Poroshenko decrees the creation of yet another reform advisory body

December 17, 2015

On 13th February 2015, President Poroshenko signed a decree creating the International Reform Council, appointing Mikhail Saakashvili as its head.

On 16th December 2015, President Poroshenko signed a decree abolishing the International Reform Council – thus clearly now Governor Saakashvili is no longer head of a body that does not exist – quite possibly as a result of the events of the last Reform Council meeting and the inglorious acts of Minister of Interior Avakov and the less than careful words of Prime Minister Yatseniuk toward Governor Saakashvili who clearly managed to “press their buttons” during the meeting.

In dissolving the International Reform Council by decree, President Poroshenko also created a new body that will be known as the International Advisory Council.  The body is an advisory council to the Head of State that will facilitate the implementation of reforms in Ukraine to international best practices.  In other words, it will do exactly what the no defunct International Reform Council did.


The new Advisory Council is not headed by Governor Saakashvili as was its predecessor – neither is he to be part of it.

Chairman of the Board is President Poroshenko.  His deputy will be Boris Lozhkin who currently leads the Presidential Administration.

Those invited to compose the Advisory Council are  Carl Bildt, Tony Blair, Elmar Brok, Mikulas Dzurinda, Tony Abbott, Aleksander Kwasniewski, Bernard-Henri Levy, Anders Åslund, Anders Fogh Rasmussen and Stefan Fule.

Whether or not these individuals have accepted such invitations is not entirely clear.  Certainly if Bernard-Henri Levy had accepted the role already, this blog would probably know by now.  Almost certainly in fact.  (Mr Levy was quietly offered a significant role within the Ministry of Culture by President Poroshenko previously but did not take up the offer.)

Thus, at the time of writing, who if any of these people have accepted positions on the latest “reform” body is unknown – though several were invited to be part of the now dissolved body created in February 2015, and perhaps will simply shuffle across without too many pointed questions as to why officially created bodies are created, dissolved, and recreated under a different name but doing exactly the same thing – rather than simply changing personnel where appropriate/necessary.

The newly created International Advisory Board, for readers information, is entitled to relevant and/or necessary documents and materials from central and local executive bodies, and State institutions, organisations and enterprises.  The Advisory Board may create working groups and/or expert committees – implying direct communication with the bodies from which it may draw (or perhaps drag) information from.

The creation of this new body simply cannot be seen as reform progress.

President Poroshenko cannot claim that he has not received sound and solid international advise on international reform best practice on a continuous basis from all manner of experts.  By now, after so much advise and for so long, there are no excuses over “what” and the “how”.  (The “who” is him, the “when” is now, and the “why” is because the nation demands it.)

What this new – and let’s be blunt it is simply “another” – reform body does is create a new forum with (some) new people to enable talk rather than be forced to walk when it comes to reform.

It is a case of being seen to be doing something (with enlightened people) when deliberately doing nothing for as long as possible.

It is a body to create more talking that has the power to instigate, for example an (or numerous) inter-departmental committee (or whatever), to ask for papers, to hold meetings, to propose, to discuss, to report back, to revise, to redraft – in order to hold more meetings, make more proposals, have more discussions, report back once more, revise the revisions and redraft yet again – the usual governmental stalling processes via the misuse of bureaucratic functions and obstructionism under the guise of creating a body to make whatever it takes to look to be doing something without actually doing anything – like reforming.

As US Ambassador Geoff Pyatt clearly stated after the faux “unity statement” (for there is anything but unity) following the Saakashvili/Avakov incident:

And the Ambassador is absolutely right – More reform, less politics.

The President does not need this newly created body for reform advise or the effective implementation of reforms to best international practice – one word from him to any western embassy and entire specialist subject teams of experts would arrive in Kyiv within 24 hours if it meant a reform would materialise – indeed there are entire international specialist advisory teams already in Ukraine.

The President actually needs the newly created International Advisory Committee to do the opposite, he needs it to instigate an inter-departmental committee (or whatever), to ask for papers, to hold meetings, to propose, to discuss, to report back, to revise, to redraft, in order to hold more meetings, make more proposals, have more discussions, report back once more, revise the revisions and redraft yet again – ad infinitum for as long as the many prickly and painful decisions can be delayed.

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