“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

The Ukrainian Week - - NEIGHBOURS -

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.

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