Friday, March 11, 2016

The American Woman Being Asked To Save Ukraine

KIEV, Ukraine -- Arseniy “Yats” Yatsenyuk said it best back in 2014: he would be the worst Prime Minister Ukraine has seen ever.


Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyk (R) and Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko (L) during a Parliament session in September. She is on the short-list to replace Yats this year as PM.

He was right.

Parliament wants Washington’s favorite Ukrainian to step down.

President Petro Poroshenko asked him politely a month ago.

And now rumor has it that “our guy Yats” will be replaced by “our girl Natalie” in Kiev’s musical chairs.

According to a Financial Times article on Wednesday, Ukrainian-American Natalie Jaresko from Chicago was asked by both Yats and Poroshenko to take the top spot later this year.

Jaresko, like other ethnic Ukrainians living abroad, took up the cause of reforming Ukraine’s corrupt economy two years ago.

So far, most of the foreign nationals have fled the coop.

Jaresko remains steadfast in her hope that Ukraine can turn itself around politically and economically. 

At the heart of all this is whether or not Ukraine joins the eastern European nations that have successfully integrated into the European Union trading system.

It’s been a tough slog since, with the country divided on whether or not Europe has anything to offer Ukraine.

The Western half of the country is more firmly rooted to the E.U. experiment, while the Eastern half tends to be more pro-Russian.

Political uncertainty remains a problem in Ukraine.

Fighting between government forces and Russian-backed separatists in eastern regions like the Donbass continues to impede progress on the Minsk II peace deal, threatening national unity.

Jaresko is liked by investors, but it is unlikely that one woman could guarantee any realistic structural reforms let alone go after the entrenched economic interests of Ukrainian oligarchs.

Volodymyr Hroysman, the parliament speaker, is also on the list to take over as Prime Minister this year.

He is considered less likely to withstand pressure from powerful vested interests, including from the billionaire oligarchs, and even from Poroshenko himself, of whom Hroysman is considered a close confidant, the FT reported.

Jaresko is unlikely to agree to serve in such a government, people familiar with the matter say, which could jeopardize the support of lenders such as the International Monetary Fund, and European Union.

It would also call into question Ukraine’s commitment to looking more European, in terms of open government and capitalist reforms, and less Russian.

Source: Forbes

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