Melinda Haring

  • Q&A: Is Ukraine Still Changing?

    Three Atlantic Council experts answer questions about Ukraine’s ongoing reforms.

    1. It’s been nearly three years since the Euromaidan protests began. How would you grade the pace and extent of Ukraine’s reforms?

    Anders Åslund, Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council: In 2014, Ukraine carried out two vital preconditions for economic reform, early presidential and parliamentary elections. Little economic reform could be done before then. In 2015, Ukraine carried out the most important economic reforms ever. They were pursued by half a dozen members of the government, the National Bank, and Naftogaz. The unification of energy prices stopped corrupt arbitrage between very different state prices. Sharp cuts in energy subsidies and excessive pensions cut public expenditures and nearly balanced the state budget. The floating exchange rate eliminated the current account deficit. The National Bank of Ukraine closed eighty banks,...

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  • The Audacity of Nadiya Savchenko

    "Russian propaganda made the mistake of using me as an example, and I just became too expensive for them. I am a person who never gives up,” said Nadiya Savchenko, a former prisoner of war, current member of Ukraine’s parliament, and one of the country’s most popular politicians, on September 22.

    Three days earlier, the Atlantic Council gave Savchenko its Freedom Award in New York City. The award had been bestowed in 2015 and accepted by her sister Vera while Savchenko was being held in a Russian prison on trumped-up charges. She was released on May 25 and arrived in Kyiv to a hero’s welcome.

    In a wide-ranging discussion at the Atlantic Council in Washington, DC, the pilot-turned-politician urged the international community to fight to free every single Ukrainian locked up in Russia. “I was not the only prisoner in a Russian jail. I would like you to continue this struggle to support my colleagues who are still there,” Savchenko said. According to the...

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  • Ten Things the New US Ambassador to Ukraine Should Do

    On August 18, Marie L. Yovanovitch became the US Ambassador to Ukraine. Yovanovitch is not new to the country; she served as the deputy chief of mission in Kyiv—the second in command—under Ambassadors Carlos Pascual and John Herbst months before the Orange Revolution erupted. She spent the bulk of her career working in the Eurasia region, with ambassadorial posts in Armenia and Kyrgyzstan.

    The man who held the job before Yovanovitch, Geoffrey R. Pyatt, is one of the United States’ most talented diplomats; despite a lack of previous experience working in the former Soviet Union, he aced his post. Pyatt’s sunny disposition, relentless optimism, strong relations with civil society, and round-the-clock hours made him one of the best known foreign faces in Kyiv, and one of the most trusted interlocutors. His strong relationship with Assistant Secretary Victoria Nuland ensured that Ukraine was a top priority in Washington. Pyatt was also a social media sensation. He tweeted...

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  • How One University Defied Putin and His Armed Mob

    On July 7, 2014, Russian-backed separatists entered Donetsk and occupied four dormitories at Donetsk National University; armed gunmen expelled students from their rooms in the middle of the night. Nine days later, the separatists seized the entire university. During that summer, separatists stole at least seventeen university vehicles and converted student dorms into barracks for their fighters.

    At the time, students, administrators, and faculty fled. There was no time to think about packing up the library or the laboratory. But eventually, the university, one of Ukraine’s best, relocated to central Ukraine, to the city of Vinnytsia.

    Remarkably, two years after the invasion, the university has almost completely re-established itself.

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  • Haring and Polyakova Quoted by Christian Science Monitor on Tensions in Crimea


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  • Haring Joins NPR to Discuss How the Trump Campaign Weakened The Republican Platform On Aid To Ukraine


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  • Haring Quoted by Democracy Digest on Post-Maidan Ukraine


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  • Haring Joins Voice of America to Discuss Press Freedom in Ukraine, the Murder of Journalist Pavel Sheremet, and the Need to Increase International Broadcasting Assistance to Ukraine


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  • Ukraine’s Deadly Profession: Three Journalists Attacked in July

    On July 20, investigative journalist Pavel Sheremet was assassinated in Kyiv. Sheremet hosted a morning show at Radio Vesti and was a top reporter at Ukrainska Pravda. A crusading journalist and native of Minsk, Belarus, he had already been expelled from both Belarus and Russia. He was killed by a car bomb.

    It would be easy to dismiss Sheremet’s murder as an outlier. Unfortunately, it’s anything but. His death is merely the most drastic example of the steady deterioration of press freedom in Ukraine in recent months.

    One day before Sheremet’s murder, Maria Rydvan, the editor of Forbes Ukraine, was stabbed three times in Kyiv; she had been walking in the park of the Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. Fortunately her injuries were only minor.

    On July 25, the...

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  • Worried About Brexit? No, Scared, Says Ukraine’s Former Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk

    “I’m not worried [about Brexit]. I’m scared,” said Arseniy Yatsenyuk at the Atlantic Council on June 30. In one of his first public appearances in Washington since stepping down as Ukraine’s prime minister on April 14, Yatsenyuk urged Europe to get its act together. Brexit, he said, is a “huge geopolitical crisis”: the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU could split the union, weaken Europe, trigger a domino effect, and undermine trust and confidence in the European idea among Ukrainians. “We need a united Europe,” he said.

    Like other reformers, Yatsenyuk is counting on Ukrainians’ strong desire to join Europe as a means to incentivize continued legislative reform and clean up the country.

    Ukraine has another stake in the EU game, as well, Yatsenyuk pointed out. The EU will extend its punishing sanctions on Russia, although there...

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