UARU
Is The West Tired Of Ukraine?
2 May, 2016

What You Need To Know:

✓ “A number of Western countries have put a great deal of effort into supporting the reform process here. What they worry about is that Ukrainians have become dependent on this level of effort;”

✓ Lough believes that the West should continue pressuring Ukraine but should have realistic expectations;

✓ “The forces driving reform, at the moment in Ukraine, are marginally stronger than those obstructing them;”

✓ Many positive reforms in Ukraine, such as macroeconomic stabilization and police reform have been minimized because of the country’s failure to implement tough reforms.

Over two years since the EuroMaidan revolution and the annexation of Crimea, it appears that the West is losing interest in Ukraine. “A number of Western countries have put a great deal of effort into supporting the reform process here. What they worry about is that Ukrainians have become dependent on this level of effort,” explains John Lough, a Eurasia fellow at Gabara Strategies. However, despite ‘Ukraine fatigue’, Lough assures that the West will and should continue to support Ukraine’s reform efforts.

“Western countries have no desire to see any sort of disorder in Ukraine that could spillover into Europe,” he says about the country struggling to implement crucial reforms. Lough believes that the West should continue pressuring Ukraine but should have realistic expectations: “We cannot expect to see immediate dramatic results, but if we get it right in terms of our policy support and if Ukrainians can acquire the self-belief, the change here is really possible. Positive change.”

When referring to a recent report on Ukrainian Reforms published by Chatham House, Lough states that “the forces driving reform, at the moment in Ukraine, are marginally stronger than those obstructing them.” Many positive reforms in Ukraine, such as macroeconomic stabilization and police reform have been minimized because of the country’s failure to implement tough reforms: “It’s not as though nothing has been happening… because so little has happened on the very difficult issues, for example judicial reform and anti-corruption, therefore ‘nothing is happening’.”

He hopes the report will inform discussion at the policy-level during the inevitable assessment of western policy towards Ukraine, after two years of intense efforts by the West to support the country’s reform process.

Hromadske’s Volodymyr Yermolenko spoke to John Lough, an associate fellow at Gabara Strategies on April 14th, 2016 in Kyiv.