Great Expectations, Charles Dickens’s penultimate completed work, concerns the development of a young man who faces arduous trials before eventually overcoming adversity. Ukraine’s progress often seems just as tortured as that of Dickens’s enigmatic protagonist in the novel.
President Zelenskyy and his team are embarking on an ambitious agenda to break away from the past – with renewed zeal in the fight against corruption, opening the land market and privatizing state-owned assets. However, Ukraine’s struggle for reform remains an immense challenge.
The country also finds itself under intense international scrutiny. It is a theatre of war where Russia modulates its aggression in the east of the country and pushes for a deal on Donbas on its terms. Crimea has been all but forgotten by the international community. Meanwhile, the US has dragged Ukraine into its own politics ahead of the 2020 US presidential elections.
What do Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his team stand for? Will they realistically be able to deliver? What reform opportunities will emerge with a new generation in power? What are the risks to economic growth? And how does the current constellation of geopolitical forces affect Ukraine?