The Bright Side of Ukraine’s Government Crisis
A leaked recording of a high-level economic policy meeting recently caused a political storm in Ukraine. But in sharp contrast to the situation a few years ago, the discussion at the meeting focused on the strength of the country's currency – a sign of increasing confidence in the economy.
PARIS – On January 15, someone leaked a recording of a meeting between Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk and key economic policymakers in which Honcharuk appeared to criticize both his own and President Volodymyr Zelensky’s knowledge of economics. But Zelensky refused to accept the prime minister’s resignation. In fact, the mini-crisis revealed a qualitative improvement in the state of the Ukrainian economy.
Of course, it is strange for Ukrainian reformers seemingly to forget that they are being followed and recorded – whether by Russian security services or anti-reform oligarchs. What is more striking, however, is the subject of the leaked recording.
Three years ago, in late 2016, Ukraine’s prime minister, central bankers, and finance minister were discussing how to take over the country’s largest bank, PrivatBank, which had been looted by its shareholders (the takeover eventually cost Ukraine about 5% of its annual GDP).