In How Patronal Networks Shape Opportunities for Local Citizen Participation in a Hybrid Regime: A Comparative Analysis of Five Cities in Ukraine (Ibidem, 2022), Oleksandra Keudel proposes a novel explanation for why some local governments in hybrid regimes enable citizen participation while others restrict it. She argues that mechanisms for citizen participation are by-products of political dynamics of informal business-political (patronal) networks that seek domination over local governments. Against the backdrop of either competition or coordination between patronal networks in their localities, municipal leaders cherry-pick citizen participation mechanisms as a tactic to sustain their own access to resources and functions of local governments. This argument is based on an in-depth comparative analysis of patronal network arrangements and the adoption of citizen participation mechanisms in five urban municipalities in Ukraine during 2015-2019: Chernivtsi, Kharkiv, Kropyvnytskyi, Lviv, and Odesa. Fifty-seven interviews with citizen participation experts, local politicians and officials, representatives of civil society and the media, as well as utilization of secondary analytical sources, official government data, and media reports provide a rich basis for an investigation of context-specific choices of municipal leaders that result in varying mechanisms for citizen participation.
John Vsetecka is a PhD Candidate in the Department of History at Michigan State University where he is finishing a dissertation that examines the aftermath of the 1932-33 famine in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor).