Addressing the Issues in Democratic Civilian Control in Ukraine through Updating the Refresher Course for Civil Servants


  • Valentyna I. Bobrytska
  • Leonid V. Bobrytskyi
  • Andriy L. Bobrytskyi
  • Svitlana M. Protska


civil-military relationships; democratic civilian control; educational measures; military and law enforcement agencies; Ukraine


Finding ways of implementing civilian control in the activity of the armed forces and law enforcement agencies has been a challenge in Ukraine. The purpose of this study was to identify the international best practices to establish relationships between the civil institutions and the military so that those could be adopted in Ukraine. It also sought to update the refresher course for civil servants by introducing two modules that are based on the shortlisted best practices. We used case study research based on the exploratory research strategy and a pilot study to evaluate the feasibility of the updated refresher course for civil servants. The course was delivered offline to 358 civil servants in 2019 and 246 in 2020, and online to 119 in 2021. Forty-five randomly selected students who had completed the course responded to a course satisfaction survey. It was revealed that the process of building civil-military relationships in Ukraine was in the transitional stage. In addition, there was a need for educating and training civil servants in developing legal, regulatory, and procedural frameworks for building civil-military relations and exercising civilian control over the military and law enforcement agencies. The novelty of the study is in updating the curriculum of a refresher course for civil servants and providing recommendations to the government and the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine. Further research is needed in identifying how the public media could contribute to educating citizens on civilian control of the military and law enforcement bodies.


Almeida, C. P. B., & Goulart, B. N. G. (2017). How to avoid bias in systematic reviews of observational studies. Revista CEFAC/CEFAC Journal, 19(4), 551–555.

Bethel, A., & Rogers, M. (2018). Choosing the right databases and search techniques. In P. Levay & J. Craven (Eds.), Systematic searching (pp. 73–94). Facet.

Bobritsky, L. (2020). Kontrol za sectorom bezpeky i oborony cherez hromadski ob’ednannia [Control over the security and defense sector through community organisations] [Conference proceeding]. In R. Voitovych (Ed.), Problematyka protsesu detsentralizatsiyi nadannya posluh v ob`yednanykh terytorial?nykh hromadakh [Problems of the process of decentralization of service delivery in common territorial communities] (pp. 41–44). TOV «Vydavnychyy dim «ArtEk». content/uploads/2020/09/Kruh-stil-15.04.20.pdf

Bobrytska, V. I., Reva, T. D., Beseda, N. A., & Filippova, L. V. (2020). Approaches to cultivating healthy behaviours in tertiary students: Systemic review. European Journal of Educational Research, 9(4), 1649–1661.

Boyle, M., & Hall, C. (2016). Teaching Don Quixote in the digital age: Page and screen, visual and tactile. Hispania, 99(4), 600–614.

Cook, D. A. (2019). Systematic and nonsystematic reviews: Choosing an approach. In D. Nestel, J. Hui, K. Kunkler, M. Scerbo, & A. Calhoun (Eds.), Healthcare simulation research (pp. 55–60). Springer.

Cortina, J. M. (1993). What is coefficient alpha? An examination of theory and applications. Journal of Applied Psychology, 78(1), 98–104.

Croissant, A., Kuehn, D., Lorenz, P., & Chambers, P. W. (2013). Democratization and civilian control in Asia. Palgrave Macmillan.

Demir, S., & Bingöl, O. (2020). From military tutelage to civilian control: An analysis of the evolution of Turkish civil-military relations. British Journal of Middle Eastern Studies, 47(2), 172–191.

Fluri, F., & Badrack, V. (2016a). Demokratychmyi tsyvilny control nad sektorom bezpeky: Aktualni dzerela [Democratic civilian control over the security sector: Current sources]. Tsentr Doslidzhen? Armiyi, Konversiyi ta Rozzbroyennya.

Fluri, P., & Badra?k, V. (Eds.). (2016b). Democratic civilian control and military crisis in Ukraine: Legislative aspects. ?enter for Army, Conversion and Disarmament Studies.

Geneva Centre for the Democratic Control of Armed Forces (DCAF). (2008). Democratic control of armed forces. DCAF Backgrounder.

Gonzalez, E. (2022). Adjudicating competing theories: Does civilian control over the military decrease conflict? Armed Forces & Society, 1–28.

