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Research Questions

  1. When should Ukraine begin reconstruction efforts to best balance the need to respond to public demand while also accounting for the uncertainty of war?
  2. Whom and what should be prioritized during reconstruction efforts to best balance the demand to start quickly against the risk of inequitable access to resources and its potential long-term consequences?
  3. Who should direct reconstruction to best balance issues of sovereignty and capacity and the risk of corruption?
  4. Who should pay for reconstruction to best balance speed, sovereignty, and the long-term effects of that reconstruction?

In making decisions about reconstruction, the Ukrainian people and their government will face trade-offs regarding timelines, prioritization of efforts, leadership, and funding. Ukraine decisionmakers and civil society will have to be mindful of these trade-offs, as there are no easy and universally beneficial solutions in recovery efforts of this magnitude. Being explicit and transparent about the risks and benefits of each option will be critical.

This report aims to advance the understanding of these trade-offs and their ramifications. This will not only improve the decisionmaking process but also result in outcomes that are easier for the Ukrainian people and the broader international community to understand and accept.

Key Findings

  • The Ukrainian people want the government to restore normal life quickly, but doing so while armed conflict is still active might drain resources with little improvement in people's lives.
  • If the sources of reconstruction funds dry out before frontline regions can be rebuilt, and there is a clear disparity between these regions and the rest of the country, national unity might crumble.
  • Sovereignty requires the Ukrainian government to take charge. However, the problem of corruption persists. Local communities enjoy the most trust and the best understanding of needs but lack the capacity to handle large projects.
  • Private capital can bring speed at the cost of sovereignty. International institutions bring oversight but operate slowly.

Research conducted by

Funding for this research was provided by gifts from supporters to the RAND Endowment. The research was conducted by the RAND Center for Russia and Eurasia within the International Programs at the RAND Corporation.

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