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Author: Jonathan Hibberd

Ukraine presidential elections narrowed down from 39 to 2 contenders

The results of the first round of the presidential election in Ukraine will pit incumbent President Petro Poroshenko against comedian and TV star Volodymyr Zelenskiy. A surprisingly unpredictable election process will continue through April. 

April 1, 2019 - Jonathan Hibberd

Warsaw debates Intermarium

It was appropriate enough that Warsaw should host a conference on the theme of Intermarium, the idea being primarily of Polish origin and promoted heavily by Polish interwar leader Józef Piłsudski, who believed that rebuilding Polish independence was not the sole action of one country and that is was in the interests of a chain of independent states to pool their aspirations. His fears for the nations standing alone, sandwiched between Germany and Russia were, as it turned out, entirely justified – in the area which became Timothy Snyder’s Bloodlands. If Intermarium for the 20th century was a Poland-centred concept, Intermarium for the 21st century would be a Ukraine-focused enterprise. For Ukraine now, as for Poland then, this is a question of the country’s survival as a state. As keynote speaker Andreas Umland of the Institute for Euro-Atlantic Co-operation in Kyiv elaborated, Ukraine is also uniquely significant in the Baltic-Black Sea region as events there have an effect beyond the non-EU/NATO, the so-called “grey zone”. The difficulty at present of evaluating the concept is that the Intermarium, at this stage, is no more than an idea.

July 6, 2017 - Jonathan Hibberd

Parliamentary or bust

Whatever the intentions, Ukraine’s muddled semi-presidential system is unlikely to deliver reform

The appointment of Volodymyr Groysman as Ukraine's new prime minister marks the end of a drawn out process which has been on the cards for at least a couple of months, precipitated by the acrimonious departure of Aivaras Abromavičius, the economy minister, in February, and an abortive earlier attempt to remove incumbent Arseniy Yatsenyuk. President Petro Poroshenko has refused to grant foreign investors their pick, respected Ukrainian-American Finance Minster Natalie Jaresko, who is credited with keeping Ukraine's precarious wartime economy afloat. She will not serve in the new cabinet and is seen as a major loss. The new cabinet is set to be sworn in amidst widespread, but unsurprising, claims abounding that appointments have not been merit-based, and the appointment of a prime minister from the president's regional base has uncomfortable echoes of the Viktor Yanukovych era. 

Photo: Dmytro Larin / Shutterstock.com

April 14, 2016 - Jonathan Hibberd

What Comes after Non-Recognition?

After the election of a new president with a clear democratic mandate, there is much talk of Ukraine turning a corner, despite the turmoil in the east of the country. Indeed, the focus is now largely on those regions and whether they can remain a part of Ukraine, as well as the challenge of keeping the country from the edge of the economic precipice.

May 28, 2014 - Jonathan Hibberd

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