“Reform is the new buzzword in Ukraine,” said Gumenyuk to an audience of analysts, journalists, academics, and business-people in the House of Lords: “everybody wants it, but nobody is sure what it means.”

Gumenyuk, the co-founder of Hromadske TV—an independent and reliable media provider in Ukraine—was speaking at the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Foreign Affairs, chaired by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne.

Her most important message: Ukraine is changing. Perhaps they aren’t as comprehensive as people wish, but reforms are happening nevertheless.

Gumenyuk agreed that this is not what most people think. The media—both domestic and foreign—often does not report on the passage of important laws and reforms, preferring to focus on more sensational political fights and personal rivalries.

Gumenyuk drew particular attention to the younger generation as the impetus behind positive change. Younger bureaucrats and public officials, many of whom joined state companies or ministries after the revolution, are increasingly acting as vocal watchdogs against corruption from within the political apparatus of the state.  She worried that it would be difficult to retain this younger generation, or to expect them to work for limited pay for a long period of time. To this end, Gumenyuk wondered if foreign aid could be channelled towards paying their salaries.

In her concluding remarks, Gumenyuk also discussed the ongoing violence and the Russian military presence in Eastern Ukraine. International complacency over Crimea and Donbass means there is a real danger that the people still living in the contested zones will be forgotten.

About the Speaker

Nataliya Gumenyuk is a Ukrainian journalist and commentator specialising in foreign affairs. She is currently head of Hromadske.TV—an initiative of Ukrainian journalists to create public broadcasting in Ukraine—and Hromadske International en.hromadske.tv. Since the start of the revolution and the later conflict in Ukraine she has been reporting from the field: Maidan, Crimea, and Donbas. As an independent, international correspondent, she has reported on major political and social events from nearly 50 countries. During the last few years, she has focused on post-Arab Spring developments in the Arab world and is the author of the book Maidan Tahrir. In Search of the Lost Revolution. Nataliya is a Legatum Fellow and has contributed to the Legatum Institute's Beyond Propaganda series.

The Legatum Institute is delighted to act as Honorary Secretariat to the All Party Parliamentary Group on Foreign Affairs

The Transitions Forum is a series of projects dedicated to the challenges and possibilities of radical political and economic change.