Ukraine’s cabinet ministry fired several top government officials because of corruption this week, offering a reminder of sorts. Yes, Russia illegally invaded Ukraine and Ukrainian civilians continue to suffer the brunt of the devastating war, now in its 11th month.

But also, Ukraine had its own problems, like all other countries, long before the war began.

Human rights scholars David Cingranelli and Brendan Skip Mark note that Ukraine has had a mixed record in respecting its citizens’ rights. It scored a 42 out of 100 in the scholars’ new data set that analyzes countries’ human rights over several decades.

Systematically not respecting citizens’ right to protest, for example, may have ripple effects for Ukraine down the line. Human rights shortfalls can make it harder to achieve and maintain lasting peace, they write: “Research shows that human rights violations create social and political problems that can lead to conflict both within a country and internationally.”

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Amy Lieberman

Politics + Society Editor

Ukraine has a mixed human rights record over the past several decades, new data shows. Sergei Supinsky/AFP via Getty Images

Ukraine has a mixed record of treating its citizens fairly – that could make it harder for it to maintain peace, once the war ends

David Cingranelli, Binghamton University, State University of New York; Brendan Skip Mark, University of Rhode Island

New data from 2000 through 2019 shows that Ukraine’s human rights record is better than Russia’s – but worse than that of its Western European neighbors.

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    Jaimie Arona Krems, Oklahoma State University; Devanshi Patel, Oklahoma State University

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