EU and Western Balkan States Articles
Building National Resilience During and After the War in Ukraine: The Public Administration Approach
(Year 4, No. 1-2, 2023. EU and Western Balkan states)
20 Aug 2023 08:42:00 PM

Author: Maryna Bilynska, PhD 

DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.3989081


Abstract: This paper explores the concept of building national resilience during and after the war in Ukraine, with a particular focus on the role of public administration. The study aims to supplement the existing terminology of public administration by introducing the concept of "resilient public administration" and investigates the factors influencing the formation of individual resilience among top-level public servants. Furthermore, the article seeks to identify indicators of resilient public administration at the national level and develop a model to understand the impact of globalization challenges on public administration resilience. The findings of this research contribute to the understanding of national resilience and provide insights into strategies for governance in post-war scenarios.

Key words: unprovoked war with Russian Federation, social and economic crisis, national resilience, resilient public administra-tion, Ukrainian Resilience Centre


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The unprovoked war with the Russian Federation has inflicted profound and lasting consequences on Ukraine, affecting its political, economic, and social landscape. The war has disrupted the lives of millions of people, displaced populations, and resulted in the loss of lives and infrastructure. In the face of such devastation, Ukraine is confronted with the formidable task of recovery, rebuilding, and forging a path towards a more resilient future.

At present, Ukraine is undergoing different public reforms, in conditions of social and economic crisis, due to the unprovoked war with the Russian Federation. A. Ermolaev (2023) highlights the following consequences and negative trends associated with the war: new de-industrialization, de-urbanization, and social decapitalization. The war has led to serious economic and social disorganization across the territory of Ukraine. A significant number of people have become unemployed and have become internally displaced persons (IDPs) or migrated to other countries. Research conducted by the sociological group "Rating" indicates that as of September, only 61% of those who had jobs before the war were employed, and only 36% of them were working full-time. According to the World Bank, more than 817,000 residential buildings were damaged as a result of the war, of which 38% were permanently destroyed. As a result, millions of Ukrainians have found themselves in vulnerable situations, particularly those who were already disadvantaged before the full-scale war began. Part of the social infrastructure has been damaged or destroyed, and the burden on institutions providing social services has significantly increased in regions where a large number of internally displaced persons have settled. The increased strain on social protection systems is further compounded by reduced budget revenues, posing additional challenges. Therefore, a systematic social support system is crucial both now and in the future.


The budget of Ukraine for 2023 is more defense-oriented, which is entirely logical given the ongoing war throughout the country. As a result, the majority of state expenditures are allocated to the defense sector - half of all planned expenditures. Despite significant budget allocations for social protection (UAH 447.6 billion), the magnitude and depth of the difficult life circumstances that almost all Ukrainian families have experienced far exceed the level of state aid allocated for the current year. Forced displacement to other regions of the country, loss of employment, loss of housing, and the mental health impact result-ing from significant psychological trauma due to the war are just a few examples of the challenges faced by contemporary Ukrainian families.

I. Linkov, B. Trump (2019) understand resilience as the property of a system and a network, where it is imperative for systems planners to understand the complex and interconnected nature within which most individuals, organizations, and activities operate. They describe the National Resilience (NR) as the ability of a system to perform four functions with respect to adverse events: (1) planning and preparation (shocking), (2) absorption, (3) recovery, and (4) adaptation [2012  USA National Academy of Sciences report on “disaster resilience”, focus on management processes]. Studies prove that effective public administration (when government bodies are trusted) is a part of resilience formation on both personal and community levels. The issue of NR on state level is complex in many ways. 

Unfortunately, a collection of resilient individuals does not guarantee a resilient community; similarly, a set of resilient communities does not necessarily form a resilient nation and a resilient state. 

Currently, after 1 year and 4 months of war, it can be determined that Ukrainian society has gone through stages of shocking impact of a catastrophic factor (first 2 months), absorption (end of winter 2023), and is now in the recovery stage preceding adaptation. Thus, we identify the following characteristics of a resilient state: cooperation between military government administrations and local self-government bodies, complete trust in political leaders, the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and security structures, a nationwide volunteer movement. 

We define NR as the ability of a social system to build a normal, full-fledged life in challenging conditions, the society's ability to withstand challenges and crises in various spheres of social life by making changes and adaptations without harming the fundamental values of society and institutions. National resilience is also an element of society's ability to strengthen national security and cannot be limited to military, economic, or medical-psychological aspects. In a democratic society, aspects such as trust in government and state institutions, patriotism, and tolerance play an important role in political participation and the acquisition of social capital, which, in turn, leads to higher levels of national resilience." [Bilynska M, Korolchuk O., 2018]

National resilience, defined as the ability of a social system to withstand and recover from shocks and challenges, is a vital concept that assumes paramount importance in post-war contexts. It encompasses not only the ability to rebound and rebuild physically but also the capacity to address the psychological, social, and institutional dimensions of the nation. National resilience is a holistic endeavor that requires the concerted efforts of various stakeholders, including public administrators, policymakers, civil society organizations, and citizens.


Our reseach endeavors to explore the role of public administration in building national resilience during and after the war in Ukraine. Public administration, as the key apparatus of governance, possesses the potential to shape policies, implement reforms, and mobilize resources to facilitate recovery and promote stability, progress, and societal well-being. By understanding the specific ways in which public administration can contribute to national resilience, we can identify strategies and best practices that will enable Ukraine to navigate the challenging post-war environment. By exploring these aspects, this research contributes to the understanding of national resilience and pro-vides insights into strategies for governance in post-war scenarios. It seeks to facilitate informed decision-making, policy formulation, and implementation by public administrators, ultimately guiding Ukraine towards a path of sustainable recovery, inclusive development, and societal well-being.

Analysing possible scenarios for the development of the global landscape, researchers argue that all the positive human capabilities can only be approached through the creation of resilient state, based on resilient public administration

Expected Results

  • Supplementing the terminology of public administration scientific area by authorizing the definition of “resilient public administration” expected to be useful for reseachers
  • Research of top-level public servants' perception of the NR concept in order to identify basic factors influencing the formation of individual resilience of this category of citizens
  • Identification of RPA indicators at the national level in order to determine the priority change strategies for governance
  • Building the model of the globalization challenges impact on public administration resilience

I represent not only the scientific community of Ukraine but also serve as the head of the NGO 'Resilience Ukrainian Center’ ( Over the course of 5 years, we have been studying the issue of Resilient Public Administration. During times of war, we carry out a mission as part of a volunteer movement, providing medicines and hygiene products to civilian hospitals. Our efforts are always aimed at obtaining any possible assistance and resources that save and sustain the livelihoods of both the civilian population across all territories of Ukraine and the military. We recognize the numerous problems brought about by the war—devastation and impoverishment, disillusionment and disappointment. We understand the crucial importance of humanitarian aid and the need to provide it now, when it is most needed. However, the challenges still outweigh the available possibilities, further complicated and burdened by daily shelling and damage to critical infrastructure. The need for charitable donations to improve the well-being of the affected and support those who defend them remains acute. The initial flow of aid has gradually diminished due to war weariness felt by people worldwide, and we all understand that. Nevertheless, it is important to remember that the Russians continue to shell Ukrainian cities, trying to erase us and our capacity to live and function, committing daily acts of military aggression. The war persists, and we continue to maintain the rear, providing the necessary resources for the needs of the military and affected citizens. We will endure. We will prevail. Because we are free, strong, and reliable.


Thank you for the support of Ukraine in this war. I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this conference.




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