What began as a protest on the Maidan in Kyiv in favour of reform and against corruption ended with the rapid downfall of Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovich, and in turn opened the door to a crisis that reached all parts of society. The peninsula of Crimea was occupied and then annexed by Russia following a widely criticised referendum, and an armed uprising in Donbas, in the east of Ukraine, brought incalculable destruction, human loss, economic decline and the emergence of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic (DNR) and Luhansk People’s Republic (LNR) – the non-government controlled areas of Ukraine (NGCA).
Initially seen as a temporary upheaval, many did not predict the severity of the violence that would take hold of the east. The peace talks in the Belarus capital of Minsk, negotiated in the Normandy Format of Russia, Ukraine, France and Germany, stabilised the line of contact separating the NGCA from the rest of Ukraine and brought an end to large-scale violence, but failed to end the conflict altogether.
How ordinary citizens experience conflict
More than 2 million have been displaced both within Ukraine and in neighbouring countries, mainly Russia.
Frequent ceasefire violations have provided a steady drip-feed of violence that causes further casualties and destruction, but also undermines trust across the conflict divide.
A peacebuilding agenda to bridge the divide
Our work in Ukraine started in 2015, when we trained a pool of civil society activists in peacebuilding and confidence building. In 2016, we conducted research focusing on views held by local populations regarding prospects for peace and peace initiatives undertaken in the east of Ukraine, with a view to proposing an agenda of peacebuilding work for local and international organisations. In January 2017, we published a Policy Briefing that reflects on the present situation in the east of Ukraine as experienced by the populations on both sides of the line of contact in the east – in the NGCA of LNR and DNR, and with areas under government control. The paper seeks to contextualise these differing experiences and aims to propose a peacebuilding agenda for local and international organisations.
Understanding Dialogue in Ukraine: A survey-based study, Analytical Report 2018
A survey of participants in track-three dialogues was conducted between March and April 2018 by the Mediation and Dialogue Research Center, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, with support from PCI.
109 respondents – dialogue participants excluding facilitators and conveners – from 17 oblasts of Ukraine took part in the survey and provided information on 157 dialogues conducted by 66 different organisations in 2014-2018.
The goal of the study was to obtain quantitative data in order to test hypotheses developed during an earlier study about patterns and risks relating to track-three dialogues in Ukraine. The hypotheses were developed in a 2016-2017 research project: see Kyselova, Tatiana & von Dobeneck, Julia, Track III Dialogues in Ukraine: Major Patterns and Resulting Risks, Research Based Policy Paper, Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and Center for Peace Mediation, Frankfurt/Oder (2017), http://www.peacemediation.de.
Download the Policy Briefing ‘Ukraine: a peacebuilding agenda to bridge the divide’
This paper is based on two pieces of research carried out in October and November 2016, which looked independently at views held by local populations regarding prospects for peace and the range of peace initiatives. The paper by Dr. Samir Puri, ‘Human Security and Dialogue challenges in Ukraine’s Donetsk Region’ focused on perspectives from government-controlled areas of Donetsk oblast, while ‘Conflict Context Mapping in Non-Government Controlled Areas of Ukraine’ by Dr. Anna Matveeva looked at perceptions from the NGCA side of the conflict divide. The findings and recommendations of the two papers were further discussed by academics, policy experts, and peacebuilding practitioners at a roundtable in London in December 2016 to inform the final contents of this brief.
Work in the Black Sea Region
Our work in the Black Sea region programme has focused on strengthening the capacity of CSOs to design and carry out effective confidence building projects across conflict boundaries.
We have also supported the international diplomatic and NGO community to develop more conflict-sensitive and cohesive strategies.
To date, we have delivered projects in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia, as well as the disputed territories of Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Nagorno-Karabakh.
Partners and Funders
Our work to facilitate collaborative strategy analysis and planning is conducted in partnership with the UNDP.
Our work to increase the capacity of young people in cross-cultural dialogue is conducted with the Eurasia Partnership Foundation through its Youth Bank programme.
Our support for civil society capacity is provided through the Confidence Building Early Response Mechanism (COBERM) run by the United Nations Development.
Advisory support has been provided to the Eurasia Partnership Foundation on its regional programme, Care international in the Caucasus on displaced persons in Georgia, and Saferworld and the Association of South Ossetian Women for Democracy and Human Rights on community security in the disputed area of South Ossetia