IMF Conditionalities Don't Matter...If You're 'Ukraine'

♠ Posted by Emmanuel in at 8/30/2014 01:30:00 AM
 If we go by the Weberian definition of what a state is, "Ukraine" fails on the counts of territorial integrity and having a monopoly on the legitimate use of force. Into this muddled picture comes the IMF. The characterization of the IMF as a Western tool is well-founded and not subject to much debate, at least in IPE circles. Today's case in point is the "country" of Ukraine. While Ukraine as we know it has ceased to exist and so has its economy, the IMF is busy shoveling wads of cash in Kiev's direction and will do so for as long as it doesn't go over to the dark side (Russia). Being broke would hasten that process. If you enjoy Orwellian official-speak, get a load of this IMF press release:
In completing the review, the Executive Board approved waivers of nonobservance of performance criteria related to international reserve accumulation and the cash deficit of the general government on the basis of corrective actions taken. The Board also approved waivers of applicability of performance criteria related to the cash deficit of the general government, the cumulative change in net domestic assets of the central bank and publicly guaranteed debt. In addition, in light of the slight delay in completing the first review of the program, the Board approved the authorities’ request for merging the remaining two reviews scheduled for 2014, while keeping the total financing under the arrangement unchanged.
Reading between the lines--in plain English--let me restate that for you:

Ukraine has met few to no conditionalities because its Eastern half is embroiled in civil war. Its economy is expected to contract by 6% in 2014. The so-called "government" in Kiev has made half-hearted reform gestures that won't work anyway so we'll give them credit even though the country has ceased to exist. Part of it has already been dismembered (Crimea) and another may soon follow (Eastern Ukraine). Because it's a warzone where they shoot down commercial jetliners, IMF officials would rather not visit Ukraine for security reasons. We'll just fork over the money without going through the motions of sending officials to "approve" of Ukraine's actions (which are insufficient anyway but what the hell, keeping "Ukraine" on the West's side is a cost-no-object endeavor). 

They're probably wishing they had Yanukovych back right about now. Christine Lagarde is marginally less obtuse:
The Ukrainian authorities have firmly implemented policies to stabilize the economy and revive growth. This strong policy record despite the much worse-than-expected environment is encouraging in light of the implementation problems that derailed previous programs and thus augurs well for the authorities’ ability to keep the program on track. However, the escalating conflict in the East and ongoing geopolitical tensions have weighed heavily on the economy and society, causing a deeper recession and deviations from program targets in the short term, in particular on the central bank’s net international reserves and the budget and Naftogaz deficits.
Elsewhere there's talk of "downside risks" and other euphemisms. The IPE Zone's refreshing candor on world politics: Don't leave home without it as an old advertising catchphrase used to say.