Alex Rohovyk, coordinator of Free Voice Information Analysis Centre, for “Hvylia”.
Ukrainians inherently have a creative view of the future. They say that to dream is to imagine a desired future. This requires taking a first step in the direction of that dream. If we can see the result, we can find the right way. Following the current situation in Ukraine, we anxiously awaited our national and personal future. Let us dream of a positive and, in reality, almost dreamy, utopian scenario for Ukraine by 2040. As contemplated by Sergei Datsyuk, in ‘Ukraine and the Future’ “The future – changes the present with a collective desire to fight current trends. The future is a dynamic process of implementing complex ideas about the more challenging future”.
A foreign situation for Ukraine – the road to 2040
In the period leading up to 2040, key foreign policy issues included the renewal of territoriality, alongside integration into the Western world.
Pressure from new political and social movements forced the state government to hold a national referendum regarding Donbas. According to the results, Ukrainians rejected the basic points of the Minsk agreements №2, mainly “the special status of Donbas” and “elections in Donbas.” Donbas became acknowledged as an occupied territory. As a result, negotiations came to a standstill. International partners were not able to manoeuvre their own claims. An insufficient economic basis meant that Russia couldn’t continue the war. The conflict became “frozen”. Under these conditions, Donbas was isolated and dependent on the Kremlin. Such foreign policy failure, coupled with the preserved regime of international economic sanctions, began to severely influence the status of the ruling elite. In 2018, Putin won the president elections. Though under domestic and international pressure, and poor health, he resigned a year later. The government was handed over to representatives of the new conservative group “United Russia.” UR only emerged in the past 3 years. Putin was guaranteed safety. The new Russian government tried to save the economy from a difficult situation, by resuming business relations with the EU. As a result, the Minsk agreement №3 was initiated.
The US and Poland also signed the agreement process. In addition, Ukrainian and Russian officials governed negotiations. The opportunity to return Donbas to Ukraine emerged in exchange for the waiver of any international court claims against Russia and a partial abrogation of sanctions. Consequently, the Minsk protocol was signed to provide effective security mechanisms, allocating personnel and weapons, hostage exchanges, and regaining control of Ukraine’s state border. The “special status” of Donbas was not on the agenda. Local elections were arranged for 2021. After the implementation of the Minsk Protocol, Donbas was reintegrated as a part of Ukraine. Local elections ended with a victory of pro-Russian opposition, mostly local political forces. Regional economic recovery became Ukraine’s responsibility. A number of international funds and organizations were involved, providing special assistance to reinstate Donbas. The conflict was resolved in favour of Ukraine by 2021.
The partial abrogation of economic sanctions did not resolve other problematic trends in Russia, particularly in the field of energy resources. Ukrainian politics around economic and energy blockades attributed to Crimea grew into an expensive venture for Russia. In response, Alexander Boykula’s developed a useful approach, as covered in “How should active Ukrainian economic policy look regarding Crimea.” Development of Ukraine and reforms opened more opportunities for increasing pro-Ukrainian moods in Crimea. From 2021, all political persecution on ethnic grounds was suspended. Mejlis activity together with Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar media was resumed.
Pro-Ukrainian, Crimean Tatar political parties, and movements, became the majority in local elections over 10years. This forced the international community to question the Crimean de-occupation. In exchange for economic and energy specific preferences, an Association Agreement between the European Union and Russia was reached. This was in addition to IMF loans being granted at low rates for Russia. There was also agreement on the reintegration of Crimean into Ukraine. Crimea became a part of Ukraine in 2033.
EU and NATO
The European and Euro-Atlantic path of Ukraine became connected to internal reforms, talks about Crimea and Donbas, and the international politics. In 2017, Ukraine received a visa-free regime with the EU. Negotiations on the further European integration of Ukraine were resumed only after the completion of reforms in 2019-2021, and settlement of the armed conflict in Eastern Ukraine. In 2024, Ukraine implemented a crucial foreign policy change. This included the enhancement of the Association Agreement with the EU, which solidified the future prospect for EU membership.
More importantly, the agreement led to the adoption of an action plan for Ukraine’s membership in NATO. At that time, Ukraine was actively reforming its armed forces in accordance with NATO standards. Only in 2034, after Crimea became a part of Ukraine, did NATO take the historic decision to except Ukraine as a member. In the same year, NATO and Russia conducted a great summit where they conclude a number of strategic agreements.
Three years later, in 2037, the EU endorsed the admission of Ukraine into Union as a full member. It is worth noting, at that time of the decision; the EU’s global standing had substantially weakened to that of the 2010’s and 2020’s.
