Melinda Haring

  • American-Born Doctor Takes on Ukraine’s Health Care System

    Ulana Suprun is a woman on a mission. The 53-year-old radiologist from New York who was appointed Ukraine’s Acting Minister of Health in July is determined to shake up Ukraine’s sclerotic health care system.

    “The changes that we are making in Ukraine’s health care sector are breaking the old rules and establishing new standards,” Suprun said in a written statement on January 23.

    Her early moves have been noticed: on January 18, five members of Ukraine’s parliamentary committee on health attempted to oust Suprun and failed. Prime Minister Volodymyr Groisman and civil society organizations urged parliament to stick with Suprun and stop blocking health care reforms.

    "I feel support from the prime minister and the entire cabinet," as well as many MPs, civil society, and many young doctors, she said. 

    Suprun has two other advantages: she’s not starting from scratch, and she’s not new to Ukraine.

    Read More
  • The Future of Ukraine’s Economy

    “What we need most of all is the end of hostilities,” said Martin Sajdik, Special Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office in Ukraine and the Trilateral Contact Group on the implementation of the peace plan in eastern Ukraine, at an event about Ukraine. “Without international assistance from the EU, from the United States, from Japan...I don’t think that one can see a fast recovery—and a fast recovery is definitely necessary to have the people believe in the future.”

    “The priority is the people,” agreed Oleksandr Petryk, alternate executive director of the International Monetary Fund.

    Sajdik and Petryk joined other experts at the Atlantic Council for a December 14 conference examining the future of Ukraine’s economy; the event included two panels and a keynote speech.

    Moderated by Irina Paliashvili, senior counsel at the RULG-Ukrainian Legal Group, the first panel focused on the Donbas and included Sajdik; Petryk; Vitaly Butenko, commercial...

    Read More
  • Q&A: What Does a Friend of Putin at Foggy Bottom Mean for Ukraine?

    President-elect Donald Trump has picked ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson as his secretary of state. In 2013, Russian President Vladimir Putin personally bestowed Russia’s Order of Friendship on Tillerson. As CEO of ExxonMobil, he’s argued for sanctions relief on Russia. By October 2016, some reports estimate that Exxon has lost $1 billion because of White House sanctions. We asked Atlantic Council experts and UkraineAlert contributors the following question: What does a friend of Putin at Foggy Bottom mean for Ukraine and Russia?
    Read More
  • There's More to DC Fashion than Gray Suits and More to Ukraine than War

    Vogue cannot get enough of Ukraine’s new designers and eye-catching traditional designs. Since the Euromaidan, the magazine has covered the country’s hot fashion scene half a dozen times.

    On November 30, seven of Ukraine’s designers were on display at a fashion show in Washington, DC, “to celebrate Ukraine’s creative culture,” said Alexa Chopivsky, executive director of the American Center for a European Ukraine and one of the organizers.

    War, internally displaced persons, and the never-ending Minsk process dominate international coverage of Ukraine—when it is covered at all—but that’s not the full picture.

    Read More
  • Ukraine, Not Syria, Should Be Top Priority for President Trump

    Resolving the conflict in Ukraine should be a higher priority for the United States and Europe than addressing the civil war in Syria, said Archbishop Zoria Yevstratiy, representative of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church Kyiv Patriarchate, during a visit to Washington, DC. “I’m very sorry about the Syrian people, but Ukraine can’t be compared. Syria never played a key role in global or even regional affairs,” Yevstratiy said in an exclusive interview with UkraineAlert on October 26.

    The war in Ukraine has displaced more than 1.7 million people, and 10,000 people have been killed. The humanitarian crisis in Ukraine’s east has not generated much international assistance relative to similar conflicts and is no longer top news. Nonetheless, said Yevstratiy, it has strategic importance.

    “Ukraine is a big country in Europe located between Russia and the rest of Europe. And in essence it is a wall standing between the civilized and uncivilized world,” he said.

    Read More
  • Ukraine’s New Liberals Face Tough Climb from Streets to Seats in Parliament

    Ukraine now has a liberal European party, but can it become a nationwide party with real heft in parliament?

    On July 9, Euromaidan leaders joined forces with the Democratic Alliance party. The reinvigorated party is still preparing its program statement, but broadly it’s a liberal European party that supports free market ideas, strongly opposes corruption, and sounds libertarian on social issues.

    Currently, the Democratic Alliance enjoys only a three percent approval rating, and some of its leaders remain largely unknown. According to the International Republican Institute’s recent polling, 81 percent of Ukrainians don’t know who Svitlana Zalishchuk is, 58 percent are unfamiliar with Sergii Leshchenko, and 30 percent have never heard of Mustafa Nayyem.

    Read More
  • Natalie Jaresko Says $25 Billion More Needed to Make Ukraine’s Reforms Irreversible

    Fatigue, Vested Interests, and Populism Threaten Ukraine’s “Longest and Most Successful” Reform Process

    “There’s no country in the world that has been in such dire circumstances and yet turned around the economy in such a short period of time,” said Natalie Jaresko, who served as Ukraine’s Finance Minister from December 2014 to April 2016. She spoke in Washington on October 11 at a discussion sponsored by the Atlantic Council and the US-Ukraine Business Council.

    In 2009, Ukraine’s GDP declined 15 percent as a result of the global financial crisis, and it remained stagnant or declining through 2015. But through an infusion of $25 billion in global support and leaders’ efforts to make serious fiscal adjustments, restructure its debt, reform its energy sector, and get control of its banking system, Ukraine is expected to see 1.5 percent GDP growth this year.

    Ukraine’s “longest and most successful reform process,” as Jaresko put it, has not only spurred...

    Read More
  • 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,...

    Read More
  • 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...

    Read More
  • 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...

    Read More