Ukraine: Great Expectations

Experts discuss the implications on Ukraine of the Zelenskyy presidency.

Research event Recording
5 December 2019 — 9:00AM TO 4:30PM
Chatham House | 10 St James's Square | London | SW1Y 4LE

Great Expectations, Charles Dickens’s penultimate completed work, concerns the development of a young man who faces arduous trials before eventually overcoming adversity. Ukraine’s progress often seems just as tortured as that of Dickens’s enigmatic protagonist in the novel.

President Zelenskyy and his team are embarking on an ambitious agenda to break away from the past – with renewed zeal in the fight against corruption, opening the land market and privatizing state-owned assets. However, Ukraine’s struggle for reform remains an immense challenge.

The country also finds itself under intense international scrutiny. It is a theatre of war where Russia modulates its aggression in the east of the country and pushes for a deal on Donbas on its terms. Crimea has been all but forgotten by the international community. Meanwhile, the US has dragged Ukraine into its own politics ahead of the 2020 US presidential elections.

What do Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his team stand for? Will they realistically be able to deliver? What reform opportunities will emerge with a new generation in power? What are the risks to economic growth? And how does the current constellation of geopolitical forces affect Ukraine?

Main Organizing Partner

Foreign Policy Council ‘Ukrainian Prism’


UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation, GMF

Hillmont Partners

Agenda (PDF, 0.49MB)


Olga Aivazovska, Head of the Board, Civil Network OPORA
Robert Brinkley CMG, Chairman, Ukraine Forum 
Alina Frolova, Deputy Minister of Defence, Ukraine
Vadym Halaichuk, MP, Servant of the People Faction
Martin Harris, Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia, FCO
James Hart, Advisor to the Prime Minister of Ukraine; Partner, Hillmont Partners
Taras Kachka, Deputy Minister for Economic Development, Trade and Agriculture; Trade Representative of Ukraine
Hennadiy Maksak, Head of the Board, Foreign Policy Council ‘Ukrainian Prism’
Katarina Mathernova, Deputy Director General, European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, European Commission​
Alain Pilloux, Vice President, Banking, EBRD 
Hanna Shelest, Member of the Board, Foreign Policy Council ‘Ukrainian Prism’
James Sherr, Associate Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Programme, Chatham House; Senior Fellow, International Centre for Defence and Security
Ron van Rooden, Assistant Director, European Department, IMF
Svyatoslav Vakarchuk, MP, Leader, Golos Political Party
Andriy Yermak, Aide to the President of Ukraine
Volodymyr Yermolenko, Director of European Projects, Internews Ukraine

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