraine took another step toward democracy more recently on October 26th when it held parliamentary elections. One of the most significant things that happened in the elections was that civil society activists, journalists, and other leaders from the Maidan entered politics for the first time.

Their decision to run for Parliament was not an easy one because politics and politicians have such a bad reputation in Ukraine—for good reason, since the way it has been practiced until now has made it a dirty business. But they knew that they could not defend the revolution and achieve the radical reforms contained in the Reanimation Reforms Package—a reform initiative by more than fifty NGOs, three hundred and fifty experts, and twenty-two working groups—if they did not make the jump from civic activism to politics and seek a role in the governance of the country.

The entry of into politics of activists like Nayyem, Leshchenko, and Hopko—they were all elected members of Parliament—is especially important now when there is an urgent need to implement real reforms. This was achieved at a special evening session on December 2nd, when the new Parliament boldly added a new element of giving three ministerial portfolios to foreign nationals, one of them an American, Natalie Jaresko, who will take over the powerful Finance Ministry.

The government is now positioned to implement the kind of radical reforms contained in the Reanimation Package. With the Parliament now having approved a new cabinet, Ukraine may be ready to rise to the challenge of radical reform. But it will not succeed in becoming a modern European state if the West does not rise to the challenge as well with concrete financial, technical, and political support. Ukraine is now fighting a war of survival against a very brutal, dangerous, and powerful enemy.

Russian forces have crossed the border into southeastern Ukraine with tanks, artillery and troops; and they have done so with impunity. Putin has totally ignored the September Minsk peace accords calling for the withdrawal of Russian troops from the region.

Russia tests Ukraine's new president with passports for breakaway regions

As the Economist has noted, he denies violating the agreement because he claims that Russia has no troops in Ukraine in the first place. But what peace process was she speaking about?

YES2018. Election Meddling and Disinformation – the Future of Democracy in Ukraine and in the West

He will stand down only if and when he is forced to do so. Far from being a partner in peace negotiations, Putin has demonstrated a fierce and obsessive anti-Americanism. What are we to do?

Ukraine’s Election Will Test the Strength of Its Democracy

More important, really the first question, is what are we dealing with here? Putin is seeking to reverse the verdict of , as the American writer George Weigel has said, which he considers to be an unjust and humiliating defeat for Russia. Should this matter to the United States? Are our own interests involved, leaving aside those of Ukraine and our allies?

  1. Ukraine aims to ban Russian election observers | In Depth | DW | ;
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Why should we care? Leon Aron of the American Enterprise Institute has responded to these questions by pointing out that Russia, a country with seventeen hundred strategic nuclear warheads and four hundred and eighty-nine strategic missiles, is in the grip of a leader with a messianic, revanchist ideology and historic grievances against the United States. That must matter to us. To do otherwise would be to admit that we have no sense of what our national interest is and what we must do to defend it.

We are entering a new moment in our international as well as our national politics. Strasbourg, 10 November — Ten local leaders from Ukraine local councillors and young activists It aims to improve the implementation of democratic principles in Ukraine, by enhancing the institutional and leadership capacities of local elected authorities and disseminating best practices in local democracy nation-wide.

The intervention of the Congress is based on Recommendation on local and regional democracy in Ukraine, further complemented by a post-monitoring programme which successfully led to the joint signature of a roadmap with national authorities in May , setting out a timeline for the implementation of reforms.

Democracy, Human Rights and Governance

Throughout the project life-cycle, the following outcomes are expected to be reached:. The aim of the regional seminars for young local leaders on local and regional democracy is to spread a culture of democracy by raising the awareness of young community leaders on local and regional democracy principles and developing their capacity to engage in local elections in an active and qualified manner.

It is intended to generate a spirit of co-operation among a selected group of young people, and - through an exchange of experience which involves members of the Congress and experts - to create an environment where participants feel free to discuss their personal experience and share their perception of the role of local authorities and of citizens. One of the goals of the project is to establish commonly agreed mechanisms and processes promoting effective coordination and cooperation between different levels of local self-governments, national associations and central authorities in implementing local self-government reforms.

Further to the invitation by the Ukrainian authorities, the Congress deployed an enlarged delegation — including 28 members from the Congress itself, 11 from the Parliamentary Assembly and four from the EU Committee of the Regions — to observe the local elections held on 25 October From 1 to 3 October a pre-election visit was organised in Kyiv. On the whole, the voting and counting processes on E-Day were competitive, well organised and transparent in most of the country and the campaign, in general, showed respect for the democratic process.

Nevertheless, there is a continued need for reform, in particular, due to different factors:. Council of Europe Congress observes local elections in Ukraine. Photo gallery. Report Observation of Local elections in Ukraine. Five local initiatives on transparency and citizen participation were selected for funding, expert support and peer reviews. The selected local authorities will aim to make their governance more open, inclusive, responsive, transparent and accountable to citizens, whilst ensuring that gender perspective is taken into account.