The recent development in Ukraine shows how important it is to consider the evolution of territorial patterns in political decision-making, in particular regarding EU neighbourhood. This document describes the main features of recent territorial development in Ukraine at the regional (oblast) scale. Though it does not allow to follow detailed changes, such analysis underlines the major trends of the country dynamics – for example, a sharp increase of the economic role of the capital city (the city of Kiev – Kyiv – makes up a separate territorial unit) typical for most post-socialist States. Ironically, the on-going crisis in Ukraine, which raises the issue of the national cohesion, takes place after a period of strong reinforcement of the capital city. The growing gap in wealth between the capital and other regions and the hypertrophy of its functions is one of the factors undermining ¬modern Ukraine national building. This document first considers Ukraine socio-economic development in a macro-regional context, in the Black Sea basin and as an interface between Russia and West Europe. Last, it shows the place of Eastern Ukraine in the national territorial structure and its specific role in the current deep crisis.
Most maps derive from the ESPON “ITAN” project (Integrated Territorial Analysis of the Neighbourhoods), coordinated by CIST. ESPON provides European stakeholders with results stemming from researches on territorial issues. ITAN project included the creation of a database on EU neighbouring countries at a regional level and a overall analysis of their territorial evolution.
The analysis partly derives from debates that took place during the international conference of the CIST (in French) held in Paris on March 27th-28th 2014, in particular debates with Jacques Sapir (CEMI / EHESS). Thanks too to Pascal Grouiez (LADYSS / Université Paris Diderot) for his comments.