On October 28, the Atlantic Council hosted an on-the-record conference call on Ukraine’s recent parliamentary elections. The call featured John Herbst, director of the Council’s Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center, and Adrian Karatnycky, senior fellow in the Council’s Transatlantic Relations Program and former CEO of Freedom House. It was moderated by Damon Wilson, executive vice president of the Atlantic Council.


The participants focused on the October 26 parliamentary elections and its implications. Karatnycky saw the elections as a huge tilt towards Europe, a reflection of a consolidation of patriotism in Ukraine, and a rejection of extreme nationalism. He also stated that while the West could expect strong advocates for reforms, it must keep in mind that many of the members of parliament will owe strong ties to oligarchs and businessmen. Thus, the West must maintain pressure on top leaders while engaging with the oligarchs in a constructive and assertive way. Meanwhile, Herbst outlined the elections as a major defeat for Putin, as his desired objectives- less European leanings and a prime minister unassociated with the Euromaidan- did not come to fruition. Herbst also posited that the Russian support of the November 2 separatists’ election reflects a hardening of Putin’s attitude towards the Ukrainian government and the West. Participants also discussed the likelihood of a gas war during the coming winter.