June 3, 2014

Is Ukraine More Like Latvia or Greece?

By Bruce Stokes, Director, Global Economic Program, Pew Research Center

Special to Foreign Policy 

As the leaders of the G7 meet in Brussels to discuss what to do to help Ukraine, the big foreign policy question they face is: “How many Ukrainians consider themselves Russians?”

But in economic policy, the real question is: “Will the Ukrainians prove to be Latvians or Greeks?” The answer to the latter question — a test of Ukrainians’ willingness to engage in meaningful structural economic reform (especially if it involves economic belt-tightening) may determine whether Western aid to that beleaguered nation facilitates a much-needed economic revival.

If the Ukrainians turn out to be Greeks, resisting reform because austerity measures are ill-conceived and the people feel they have suffered enough, then Ukraine’s ultimate recovery may be delayed, pushing Kiev into Moscow’s waiting arms — once again with offers of assistance, no strings attached.

Read more at Foreign Policy