This is a curated list of all the biggest stories on Ukrainian economy this week.
Since the last economic overview, it has been relatively quiet. The 1st of May is a holiday in Ukraine, and it has just been Easter. Little have happened, but some of the events might prove to be monumental for the Zelensky administration.
First and foremost, there have been a lot of trouble with Naftogaz lately. First and foremost, last week Naftogaz reported losses for the first time since 2015. This set off an avalanche of dismissals, resignations and uproars across the board.
Firstly, the Cabinet of Ministers suspended the supervisory board to fire the former CEO Andriy Kobolyev. The suspension was necessary for them to bypass the rule about the supervisory board having to approve firing the CEO.
All of this was included in the last economic overview, but it is important to understand, because it later led to the resignation of several board members from the supervisory board as well as members of management threatening to quit. IMF, the World Bank and several other international partners have all criticized the dismissal of Kobolyev.
Naftogaz, a state owned gas company, is not only important for the energy market of Ukraine. It is also – by far – the biggest tax payer in Ukraine, accounting for 17 percent of the state budget.
More political interference might also be on the way in the state owned train carrier, Ukrzaliznytsia.
No more quarantine
Kyiv and several other cities have also left the quarantine red zones, and life is slowly returning to normal; people can go to restaurants, public transportation is working again and many places it looks like COVID19 never existed. More info can be found here.
We also wrote the Scandinavian embassies about what the rules are, currently, if you are registered as a foreign resident in Ukraine but catch coronavirus, or if you just want to travel home to get a vaccination.
All in all, there is not a lot of help to find in the North unless you pay for it personally or through your insurance. More can be read here:
The Ukrainian diplomacy have had quite a few things to look after in the past week. First, Ukraine signed a joint declaration with Poland and Baltic countries about the recent Russian military build-up.
“We express the conviction that the prosperity of our common heritage and common home, rooted in the European civilization, demands that, just like home, also Europe be built on the basis of fundamental values and principles. These are with no doubt: freedom, sovereignty, territorial integrity, democracy, the rule of law, equality, and solidarity. A uniting Europe should remain open to all countries and nations which share the above-mentioned values,” reads the joint declaration of the heads of state.
Yesterday, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Kyiv with a long list of topics up for discussion. Some of it is unwavering support for the sovereignty of Ukraine, some of it seems like harder demands. More can be found here.
According to Dmitro Kuleba, the foreign minister of Ukraine, president Zelensky is also going to discuss Donbas with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin.
World press freedom day
For journalists, this week also marked the international World Press Freedom Day. Knowing that this day is more holy to journalists than business people, we will save our tirades for other outlets, but we do recommend watching the documentary about the murder on Ukrainian journalist Gongadze, who founded Ukrainska Pravda. The documentary is in English, and it is not just about journalism.
“This movie is, for anybody who wants to understand why Ukraine is what it is now, but it is also universal as it explains why journalism matters. Yet on this day, I do not just want to be pessimistic. Whilst the justice system continued to fail, it was Ukrainian journalists themselves who shone the light on this case and made a cover-up impossible. So while this is a tragedy, it is also a story of resilience and why lessons of the past matter,” says the producer of the documentary, Nataliya Gumenyuk.
Tourism might be back
The first quarter of 2021 was quite hostile with temperatures way below zero. 116,000 tourists nevertheless visited Kyiv, according to UBN. The largest amount of visitors came from Belarus, Israel and Turkey.
Ukraine wants to work with Poland to solve border problems
Also according to UBN, Kyiv has agreed to work with Warsaw in order to better manage the problems on the borders, where cargo can be stuck for countless hours.
“For Ukraine, it is strategically important to strengthen partnerships with our Polish neighbors. In this context, we discussed regional security issues against the background of the escalation of the conflict from Russia. Poland provided us with effective support, for which he thanked him personally. Mutual cooperation in this direction will allow increasing trade between the countries, eliminating smuggling schemes and equipping as many modern checkpoints as possible,” the Prime Minister Denis Shmyhal wrote on Facebook.