Transcripts and audio obtained through wiretapping, made public on December 5 in the Verkhovna Rada session hall by Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, delivered a hard blow not so much to their very target, Mikheil Saakashvili, but his associates and allies who have long been struggling against corruption and constant delays in required reforms. UNIAN asked some of them, how they reacted to the latest developments.
Week’s milestones. Referendum anticipation, NABU outlaws, and juggling with impeachment
Petro Poroshenko announced an all-Ukrainian referendum on accession to NATO and the European Union. The government approved the draft budget-2018 for its second reading in parliament. In Lviv, the Security Forum turned into a spat and accusations of playing up to Vladimir Putin. Kurt Volker and Vladislav Surkov spoke in different forms of the prospects for the Donbas conflict settlement. The Prosecutor General's Office and NABU got into a serious clash around a bribe provocation in the State Migration Service. Mikheil Saakashvili increasingly resembles a lone ranger.
Representative of the International Criminal Court Fadi el-Abdallah: "Not every attack on the civilian population is considered a crime against humanity"
Spokesperson and head of the public affairs unit at the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC), Fadi el Abdallah, sat down with UNIAN to tell whether Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea would be subject to the Court’s consideration, and whether the preliminary examination has been completed of Ukraine’s application on Maidan crimes.
Week’s balance: extending moratorium on inspections of businesses, NBU supporting hryvnia, and state budget seeing surplus
President Petro Poroshenko launched an initiative to prolong the moratorium on inspections of businesses throughout 2018, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman announced the adoption of government and Rada’s decisions early next year aimed at accelerating economic growth to 5-7%, and showered criticism on Ukraine’s Antimonopoly Committee, while the National Bank once again rushed to support the shaken hryvnia - these are the week’s key economic news.
European accelerator for Ukrainian reforms
The "Marshall Plan for Ukraine", initiated by the country’s European friends, intensified the discussion within the EU about the system of incentives for Ukraine’s economic and political development. The Eastern Partnership summit in Brussels last week, saw no breakthrough on the issue, although it did not put an end to the idea. Ukraine is yet to prove to European officials and financiers that the country is worth investing in.
Week’s milestones. Litmus anniversaries, coup in Luhansk and exciting ratings
The anniversary of the Maidan the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Holodomors marked a new trend in Ukraine’s political life. The change of leadership in the occupied Luhansk was accompanied by a plentiful presence of armed men in city streets and a noticeable increase of militant attacks at the frontline. Politicians and stakeholders reacted vigorously to the latest popular ratings.
Week’s balance: criticism in EU, new foreigners for Naftogaz and timid growth of industrial output
EU leaders expressed dissatisfaction with the slowdown of certain reforms in Ukraine, the Cabinet approved the new supervisory board of the state energy holding Naftogaz, the State Statistics Service reported on the timid growth of industrial output in October, while Ukrainian farmers completed the active phase of their autumn field work - these are the main economic news of the outgoing week.
Minister of Social Policy Reva: "Everyone who is employed officially pays twice – for themselves and for another person who is not "
Minister of Social Policy Andriy Reva in an interview with UNIAN told about the implementation of pension reform, discussions with international lenders on its harmonization, the introduction of a funded pension system, and the upcoming changes in the Pension Fund.
How can Ukraine keep qualified workers from leaving country
Ukraine is losing grip of its able-bodied citizens. Everyone seems to be seeking jobs and decent salaries abroad - students and criminals, scholars and entrepreneurs… UNIAN asked labor market experts what Ukraine should to keep hold of its labor power.
Week’s milestones. Budget and Christmas in Parliament, anti-corruption mess, and Avakov, the Constitutionalist
The Verkhovna Rada pleased Catholics and Protestants by including December 25, the Western-style Christmas holiday, in the list of the country’s official days-off and also adopted in the first reading the draft budget for 2018. Petro Poroshenko congratulated the Ukrainian Marines in Mariupol. The relationship between the anti-corruption agencies and the Prosecutor General's Office has been deteriorating rapidly, while the establishment of the State Bureau of Investigation is unlikely to help shift the situation for the better. Mikheil Saakashvili is ready to become prime minister, and this statement allows suggesting a complete collapse of the opposition's hopes for early parliamentary elections. Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said that the People's Front had prepared a draft Constitution of the parliamentary-presidential republic.
