Reform Index 215: Ban on books from Russia and Belarus, seed certification, and financial support for the military

Reform Index 215: Ban on books from Russia and Belarus, seed certification, and financial support for the military

Photo: / SashaKhalabuzar
1 August 2023

In issue 215 (issue 208 before the audit) of the Reform Index, 7 reforms have been included for the period from June 19 to July 2. The Index’s overall rating is +0.9 points on a scale ranging from -5 to +5 (in the previous issue, its value was +0.3 points). Three new regulations received a rating of +2 points from experts, which distinguishes more significant changes from less noticeable ones.

Chart 1. Reform Index Dynamics

Chart 2. Reform Index and its components in the current round

The law regarding restrictions on the import and distribution of publishing products from Russia, Belarus, and the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, +2 points

At the end of June, the President signed Law 2309, which prohibits the import of publishing products from the aggressor state Russia, as well as Belarus and the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine. By the way, there are chances that Belarus will soon be recognized as an aggressor state. Deputies have already submitted a bill on this matter to Parliament.

The law on publishing has been amended. Previously, publishing products from the aforementioned countries could be distributed with permission from the State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting. Now, the restrictions have become stricter — the import of such products is prohibited, as well as publications containing works by authors who were citizens of russia after 1991, except for those who later acquired Ukrainian citizenship and renounced russian citizenship.

In March of last year, similar restrictions seem to have been introduced by a State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting order. According to it, the operation of existing permits and issuance of new ones for importing publishing products from the aggressor state’s territory were suspended in Ukraine.

Instead, russian-language publications that do not fall under said restrictions can be imported with permits. All these rules do not apply to the import of up to 10 copies of publishing products in baggage unless they are included in the Registry of publishing products with anti-Ukrainian content.

Currently, the law is under consideration by the European Union to assess its impact on Ukraine’s compliance with obligations related to the protection of the rights of national minorities in the context of Ukraine’s application for membership in the European Union.

Information about the Reforms Index project, the list of Index experts and the database of the regulations assessed are available here.

The resolution that facilitates seed certification, + 2 points

Resolution 637 is part of Ukraine’s European integration commitments regarding assessing seed and planting material compliance.

The changes specifically affected the field assessment of seeds, making it more competitive. Agricultural enterprises are now allowed to provide services for the field assessment of seed crops and planting material (nurseries of perennial plants) through contracts with private auditors (agronomist-inspectors) without the involvement of the state certification body. Auditors must adhere to confidentiality regarding the information obtained during the assessment of seeds or plantings and should not have any conflicts of interest during their work. Additionally, auditors are responsible for the accuracy of the information entered into the field assessment and rejection records of seeds or plantings.

The law concerning certain issues related to military service during martial law + 2 points

Law 3161-IX modifies the financial compensation for military personnel and the rules for granting leaves.

Military service members participating in combat operations will receive an additional reward ranging from 30,000 to 100,000 hryvnias. Additionally, the military members undergoing medical treatment or captured will receive a monthly payment of 100,000 hryvnias.

In addition, the issue of payments to military personnel recognized as partially fit or unfit with a review every 6-12 months has also been regulated. During the first two months, they will receive the full amount of benefits, and in the following months, they will be paid 20,100 hryvnias.

The duration of leaves during martial law has also been increased. A service member can now receive 30 days of basic annual leave and an additional ten days of leave because of family circumstances. The primary leave should be taken in parts, each lasting no more than 15 days. Leave can be granted if no more than 30% of service members of the corresponding category are absent in the unit simultaneously.

Chart 3. Value of Reform Index components and number of events

Reform Index from VoxUkraine aims to provide a comprehensive assessment of reform efforts by Ukraine’s authorities. The Index is based on expert assessments of changes in the regulatory environment in six areas: Governance, Public Finance, Monetary system, Business Environment, Energy, Human Capital.

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