One year ago, John Herbst said that the ongoing war in Ukraine was a battle between the past and the future, which meant that the latter would certainly win. Unfortunately, the outcome is not so clear anymore. It seems that instead this is a battle between the world of free people and a totalitarian dystopia. Pavel Sheremet knew perfectly well how to do that, and he worked to this end until his last breath. With his words, he restrained the onslaught of the darkness, just as the Ukrainian military holds it in check in the East of Ukraine. In memory of him, and of all those who have died and continue dying in this war, and above all, for the sake of those alive, we have no right to retreat.
In the last 2.5 years, the amount of bank branches has fallen by 8,468 and now stands at 10,822. The Russian occupation and the cleanup of the banking sector are accountable for the closure of 5,500 branches. However, other branches were closed by stable banks. VoxUkraine has found out whether it is the growing poverty in Ukraine or new technologies that has “killed” more branches. Full text is available in Ukrainian and Russian.
Fact-Checking the Education Sector in Ukraine. Admission Campaign in 2016: Mistakes of the Ministry of Education
There are multiple topics in education that create a fertile ground for manipulating facts, e. g. university admissions campaign, an increase in the number of students that are enrolled in state-funded programs, the position of Ukraine in the education rankings etc. The CEDOS analytical center has joined the VoxCheck initiative and has checked the most dubious statements made by the officials in the education sector. CEDOS has found seven mistakes in the statements by the minister Liliya Hrynevych, first deputy minister Inna Sovsun, and in the press releases of the ministers of education and economy. Full text is available in Ukrainian and Russian.
There can be two general approaches to the monetary policy – using rules and using discretion. The discussions among leading economists about the best approach are still hot. How to choose the right rule when performing economic analysis is problematic due to a very short time span of data, as it is in Ukraine?
Judicial reforms keep the iMoRe index in a positive territory. Nevertheless, the value of the index remains low, this time due to the unconsidered government decision to increase the number of publicly financed spots for students at universities and the lack of significant developments in public finances and energy.
Operation “Verification”: Where the Ministry of Finance Discovered 5 Billion Hryvnias in Fraudulent Welfare Benefits and Why the Government Will Continue Paying Them
As a part of social welfare verification, the Ministry of Finance was able to gain access to and audit only 70 percent of the total amount of social payments and 22 million of welfare recipients. The scale of potential misuse is overwhelming — over 500,000 violations totaling to more than five billion hryvnias: pensions for “ghost recipients”, payments to “lost passports”, subsidies for people who are far from being poor, as well as financial aid for fake IDPs who still prefer to reside in the occupied territories of Donbass. And the list is far from complete. Why are chances slim that hundreds of thousands of violations will be curtailed?
Practically speaking, businesses don’t have any incentives to implement effective anti-corruption measures today: the magnitude of sanctions and the probability of punishment are still low, and they are absolutely unable to restrain businesses from committing crime. Organizations still can’t avoid the liability for corruption even when they implement meaningful preventive measures, or when they disclose corruption committed by their employees. How we can change this situation?
Is it a good idea to increase the number of university students enrolled in state-funded programs? As unpopular as it may be, the honest answer is no. In practice, the noble idea of free (state-funded) education often leads to wasting money. According to the Accounting Chamber of Ukraine, while in 2012 about 41% of school leavers were admitted to privately funded programs, in 2015 this number amounted just to 26%. The state paid for the education of almost three quarters of applicants. This completely undermines the idea of the competitive admissions and decreases the quality of education. Full text is available in Ukrainian and Russian.
The National Bank of Ukraine has removed 80 banks (44% of all banks) from the market. It seems that more banks will follow. Is it possible to foretell a forthcoming bankruptcy of a bank with no insider information at hand? Very often, the answer is yes. Our analysis reveals that many failing banks have had similar symptoms of not strictly economic nature. Noticing them in a still functioning bank can save time and money. What signs can point to the forthcoming collapse of a bank? Full text is available in Ukrainian and Russian.
This column assesses the economic situation in the war-affected East of Ukraine. Given official statistics are not available, we use changes in nighttime light intensity, measured by satellites, to estimate to what extent the war has destroyed the economy, and whether any recovery can be observed since the Minsk II agreements.