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Ukraine: The European frontier

Curated by Valerii Pekar, the blog offers regular analyses on the developments in Ukraine. Pekar, a former member of the National Reform Council and a co-founder of the Nova Kraina Civic Platform, provides an insider perspective on the ins and outs of Ukraine’s politics, society and economy, as well as the effects of the ongoing war in Donbas and events in the annexed Crimea.

February 14, 2017 - Valerii Pekar - Blogs and podcasts

Pekar 2015

Blog posts

A forecast for Ukraine in 2020

17 January 2020

What is in store for Ukraine in 2020? The scenarios will be shaped by global trends as never before. The pressure on Zelenskyy is likely to intensify both at home and abroad with focus on the peace process and the economy.

What kind of Ukraine does Russia want?

20 December 2019

The characteristics of the Russian state point to what it hopes to achieve with regards to Ukraine.

Ukraine on three chess boards


8 November 2019

Checkmate on one board will affect the other

Ukraine: a 4 month forecast


28 August 2019

President Zelenskyy’s triumph in the parliamentary elections could mean fast changes. This happens while the threats to Ukraine’s security and economy are increasing.

The new Ukrainian parliament at first glance

24 July 2019

What will it look like?

Who is Mr Ze


10 April 2019

Comedian-candidate Volodymyr Zelenskiy emerged as the clear victor in the first round of Ukraine’s presidential elections. His quick and bright rise to popularity might not be so shocking, however, if one considers the voting groups he captured and the methods his campaign employed in the process.

Rebooting institutions in Ukraine

26 February 2019

The institution-building process in Ukraine has been complicated and remains incomplete. Incorporating best business practices and finding new people dedicated to transform Ukrainian state institutions could go a long way as Ukraine seeks to strengthen itself.

What should the West demand from Ukraine in 2019? 


23 January 2019

It has long been commonplace to say that as long as the old political class of Ukraine is not interested in changing the system, reforms in Ukraine are achieved only by joint pressure from the West and Ukrainian civil society. Why is that so? 

The future of the security and defence sector in Ukraine

7 January 2019

Ukraine is continuing the process of establishing democratic civilian control over the security and defence sector.

Public Administration reform in Ukraine: state-building on the march

2 August 2018

Most reforms are painful by nature. How could Ukraine speed up the process in order to leave the country in a better shape before the crucial elections next year?

Making sense of Ukraine’s political competition


5 April 2018

There are only three real parties in Ukraine: the party of the Past, the party of the Present, and the party of the Future. They are cross-factional and their membership is determined by values, rather than partisan identification.

Ukraine in 2017: A summary


25 January 2018

The situation in Ukraine, at the first glance, looks good: the military conflict is frozen, the macroeconomic stability has been achieved, the economy has started to grow, and the West continues to support the country. Despite the successes, however, Ukraine failed to meet the expectations of its citizens.

Economic freedom for Ukraine


18 December 2017

Ukraine needs economic growth, as it provides the resources for defence, social peace and reforms. The state’s interference in the economy has been too strong and the increase of social obligations given the bad business climate has constrained business activity.

Are street protests back in Ukraine?

28 November 2017

Street protests in Ukraine are indicators of the authorities’ lack of vision and leadership. There is a high demand for mobilising and engaging projects, which would utilise the high social energy, but there is nothing on offer. Therefore political turbulence will continue.

verkhovna rada

Why the reforms in Ukraine are so slow?

19 July 2017

At first glance, the main reason for the slow pace of reforms in Ukraine is the lack of political will. However, if we delve deeper, we will see that it is the lack of institutional capacity that slows down reforms even when political leaders push them.

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New generation for the new country

23 May 2017

Two different generations coexist in Ukraine with different values and views of the country’s past and future. In 2017, the post-Soviet system is striking back. Experienced bureaucrats are often sabotaging the changes which sooner or later could relieve them of their previous power.

1 Верховна Рада України VADIM CHUPRINA

How to overcome corruption in Ukraine

28 April 2017

Ukraine is currently considered one of the most corrupt countries in Europe. Some argue that this is just a perception, as Ukraine is also one of the most transparent countries in Europe, ever since it established an unprecedented openness of public data and private data of public servants (known as “e-declarations”). Furthermore, corruption in Ukraine has been brought into focus since the Revolution of Dignity (EuroMaidan), which had a clearly pronounced anti-corruption orientation. Nevertheless, corruption in Ukraine remains high both subjectively and objectively; therefore discussions on how to overcome it are much more productive than discussions about whether it is as high as may be perceived.

Euromaidan panoramic view taken from the top of the Revolution Christmas tree. December 8 2013-3

Managing Ukraine’s revolutionary lifecycle

10 April 2017

An early election would return some of the EuroMaidan idealists to high office, and extend the moderate reform period. This is exactly what is needed given Ukraine’s current position in the revolutionary lifecycle. The alternative is terrifying.

trade blockade

The story of a blockade: Lessons from the hybrid war 

24 March 2017

One of the strange features of hybrid war is trade across the frontline. Only recently, different groups have begun to block railways used to deliver coal and other cargo across the frontline, which so far has brought mixed effects.

civil society

Civil society in Ukraine: A sled dog, not a watchdog

6 March 2017

Civil society organisations in Ukraine go far beyond their traditional roles. Western policy makers should not ignore this fact, as it could lead to disappointing results in internal and international affairs.

eu ukraineWhat should be the West’s strategy in Ukraine? 

14 February 2017

To conduct a successful Ukrainian policy, the West has treat Ukraine as an adult, not a child. Today the West chides and reproaches, makes threatening gestures at times, but in the end forgives the pranks and gives a candy. Adults sign contracts and demand their fulfilment. This would be a much more rewarding strategy.

Euromaidan 2013 Mstyslav Chernov-14 1

An offer to surrender

16 January 2017

The surrender of Ukraine would not save thousands of lives, as Pinchuk argues, but would lead to the escalation of war and, in return, more suffering, more deaths and more damage. Moreover, it would create a dangerous precedent of a violent redrawing of European borders for the first time since the Second World War, the long-term consequences of which would not be hard to guess.

Lavra KyivUkraine in 2016: A brief summary

09 January 2017

If you ask an average citizen in Ukraine about the progress of reforms in 2016, you will most likely hear that nothing has changed. According to many, over the past year there has been little improvement when comparing the population’s high demands and expectations with the actual results. However, a closer look at the reforms might prove the opposite.

shutterstock 234913249A voice from Ukraine: Let us make drastic changes

21 March 2016

Today, Ukraine is as key element of European security as it was 800 years ago, when Mongol hordes attacked Europe and were stopped by our country, which subsequently bled and struggled for many centuries afterward. Chaos is coming from the East again. Leaving Ukraine alone today means huge problems tomorrow.



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