Ukraine emerged as a power centre in terms of international relations, at the time of its admission to NATO and the EU. Ukraine has become a strong regional country through consolidating a new political alliance with Poland, Turkey, Belarus, Romania, and Baltic States. In fact, Poland implemented the Intermarium concept. Ukraine adopted the old idea of foreign integration based on Yuri Lipa’s Black Sea-Baltic doctrine. The Intermarium Union project has become a very important economic and political element of the new Europe.
Ukraine gained benefits in economic terms, due to the economic space of the Union. The space has become a transit bridge and centre for business activity between two global economic projects, such as the US and the EU. Both assigned a transatlantic agreement on free trade, and the Silk Road project that connected China, Kyiv, and European countries. Kyiv became a cosmopolitan city, emerging as the financial and economic centre of Eastern Europe along with Warsaw. Major international corporations opened headquarter offices in this space. The city was known as the place for “international forums”. The Intermarium Union also created alternative European economic and political institutions, such as an Eastern European Monetary Fund, which invests in the Intermarium. Obviously, Ukraine no longer needed the IMF services, as the hryvnia become one of the most stable national currencies.
The United Nations (UN)
In 2038, the UN completed a long-term reform in response to the established political and economic importance of Ukraine and other countries in international relations. The reform of the UN Security Council expanded its membership to 25 members, including 10 permanents and 15 non-permanents. Ukraine became a permanent member although the “veto” right for permanent members was cancelled. The UN Security Council decision was taken by a majority of 2/3, and the General Assembly had the right to cancel the decision of Security Council.
The political situation in Ukraine on the way to 2040
Petro Maslyak described a philosophy of vision of our future in his article “Where is Ukraine striving to: futurist’s geostrategic forecast.” He said: “Our country will move to the only logical and natural path of development with the following stages: 1) acute crisis of post-Soviet system destruction and the elimination of government corruption and anti-Ukrainian elements; 2) internal self-organization of the Ukrainian nation that will destroy ”fifth column”; 3) election of the leader without negative background and involvement in any corruption scandal; 4) social and economic reform based on mobilizing all available resources of both Ukraine and the diaspora. “
From 2019, an intensive process of reforms ensued. Stable public consent for reforms was formed after the conflict settlement in Donbas. These included deregulation, de-bureaucratization, de-concentration, monopolization, decentralization, and elimination of corruption and oligarchy. The incentive for the reforms was political. Public pressure was also generated on the basis of mechanisms similar to those identified by Yuriy Romanenko, in “How Maidan can beat oligarchs: the cynic mathematics of victory.” The ideological foundations of the primary process and priority reforms were consonant with the concept of an economic breakthrough, independent country, and changes in government as mentioned by Paul Sebastyanovych in “The first 100 days after Poroshenko”. The first reforms targeted state authorities, the political system, the judiciary, law enforcement agencies, as well as some economic reforms (such as, economic deregulation, tax amnesty, economic freedom) with international and public national, and special committees. In cooperation with the government, they developed a suite of new laws. Other returned Ukrainian expat groups joined as well. During the process, the US, the EU, and the IMF, allocated 30 billion euros, during 2019-2021. At the end of the first stage of the reforms, Ukraine’s GDP grew by 5% per year. In 2021, an additional incentive for reform arose after the conflict settlement in Donbas.
Up to 2024, Ukraine implemented a number of important economic and political reforms to aid integration into the EU and NATO. In terms of political reforms, the number of MPs reduced to 150 people, whilst parliamentary elections were based on a proportional system of open lists. There were changes to the Constitution that fixed the parliamentary system of government, establishing clearly bounded the roles of the government. The President of Ukraine had only foreign policy functions, and the role of Commander in Chief. In general, these political transformations are well described by Alexander Kochetkov in “From Dreams to Actions: algorithm of Ukraine’s reconstruction”. Sergiy Datsyuk identified the requirements for the future Constitution of Ukraine in “Five terms of New Republic establishment in Ukraine”.
At that time, Ukraine already carried out an effective decentralization reform. Such reform gave great impetus to the development of local communities. The foundation of the state allowed the local community to elect judges, law enforcement agency, and police. An equally important part of communities became the Council of Guard of the Revolution of Dignity. The council monitored compliance with the values and demands of the Revolution, defining a new social contract in 2020. The government of Ukraine consists of a technocratic professional team, and occasionally foreign ministers. Apart from Kyiv, other cities like Lviv, Odesa and Kharkiv became powerful economic centres. Rayan Riener described future cities and country as developed democratic state, technological and industrial giant”
Ukraine became more ideological and professional, without radical and populist political parties. Such shift was influenced by the economic and political developments, and solutions to the dilemmas of foreign policy. Now there is no need to shout about the future of the country, but build it professionally.
