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Oksana Huss

LEIDEN U (NETHERLANDS)

Oksana Huss is a postdoctoral researcher at Leiden University and the co-founder of the Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network. She focuses on political corruption, economic elites, and open government. She teaches at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and Kyiv School of Economics. She also provides consultancy for the EU, UNODC, UNESCO, and Council of Europe.

Abstract

Civil Society against Corruption in Ukraine

OKSANA HUSS

The 2013-2014 Revolution in Ukraine has spurred a boom in civic anti-corruption initiatives across Ukraine. There is as yet little consolidated understanding of how effective these initiatives are and what explains their variation in effectiveness. This paper finds that political will is an important conducive factor to the effectiveness of anti- corruption activism as it creates, in particular through advocacy efforts, more opportunities for impact. However, a substantial number of cases of anti-corruption initiatives were found that were effective while political will among local authorities to counteract corruption was low. The contextual factors are unfolded into institutional factors, such as legislation for transparency and accountability, and structural factors, such as constellation of local elites, i.e. level of their consolidation or competition. The paper finds that legal provisions for transparency and existence of anti-corruption institutions provide an important foundation for anti-corruption activism. However, they lead to success only under conditions of informal competition of local elite. Under conditions of local elite’s consolidation, the regulations for transparency and accountability are mostly neglected, which leads to confrontation between anti-corruption activists and local public authorities. In terms of organizational characteristics, à anti-corruption initiatives generally face two key dilemmas: insufficient capacity in terms of financial and human resources, and the absence of a credible base of support.