Melinda Haring

  • Brilliant, Broke, and Ukrainian? Harvard Still Wants to Hear from You

    Eighteen-year-old Tetiana Tsunik, who grew up in a tiny village in eastern Ukraine, won a full ride to the Taft School in Watertown, Connecticut, a well-regarded prep school. There she’s taking two Advanced Placement courses plus six others. She’s part of the debate club, and is editor-in-chief of two student publications. Last summer, she spent two weeks as a reporter at the Kyiv Post, the top English-language newspaper in Ukraine, and wrote five stories.

    Vlad Ivanchuk, a nineteen-year-old from Lutsk, just earned a full scholarship to Harvard after studying at Westminster School in Connecticut. Last summer, he worked on a cutting-edge research project in Lviv that combines behavioral economics and machine learning.

    Yevhennia Dubrova, a seventeen-year-old from Donetsk oblast, loves Hemingway and wants to be an English-language journalist in Kyiv someday. She’s a scholarship student at St. Mark’s


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  • Their Brand Is Crisis

    Exactly five years ago, the country’s most important independent crisis communications center was set up in Kyiv in less than forty-eight hours. It started with a text message and a series of phone calls.

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  • Q&A: Will Scandal Sink Poroshenko’s Second Term Chances?

    On February 25, investigative journalistsaccused President Petro Poroshenko’s close associates of getting rich by smuggling spare parts for military equipment from Russia. The Bihus.Info report claims that the son of Oleh Hladkovskiy, deputy secretary of the National Security and Defense Council, was the mastermind behind a scheme to buy spare parts from Russia in 2015. The year before, Russia annexed Crimea and occupies part of the Donbas. Bihus.Info alleges that Ukraine bought the goods from private companies linked to Hladkovskiy at inflated prices and that Ukroboronprom, the state company that oversees everything, knew the origin of the parts.             

    Bihus.Info says that it received the information from anonymous


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  • Legal Threats to Minister Imperil Ukraine’s Health Care

    Ulana Suprun just wants to get back to work turning around Ukraine’s feeble healthcare system. But she can’t focus on reforms now: the fifty-six-year-old radiologist turned health minister of Ukraine is under attack. Worst of all, she’s not sure who is behind it.

    On February 5, Kyiv’s Regional Administrative Court ruled to suspend Suprun's authority to make any decisions or sign any documents as the acting minister of health. Suprun remains the first deputy minister of health.

    Lives depend on her signature.

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  • Q&A: Why Are Ukraine's Last Reformers Being Kicked Out?

    Less than two months before Ukraine’s presidential election, two independent-minded officials are being forced out. On February 5, Kyiv’s Regional Administrative Court ruled to suspend Detroit born physician Ulana Suprun's authority to make any decisions or sign any documents as the acting minister of health. The court pointed to a regulation that limits an acting minister’s term to one month. Suprun has held the post since 2016. On February 1, the supervisory board of Ukraine’s public broadcaster dismissed CEO Zurab Alasania two years before his contract was set to expire. Suprun has been praised as one of the leading reformers remaining in the cabinet and for championing health care reform, while Alasania received good marks as well.

    Last June, parliament canned outspoken and reform minded Finance Minister Oleksandr Danylyuk. By most counts, there’s only one reformer left in Ukraine’s cabinet.

    UkraineAlert asked a


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  • Are Things Really Changing at Ukroboronprom?

    Pavlo Bukin has been on the job for nearly a year, and he’s in good spirits. It’s not the most enviable position: he’s the general director of Ukroboronprom, the state-owned defense company, and has been charged with cleaning up the company and making its business practices market friendly.

    Ukroboronprom (UOP) has serious reputational issues. Ukraine’s leading anti-corruption watchdog calls it a monster. In 2017, Ukraine’s National Anticorruption Bureau accused company officials of stealing $6 million in a deal to supply aircraft parts to Iraq’s defense ministry. It also faced accusations of putting old engines in forty tanks in Lviv


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  • Trump Doesn’t Have to Quit NATO to Undermine It, Expert Warns

    On January 14, the New York Times confirmed that President Donald Trump talked about pulling out of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization more than once in 2018.

    But can the president quit NATO unilaterally?

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  • Dispatch from the Road: Ukraine’s Most Impressive Civil Society Project Is Where?

    One could be forgiven for mistaking thirty-six-year-old Yuriy Fylyuk as just another of the bearded foodie entrepreneurs who dominate Ukraine’s culinary scene. But the soft spoken Fylyuk is far more.  

    Yevhen Hlibovytsky, high priest of Ukraine’s civil society and partner at the Pro.mova consulting firm, has yanked me out of Kyiv to see what he describes as the most impressive civil society project in the country—in Ivano-Frankivsk, a town of 230,000 in western Ukraine. The details are scant, but anytime Hlibovytsky offers to take you on a road trip, the answer is, “Absolutely.”  

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  • Even Out of Government, Former Finance Minister Danyliuk Has Big Plans for Ukraine

    It was June 5 and Ukraine’s ebullient and energetic finance minister was under tremendous strain. The Economist had just reported that forty-three-year-old Oleksandr Danyliuk was about to be sacked after speaking out too many times about corruption at the highest levels. He’d made too many enemies, including the president and prime minister.  

    But Danyliuk is an optimist who brims with good humor even when he’s under fire. Speaking with him in his office in Kyiv, I asked if he was worried. “I’m going to stay,” he said decisively.  

    I asked jokingly, “What’s your theme song? ‘I Will Survive’?”

    Too negative, he said. Without skipping a beat, he suggested with a laugh, “We Are the Champions.”

    The next day, Danyliuk was indeed fired. But that light-hearted exchange captures the ex-minister well. He wants Ukraine to


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  • Best of the Best: Top 10 Articles of 2018

    As the year ends, I am invariably swamped with requests for our top 10 list. Without further ado, here are the best performing articles UkraineAlert published in 2018:

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