Last week, June 20 – 21, representatives of Chatham House, the London Royal Institute of International Affairs presented their comprehensive research “The struggle for Ukraine” to various representatives of civil society, scientific and student communities as part of a series of discussions in Kharkiv.
The analysis of all the main trends of both Ukrainian foreign and domestic policy since Euromaidan includes issues of war, Euro-integration, economy, media, anti-corruption reforms and others.
Although “The struggle for Ukraine” was written in autumn 2017 and aimed mostly at the foreign audience, its Ukrainian translation has been completed recently and it is now available for Ukrainian readers. That’s why presentations in different regions of Ukraine have been organized by the Civic Synergy project and the International Renaissance Foundation in order to facilitate public discussion on implementing reforms.
The two experts from Chatham House were James Sherr and Robert Brinkley. Brinkley is a former British Ambassador to Ukraine and head of the Ukrainian Forum. Both speakers reported on the research results and underlined, in particular, the reduced interest of the world media in relation to the conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Robert Brinkley stated, “Ukraine has undergone many reforms and showed it wants to become a part of the European family. However, it still has a long way to go in order to fulfill all the conditions set by the European Union. The main task of the Ukrainian Forum is to be both a friend and a critic: to support Ukraine and to point out the mistakes on the path to European integration.”
Kharkiv leading political scientist Yulia Bidenko notes that the report helps to understand the processes, which are currently taking place in Ukraine, showing risks, challenges and opportunities of reforms’ implementation. While observing and indicating the slow and indecisive ways of Ukrainian politicians and elites in introducing changes, British experts also give recommendations on how to overcome drawbacks.
The scientist also notes that British experts appeal to the civil society of Ukraine and value its opinions which is an unprecedented approach.
“This document is unique as for the first time in history it reflects understanding of the role of civil society as a force, which impacts the Ukrainian authorities and political elites in implementing reforms,” says Yulia Bidenko.
Therefore British experts see it as vital to support and enhance grass-roots activism and civic organizations in Ukraine.
Not only corruption is stated as the main problem for Ukraine, but the security and energy problems, as well as slow economic growth and insufficient transparency of bodies of power, are highlighted in the report.
The meeting’s participants in Kharkiv state that wide public discussion of “The struggle for Ukraine” would help to promote and increase reforms and to establish communication with the international expert community.
Text: Olena Sokolynska
Photo: Renaissance Foundation