The Euromaidan Revolution of 2014 created unprecedentedly favourable conditions for breaking a vicious circle of bad governance and predatory corruption in Ukraine, and for the transformation of Ukrainian politics and society. Yet the results have been mixed and inconsistent. Some progress in reforms has been achieved, but the change could still be reversed.
There are definite attempts to devalue the major gains post-Maidan as, for instance, the ongoing struggle between the newly created National Anti-Corruption Bureau and the President-controlled Prosecutor’s Office illustrates. The main obstacle to reform stems from within the system because the newly-emerged status quo benefits the reshaped elites.
Factual evidence shows that Ukraine can be reformed but, from now on, pushing forward the progress will be an uphill struggle. As time passes, the danger increases that key elements of the old system will be preserved.
In order to continue the reform process, Ukraine will require external support. Ukraine’s Western partners must be prepared to increase the level of conditionality, while ensuring that they will keep their promise in full when conditions are met. In this regard, the delay over granting Ukraine visa-free travel by the EU constitutes a negative example that should not be repeated.