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Published in Stream:
Ukraine Liveblog Day 213
Press by
The Interpreter
@Interpreter_Mag
Russian-to-English translation journal, with original analysis and commentary on Russia's foreign & domestic policy.
Interpreter_Mag
Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko Speaks To US Congress
6 years
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Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko is in Washington, D.C., and is speaking to a joint session of both houses of the United States Congress (watch the live stream here):

But not only is Poroshenko fighting a war, he's also trying to reform his government and revitilize his nation's economy, two major demands of the revolution that toppled that last president, and the war in the east is diverting much of that energy. Brian Dooley reports for The Hill:

The crisis in Ukraine presents the greatest threat to European stability since the end of the Cold War and ranks as a major priority for Washington. Poroshenko needs to hear this week in Washington that the U.S. government both understands the difficulties of the shooting war and expects democratic reform. A Ukraine that promotes human rights and the rule of law is in in the best interests of both the region and the United States. A Ukraine that doesn’t make space for new politics to breathe is more likely to be volatile.

Human rights activists in Ukraine kept telling me that now is the country’s best, and maybe last, chance to get things right. Ukraine can’t afford to win the war in the east but lose its shot at democracy.

But The Interpreter's editors have recently traveled to Kiev and spoken to members of the Ukrainian government. Reform efforts are largely under way. Ukraine is meeting its obligations to the IMF, and has hired top-level administrators who are developing and implementing strategies to combat corruption.

But there are two fundamental problems. The first problem is that much of Ukraine's corruption was legal corruption -- a system of kickbacks and top-skimming which was written right into the law. This means that each instance of corruption needs to be combated by rewriting the laws and replacing them with functional systems. The second key problem is that the government is filled with people who have either never been part of government before or who were actually part of the former government, and there's no fast way to continue to operate the country while simultaneously getting rid of the "bad apples." Reform, therefore, is a slow and surgical process, but many experts do believe that Ukraine, despite all of its significant problems, is largely on track.

Time will tell, of course, whether that remains the case.