Atlantic Council: Zelensky can learn from Reagan’s example

Atlantic Council: Zelensky can learn from Reagan’s example

During the election campaign, Zelensky was compared with Reagan, and these comparisons may be appropriate if the new President of Ukraine takes advantage of the legendary American leader’s experience.

In a publication on the Atlantic Council website, Michael Yurkovich gives Volodymyr Zelensky five tips on effective policy of reform based on best practices of Reagan.

“In April, Ukrainians made actor Volodymyr Zelensky president. Immediately, comparisons began between Zelensky and Ronald Reagan, America’s two-term president who was also a former actor,” Yurkovich writes in the article Reagan Made History, and Zelensky Can Too. Here’s How.

The author notes that Reagan succeeded not because of his acting, but rather for the achievements he delivered. He is convinced that Zelensky can learn from Reagan’s example.

The expert gives five recommendations based on Reagan-like principles for modernizing and improving Ukraine: 

Return of capital and tax amnesty;

Bringing Ukrainians back to Ukraine and legalization of dual citizenship;

Bringing infrastructure to Ukraine through a designated fund;

Development of energy independence, own production and liberalization of energy market;

Bringing justice and a functional legal system to Ukraine.

Regarding the first tip, the expert reminds that Reagan brought capital back to the United States but unleashed it through tax cuts, while Zelensky can do that through a tax amnesty.

“By legalizing dual citizenship, Ukraine can begin to stem the tide of brain drain. In short, Ukraine needs more Ukrainians. Not only will this increase the tax base, it will improve the economy as well. Reagan didn’t need to bring Americans back; instead, he created an economy and society where Americans and foreigners wanted to live. Zelensky must do the same in Ukraine,” the author explains the second recommendation.

The author also advises to create a designated infrastructure fund in Ukraine under international supervision that can only be used for projects in the national interest like roads, bridges, educational institutions, and transportation systems.

Yurkovich praises progress in achieving energy independence from Russia and advises to move further towards the development of domestic production, substantial liberalization of gas and oil production licenses, development of renewable energy sources, creating an open, competitive and attractive energy market.

Finally, the author insists that Ukrainian people have long hated their politicians because of absence of the rule of law. He believes that Ukraine’s legal system is so broken and tweaking  that “the current system is the equivalent of rearranging the deck furniture on the Titanic.” The expert advises to replace the broken system with a modern system based on English law.

 “Reagan was a decisive leader. Because of this, many hated him and opposed his policies. However, history has vindicated Reagan for his boldness and strong leadership. Zelensky would be wise to follow Reagan’s example and be equally bold and decisive in his efforts to improve the lives of ordinary Ukrainians and bring Ukraine to its rightful place in the world,” Michael Yurkovich sums up.


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