Greenhalgh, T., Robert, G., Bate, P., Macfarlane, F., & Kyriakidou, O. (2005). Critical appraisal checklists: Appendix 2. In T. Greenhalgh, G. Robert, P. Bate, F. Macfarlane, & O. Kyriakidou (Eds.), Diffusion of innovations in health service organisations: A systematic literature review (pp. 234–244). Blackwell Publishing.

Gusev, Y, Galushko, S., & Mazyarchuk, V. (Ed.) (2018). Do pytannia demokratychnoho tsyvilnoho kontroliu nad zbroinymy sylamy Ukrainy [On the issue of democratic civil control over the armed forces of Ukraine]. Ofis z finansovoho ta ekonomichnoho analizu u Verkhovniy Radi Ukrayiny.

Jamovi project. (2021). Jamovi (Version 2.0.0) [Computer software].

Kenwick, M. R. (2020). Self-reinforcing civilian control: A measurement-based analysis of civil-military relations. International Studies Quarterly, 64(1), 71–84.

Koimaru, T. (2016). Exploring structural factors for civilian control over the military [Master’s thesis]. Uppsala Universitet, Sweden.

Koziy, I., & Polyakov, L. (2018). Reform of democratic civil control over armed forces and other military formations in Ukraine: Next steps. Institute for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation.

Kuehn, D. (2016). Institutionalising civilian control of the military in new democracies: Theory and evidence from South Korea. GIGA Working Papers, No. 282. German Institute of Global and Area Studies (GIGA).

Kuehn, D. (2018). Democratic control of the military. In G. Caforio, & M. Nuciari (Eds.), Handbook of the sociology of the military (pp. 161–178). Springer.

Kuehn, D., Croissant, A., Kamerling, J., Lueders, H., & Strecker, A. (2017). Conditions of civilian control in new democracies: An empirical analysis of 28 ‘third wave’ democracies. European Political Science Review, 9(3), 425–447.

Moher, D., Shamseer, L., Clarke, M., Ghersi, D., Liberati, A., Petticrew, M. Shekelle, P., Stewart, L. A., & PRISMA-P Group (2015). Preferred reporting items for systematic review and meta-analysis protocols (PRISMA-P) 2015 statement. Systematic Reviews, 4(1), 1–9.

NIST/SEMATECH. (2013). e-Handbook of Statistical Methods. ITL.NIST.GOV.

Pantev, P., Ratchev, V., Tagarev, T., & Zaprianova, V. (2005). Civil-military relations and democratic control of the security sector: A handbook for military officers, servicemen and servicewomen of the security and intelligence agencies, and for civilian politicians and security experts. Procon.

Pennebaker Conglomerates. (2020). Linguistic inquiry and word count (LIWC) application. LIWC.App.

Perepelitsa, G. (2002). The development of civil-military relations in post-soviet Ukraine. In A. Cottey, T. Edmunds, & A. Forster (Eds.), Democratic control of the military in postcommunist Europe: One Europe or several? Palgrave Macmillan.

Rodrigues, I. B., Adachi, J. D., Beattie, K. A., & MacDermid, J. C. (2017). Development and validation of a new tool to measure the facilitators, barriers, and preferences to exercise in people with osteoporosis. BMC Musculoskelet Disord, 18(1), 1–9.

Sinclair, S., & Rockwell, G. (2015). Text analysis and visualisation: Making meaning count. In S. Schreibman, R. Siemens, & J. Unsworth (Eds.), A new companion to digital humanities (pp. 274–290). Wiley Blackwell.

Sinclair, S., & Rockwell, G. (2020). Voyant tools. GitHub.

Tagarev, T. D. (1997). The role of military education in harmonizing civil-military relations (the Bulgarian case). NATO Democratic Institutions Individual Fellowship Project, final report.

Travis, D. S. (2019). Pursuing ?ivilian ?ontrol over the military. Armed Forces & Society, 45(3), 546–560.

Ukrainian military TV (2016). Democratychny control nad sectorom bezpeky [Democratic control over the security sector] [YouTube video].

Vashkevich, V. M., Bobrytska, V. I., Terepyshchy, S. O., Protska, S. M., & Makarenko, S. O. (2020). Osvitnio-profesiyna programa “Derzhavna Osvitnia Polityka” [“State Educational Policy” educational program]. Natsional?nyy pedahohichnyy universytet imeni Drahomanova.

Zadubinny, A. (2020). Andrii Taran: “Ukraine hopes to receive an action plan for NATO membership in 2021”. Government Courier/Uryadovyy Kur'yer.