Melinda Haring

  • 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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  • Ukraine’s Maidan Opposition Is Finally Getting Organized, but Will It Make Any Difference?

    On December 7, about two hundred fifty Ukrainians gathered in Kyiv for the launch of a new social movement that looks set to become Ukraine’s first liberal political party.

    People Matter is basing its platform on minimizing the role of government in the economy and reorienting the entire state around the concept of service; in American terms, it would be considered center right or libertarian. The movement is led by five prominent reformers with experience in and out of government: Kyiv entrepreneur and city councilman Sergiy Gusovsky; ProZorro founder and first deputy minister at the Economic Development and Trade Ministry...

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  • Explainer: What Just Happened Between Russia and Ukraine, and Why Does It Matter?

    On November 25, Russia seized three Ukrainian naval vessels as they were preparing to enter the Sea of Azov through the Kerch Strait. The Russian Coast Guard rammed a Ukrainian tugboat and fired on the three Ukrainian ships, injuring up to six crewmembers. Twenty-three Ukrainian sailors are now in Russian custody.

    This is the first direct naval engagement between the two countries’ militaries since the early days of the conflict in 2014.

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  • Q&A: Is This What It Looks Like to Be an Activist in Ukraine Today?

    On November 4, 33-year-old anticorruption activist Kateryna Handzyuk died from injuries caused by an acid attack. Handzyuk had been attacked three months earlier outside of her home in Kherson, Ukraine, and had undergone eleven surgeries to recover from the burns.

    Since 2017, at least 55 activists, journalists, and one opposition politician have been attacked. UkraineAlert asked activists and observers the following: What’s it like to be an activist in Ukraine today? Have you been threatened or attacked? Do you think the situation is getting better or worse? Who is responsible?

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  • Three More Reasons to Be Bullish on Ukraine

    Ukraine’s civil society is realizing an unfortunate fact: reforming the country is going to be more of a marathon than a sprint. Consequently, pro-reform advocates have had to adjust their expectations.

    Describing her hopes for the speed of change in Ukraine, Anticorruption Action Center executive director Daria Kaleniuk said that she and her colleagues now see the project of fixing Ukraine as a generational one. And after nearly five years of intense hand-to-hand combat, civil society is exhausted.

    Fortunately, some of the country’s top activists and leaders are taking much-needed breaks, logging off their devices and cracking books. Increasing numbers of US organizations are providing fellowships to help Ukraine’s leaders regroup and renew their energies.

    One is the Center for European Policy Analysis, a small think tank in...

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  • Three More Reasons Why I’m Optimistic about Ukraine

    If the Euromaidan was such a transformative event in Ukraine, why do we see the same old faces in high politics, I was recently asked.

    As one of the world’s most impatient people, I found myself saying have more patience and feeling like a total hypocrite. Many of my columns have urged Ukraine to move harder and faster on reform. And it should.

    Even still, there are plenty of principled, young and not-so-young people, in the pipeline. They serve in city councils, in the parliament, in bureaucracies, and run many of Ukraine’s civil society organizations.

    They do not have the name recognition that Yulia Tymoshenko does, although slowly but surely they are gaining experience and greater political maturity. Eventually they will assume greater positions of power.

    One program designed to develop new leaders is Stanford University’s Ukrainian Emerging Leaders Program.

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