A Microsoft Alum Is Now Ukraine's Chief Reformer

Photograph by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The war in eastern Ukraine is chief among the many challenges facing the Ukrainian economy, challenges that range from endemic corruption to a rapidly devaluing national currency.

While much attention is being paid to military efforts to remove pro-Russian separatists from power, President Petro Poroshenko’s deputy head for administrative, social, and economic reform, Dmitry Shymkiv, says that plans for sweeping economic reform are under way with the ultimate goal of creating a hospitable business environment in Ukraine.

In addition to Shymkiv, who used to be the general manager of Microsoft Ukraine, Poroshenko, himself a veteran businessman and chocolate mogul, has brought two other top managers into his administration so far—a likely indication that proper management of the economy will be a top priority. Boris Lozhkin, Poroshenko’s former media business partner, is now the president’s chief of staff, and Yuriy Kosyuk, who owns Ukraine’s largest agricultural operation, is Poroshenko’s first deputy chief of staff.

Getting Ukraine’s economy back on its feet, however, will require court reforms as well as the implementation of anticorruption measures, says Shymkiv. In addition to these more traditional measures, Shymkiv said the administration will introduce a system of “e-governance” that will allow citizens to connect more easily and efficiently to the government with a lot less paperwork. In this system would also be ways for citizens to have more direct contact with the presidential administration. For example, a portal-type system would allow people to start petitions for certain causes, says Shymkiv. If a petition gains enough signatures, he says, it would then come to the attention of the president’s cabinet.

Echoing his background in the computer industry, Shymkiv told Bloomberg that the introduction of 3G would be among of one of the administration’s top priorities.

“Not only does it drive the economy, [3G] drives people’s trust in the economy, and it brings investment into the high-tech sector,” he says.

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