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Oleh Skydan, Tetyana Zinchuk and Oleksandr Kovalchuk, three faculty members of the Zhytomyr National Agroecological University, participated in a discussion at the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, during which they described their university’s collaboration with Pennsylvania State University, Ohio State University and other institutions in the United States and Europe, as well as recent trends and developments in Ukraine’s agricultural sector, which is experiencing a major expansion of exports globally. They noted that their university is unique among Ukrainian agricultural institutions of higher learning with regard to its emphasis on ecological and environmental subjects such as organic food production, bioenergy, clean water and radiation contamination.  They said that last year, Rep. Marcy Kaptur, Co-Chair of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus, visited their university in Zhytomyr to engage them in the Seeds of Hope program, which aims to support women entrepreneurs in small-scale agricultural business development.

Photo at top of page (L to R):

Oleh Skydan, Rector of the Zhytomyr National Agroecological University (ZNAEU), where he has also been involved with the Department of Innovative Entrepreneurship and Investment Activity since 2015.

Professor Tetyana Zinchuk, head of the International Economic Relations and European Integration Department of ZNAEU. Being a Doctor of Economics she is an active researcher of the processes of European Union common agricultural policy reforms. She also studies mechanisms of socially responsible and sustainable agribusiness.

Oleksandr Kovalchuk (PhD in Economics), Dean of Accounting and Finance Faculty, ZNAEU. His research areas of interest include institutional support of business and world experience of rural and sustainable development.

Faculty members of Zhytomyr National Agroecological University and other participants of an April 15th meeting at the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation. (Credit: Adrian Karmazyn)

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Nadia K. McConnell, President of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, spoke on a panel titled “A World in Disarray” at the 12th annual Kyiv Security Forum. The yearly event was launched by the Arseniy Yatsenyuk Open Ukraine Foundation in 2007. Since then, the Forum has become a platform for high-level international discussions on current issues of Ukrainian national security and  security issues of the Black Sea region, Europe and the world.

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With less than two weeks left before Ukrainian voters make a final decision on who will be their president for the next five years, the Transatlantic Task Force on Elections and Civil Society in Ukraine held an international teleconference devoted to the results of the first round of the elections and concerns regarding the upcoming second round in which incumbent Petro Poroshenko and his opponent, Volodymyr Zelensky, will compete.

In their opening remarks, Johnathan Katz (German Marshall Fund) and Orest Deychakiwsky (U.S.-Ukraine Foundation), who served as first-round election observers in Vinnytsia and Mykolaiv, respectively, gave Ukraine high marks regarding the conduct of the March 31st vote.

Mr. Katz was part of a National Democratic Institute mission and citing that organization’s election assessment he noted that “the election was genuinely competitive” and that “despite ongoing Russian aggression Ukraine held an election that broadly reflects the will of voters and meets key international standards.” Speaking about the mood of electorate he said we see “a frustration among Ukrainian voters about the state of the economy, about the state of reforms, about the ongoing conflict in the East” and “those issues are still front and center as we go into the second round of the elections.”

Mr. Deychakiwsky was part of the observer mission of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which deployed nearly a thousand observers from 45 countries all over Ukraine.  The election was assessed positively by the OSCE, he said, and stressed that: “Ukraine again showed its strong commitment to democracy.  This irritated Moscow to no end.”  He added that “the positive conduct of the elections increased the confidence of Ukraine’s international friends and partners [with regard to] Ukraine’s commitment to a brighter, democratic, Euro-Atlantic future.  And this, I think, is ultimately what matters.  And no matter who is elected president—and yes, it will probably be a bit more challenging in the event of a Zelensky victory—but no matter what, the West, I think, still needs to continue to support Ukraine, and especially Ukraine’s civil society.”

Olha Aivazovska, who heads Elections and Parliamentary Programs of the Civil Network OPORA, concurred with the positive assessments of the conduct of the first round saying that “these elections were very competitive” and that “the number of violations decreased” as compared to the previous election in 2014.  She noted that five candidates had representatives in 99% of the country’s election commissions with many of them lacking sufficient training and experience. This sometimes led to violations of electoral laws and procedures but they were more of a technical nature and not systematic.  The presence of international partners helped minimize serious violations, she said.

