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Constitutional Reform in Ukraine in 2016: Prospects for Regional Reintegration and Reconciliation of Dominant Eastern and Western Ethnonationalist Factions

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Decentralization in Ukraine—a key part of the Minsk 2 peace deal and EU recommendations—has only been implemented half way. Ukraine’s progress in the realm of territorial decentralization and judicial reform in 2016 holds promise for improving the autonomy of communities and reducing corruption. However, it falls short in meeting the kind of in-depth of decentralization beyond the community level that would facilitate reintegration of the separatist-held regions of the Donbass with the rest of the country. We examine two proposals that came forward in 2016 that would seek to address some aspects of this—one laying the ground work for reintegration through regional elections and measures aimed at stemming violence, and the other aimed at further rooting out corruption. Aside from details of developments, we look at the non-legislative aspects of reintegration (oligarchic relationships and various international and non-state actors) and how reintegration affects them.

* Marguerite Marlin is a PhD Candidate in Political Science at McMaster University, Canada. Antony Butts is a documentary filmmaker with an MSc in Security Studies from University College London.

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