Ukraine is one of the most anticipated nations as it goes through a number of reforms to become a stable democratic government under the newly elected Pak government. Looking back at the nations history, there were many events that occurred that allowed the nation to become resilient and for citizens to take a stance. There were three main issues in 2014 that has greatly affected today's Ukraine. First is the presidential campaign that led to violence by protesters while others believed it led to political stability. Second is the economic instability that have led to our current debt. Third is the relationship between Russia and foreign nations. By examining these three issues, we will view what have molded Ukraine to the nation it is today.
"High quantity-low quality"
Ukraine in 2030 is embracing a stable democratic government for the first time in 15 years with the newly elected president, Joy Pak. She is a graduate from the prestigious Richard Ivey School of Business and became the Foreign Affairs Minister of Canada at a young age of 21. She used all her past experiences and knowledge to win the hearts of Ukrainians and is expected to create a brighter path for Ukraine. However, Ukraine still holds many flaws that must be viewed very carefully. Ukraine is coming out of a dark time in politics and it is vital that it does not repeat the past. A simple statement can describe the presidential election that occurred in 2014, “High quantity- low quality.” There were twenty one candidates where no one proved that they had the capability to be leaders, but many voted for frontrunner, Petro Poroshenko. He was a billionaire, who made his fortune by selling chocolate, but people believed he was the only one strong enough to deal with Russia. During this election, many citizens were too afraid to vote and pro-Russian separatists forced elections to be effectively abandoned since they were able to shut 10% of electorate out of the democratic process. Surprisingly, the elderly were the ones who showed up to vote rather than the young because they were unwilling to vote for a political system that lurked similar levels of corruption. As well, there were protests that lasted for more than six months because they wanted to see a new generation of politicians emerge, a generation that doesn’t view politics as a business, but as a responsibility. Poroshenko was to overcome challenges such as stabilizing Ukraine’s economy, ensuring energy supplies, and stop the violence by pro-Russian separatists (Martyn). In April 2014, Petro Poroshenko met with the U.S. president, Barack Obama, to reinforce the legitimacy of Ukraine’s new government which Russia failed to recognize (Walker). Majority of the citizens were unhappy that Poroshenko came to power because he failed to prove as a leader, but this was a resolution for Victor Yanukovych, the President of Ukraine before Poroshenko. Citizens were furious that he didn’t sign to join the European Union but rather chose to have closer ties with Russia which caused outrage over the nation, but he fled to exile in Russia (Martyn). If we were to solve this problem, rather than having an inexperienced member run for government, it would’ve been more suitable if the United Nations held control of Ukraine until a more suitable candidate come out or relationship with Russia improved. Despite the instability in 2014, Ukraine has overcome many obstacles to become the stable democratic nation it is now.
Joy Pak is creating new reforms in Ukraine which is helping them slowly develop into a stable democratic government. One issue that Pak will have to face is the broken economy. Ukraine faces a large debt and is experiencing economic tensions with Russia and other organizations. Currently, Ukraine is under a situation where it is billions of dollars in debt and where citizens are having difficulty with the high costs of living. Since 2014, Ukraine has undergone economic issues with Russia. It was revealed that Ukraine owes Gazprom, Russia’s natural gas giant, over $22 billion. Russia revealed a warning where Gazprom will cut off gas supplies to Ukraine if this debt is not paid. This was also a warning to other European countries since they largely depended on Russian gas supplies that must be transported through Ukraine. Now, this number has grown to be in the hundreds and Ukraine is having great difficulty paying this endlessly growing debt (Erlanger). This has caused the average gas prices to increase by more than 50% (Sonne). Fortunately, the International Monetary Fund gave Ukraine an $18 billion aid package and a 45% reduction in the price of natural gas. Sadly, this money was not spent to invest in Ukraine but to pay off the debt to Gazprom. Ukraine received a further $15 billion in funding from the World Bank. Borrowing money came at a great price. Ukraine had to raise taxes, cut subsidies to natural gas, and make cuts to state pension which greatly affected the lives of citizens. Arseniy Yatsenyuk, the Prime Minister of Ukraine after Viktor Yanukovych was removed even said, “I am prepared to be the worst Prime Minister in Ukrainian history (Rapoza).” Due to the political instability in 2014, it was clear that Ukraine had a crippling economy. However a resolution for this issue is to expand Ukraine’s trade market and to increase their economy. Russia accounts for 25% of Ukraine’s exports with a large portion being industrial products (Sonne), this can give an opportunity for Ukraine to make a trade deal and to reduce their debt. Due to the political stability in Ukraine, we will be able to see Ukraine’s economy improve and the trade market to expand.
Under the Pak government, this has given Ukraine an opportunity to be separated from Russia. There is no violence or issues between these two nations despite the large debt. As well, Ukraine has made significant improvements in its foreign relations. 2014 was a tough year for Ukraine as they underwent a presidential election, economic issues, but most importantly it was when the relationship between Ukraine and Russia started to deteriorate. The Ukraine government tried breaking the rebellions by pro-Russia militias where hundreds of rebels were killed in this anti-terrorist operation (Reuters). Luckily, the newly elected Petro Poroshenko said it is looking for a “peaceful resolution” with Russia and Putin even agreed that there are “peaceful political means” to resolve the conflict (Krasnolutska). During this year, Ukraine was able to receive support from many nations. On May 2014, U.S. President Barack Obama hosted a Group of Seven World Leader Summit that excluded Russian President Vladimir Putin. The world leaders said they will impose harsher sanctions if Putin does not recognize Poroshenko as the new leader in Ukraine, and stop arms from crossing the border and cease support for pro-Russian separatist group that’s in eastern Ukraine (Walker). Ukraine received much support from the U.S and Britain as they placed sanctions on Russia. These sanctions were placed on Russian officials as they were the ones who were responsible for supporting violent pro-Russia protests in Ukraine. Visa and Master Card blocked customer transactions with the Rossiya Bank Group. As well the U.S. pledged a $48 million to strengthen the border guard service to enhance national unity (Rapoza). It was a great year as Ukraine received the support of foreign nations and solves issues with Russia.
Through these three issues, we were able to examine them and seek resolution. The events that occurred in 2014, have still left an impact on our current events. Under the newly elected Poroshenko government, he was able strengthen Ukraine as a nation and citizens were able to vote on a man they believed would be the best representation of their nation. The debt that began in 2014, have grown into the hundred billions which have left an impact on the citizens, but this has given an opportunity to expand their trade market and receive aid from the IMF and the World Bank. As well, Ukraine was able to receive the support of the international community which have strengthened their relationships. It will be exciting to see how Ukraine will transform under the Pak government and view whether or not they will become political stability or repeat the past of year 2014.