Melinda Haring

  • Finally Some Good News from Ukraine

    It’s been six months since I’ve seen Ukraine’s most energetic minister, Dr. Ulana Suprun, and she’s been busy. Her comprehensive efforts to overhaul Ukraine’s dysfunctional health system are going well, she assures me.

    It’s the first time I’ve heard this statement about any reform anywhere in Kyiv.

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  • Q&A: What’s Behind Moldova’s Massive Protests?

    Protesters are taking to the streets of Moldova’s capital of Chisinau again.

    On June 3, Andrei Nastase was elected mayor of Chisinau with 52.5% of the vote. Nastase, a pro-European prosecutor and anti-corruption activist, defeated Socialist Ion Ceban who favors closer ties to Moscow. On June 19, a Chisinau court struck down the election results, and the Moldovan Appeals Court upheld the decision on June 22. The case now rests with the Supreme Court of Justice.

    Nastase claims that the decision to cancel the results is politically motivated. He was one of the organizers behind Moldova’s large protests in 2015 after $1 billion vanished from the banking system.

    Why is an ostensibly pro-Western government in Moldova allowing a court to invalidate these election results? Are the court decisions politically...

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  • Ukraine Takes One Step Forward and Two Steps Back

    It’s only been six weeks since I was last in Kyiv, and yet the mood now feels completely different.

    When I was last in Kyiv, posters advertising rock star Slava Vakarchuk’s Independence Day concert were everywhere and he was the talk of the town. No longer. Now former prime minister and campaigner extraordinaire Yulia Tymoshenko’s “New Course for Ukraine” billboards dot major roads as she tops the polls.

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  • 'Dead' Russian Journalist Arkady Babchenko Is Alive and Well. Does Faking His Murder Help or Hinder Ukraine’s Credibility?

    On May 29, the media reported that Russian journalist and Putin critic Arkady Babchenko had been assassinated in Kyiv. He reportedly died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. On May 30, Babchenko appeared at a press conference, alongside the head of the Ukrainan Security Service (SBU) Vasily Gritsak and Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, alive and well. The SBU had approached Babchenko and told him that there was a plot against his life. If he would cooperate in a sting operation, they might be able to spare him. It succeeded.

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  • Q&A: “Dead” Russian Journalist Arkady Babchenko Is Alive and Well. Does Faking His Murder Help or Hinder Ukraine’s Credibility?

    On May 29, the media reported that Russian journalist and Putin critic Arkady Babchenko had been assassinated in Kyiv. He reportedly died in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. On May 30, Babchenko appeared at a press conference, alongside the head of the Ukrainan Security Service (SBU) Vasily Gritsak and Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, alive and well. The SBU had approached Babchenko and told him that there was a plot against his life. If he would cooperate in a sting operation, they might be able to spare him. It succeeded.

    We asked Atlantic Council experts, UkraineAlert contributors, and journalists the following: What’s the upshot of this bizarre plot? Does this staged murder help or hinder the credibility of the Ukrainian government? Are you surprised that the SBU managed to carry out this operation? Should a government lie to its people?   

    Ian Bateson, journalist and Fulbright Scholar: So today was a win for...

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  • Q&A: Why Are Things Heating Up in Ukraine Again?

    Violence is on the rise in eastern Ukraine again. There have been a number of civilian casualties and a massive number of ceasefire violations. Some have said that last week was the worst of all the fighting in 2018. Meanwhile, Ukraine’s army took control over the Donbas operation in April and the talks between US Ambassador Kurt Volker, US Special Representative for Ukraine Negotiations, and Russian presidential aide Vladislav Surkov seem to have broken down. In addition, Ukraine faces presidential and parliamentary elections in 2019.

    We asked our Atlantic Council experts and UkraineAlert contributors what’s behind the uptick in violence. Should we expect more and more violence up until Ukraine’s March 2019 presidential election?

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  • Remembering Roman Kupchinsky on Memorial Day

    Of all the stories that I've written about Ukraine, none has provoked and continues to provoke choruses of thank yous than this piece I wrote three years ago about the life and legacy of Roman Kupchinsky. Each time I go to Kyiv, I meet another young journalist who Roman quietly mentored. 

    On Monday, as the United States celebrates Memorial Day, my family and I will visit Arlington Cemetery to remember Roman.  

    Four years after Russia annexed Crimea and invaded the Donbas, Roman's voice and vision are sorely missed and needed now more than ever before.  

    Вічна Йому пам'ять!

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  • Do Ukraine’s Reformers Have a Real Shot at the Presidency?

    Ukraine’s opposition is a mess—but this is hardly news. Through Ukraine’s nearly three decades of independence, its opposition has never gotten its act together. Consequently, the same corrupt elite continues to govern the country of 45 million to its detriment.

    Ukraine managed to squander the gains of its street revolution in 2004, and as the country approaches the second presidential and parliamentary elections after the 2014 Euromaidan that ousted pro-Russian former President Viktor Yanukovych, it’s seeming possible that the country will face a similar outcome.

    The 2019 presidential election doesn’t look promising. Ukrainians are sick of their leaders—sick enough to...

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  • Ukrainians Are Totally Sick of Their Leaders. Here’s One Radical Way to Fix the Problem

    One could be forgiven for mistaking the campus of the Ukrainian Leadership Academy in Kyiv for a small liberal arts college in the United States. With its red-brick dormitory and modern glass facade, light-filled cafeteria that doubles as a disco, easy camaraderie, and never-ending intellectual discussions, it transported me back to my undergraduate days in Pennsylvania.

    But the academy is different from most colleges; it strictly forbids drinking, drugs, smoking, and sex, and students exude a seriousness of purpose absent on most US campuses today.

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  • Q&A: Ukraine’s Got Javelins Now. So What?

    On April 30, the US Department of State confirmed to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty the delivery of Javelin antitank missile systems to Ukraine. This issue has been long-standing: the Obama administration refused to send the weapons to Kyiv, while President Donald Trump changed course.

    Some experts warn that giving Ukraine lethal defensive weapons will only enrage the Russians and escalate the war, while others, including Atlantic Council experts, have insisted that arming Ukraine is the most effective way to change the facts on the ground and force Russian President Vladimir Putin to finally negotiate.

    In 2017, the US Congress...

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