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Citizens greet Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, Odessa, Ukraine, May 30, 2015 (AP photo by Mykola Lazarenko, Presidential Press Service Pool photo via AP).

Ukraine’s Poroshenko Pushes New Reforms Amid Resurgent Violence

Friday, June 5, 2015

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, elected last year after his pro-Russian predecessor Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown in the Maidan uprising, delivered his first annual message to Parliament yesterday. In it, he denounced the country’s pervasive corruption and called for significant reforms, while also accusing Russia of violating the Minsk agreement that established a cease-fire in embattled eastern Ukraine in February.

Poroshenko, a billionaire whose business history drew suspicion from the U.S. State Department before he took office, may seem to be an unlikely reformer. His recent battles with Ukraine’s powerful oligarchs are ostensibly about establishing the rule of law, both to strengthen the state and to attract support from Western capitals and financial institutions. But corruption in Ukraine, as in other former Soviet republics, is never so black and white, given how difficult it is for anyone to reach an influential position in politics or business without getting their hands dirty. ...

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