After winning the 2010 presidential election, Viktor Yanukovych and his government developed an ambitious and comprehensive programme of reforms across key areas of social and political life. The return to a presidential system of government created the ideal conditions for the introduction of deep reforms: it allowed Viktor Yanukovych to consolidate more power than any other Ukrainian president before him.The authorities launched an overhaul of the tax and the pension systems, and of the Ukrainian gas sector. Kyiv also completed its negotiations on an Association Agreement with the EU and on a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. However, the reformist zeal of Ukraine’s political elite progressively diminished as the parliamentary election approached, the economy slowed down, and the polls showed a decline in support for the ruling Party of Regions. Many of the reforms still remain in the planning stages, and in many areas the government has moved backwards. Viktor Yanukovych has proved unable to make systemic changes, and has increasingly used his powers to crush political opposition in Ukraine. The outcome of the latest parliamentary elections prevents the formation of a stable parliamentary majority, which in turn, removes any chance of reform before the 2015 presidential ballot.
Sławomir Matuszak – expert on Ukraine’s economic affairs at the Department for Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, Centre for Eastern Studies, Warsaw, Poland (2009-2012).
Arkadiusz Sarna – expert at the Department for Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova, Centre for Eastern Studies, Warsaw, Poland. (Between 2007 and 2012, Mr Sarna worked for the Economic Division at the Embassy of Poland in Kyiv).