Reforms in Ukraine 2014-2020: Change (IR)Reversible? Training for Future Policy Analysts

Reforms in Ukraine 2014-2020: Change (IR)Reversible? Training for Future Policy Analysts

2021 marks the 30th anniversary since the collapse of the Soviet Union. Nevertheless, the post-Soviet countries are still on their thorny paths to transition, marked by “stubborn” institutions, economic challenges and geopolitical complexities. Following the Revolution of Dignity (Euromaidan) in 2013, and the Russian Federation’s annexation of Crimea and its aggression in Eastern Ukraine in 2014, the newly formed Ukrainian government committed itself to conducting an array of unprecedentedly ambitious reforms, such as decentralization, the reform of public administration and reform of the judiciary. Given the reforms’ scale, intertwined nature and extensive support by Western actors, they can be regarded as an attempt to fully “re-load” the state. Six years after, such a “re-load” shows controversial results. Some of the reforms are regarded as an ultimate success (decentralization, public procurement); others are stalled and/or extensively criticized (e.g. judiciary and law enforcement).The “backsliding” trends, such as the Constitutional Court’s decision to declare crucial pieces of anti-corruption legislation unconstitutional (the Decision of 27 October 2020), appear to be ever more frequent. Reforms increasingly often appear in “fake news”, aimed to influence citizens’ political preferences. Citizens, in turn, seem to be tired of changes and vote for the “status-quo” at local elections 2020. The Crimean peninsula and the city of Sevastopol remain annexed by the Russian Federation, and the “forgotten war” continues in the East.

What have been the substance of the key reforms, conducted since 2014? Where does each reform field stand now? What shall be done to preserve the progress, already achieved, and move further? How shall the West frame its support to Ukraine? What are the best methodologies to analyze policies and reforms? How does one summarize the findings in a policy brief? How to think critically and identify “fake news”? Which lessons can other East European countries learn from the Ukrainian case? What are the pertinent educational and research. These are the key content questions the Summer School “Reforms in Ukraine 2014-2020: Change (IR)Reversible? Training for Future Policy Analysts” engages with.

Content-wise, the School will consist of the following blocs:

  • Introduction to Ukraine’s political history in the context of the post-Soviet transformation in Eastern Europe. Three Revolutions in Ukraine (the Revolution on Granite (1990); Orange Revolution (2004) and the Euromaidan (2013) (in collaboration with the College of Europe (Natolin)).
  • Reforms in Ukraine 2014-2021. This block presents scholars’ and practitioners’ view on the overall reforms’ dynamics (2014-2021), their institutional organization, key challenges and the organization of foreign support, as well as an in-depth insight into seven key reform fields (decentralization, public administration, land reform, public finance management reform, reform of the judiciary and law enforcement agencies, healthcare reform, as well as the transformation of the National Bank of Ukraine. In terms of this block, the participants will also visit Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (the Parliament), the National Bank of Ukraine, and the offices of several donor-funded programmes offline or virtually (in case the School is conducted online), such as the House of Decentralization (the “U-LEAD” programme). Specific attention will be paid to the challenge of conducting reforms amid the continuing conflict in Eastern Ukraine.
  • The Foundations of Public Policy Analysis. The participants will be introduced to the foundations, key concepts and methodologies of public policy analysis. They will participate in a workshop on the creation of policy briefs and use the acquired knowledge to complete the final project in groups (i.e. a policy brief).
  • Public Policy, Critical Thinking and Countering Disinformation. The block will introduce participants to the strategies of critical thinking, as well as identifying and countering disinformation in the context of specific government policies. The block will be based on specific cases related to the reforms, considered above. It will include interactive case analyses with KSE professors and the representatives of the NGOs/think thanks that specifically deal with disinformation (i.e. the Ukraine Crisis Media Center, NGO “Internews Ukraine”).
  • The Higher Education System and Educational/Research Opportunities in Ukraine. The block provides participants with an insight into the organization of the higher education system and educational/research opportunities for foreign students in Ukraine (i.e. available degree programmes, double degree programmes at KSE and beyond, research stays, as well as the organizational tips).
  • Ukrainian Language and Culture. A series of workshops, aimed at teaching participants basic Ukrainian and introducing Ukraine’s culture to them.
  • Final Project. The participants will work in small groups (up to 4 persons) to debate questions, highlighted in the Concept above, and write policy briefs. The best policy brief(s) will be published with the analytical platform Vox Ukraine (following the editorial process).


The participants will:

  • Develop an in-depth knowledge about the contemporary political, legal and socio-economic developments in Ukraine;
  • Learn how to analyse policies and translate the analysis’ results into high-quality analytical products (policy briefs, reports, memos);
  • Deepen their critical thinking skills in the context of public policy analysis;
  • Learn how to identify disinformation and develop strategies to counter it;
  • Develop an understanding of how Ukraine’s higher education system is organized with a focus on existing opportunities for foreign students and researchers;
  • Get to know basic Ukrainian and key Ukrainian cultural sights and traditions;
  • Improve their team-work skills.


The implementation peculiarities:

  • The blending of interactive lectures and the sessions, oriented on skills’ development (critical thinking, policy analysis, countering disinformation, teamwork);
  • Lectures and study sessions with both scholars and practitioners;
  • Flexible approach to organization: the School can be conducted either on-site or virtually, dependent on the COVID-19 situation;
  • Online field visits to the government and non-government organizations, and the offices of foreign-funded projects in Kyiv (in case of an offline format)
  • Publication opportunity with VoxUkraine.


