Power structures and normative environment: limits to the rule of law and the EU’s normative power in Ukraine
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This paper explores the nexus between efforts of the European Union in promotion of the rule of law in Ukraine and the domestic factors limiting the successful introduction and consolidation of this democratic norm. By moving beyond legalistic understanding of the rule of law and highlighting the political and cultural nature of reform, it examines the domestic root causes and outlines the power structures and existing norms as under-studied, yet crucial building stones for the successful implementation of the rule of law. Firstly, it argues that incomplete consolidation of democratic institutions resulting in predominance of power vertical and alternative power structures of oligarchic clans undermine the authority of the rule of law. Secondly, it highlights the role of normative friction between the rule of law and domestic normative environment in Ukraine, influenced by the Soviet legacy and neo-patrimonial values. This has broad implications not only for understanding the limits of progress in the rule of law in Ukraine, but also of the efforts of external actors, such as the EU, to advance the rule-of law reform in this region.