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You're reading: Odesa is frontier for Ukraine reform drive
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One of them looms large: Odesa Oblast, where ex-Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili took over as governor on May 30.

This summer
alone, Saakashvili has quickly made sweeping changes and attracted
Western-educated professionals to join his reform drive. Critics dismiss Saakashvili’s
appointment as a cosmetic diversion by President Petro Poroshenko to mask the
failure of nationwide reform.

Yet
Saakashvili’s team members argue that, if successful, their changes may inspire
a radical transformation of Ukraine towards democracy and a vibrant free-market
economy.

The moment
of truth may come in September, when the team will introduce in parliament the
Odesa reform package. The legislation includes deregulation, cutting the number
of designated land uses to two-three from 10, making customs clearance faster
and more transparent, abolishing licenses in some industries and lifting the
moratorium on the sale of agricultural land.

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