Anders Aslund

  • How to Identify the Kremlin Ruling Elite and its Agents

    Criteria for the US Administration’s “Kremlin Report”

    On August 2, 2017, US President Donald J. Trump signed H.R. 3364, Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), into law. Section 241 of the Act calls on “the Secretary of the Treasury, in consultation with the Director of National Intelligence and the Secretary of State” to submit to Congress a detailed report—with the option of making part of it classified—including “identification of the most significant senior foreign political figures and oligarchs in the Russian Federation, as determined by their closeness to the Russian regime and their net worth.” Section 241...

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  • What Manafort’s Indictment Means for the US and Ukraine

    The most surprising thing about the thirty-one-page indictment of Paul J. Manafort, Jr. and his business partner Richard W. Gates III by Special Counsel Robert Mueller is that it hardly contains anything that was not known to people who have observed Ukraine. Manafort was the all-dominant political advisor to former President Viktor Yanukovych from the spring of 2005 until his fall in February 2014. Afterward Manafort continued to work for his successor party, the Opposition Bloc.

    While Manafort worked in Ukraine, it was widely rumored that he earned $9 million a year. Now the indictment states that “more than $75 million flowed through [his] offshore accounts.” Earlier this year, Ukrainian MP Sergii Leshchenko unearthed a minor part of those payments from Yanukovych’s residence,...

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  • Paul Manafort’s Ukraine Connection

    Long before Paul Manafort served as Donald J. Trump’s presidential campaign chairman he worked for Viktor Yanukovych, the pro-Russian former president of Ukraine.

    It was in this role that Anders Åslund, a resident senior fellow in the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, first met Manafort.

    Manafort would seek advice from Åslund, who served as an economic adviser to the government of Ukraine from 1994-1997, on matters of economic policy. Åslund recalls Manafort as “highly intelligent and absolutely ruthless.”

    “When the Ukrainian oligarchs heard Manafort was advising Trump they knew Trump would win the [US presidential] election” in 2016, he said.

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  • Ukrainians Are Protesting Again. Will It Amount to Anything?

    On October 19, several thousand protesters in Kyiv cheered as parliament passed a bill that will lift parliamentary immunity. It was not the only victory of the day; parliament approved major health care reform as well.

    This was the third day that thousands of Ukrainians have taken to the streets to demand that President Petro Poroshenko establish an independent anticorruption court, change the electoral law, and lift parliamentary immunity or resign. The protests, which began on October 17, are the largest since the 2014 Revolution of Dignity, which prompted former President Viktor Yanukovych to flee to Moscow and brought a pro-Western government to power. Since then, Ukraine has made serious but halting progress, thanks in large measure to Ukraine’s outspoken activists.

    Protesters have been mainly holding signs and waving flags in front of the parliament building. Thousands of national guardsmen and riot police, probably ten times the number of actual...

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  • Ukraine Will Pursue Hard Reforms This Fall, Finance Minister Says

    After a week of back-to-back meetings in Washington, Oleksandr Danylyuk is tired. He gladly downs a cup of coffee before we turn on our microphones to discuss Ukraine’s economy. The affable forty-two-year old finance minister is one of the few reformers left in Ukraine’s Cabinet of Ministers and has a reputation as a doer. He’s in town for the International Monetary Fund's and World Bank’s annual meetings.

    When Danylyuk took over after Natalie Jaresko stepped down in April 2016, expectations weren’t high, but he has exceeded everyone’s expectations.

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  • US Wrongly Thought Nukes Were Ukraine's Biggest Problem

    Ukraine has played an important role in US foreign policy since it became independent in 1991. So far, this topic has received scant scholarly interest. The most substantial book to date was Sherman Garnett, The Keystone in the Arch: Ukraine in the Emerging Security Environment of Central and Eastern Europe, which was published in 1997, so a new look is long overdue.

    In his new book, The Eagle and the Trident: US-Relations in Turbulent Times, Ambassador Steven Pifer offers a detailed and well-written study of US policy on Ukraine from 1991-2004 in 366 pages.

    During those years, Pifer held key positions in the formation of US policy on Ukraine in the State Department, at the National Security Council, and from 1998-2000 as US Ambassador to Ukraine. He knows the making of US policy on Ukraine inside out and he is meticulous, making...

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  • How to Keep the Russian Bear Out of Ukraine’s Energy Sector

    Russia is at war with Ukraine. This is a hybrid war with many arms. One of them is energy. The Kremlin has weaponized the energy trade between Russia and Ukraine to impose a client-state status on Ukraine. Given its weak negotiating position, Ukraine had to accept Gazprom's unjustified prices. Facing the threat of supply interruptions, usually in the middle of winter, notably in January 2006 and January 2009, Ukraine was forced to make costly political concessions to the Kremlin.

    The Russian trick was a combination of old Soviet supply monopoly and corruption. Ukraine’s energy system was built as part of the Soviet Union. The Kremlin nurtured a few big Ukrainian gas traders, who in turn bought political power to the benefit of the Kremlin. The gas traders changed over the years, but the Kremlin and its interests remained the same.

    After the Revolution of...

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  • Ukraine Is Back

    For the first time in five years, Ukraine sold its bonds on the international market. On September 18, the Ukrainian government sold $3 billion of fifteen-year Eurobonds with a 7.375 percent annual yield. The bond issue was oversubscribed by more than three times. Initial statements mentioned a planned sale of $2.5 billion, so the Ukrainian government increased the volume because of great demand. This sale has many implications.

    The most obvious observation is that Ukraine is back. This sale was a success and signifies great approval of Ukraine’s economic policies as they have been pursued after the 2014 Revolution of Dignity.

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  • Aslund Quoted in KyivPost on the Stalling of Ukraine's Reform Drive

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  • Aslund in Project Syndicate: Russia’s Oligarchs-in-Waiting

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