Week’s balance: Rada considering budget, creditor giving advice, and NBU waving goodbye to small coins
President of the World Bank Group Jim Jong Kim visited Ukraine and advised that the government speed up reforms, the Verkhovna Rada adopted in the first reading the government-offered law on the state budget for 2018, while the National Bank proposed to withdraw from circulation small coins - these are the key economic events of the outgoing week.
Road works booming: Ukraine plans to change its road map within 3 years
Ukraine's roads are among the worst ones in the world, with only Mozambique and Moldova lagging behind. However, in the coming years, the situation may change. The government plans to carry out a tremendous renovation of the country’s motorway infrastructure. UNIAN decided to find out where road construction and repair will start and what will be the cost for taxpayers.
Week’s milestones. Hustle in Rada, showing Congress, and exemplary appointment
The Verkhovna Rada took unexpected decisions and lost powers. The "Popular Front" held a party Congress that resonated strongly with the media. Mikheil Saakashvili is trying to win his struggle in absentia with the Ukrainian Migration Service. Mykhailo Zabrodsky was appointed Commander of the ATO forces.
Week’s balance: step toward big privatization, tighter control in public procurement, and slower inflation
Last week, the Verkhovna Rada adopted in the first reading a number of bills - on privatization, tighter monitoring of public procurement, and increasing transparency in utility tariffs – all really important for the reform of the country's economy, while the State Statistics Service reported on a slower inflation pace in October.
Head of Ukraine's Interpol, Europol Bureau Vasyl Nevolya: "We have a mechanism to turn down extradition requests"
Chief of the Ukrainian National Central Bureau of Interpol and Europol Vasyl Nevolya sat down with UNIAN to explain, why it is almost impossible to ensure through Interpol channels the extradition to Ukraine of some high-ranking officials - from Viktor Yanukovych to Oleksandr Onyschenko, why Ukraine continues to cooperate with the Russian NCB, and whether there are mechanisms to prevent to hand over to Russia participants of the Anti-Terrorist Operation with Russian citizenship.
Ukraine in global rankings: Should we expect a breakthrough
Government officials continue to declare the need to raise Ukraine’s positions in various international ratings - economic, investment, and regulatory ones - as the country seeks investment. However, there has not been any breakthrough yet – ascending to TOP-50, not to mention the TOP-20, remains in our dreams. It’s only decisive steps which could promote a transition to a new quality of life.
Week’s milestones. Echoes of shooting, political fighting in regions, and alarming backpacks
The attempt on Amina Okuyeva and Adam Osmayev expectedly resonated with the public. Several thousand backpacks for the National Guard almost became a stumbling block for the duo of parties in power. The results of the elections in the unified territorial communities were another high-profile event this week. The protest outside parliament walls did not put before the authorities any insoluble problems. Vladislav Kaskiv was returned to Ukraine against his own will.
Week’s balance: Poroshenko and Groysman's foreign tours, piled up complaints to business ombudsman, and Akhmetov blackmailing the government
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko acted as Ukraine’s promoter in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman worked to attract Canadian businesses, the business ombudsman received a record number of complaints, and DTEK's Rinat Akhmetov threatens the safe passing of the heating season - these are the main economic news of the outgoing week.
Psychiatrist Semen Gluzman: Russians tend to believe the worst leaders they choose, unlike Ukrainians who turn to criticism right after election
On the eve of the centenary of the October Revolution, a former political prisoner and dissident, psychiatrist and human rights activist Semen Gluzman in an interview with UNIAN talked about how Russians manage at the same time to remain adherents of the Russian Empire and cherish the cult of Stalin, yearn for communism and be demonstratively pious, accept repression by government and worship its leaders.
Ukraine’s Ambassador to the Netherlands: "The outcome of the referendum in the Netherlands showed that they knew little to nothing about us here, while the only things they know are of negative nature like corruption or Chornobyl"
The Ukrainian ambassador to the Netherlands, Vsevolod Chentsov, although appointed to the office just recently, is already aware, why the Netherlands did not want to (or could not) lay down the phrase about the recognition of Ukraine's European aspirations in the draft final declaration of the Ukraine-EU summit. In an interview with UNIAN, the Ambassador gave a sneak peek behind the diplomatic curtain.