Can Ukraine’s Experiments in Local Democracy Survive the Invasion?

From Balta to Vinnytsia, Communities Have Been Growing in Power—and Democratic Innovation

As I write this, Russian troops reportedly are moving north through the Odesa oblast, or region, toward the river Kodyma, along which sits a town called Balta.

This is not new territory for Balta, which like much of Ukraine has been contested over centuries of wars. But in recent years, Balta has actually broken a lot of new ground, at least when it comes to the practice of citizen-centered democracy. In 2016, Balta adopted participatory budgeting, an innovative process—originated in Brazil—in which citizens rather than officials determine their local budget. Balta …

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