The European Union through the Eyes of Ukrainian Think Tankers: Studying EU Perceptions Post-Euromaidan




Ukraine, European Union, civil society, think tanks, perceptions


The European Union (EU) engagement in its Eastern neighborhood, including Ukraine, has attracted considerable scholarly attention. Yet studies focusing on EU perceptions in neighboring countries have been rare, which is especially true for EU perceptions among non-governmental actors. This article examines perceptions (or images) of the EU and its initiatives, such as the Eastern Partnership and the Association Agreement, within a specific group of Ukrainian civil society organizations, namely think tanks (as elite opinion makers), following the Euromaidan Revolution. The study maps discursive frames used by leading think tank representatives working in the field of foreign and security policy analysis or performing the functions of watchdogs in sectors such as democratization, public administration reform, and economic liberalization. Methodologically, the study employs content analysis of policy related papers published by the organizations, as well as complementary expert interviews with representatives of the Ukrainian think tank community. The article thus contributes to understanding the civil society’s views on the EU in Ukraine in the post-Euromaidan period.

Author Biographies

Vera Axyonova, Justus Liebig University Giessen, Institute of Political Science

Postdoctoral Researcher/Assistant Professor at Justus Liebig University Giessen and Visiting Lecturer at Fulda University of Applied Sciences, Germany. She was previously Hurford Next Generation Fellow with the Euro-Atlantic Security Initiative of Carnegie Endowment for International Peace and Associate Researcher with Europe-Central Asia Monitoring program at FRIDE, Madrid. Axyonova holds a PhD in Political Science from Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences. She is author of The European Union’s Democratization Policy for Central Asia: Failed in Success or Succeeded in Failure? (2014) and editor of European Engagement under Review: Exporting Values, Rules, and Practices to the Post-Soviet Space (2016).

Diana Zubko, United Nations Development Program Ukraine

Master of Arts in Political Science from Kyiv-Mohyla Academy. She has five-year experience as Civil Society and Good Governance Project Manager at International Renaissance Foundation (Soros Foundation), Kyiv. In 2013, she conducted research at the Department of Human Geography, Goethe-University Frankfurt, in the framework of the EuroGaps project (public perception of the European Union in Ukraine). Later Diana was an analyst at the European Program of the NGO Center UA. In July 2015, Diana joined UNDP’s Democratic Governance Program to coordinate initiatives improving good governance, transparency and accountability of public institutions in Ukraine.


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How to Cite

Axyonova, V., & Zubko, D. (2017). The European Union through the Eyes of Ukrainian Think Tankers: Studying EU Perceptions Post-Euromaidan. Kyiv-Mohyla Law and Politics Journal, (3), 181–200.