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For Immediate Release
April 9, 2014

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David Mihalyov
(585) 395-2577

Prospects for Consolidated Democracy in Ukraine

Scholars Day project looks at political prospects

Brockport, NY – While the title of her presentation, “Prospects for Consolidated Democracy in Ukraine,” teases about a democratic future for Ukraine, Katelyn Hess ’14, understands the political reality for a country in the news seemingly every day this year.

During her Scholars Day presentation, Hess referred to Ukraine first as a hybrid regime, and then distilled it further to call the country a “competitive authoritarian” regime. A native of Albion, NY, Hess, 22, is a Political Science and International Studies major who’s Honors Thesis is on Ukraine.

She initially dispelled any democratic myths surrounding Ukraine as both a western bias and untrue due to a lack of both historical longevity and presumed unilateral trajectory. Hess defined a competitive authoritarianism as having uncertain rules, uncertain results yet semi-competitive elections.

Recent events “have only served to reinforce the difficulties and challenges associated with regime change in Ukraine, especially since Ukraine is located next to an aggressive, nondemocratic regional power,” said Hess, referring to Russia.

Hess discussed the difficult political situation facing Ukraine as the western portion of the country identifies more with Europe while the eastern portion has closer ties with Russia. She added, “Ukraine will never be free of Russian influence because of their established historical, political, economic and cultural ties.”

Ultimately, Hess demonstrated that Ukraine has been a hybrid regime for the last two decades and will likely remain so for the foreseeable future.

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