**This event will also be viewable via livestream on the HURI YouTube channel.**
On March 31, 2019 Ukrainians will go to the polls to elect a new president. This will be Ukraine’s 7th presidential election since the institution of the presidency was created after Ukraine emerged as an independent state from the Soviet collapse. Ukraine’s previous presidential election in June 2014, that brought Petro Poroshenko to power, took place amid a rapidly escalating war with Russia, in the wake of mass anti-regime protests when, for the first time since Ukraine’s independence, civilian blood was spilled and the incumbent president was forced to flee.
Five years of Poroshenko's presidency have been marked with some successes, among them a firm Western-oriented foreign policy; the signing of an association agreement and a visa-free regime with the EU; a bolstering of the Ukrainian military to counter Russian aggression; and the emergence of a more cohesive civic identity in Ukraine. A small number of reformers took office during Poroshenko's administration and pushed through modest reforms in the public procurement, healthcare, security and defense sectors. They also facilitated decentralization and the establishment of an anti-corruption bureau.
Yet many of the promises stirred up by the Euromaidan protests in 2013-14 have gone unfulfilled. On the eve of these presidential elections, Ukraine finds itself facing formidable challenges, some old and some new: an ongoing war with Russia; much-needed further reform of political, economic and security institutions; a fight against pervasive high-level graft; the need to convince skeptics in Europe and the United States of Ukraine’s NATO aspirations; the ability to attract foreign investment and integrate into the European economic space while staving off Russian efforts to destabilize the country. What will the upcoming presidential elections hold for Ukraine, its modest successes and its betrayed promises?