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Parliament downsizing and oligarch war: What reform plan Ukraine's working on

Parliament downsizing and oligarch war: What reform plan Ukraine's working on Photo: Ukraine's Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal announced the preparation of the Reform Plan 2027 (Vitalii Nosach/RBC-Ukraine)

Ukraine has presented the allies with the Concept of Strengthening Democratic Resilience. It is a list of proposed reforms to be consolidated into a single plan by 2027, which will also include partners' initiatives.

RBC-Ukraine has reviewed the document and provided detailed information about it.

During the preparation of the material, the following sources were used: the Concept of Strengthening Democratic Resilience, statements of Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal, and the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine.

Partners recommend, Ukraine responds

During a government meeting, Denys Shmyhal announced the commencement of work on a single Reform Plan 2027 - a roadmap that will include initiatives from partners and other proposals. The plan will encompass all areas affecting state institutions, the economy, and interaction with society.

"We have received a number of reform proposals from our partners - from 7 EU recommendations to a list of IMF structural benchmarks. On our part, at the initiative of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the Concept of Strengthening Democratic Resilience has been developed. We have already presented this document to our allies. Now we are starting the creation of a unified document," he noted.

The Prime Minister also added that the Reform Plan will become a part of the future Ukrainian Doctrine that Zelenskyy mentioned in his address to the parliament this summer.

Notably, this concept emerged a week after the White House sent to the Donor Coordination Platform, the Office of the President, and the Cabinet of Ministers a list of reforms that Ukraine must undertake to receive further assistance.

It includes reforms with a three-month deadline, such as strengthening the independence of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office, increasing the number of investigators at the National Anti-Corruption Bureau by 300, rebooting the High Council of Justice, and ensuring the independence of the National Agency on Corruption Prevention.

Within six months, Ukraine must increase the number of judges in the High Anti-Corruption Court of Ukraine, launch the High Administrative Court, and reform the High Qualification Commission of Judges with a review of current judges' integrity. Within a year, the Ukrainian side aims to conduct a new competition for the position of the head of the Asset Recovery and Management Agency, restart procedures for the selection and evaluation of judges, and reform the Constitutional Court.

Additionally, it proposes the liberalization of gas and electricity tariffs, the reform of the Ministry of Defense, customs, and border services, and the limitation of the powers of the Security Service of Ukraine, among other things.

More details on this can be found in the article "Money in return for reforms? Why the West sets conditions for Ukraine and how it was before Zelenskyy."

It should be noted that the U.S. Embassy stated that this is a list of reforms for discussion at the Ukraine Donor Coordination Platform in Brussels. It is proposed as a basis for consultations with the government and key partners in support of Ukraine's efforts to integrate into Europe.

Concept of strengthening democracy: What Ukraine proposes

In the Concept of Strengthening Democratic Resilience presented to allies, the Ukrainian side emphasizes the fight against the influence of oligarchic clans. In the government's view, this influence poses the greatest threat to national security and hinders Ukraine's development and its path toward the EU and NATO.

To prevent the resurgence of oligarchic influence, while countering Russian aggression, the following things are necessary:

  • guarantees of democracy stability and the final removal of oligarchic influence (through strengthening parliamentarism, enabling voters to influence state management, and developing the judicial system);
  • promoting competition, demobilization, and fair resource distribution;
  • transparent mechanisms for interacting with the state (based on the ability of Ukrainians to influence political decisions and Ukraine's course).

The document goes into more detail on each of these three blocks.

How Ukraine's going to get rid of oligarch influence

The necessary steps to strengthen parliamentarism include the development of a proportional electoral system, and reducing the number of members of parliament and local council deputies.

It also involves the adoption of an MP's Ethical Code, holding parliamentary parties accountable for pre-election promises, and implementing the imperative mandate (which allows for the recall of a deputy in case of violation).

To strengthen the institutional capabilities of government bodies, they intend to promote the policy of involving war veterans in state positions (as the most motivated patriots), enhance the status of the English language, increase criminal liability for certain types of crimes (to protect national interests from oligarchic-corruption threats), and guarantee the independence of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau. They also plan to establish an Independent Judicial Expertise Center and implement directives, standards, and rules of the EU and NATO.

Regarding the judicial branch, Ukraine is prepared to reform constitutional justice and the activities of the Supreme Court, conduct a series of other reforms in this area, and create a court with competence in protecting the rights of investors and investments.

Competition, demonopolization, and resources

In this block, Ukraine aims to achieve equality in relations between the state and economic entities through the following steps:

  • protecting business interests from abuse by government authorities, law enforcement, and the prosecutor's office. All powers related to countering violations will be consolidated in the Economic Security Bureau;
  • creating a mechanism for deoligarchization and preventing the emergence of new oligarchic structures. Introducing a register of oligarchs and ensuring its functionality. The launch of the latter, by the way, the Cabinet of Ministers has decided to postpone until the end of the war;
  • transferring management functions of state-owned enterprises from central government bodies, antimonopoly reform, reducing the number of licenses, completing privatization, and establishing the Sovereign Fund of Ukraine to manage state assets and the Fund for Managing State Defense Enterprises.

Transparent interaction with the state

Expanding the opportunities for Ukrainian citizens to influence political decisions and the direction of the state includes:

  • strengthening mechanisms for interaction between state institutions and civil society, supporting the development of non-governmental anti-corruption organizations;
  • promoting independent journalism, combating Russian disinformation, and any anti-democratic propaganda;
  • developing primary, vocational, and higher education, ensuring equal access to education, and maintaining a balance between technical and humanitarian sciences;
  • completing the adoption of the legislative framework regarding national minorities;
  • implementing the Anti-Corruption Strategy for 2021-2025, in accordance with the State Anti-Corruption Program for 2023-2025 approved by the government of Ukraine.