Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California


Cliodynamics bannerUC Riverside

The Causes and Mechanisms of the Ukrainian Crisis of 2014: A Structural–Demographic Approach

  • Author(s): Shevsky, Dmitry
  • et al.

This article tests the hypothesis that Ukraine experienced a state breakdown in 2014. The methodology employed to test this statement is based on achievements of structural-demographic theory, created by Jack Goldstone and developed by Peter Turchin. The reasons for a fiscal crisis, intra-elite conflict and mass mobilization (the three criteria for a state breakdown) are discussed. It is demonstrated that budget management in Ukraine was ineffective, and, coupled with an unbalanced political system, led to the fiscal crisis. The intra-elite conflict was caused by Yanukovych’s politics and by lack of resources as a consequence of elite overproduction, which led to fewer opportunities among the traditional elites. To demonstrate the mass discontent that was the main factor for the protests and rallies, evidence is presented that the population of Ukraine experienced immiseration in 2010–13. The final factor determining the future of the Ukrainian system was the delegitimization of power. This could happen only under the conditions of intra-elite conflict. All of these factors arose because of the high degree of capital concentration in the hands of the economic elite. The article concludes that we have every reason to say that a state breakdown occurred in Ukraine.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View