Oksana Chorna
Oksana Chorna

Universität Bremen, Forschungsstelle Osteuropa (FSO)

Tel.: +49 421 218 57083


Forschungsstelle Osteuropa, Room: OEG 3740

Affiliated Ph.D. Fellow, Cohort 2022

Research Interests

  • Social policy in Ukraine under conditions of war
  • Social care for internally displaced people
  • Civil society
  • Democratic processes in post-soviet countries

Dissertation topic
Conceptualizing a new target group in social policy and addressing its needs: the case of Ukrainian internally displaced persons

Dissertation abstract
Over the last decade, the number of people forced to leave their homes as a result of persecution, conflict, violence, and human rights violations has increased almost threefold. Of the estimated 108.4 million forcibly displaced people worldwide in 2022, 58 percent never crossed an international border. Unlike refugees, who are protected by international law, internally displaced persons (IDPs) are forced to rely primarily on state support. How does the state react to the mass displacement of its citizens? In my dissertation, I aim to answer this question through the example of two waves of mass displacement caused by the Russian war on Ukraine. As a post-socialist country in a state of war, Ukraine constitutes an interesting example for studying social policy. As a result of the annexation of Crimea and the Russian-backed conflict in Donbas, the new social group became eligible for state support – IDPs. Already before the Russian aggression in 2014, Ukraine was an example of a post-socialist country, where the welfare system was nominally inclusive, however, the scope of benefits was inadequate to the needs of the population. Before February 2022, there were 1.5 million registered, and therefore qualified for the state aid IDPs in Ukraine. A year after the Russian full-scale aggression, this number grew to over 5 million IDPs. According to the survey conducted by the International Organization for Migration in January 2023, 24 percent of IDP respondents indicated that their main source of household income is monthly cash assistance for IDPs. At the same time, the Ukrainian state is signalizing its will to limit its function in the field of social security. In my research, I want to look at how IDPs as a new social group were addressed in the Ukrainian legislation and parliamentary debates, how they were defined, and how this definition was changing over time. I am also interested in to what extent the current needs of the Ukrainian IDPs correspond to the government's definition of them, and to what extent they are satisfied by the Ukrainian welfare system. Lastly, I want to investigate the role of another actor providing care for IDPs – civil society – and its relation with the Ukrainian state. For this, I aim to study how the Ukrainian state and civil society interact on the ground, what are the relations between the authorities in the regions and civil society organizations in providing aid to IDPs, and if they are different for NGOs and grassroots initiatives.

Academic Supervisors
Heiko Pleines
Johanna Kuhlmann