Ukrainian Politics

Ukraine’s Civil Society and Zelensky: A Romantic Affair or Guest Marriage?

Before his unexpected victory in Ukraine’s presidential elections, the comedian and political novice Volodymyr Zelensky’s engagement with civil society was almost non-existent. The last two years of former president Petro Poroshenko were marked for civil society organizations (CSO) – in particular those working on human rights, anti-corruption, and media freedom – by numerous obstacles, including physical threats, legal measures, and fake news campaigns. It is not surprising, therefore, that having a new, enigmatic figure in power aroused numerous concerns and anxieties among civil activists. One year after Zelenky’s inauguration, it is time to see if those concerns were justified.

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