Ukrainians want success stories, not reform façade


ukraine beyond euromaidanOn the anniversary of Ukraine’s Maidan protests on Monday, Russia’s REN TV aired a documentary produced by American film director Oliver Stone entitled “Ukraine on Fire,” Deutsche Welle reports:

Nina Khrushcheva, professor of international affairs at the New York-based New School and critic of Putin, told DW that Stone, as a known Washington detractor, “had to serve Putin’s hand” in order to “tear down the Western, US-EU version of great democratic revolution.” “Promoting Stone’s view is an amazing propaganda coup: if Stone thinks Ukraine’s Maidan movement is a sham, it must be a sham. He, after all, is a world-renown director, one of the ‘owners of thoughts,’ as Russians refer to intellectuals”…….

Vladimir Putin may be in a position to deploy such useful idiots as Stone, Steven Seagal, and Gerard Depardieu, just as Hollywood actors Sean Penn and Danny Glover have shilled for Venezuela’s abortive Bolivarian revolution. But he is able to crow, at least in part, because of the frustrated expectations of the Maidan revolution, not least on the issue of elite corruption.

Ukrainians have no tolerance left for rich hypocrites, notes Anna Nemtsova. This is a country where, according to the latest polls conducted by The Institute of Public Politics, 74.5 percent of the population fears poverty more than anything else, she writes for The Daily Beast.

ukraine-reanimation-package-of-reforms“People want to see success stories, the new laws being implemented, criminals punished but the progress has frozen, it is just a nice façade—we can hardly push through any of our ideas,” said Olena Salata, an expert in one of the most hopeful post-Maidan groups called Reanimation Package of Reforms (right).

EU leaders have pledged to uphold sanctions on Russia in the run-up to the Ukraine summit this week, but the declaration comes amid multiplying uncertainties over the future of Ukraine ties, reports suggest:

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko’s agenda in Brussels will include talks on the “reform process and [the] EU-Ukraine association agreement”, on visa-free travel for Ukrainian nationals to the EU, and on “Moldova/Transnistria”, the Ukrainian embassy to the EU has said. The “reform process” centres around measures to rein in corruption in Ukrainian politics.

It’s not just Ukrainian reform that must stay on track, argues Jeffrey Gedmin, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council and Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service. He contends that “we must lay the ground work for an American foreign policy that wisely and effectively marries interests to ideals and intentions to convincing outcomes.”

Poroshenko will urge Europe to argue against a change of approach, the FT reports.

ukraine euromaidan“That will be our message to Europeans and I think they will transmit such a message,” Mykola Tochytskyi, Ukraine’s ambassador to the EU, told the Financial Times. “The sanctions were adapted for the annexation of Crimea and military action of the Russian Federation in Donbass. Nothing has changed. The illegal annexation continues as a fact.”

Another senior European official said further EU signals of support were required for Kiev, amid debate in Brussels over US foreign policy.

“With Ukrainians now — even more than us — shaking in their bones about where US policy is going, it is going to be important to send some good messages,” the official said.


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