Ukraine, 4 Years after Maidan
On October 8, the CEPA Warsaw office, in partnership with the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, hosted a seminar on “Ukraine: 4 Years after Maidan.” The event brought together Ukrainian, Polish, American, and other international experts, politicians, and diplomats. CEPA Warsaw Director Ray Wojcik, Deputy Minister Bartosz Cichocki, and Ambassador of Ukraine to the Republic of Poland Andrii Deshchytsia opened the event with introductory remarks, setting the stage for the expert discussions.
The first panel, “Ukraine’s War of Governance,” was moderated by Brian Whitmore, Senior Fellow and Director of CEPA’s Russia Program. Panelists included Hryhoriy Nemyria, Chairperson of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Human Rights, National Minorities and International Relations, Oksana Yurynets, Chairperson of the subcommittee on regional and cross-border cooperation between Ukraine and the European Union, and Solomiia Bobrovska, former acting Head of State Administration of the Odessa Oblast. During this panel, Brian Whitmore highlighted the importance of a secure and democratic Ukrainian government with the crucial need to attack government corruption. The discussion emphasized the need for increased accountability, and a shift away from clientelism within the political elite. It included coverage of the critical role which civil society plays in Ukraine’s “War of Governance” – that is, a strengthening civil society and civil dialogue are central in fostering a stronger and more transparent Ukraine.
The second panel, “Ukraine: Key to Achieving Coherence and Stability in the Black Sea Region,” was moderated by LTG (Ret.) Ben Hodges, CEPA’s Pershing Chair in Strategic Studies, Panelists included Oksana Syroyid, Deputy Chairperson of the Verkhovna Rada, Mykola Kniazhytskyi, Chairperson of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Culture and Spirituality, and Bohdan Yaremenko, Chairperson for the Maidan Board of Foreign Affairs. This panel established the significance of geopolitical developments in Ukraine. It was agreed that Ukraine requires further support from its international partners, but must also continue to evolve its own domestic strategies to combat Russia. It was evident that Ukraine, in partnership with the West, must continue to build coherent and joint security strategies. Participants discussed the importance of current tensions in the Black Sea, the Sea of Azov, and issues surrounding Nord Stream 2. It also highlighted the need for the international community to exert counter-pressure on Russia on multiple lines including regional.
The final panel, “Ukraine’s Economic Reforms 4 Years After Euromaidan – Challenges and Breakthroughs,” was led by Maria Snegovaya, CEPA Adjunct Fellow. Panelists included Oleksandr Motsyk, former Ambassador of Ukraine to Poland and the United States, Ostap Kryvdyk, Adviser to the Chairman of Verkhovna Rada, and Oleksandr Sushko, Chair of the Board of the International Renaissance Foundation. Snegovaya highlighted the direct relationship of a reformed and strong Ukrainian economy to positive developments in political and military sectors. It was noted that there is room for optimism, but Ukraine must continue to reform many areas of its economy. Panelists discussed major reforms as well as the negative effects of war on Ukraine’s economy. Overall, there was strong consensus that the success of Ukraine’s economy demonstrates that Putin is losing.
Director Ray Wojcik closed the event with a summary of the key themes discussed throughout the day. The event proved to be thought-provoking and educational. Participants remained cautiously optimistic about the current path of Ukraine, but also urged for persistence in Ukraine’s reform process focusing on (1) what Ukraine can do on its own; (2) what is practical; (3) what the West can do; and (4) how to deter Russia from further aggression, and get Russia to stop fueling the War in the Donbass, disrupting merchant shipping in the Azov and return Crimea to Ukraine. A key reference point about Russia was underlined during the day utilizing a John McCloy quote: “The biggest threat, is forgetting that the Soviet Union is a threat…,” coupled with “nothing has changed today with how we should view Russia.” Ukraine’s allies play a critical role in the political, security, and economic future of Ukraine. Though Ukraine has achieved a vast amount of progress in the four years after Maidan, Ukraine must move relentlessly forward – Ukraine’s future, and the stability of Europe depend on it.
08 October 2018