Inna Borzylo, Chief Executive Officer of Centre UA, explained that her organization, in partnership with the NGO Chesno, focused on enlightening the public about the political platforms of the candidates and on analyzing campaign expenditures.  She characterized the programs and pronouncements of the candidates as “quite populistic,” with the majority of them promising bigger salaries, higher pensions and lower prices for utilities like gas, “without providing any details about how they would implement these ideas.”  Ironically, although the voters look to the president to solve the country’s socio-economic problems, the constitutional prerogatives of the presidency are primarily in the sphere of foreign policy, defense and national security, she said.  According to the Constitution, it is mainly the prime minister who is responsible for the government’s economic policy.

Oleksiy Haran, a professor at the University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy and research director at the Democratic Initiatives Foundation (DIF), underscored the importance of the exit poll that DIF conducted in partnership with other independent organizations as an instrument of “democratic control.”  When election results differ significantly from exit poll results it can be a sign of election falsification, but in this case, the tally of the Central Election Committee and the exit poll were consistent.

Professor Haran called Volodymyr Zelensky’s first place finish in the first round with 30% of the vote a “protest phenomenon” not unlike what we’ve seen in other countries in recent years.  The ability of Petro Poroshenko to overtake Mr. Zelensky in the second round depends on the mobilization of those who voted for Yuliya Tymoshenko, Anatoliy Hrytsenko, Ihor Smeshko, Ruslan Koshulynskyi and Oleh Lyaskhko in the first round, who see themselves as ideologically closer to the incumbent than to political newcomer Zelensky and who may question the latter’s lack of experience and lack of clarity on Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration.

The voting public’s inability to obtain details directly from Mr. Zelensky about his specific policy prescriptions and positions on many important domestic, international and security issues was extensively discussed during the April 9th teleconference.

Kyiv moderator Vasyl Babych of the Reanimation Package of Reforms (RPR) asked if there has been equal access of candidates to news media in Ukraine?  He noted that the issue of a debate between Poroshenko and Zelensky is now a dominant topic in the campaign and that the RPR board encourages both candidates to take part in a debate on public TV as foreseen by Ukrainian legislation.

Halyna Petrenko, Director of Detector Media, says that in this election in Ukraine there’s not really a major concern about equal access to news media but rather “we have a very interesting situation when we have one candidate who is hiding from the media – maybe it’s the first time in history.  I mean Volodymyr Zelensky, who is very active in entertainment content [in a popular TV series] but this entertainment content he uses not in addition to information and news content but instead of information and news content.”

Ms. Petrenko went on to say that “Mr. Zelensky is trying to find a tricky way to appear publicly but at the same time to avoid classic debates with tough questions, with concrete questions about military strategy, economic strategy and diplomatic strategy and so on.” He has not been participating in news and information formats, just in entertainment programming, she explains.

Oleksiy Haran says that Ukraine needs “real TV debates, not a show” not only for voters who have not made up their minds but just as importantly to hear the candidates’ ideas and positions on important issues and to be able to hold the winner accountable after the elections in terms of carrying out their commitments.

Could Mr. Zelensky’s avoidance of serious news interviews and debates hurt him electorally?

Mr. Haran indicated that Zelensky’s strategy of avoiding specifics seems designed to be all things to all people so that voters can project their own view on him and think that he will do everything that they want and to mask his and his team’s inexperience and lack of knowledge about critical issues.

Halyna Petrenko shared the following insights about the curious lack of unanimity among reformers to demand more public engagement from Zelensky:On the one hand, of course, media experts and journalists and a big part of civil society at the moment is pushing Mr. Zelensky to come to the debate, to come to television to be more open and to answer our questions, a lot of questions. But on the other hand… we have some persons in our civil society, who are trusted in civil society, who now maybe have some hope to join his team, the team of Mr. Zelensky, or maybe they already joined his team, who try to persuade us not to push him to be on the TV [interviews and debates], to be in the media at the moment, because they say that he has [limited] experience. Let’s help him to win the election and then we will teach him somehow.”

Oleksiy Haran, said that for voters with higher levels of education, Volodymyr Zelensky’s avoidance of journalists and debates may be disqualifying, but for his supporters, who are seeking change, it doesn’t matter.  But the analyst feels that civil society should continue to press Mr. Zelensky to be more open in these final days before the April 21st election.

