SoftServe, an IT company with Ukrainian roots, announced the active return of its own specialists from abroad and from western regions.
An average of 10-20 people return home from overseas and western regions every day, the company said in a statement released on Wednesday.
“Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the SoftServe IT company has relocated more than 4,000 employees to the western regions and abroad. However, since May, the company has observed a trend towards the return of IT specialists to their usual locations – now 1082 people have returned home”, – is noted in the message of the company.
According to SoftServe, since May, the dynamics of people returning from abroad has been constant: according to the company’s internal statistics, 10-15 people return to Ukraine every day.
“In May, the most people were outside Ukraine – 1,900 employees. Since then, this figure has steadily decreased, and now 314 employees have arrived in Ukraine. According to surveys, about 170 more are planning to return home as soon as possible. However, we, as a company we go as far as possible towards the decision of employees regarding where to work from.For those who want to stay abroad, we offer the possibility of employment in local branches of the company for a year or even longer in the hub countries: Poland, Romania, Bulgaria and Latin America”, – comments Ekaterina Gubareva, VP HR SoftServe.
Most of all, SoftServe IT specialists return to Kyiv: as of the beginning of June, more than 400 people arrived there.
“Our offices in Kyiv have not closed their doors to employees and their families since the beginning of the war and have served as a shelter and place of work. When it became relatively safe, we switched to normal operation. Now two of our offices have co-working spaces, where an average of 10 % of employees, but there is an upward trend. In the summer, we plan to launch a certification center and equip a parking lot with chargers for electric cars,” Elena Lebedeva, director of the Kyiv development center, is quoted in the message.
Slower, but also brass knuckles, the number of people who return to the Dnieper (+38 people since April) and Kharkiv (+10 people since May).
However, 10 workers have left Odessa since May.
In addition, there is a trend towards returning to their usual places of residence of workers who were forced to leave for the western regions of Ukraine.
In total, more than 1,100 SoftServe employees have moved since the beginning of the war in Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk and Uzhgorod – now almost a quarter of them have already left, and this process is dynamic.
Almost half of the people who relocated to the city since the beginning of the war left Ternopil.
Less active workers are leaving Vinnitsa, Khmelnitsky and Rivne.
According to internal surveys, as of today, 99% of SoftServe employees say they are safe. For comparison, in March this figure was 84%.
SoftServe is included in the list of the largest IT service companies in Ukraine. To date, it has about 13.5 thousand employees and 40 offices around the world. The main offices of the company are located in Lviv and Austin (Texas, USA). The company’s development centers are located in Lviv, Kyiv, Dnipro, Kharkov, Rivne, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi, Uzhgorod, Ternopil, Odessa, Vinnitsa and Khmelnitsky, as well as in Poland, Bulgaria, Romania and Latin America.
IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi called Wednesday meetings with high-ranking representatives of the Ukrainian government at the South Ukrainian NPP (SUNPP) very productive and announced the imminent arrival of experts at Ukrainian nuclear facilities.
“Teams of experts and additional safety equipment will arrive at Ukraine’s nuclear facilities very soon,” he tweeted at the end of the day.
The daily report of the organization indicates that at meetings with the Minister of Energy of Ukraine German Galushchenko, the heads of the nuclear regulator of Ukraine SNRIU Oleg Korikov and NNEGC “Energoatom” Petr Kotin, as well as the director of the South Ukraine NPP Igor Polovich, specific steps were considered to provide urgent assistance to Ukraine in protecting its nuclear facilities.
As reported, on March 30, Grossi visited South Ukraine NPP, where he met with representatives of the Ukrainian side. At a meeting with plant workers, he noted that the issue of the withdrawal of Russian troops from the Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhya NPPs “needs to be considered at different levels,” and it depends on the ceasefire agreements.
Independent experts as part of selection committees that select and vet officials for Ukraine’s judiciary and anti-corruption institutions will achieve changes that will be the most fundamental renewal of Ukraine’s judiciary since independence, the U.S. Embassy and EU delegation to Ukraine said.