Foreign social practices influenced the slow raise with social standards, as well as stimulating the demand. At the same time, Ukrainian labour remained fairly cheap. The Ukrainian government adopted a new tax reform to encourage business. It included: simplifying of administration, preventing discretion (officials making decision arbitrarily), eliminating pressure on businesses and reducing the tax burden . The types of business firms included SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), as well as foreign investments and technologies. Reforms were implemented together with the de-monopolization of the economy, based on Western investments to the infrastructure. Energy reforms became crucial as well. This was due to the active introduction of alternative energy and energy saving technologies. Such reform significantly reduced the need for gas and changed energy consciousness of citizens.
A progressive development of agriculture Ukraine became noticeable, due to favourable external conditions mentioned previously. Drawing on sector potential, Ukraine became a major exporter in the EU and China. Another important point is that Ukraine also formed into an IT-Eastern Europe epi-centre. Previously, Ukraine did not use its own local IT specialists. However, as a result of stronger domestic markets IT-services promotion, a “breakthrough” was achieved in this area. Ukraine became the business centre for incubators and hubs. Overall, the strategic points noted by Sergei Ivanov were used as a basis for these developments . Ivanov proposes a “scenario” of Balanced Development “on the long-term time horizon.”
These developments provided the impetus for the development of education and science sectors. The economic sector of Ukraine became tourism, within (Lviv, Kyiv) for nature, (Trans Carpathian) and recreational habitats (Crimea, Odessa). To obtain a Membership Action Plan to NATO, military reforms were implemented. In particular, as noted in “Reforms must be true”: “Reform of the security sector and defence – system, implementation of NATO standards to ensure civilian control over the Defence Ministry and General Staff, transparent procedures of formation and implementation of the state defence order, the development of the defence industrial capacity, developing new approaches to functional Security + structuring the army and reform the system of training and usage troops, launching a unified military logistics). At the same time, a powerful military-industrial complex and industrial facilities in the eastern regions developed. An access to international markets increased for aviation and space industries, and technology industries. All these processes together formed Ukraine’s neo-industrialisation, with its new ideas: creating effective technological enterprises that can fully realize the potential of natural resources of Ukrainian regions. Some of these trends were marked by Volodymyr Panchenko and Vladimir Klimenko in their discussions “Klimenko VS Panchenko: Sickle against hammer: should Ukraine be Agrarian or industrial country?”
Changes have been made to the customs system, the General Prosecutor, and effective activity of all anti-corruption and anti-corruption reforms was launched. There were many progressive measures taken. In particular, there was a significant minimization of the country’s role, and deregulation of the economy that led to the privatization of some government functions. While implementing the functions, an e-governance model was used. The model provided a maximum transparency and openness via mechanisms of information access, open access to all databases owned enterprises and beneficiaries, transparent public procurement. Due to the specificity of customs and tax legislation, it was possible to abolish tax pits, destroy smuggling schemes, and preferences at customs. Transparency of the budget process, and the financing of political parties, was provided. Another element of the reform involved the personal planning of officials’ activities and reporting. The number of officials was reduced by 50%. The access to public services was possible only through open competitions. This allowed for increases in financial support for civil servants. As part of this reform, there were complex changes on a competitive basis of all government agencies. A special role in combating corruption was given to citizens by introducing mechanisms to encourage cooperation between citizens with the investigation.
All these positive changes increased the level of Ukrainian patriotism, and dominance of Ukrainian culture and language. In 2025, a Ukrainian film won an Oscar. Ukrainian cinematography, literature and music were reanimated.
Following the cultural changes was notable sports development. Ukraine entered the top 5 at the Olympic Games 2028. Ukraine and its cultural elements have become a recognizable worldwide trend, and later – a global brand.
Ukraine’s Path to Dream 2040 is full of challenges. It requires unity at the level of social and public strategy, and sustainable common desire to implement this strategy. Without resolving conflicts, and achieving a successful integration into “old” and “new” European structures, a successful scenario for Ukraine is impossible.
- The agenda for the new government, http://www.pravda.com.ua/articles/2016/04/12/7105199/
- Sergiy Ivanov, The Jump from the Chasm: Country Reestablishment for 1000, http://hvylya.net/analytics/politics/stribok-z-prirvi-perezasnuvati-derzhavu-za-1000-dniv.html
- Foresight of Ukraine’s economy: mid-term (2015 – 2020) and long-term (2020 – 2030 years) time horizons, edited by the academic Zgurovsky, http://wdc.org.ua/uk/node/182605
The original article was first published in Ukrainian at Hvylia. Translated by UDI editorial team.