Turmoil in Ukraine Spurring Political Change

    February 2014

    Since last November, when the former Ukrainian President rejected the Association Agreement with the EU, Ukraine has been undergoing a people’s revolution, culminating in more than 100 people killed in Kyiv in February and an evolving aftermath with threats of separatism in Crimea.

    As a result, the Ukrainian Parliament took up the reins and, with respective laws and regulations, managed to stop the killings, remove the former President from office, schedule the date of the new presidential elections for 25 May 2014, appoint the new government and adopt the critical new laws and regulations to rule the country. It has approved, inter alia, the restoration of the 1996 Constitution, to prevent separatism and have parliamentary control over the appointment and liability of judges; and the amendment of the Criminal Code in compliance with the UN Convention Against Corruption, which facilitated the freedom of Yulia Tymoshenko. The Parliamentary Political Lustration Committee was created to enable the restriction of the political rights of relevant officials and the total replacement of all authorities.

    Notably, no major changes have yet been made to any legislation that affects foreign investment or doing business in Ukraine.

    The new Speaker is Oleksandr Turchynov and the new Prime Minister is Arseniy Yatsenuk. Some of the key Ministers include Minister of Economy and Trade – Pavlo Sheremeta; Minister of Energy and Mining Industry – Yuri Prodan; Minister of Finance – Oleksandr Shlapak; and Minister of Justice – Pavlo Petrenko.

    Ukraine is largely supported by a wide range of countries, including the US and countries of the EU that have already expressed their readiness to provide financial support to Ukraine. Thus, the International Monetary Fund is ready to send a technical assistance team to Ukraine and provide a loan to the country – the third one in the course of the last six years. The National Bank of Ukraine reported on the steps to be taken to prevent the currency crisis in Ukraine and keep the economic situation stable.

    There still remains tension in the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, but many European countries have already supported the idea of the integrity of Ukraine.

    Despite the challenging times Ukraine has been experiencing, it is moving forward to democracy and effective collaboration.

    We will continue to monitor and inform of changes affecting our clients.