The state of governance in Ukraine today is the subject of widespread debate. Ukrainian and international observers have cited corruption, flaws in the October 2010 local elections, inappropriate actions by the Security Service of Ukraine, and prosecution of opposition political figures as evidence of democratic backsliding under Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. The president and his government deny these charges, contending that centralizing some authority is required to bring about order, govern effectively, and implement difficult and overdue economic reforms. What is happening with the state of governance in Ukraine? How is it affecting the Ukrainian economy and its foreign relations, particularly with Europe and the United States? And how should the West engage the Yanukovych government and Ukrainian civil society to protect democratic and market-oriented progress?
On July 7, the Center on the United States and Europe at Brookings, Atlantic Council and the Peterson Institute for International Economics hosted a conference to address these and related questions. The conference opened with a discussion with Ukrainian Deputy Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin. Panels with leading American and European experts examined the challenges of governance in Ukraine and the impact on the economy and foreign policy. Former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski also offered brief comments.