A teleconference participant from Brussels wanted to know why incumbent President Poroshenko won the first round among Ukrainian citizens voting abroad.  The reason, suggested by Inna Borzylo, is that “they do not watch Ukrainian media.  And they watch less investigations on the corruption of Poroshenko and his allies.  And Poroshenko as the current president of Ukraine, of course, represents our country on high-level platforms and he is quite professional in this and that is how international media mostly cover his activity.”

At many think-tank forums in Washington, Poroshenko wins praise for halting Russia’s invasion, rebuilding Ukraine’s defense capacity and carrying out a number of significant reforms, while also being criticized for not doing enough about corruption.  Oleksiy Haran expressed disappointment that most Ukrainian media have not been fair and balanced in their coverage of the president’s shortcomings and accomplishments.

Ms. Petrenko noted that some Ukrainian TV channels – particularly Inter, News One and 112 – disseminate Russian narratives on a regular basis. She said that Ukrainians that watch those television broadcasts tend to perceive this situation in Ukraine more negatively and are more likely to believe that Ukraine started the war in the Donbas than viewers of other channels.

This was the fifth in a series of international teleconferences of the Transatlantic Task Force on Elections and Civil Society in Ukraine, organized by the Friends of Ukraine Network (FOUN) Democracy and Civil Society Task Force (co-chaired by Jonathan Katz and Orest Deychakiwsky) in Washington, the German Marshall Fund, the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, the Reanimation Package of Reforms, the Ukrainian World Congress and the Ukraine Crisis Media Center (the event venue in Kyiv).  Other participants include the Centre for Democracy and Rule of Law, the Centre for Policy and Legal Reform, the OPORA Civil Network, the Democratic Initiatives Foundation, the DEJURE Foundation, the Centre for Economic Strategy, the Anti-Corruption Action Centre, Centre UA, and Transparency International Ukraine.

To watch a video of the April 9th teleconference click here:

The second round of presidential elections: what to expect for Ukraine? UCMC 09.04.2019 - YouTube

Photo at top of page: Experts in Kyiv provide a Ukraine presidential election update for a Transatlantic Task Force teleconference (L to R): Halyna Petrenko, Inna Borzylo, Oleksiy Haran, Olha Aivazovska and Vasyl Babych.  Credit: RPR/UCMC

Adrian Karmazyn is Vice-Chair of the Friends of Ukraine Network Democracy and Civil Society Task Force, an initiative of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation.

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At a forum at the U.S. Capitol organized by the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation (USUF), the Friends of Ukraine Network (FOUN) task forces on National Security, Economic Security, and Democracy and Civil Society presented their Priority Recommendations for U.S. Assistance to Ukraine 2019 and examined the challenges that Ukraine faces on its path to deeper integration with the Euro-Atlantic community of prosperous democracies.

Nadia K. McConnell (President of USUF), and Amb. Valeriy Chaly (Ukraine’s Ambassador to the USA) provided opening remarks at the March 20th forum which was attended, among others, by a women’s leadership delegation from Ukraine:

US - UKRAINE FORUM MARCH 20, 2019 Welcome, Opening Remarks - YouTube

The keynote speakers at the forum were Ambassador Kurt Volker, the U.S. Special Representative to Ukraine, and Ambassador Paula Dobriansky, former Undersecretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, shared their perspectives on the current situation in Ukraine and Russia’s war on Ukrainian sovereignty. They were introduced by Amb. Roman Popadiuk (USUF Board Chair):

US - UKRAINE FORUM MARCH 20, 2019 Ukraine Today – USG & Independent Perspectives - YouTube

The Friends of Ukraine Network (FOUN National Security Task Force is chaired by Ambassador John Herbst (Atlantic Council) and includes Stephen Blank (American Foreign Policy Council), Ian Brzezinski (Atlantic Council), Michael Carpenter (Penn Biden Center), Glen Howard (Jamestown Foundation) and Robert A. McConnell (McConnell and Associates).  Panelists from this task force focused on various measures that could enhance Ukraine’s security and raise the costs on Russia for its aggression against Ukraine:

US - UKRAINE FORUM MARCH 20, 2019 National Security Task Force - YouTube

 

The next panel presented the recommendations and analysis of the FOUN Economic Security Task Force.  The speakers were Amb. Roman Popadiuk, Anders Aslund (Atlantic Council), Dawn Calabia (Refugees International), Edward Chow (Georgetown University) and David Rigsby (WatchStander):

