In late October, Ukraine re-privatized its Kryvorizhstal steel works in a live auction watched, apparently, by millions on television. The action was a reversal of the privatization that had taken place under the previous government. The old sale would have brought in $800 million. The new sale, to Mittal Steel Germany GmbH, will net $4.8 billion. Broadcasting the auction was a clear sign of transparency, a way of bringing crucial deals out of the back rooms and away from suspicion.
As the Wall Street Journal Europe noted on October 26, that sum is 20 percent of Ukraine’s annual budget. The sale increased total foreign investment in Ukraine since independence in 1991 by 50 percent.
Ukraine still has a long way to go to live up to the ideals of the Orange Revolution, and old structures are hard to root out. But this sale is one of a number of positive signs. Here’s hoping for more, as the first anniversary of the revolution approaches.