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November 26, 2021

Public talk with the Ambassador Kurt Walker: from oligarchy to healthy competition

On March 11, the Center for National Resilience and Development together with the European Business Association met with the Special Representative of the US Department of State in Ukraine (2017-2019) Kurt Walker. 


They discussed de-oligarchization, the fight against corruption, the prospects of Ukrainian-American relations and much more.


"Ukraine must be a wealthy country. If you look at the size of its territory, agriculture, industry, natural resources, human capital and talent in Ukraine - it should definitely be a wealthy country. There should be nothing that can stop Ukraine from being a wealthy country."


"Corruption in Ukraine is a problem, but, in my view, it is only a symptom rather than a cause, a symptom of a bigger problem. And the bigger problem is the political structure, where too few people have too many resources, which gives them enormous power over everything” - commented Kurt Walker on the situation in Ukraine.


Sanctions against Kolomoisky and the nationalization of Privatbank were also discussed during the talk.
"Privatbank has been looted for billions of dollars. Ukraine is expected to stay on track having to nationalize the bank, without paying any compensation or returning it to its previous owners, and investigation actually to happen,” - he said.


The diplomat also shared his experience of how the United States overcame the problem of oligarchs and monopolies more than 100 years ago, and gave advice on how to solve this problem in Ukraine today.
"What we did in the United States - implemented antitrust legislation. We set limits on the amount of capital any business, entity or individual could control. So we forced them to sell part of the assets, to divide their business empire. 


We did not take money from them, we said - "sell", "start acting according to the law", "you will keep your money". And these people have become the greatest philanthropists in the United States. We are talking about Carnegie, Mellon, Rockefeller, Morgan.

 
Something similar should happen in Ukraine. You need to focus on antitrust legislation, define what the appropriate limits are, give people time to divest. Let them keep their money and reinvest in other areas. If that happens, it will create a demand for the rule of law among the same businessmen. Because to protect the economic interests and the business, they will need the rule of law," - said Ambassador Walker.
We thank our friend and friend of all Ukraine - Kurt Walker for accepting our invitation to join this meaningful and important discussion. We are grateful to our partners from the European Business Association and everyone who was with us offline and online.

 

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The justice system reform is one of the most pressing issues on the agenda of our state's development. This reform has lasted as long as Ukraine exists and stays incomplete.

Meanwhile, Ukrainians still do not have access to a fair trial, protection of their rights and do not have guarantees for safety. At least those who do not have the power and money.