Analysis of political economy of Ukraine 1991 through 2001

"Ukrainian Political Economy: The First Ten Years" by Robert S. Kravchuk. New York: Palgrave Macmillan 2002. 353 pp. $65 (hardcover).

"Ukrainian Political Economy: The First Ten Years" by Robert S. Kravchuk provides an analysis of Ukraine's political economy from 1991 to 2001, the first 10 years of independence. The book offers both a historical account of Ukraine's economic development, especially as it relates to and is affected by politics, as well as an analysis of the events and policies.

According to Dr. Kravchuk, in 2001 Ukraine made the World Bank's list of the "world's poorest countries," in the company of Pakistan, Rwanda, Nicaragua and other strikingly poor countries. In the foreword to the book, Dr. Taras Kuzio of the University of Toronto writes that the Ukrainian economy suffered a depression from the late 1980s until the year 2000 that was worse than the American Great Depression.

Since Ukraine has ample human and natural resources at its disposal, Dr. Kravchuk seeks to answer, among others, the following questions: "Why, after 10 years of independence, have Ukraine's economic reform efforts failed to produce the much-anticipated turnaround? Why, until 2000, has the Ukrainian economy apparently refused to grow? What have been the missing elements in Ukraine's economic policies? What domestic and international political and economic forces have prevented forward progress on reforms?"

Since independence, political struggles for power in Ukraine have resulted in shortsighted economic policies, according to Dr. Kravchuk. These policies are both the cause and result of underdeveloped governing institutions, corruption, and a lack of investment and property security, resulting in "Cowboy Capitalism."

Prof. Kuzio writes of Dr. Kravchuk's book, "This volume is the work of many years of painstaking research by Robert S. Kravchuk in a field so sorely neglected by contemporary Ukrainian studies."

Dr. Kravchuk is associate professor of public and environmental affairs at Indiana University. He has served as a U.S. Treasury Department resident advisor to the Minister of Finance of Ukraine, and taught public finance and economics at the Ukrainian Academy of Public Administration in 1993-1994.

Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, August 3, 2003, No. 31, Vol. LXXI

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