Today in Ukraine: Corruption, Riots & Russia at the Gates

On December 15th, United States Institute of Peace Executive Vice President, Ambassador Bill Taylor and Editor of the Atlantic Council Blog, Ukraine Alert, Melinda Haring discussed the current political and security challenges facing Ukraine.

This was a closed, off-the-record event for congressional staff.

The briefing focused on the ongoing security challenges facing Ukraine while addressing concerns about recent political moves made by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko. Speakers offered their views on the role Congress can play to support stability and prevent a violent new front in Ukraine.

The rise of Poroshenko marked the beginning of what many assumed would be a more western mindset. After coming to power, Poroshenko promised numerous government reforms, and initial signals suggested he would enact such reforms. However, with the approaching 2019 parliamentary and presidential elections many have begun to worry about the future of these reform efforts and Ukraine’s domestic stability. Poroshenko has been slow to enact anti-corruption measures and concerns are growing that opposition figures may be targeted by internal security forces. Recommendations were provided for improving the current US strategy for Ukraine.

Ambassador Bill Taylor

Ambassador William B. Taylor is the executive vice president at the U.S. Institute of Peace.  Earlier, he was the special coordinator for Middle East Transitions in the U.S. State Department.  He oversaw assistance and support to Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and Syria.  He served as the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine from 2006 to 2009.

He also served as the U.S. government’s representative to the Mideast Quartet, which facilitated the Israeli disengagement from Gaza and parts of the West Bank.  He served in Baghdad as the first director of the Iraq Reconstruction Management Office from 2004 to 2005, and in Kabul as coordinator of international and U.S. assistance to Afghanistan from 2002 to 2003.  Ambassador Taylor was also coordinator of U.S. assistance to the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. He earlier served on the staff of Senator Bill Bradley.

He is a graduate of West Point and Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and served as an infantry platoon leader and combat company commander in the U.S. Army in Vietnam and Germany.

He is married with two adult children.

Melinda Haring

Melinda Haring is the editor of the UkraineAlert blog, which is the Atlantic Council’s most popular publication. Its articles are regularly republished by NewsweekKyiv PostNovoe VremyaHuffington Post, Real Clear Defense, and World Affairs Journal. In 2016, UkraineAlert’s most popular article garnered more than 100,000 hits.  

Haring is a longtime observer of political developments in the Eurasia region, and her analysis has been featured in The Washington Post, Foreign PolicyNewsweekThe Kyiv Post, PRI, and broadcast and published by NPR, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and Voice of AmericaHaring is the author of the report Reforming the Democracy Bureaucracy and a contributor to Does Democracy Matter? (Rowman & Littlefield, 2017)Haring has worked for Eurasia Foundation, Freedom House, and the National Democratic Institute, where she managed democracy assistance programs in Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Russia. A graduate of Georgetown University’s Democracy and Governance Program, she holds an MA in Government with a certificate in Russian, Eurasian, and East European Studies. Haring is a member of the board of East Europe Foundation in Kyiv, Ukraine, and a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute. She is a term member of the Council on Foreign Relations.