Ukraine to Soviet Union

Topics: Soviet Union, Communism, Communist state Pages: 37 (13178 words) Published: January 24, 2013
Ukraine to soviet union
The breakup of the Soviet Union was a pivotal event of the 20the century that changed significantly the political environment of the world. Million of people in Eastern Europe awakened from a bad dream as the communism collapsed. Poland and Ukraine are two of the countries that have come out of the Communist block and embarked in a transition, from the general characteristics of a Communist society (dictatorship, single-party system, state economy) to those of a capitalist society (market economy, multi-party system, active civil society). During the process of transition from communism to democracy, Poland and Ukraine faced similar problems and challenges. First, the governments of Poland and Ukraine had to dedicate their work towards a process of state building that included creating the appropriate institutions, ensuring their functionality and their interconnectivity. Second, the economic reform toward market capitalism is a new path for both Poland and Ukraine. Third, the collective action took a new prevailing meaning and became a potential force in the process of democratization. However, the ways that Poland and Ukraine developed were significantly different, as they chose separate trajectories on their paths to transition.

My research will emphasize the state and society building processes after the fall of Communism in two countries, Poland and Ukraine, on three different levels including the construction of a political society, an economic society and a civil society. Specifically, this study seeks answers to the following question: why have different countries responded differently to liberal democracy and economic development? (There was a great transformation to democracy in Poland, Hungary and Czechoslovakia, a gradual adaptation in Russia and little impact in Ukraine and Albania.)? In my attempt to answer this question I compare two countries: Poland as a unique case in the transition pattern, “ where there was an early and decisive break with the past and a clear turn toward building democratic institutions and politics in 1989,” and Ukraine, where “the initial collapse of communism led to semiauthoritarian rule.”[1]

Despite the fact that, economically, both countries reflected a decrease in their GDP after 1989 (or 1991, the dissolution of the Soviet Union, in the case of Ukraine), Poland was much quicker to rebound and to firmly set its course towards building a truly democratic society. The process of democratization in Poland included a vibrant civil society, increased transparency in the decision making process and an economic shock therapy that, despite the initial hardships, eventually proved the easiest way to reach a functional market economy. In Ukraine the situation was different. Lacking a fundamental knowledge of market economics, Ukrainian leadership failed to appreciate the need for meaningful economic reform and, as a consequence, did not implement the necessary reforms. The early liberalization of the economy after 1989 gave rise to small-scale entrepreneurship in Poland, something that was totally missing in Ukraine. Also, Poland experienced the emergence of multidimensional, self-organized, active, and democratic civil society that went beyond all traditional limitation and political vision of communism.[2] In Ukraine, the level of development of civil society was extremely weak. The civil society in Ukraine did not have a tradition on the shaping of post-Communist society in Ukraine as compared to that in Poland, especially given the role it had played in the 1980s in bringing down the Communist regime. Solidarity in Poland was part of civil society. For Ukraine, the term “civil society” was totally unknown. Until these days, Ukrainians struggle with the concept of “civil society”. There is an enormous need for more collective actions in Ukrainian political life, but people don’t see the civil society as a vehicle that can have an impact and influence on...
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