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Research Report

A Roadmap for Ukraine: Delivering on the Promise of the Maidan

Atlantic Council
Copyright Date: Jul. 1, 2014
Published by: Atlantic Council
Pages: 29
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. [ii]-[ii])
    Frederick Kempe

    Last fall, as Ukrainians massed on the Maidan to demand a better government and closer ties to Europe, the Atlantic Council began to mobilize on Ukraine. An Atlantic Council delegation visited Warsaw and Kyiv in March to map out our strategy, and during the visit of Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk to the Council that same month, we launched a one hundred-day campaign to galvanize the transatlantic community behind Ukraine’s democratic future in Europe.

    As the crisis worsened, we convened at the highest levels, making vital connections between Ukrainian, American, and European policymakers and thought leaders. We deployed our substantial...

  2. (pp. 1-1)
    John Herbst

    Ukraine is once again at a potential turning point in its young history. It missed the opportunity at independence and during the Orange Revolution to make a decisive break with an authoritarian past and move decisively toward an open, market-oriented society. Yet Ukrainian civil society remained vibrant and late last year once again spoke out against the country’s authoritarian and corrupt leaders. As a result of the protests from an enraged citizenry, then-President Viktor Yanukovych fled the country for Russia.

    At that point, a severe domestic crisis in Ukraine became an international one. Angry that its preferred Ukrainian politician was...

  3. (pp. 2-3)

    The crisis with Russia hit Ukraine’s economy at a vulnerable time in late 2013. The country’s growth was flat in 2012 and 2013. (The economy sustained a 15 percent drop in 2009 because of the global recession, but gross domestic product (GDP) grew at 5 and then 4 percent in the following two years.) Public sector debt (internal and external) rose to 40 percent of GDP in 2013. This made the government of former President Viktor Yanukovych vulnerable to the Kremlin offer to drop the trade association agreement with the European Union (EU) in exchange for $15 billion in loans...

  4. (pp. 4-6)

    Secure borders and internal peace are important foundation blocks upon which to drive economic and political reform in Ukraine. Russia has invaded Ukraine and occupies Crimea, supports an internal insurgency, and has massed military forces on Ukraine’s eastern and northern frontiers. This undercuts, if not precludes, Kyiv’s ability to drive forward the challenging reforms necessary to enhance the freedom and prosperity of its citizens and to effectuate their desire to integrate into the community of European democracies.

    Russia’s aggression has highlighted the failure of Kyiv’s previous governments to build requisite security and defense institutions and capabilities. The new government inherits...

  5. (pp. 7-10)

    Energy represents one of Ukraine’s greatest vulnerabilities and sources of potential strength, and must be central to a broader effective and comprehensive economic reform plan.

    Energy is the linchpin of Ukraine’s dependence on Russia. The Kremlin has used energy as a weapon not only to exert leverage over Ukraine, but to control its leaders and key power players who are personally enriched via opaque energy deals with Russia.

    As such, the energy sector is a critical pillar to building an effective, stable national security and economic strategy for Ukraine.

    This strategy must be long-term in scope yet also one that...

  6. (pp. 11-14)

    Since the Orange Revolution, Russian anti-Ukrainian propaganda has helped to lay the groundwork for the Kremlin’s annexation of Crimea and intervention in eastern Ukraine. This campaign has been ubiquitous, effective, and largely unchallenged, and it continues to present a distorted and untrue picture of Ukraine to Russian and Western publics as well as Ukraine’s own people.

    In the battle for global public opinion, the Kremlin spends millions on Internet, newspapers, television, and an army of pundits and journalists around the world. Russian President Vladimir Putin described the Kremlin’s purpose perfectly: “to break the monopoly of the Anglo-Saxon mass media.”¹ To...


    • (pp. 15-15)

      The Atlantic Council, as part of its Ukraine in Europe Initiative to galvanize the transatlantic community, convened a group of experts, former senior officials, and thought leaders to conduct a series of exercises that seek to identify Russia’s possible next steps in Ukraine over the next year. Chaired by the Council board member Walter B. Slocombe, this Red Team exercise developed four broadly defined scenarios in which Russia could prevent Ukraine from becoming an independent nation with the ability to determine its own future, become a more democratic and less corrupt state, and integrate into Europe. The Red Team’s goal...

    • (pp. 16-17)

      Emboldened by his success in using covert Russian military forces and local militants to first seize control of Crimea and then destabilize much of eastern Ukraine and Odessa, Putin decides to launch an overt military invasion of Ukraine. This overt option differs from the others in that it seeks to establish direct Russian control of all or part of Ukraine. However, it shares the following objectives with the other three scenarios: strengthening Putin’s support and control within Russia, preventing Ukraine from deepening relationship with NATO and the European Union (EU), protecting Russian control of energy pipelines to Europe and Russia’s...

    • (pp. 18-19)

      Russia would choose this course as a means to destabilize eastern and southern Ukraine by sustained and highly active covert or otherwise deniable efforts. Even if Putin nominally decreases the most recognizable methods currently in use, such as highly active and visible Russian intelligence operatives and special forces, he could continue to exert pressure through more subtle but still direct means to support pro-Russian elements, including the dispatch of thinly veiled special forces and security elements, use of agents of influence, financial and material support to separatists, and substantial incentives both positive and negative to the local population to side...

    • (pp. 20-21)

      The ostensibly legitimate scenario would see Russia reduce direct intervention and military intimidation in the belief a more subtle approach would win support in eastern and southern Ukraine. Assessed to have achieved a suitable level of destabilization in Ukraine, Russia’s actions would include military redeployments, a significant reduction in detectable support to the rebels, publicly supporting Ukrainian elections, and voicing a willingness to negotiate an end to the crisis. These actions, combined with Ukrainian and Western governments’ overtures for Russian participation in the roundtable talks, may have convinced Russia that it has reached the desired level of influence in Ukraine...

    • (pp. 22-23)

      Having already achieved its main objectives in Crimea, in this scenario Russia is confident it can now also achieve its broader objectives in Ukraine without escalating the situation there any further. As such, Russia would cease all overt, covert, and quasi-legitimate activities to intervene in Ukraine. Moscow knows that it can utilize the fact that it would remain in a position to influence the Ukraine’s future trajectory even after the May 25 elections. Furthermore, the Kremlin believes that it can get most of the Western sanctions lifted and likely prevent NATO deployments to eastern allies by de-escalating the situation. Russia...