Hybrid Regimes’ Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic: “The First Wave” Evidence from Ukraine and Georgia

  • Ivanna Machitidze New Vision University, Tbilisi, Georgia, imachitidze@newvision.ge
  • Yuriy Temirov Vasyl’ Stus Donetsk National University, Vinnytsia, Ukraine, u.temirov@donnu.edu.ua
Keywords: hybrid regimes, regime dynamics, COVID-19, crisis management, Ukraine, Georgia

Abstract

Hybrid regimes have been largely overlooked in the scholarly discussion on the effectiveness of halting the new COVID-19 virus, not least due to the lack of conceptual clarity, as such regimes are considered as the halfway or “grey area” on the authoritarianism-to-democracy path. Hence, the present paper aims to contribute to the pool of research on the internal dynamics of hybridity through exploring the responses towards the pandemic by two stable post-Soviet hybrid regimes, namely Georgia and Ukraine. The “most similar systems” comparative research design allows us to demonstrate that the two countries’ different crisis management and communication strategies explain Georgia’s relative success in halting the virus spread in comparison to Ukraine throughout the first wave. The application of Henry Hale’s “single-pyramid” and “competitive pyramid” models of patronal politics highlights the lack of competitiveness in the formal and informal governance processes in Georgia’s case, as opposed to the chaotic mode of decision-making as well as plurality of informal actors in Ukraine’s case.

Author Biographies

Ivanna Machitidze, New Vision University, Tbilisi, Georgia, imachitidze@newvision.ge

Ivanna Machitidze obtained her MA degree in International Relations and European Studies from Central European University (Hungary) and her PhD degree from Donetsk National University (Ukraine) with a specialization in Comparative Political Systems. Ivanna is an Assoc. Prof. of International Relations at the Politics & Diplomacy School (New Vision University, Tbilisi, Georgia). Since January 2019 Dr. Machitidze is an Accreditation Expert of educational programmes in the field of Political Science and International Relations. Her research interests include regionalism and democratization-related issues with a focus on Eastern Europe and Russia.

Yuriy Temirov, Vasyl’ Stus Donetsk National University, Vinnytsia, Ukraine, u.temirov@donnu.edu.ua

Yuriy Temirov obtained his Candidate of Sciences degree in History at Donetsk State University (DonNU) in 1993. He has been affiliated with DonNU for thirty years now. Dr. Temirov is among the founders of the International Relations and Foreign Policy department at the University, which was founded in 1997-1999. He is also one of the initiators of the agreement signed by Donetsk National University and the Department of Public Diplomacy of the NATO Headquarters in Brussels establishing the Centre of International Security and Euroatlantic Cooperation at Donetsk National University. Dr. Temirov has served as the Dean of the Faculty of History and International Relations at Vasyl’ Stus Donetsk National University in Vinnytsia since 2015. His research interests include international security studies and the world order.