New Book on Ukraine Calls for Sweeping Political, Economic, and Government Reforms

April 17, 2015

About the Author

Anders Åslund is a leading specialist on economic policy in Eastern Europe, especially Russia and Ukraine. Since 2006, he has been a senior fellow at the Peterson Institute. He also teaches at Georgetown University. He has been deeply engaged in Ukraine since 1985, having served as an economic adviser to its government in 1994–97. In 2004 he cochaired a United Nations Blue Ribbon Commission for Ukraine, Proposals for the President: A New Wave of Reform, and in 2009 on a similar International Commission of Independent Experts, which produced the report Proposals for Ukraine: 2010—Time for Reforms. He was one of the founders of the Kyiv School of Economics and cochaired its board of directors (2003–12). He is the author of 14 books and editor of 16 books. He earned his doctorate from the University of Oxford.

WASHINGTON—Ukraine, facing an existential crisis after years of political, economic, and military turmoil, must undertake sweeping reforms to achieve prosperity and independence, according to a new book by Anders Åslund published by the Peterson Institute for International Economics.

In Ukraine: What Went Wrong and How to Fix It, Anders Åslund, one of the world's leading experts on Ukraine, traces the country's evolution as a market economy, starting with the fall of communism, and examines the economic impact of its recent difficulties, saying that despite its problems, the country also has a great opportunity to achieve prosperity and independence if it adopts the right policies. For its part, the West must abandon its hesitant approach and provide broad economic assistance to help Ukraine transform itself.

On Friday, April 17, Åslund presented this new book and laid out his sweeping agenda for political and economic reform for Ukraine. Ukraine's Minister of Finance Natalie Jaresko and Minister of Economic Development and Trade Aivaras Abromavicius joined Åslund to discuss the book and presented their visions of Ukraine's economic future.

Last December, the new Ukrainian government presented a comprehensive reform program, and on March 11, the International Monetary Fund approved a $40 billion, four-year stabilization program.

"The big questions of Anders's book are what Ukraine still needs to do to save its economy, and can it follow through with these reforms?" said Adam S. Posen, president of the Peterson Institute. "As one of the world's leading experts on the transition of one-time communist states to market economies, Anders is uniquely qualified to offer reform proposals directly to Ukraine's new government leaders."

The book advocates substantial cuts in wasteful public expenditures and deregulation to promote growth—but it also calls for substantial international financing spearheaded by the International Monetary Fund, with additional assistance from the European Union and the United States. The book focuses extensively on the energy sector, which Åslund argues is the biggest source of top-level corruption and wasteful subsidies and should be reformed with a unified system of energy prices determined by the market, not government. Åslund also details a series of reforms in education and health care.

To assure Ukraine's success, Åslund concludes the European Union must assume the role of anchor of the country's democratic and market economic reforms.


Ukraine: What Went Wrong and How to Fix It
Anders Åslund
ISBN paper 978-0-88132-701-4
ISBN eBook 978-0-88132-702-1
April 2015 | 274 pp. | $25.95 (paper) | $19.95 (eBook)

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