In November 2013, the Ukrainian people came together on Kyiv’s central square, or Maidan, to demand that their voices be heard. After three months of protest, President Victor Yanuchovych, who had attempted to distance the country from Europe and join more closely to Russia against people’s will, fled Ukraine.
The heroes of the Euromaidan won their battle but inherited a country where corrupt entrenched interests had long prevented reform.
Working through the U.S. Agency for International Development, or USAID, the Department of State, and implementing partners, the U.S. government has worked closely with Ukrainian civil society and the government of President Petro Poroshenko to set Ukraine on the road of fulfilling the promise of the Euromaidan: a stable, democratic, prosperous, and free Ukraine. A Ukraine where robust rule of law and low levels of corruption attract the domestic and foreign investment necessary to ensure economic success.
But this is not a simple proposition and cannot happen without a number of difficult reforms; while much has been achieved over the past four years, there is still much to be done. For this reason, Susan Fritz, USAID Regional Mission Director for Ukraine and Belarus, recently declared in a blog post that change is under way.
“The justice sector and the health care system are being restructured,” she wrote.However, continued efforts to address corruption, including through the establishment of a truly independent anti-corruption court, are key to solidifying justice sector reform.
Decentralization is bringing government resources closer to citizens, and newly consolidated communities are working to make government services more efficient and accountable,” Fritz wrote.
“E-governance is helping automate government systems to provide transparency and accountability to government processes.
“Energy sector reform and the restructuring of the energy supply system, once completed, will provide the country with more energy independence and security,” she wrote.
“While Ukraine has quite a ways to go before it can declare success in its reforms process and victory over corruption, we believe we’ve helped make considerable inroads,” Fritz wrote.
“Our goal at USAID is unwavering,” Fritz emphasized.” To continue partnering with the Government of Ukraine, the private sector and civil society to stem corruption, deepen democracy and stimulate inclusive economic growth. We are committed to making Ukraine self-reliant and helping Ukrainians attain the prosperity they desire and deserve.”