Civil society in Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine remains weak as citizens have little capacity to influence political developments owing to lack of engagement, clientelist networks and corruption.
Western-funded NGOs form an 'NGO-cracy', where professional leaders use access to domestic policy-makers and Western donors to influence public policies, yet they are disconnected from the public at large.
New civil voices use more mass mobilization strategies and social media, and are visible in public spaces. They are more effective in influencing the state and political society than Western-funded NGOs.
Many large Western donors, who invest substantial resources in strengthening civil society, often support NGOs patronage networks and sustain a gap between a few well-established groups and active citizens.
Wider civic engagement would help build the power of the middle class to work together for enabling citizens to influence policy and further advance democracy in these countries.