Balczun Has Gone: Is Everything So Bad?


CASE Ukraine`s Senior Economist Volodymyr Dubrovsky commented on Wojciech Balczun`s resignation to the ‘Zbruch’ media outlet.In his opinion, he would not focus on the particular case of Balczun, because the invitation of foreign managers is a long-standing practice in business, which is led, in particular, by Rinat Akhmetov, and many others.

‘I think that the invitation of top managers in operating some state properties may continue. In the government, we have today the acting Minister of Health Ulyana Suprun. She is a bright and very active representative of, as you say, ‘Varangians’.

He also noted that the hope that after ‘importing’ foreign professionals something will change has not come true. At least, the illusion has become much smaller.

Personally with respect to Balczun: there are enough contradictory facts and opinions regarding his professional activities. I would leave this question to experts who specialize themselves in the rail industry. Although, speaking generally, the vast majority of foreign managers are poorly aware of the difference between how the state and business in Ukraine work and how they are accustomed to see it in their countries, the expert continues.


They are not fully aware of the political, economic and institutional differences. Some of them try to ignore these differences and say that all countries and all recipes are identical. Moreover, if they use such an approach, this will make this person at best helpless, and in the worst case harmful in Ukraine. Sometimes the solutions they propose is based on general considerations and universal approaches that work in developed countries, but they are harmful in the Ukrainian realities.

The second problem is that, apparently, the environment perceives them as strangers. If you leave these companies in state ownership, it is rather impossible to change the approaches of their management. Indeed, it is possible to reduce abuses and achieve profits. Nevertheless, we must act more resolutely: all the objects, which can be privatized (apart from some objects of vital infrastructure), need to be privatized. Then Ukrainian or foreign owners will operate there and, incidentally, it is quite possible that they will also use foreign managers. However, it will have another effect, because it is the owner will operate, the economist says.

August 12, 2017