Shouldn’t, Wouldn’t, Couldn’t? Analyzing the Involvement of Oligarchs’ Philanthropy Foundations in the Ukrainian Protests of 2013-14
This article analyzes the agency of wealthy businessmen-politicians’ philanthropy foundations during the Ukrainian Maidan protests of 2013-14 in which crowdfunding and grassroots mobilization constituted key distinctive features. As the role of these philanthropy foundations remains obscure, this article aims to bridge this gap in our knowledge of Ukrainian politics and society. The protesters strived to achieve social change and democratization similar to what was being purported by wealthy businessmen-politicians’ foundations during the years leading up to the protests. However, since the protesters specified one particular aim as “de-oligarchization,” the involvement of these organizations is puzzling. What did these foundations do at this critical point? To what extent can their actions or inactions be explained by the institutional and framework constraints of the foundations, the strategies of the wealthy businessmen-politicians behind the foundations, and the lack of the foundations’ legitimacy in the eyes of the civic sector activists? The analysis covers different types of foundation and is based on semi-structured interviews involving the foundations’ representatives, think-and-do tank analysts, and Maidan activists, over the years 2011 to 2017. The findings show that the organizational entities were largely directed by their respective founders. This indicates a dependence of the philanthropic organization on the political affiliation of the founder, rather than on the framed ambition of the foundation. Similar to the impact of philanthropic organizations in other institutional contexts, the impact of philanthropy foundations on the Maidan social movement proved marginal. Since oligarchs could not be invisible during the political turmoil, they tried to retain a position from which they could deny responsibility for specific actions. The logic of commitment compensation and the logic of flexibility advanced by Markus and Charnysh proved useful for analyzing the strategies of these businessmen-politicians.
Copyright (c) 2019 East/West: Journal of Ukrainian Studies
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Ⓒ 2017 Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies, University of Alberta, and EWJUS (East-West: Journal of Ukrainian Studies). For permissions and other inquiries, please contact the Editor-in-Chief: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Author transfers and assigns to EWJUS (East-West: Journal of Ukrainian Studies) and the CIUS (Canadian Institute of Ukrainian Studies), during the full term of copyright and any extensions or renewals of that term, all copyright in and to the Work published in EWJUS by the Author, including but not limited to the right to publish, republish, transmit, sell, distribute and otherwise use the Work in electronic and print editions of EW:JUS and in derivative works throughout the world, in all languages and in all media now known or later developed, and to license or permit others to do so.
Notwithstanding the above, EWJUS grants back to the Author the following distinct rights:
- The non-exclusive right to use, reproduce, distribute, publicly perform, and publicly display the Work in any medium in connection with the Authors’ academic and professional activities, including but not limited to teaching, conference presentations, and lectures.
- The non-exclusive right to create derivative works from the Work.
- The non-exclusive right to make full use of the Work in future research and publications, including the right to republish the Work in whole or in part in any book that one or more of the Authors may write or edit after the Work has appeared.
The Author represents and warrants that the Work is the original work of the Authors and that it does not violate or infringe the law or the rights of any third party and, specifically, that the Work contains no matter that is defamatory or that infringes any literary or proprietary rights, intellectual property rights, or any rights of privacy. The Author also warrants that he or she has the full power to make this agreement, and if the Work was prepared jointly, the Author agrees to inform the Authors of the terms of this Agreement and to obtain their written permission to sign on their behalf. The Author agrees to hold the Journal harmless from any breach of the above-mentioned representations.
Works published by EWJUS are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. Under the terms of this license:
- You must give appropriate credit, provide a link to the license, and indicate if changes were made. You may do so in any reasonable manner, but not in any way that suggests the licensor endorses you or your use.
- You may not use the material for commercial purposes.
- If you remix, transform, or build upon the material, you may not distribute the modified material.