: Economist: Ukraine's clean-up crew

11:38 Apr. 17, 2016

Economist: Ukraine's clean-up crew

Demonstrators near Office of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine require ex-prosecutor's Viktos Shokin resignation, Kyiv, March 25, 2016 (UNIAN Photo)

Ukraine is broken, but its civic activists are trying to build a new country

It is easy to despair of Ukraine. The war-torn country has been engulfed by political crisis for nearly two months. The "Revolution of Dignity" that overthrew the corrupt, authoritarian government of President Viktor Yanukovych two years ago brought no revolutionary change.

Read also Yanukovych ready to return to Ukraine as president - lawyer

Corruption is still rampant. Key reforms are incomplete. The separation of powers between the president and prime minister remains vague. The oligarchs are still entrenched and the old political faces are having a makeover. The government is paralysed. Foreign aid is frozen. And the shenanigans around the formation of the new government seem painfully familiar.

On April 10th, after weeks of vacillation, the prime minister, Arseniy Yatseniuk, whose popularity had plummeted along with Ukrainians' living standards, offered to resign. His two-year term produced mixed results. His government managed to raise the absurdly low price Ukrainians are charged for gas, and reduce the country's dependence on Russian supplies. Public procurement—a big source of corruption—became more transparent. But his administration was tarred by corruption scandals and stalled reforms.

Read also Ukraine's new government must regain trust of people - E.U.

Mr Yatseniuk's offer of resignation was followed by dissension and backroom horse-trading. The squabbling exemplified Ukraine's lack of a responsible political elite. On April 14th the Rada, Ukraine's parliament, voted in a new government led by Volodymyr Groisman, the speaker of parliament and a close ally of President Petro Poroshenko.

Oleksandr Danyliuk, a former consultant at McKinsey, is to be finance minister. The new administration is backed by a thin coalition between Mr Poroshenko's bloc and Mr Yatseniuk's party, which despite its miserable ratings will retain key cabinet posts, including the Ministry of the Interior.

Ukraine-watchers could not escape a feeling of déjà vu. Twelve years ago the Orange Revolution was followed by a period of misrule by then-President Viktor Yushchenko. At the time Mr Poroshenko, who was one of Mr Yushchenko's lyubi druzi ("dear friends"), epitomised the betrayal of the revolution's hopes.

Full story

comments powered by Disqus


News15:27 Dec. 4, 2016
Shootout during a Spec Op: 5 policemen dead
News16:00 Nov. 28, 2016
Suspension mechanism to be dicussed on November 29 - RFE/RL
News12:15 Nov. 25, 2016
Record number of ceasefire violations in Donbas since 2014 - OSCE
News18:40 Nov. 24, 2016
Iraq suicide attack: at least 80 killed
News18:27 Nov. 24, 2016
European Council president speaks Ukrainian at Brussels summit
Subscribe to receive regular email updates about Ukraine and Eastern Europe