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USAID/OTI aims to ensure that eastern Ukraine has greater confidence in Ukraine’s democratic reform and European integration.


It has been more than three years since Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity brought about a government oriented toward the European model of liberal democracy. While some reforms have been implemented, the conflict in Donetsk and Luhansk continues unabated, and Ukrainians across the country are losing confidence in the reform process due to its slow pace.

Skepticism among citizens in eastern Ukraine of the country’s reform process presents one of the most significant threats to the democratic transition. These communities, already vulnerable to Russian influence and manipulation, could derail elements of the reform process, leading to greater instability in Ukraine and the region. However, while these communities have not historically embraced a Ukrainian national identity and have been skeptical that reforms will lead to tangible improvement in their lives, an opportunity does exist to change these long-standing perceptions. Today more eastern Ukrainians indicate they are willing to accept an inclusive civic identity, and reformers in eastern Ukraine are pushing for real improvements in local communities.


USAID/OTI’s goal is to ensure that eastern Ukraine has greater confidence in Ukraine’s democratic reform and roadmap for European integration. The program works in eastern Ukraine to: 

  • Increase acceptance of a Ukrainian civic identity based on common values. 

  • Broaden participation in Ukraine’s reform process; and

  • Build trust and acceptance of objective pro-reform information.


  • USAID/OTI has helped establish a network of creative spaces across the east where young, reform-minded Ukrainians can participate in activities that help conflict-affected people improve public spaces in their cities or foster information technology skills and incubate small businesses. These initiatives promote tolerant civic values in areas most skeptical of Ukraine’s transition. 

  • USAID/OTI has supported Strong Communities of Donbas, a new advocacy and watchdog group that is redefining how citizens interact with the government in eastern Ukraine. The group uses a research and communications approach to local government oversight, as opposed to disruptive advocacy approaches that traditionally inhibited decision-making and divided citizens and local officials.
  • USAID/OTI supported a group of activists to transform Slovyansk’s central park into a modern, citizen-oriented public space and reclaim its historic name, Mulberry Park, by shedding its Soviet-era name, Lenin Park. The process inspired civic engagement and provided the government an opportunity to practice more inclusive decision-making and demonstrate new systems of transparent public procurement.   
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Last updated: February 28, 2018

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