Democracy & Civil Society Task Force


Ukraine’s competitive 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections held with respect to fundamental freedoms and broadly reflecting the will of the voters have further demonstrated the commitment of the Ukrainian people to a democratic future.

In 2019, Ukrainian voters were clear about the direction of their nation and the serious challenges that need to be addressed by their government, including reinvigorating efforts to strengthen rule of law, combat corruption, strengthen and protect civil society and fulfill Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations.

The election results provide Ukraine’s new leadership and the Ukrainian people with an unprecedented opportunity to strengthen democracy and address these challenges. We urge President Zelenskyy and the new government and Rada to carry out reform commitments and seize this opportunity to advance Ukraine’s democracy and accelerate its integration with the European Union and NATO.

A democratic, secure and prosperous Ukraine continues to be in the national security interest of the United States, European Union and international community. Ukraine continues to receive strong bipartisan support in Washington and from European and international partners.

Thanks to the dynamic role of Ukrainian civil society since the Maidan, and the dedication of reformers, Ukraine has made significant progress in the last five years to stabilize its economy, carry out democratic reforms and counter Russia’s war of aggression. We applaud that effort. However, Ukraine must guard against anti-corruption backsliding that occurred over the past year, as pointed out by Ukraine’s partners, including the United States.  Ukraine’s new leadership has an opportunity to dispel these concerns and reinvigorate Ukraine’s commitment to implement democratic reforms and address entrenched corruption that has held back Kyiv’s Euro-Atlantic progress.

As Russia continues to wage war against Ukraine it is increasingly important in 2019 and beyond that the United States, European Union and other partners of Ukraine step up efforts to strengthen Ukrainian democratic and economic resilience. This includes reinforcing Ukrainian civil society’s fight against corruption and partnering with Ukraine to build a robust democracy with strong institutions, political parties and independent media — all necessary in a healthy and vibrant democracy. Continuing on the reform path, especially in the area of rule of law, will benefit Ukraine’s democracy, economy, security and independence. Failure to do so only benefits Moscow.


Jonathan Katz, Co-Chair (German Marshall Fund)

Orest Deychakiwsky, Co-Chair (Former Senior Policy Advisor, US Helsinki Commission)

Adrian Karmazyn, Vice Chair (Former Voice of America Ukrainian Service Chief)

Tania Chomiak-Salvi (Former Deputy Coordinator, International Information Programs, US Department of State)

Jaroslav Dutkewych (Former Peace Corps Ukraine Director)

David J. Kramer (Former Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor)

Stephen Nix (International Republican Institute)

Joanna Rohozinska (National Endowment for Democracy)


• Increase U.S. political and diplomatic engagement with Ukrainian government and civil society and
international partners to support implementation of reforms in Ukraine.
• Support and encourage the new president’s and government’s efforts to implement and carry out critical anti-corruption and democratic reforms.
• Deepen political, development and economic cooperation among the U.S., European Union and other international partners of Ukraine to strengthen Ukraine’s democracy, resiliency, fight against corruption
and Russian aggression.
• Urge the U.S. Congress to hold hearings on Ukraine’s democratic reform efforts and play a role in determining conditionality on U.S. assistance and support for Ukraine.
• Utilize the political capital and other relevant resources of the three bilateral working groups (on Security and Countering Russian Aggression, Rule of Law and Humanitarian Issues, and Economy and Energy)
created in November 2018 in the framework of the U.S.-Ukraine Strategic Partnership Commission.
• Provide robust U.S. government support for Ukraine’s democratic development, including an independent judiciary, strengthened rule of law, human rights and law enforcement.
• Maintain, and, as necessary, increase, U.S. government funding to strengthen Ukraine’s election processes to ensure that elections meet international democratic standards and are free, fair, open and
• Consider providing additional funding to help Ukraine defend its election infrastructure against cyberattacks from Russia and other malign actors.
• Intensify diplomatic and political support for Ukraine’s civil society to strengthen their efforts to combat corruption, monitor government and hold it accountable, and eliminate any attempts to curtail
activists’ lawful activities, cease attacks and pressure on them.
• Maintain, and increase, where appropriate, current levels of U.S. government funding and technical assistance to further develop and strengthen civil society organizations, with a focus on their institutional
development and capacity building.
• Maintain, and increase, where appropriate, support for reform-oriented national political parties.
• Where appropriate, the United States should apply targeted conditionality to both development and new macroeconomic assistance support focused on the passage and implementation of key democratic
and rule of law reforms, including independent and impartial courts, as well as comprehensive reform of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU).
• Increase or maintain current levels of U.S. government funding for academic, professional, and people-to-people exchanges through existing — and new — exchange programs with Ukraine.
• Increase or maintain current levels of U.S. government funding for the development of independent and investigative media in Ukraine.
• Continue to fund the Ukrainian Services of the Voice of America and Radio Liberty at levels that enable them to vigorously respond to Russian disinformation as well as the informational shortcomings and
biases of oligarch-controlled media in Ukraine.
• Continue U.S. assistance in support of decentralization in Ukraine, empowering local governments and communities as purveyors and implementers of reforms and more responsive governance.
• Target assistance for programs to improve trust and confidence and reconciliation between citizens and government in eastern Ukraine.


• Build and improve upon the election code passed in July 2019, including electoral framework and administration, campaign conduct and financing, the information environment, and participation.
• Revise laws governing campaign financing to ensure greater transparency and accountability.
• Facilitate voting by IDPs, other internal migrants and citizens registered in Russian-occupied Crimea and the Donbas.
• Implement elections-related recommendations of the OSCE and other international organizations such as the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI), as well as the
roadmap for progress outlined by International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) and Ukrainian civil society organizations OPORA, Centre UA (particularly the Chesno NGO) and Reanimation Package
of Reforms (RPR).
• Continue to make concrete progress implementing reforms and in strengthening the rule of law, promoting further reform of the judicial system and of law enforcement structures, and more resolutely
combat corruption.
• Strengthen the rule of law by reshuffling tainted judicial self-governance bodies, ensure a transparent and competitive selection process for the court apparatus and take other measures recommended
by civil society and international experts to improve judicial independence, integrity, professionalism and accountability.
• Support efforts to develop the High Anti-Corruption Court and help ensure anti-corruption institutions work together in fostering rule of law, and transparent and accountable government.
• Encourage Ukraine’s pro-reform forces and judiciary system to undertake and implement reforms that would better hold corrupt officials to account.
• Encourage systemic reforms that would reduce opportunities for government officials to engage in corrupt activities.
• Shore up efforts to safeguard the effectiveness of anti-corruption legal tools and institutions, including final passage of the law on illegal enrichment.
• Remove or amend legislation that unduly and unfairly hampers the work of civil society and refrain from further attempts to limit the space for its operation.
• Thoroughly and impartially investigate and punish all instances of killings and other attacks on civil society activists, journalists, and members of minority groups, including Roma.
• Support and do not undermine the work of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU), equip it with the ne cessary tools for its effective activity, safeguard existing anticorruption legislation from being
watered down.
• Ensure the transparency, effectiveness and political independence of the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAPO).


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