February 2023 | EU officials share ILO and trade union concern over labour reforms
An investigation by openDemocracy revealed EU officials have been privately sharing concerns over Ukraine’s ongoing labour law reforms that mirror those raised by domestic and international trade unions, the International Labour Organisation (ILO), and labour rights activists. Critics of the reform process say it runs against the ILO ‘social dialogue’ and EU’s ‘social market economy’ systems, with the Council of Europe noting reforms to date have “mostly resulted in the deterioration of employment conditions.” The Ukrainian government maintains the reforms are necessary as the country’s current labour laws date to the Soviet era. As the reforms are taking place under martial law, domestic trade unions and activists have been unable to repeat the large scale protests that forced parliament to drop the same reform process in 2020.
January 2023 | Corruption investigation prompts government reshuffle
A journalistic investigation revealed the Ukrainian military was paying inflated prices for food, breaking what the Financial Times called 'a taboo on criticising the government during wartime'. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy responded by firing and forcing the resignation of several high-ranking civil servants, governors, state ministers, and members of parliament involved or suspected of involvement in this and other corruption or embezzlement schemes. Ukrainian prosecutors and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau launched numerous investigations. International and domestic observers say Ukraine has made significant anti-corruption reforms in recent years, but that the scandals show that much work remains to be done.
December 2022 | Controversial judicial appointments bill signed into law
Ukrainian activists decried the passage of a law on the procedure of selecting judges for the Constitutional Court of Ukraine (CCU) on 20 December, saying it failed to provide for an independent court and put Ukraine’s European Union aspirations at risk. The bill, while ostensibly intended to provide for a politically independent CCU, instead left nomination powers in the office of the president and in the Verkhovna Rada, where President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s Servant of the People party holds an outright majority. Judicial reform activists had asked President Zelenskiy to veto the law, and the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission issued a critical opinion recommending several changes the day before the bill was signed into law.
November 2022 | Ukraine retakes Kherson
Ukrainian troops re-entered the port city of Kherson in southern Ukraine on 11 November, bringing the city with a pre-war population of 300,000 back under Ukrainian control for the first time since February 2022. Kherson is the regional capital of one of the four regions Russia claimed to have been annexed in an illegal and illegitimate referendum in September 2022. Human rights experts are researching reports of widespread torture and arbitrary detention under the eight-month occupation.
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Supporting Ukraine’s Democracy After the War: Key Issues, Comparative Experience and Best Practices: GSoD In Focus No. 14
The international community broadly accepts the necessity of providing significant financial and technical assistance for reconstruction in Ukraine, but equally vital is the provision of concomitant support for Ukraine’s work to preserve and reconstruct its democracy and democratic institutions on its own terms.
The Ukraine War and the Struggle to Defend Democracy in Europe and Beyond: Rising stakes in the struggle for democracy
Increasing authoritarianism in some countries, such as Russia, coupled with gradual democratic erosion around the world, poses an exceptional threat to a rules-based global order, and consequently to peace and prosperity. The invasion of Ukraine is the most blatant and tragic realization of this threat.