Is Ukraine Losing Its Way?

Judy Dempsey asks Stefan Meister and other experts about the current situation in Ukraine

13/09/2017 | by Stefan Meister

“Judy Asks,” Carnegie Europe Blog, September 13, 2017

Category: Reform, Ukraine

As part of her “Strategic Europe” blog for Carnegie Europe’s website, Judy Dempsey asked a selection of foreign and security policy experts, including the DGAP’s Stefan Meister, about the recent spat between Ukrainian President Petro Poroschenko and Mikheil Saakashvili

Read the full text here.

Judy Dempsey asks: Is Ukraine Losing Its Way?

Stefan Meister answers: Mikheil Saakashvili did a great job for his home country, Georgia, with his substantial reforms and by accepting democratic change. But the former Georgian president failed to realize that he had already reached his peak some time ago. Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko tried to win international attention for his reform policy when he hired several foreigners, including Saakashvili, for key government positions. When these people started to question the rules of the game, Poroshenko preferred to let them go.

Ukraine is not known for low-hanging, easy reforms—as Saakashvili aimed for—instead, it is a country where long-term challenges lie ahead for all relevant domestic players who are willing to change the rules of the game. Neither Poroshenko nor Saakashvili are the right person to do the necessary job. While the Ukrainian President was an important transition figure in stabilizing Ukraine after the Revolution of Dignity, he is too much part of the old system to be able to change it. Saakashvili, first of all, has become a PR person who gambled away the credit he built during his presidency.

Ukraine needs new people to return to the long, rocky path of reform. The fight between two men of the past only distracts from the real future needs of the country.

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