Youth Disillusionment at Ukraine's 20th Anniversary of Independence: A Slippery Slope of Sustained Ukrainian Democracy
Degree awarded: M.A. School of Education, Teaching and Health. American University Ukraine continues to struggle with the establishment of a strong democratic and civic society after 20 years of independence. Following the 2004 Orange Revolution, the country experienced a wave of Western European inspired changes. Recent developments in the past two years, however, show a paralysis in these pro-Western ideologies.Drawing from qualitative data collected in central Ukraine and current literature, this thesis examines how recent political developments and current education policy affect Ukrainian youth's national identity and understanding of democracy. Despite students' strong grasp of democratic principles, their democratic understandings are influenced by Marxist ideologies. They understand their role within a democratic society, yet participate at superficial levels with increased feelings of disenfranchisement and cynicism. The future of Ukraine is threatened by its lack of a strong civil society and ethnic unification, as well as recent political upheaval.