Kyiv Post recently launched Brand Studios, a special service to help brands tell their stories. As with similar units at Bloomberg or the New York Times, Brand Studios provides companies with narrative and creative support to make their stories as engaging and accessible as possible.
Importantly, though, these should be fact-based and relevant to audiences themselves – we help brands become better storytellers for topics that matter.
As such, we are happy start with the important yet challenging story of Naftogaz, a company that has played a critical role in Ukraine's post-2014 transformation.
This story matters now for several reasons: the unprecedented value at stake following arbitrations in Stockholm (over $84 billion), the impact on regional energy security as Nord Stream II threatens to bypass Ukraine, and the unique opportunity to build a competitive market that would reduce corruption while also delivering safe and affordable energy to Ukrainians.
Perhaps even more importantly, in the long term, it is critical to make sure that the progress made in recent years does not get lost.
Ukraine's gas sector has been deeply intertwined with the country's political scene since independence – sometimes for the better, but usually for the worse. Some of the darkest moments of the past decade – the imprisonment of ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko or the rejection of an EU trade agreement that prompted the 2014 revolution – were in many ways tied to opaque, politically driven energy dealings.
Since then Ukraine has made unprecedented progress, notably by removing subsidies that drained the budget and made the country vulnerable, implementing EU compliant legislation and reforming corporate governance. Backsliding would be huge blow to Ukraine and the ideals that have driven the country to change over the past 5 years.
This is also a key moment for global audiences to be involved. Ukraine's battle for independence from Russia (particularly on the arena of energy), as well as the creation of a commercial energy market, depend on the country's ability to build constructive relations and alliances, especially with European institutions and partners.
Whether it is by blocking progress on Nord Stream II, or fighting for competition claims that would open Ukraine's market to EU players, building coalitions is critical.
As a result, it is important that audiences in Europe and North America understand the context and activities of Naftogaz and provide the support required to overcome the threat posed by Gazprom. It is also important for international oil and gas players to understand the transformation that Ukraine and Naftogaz are embarking on, so that they, too, will seek to be part of that narrative.
By understanding the shared purpose and goals that bring Ukraine and Europe together in energy security, it will become easier to integrate Ukraine into European structures, including mentally.
Hence, over the coming weeks, we propose to take a journey together that looks at the most important chapters of that story, and where it will lead us from here.