Political Elite Renewal in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine

Cristina Gherasimov

In Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine, the legacy of the Soviet past and the challenging transition processes of the 1990s have delayed the emergence of a new generation of reformist leaders who practise the principles and values of good governance.

Since independence, political parties in these countries have failed to push genuine and competent elites to the forefront of politics. Outmoded internal governance still dominates political parties, which continue to pivot around individual charismatic leaders.

This paper identifies four categories of elites active in current domestic politics in these three states: the ‘Old Guard’; those with the potential and capacity to improve governance who become ‘Trojan Horses’ of the Old Guard; the ‘Returned Diaspora’; and ‘Domestic Reformers’. The latter three all constitute sources of potential elite renewal.

Social uprisings have created political openings for Domestic Reformers and the Returned Diaspora to take part in high-level politics.

Vested interests of the Old Guard, unequal access to financial resources, and the limited political experience of newcomers have all damaged the potential for a level political playing field in these countries. These factors hamper the prospects of Domestic Reformers and the Returned Diaspora to become sustainable players in domestic politics.

Source: Chatham House.