The analysis points to uneven development and the (neo)liberal peace fallacy in Ukraine’s Donbas.
Oleksandr Svitych, Associate Professor, Jindal School of International Affairs, O.P. Jindal Global University, Sonipat, Haryana, India.
This commentary investigates the linkages between international NGOs, donor agencies, and their development contractors as a framework for capitalist accumulation and neoliberal rationality in eastern Ukraine. With the onset of a hybrid war with Russia in 2014 – turned into a full-scale war eight years later – the government-controlled areas of the Donbas region have participated in multiple development programs. This commentary critically examines such development policies by focusing on the role of USAID in restructuring local economies and livelihoods.
I focus on the USAID Economic Resilience Activity (ERA) to demonstrate that donor programs serve as mechanisms of capitalist accumulation (for development contractors) and neoliberal responsibilization (for conflict-affected citizens). The analysis points to uneven development and the (neo)liberal peace fallacy in Ukraine’s Donbas. At the same time, it corroborates a wider trend in global political economy to obfuscate the interests of development capital with liberal discourses of vulnerability, resilience, and women’s empowerment.
Published in: Review of International Political Economy
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