With the national currency down by a third against the euro this year and an expected 10 percent economic contraction, Ukraine should push through painful reform right now, as Estonia did 20 years ago, says Roman Vinartšuk, an Estonian diplomat in Kyiv.
Corruption, not the separatists, could be the major problem in the country, Vinartšuk said, adding that Ukraine is dependent on EU aid, but Europe does not want to release funds without knowledge where those euros will end up.
“Ukrainians love to write up strategies and plans. The paperwork is ready, draft law projects have been submitted or will be submitted to the Parliament, but it is not enough for Ukraine to pass some laws or draw up beautiful strategies. There have been few actual steps taken,” he said.
“It is the right time to push through shock reforms and quickly, as people want to see results, at least in some areas,” he said.
Estonia decided at the beginning of the 1990s to quickly move away from the Soviet legacy, and deep economic reforms were the path. Estonia removed price controls, cut welfare programs and slashed business regulations. State companies were privatized and a flat tax was instituted.