Ukraine at a Crossroads
The Orange Revolution in the fall of 2004 built great hopes for a better future for Ukraine. However, three years later those hopes have been replaced by disappointment, frustration and confusion. Although progress in the areas of political freedom, pluralism, civil rights and freedom in the media remains unquestionable the record of economic, institutional and legal reforms is much more problematic. The key macroeconomic indicators are not better than they were few years ago and the business climate has barely improved. The WTO accession process remains incomplete. The perspectives of Euro-Atlantic integration are continually subject to heated domestic political controversies. The political situation remains unstable, mostly due to the hasty constitutional changes that were adopted during the Orange Revolution.
The purpose of this paper is to analyze the state of the Ukrainian economy at the end of 2007 and reflect upon what kind of reform program the Ukrainian government should consider, regardless of its political color. The reforms suggested in this paper involve a broad agenda of macroeconomic, social, structural and institutional measures. This agenda goes beyond the purely economic sphere and also addresses issues of legal, administrative and political reforms. The politics and political economy of any future reform effort will not be easy because the country is deeply divided in political, cultural, regional and ethnic terms. In such an environment, crucial reforms and strategic decisions will require a wider cross-party political consensus.