OSW Studies

The oligarchic democracy. The influence of business groups on Ukrainian politics

The Ukrainian oligarchic system, which developed into its ultimate shape during Leonid Kuchma’s second presidency, turned out to be very durable. The nature of close relations between the government and the oligarchs has not undergone any major changes either as a consequence of the Orange Revolution or following Victor Yanukovych’s victory in the presidential election of 2010. Although reshuffles have taken place inside the political and business elites, nothing seems to be able to change this system, at least in the medium term.

This text is aimed at presenting the network of connections existing between big business and politics in Ukraine and at pointing to the key oligarchic groups and the political forces they support. A definite majority of papers concerning contemporary Ukrainian politics as a rule disregard or deal with this subject very superficially, while it is impossible to understand modern Ukraine without understanding a number of dependencies existing between the political and business elites there.