On November 30, seven of Ukraine’s designers were on display at a fashion show in Washington, DC, “to celebrate Ukraine’s creative culture,” said Alexa Chopivsky, executive director of the American Center for a European Ukraine and one of the organizers.
War, internally displaced persons, and the never-ending Minsk process dominate international coverage of Ukraine—when it is covered at all—but that’s not the full picture.
He was referring to the fact that even though he is a national figure with a resonant message in Ukraine, he’s the victim of a news blackout by the country’s oligarch-controlled TV media.
Such concentration of media ownership is one of the cornerstones of Ukraine’s pervasive corruption.
By contrast, the press has been focused for years on Saakashvili’s success in turning around Georgia through rapid reforms. In 2015, he was recruited by President Petro Poroshenko to bring about reforms as Governor of Odesa Oblast. But he quit this year after obstructionism made him realize it was too entrenched to change internally.
“I want to replace the entire political class. Elections happen and nothing changes, it gets worse. These guys have been around since the 1990s and they really think Ukraine’s their property. Twenty-five years of this political class and Ukraine has become the poorest country in Europe on a per capita GDP basis. After independence it was better off than Poland,” he said.
In a wide-ranging and deeply contemplative dialogue, Wolfgang Schäuble, Germany’s Federal Minister of Finance, made the case for a strong Germany within a united Europe, as the world prepares for the possibility of the United States playing a smaller role on the global stage.
The latest clash over land reform took place on October 6; the old-timers in Ukraine’s parliament, still trapped by Soviet economic dogmas, won the day.
Ukraine, the breadbasket of Europe, is blessed with fertile black soil. Today it is capable of feeding half of Africa, or 600 million people. But instead of tapping into this fantastic resource, Ukrainian legislators stubbornly refuse to allow the sale of private farmland, which would unleash farmers’ productivity and massively benefit the economy. The October vote was the eighth failed attempt to lift the moratorium on selling agricultural land since it was first introduced in 2000. Since then, Ukraine has had two revolutions and four very different presidents, but politicians of all persuasions remain adamant: the 6.7 million landowners who own a total of twenty-seven million hectares shall have no right to be full masters of their property.
Early on December 2, The Gambia’s electoral commissioner called the election for Barrow, citing his 45 percent of the vote compared to Jammeh’s 36 percent. The victory is a massive upset in an election whose result was widely considered a foregone conclusion; Jammeh has already claimed victory in what Freedom House declared to be four “violent and rigged” elections since seizing power in a coup against the government of Dawda Jawara in 1994. The outcome of the 2016 election represents a victory for democracy in Africa—but also requires a supportive US and international response to protect this nascent gain.
In the immediate aftermath of the election one vital issue remains unsolved: Jammeh himself has not officially conceded.
The JCPOA is not a bilateral agreement. It is between the United States and six other governments, none of which oppose the nuclear deal, which Trump has called “the worst deal ever.” Of course, as president, he will have to work with Russia, China, and Washington’s European allies, none of which are likely to withdraw from the JCPOA. The foreign policy establishment in Washington, too, overwhelmingly favors the deal.
Montanino, a former officer in the Italian ministry of finance, joined Ole Moehr, a program assistant with the Global Business and Economics Program, to consider the repercussions of Italy’s upcoming referendum.
Montanino described how the constitutional changes proposed in the referendum will simplify the Italian legislative process and clarify the processes of government. While the success of the referendum has the potential to provide a moment of stability for Europe, Montanino said, a “no” vote can reduce confidence in Italy, negatively affecting the banking system as well as foreign direct investment in the country.
Disengaging from the occupied areas of the Donbas will be complicated; prior to Russia’s aggression, the region generated 16 percent of the country’s GDP. Despite the overall ban on Ukrainian business relations with the region, there are a number of important exemptions.