Week’s milestones. Ball in Austria, breakfast in U.S., and initiatives in Ukraine
Petro Poroshenko’s participation in the Vienna Ball sparked a harsh reaction in social networks. The overseas trip of dozens of parliamentarians to take part at a prayer breakfast in Washington complicated the operations of the Verkhovna Rada. PM Groysman tried on himself a toga of a constitutionalist. Mikheil Saakashvili lost the appeal for a refugee status. Ex-MP Oleksandr Shepelev returned to Ukraine rather unexpectedly. A number of politicians came up with a number of initiatives in the context of the presidential campaign. NABU Director Artem Sytnyk called his agency ineffective without an Anti-Corruption Court.
Week’s balance: IMF is back, Naftogaz announces gas purchase from Gazprom, hryvnia growing
IMF’s technical mission is expected to arrive in Kyiv on Feb 12, Naftogaz reported it would soon start purchasing gas from Gazprom, the Verkhovna Rada resumed its work after the New Year holidays, adopting a number of important laws, while the hryvnia rate pleased with the latest strengthening - these are the main economic developments of the outgoing week.
Week’s milestones. Groysman’s spring, renaming by Lutsenko, and Saakashvili return
Ukraine’s prime minister promised "a spring of reform", while his Cabinet laid off fiscal chief Roman Nasirov. The prosecutor general while in Brussels spoke about anti-corruption efforts and while in Kyiv – about the reasons to rename "Boyko’s drilling rigs". The NSDC secretary announced the creation of cyber warfare units and successful tests of Ukrainian-made cruise missiles. The newly-created "National Squads" caused quite a stir in social media. Mikheil Saakashvili, whom the court earlier put on a curfew, resumed mass rallies of his supporters.
Week’s balance: Cabinet sacks Nasirov, raises UAH 2.5 bln on 4G license sales, while Ukraine’s balance of payments retains surplus
Following a long saga of scandals, the government finally fired head of the Fiscal Service Roman Nasirov. Mobile operators paid UAH 2.5 billion for 4G licenses. The inflow of foreign currency to Ukraine exceeded the outflow. That’s what made the main news this week.
Head of the British Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce Bate Toms: Ukraine already has the largest IT outsourcing sector in Europe and third largest in the world, Ukraine is going to beat the Indians the way you are going.
In an interview with UNIAN, Chairman of the British Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce, Bate Toms, spoke about the factors, besides general corruption, scaring off investors, and on how the problem could be tackled. He also named the areas of Ukrainian economy most attractive to foreign investment and talked about the aspects Ukraine should focus on when cooperating with Britain following Brexit.
Yuriy Lutsenko: I don’t support the "jail three of your friends" formula. I think it’s better to choose friends more carefully not to face the need to jail them
The Prosecutor General of Ukraine told UNIAN whether the PGO would be opening cases against Russian deputies and judges of the Constitutional Court of the Russian Federation, whose actions led to the annexation of Crimea and Moscow’s subsequent aggression against Ukraine. He also spoke about the developments in the cases of Yanukovych allies Kurchenko, Klymenko and Stavytsky, and whether the prosecutors withdrew tax evasion claims to Finance Minister Danyliuk.
Pressure of sanctions: what awaits gang of "swindlers and thieves"
Sanctions against Russia are not the first and definitely not the last case when restrictive measures are applied in world history. And as the Kremlin is flaunting its alleged global influence, the sanctions simply do their job.
Week’s milestones. Significant anniversaries, revival of Central Election Commission, and updates from political parties
Ukraine marked the 100th anniversary of the proclamation of independence and the 99th anniversary of the Unification Act. Popular ratings don’t let any contestants in the upcoming presidential race relax. The president suggested that the composition of the Central Election Commission be renewed, forcing Yulia Tymoshenko to cut her winter vacation. The Yanukovych treason trial continues. Reshuffles stroke several parties at a time.
Week’s balance: Poroshenko vows reform to IMF and investors, NBU ups outlook for economy growth and fights inflation
Last week, President Petro Poroshenko led a delegation of Ukrainian officials to the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he persuaded IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde and potential investors in the country’s readiness to continue reforms and fulfill conditions for receiving another tranche of the loan, the National Bank improved its outlook for economic growth for 2018, at the same time pumping up its key rate aiming to tackle inflation, while Naftogaz in an attempt to push the government to accelerate the gas market reform, requested a UAH 110 bln compensation from the budget.
