Current Project


A young democracy located in the heart of Europe, Ukraine is today confronted by grave challenges at home and abroad. This initiative aims to bring new thinking to these challenges, and to widen public awareness of what is at stake in Ukraine following the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Maidan protests and the outbreak of war. The initiative supposes that the survival and flourishing of democracy in Ukraine is fundamental for dealing with such pressing problems as economic stagnation, corruption and oligarchy, military invasion and European disintegration.  The initiative pays special attention to three types of barriers to the building of democracy: challenges in the sphere of government, at the level of civil society and in the field of foreign policy.

Based at the University of Sydney, and hosted by the Sydney Democracy Network, the main goals of the Ukraine Democracy Initiative (UDI) include:

  • building a global network of scholars, institutions and pro-democracy NGOs bound together by their support for the building of democracy in Ukraine;
  • hosting research workshops and public forums at the University of Sydney, the Berlin Social Science Research Centre (WZB), the University of Oxford and other partner institutions;
  • establishing an open public access UDI web platform that makes available various relevant materials and gives a voice to its associates and partner institutions;
  • offering scholarly information and strategic advice to a wide range of groups, networks and pro-democracy initiatives in Ukraine.

The Ukraine Democracy Initiative is supported by the MIMIVIC Group (Victor and Maria Rudewych) and the Ukrainian Studies Foundation in Australia (USFA).

“Ukraine Manifestants” | Image Credit:  Colin Todhunter, Global Research (2014)


Co-ordinator: Olga Oleinikova

Advisory Board:Professor John Keane (University of Sydney)

Professor Olga Kutsenko (KNU)

Professor Wolfgang Merkel (WZB)

Professor Marko Pavlyshyn (Monash University)

Professor Jan Zielonka (University of Oxford)