Ethno-Linguistic and Religious Pluralism and Democratic Construction in Ukraine

Author: José Casanova

May 24, 1998

Responding to hostile "expert" opinion on the prospects and even viability of a genuine democratic evolution in the Ukraine, Casanova sets out to "inject some cautious optimism into the discussion" by highlighting positive evidence of the establishment of democratic political order in post-Soviet Ukraine. In spite of popular skepticism from the outside, Casanova argues that opinion across the board from ruling elites to average citizens in the Ukraine not only favors the establishment of democracy, but in fact points to this being the only possible post-Soviet future acceptable to the majority of Ukrainians. In the Ukraine, moreover, it appears that ethno-linguistic and religious pluralism may help rather than hurt the process of democratization, as desire for a liberal and distinctly "Ukrainian" future cuts across these traditional social divisions. This chapter was published in Post-Soviet Political Order: Conflict and State-Building (1998, eds. Barnett R. Rubin and Jack Snyder).

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