“The involvement of independent experts is in compliance with international standards: their crucial role is temporary and justified by the extraordinary circumstances presented by the opportunity Ukraine now has to take a decisive step toward its destiny as a modern European nation,” a joint statement by the U.S. Embassy and the Delegation of the European Union posted on the website of the U.S. Embassy on Wednesday reads.
According to the diplomats, to seize that destiny, “we, as friends of Ukraine, stand with Ukraine’s leaders and ask them to act with political courage.” “As they consider the future, we urge them to think back upon the desires of the Ukrainian people. It is reform they demanded during the Revolution of Dignity and voted for, over and over again, in elections. It is now up to Ukraine’s leaders to make good on their promises. When they do so, there is no doubt but that the Ukrainian people will thank them,” it says.
The U.S. Embassy and the Delegation of the European Union believe that one critical prerequisite for the success of these reforms is the role independent experts, nominated by international partners of Ukraine, in the commissions that select and vet the individuals who serve in Ukraine’s judiciary and anti-corruption institutions — bodies that have enormous power to shape the future of Ukraine.
“It is a future where the country either remains beholden to the powerful interests who use their resources to protect themselves from justice or where all are entitled to equal protection before the law. Because these commissions will ensure that candidates with the highest professional competence and integrity will be selected as Ukraine’s future judges, Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor, and NABU Director – those who will hold the corrupt to account – they have an important role in shaping Ukraine’s destiny,” the statement reads.
It is noted that for the same reason, the role of independent experts has become one of the most important issues in discussions about the future of the reform agenda in Ukraine.
“Independent experts threaten those who benefit from the current system and seek to retain control over the levers of power in Ukraine. Ukraine has proven that this is a successful reform model to ensure that a commission serves the Ukrainian people, and not the vested interests that seek to control it. The ongoing competition for the SAPO leadership serves as proof that independent experts’ decisive role in the selection process is critical to ensure that decisions are merit-based and not politically-motivated,” it says.
It is also noted that he Venice Commission clearly stated that giving the international members a prevailing vote in case of a tie after a repeat vote is acceptable from the viewpoint of national sovereignty, given that final decisions remain with the appointing body.
“The current draft laws, including on the High Qualification Commission of Judges, that are now in parliament need to be aligned with the Venice Commission opinion before their second and final reading,” the U.S. Embassy and the Delegation of the European Union stated.
Concorde Capital investment company expects the Ukrainian economy to grow by 4.1% in 2021 with inflation of 8% and an average annual rate of UAH 27.60/$1, according to the company’s updated macroeconomic forecast publon Tuesday.
According to the forecast, at the end of the year the exchange rate will be about UAH 28.20/$1, the current account balance will remain positive – $0.5 billion and reserves will grow to $30.5 billion.
Concorde Capital estimates that GDP fell by 2.7% in the first quarter.
The company also said that the revaluation of the hryvnia stopped due to the increased risk of renewed military aggression, and the same risk led to a further weakening of nonresidents’ interest in the Ukrainian debt market.
Concorde Capital estimates the total need of the state budget for financing at $11.8 billion, of which $4.4 billion will be raised in the domestic market via government bonds, $1.8-4.6 billion from international financial institutions, which forces the country to look for another $5.5-2.8 billion elsewhere.
The company said that as of April 19, net attraction in the government bond market amounted to only UAH 6 billion, although last year the result was even worse – minus UAH 3 billion.
Concorde Capital expects growth to slow down to 3.5% next year, while inflation will drop to 5.5%.
Illegal possession of weapons, anonymous reports of bomb threats, threats to the life of public people are the most frequent manifestations of extremism in Ukraine, according to the results of a study conducted by the Ukrainian Politics Foundation/UP Foundation.
At a press conference at the Interfax-Ukraine agency on Friday, head of the Ukrainian Politics Foundation/UP Foundation, political experts Kostiantyn Bondarenko noted that there is no legal concept of “extremism” in Ukraine, there is no law that would provide for the fight against extremism, and some of its manifestations, such as terrorism, are prosecuted by law.
