12 events of 2016
Ukraine will not forget

2016 was hardly an excpetional year. It was just as eventfull as previous years: not too many achievments, not too many losses.
Ukraine Crisis Media Center suggest recalling the top events of the year.

Victory at Eurovision
Фото: Eurovision TV
Ukrainian singer Jamala won the Eurovision Song Contest 2016 that took place in May in Stockholm, Sweden. She gained 534 points - 211 votes of the jury and 323 votes from the audience. Jamala is the first Crimean Tatar who has ever performed at Eurovision. Her song "1944" laments Stalin's mass deportation of the Crimean Tatars from Crimea during World War II. Jamala is the author of the song and dedicated it to her grandmother Nazylkan who had been deported during those events. Jamala's victory caused a backlash among Russian viewers, who accused the competition organizers of political bias.

Free Trade Agreement between Ukraine and the EU came into force
Фото Reuters – ЄС
EU is the main trading partner of Ukraine
On January 1, 2016 Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area agreement between the EU and Ukraine entered into force. The agreement provides for abolition or substantial reduction of export and import duties. As a result, Ukrainian exporters will save EUR 487 million a year and the EU exporters - EUR 391 million annually. For the first nine months of 2016, the EU share in exporting goods is already 37.7%, in importing - 43.8%, Over the year, the trade turnover between Ukraine and the EU has increased by 6%, while exports from Ukraine increased by 4,4%. The biggest share of Ukrainian export is agricultural and food industry products and of import engineering products. Same time Ukraine continues to implement reforms aimed at harmonization of standards and regulatory approximation to the EU standards.

5 Ukrainian IT-companies among
world's top Internet of Things developers

Фото: Forbes
American Research Company Clutch published its ranking of world's top Internet of Things (IoT) developers. Featured in the listing are 35 companies from around the world, five of which are Ukrainian: Stanfy, Lemberg Solution, Eleks, Eastern Peak Software, Devabit.

President Poroshenko under fire over Panama Papers offshore scandal
Фото: panamapapers.icij.org
President Petro Poroshenko was among the leaders of 12 countries involved in Panama Papers leak in April 2016, when the information about offshore companies and their owners was released. According to the papers, Poroshenko set up a secret offshore company, Prime Assets Partners, in the British Virgin Islands in August 2014, which became the owner of Roshen Confectionery Corporation. International public investigators pointed out that the President's actions were illegal because the company was founded during his presidency and because it was not mentioned in Poroshenko's accounts. According to Transparency International, the president violated the Constitution by setting up the company. Poroshenko rejected the accusations, noting that all actions were legitimate and transparent.

Old government resigned.
New government appointed

Фото: Владислав Содель
On April 14, Ukrainian government changed. Now the country's leadership consists of 19 ministers, six vice prime ministers and the prime minister. Volodymyr Groysman, former speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, was appointed as head of the government. The coalition of two factions, Petro Poroshenko Bloc and Narodnyi Front, formed the government. The change of government was motivated by political stagnation and the pace of reforms, demanded by the civil society. Minister of Healthcare Aleksandr Kvitashvili, Minister of Economy Aivaras Abromavicius and Minister of Infrastructure Andriy Pyvovarsky had resigned prior to the official resignation in April. However, resignations continued even after the change of government. Several political leaders of the new formation resigned in autumn due to "inability to implement reforms" and "stagnation in changes".

Process of releasing Ukrainian political prisoners began
The release of Ukrainian pilot Nadiya Savchenko launched the process of releasing Ukrainian political prisoners who are illegally detained in the Russian Federation.
On May 25, pilot officer and member of the parliament Nadiya Savchenko returned to Ukraine. She had spent 709 days in captivity.

Gennadiy Afanasyev and Yuri Soloshenko, Ukrainian political prisoners whom the Kremlin held hostage, returned to Ukraine on June 14. Afanasyev was convicted of politically motivated "Sentsov-Kolchenko case" and sentenced to seven-year imprisonment in a maximum security penal colony in Russia.

Yuri Soloshenko was sentenced to six-year imprisonment in a maximum security penal colony in Russia under the article about espionage.