UKRAINIAN FORUM MARCH 20, 2019 Economic Security Task Force - YouTube

 

The recommendations of the FOUN Democracy and Civil Society Task Force were presented by Jonathan Katz (German Marshall Fund) and Orest Deychakiwsky (former senior policy advisor at the Helsinki Commission).  Among the issues they focused on were reforms,  the battle against corruption and the upcoming elections in Ukraine:

UKRAINIAN FORUM MARCH 20, 2019 Democracy & Civil Society Task Force - YouTube

 

Those attending the forum also had the opportunity to hear about international humanitarian initiatives that are underway in Ukraine or that have relevance for Ukraine.  Speaking on this topic were  Audri Beugelsdijk (Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors), Oka Hrycak (Ukrainian National Women’s League of America) and Patricia Sheikh (Roots of Peace).  The panel was chaired by Nadia K. McConnell:

US UKRAINE FORUM MARCH 20, 2019 Humanitarian Initiatives - YouTube

 

The concluding presentation, titled Unleashing Women Entrepreneurs in Economic Development, was by Rusty Brooks of the International Center of the Carl Vinson Institute of Government at the University of Georgia: 

US UKRAINE FORUM MARCH 20, 2019 Unleashing Women Entrepreneurs in Economic Development - YouTube

The forum was part of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation Leadership in a Rule of Law Country program for a Ukrainian women’s delegation of professionals, entrepreneurs representatives of non-profits.  It was subtitled Supporting a Free Ukraine’s Democratic Development and co-sponsored by the co-chairs of the Congressional Ukraine Caucus: Representatives Marcy Kaptur (D-OH), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Andy Harris (R-MD) and Mike Quigley (D-IL).  The event was held at the Capitol Visitor Center in Washington. 

 

 

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The US-Ukraine Foundation has brought together various specialists within its Friends of Ukraine Network initiative to build a rational consensus for recommendations on assistance for Ukraine.  The following three sets of proposals were produced in March of 2019 as a practical and, therefore, actionable set of policy recommendations:

The Friends of Ukraine Network (FOUN) Economic Security Task Force Recommendations for Further Assistance

Introduction

The Economic Security Task force is focused on four areas that have major implications for Ukraine’s economy: the general economic situation, the energy sector, humanitarian issues and the defense sector. The respective area group chairs are Anders Aslund, Ed Chow, Dawn Calabia and David Rigsby. The overall task force chairman is Ambassador Roman Popadiuk. While the general economic situation appears to have improved as seen by the continued cooperation with the International Monetary Fund and the lowered inflation rate, Ukraine continues to struggle with issues of transparency and corruption which hamper business development. Added to these economic challenges is the most recent Russian aggression and activities in the Sea of Azov that have Interfered with Ukraine’s shipping and negatively impacted the economy. It is with this latest aggression in mind that the task force is recommending an increased round of sanctions specifically targeting Russian shipping and banking interests.  On the energy front, while gas prices have been moved toward market prices there is still a long way to go, particularly as regards attracting foreign investment and developing domestic sources.

The task force is making a number of specific recommendations to move Ukraine forward on these fronts. The humanitarian issue, caused by Russian aggression, is particularly troubling. The international community has fallen short in providing the wide range of support Ukraine needs. Currently, about 3.4 million Ukrainians need some form of humanitarian assistance and of these about 1.5 million are internally displaced persons who need particular attention. We are recommending increased funding for all areas of humanitarian assistance and particular assistance in dealing with the dangers of landmines. Ukraine is considered one of the most heavily landmine-contaminated countries in the world. The defense sector needs greater transparency and a better procurement process as well as an in-depth analysis to determine the actual needs of Ukraine’s front-line forces. Our recommendations are aimed at creating a more efficient defense structure that will be able to meet the military’s battlefield requirements and help develop the private defense sector.

