Ukrainians are accustomed to crisis. As COVID-19 spread, forest fires were raging in the Chernobyl exclusion zone, turning Kyiv into the most polluted city in the world. The fighting in Donbas continued, claiming the lives of more Ukrainian soldiers, bringing the total to more than 4,000 — and, on top of that, President Zelenskyy overhauled his government. So Ukraine is fighting three battles at the same time — war with Russia, the struggle against its own ineffective system, and now COVID-19.
Every crisis is a reality check — the coronavirus provoked and exposed the strategic vulnerabilities and deep-rooted features of Ukraine’s system of governance.… Seguir leyendo »
Among the issues exposed by US President Donald Trump’s interactions with the Ukrainian president is that of weak rule of law, a key problem of modern governance. This latest scandal has shown how the judiciary is still vulnerable to being exploited for personal political gain, financial enrichment and geopolitical support.
Since independence, Ukraine has suffered from weak rule of law, high-level corruption and selective justice. A major Chatham House report concluded that despite ‘greater success in restricting the opportunities for corruption, reforms of the law enforcement agencies are proceeding slowly because of the deep underlying culture of corruption in the judicial system.’… Seguir leyendo »
In the wake of a whistleblower’s report that alleged Donald Trump linked military aid to Ukraine to the latter’s willingness to investigate former vice president Joe Biden, a leading candidate for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 presidential elections, and his son, Hunter, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has initiated a formal impeachment inquiry. Chatham House experts explore the impact of this latest turn of events.
Questions abound for Congress and for foreign allies
For more than a year, Democrats worked to investigate President Donald Trump’s potential involvement in Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Now, in the span of a week, they appear to have decided that the subject of a phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyi and alleged subsequent efforts by the Trump administration to prevent the release of a related whistleblower report constitute clear, impeachable offences.… Seguir leyendo »
1. President Volodymyr Zelenskyi’s party scored the first ever parliamentary majority in the history of independent Ukraine.
The main surprise of the snap parliamentary elections was that the president’s party, Servant of the People, won a majority. With 254 MPs out of 450, Zelenskyi can form a new government without a coalition partner. For the first time in the history of independent Ukraine, one political party will have full control over the cabinet of ministers, the office of the president and parliament.
This became possible because Ukrainians were tired of hearing unfulfilled reform promises and were disappointed with the old elite.… Seguir leyendo »
A record 73% of voters cast ballots for a complete political novice in Volodymyr Zelenskyi for president of Ukraine. He rallied voters against the old system and harnessed anti-elitist sentiment and disillusionment from the unfulfilled promises of the protests of 2014.
Over 60% of the total Ukrainian population voted because they believed their choice could have real impact; 30 per cent of Zelenskyi’s supporters were youth under 30. Despite Russian claims that the southeast of Ukraine was disenfranchised and had no choice, the turnout in the Kyiv-controlled Donetsk oblast increased almost by 40% compared to the 2014 election. Similarly, many more Ukrainians voted in Luhansk and Kharkiv oblasts.… Seguir leyendo »
Ukrainian business moguls still own seven of the country’s eight major TV stations. But, three years after mass protests gripped the nation, demanding political and social reform, the old system continues to resist change – including to its media.
There are signs of progress. Two years ago, a new law passed requiring Ukraine’s only state-owned National TV and Radio Broadcasting Company (NTU) to become an independent, public broadcaster. The NTU was restructured with the appointment of an independent board of trustees representing parliament, civil society and media professionals, and public investment amounting to 0.2 per cent of the state budget. Yet, even with the NTU’s single-digit percentage share of the media market, the change has been viewed as a threat to the interests of the country’s political and business elites.… Seguir leyendo »