2018 is starting to shape up like 2013. President Petro Poroshenko consolidates his power by foot dragging on reforms promised to Western donors, then by harassing opponents, according to Diane Francis, a Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council's Eurasia Center.
"Like the Yanukovych era, there is no rule of law, no parliamentary accountability, and no effective pursuit of corrupt officials or even of Yanukovych who stole billions," she wrote.
The expert noted that conditions resemble those that led to the 2004 and 2014 "street" revolutions, a situation that officials continuously say cannot be allowed because it would lead to instability and renewed Russian aggression.
"But if Ukrainians must take to the streets again, it will be different this time," Francis said.
Read alsoRussian psy-ops campaign paved way for military action in Crimea in 2014 - mediaIt's different this time because Ukraine is armed to the teeth. Most importantly, the Trump administration is sending Javelin anti-tank missiles (an estimated 200 missiles) as well as M107A1 sniper rifles to Ukraine's military. In return, Ukraine pledged to clean up its corrupt defense industry.
"This not only neutralizes Russia, but underpins any future street revolution should the current regime refuse to fully reform the country before the 2019 elections," she said.
Another difference is that the West, its governments and institutions, are solidly behind Ukrainian aspirations for a real democracy and just society.
"Another difference, should change come about through elections or otherwise, is that Ukraine would not be left in chaos as happened in 2014," the article says.
Ukraine has developed stronger financial institutions, important Western allies and expertise, and an "infrastructure of governance," consisting of hundreds of honest parliamentarians, executives, financiers, lawyers, activists, international donors and benefactors, and political leaders.
Read alsoPoroshenko expects launch of Ukraine's anti-corruption court within this yearPoroshenko, who ran as a reformer, has undertaken some good work, but four pieces of unfinished business remain: Withdraw and quickly revise his recent sham proposal to create the Anti-Corruption Court by making it truly independent in accordance with the wishes of Ukrainians and Western donors; stop the harassment of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine; strip parliament of immunity which perpetuates a "Club of Crooks" culture by allowing members to flout the rule of law; and ban political ads from all television stations during the 2019 elections to remove oligarchic influence.
Read alsoSociologist names 3 scenarios for Ukraine in 2018"Poroshenko is running out of time. The Anti-Corruption Court must be operational in time to adjudicate, and convict, at least three high-profile cases brought to it by the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine before the spring 2019 election. The other reforms must be completed early this year. If these transformations are not embedded, another street protest in the months leading up to the elections is likely, and it will garner mass international support. And with their military bulwark against Russia, Ukrainians may finally have a chance to overthrow their odious elites," reads the report.