Ukraine’s Naturalized Ministers Speak


Kyiv, December 3, 2014. Three Ukrainian ministers in the new pro-European cabinet are recently naturalized citizens of Ukraine. In an effort to fight corruption and include the most qualified personnel in the newly-created coalition government, three foreign citizens were granted Ukrainian citizenship and appointed to ministerial positions. The three newly minted ministers, Minister of Finance Natalie Jaresko, Minister of Economic Development and Trade Aivaras Abromavicius, and Minister of Health Alexander Kvitashvili addressed reporters at Ukraine Crisis Media Center in Kyiv. The countries of origin of the three ministers are the United States, Lithuania, and Georgia, respectively.

“Thank you to the parliament of Ukraine for entrusting us with this work at a very important time,” stated Jaresko. The Ukrainian political and economic climate is in a very difficult situation, but the new government is emphasizing professionalism and hard work regardless of the obstacles.  “We are very proud to be a part of a very professional and technocratic government,” she continued.

Abromavicius stressed that the international business community has reacted with overwhelming support to the new Ukrainian cabinet, including the appointment of naturalized experts. Abromavicius promises the international community that Ukraine will push forward with reforms very quickly and seek to overhaul Ukraine’s economy.  “We plan to push through the remaining nine out of sixteen laws in the parliament that would allow us to receive” new financing from the World Bank, he stated. The new government will immediately get to work to inspire confidence in the cabinet’s seriousness when it comes to reforms.  “The prime minister has been very supportive of the cabinet,” Abromavicius added. “He has pushed us to do some radical things.” The new Ukraine’s Health Minister Kvitashvili echoed the previous speakers’ commitment to the reform agenda. “We are here to build, not to re-model or do a cosmetic change,” he stated.

The three foreign-born ministers pushed back at the suggestion that their country of origin will have any impact on their dedication to overhauling the Ukrainian state and economy. “We are all Ukrainian citizens, the question itself is moot,” stated Jaresko. It is a strong statement from the Ukrainian government that everything possible will be done to make Ukraine stronger. The appointments are not meant to imply that there are not plenty of highly-qualified Ukrainians, but that the government is willing to do anything possible to meet Ukrainians’ expectations of profound change in governance. They emphasized that none of them are new to Ukraine and are deeply aware of the Ukraine’s contemporary situation. “We are huge patriots of this country,” concluded Alexander Kvitashvili.