17 January 2014

Ukraine - January 2014

I forecast some time ago that 2014 would be a difficult year in Ukraine.
The political situation took a massive change this week when new laws were quickly introduced and voted through parliament. These new laws are all designed to take action against activists involved in 'Euromaidan' and the political opposition in Ukraine.

I will not list all of these crazy/strange laws but one includes a ban on any more than five motor vehicles being driven along the road together. The occupants/owners of these cars could be arrested and imprisoned and the vehicles could be seized. Another law was passed concerning NGO's. Organisations that receive funding from 'foreign funds' are now deemed to be 'foreign agents' and must start to pay taxes on their income and their non-profit status will be removed. Many of these new laws are similar to the harsh laws already introduced in the Russian Federation.

The European Union and the US State Department have been quick to react and have issued press releases showing their deep concern about so many anti-democratic laws being introduced in Ukraine.


Ukraine's Harsh New Antiprotest Law Draws International Condemnation

This will be an even more difficult year for Ukraine than I first thought. How could anyone seriously advise or recommend to a foreign investor that they should come to Ukraine? How can any potential foreign investor accept such a high level of political uncertainty in a country?

Unfortunately I see a long period of continuous battle between the people of Ukraine and its so called government. The next election is the Presidential election and is due to be held on 26 February 2015. This will be the next opportunity for the people to make changes. But I would not be surprised if the government and the current Presidential administration were to change the constitution and the whole system of elections before next year. The system could be changed where the President is 'appointed/selected' by the members of parliament. The Party of The Regions still have a majority in the parliament and would be assisted by the Communist Party.

Doing business in Ukraine never became so difficult and is getting more difficult each day.