“What I miss in the current landscape of sources is reliable and readable information about social policy in Ukraine”
Susan Stewart, Senior Associate at the Eastern Europe and Eurasia Research Division, German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP), Berlin
On the situation in Ukraine, reforms have not completely stagnated, but it has become clear that there are certain key measures which are not in the interest of the ruling elite, and these are being blocked. Also, the campaign for presidential and parliamentary elections in 2019 has de facto already begun, which means that unpopular reforms are less likely and populist rhetoric and measures more so. On the whole, external actors and significant parts of Ukrainian civil society are still pushing hard for the reform agenda to be implemented, but the majority of the ruling political and economic elite will need to be replaced for this to occur.
With regard to the sources I use to inform myself about developments in Ukraine, there are many. I read RFE/RL reports, BBC Monitoring, the KyivPost and lb.ua daily, and I also rely on Gorshenin Weekly for an overview of events each week. In addition I follow newsletters from, among others,
Vox Ukraine, RPR and AntAC. When I am researching a specific topic I search for information on the internet in English, German, French, Ukrainian and Russian, and I ask people from my network of contacts for advice, including the very helpful colleagues on the Ukraine World mailing list. Compared to 20 or even 10 years ago there are many more sources available, which is usually a good thing, but can also make it difficult to assess their validity. Also, it is important not to get into too much of a rut and always rely on the same sources, since no one source is completely objective – even if some are much more objective than others! It is important to do research about the source and not just use it uncritically. What I miss most in the current landscape of sources is reliable and readable information about social policy in Ukraine – the pension system, the healthcare system, the education system, etc. Sometimes there is some very specialized literature about these topics, but more policy analysis for a broader audience is sorely needed.