Understandings of democracy and “good citizenship” in Ukraine: utopia for the people, participation in politics not required by Dr. Joanna Szostek, Lecturer in Political Communication, University of Glasgow
When: January 24th, 12:15-14:00 CET time
Where: Zoom-link: https://mau-se.zoom.us/j/63683894763
Description: This research presentation will explore how people in diverse peripheral regions of Ukraine understood democracy, their role as citizens in a democracy, and the meaning of “good citizenship” in 2021, the year before Russia’s full-scale invasion. Using thematic analysis of focus group discussions, the research demonstrates gaps and inconsistencies in the understandings of democracy articulated by participants. A utopian understanding of democracy was common, in which authorities are expected to “listen to the people” and keep them satisfied, but the need for government to manage conflicting interests is not recognized. Understandings of good citizenship are inclusive and pro-social, but mostly detached from institutional politics. Similarity was observed across regions in how democracy is understood in the abstract. However, the meaning ascribed to democracy often varied when discussion moved from the abstract to particular country examples – a finding relevant beyond the Ukrainian case, for survey-based research on public understandings of democracy more generally.
Georgia: history and memory in the conditions of the Russian invasion of Ukraine
RUCARR online seminar with visiting researcher Alexandre Kukhianidze, Professor of Political Science, Faculty of Social and Political Sciences, Ivane Javakhishvili Tbilisi State University University (Georgia).
When: December 13, 15.15-17.00 CET (6.15-8.00 pm Tbilisi)
Where: Zoom link https://mau-se.zoom.us/s/62874227691
The online seminar discusses how Russia’s attack on Ukraine in the early morning of February 24, 2022, led not only to a rethinking of international security and stability, of Russia’s entire policy towards its immediate neighbors, but also to international assessments of Russia’s invasion of Georgia in 2008. The war led to a complication in relations between the ruling “Georgian Dream” party and the Ukrainian leadership, influenced the relationship of the Georgian leadership with the political opposition and leading non-governmental organizations, as well as the relationship of the ruling party to the European Union and the United States. Against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine, the Georgian political opposition is increasingly accusing the political leadership of Georgia of pro-Russian orientation, rejection of European and Euro-Atlantic integration and insufficient assistance to Ukraine, attacks by individual representatives of the “Georgian Dream” on the ambassadors of the European Union, the United States and the leadership of Ukraine. Meanwhile, the scale of mass rallies held in Georgia in support of Ukraine and aimed at criticizing the Georgian leadership has sharply decreased by the autumn of 2022, which has an impact on the stability of the latter. Based on personal observations and analysis of the entire post-Soviet period in Georgia, the speaker explains the reasons for the behavior of the Georgian leadership and the public against the backdrop of Russia’s war in Ukraine.