Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko is a big problem, says Swedish economist and Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council Anders Aslund, who blasted the country’s weak property rights.
“We’ve heard him virtually every year since he became prosecutor general, this is the 3rd year and he hasn’t said anything that’s convincing, nor is he likely to do anything. The fundamental problem with Ukraine’s economic system is that property rights are extremely weak, and therefore need strong political connections to defend your property. And of course the prosecutor-general is a big problem in this regard,” he said.
Aspiring presidential candidates and public figures made a good impression at the 2018 YES Conference, according to Aslund.
“Well I think that both Tymoshenko and Vakarchuk did very well in terms of performance, and made strong impressions and managed tough questions extremely well. Hrytsenko had the problem that he was simply quite boring,” he said.
When asked about his opinion on specific candidates, Aslund said “I don’t want to pass any judgement on that, because I don’t follow it well enough. The big thing we saw today is that Vakarchuk looks very ready to be a presidential candidate. Tymoshenko knows how to pursue a discussion forcefully and argue well - that we already knew before.”
In regards to Russia, he was optimistic about the impact of sanctions.
“It has a lot of impact on the Russian economy. The cost to the Russian economy is probably 1-1.5% of GDP each year. Together with with the cost of their military, which [costs] say 3-4% of GDP each year, so Russia’s military aggression plus sanctions means that Russia is condemned to stagnation as long as Putin pursues the same foreign policy,” he said.
“Russia is now on the same track that Iran was, and since nothing bad has happened to western economies, there will be more sanctions because Russia has changed its behavior as decided,” he said.
/By Li Ping Luo