In the portion of this project dealing with Good Governance and the Rule of Law, the team of researchers will focus on the following set of reforms promised by the Ukrainian government:
- law enforcement and the court system;
- administrative decentralization;
- anticorruption policies;
- administration of elections and electoral laws; and
- constitutional reform and regional policy.
Without reforms to its political system, the government of Ukraine will lose support from inside—risking yet another revolution, or at least considerable disorder—as well as from outside—eventuating in the withdrawal of assistance from the EU and IMF, as well as a reduction in foreign investment, not to mention increasing its vulnerability to interference by Russia militarily, politically, and economically. These institutional reforms are critical—because they work, and the present arrangements do not.
The end-point, to put it simply, is the set of democratic institutions and practices espoused by member-states of the European Union. The starting-point is the governmental structures inherited by Ukraine from its 80-year-long Soviet experience, isolated from Western contact. Between these stand the two decades of post-Soviet reforms that were only half-heartedly attempted or never got off the ground. Now at last the government of Ukraine has a genuine intention comprehensively, as completely as humanly possible, and according to a definite timetable. The task of the researchers will be to assess the practical steps being taken and their likelihood of success, bearing in mind the accumulated inertia of the recent and more distant past. The team for this portion of the project is headed by Dr. Bohdan Harasymiw, Professor Emeritus of Political Science at the University of Calgary, and Acting Coordinator for Political and Regional Studies at the CIUS, with the help of Dr. David Marples, Head of the Department of History and Classics, and Dr. Lori Thorlakson, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and Jean Monet Chair in European Politics as well as Director of the European Union Centre of Excellence at the U of A.