When Business and Politics Mix: Local Networks and Socio-political Transformations in Ukraine

Honorata Mazepus, Antoaneta Dimitrova, Matthew Frear, Dimiter Toshkov, Nina Onopriychuk

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article identifies patronage networks in three Ukrainian regions and develops some ideas on the relation between these networks, economic and political openness, and the provision of public goods. The research represents a rich empirical study linking business and politics in three regions (Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, and Ivano-Frankivsk) with different levels of openness and democratic reform. Formal and informal ties between politics and business are identified using primary (interview) and secondary data. By focusing on the local rather than national level in Ukraine, the article provides a comparison between different levels of patronage and type of networks. This study relates the empirical exploration of patronage networks in post-communist setting to a broader theoretical framework of limited access orders. Our findings show that although a multiplicity of networks might be a necessary condition for the opening of access to political and economic resources, it is not a sufficient one. We find that a single dominant network achieves a relatively high level of citizen satisfaction with public service provision, while the presence of multiple networks is not necessarily associated with citizen satisfaction with public goods provision.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)437-459
Number of pages23
JournalEast European Politics and Societies
Issue number2
Early online date3 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 693382. This article reflects solely the views of the authors, and the European Commission is not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains. We would like to thank Tetiana Kostiuchenko and Wojciech Konończuk for their helpful comments and for acting as our first expert interviewees at the early stages of research. Moreover, we would like to thank all interviewed local experts and those who connected us with them. We thank the editors and anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Sage Publications.

Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • limited access orders
  • local networks
  • patronage
  • satisfaction with public goods provision
  • Ukraine


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