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Why Ukraine needs successful reforms to receive assistance: explained by the Atlantic Council expert

An expert from the Atlantic Council explains why Ukraine needs reforms

An expert from the Atlantic Council explains why Ukraine needs reforms

The United States is a leading ally of Ukraine. On September 25, the White House sent «letters of happiness» with the reforms Ukraine should implement.

Most of these reforms concern the rule of law, the functioning of the courts and law enforcement agencies, while the rest relate to corporate governance, efficient operation of ministries, customs, energy, and defense sectors.

At the request of The Page, in an interview with KYIV NOT KIEV Peter Dickinson, the editor of the UkraineAlert section at the Atlantic Council, was asked about the expectations of the U.S. reforms in Ukraine, in his opinion.

What does Peter Dickinson from the Atlantic Council think about the letter of reforms from the U.S.?

It's about the optics of the war. Okay, we're going to defend Ukraine because they've been invaded. That's a fairly black-and-white issue: Ukraine should be supported. But the narrative certainly in the West is: well, Ukraine is a democracy, Ukraine is a country that is moving in a Euroatlantic direction, it's progressing in the way that brings them closer to us, as in terms of civilizational sense. So they need to be able to show that russia is clearly a dictatorship.

No one needs to analyze, or explain, or prove what russia is. It's obvious that russia is a military dictatorship, a fascist regime with a cult of personality. That is understandable to Western audiences.

But it's very important in terms of a long war to show that Ukraine is an emerging democracy, that it is liberalizing, it is reforming, it is moving forward as a nation. That is a very strong argument for Western audiences of why this is such an important war for the West to support. It's important to be able to show these things.

«Zelensky has made a point of pushing various sort of quite visible reform efforts»

The government here in Ukraine understands that. Zelensky has made a point of pushing various sort of quite visible reform efforts. The removal of the defense minister Oleksii Reznikov over what were quite minor infringements in the big picture, — I mean he was removed over winter coats and eggs and things like that. This is a man who's dealing with budgets that are in the tens of billions of dollars and yet his downfall essentially was regarding corruption issues that related to millions of dollars.

In the big picture, it was a tiny proportion of the defense ministry budget. There was no indication or even accusations that the crimes or the infringements that his ministry was accused of were in any way related to this big budget foreign military aid, it’s tens of billions of dollars that are coming into the country in terms of tanks, and artillery, and jet planes or whatever. They were small things.

But that was seen as a sort of zero-tolerance thing. We've got to get rid of it. It's a bad look for us. So the Zelensky’s government said: thank you and goodbye, we're going to get a new guy in. That was a very strong signal that they understood they need to be seen to be moving in the right direction as a country in terms of reform, democracy, and transparency, and anti-corruption measures. Because that's part of the war as well. Where are we going with this? Is it simply just to beat russia, push russia back? Yeah, that's crucial. But also where's Ukraine going to be?

Corrupt Ukraine — partly the Kremlin's narrative

One of the things that the Kremlin pushes is the corrupt Ukraine narrative. They want to damage Ukraine's image. They know that reduces the chances of Ukraine getting support in the West. That's why they push this narrative very hard, and they use their proxies in the West to say:

Quote«Well, you know russia's bad, sure, but Ukraine's bad, too. Why are we getting involved in this fight between these two bad countries? Neither of them is very good. We should just leave them to it»

That's the narrative. So, to counter that, Ukraine needs to be able to say: look, we are actually very different to russia. We're moving in a very different direction. That's why this war's happening. That's why russia attacked us in the first place, because we are a democratizing society, and our democracy is a threat to russia. Because russia knows that if Ukraine succeeds in transitioning to a European democratic system and integrates into Europe, russia as an authoritarian empire essentially will be under very great threat of disintegrating. Because so many people in russia will say: we want that as well.

Thank 🎉