Foto: World Economic Forum / Boris Baldinger

This is a curated list of all the most important stories on the Ukrainian economy this week.

This week has been dominated by Zelensky and his press team. During the week, Zelensky has been very confident that Ukraine would join the European Union. He also made a new plan to fight the oligarchs, which we will come back to, and then he fired three ministers together with PM Denis Shmyhal.

Let us start with the ministers who got fired. Last Saturday, Ukraine Nu wrote, based on several different media outlets, that three ministers were on their way out. The Minister of Development of Economy, Trade and Agriculture, Ihor Petrashko, the Minister of Infrastructure, Vladyslav Krykliy, and possibly the most prominent: The Minister of Health, Maksym Stepanov.

All three ministers were blamed for being ineffective by the government, which was the reason for firing them. However, to fire ministers, the Rada would have to approve, which they did yesterday with more than enough votes. Stepanov has received the most criticism, because he has been in charge of both handling the pandemic and launching the vaccination program in Ukraine.


Lately, there have been a lot of fuss about the pro-Russian politician and oligarch Viktor Medvedchuk and his ally Taras Kozak. Both of them have been charged with high treason for sharing information with Russia, but Medvedchuk’s TV channels have also been sanctioned by the government, which is highly unusual as sanctions are usually only applied to foreign nationals.

Zelensky is being very vocal about declaring war on the oligarchs of Ukraine:

“Since the 1990s, a small handful of Ukrainians have dominated the economic and political life of the country. We all know the names of these people. They feature in annual lists of the richest Ukrainians, which remain virtually unchanged from year to year. The rest of the country has little choice but to adapt to the reality created by this oligarch class, which distributes Ukraine’s political, financial, industrial, and media resources among themselves,” writes Zelensky in the Atlantic Council.

And how does the president intend to do that? By removing their media resources, denying them access to their state assets and removing their political protection. It is similar to Ukraine recently did with Medvedchuk, who had his media blocked and state assets confiscated before being arrested and put under house arrest.

Higher steel prices

Demand for iron and steel has spiked in recent months to the highest levels in several years, primarily due to increasing demand from China and the American plans for extensive infrastructure renewal under Joe Biden. Ukraine has a big production of steel and is currently benefitting from the higher prices worldwide.

Companies such as Metinvest are experiencing huge price jumps over the last year: pig iron +71 percent; billet +77 percent; steel slab +104 percent; hot-rolled coil steel +118 percent. However, prices are soon expected to drop, estimates Dmytro Khoroshun, an analyst from Concorde Capital.

More here:

Foreign knowledge welcome

The Verkhovna Rada passed a degree that makes it possible for foreign universities to open branches in Ukraine. It was also previously allowed for foreign universities to do so, but it was not specified which ones could and what the procedure was to get a license to establish a branch in Ukraine.

The new degree sets a framework, which is supposed to make it easier to open branches in Ukraine. However, only foreign universities ranked among the top 3,000 in the world will be allowed to open a branch in Ukraine. Russian universities and universities owned by Russians are also not permitted to open a branch in Ukraine.

Universities in Ukraine har well-known to struggle with corruption, plagiarism and nepotism. By allowing in foreign universities, some hope that science in Ukraine will be better developed, however some experts are also pessimistic about the prospects of top universities moving to Ukraine, as the market is not very profitable and very complicated.

Any day now

Once again, the National Bank of Ukraine has said, that they are expecting the next tranche of the IMF loan to be signed this year. This time, it is according to Yuriy Geletiy, Deputy Governor of the National Bank, who says that there is progress in the talks.

“According to our positive expectations, in the next few weeks, we will be able to reach a staff-level agreement – this will be the text of the updated Memorandum. We are discussing this with the IMF. After reaching an agreement, we will say that this “happy” moment has come – the SLA has been reached. Next, we will have to take preliminary measures,” says Geletiy.

Hosting gambling would be gambling

When Ukraine legalized gambling, they opted for a permit structure, that is a bit different than in other places. The government has chosen that running a casino should be legal but also quite expensive, which would make casinos less profitable.

For more about the status of the Ukrainian gambling market, click here:

Have you ever been West?

Since people in Scandinavia are slowly starting to get vaccinated across the board, the opportunities for holidays are looking more and more bright this year and especially in 2022. Ukraine Nu has been on a trip to the Carpathians, and we really liked what we found: A mixture of rafting, hiking and mountains. Steep hills without the steep prices of the Alpine countries like Switzerland, Austria, Italy and France.¨

Somewhat uneventful speech

Today, Zelensky marked his two years as a president with a three-hour long speech, that was largely uneventful. He called for international help about Donbas and Nord Stream 2, criticized Germany and France for weakening their stance on Russia and defended some of the decisions made by his team regarding for instance Naftogaz and the Central Bank.

He did not, however, take the opportunity to launch any new big plans for the country, the economy or something else. He also didn’t say, that he would run as a president for a second term, so while it seems like he wants to stay in power, he didn’t confirm the suspicions.