Melinda Haring

  • Event Recap: Can Minsk Deliver a Sustainable Peace?

    Is the Minsk process salvageable?

    Twelve experts gathered at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC, on March 17 to debate whether the Minsk ceasefire can deliver a sustainable peace in Ukraine. The war in Ukraine has claimed over 10,000 lives and displaced more than 1.6 million people.

    The Minsk accords, signed in 2014 and 2015, have remained the guiding principles for the peace process in eastern Ukraine. According to the Minsk agreements, Ukraine must hold elections in the Donbas in line with international standards and include a constitutional provision for special status for the so-called “People’s Republics.”

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  • Putin’s Crimea Is No Vacation

    Two years ago on March 16, Crimeans voted in a sham referendum for Russia to annex Crimea. Has life improved for the approximately two million people who live there? 

    Not at all. On every measure, from the economy to its treatment of minorities, the beautiful peninsula has become a shell of what it once was.

    The economic situation in Crimea is desperate. Tourism, one of the peninsula's main economic engines, took a serious nosedive in 2014, when Crimea received fewer than three million visitors—half the number who vacationed there in 2013. That is because Ukrainians made up the largest portion of tourists in Crimea prior to annexation. But for political and economic reasons, many now choose not to go. The Russian tourists who were supposed to flood into Crimea never came.

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  • The Revolutionary Path to Reform for Ukraine's National Police

    Ukrainians are growing increasingly impatient with Ukraine's lack of reforms. But the country's police reforms are working, says Khatia Dekanoidze, the newly-appointed chief of the Ukrainian National Police.

    How does she know?

    "The number one tool to...measure effectiveness of police is trust," Dekanoidze said on December 15 at an Atlantic Council event. Dekanoidze joined John Herbst, Director of the Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, for a conversation.

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  • Biden to Ukraine: “The United States stands firmly with the people of Ukraine”

    "Today Russia is occupying sovereign Ukrainian territory. Let me be crystal clear: the United States does not, will not, [and] never will recognize Russia's attempt to annex the Crimea," US Vice President Joe Biden said in a December 8 address to Ukraine's parliament.

    The parliament gave Biden a standing ovation. Geoffrey Pyatt, US Ambassador to Ukraine, described the atmosphere in parliament as "electric."

    "Sovereign states have the right to make their own decisions and choose their own alliances," Biden said.

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  • Ukraine Takes Two Steps Forward on Corruption Fight

    On November 30, Ukraine took two steps forward in its fight against corruption. Member of parliament Mykola Martynenko resigned his position, and Nazar Kholodnytsky was appointed the nation's top anticorruption prosecutor.

    Martynenko was the deputy head of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk's People's Front party and the head of parliament's energy and fuel committee. According to Sergii Leshchenko, an investigative journalist and member of parliament, Martynenko was "one of the most influential people in Ukrainian politics," who "used his position in parliament for his personal enrichment."

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  • Poroshenko Not Serious About Fighting Corruption, Says Anticorruption Reformer

    Bogdan Yakymiuk radiates optimism. But despite his quick smile, the thirty-seven-year old reformer is deadly serious when it comes to corruption.

    "Over 30 percent of our yearly budget is being stolen one way or another through corruption," Yakymiuk said in an October 27 interview in Washington.

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  • Ukraine Must Embrace Radical Reform Now

    If the Ukrainian government does not follow through with an ambitious reform agenda, public support will wane while dissatisfaction will increase, threatening political stability and the country's future. "There is no time for slow evolutionary changes. Radical and revolutionary reforms are the only way to success," warns a new report issued September 28.

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  • Creating 'A Piece of America' in the Carpathian Mountains

    Camp America, located at a charmingly rustic resort in Ukraine's Carpathian Mountains, welcomed twenty young Ukrainians for a week in August. For most of them, Camp America—a 24/7 English-language environment where all activities are conducted in English—was their first experience with native English speakers.

    "I like to tell our students that there are three international languages: English, music, and sport," Alexa Chopivsky wrote in a September 2 interview. "No matter what your future plans or goals, in today's globalized world, you have to speak English."

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  • Russia, Not Ukraine, is the Questionable Partner

    In its August 12 editorial, "Shaky Ukraine: Economics and Corruption Complicate Its War," the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette calls Ukraine a “questionable partner” because of “resistance to economic reform and use of Islamist Chechen forces.” Too bad neither charge is true.

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  • Retribution in the New Crimea

    In March 2015, the Atlantic Council and Freedom House published a report by Crimean journalist Andrii Klymenko showing how Russia's occupation and annexation of Crimea has unleashed an ongoing chain of human rights violations across the peninsula.

    Five days after release of the report—Human Rights Abuses in Russian-Occupied Crimea—Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) charged Klymenko with challenging the annexation's legitimacy and threatening Russian sovereignty. Under Article 280 of Russia's criminal code, Klymenko faces up to five years in jail. Yet Klymenko wasn't told about the charges; he learned about them in April, when the FSB began searching and interrogating his former colleagues.

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