Preliminary programme

Reforms in Ukraine 2014-2020: Change (IR)Reversible? Training for Future Policy Analysts


Day 1 

09.30-10.15 – Welcome & Introduction to the Summer School ( Tymofiy Mylovanov, KSE, Dr. Olesia Verchenko, KSE, Olga Fariatieva, KSE, Dr. Maryna Rabinovych, KSE)

10.30-12.00 – Networking Session & the Discussion of Participants’ Expectations (Dr. Maryna Rabinovych, KSE)

13.30-15.00 – Ukraine’s Political History in the Context of Post-Soviet Transformation in Eastern Europe (Dr. Ivan Gomza, KSE)

15.15-16.45 –  Ukraine’s Three Revolutions: Revolution on Granite, Orange Revolution and the Euromaidan (Dr. Ivan Gomza, KSE)


Day 2 

09.30-11.00 – Post-Euromaidan Reforms in Ukraine: An Introductory Session (Inna Sovsun, KSE, Deputy Head of the Ministry for Education in 2014-2016)

11.30-13.00 – The Decentralization Reform in Ukraine: A Scholarly Perspective (Dr. Maryna Rabinovych, KSE)

14.30-16.30 – Virtual Field Visit to the House of Decentralization (the “U-LEAD” project) (TBC)


Day 3 

09.30-11.00 – The Reform of Public Administration: A Scholarly Perspective  (Dr. Vsevolod Samokhvalov, the University of Liege)

11.30-13.00 – The Reform of Public Administration & Implementation Challenges. A Practitioner’s Perspective (Artem Shaipov, Professional Government Association of Ukraine & Chemonics International)

14.30-16.00 – How to Analyze Policies? An Introduction (Solomiya Shpak, KSE)

16.30-18.00 – Methods of Policy Analysis (Dr. Khrystyna Golynska, KSE, Dr. Tetiana Tyshchuk, KSE)


Day 4 

09.30-11.00 – The Foundations of Land Reform (Dr. Oleg Nivievskyi, KSE)

11.30-13.00 – Land Reform in Ukraine: A Practitioner’s Perspective (Specialist of the World Bank’s Project “Supporting Reforms in Agricultural and Land Relations in Ukraine (TBC)

14.30-16.30 – Ukrainian Language Workshop I

16.45-17.30 – Preparation for the Final Project, Guidelines & Topics’ Selection (Dr. Maryna Rabinovych, KSE)


Day 5 

09.30-11.00 – Reform of the Judiciary and Law Enforcement Agencies in Ukraine (Andrii Boyko, Member of the Higher Council of Justice of Ukraine)           

11.30-13.00 – Field Visit to the office of the USAID “New Justice” Project (TBC)


14.00-15.30 – Workshop “How to Write a Successful Policy Brief” (Dr. Hanna Shelest, Foreign Policy Council “Ukrainian Prism”)


Days 6-7  – Virtual tour in Kyiv and/or an online anti-corruption tour


Day 8 

09.30-11.00 – Public Finance Management Reform in Ukraine (Dr. Daryna Marchak, KSE)

11.30-13.00 – Anti-Corruption Reform in Ukraine Since 2014: The Role of Civil Society (Dr. Oksana Huss, University of Bologna/KSE, Dr. Oleksandra Keudel, Berlin School of Transnational Studies/KSE)

14.00-16.00 – Critical Thinking in Public Policy Analysis (Zuzana Novakova, Erasmus University Rotterdam)


Day 9  – Independence Day

Free Time


Day 10 

09:30-11.00 – The Transformation of National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) (Dr. Sergii Kiyashko, KSE)

11.20-13.00 – Field Visit to the NBU (TBC)

14.30-16.30 – Ukrainian Language Workshop II


Day 11 

09.30-11.00 – Healthcare Reform in Ukraine. History and State-of-the-Art (Dr. Maksym Obrizan, KSE)        

11.15-12.45 – The Practice of Reforming Healthcare in Ukraine & the COVID-19 Pandemic Experience (Pavlo Kovtoniuk, KSE, former Deputy Minister of Healthcare (2016-2019)

14.00-15.00 – The Reform of Education in Ukraine (Inna Sovsun, KSE, Deputy Head of the Ministry for Education in 2014-2016)

15.30-17.30 – Ukrainian Culture Workshop I


Day 12 

09.30-11.00 – Ukraine’s Foreign Policy in the Post-Euromaidan Era: Continuity and Change (Dr. Maryna Rabinovych, KSE)

11.30-13.00 – Field Visit to Verkhovna Rada (the Parliament of Ukraine) (with a focus on foreign policy & international cooperation)

14.15-16.15 – Ukrainian Language Workshop III


Day 13

09.30-11.00 – Reforms That Did Not Happen: Labour Market and Pension Reforms (Dr. Hanna Vakhitova, KSE)

11.15-12.15 – Participants’ Policy Brief Presentation I

12.30-13.30 – Participants’ Policy Brief Presentation II

14.45-16.30 – Higher Education and Research Opportunities for Foreign Students in Ukraine II  (Dr. Maryna Rabinovych, KSE)


Day 14 Free Time


Day 15 

09.30-10.30 – Participants’ Policy Brief Presentation III

10.45-11.45 – Participants’ Policy Brief Presentation IV

12.00-13.00 – Participants’ Policy Brief Presentation V

14.30-16.30 – Ukrainian Language Workshop IV


Day 16 

09.30-10.30 – Participants’ Policy Brief Presentation VI

10.45-11.45 – Participants’ Policy Brief Presentation VII

12.00-14.00 – Ukrainian Culture Workshop II

15.30-16.30 – Reflection & ’Virtual Handshake’ Session


To apply for a DAAD scholarship and participate in the Summer School (for German university students):

  • Please follow the instructions on a DAAD Go East Summer School web-page 
  • Please submit the following documents to Dr. Maryna Rabinovych in German or English ([email protected]):

    • Motivation letter (minimum one page)
    • CV in a form of a table