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Reform responsibilities (Constitutionally speaking)

The Greek referendums is grabbing the headlines – and the issue is not one of austerity or money as many would claim, but an issue of a weak State refusing to reform. My twitter feed is full of #Greece. It seems to me this is not about money but about reforming a weak State that […]

sir hum

A recurring theme – Ukrainian civil service

Over the past few weeks, your author has been asked to speak to journalists, NGOs/civil society, and diplomats regarding issues in Odessa and more generally across Ukraine. A recurring theme in each and every tête-à-tête never fails to arise.  It will undoubtedly arise again on Monday when speaking with more diplomats and also next week when […]


“Faith Schools” for Ukraine

There are controversial issues that may surround “faith schools”, particularly those that are aggressively selective in their catchment. supported, funded and governed by parents that take being a zealot to the extreme, and thus provide a child with a home and school life that ill-prepares them to meet the society within which they live once […]

World News & Commentary


NATO Partnership for Peace ratification – Ukraine

It is not often that this blog touches upon defence or security issues – or indeed the war in eastern Ukraine – despite the fact that every time it does readership numbers skyrocket. The simple fact is that so many others write about the war in eastern Ukraine, and there is much more to Ukraine […]


Blair to join International Advisory Council on Reforms Ukraine?

It appears that President Poroshenko has asked Tony Blair to join the International Advisory Council on Reforms for Ukraine – a body headed by President Poroshenko. Fair enough – but what does Tony Blair bring to the table other than being an internationally (in)famous name? His track record for bringing about meaningful reform in the […]


Ukraine 13th July Investment Conference – USA

For those who are unaware – which is almost everybody – there is to be an investment conference relating to opportunities within Ukraine – to privatisation, energy, etc., not to mention the promulgation and reiteration of just how far financial reforms have gone, and have yet to go, in order to boost confidence for those […]


Energy diversification – Russian style

Many nations have domestic nuclear/atomic companies.  Generally they are carefully watched over, and are open to, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspection, oversight and regulation – not withstanding domestic regulation, “watchdogs”, and oversight.  Many, however, are independent actors from “the State”, rather than a direct extension of “the State”.  By “direct extension”, think Kremlin and […]

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EU & FSU News & Commentary


Assessing EU action within Ukraine – through a provincial lens

This is an entry that has been waiting to be written for a long time. Much has been written about the short falls of Ukraine politically and institutionally.  Much has been rightly criticised too.  Much will continue to be written too, whilst ever-changing yet headline grabbing personnel rotation is used to mask the lack of […]


Russia is no longer a strategic partner – European Parliament

Yesterday the European Parliament passed another resolution relating to Russia.  One of the headline grabbing paragraphs in this latest text stated: “Russia, because of its actions in Crimea and in Eastern Ukraine, can no longer be treated as, or considered, a ‘strategic partner’. Russia now openly positions itself and acts as a challenger of the […]


Running down the Minsk II clock

Having received an email asking why no erudite (or not) entry has been published relating to the resignation of Heidi Tagliavini as OSCE mediator for the tripartite talks between The Kremlin, Kyiv and the “people’s republics”, it is perhaps time to write a few lines. The resignation of Heidi Tagliavini, for whatever reason – and […]


A lot more EU mush to push

These past few days have seen (unusually) some very insightful and indeed right-thinking commentary upon the EU, Ukraine and Russia.  Like London buses, nothing for ages and then three come along at once. Lilia Shetsnova rips the stuffing out of the “humiliation syndrome” offered up by Kremlin apologists and “understanders” of which there are more […]

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Around Ukraine

new police

A new “Thin Blue Line” – The new Ukrainian police

Yesterday saw the Rada pass a new “Police Law” which amongst other things granted a statutory right to exist for the new (metropolitan) “Police” that will now take to the streets of Kyiv after months of training. They will soon appear in Lviv, Odessa, Kharkiv and other metropolitan areas with one million or more inhabitants. […]


Right idea, but the asset management? – Yatseniuk on foreign trade

Arseniy Yatseniuk, amongst his rhetorical fluff, has a gift for stating the obvious.  That is not meant in a derogatory way.  There are times when the obvious must be stated, because the obvious is not obvious to all – or the obvious is obviously not being done, or done as well as it could or […]


An Odessa – Lviv reformist umbilical chord?

A very short entry today, but one to ponder as it goes against all the current media noise relating to Andrie Sadovyi/Samopomich and Viltali Klitschko and UDAR is the issue of seemingly blossoming ties between Odessa and Lviv. They are but currently small acorns form which it remains to be seen if mighty oaks will grow. […]


Speaking in tongues – Constitutional Amendments

Yesterday appears to be a day of progress perhaps, but no shortage of mutual backslapping with regard to constitutional change and “decentralisation”. “I want to congratulate all the members of the Constitutional Commission on the first decision that we made, I want to emphasize and to announce that we will continue our work you and […]

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Finance & Business


Nancy Sinatra on Ukraine’s Economic Relationships

Nikolai is still on vacation, now on the beach in [censored], drinking a… tall cup of coffee, yes, that’s it! A tall cup of coffee probably with a slight dash of Irish Bailey’s Cream. Filling in for him is the crazy guy from the swimming pool at the Kyiv Hilton. Call it the Sinatra Family […]


NBU abolishes some currency restrictions for business

Though this will undoubtedly be hidden amongst gas news and reporting from the front lines – somewhat earlier that expected, the National Bank of Ukraine has abolished some of its temporary restrictions on foreign currency. In short, with effect from 3rd November, the following temporary restrictions are lifted previously imposed under Resolution 591. “transactions undertaken in […]


“Ukraine was the top improver” – You don’t read that very often!

“Ukraine was the top improver in 2012/13, implementing reforms in 8 of the 10 areas measured by Doing Business.” Blimey! It’s not often you read anything that states Ukraine was the most improved at anything – and yet it is there in black and white, front and centre, on Page 9 of the World Bank/IFC “Doing Business […]

Developing a Ukrainian Silicon Valley: Will It Be Odessa or Kiev?

The technology sector is becoming increasingly important in the Ukraine, and not just in the negative sense that has previously hit the headlines. Odessa’s share of this industry has been particularly focused on the more creative side, with many of the IT companies that operate in the country choosing to locate their research and development departments […]

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