Economic Sanctions

  • Support the EU’s efforts to regulate the Nord Stream II
  • Prepare sanctions options, accompanied by implementation if Russia does not restore the status quo in the Sea of Azov. If Russia does not take action, impose sanctions that could include the following:
  • Blocking sanctions on one or more Russian state financial institutions, preferably, Vnesheconombank (VEB), Promsvyazbank, and the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF);
  • Prohibit US persons from participating in the issue of new Russian sovereign debt.
  • Sanctions on Russian shipping, including:
  • Ban Russian ships from US and EU ports
  • New sanctions should remain in place until the Minsk agreement is fulfilled

Energy

  • Leveraging public resources to attract private investment, particularly in promising areas such as domestic gas production and renewable energy
  • A comprehensive investment plan in combined heat and power to attract private capital
  • Engagement by U.S. financial institutions such as OPIC, EXIM, and TDA to encourage U.S. private investment in the Ukrainian energy sector
  • Public education programs on the direct benefits of energy reform in order to engage a vibrant civil society as partner, impetus and monitor of the reform process

Humanitarian

  • Greater access to areas with greatest needs in the conflict zone
  • Increased attention and assistance to neutralize mines and other explosives in eastern Ukraine
  • More U.S. assistance, including in kind and personnel to administer to immediate needs
  • Humanitarian agencies need donors early support of essential programs
  • A UN led pledging conference to increase donor support for health, nutrition, education and shelter.

Private Sector Defense Environment and Development 

  • Private defense companies provide about 60% of Ukraine’s in country sourced military requirements
  • Private military-industrial complex of Ukraine is comprised of more than 100 companies of wide variety of specialization
  • Needs improved Western investment and partnering opportunities
  • Ukroboronprom provides the balance of in country sourced military requirements
  • Regulatory environment is complex, hide-bound, delay inducing, and export revenue focused
  • Needs better system to capture, analyze and prioritize data collected from combat and exercise operations
  • Needs improved communications between military, private industry and UOP to deliver most essential capabilities to fighting forces fastest
  • Needs to focus US assistance programs on meeting current requirements and building own capability to provide its requirements by improving Ukraine’s private defense sector

The Friends of Ukraine Network (FOUN) National Security Task Force Recommendations for Further Assistance

Military Assistance –

Guiding Principles:

  • Should be grounded in Ukrainian National Strategic Planning – Defend Forward/Fighting
  • Should enhance Ukraine’s own capability to produce the required equipment
  • Should be based on most rapid time to field – taking into account training requirements, translations of manuals, support tail required, etc.
  • Should avoid creating concentration of high-value targets – headquarters units, armor, etc.
  • Should assume enemy air superiority at all points

Priority capabilities:

  • Air defense artillery to challenge Russian air superiority
  • Coastal Defense Systems – Surveillance, Detection, artillery anti-ship missile systems
  • Territorial Sea Protection – small, high speed, well-armed craft, low cost

Specific options:

  • The US should provide at leas 6, and as many as 12, Mark V PT boats, which arry torpedoes ans well as the capacity to be equipped with at least 50, and as many as 100, Hellfire missiles
  • The US should provide gratis the 1970s Harpoon anti-ship missiles currently sitting in storage
  • The US should provide the radar and intelligence systems necessary to track the Russian Navy in the Sea of Azov
  • Identify funding mechanisms

NATO and USG Foreign Policy –

  • Issue statements from the US, NATO, and other Western allies strongly condemning Russian actions. Specifically,
  • Describe the actions as an escalation of violence, creeping aggression, an effort to destabilizes Ukraine, and a challenge to broader European security, thus to NATO
  • Note violations to relevant international conventions as well as the 2003 bilateral agreement on the Sea of Azov and Kerch Strait
  • State that Russia should publicly acknowledge responsibility, make restitutions, immediately release the Ukrainian sailors now being held, and permit Ukrainian shipping free access to the Sea of Azov. Failure to do so by a date certain should be met with sanctions banning access to US/European ports by Russian ships from Black Sea, Sea of Azov and Don River ports
  • Send a NATO/EU fact-finding mission to the Sea of Azov and bolster the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission along the Sea of Azov coast
  • Convene the UN General Assembly along with the UN National Security Council

The FOUN National Security Task Force is chaired by Ambassador John Herbst (Atlantic Council) and includes Stephen Blank (American Foreign Policy Council), Ian Brzezinski (Atlantic Council), Michael Carpenter (Penn Biden Center), Glen Howard (Jamestown Foundation) and Robert A. McConnell (McConnell and Associates).

