Ukraine’s economic pressures

With Ukraine’s economy on the brink of disaster, the International Monetary Fund agreed a $17.5 billion package for Ukraine in February. Some think this programme will save Ukraine’s troubled economy: the promise of an immediate injection of $5 billion caused a rebound for the Ukrainian currency. Having just days before faced a near collapse, falling to 40 hryvnia to the dollar, it rose back up to 22 hryvnia to the dollar. The Ukrainian parliament passed a dramatic reform package on March 2. Total funding for the programme may amount to $40 billion, including $7.5 billion leveraged from other sources, and supplementary funding is possible.

However, others point out that the IMF deal provides only $6 billion in new money. Further, it was already out of date on arrival, because GDP fell more than expected in 2014, by 6.9 per cent rather than the 5 per cent forecast. As of March, the IMF was predicting a further fall of 5.5 percent for GDP in 2015.

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Andrew Wilson of the European Council on Foreign Relations

Andrew Wilson is a senior policy fellow at ECFR. He is a permanent Reader in Ukrainian Studies at the School of Slavonic and East European Studies (SSEES), University College London. He is also an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Institute of International Affairs. He has published widely on the politics and culture of the European neighbourhood, particularly on Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus, and on the comparative politics of democratisation in the post-Soviet states, especially its corruption by “political technology”. His recent books include Belarus: The Last European Dictatorship (2011) and Ukraine’s Orange Revolution (2005). He is a frequent contributor to global media debates on Russia and Ukraine and his views and commentary have appeared in outlets such as the Independent on Sunday, Al Jazeera, the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Economist, The Guardian, and the South China Morning Post.