It seems like there are no further arguments needed to be advanced for the urgent necessity of cutting budgetary expenditures: obviously, considering the severity of the external threats the country faces, if we do not cope with this issue Ukraine can simply disappear altogether – writes Vladimir Dubrovskiy in his column for VoxUkraine.org. So if we want to save our country and at the same time the inheritance of the Revolution of Dignity, we have to consider a number of political, economic and institutional factors that are usually underestimated by both the government and the IMF.
We argue that NBU’s recent decision to cancel indicative exchange rate was right, but the timing was wrong. This didn’t help confidence to improve. As further devaluation will bring more harm than good for the economy, we argue that credible exchange rate stabilization plan is needed.
While most people think that freedom of speech is a great good in a democratic society, there is much more disagreement on how much one should be allowed to say in times of war. The recent detainment of journalist Kotsaba he declares that the war in eastern Ukraine is a civil war and calls for sabotaging draft into the Ukrainian army—underscores the importance of this debate in the current Ukrainian context. An open discussion about what constitutes treason when it comes to expression of views will protect the new but fragile Ukrainian democracy. It will also defend Ukraine against accusations that the country is turning into a police state.
Amid the drama of Ukraine’s war against Russia’s assault in the southeast, and the recent argument over whether the United States should help it with weapons, it’s too easy to lose focus on the depth of what is really a more immediate, existential threat—Ukraine’s economic crisis.
The fact that there is considerable support for the “people’s republics” among many groups calls for some deeper reflection as to its underlying causes. What complicates the matter is that the Donbas hosts a significant population that carries a “cosmopolitan” Soviet identity. Thus, rather than being divided between Ukrainians and Russians, the Donbas is divided between people who believe in the concept of Ukrainian sovereign statehood and those who are nostalgic of the Soviet past.
Gas price issue is sensitive. We need to have proper and transparent discussion about it, in which all arguments should be presented and weighed. Ideally, arguments should be economically sound and non-populist (“we will all starve/freeze to death”). The goal is not to argue for or against hike in gas tariffs, but for everyone to fully understand pros and cons of this step. The decision will still be after the policymakers, whom we pay from our taxes. If policymakers decide not to hike, they should be ready to explain to the public why and how they will tackle consequences of this decision. If they decide to hike, they also should be ready to explain why and how they will tackle consequences of this decision.
The Ukrainian electricity sector will require a great deal of investment if it is to support robust national economic growth going forward. Many of the generation plants and a great deal of the long-distance transmission infrastructure are badly depreciated and quite inefficient; this is one reason that the Ukrainian economy is one of the most energy-intensive (per volume of output) in the world.
When the Minsk Protocol and its follow-on Memorandum were signed last September, I believed there was almost no chance that they would be fully implemented – writes Edward Walker in the blog. Full implementation is even less likely now. There is, however, at least some chance that a ceasefire could take hold that would allow for a genuine “freezing” of the conflict. The real choice for Kyiv now is whether to push for a stable frozen conflict along a new line of demarcation or to fight hard for every inch of ground, which increases the risk that we will see an unstable war of attrition and more Ukrainian human, material, and territorial losses in the months to come.