This article was recently published in the Gulf Times, published in Qatar:
“Heads roll and agencies merge in govt overhaul”
Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich has kicked off a major overhaul of his government, sacking ministers and eliminating some top government offices entirely.
The pro-Russia politician reduced the number of ministries in the former Soviet republic from 20 to 16 and the number of senior presidential advisers from 36 to 17.
“The president has started the first stage of administrative reforms … (that) plan substantial changes in the structure of the executive branch of government,” said a statement on the Ukrainian leader’s official website.
Yanukovich also signed executive orders reducing other smaller government agencies from 112 to 63 services, the newspaper Segodnya reported.
The shake-up involves the appointment of key Yanukovich advisers to new ministries focusing on priority sectors of the economy, the Ukrainska Pravda news website reported.
Andry Kliuev, one of Yanukovich’s senior advisers, takes over the new ministry of economic development and trade.
The agency will control all regulatory authority over large corporations, a change Yanukovich spokesmen said would reduce government interference in business.
Also typical of the changes was the appointment of Borys Kolesnykov, an oligarch-businessman allied with Yanukovich, to head the newly created ministry of infrastructure.
Before the shake-up, Kolesnykov had served as a deputy premier responsible for preparing Ukraine to host the upcoming Euro 2012 football championship.
He had complained repeatedly that bringing the country’s transportation and communications infrastructure up to European standards was difficult because of divided duties between competing ministries over which he had no direct control.
Almost all 16 of the new ministry heads are longtime members of the ruling Party of Regions who had served in the past government.
An exception is Serhy Tyhypko, a younger reform-supporting politician allied with Yanukovich but heading his independent Strong Ukraine party, who received Ministry of Social Policy portfolio.
One appointment likely to raise eyebrows is that of former education minister Dmitro Tabachnyk, whom Yanukovich named to head a revamped ministry of education, youth and sports.
Tabachnyk is a strong supporter of rolling back rules mandating the sole use of Ukrainian in government and courts. He also backs hiking university tuition fees and closing pre-schools.
The appointments in the new cabinet appeared roughly equally split between the two major factions within the Regions party, Ukrainska Pravda reported. These are a wing loyal to metals and chemicals barons in the eastern Donbas region, and a wing in Kiev tied to energy production and trade.
Anna German, Yanukovich’s senior spokeswoman, told the Interfax news agency the cabinet shake-up is only the beginning of a top-to-bottom overhaul of government.
“Government positions nationwide are going to be cut by half,” she said.
More than 60% of workers in some ministries could be sacked in January, Segodnya reported.
This is the kind of shake-up that takes place with each new election in Ukraine, and it causes major challenges for those affected. Just one example where this reorganization is going to delay services is for those adopting children from Ukraine.
Please pray for smooth continuance of services (not that they’re ever REALLY smooth!!) to help children leave institutions and be placed in forever families…whether the children are adopted within Ukraine or internationally.