Ukraine: reform in the context of flawed democracy and geopolitical anxiety

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Series Details Vol.14, No.1, March 2005, p157-173
Publication Date March 2005
ISSN 0966-2839
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A serious and well conceived transformation of Ukraine's defence system began in 2001. Yet its implementation has been marred by dire resource constraints, by self-serving and unaccountable presidential power and by uncertainty about the country's geopolitical course. By 2015, Ukraine is to have an all-professional force designed to meet a range of local and regional contingencies. Yet without fundamental economic reform (and budgetary expansion), it is possible that the Armed Forces will face ruination. Without reform of other security structures, even a successful defence reform will have limited impact. Given a leadership committed to such changes, sustained progress is possible. Although the institutions of civil-democratic control are currently weak, the Armed Forces are well trusted by Ukrainian society. Although the Soviet legacy remains burdensome, the reformist impulse is strong and greatly reinforced by the NATO-Ukraine relationship. But at present, the dynamics of modernisation, stagnation and decay remain precariously balanced.

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