Exceptionally, Ukrainians have had three peaceful revolutions to chart their course towards independence – the 1991 break from Soviet control, the 2004 Orange Revolution ushered in by a pro-Western leadership and the 2014 revolution that ousted a Kremlin-backed president. dismissed in favor of one. pro-European future. It ushered in a new phase of reforms to strengthen parliament, promote an independent judiciary, advance electoral integrity, decentralize decision-making, and combat corruption.
Because of these efforts, Ukraine now has strong governing institutions – strong enough that they have continued to operate under the onslaught of Russia in the biggest war in Europe since the 1940s.
The Ukrainian people have created a free democratic alternative to Putin’s vassal state – one that is worth fighting for. It is a result of American tax dollars made possible by supporting programs of building democratic institutions from the ground up that began in the early days of independence and continue today. With strong bipartisan support, nonprofit organizations such as the International Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute have worked with partners in Ukraine to establish and strengthen the core elements of democracy – including transparent electoral processes, a vibrant multiparty system, Includes devolution of power and rule of law.
As we enter the 10th month of Russia’s brutal invasion, with a new US Congress taking office, some elected officials – Republicans and Democrats – have questioned whether the aid America is providing From weapons to democracy aid, we really have our national level. interest.
The strategic case for supporting Ukraine is sound: Ukrainians are fighting an American superpower adversary to defend the free world, which would destroy the US-led order that NATO exists to protect.
The resilience shown by Ukraine’s democratic institutions in the face of existential threats reflects not only the wisdom of the US investment, but also the credibility of the management of US aid to Ukraine. It is also a response to absolutist opponents such as Russia and China who imagine that some countries or cultures are not compatible with democracy.
The United States must not lose sight of the significant strategic benefits that American taxpayers have invested in Ukraine. In addition to providing military and reconstruction assistance, our long-term strategy for Ukraine must include strong support for the democratic development of Ukraine so that the country survives not only this war, but trans-Atlantic security – as a form of blue security. Become even stronger. And the yellow shield stands between the free world and Putin’s rapacious autocracy.
poll shows that Ukrainians identify combating corruption along with restoring Ukraine’s territorial integrity as their top concerns. Continued anti-corruption reform is vital to Ukraine’s future prosperity and political integrity.
Supporting the Ukrainian people in their determination to end corruption should be a top priority for future aid. Additionally, the ongoing process of decentralization is key to creating accountable government at all levels. Reconstruction funds should flow to mayors, governors and civil society, not just the central government. Continuing to equip political parties and legislators with the skills they need to govern a post-war nation as it rebuilds will be critical.
In his landmark speech to the British Parliament 40 years ago, President Ronald Reagan said that “democracy is not a delicate flower; Still, it needs to be cultivated. Without continued nurturing, Ukraine’s gains — and by extension, America’s — are at risk.
The socioeconomic consequences of the war will challenge Ukraine’s institutions, even if they have proven strong throughout the conflict. To ensure transparency and accountability in the post-war reconstruction, Washington must help the government keep its foot on the gas with important anti-corruption reforms and strengthening of the rule of law.
The worst possible outcome for Vladimir Putin would be for Ukraine to be not only victorious, but even more committed to pursuing a democratic, pro-Western future. If this happens, the return on America’s investment in Ukraine’s democracy will be immeasurable.
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