Melinda Haring

  • The Tragedy of Ukrainian Politics

    It’s no secret that Ukraine’s reforms have stalled. Reformers both in and out of government agree, however, that the one change that might reignite the country’s push for reform is the establishment of an independent anticorruption court. Ukraine’s beleaguered activists have urged the government to adopt it, and the West led by the International Monetary Fund has made it an absolute condition for more assistance.

    On September 15 at the Yalta European Strategy (YES) conference in Kyiv, President Petro Poroshenko rejected the idea of an independent anticorruption court. Pointing to anticorruption courts in Kenya, Uganda, Croatia, and Malaysia, he claimed that they are ineffective. (He...

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  • Sadovyi: Stop Fighting, Start Working Together

    Andriy Sadovyi, the mayor of Lviv and leader of the Samopomich Party, hasn’t had an easy year. He was seen as the most likely challenger to President Petro Poroshenko in the 2019 presidential election before a fire at waste facility in May 2016 killed four and sullied his sterling reputation. As a result, his numbers have plunged in some polls.

    But the worst is over and Sadovyi is no longer taking a low profile. The forty-nine-year old mayor was in Kyiv for the annual Yalta European Strategy conference, a few days after welcoming lightning rod former Georgian president and Odesa oblast governor Mikheil Saakashvili to Lviv. Poroshenko’s administration canceled Saakashvili’s Ukrainian citizenship in July, but on September 10, Saakashvili re-entered Ukraine with the help of bodyguards and an enormous crowd of supporters. He gave a long press conference on September 11 on the...

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  • Stanford Program Turns Theory into Practice in Ukraine and Beyond

    Victor Liakh and Olena Sotnyk are returning from California to Kyiv bursting with new ideas and energy. They just participated in Stanford University’s 2017 Draper Hills Summer Fellowship, which brings together leaders who are advancing democracy in some of the most challenging corners of the world. This was the first year the program included two participants from Ukraine since 2009. Liakh, 43, is the president of East Europe Foundation, a nongovernmental organization in Kyiv, and Sotnyk, 34, is a member of parliament and lawyer.

    Sponsored by Stanford’s Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, the fellows studied with top experts on democracy, including Larry Diamond and Francis Fukuyama. Fellows also met former US Secretary of State Condoleezza...

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  • Haring in The Washington Post: The Window for Reform is Closing in Ukraine


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  • Ukraine Walks Back Disclosure Law on NGOs

    Two bills that would remove Ukraine’s controversial disclosure requirements for nongovernment organizations and replace them with more extensive reporting requirements were introduced in parliament on July 10.

    In an interview, Dmytro Shymkiv said bill 6674 and 6675 would make the public aware of how tax-exempt money is being spent “as it is done everywhere else in the world” and bring Ukraine up to international standards.

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  • War in Ukraine 2.0

    Russia is targeting the most capable and dedicated parts of the Ukrainian military.

    On June 27, Colonel Maksim Shapoval, commander of an elite Ukrainian military intelligence unit, was killed when his car exploded during his morning commute in downtown Kyiv. A few hours later, a massive cyberattack took out computer systems across the city. The next day another car bomb killed a colonel in Ukraine’s Security Service while he was traveling in eastern Ukraine.

    “Russian state-sponsored terrorism is on the rise in Ukraine, which is a much more dangerous phenomena than that conducted by ISIL sympathizers in Western Europe, simply because the...

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  • Experts Urge Congress and Trump to Arm Ukraine

    A bipartisan task force made up of former US defense officials, ambassadors, and security experts renewed calls for the United States to give lethal defensive weapons to Ukraine. On June 21, the National Security Task Force of the Friends of Ukraine Network urged the United States to provide a range of weapons, intelligence, and training.

    “[T]he purpose of providing defensive weapons is to help Ukraine deter the Russians from carrying out further attacks, and to increase the pressure on Russia to negotiate seriously on implementing the Minsk agreements,” said Alexander Vershbow, a member of the task force and the former deputy secretary general of NATO. “The aim is not to encourage Ukraine to seek a military victory, which Kyiv knows isn’t possible,” he said at the launch event in Washington, DC.

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  • Q&A: What Does Archbishop Huzar’s Example Mean for Ukraine?

    Archbishop Lubomyr Huzar died on May 31 at 84. Born in Lviv on February 26, 1933, Huzar’s family fled to Austria in 1944 when Soviet forces seized Lviv. His family eventually moved to the United States, where he studied at a number of universities and then obtained his doctorate in Rome. He returned to Lviv in 1991. Huzar was the leader of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and a leading moral authority. “He united Ukrainians, becoming their spiritual father and the highest example of morality,” his successor Sviatoslav Shevchuk has written.

    UkraineAlert asked a number of religious leaders, scholars, politicians, and activists the following question:

    In the reform process, many Ukrainians emphasize the need for moral leadership from cultural, religious, and community leaders. What does Archbishop Huzar’s example mean to you, and what does his example mean for Ukrainians? How will you remember him?

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  • Ulana Suprun: Tough, Tenacious, and Transforming Ukraine’s Health Care

    For nearly a year, Dr. Ulana Suprun has been pressing for a complete revamp of Ukraine’s health care system, and she is finally close to seeing it replaced by a brand-new set of policies. She’s got a firm deadline: the current parliamentary session ends on July 14. If she can’t get the bill passed in the next six weeks, Suprun, the acting minister of Ukraine’s Ministry of Health, believes health care reform will likely be postponed until after the 2019 presidential election.

    “[Health] is the most important part of life, and it’s always the last [priority],”the slim American-born doctor said over lunch in downtown Kyiv on June 3.

    Ukraine’s sclerotic health care system hasn’t been reformed since 1991 and its problems are manifold. Stories of fraud, misdiagnosis, and poor care abound.

    Suprun has seen it herself. An acquaintance had a cough and night sweats that had been continuing for two weeks. A Ukrainian hospital had diagnosed her with lung cancer....

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  • Russia Funds and Manages Conflict in Ukraine, Leaks Show

    Hacked emails show that the Kremlin directs and funds the ostensibly independent republics in eastern Ukraine and runs military operations there. In late 2016, Ukrainian hacker groups released emails purportedly taken from the office of Kremlin official Vladislav Surkov, who oversees Ukraine policy for Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Surkov leaks confirm what many have long suspected: the Kremlin has orchestrated and funded the supposedly independent governments in the Donbas, and seeks to disrupt internal Ukrainian politics, making the task of rebuilding modern Ukraine impossible. Russia has consistently denied accusations from Kyiv and the West that it is providing the separatists with troops, weapons, and other material support or meddling in Ukrainian affairs. The emails from Surkov’s office betray the official Kremlin line, revealing the extent of Russian involvement in the seizure of Ukrainian territory, the creation of puppet “people’s republics,” and the funding to...
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