In November 2017, the US Congress approved $350 million of security assistance to Ukraine, including defensive lethal weapons. Although this was viewed as a major success for Ukraine, it is not yet a done deal. The 2018 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) restricts 50 percent of those funds until the US Secretary of Defense has certified that Ukraine has taken substantial steps toward institutional reforms in the defense sector.
This was the right approach because conditionalities are nearly the only leverage that still works in Ukraine.
We asked Atlantic Council experts and UkraineAlert friends the following questions: Have we seen the end of Saakashvili’s days as a Ukrainian politician? What does the process of deporting an opposition politician after stripping him of citizenship say about the health of Ukraine’s democracy? Is Saakashvili a special case, or does his deportation send a signal to opposition leaders and civil society groups that they are next?
Land reform is a case in point. In November, the Ukrainian parliament endorsed pension, health care, and education reform. Alas, land reform was not among them. The reason, I believe, was a leftover Communist mentality that persists among many Ukrainian politicians, including current members of parliament who were elected after the Revolution of Dignity; many voted for an extension of the ban on the sale of agricultural land.
This is now the eighth time the issue has been put to a vote and rejected.
But unlike others, Kozlovsky was not a supporter of the self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” (DNR). In fact, he was a Ukrainian patriot, a professor and world-renowned expert of comparative religion at Donetsk National Technical University, and a former civil servant. Instead, he had a different reason to remain in Donetsk; his oldest son suffered from Down Syndrome and paralysis and could not be easily transported elsewhere.
Eventually, however, the separatists came for Kozlovsky, detaining the 63-year-old scholar outside his house on January 27, 2016.
This is a good start to improve Ukraine’s electoral system—but it is only a start.
The Czechs are not the only ones in Central and Eastern Europe seeking to entice greater numbers of Ukrainian workers to replenish their own depleted populations. From the Baltic to the Balkans, national governments are relaxing employment regulations and looking at ways to bolster their Ukrainian workforce. Many are actively recruiting within Ukraine itself, with billboards in towns and cities advertising the attractions of seasonal work or full-scale emigration. Others have set up agencies and launched multimedia campaigns as they fight over the human resource Klondike that is the highly skilled and grossly underpaid Ukrainian workforce.
The latest effort began on January 14 when the first deputy chairman of the State Duma Committee for CIS Affairs, Konstantin Zatulin, acknowledged that Russia had violated its treaty of friendship with Ukraine. He then called for a cancellation of the treaty. “All the issues need to be addressed again, including those with regard to the borders,” said the parliamentarian.
In no other period of Ukrainian history since the disintegration of the USSR have so many reforms been undertaken in such a short period of time. The country’s governments since the Euromaidan have transformed the bankrupt nation they inherited into one where Europeanization is driving profound structural changes.
There are five key reasons why reform is not in crisis in Ukraine.
For decades, the Games, notably the winter ones, have handed Russia its greatest public relations coups. Unable to deliver decent living standards or democracy to its people, the Kremlin has concentrated instead on gold medals in hockey or gymnastics to garner respect at home and abroad.
But now an incredible documentary has lifted the curtain on Russia’s dirtiest little secret: Corruption at the top has metastasized throughout its society and onto its ice rinks, ski slopes, and gymnasia. Through a state-sponsored program, the Russians cheat and they have been caught.
Now Russia is banned by the Olympic Committee indefinitely, beginning with these Winter Games.
Despite the challenge of starting from scratch, Patients of Ukraine played a key role in creating Ukraine's first hepatitis C program, obtaining desperately needed medicines for HIV patients, and ensuring children with cystic fibrosis received treatment. After the Euromaidan, Stefanyshyna partnered with Anti-Corruption Action Center board member Oleksandra Ustinova to push through parliament a law outsourcing the procurement of medicines to international organizations, saving the state 40 percent of costs while increasing the quality and availability of a wide variety of drugs.
Stefanyshyna now faces a new—and potentially even greater—challenge.