2017: Challenges and opportunites

21.12.2016

The year 2016 proved unpredictable and presented a series of unexpected events that brought the world further into turbulence. Brexit and Donald Trump’s victory were the least predictable events and their effects have yet to be fully analyzed and assessed. Looking back at the past year, it is safe to state two new realities: global transformations gained new speed and forecasting has become an even more thankless task.

What will 2017 bring? We try to answer this question in the publication you are holding in your hands. Considering the unpredictability of the previous year, we abstained from providing final conclusions in our forecast. Instead, we offer key scenarios for what might happen in 2017. Scenario forecasting allows readers to see the logic of behavior of political players according to their conditions. Over the next year everyone will be able to understand which scenario arises for the world overall and Ukraine in particular by the results of specific events. For instance, the victory of a candidate with pro-Russian rhetoric in the presidential elections in France will lead to cancellation of sanctions against Russia and reduced support for Ukraine, which in turn will affect developments in our country.

The main message of our forecast is that 2017 will be a stress test. This applies both to the world and Ukraine. It is about the stability of the existing system of relationships and approaches to solving issues such as Brexit, Donald Trump, elections in France and Germany, conflict in Syria, ISIS, and the aggressive behavior of Russia – these and other developments pose a serious challenge to the functioning of the EU and NATO. Some of these changes suggest a transformation Euro-Atlantic relations, however, can it be possible to preserve the unity of values that Europe and the US have demonstrated for over 100 years?

For Ukraine, 2017 will be a real test of stability. Although, as long as the war in Donbas and occupation of Crimea are taking place, each new year is another challenge for us. However, the next year will become a real challenge to our independence and sustainability. Since the Revolution of Dignity we have managed to muddle through crises thanks to significant support from the West, and without its help it would be extremely difficult to maintain overall stability. Our forecast shows that in 2017 the international situation is extremely unfavorable for Ukraine. Therefore we will have to rely mainly on our own strength in the face of a formidable and insatiable enemy.

The stability of Ukraine in 2017 primarily depends on the ability to overcome internal challenges. The world looks at the ability of the Ukrainian government to carry out effective reforms and defeat corruption with increasing distrust, and this only strengthens those voices calling to achieve a quick compromise with Russia on the conflict in Donbas and Crimea. Against this background external financial aid can decline, which currently remains significant despite the first shoots of economic growth. But the biggest challenge of next year may be early parliamentary elections. Our forecast shows that reformatting of the government is in line not only with the interests of certain domestic political players, but also with outside ones.

Overall, the forecast prepared by the Ukrainian Institute for the Future (UIF) is a highly comprehensive work, which covers a wide range of political and economic spheres globally. In this publication you will find a thorough analysis of the situation in the Middle East, domestic political risks in Russia, growing authoritarianism in Turkey, proliferation of conflicts in the South Caucasus, scenarios for Minsk-2 implementation, construction of gas pipelines bypassing Ukraine, analysis and forecast of key economic indicators, law enforcement and judiciary reforms. This will help you capture the widest possible picture of the coming year and to plan or make decisions in an appropriate manner.

In conclusion, I would like to thank those people without whom our forecast had no chance to be born. First of all these are UIF founders: Ihor Liski, Anatoly Amelin, Oleksiy Skrypnyk, Anton Gerashchenko, Taras Berezovets, and Yuri Romanenko. It is through their expertise and financial support you have an opportunity to learn about the challenges and aspirations of 2017. I also wish to thank Denis Semenov and Andriy Zablocki, who reviewed the early ideas of key scenarios and gave their critical comments and remarks.

2017: Challenges and opportunites from UIFuture