First time an artificial heart was implanted in a patient
Фото: РБК-Україна

On July 12, doctors of the Institute of Heart led by Borys Todurov and German professor Christof Schmid for the first time in Ukraine transplanted an artificial heart in 41-year-old resident of Kharkiv, Pavlo Doroshko. The cost of the artificial heart "Berlin Heart" was EUR 120 thousand. It was given to the Ukrainian doctors by the German company without any prepayment. Later Ukrainian Charitable Foundation "Heart on a palm" organized a fundraising campaign to pay for the artificial heart.

Breakthrough of the Ukrainian Paralympic Team
Фото: prosport.tsn.ua
In August, performance of the National Olympic team in Rio came as a big disappointment to the Ukrainians. But just a month later the national paralympic athletes dispelled this sadness and had the whole world watch their impressive performances. The team started setting records even before the arrival to Brazil: Ukrainians won 169 licenses for performances in Rio - the biggest amount in the history of the team.

As a result the Ukrainian team won 117 medals, of which 41 were record gold medals, 37 silver and 39 bronze. Nothing could stop the Ukrainian team and they finished on the third place in overall medal ranking, beating the favorite of all Games - the USA Team.

All public institutions use ProZorro,
the e-procurement

Фото: facebook.com/prozorro
In 2015, Ukraine launched an electronic public procurement system ProZorro, which provides public online platform for government procurement tenders. Owing to the ProZorro, the public procurement system reform is considered one of the most effective ones as officials used to plunder billions from the budget for their shady schemes for years. Since August 1, 2016 all public institutions and companies are obliged to make purchases with ProZorro. So far 258,000 procurements have been made and UAH 5.9 billion has been saved. The system has already established itself internationally winning World Procurement Awards 2016, and being recognized as Technology of the Future in Communication on Top - Davos and Open Government Awards 2016.

Ukrainian officials' fortunes in electronic declarations
Фото: depositphotos
Against a backdrop of tickets for space flight, helicopters, their own churches and holy relics, hundreds of cars and flats, land plots and millions of dollars do not look so unusual. According to estimates, the total amount of declared wealth in hryvnia is around UAH 10 billion (70% of it is in cash). One of the deputies declared one trillion hryvnia, but later said it was a joke. Currently, the corresponding anti-corruption bodies are verifying the declaration of the joker and declarations of other officials.
Besides, the ridiculous assets being exposed to the public eye, the e-declarations are an important step in preventing corruption which Ukraine has been negotiating for a long time with many of its supporters, such as the EU and the International Monetary Fund.

New confinement over Chernobyl
Фото: Smithsonian Magazine
On November 29, an official ceremony marked successful completion of assembly of the New Safe Confinement (NSC) arch. 30 years after the nuclear disaster at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, the radioactive remnants of the destroyed reactor No.4 were finally safely sheltered.

After moving it to a distance of 327 meters from the place of assembly in final position, the new grand arch fully covered the previous temporary "Shelter" arch, hastily built just after the 1986 accident.

The Chornobyl Arch is the largest ever built mobile ground structure 257 m wide, 162 m long, and 108 m high; its total weight is 36000 t. Designed to make the place safer with an expected lifetime of 100 years the arch will enable the old shelter built in 1986 to be dismantled, and the carry out operations with radioactive waste.

Record high number of Ukrainian films released
First in over past 10 years a record high number of Ukrainian films were released, making it 30 movies by the end of 2016. Among them are 4 anthologies of short films, 8 documentaries, 2 animation films and 16 full-length films. Several films were produced in cooperation with other countries. Experts expect a revival of the film industry in Ukraine, in particular, thanks to the law "On State Support of Cinematography in Ukraine", which currently is being finalized for enactment by the Parliament.

BONUS for devoted readers like you:)
Event #13
Nationalization of the biggest commercial bank
Фото: AFP
In course of preparation for the winter holidays, Ukrainians received an unpleasant "present" . The government announced nationalization of the biggest commercial bank owned by tycoon Ihor Kolomoiskyi - PrivatBank. On December 18 the government became owner of 100% shares of the bank. According to the officials, the rationale behind this decision is stability in the national financial system. Head of the National Bank of Ukraine categorized the bank as "insolvent" and claimed it requires further funding of UAH 148 billion.

Roughly 50% of the citizens of Ukraine use payment system of the PrivatBank, every third citizen have either a credit or a deposit in this bank. The news about nationalization caused havoc among the PrivatBank clients who started massively withdrawing money from their accounts. After stabilization, the officials say they plan to sell the bank.

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
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