Review by Olena Podolian
Author & Title: Åslund, Anders, Ukraine. What Went Wrong and How to Fix It. Washington, DC: Peterson Institute for International Economics, 2015, xix + 273pp., £22.95/$25.95 p/b.
The book is written on the premise that urgent and fundamental reform is needed for the national security and very survival of Ukraine as an independent state. It stays true to this throughout and lives up to the promise in its title. Ukraine’s and Central and Eastern European political and economic developments are meticulously narrated and thoroughly explained. The focus is on the ongoing fight against corruption and decentralization in Ukraine, along with relations with the EU and Russian Federation, including the latter’s military aggression.
Current political events and the economic situation in Ukraine underline the timeliness and empirical value of the book. In particular, the dramatic resignation by the Minister for Economic Development and Trade Aivaras Abromavicius, on 3 February 2016, which provoked outrage at home and concern abroad among Ukraine’s Western partners due to the practice being exposed of appointing ministers’ deputies in an underhand way. Although that resignation happened almost a year after the book’s publication, Åslund documents the case of Mr Abromavicius’ predecessor, the Minister of the Economy Pavlo Sheremeta, who resigned for similar reasons on 20 August 2014 (p. 111).This reveals the analytical insight of the book. (more…)