According to him, despite the fact that Ukraine does not have such a level of extremism as in the Middle East or Europe, manifestations of ethno-nationalist extremism are not isolated.
“We are talking about the need to prevent severe manifestations of extremism. In order not to be late, we believe that already now it is necessary to do a number of studies, develop a methodological and legislative basis for combating extremism, so that in the future it does not become the most important problem for Ukraine,” Bondarenko emphasized.
In turn, Lev Bondarenko, executive director of the Ukrainian Politics Foundation, UP Foundation, published the results of a study on manifestations of extremism in Ukraine. The study was conducted from December 2019 to November 2020 by monitoring media reports throughout Ukraine, based on ten key criteria that fall under the manifestation of extremism.
“As for the overall results for the year, the following picture has developed: most of all manifestations of extremism were recorded according to the criterion of ‘illegal possession, manufacture and distribution of weapons’ – 746 such cases … The second place is occupied with attempts to prepare terrorist acts, mining of buildings, all statements that we hear about mined premises … there have been 567 of them this year. The third place is taken by the threat to the lives of civil servants, politicians, journalists, public figures … someone have their cars blown up, someone is threatened by force, someone is kidnapped,” he said.
Also, according to Bondarenko, over the past year there have been 14 cases of attempts to seize power and government agencies.
In terms of the number of cases of extremism, Kyiv, Odesa and Dnipropetrovsk regions are “in the lead” in the regional scope.
“Basically in Ukraine, right-wing radical groups are associated with extremism. To a certain extent, this corresponds to reality … Despite the fact that these groups and political structures have combat experience, in our opinion (and this is confirmed by law enforcement agencies), they are not ready to introduce forceful methods of struggle,” head of projects of the Foundation Ukrainian Politics/UP Foundation Oleh Vytiahov said.
“The fight against extremism is being conducted chaotically in Ukraine … Certain crimes that carry extremist signs are attributed to the jurisdiction of various law enforcement agencies … We propose … to systematically work to create a state program to counter extremism. In addition to the right-wing radical, there is also the left-radical extremism,” he stressed.
“It is necessary to define what extremism is within the framework of the legislative field of Ukraine … Then we will be able to develop a law on countering extremism.”
An expert survey, titled “100 days of President Volodymyr Zelensky,” conducted from August 19 to August 26 by Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation Fund was presented in Kyiv on Wednesday. Some 51 experts were included in the study. They said Zelensky’s main success in the first 100 days was the dissolution of the parliament and the further success of the Servant of the People Party in early parliamentary elections, which allowed the formation of a one-party majority.
Experts also noted the president’s foreign policy efforts: first foreign trips, establishing contacts with leaders of the EU countries, Canada, a planned meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.
Among the successes, Zelensky’s initiatives on the peace process in Donbas are also mentioned, along with activation of the Minsk process, efforts to conduct negotiations in the “Normandy format,” the issue of prisoner exchange.
To the president’s failures, experts attribute individual staff appointments and appointments to government posts on the basis of personal acquaintance and loyalty, rather than professionalism. The same applies to the inclusion of people with an ambiguous reputation in the Servant of the People Party list.
Experts also note foreign policy failures – in particular, the lack of efforts to counteract the return of Russia to Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe and the lack of initiative to tighten sanctions against Russia for not fulfilling the decision to release Ukrainian sailors and issuing passports in occupied Donbas.
Zelensky’s style of behavior during public meetings in the regions and the ineffectiveness of the ceasefire in Donbas was already regarded as a failure.
Experts believe that Zelensky’s main task is to confront Russian aggression by all diplomatic methods, including strengthening sanctions against Russia, preserving the “anti-Putin” coalition for the liberation of Donbas and Crimea, as well as Ukrainian political prisoners and captives.
For comparison, experts gave President Petro Poroshenko 6.3 points for his first 100 days, with his predecessor Viktor Yanukovych receiving 2.7 points. Yanukovych fled to Russia in early 2014.