CHALLENGES FOR THE POLITICAL COMPETENCE OF CITIZENS IN THE CONTEXT OF UKRAINE'S EUROPEAN INTEGRATION
The article aims at identifying the latest challenges for the political competence of Ukrainian citizens in the context of European integration. Russia's large-scale aggression is certainly becoming a major challenge for citizens, those who are forced to save their lives under daily cruise missile attacks launched from a terrorist country. At the same time, the war leveled differences between the regions on the issue of European and Euro-Atlantic integration, consolidated Ukrainian society around democratic values and democratic choice. Political competence of citizens is defined as a complex socio-political phenomenon that allows assessing the rationality and effectiveness of government actions and exercises the right to change government. Applying the institutionalism of rational choice, it has been determined that it is the ability of citizens to make democratic choices in difficult conditions that is a convincing evidence of a high level of political competence. Based on the method of historical institutionalism, the completion of the post-Soviet transformations stage is noted. Ukrainians have made their choice in favor of democracy. At the same time, new challenges arise for the citizens’ political competence. They are institutional in nature and are associated with the activities of such institutions as elections (electoral campaigns at the national and local levels), mass media, the institute of political education, civil society, and so on. It is proved that the political competence of citizens is manifested in the electoral process, but is not limited to just participation in voting. It consists in the implementation of a control function – a critical and rational assessment of the actions of public authorities and the opposition. This is the reason for the role of mass media and civil society. The challenges to the activities of the mass media institute are the mediatization of politics (media shows, media scandals) and, at the same time, attempts by the public authorities to restrict freedom of speech. Such restrictions, which are absolutely justified under martial law, potentially pose a threat minding a return to the authoritarian model in the relations "Power – Mass media – Society". Special attention is paid to the role of the institute of public intellectuals in the process of forming the political competence of citizens.
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