The Friends of Ukraine Network (FOUN) Democracy and Civil Society Task Force Recommendations for Further U.S. Assistance to Ukraine (with Recommendations for Ukraine)

  • A democratic, secure and prosperous Ukraine continues to be in the national security interest of the United States and transatlantic community. Ukraine and the Ukrainian people continue to receive strong bipartisan support in Washington and by the Transatlantic community.
  • Thanks to the dynamic role of civil society since the Maidan, and the dedication of Ukrainian reformers, Ukraine has made significant progress in the last five years to stabilize its economy, carry out democratic reforms and counter Russia’s war of aggression. However, recent anti-corruption backsliding, as pointed out by Ukraine’s partners, is deeply disconcerting and raises serious questions about Ukraine’s commitment to democratic reforms.
  • Given these serious challenges work needs to be done to fully implement reforms, reinvigorate efforts to combat corruption, strengthen and protect civil society and fulfill Ukraine’s EuroAtlantic aspirations. It is also essential that Ukraine conduct free, fair, open and transparent presidential and parliamentary elections in 2019 to further ensure the integrity of its democracy.
  • Corruption remains a vexing issue for Ukraine in 2019 holding back political, economic and EuroAtlantic progress. We applaud that Ukraine has done more on reform in many sectors over the last five years than in the previous two decades. That said, Ukrainian officials in 2019 and beyond must commit to greater effort to combat the pervasive, long-standing corruption that still exists in public and private life.
  • As Russia continues to wage a war of aggression it is increasingly important in 2019 that the United States, European Union and other partners of Ukraine step up efforts to strengthen Ukrainian democratic and economic resilience. This includes reinforcing Ukrainian civil society’s fight again corruption and building a robust democracy with strong institutions, political parties, independent media — all necessary in a healthy and vibrant democracy. Continuing on the reform path, especially in the area of rule of law, will benefit Ukraine’s democracy, economy, security and independence. Failure to do so only benefits Moscow.

For the United States:

  • Increase U.S. political and diplomatic engagement with the Ukrainian government and civil society and international partners to support implementation of stalled reforms in Ukraine.
  • Make clear prior to and after Ukraine’s 2019 elections that there is growing expectation about the need to implement and carry out critical anti-corruption and democratic reforms.
  • Deepen political, development and economic cooperation among the U.S., European Union and other international partners of Ukraine to strengthen Ukraine’s democracy, resiliency, fight against corruption and Russian aggression.
  • Urge the U.S. Congress to hold hearings on Ukraine’s democratic reform efforts and play a role in determining conditionality on U.S. assistance and support for Ukraine.
  • Provide robust U.S. government support for Ukraine’s democratic development, including an independent judiciary, strengthened rule of law, human rights and law enforcement.
  • Encourage U.S. active support for free, fair, open and transparent 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections in Ukraine that meet international democratic standards.
  • Intensify diplomatic and political support for Ukraine’s civil society to strengthen their efforts to combat corruption, monitor government and hold it accountable, eliminate any attempts to curtail activists’ lawful activities and reduce attacks and pressure on them.
  • Maintain, and increase, where appropriate, current levels of U.S. government funding and technical assistance to further develop and strengthen civil society organizations.
  • Maintain, and increase, where appropriate, support for reform-oriented national political parties.
  • Where appropriate, the United States should apply targeted conditionality to both development and new macroeconomic assistance support focused on the passage and implementation of key democratic and rule of law reforms, including independent and impartial courts, as well as comprehensive reform of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).
  • Increase or maintain current levels of U.S. government funding for academic, professional, and people-to-people exchanges through existing exchange programs with Ukraine.
  • Increase or maintain current levels of U.S. government funding for media development in Ukraine, especially independent and investigative media.
  • Continue to fund the Ukrainian Services of the Voice of America and Radio Liberty at levels that enable them to vigorously respond to Russian disinformation as well as the informational shortcomings and biases of oligarch-controlled media in Ukraine.
  • Continue U.S. assistance in support of decentralization in Ukraine, empowering local governments and communities as purveyors and implementers of reforms and more responsive governance.
  • Maintain, and, as necessary, increase, U.S. government funding to strengthen Ukraine’s election processes to ensure that elections meet international democratic standards and are free, fair, open and transparent.
  • Consider providing additional funding, if necessary, to help Ukraine defend its election infrastructure against cyberattacks from Russia and other malign actors
  • Target assistance for programs to improve trust and confidence and reconciliation between citizens and government in areas in eastern Ukraine.

