Zelensky hits reset on decentralisation

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky has withdrawn his proposed decentralisation law after it was criticised by the European Parliament and a number of western embassies for not doing enough to give power to people.

This proposed legislation is important as it will help to establish a new constitutional framework, including for the breakaway regions of the east of the country. However the original draft made no specific reference to the Donbass. Current peace proposals for the region, based around the Normandy talks have seen both Russia and Ukraine commit to the so-called Steinmeier formula which would see greater autonomy for the regions in the east – albeit that each side sees the required outcome in different terms. Until the Kyiv government outlines its proposals for special status it seems unlikely that the next step – local elections – can take place.

Reading List – 26th October 2019

Tatiana Stanovaya argues that, for Putin, the risk of impeachment is that it creates too much chaos in the White House, risks undermining the gains that Russia has made with the US under Donald Trump and might result in the release of embarrassing details of conversations the two have had.


Duncan Allan and Leo Litra suggest that Ukrainian President Zelensky’s attempt to move forward with a solution to the Donbas conflict has angered many people at home. Having apparently hit a brick wall, Zelensky may choose instead to freeze matters for the time being.


Aaron David Miller and Richard Sokolsky say that whilst US allies among small nations will be nervous having seen President Trump abandon the Kurds, that does not mean that he will automatically be less likely to support other allies in future.