Melinda Haring

  • Q&A: How Can Ukraine Get a Better Grade on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index?

    Ukraine just received a marginally better grade on the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Index, moving from 80th place in 2017 to 76th place in 2018. Kyiv reduced the cost of construction permits, strengthened minority investor protections, and reduced labor taxes. To put things in perspective, it’s easier to do business in Azerbaijan, Belarus, and Russia, and slightly easier in Greece and Uzbekistan. We asked Atlantic Council experts, UkraineAlert contributors, and businesspeople in Kyiv the following question: What five steps should the government undertake in 2018 to catapult Ukraine from its current place to the top 10?

    Andy Hunder, President, American Chamber of Commerce: The fact that Ukraine notched up four spots in the World Bank’s 2018 Ease of Doing Business Index is a...

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  • In Lviv, World-Class Learning Center Opens Where Soviets Wanted Drab Building

    On September 10, Ukrainian Catholic University opened a 64,874 square foot world-class library and educational center in Lviv, Ukraine. Ukrainian Catholic University, the first Catholic university in the former Soviet Union, strives to provide an open, progressive, and democratic learning environment for its students and the community.

    Canadian businessman and philanthropist James Temerty was the main funder behind the creation of the Metropolitan Andrey Sheptytsky Center.

    At the consecration ceremony, Ukrainian Catholic University President Bishop Borys Gudziak presented Temerty with a symbolic gold key to the center, saying, “May this key open not only this building, but hearts.”

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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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  • The Future of Reform in Ukraine


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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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  • Ukraine’s Got Talent: Engineer Turned Restaurateur Turned Politician Breaking the Old System

    Few would ever dream of challenging Vitali Klitschko, the three-time world heavyweight champion and mayor of Kyiv, in any kind of competition. But Sergiy Gusovsky isn’t like most people. Nearly a foot shorter and a political novice, Gusovsky went after Klitschko in the 2015 local elections. Even though the boxing champion was reelected mayor, Gusovsky grabbed a respectable 7.7 percent of the vote, and today leads the second-largest faction in the Kyiv city council.     

    It’s easy to underestimate Gusovsky. With his trim runner’s build and low-key manner, he often doesn’t register in Ukraine’s political circus. But one should not underestimate him. The engineer turned restaurateur turned politician has confidence, energy, and impatience; quietly and systematically, he is breaking Ukraine’s old system in Kyiv’s city council. He clearly has higher ambitions.

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  • Ukraine’s Internally Displaced Persons Hold a Key to Peace

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    “Ukraine’s displaced persons can and should play a role in a sustained peace process, and many are already building bridges and fostering local reconciliation,” write authorsLauren Van Metre, Steven E. Steiner, and Melinda Haring, in "Ukraine’s Internally Displaced Persons Hold a Key to Peace," a new issue brief by the Atlantic Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center and the United States Institute of Peace. After four years of ongoing conflict, Ukraine is home to the world’s ninth-largest population of internally displaced persons (IDPs),
    ...

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  • 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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