Week’s milestones. Change of approaches in Donbas, growth forecasts by Groysman, and "schemes" for President
The Verkhovna Rada this week adopted a law "On the special aspects of state policy to ensure state sovereignty over the temporarily occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions." The prime minister believes that the average salary in 2018 will grow to UAH 10,000. The Prosecutor General reported to the Rada national security and defense committee on the Yanukovych assets seizure. Investigation journalists from Schemes TV show reported on the overseas vacation of the Ukrainian president.
Week’s balance: president selects candidate for top NBU post, Naftogaz says ready to buy gas from Gazprom, and privatization without Russian bidders
Naftogaz confirmed the intention to resume gas imports from Russia, the president finally found a replacement for Valeriya Gontareva at the post of the country's chief banker, the parliament passed a law on privatization barring Russians from purchasing Ukrainian state property, while the IMF criticized pension reform - these are the main economic developments of the outgoing week.
Ukraine's key to NATO
When Ukrainian officials talk about possibilities for the country to join NATO, they mostly face criticism toward such an initiative. And this criticism is not unfounded as Ukraine has long lost its Membership Action Plan (MAP). However, Kyiv does have a key to NATO. It’s just that this key should be applied properly.
Reintegration for the sake of it
The further the discussions on the bill on the reintegration of Donbas go, the less understanding why it was at all necessary to submit the draft for the second reading in its current "finalized" form, especially if we take into account what risks it carries.
Week’s milestones. Breakthrough of National Police, Groysman’s economy, and elements of influence
The national police said they apprehended the suspect in the murder of lawyer Iryna Nozdrovska. Petro Poroshenko met with Ukraine’s delegation to the Tripartite Contact Group in Minsk. PM Volodymyr Groysman focused on the economy. Mikheil Saakashvili is changing tactics. Ukraine is attacked by “exposing” fake news.
New Year's hryvnia fever
The Ukrainian hryvnia continues to plunge, approaching the historical minimum of UAH 30 to the U.S. dollar. The National Bank considers this New Year's turbulence a seasonal symptom, with which experts agree, predicting the strengthening of the national currency. And the only question is how soon this will happen.
Week’s balance: inflation and petrol prices rising, hryvnia dropping, teachers receiving gift from Cabinet
The State Statistics Service reported on a higher inflation rate in 2017, the hryvnia continued its descending path, while the cost of gasoline and diesel fuel jumped against the background of rising global oil prices, and the government at its first meeting this year announced an increase in teachers' salaries - these are the main economic news of the year’s second week.
Compensation for looting. How the state allows Akhmetov to profit twice on Ukrtelecom
As early as in the first quarter of 2018, Ukrtelecom may be re-privatized. However, it will be a Pyrrhic victory for the country as the government will have to pay a huge compensation to the current owner of fixed-line communication monopoly, Rinat Akhmetov. At the same time, the company will return to the state ownership as a robbed bankrupt: today we are seeing a full-blown sale ongoing of the company’s valuable assets.
Ukrainian energy industry: thorny road of reform
Ukraine in 2017 was learning to live without Donbas anthracite, continued construction within the Chornobyl disaster zone, engaged on renewables, and also argued about the impact of the "Rotterdam +" pricing formula on the cost of electricity. In 2018, we should expect some new series in a thriller starring Ukraine’s energy sector and a fierce struggle around the creation of a new electricity market.
Week’s milestones. Resonant murder, Themis’s stepson, and Orthodox trends
The murder of a Ukrainian lawyer Iryna Nozdrovska sparked public outrage. Mikheil Saakashvili resembles a stepson of Themis, which seriously limits the boundaries of his political activity. The behavior of representatives of the Moscow Patriarchate of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church in Zaporizhia once again restarted the process of forming a separate Ukrainian Orthodox church. The government decision to impose a lower speed limit in populated areas has become a real test for the perception of transformations by Ukrainian society.
Week’s balance: economy on the rise, energy industry setting records, ports finding investors
The Ukrainian President assured that the worst days for the Ukrainian economy are already behind, the world’s major port operator, UAE-based DP World, has entered the Ukrainian market, while the oil and gas sector boasted their record results - these are the main economic news of the first week of 2018.