For Ukraine:

  • Hold free, fair, and open presidential and parliamentary elections in 2019 that meet international democratic standards. Address areas where improvements need to be made, including electoral framework and administration, campaign, campaign financing, the information environment, and participation (notably IDP voting). A transparent, credible election process would reinforce Ukraine’s democracy.
  • Undertake efforts to reduce electoral injustice, including by strengthening accountability for election violations.
  • Implement to the extent possible elections-related recommendations of the OSCE and other international organizations such as the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and the International Republican Institute (IRI), as well as the roadmap for progress outlined by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and Ukrainian civil society organizations OPORA and Reanimation Package of Reforms (RPR).
  • Continue to make concrete progress implementing reforms and in strengthening the rule of law, promoting further reform of the judicial system and of law enforcement structures, and more resolutely combat corruption.
  • Strengthen the rule of law by improving judicial independence, integrity, professionalism and accountability.
  • Continue to encourage a fair, transparent, competitive and honest candidate selection process for the anti-corruption court so as to ensure the highest integrity of judges; ensure a transparent and competitive selection process for the court apparatus.
  • Support efforts to launch the High Anti-Corruption Court, and help ensure anti-corruption institutions work together in fostering rule of law, and transparent and accountable government.
  • Encourage Ukraine’s pro-reform forces and judiciary system before and after elections in 2019 to undertake and implement reforms that would better hold corrupt officials to account.
  • Encourage systemic reforms that would reduce opportunities for government officials to engage in corrupt activities.
  • We join theG7 and World Bank urging the Ukrainian government to “immediately step up efforts to safeguard the effectiveness of anti-corruption legal tools and institutions, including by reinstating criminal liability for illicit enrichment in line with UN, OECD and ECHR principles and finding a way to continue the dozens of investigations and prosecutions threatened by the court’s recent ruling.”
  • Cease governmental attempts to control and punish anti-corruption activists, including abolishing mandatory declarations for organizations engaged in anti-corruption activities;
  • Remove or amend legislation that unduly and unfairly hampers the work of civil society.
  • Thoroughly and impartially investigate and punish all instances of attacks, including killings, of civil society activists, journalists, and members of minority groups, including Roma.
  • Support and not undermine the work of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU), equip it with the necessary tools for its effective activity, safeguard existing anticorruption legislation from being watered down.
  • Ensure the transparency, effectiveness and political independence of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO)
  • Urge the Ukrainian government to ensure that the Specialized Anti-corruption Prosecutor’s Office is led by a Ukrainian official committed to addressing corruption.
  • Reform the National Agency on Corruption Prevention to ensure impartiality and objectiveness and the fulfillment of the institution’s functions, including full and effective control in reviewing and verifying the assets of Ukrainian officials provided by the electronic asset declaration system
  • Provide the anti-corruption institutions, including the recently-created State Bureau of Investigations, with the authorities, resources and genuine independence to carry out their missions;
  • Engage in comprehensive reform and restructuring of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), removing its power to fight economic crimes and thereby reducing corruption;
  • Eliminate interference in the work of anti-corruption institutions and encourage cooperation among them so as to more effectively combat corruption.
  • Remove or curtail parliamentary immunity in ways that would allow legitimate criminal prosecutions, particularly in cases of corruption, to proceed.
  • Provide adequate funding for sustainable public TV and radio broadcasting and adopt legislation and regulations that foster the strengthening of newsroom independence and a diversification of media ownership in order to limit the impact of biased news reporting of oligarch-owned media.

The Members of the FOUN Democracy and Civil Society Task Force are:

Jonathan Katz, Co-Chair (German Marshall Fund)

Orest Deychakiwsky, Co-Chair (Former Senior Policy Advisor, US Helsinki Commission)

Adrian Karmazyn, Vice Chair (Former Voice of America Ukrainian Service Chief)

Tania Chomiak-Salvi (Former Deputy Coordinator, International Information Programs, US Department of State)

Jaroslav Dutkewych (Former Peace Corps Ukraine Director)

David J. Kramer (Former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor)

Stephen Nix (International Republican Institute)

Joanna Rohozinska (National Endowment for Democracy)

Ambassador William B. Taylor (US Institute of Peace) 

These recommendations do not necessarily reflect the views of all organizations represented herein or other members of the Friends of Ukraine Network.

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