Don’t Be Fooled: Ukraine Is Tackling Its Corruption Problem

There is every reason to believe that Ukraine can emerge from this war victorious, and with its democratic institutions stronger than ever.

“In recent weeks, the Ukrainian government has launched a new round of raids on high-profile public figures — including the powerful oligarch Igor Kolomoisky and a former interior minister. This comes on the heels of President Zelensky’s dismissal of high-ranking officials suspected of corruption, including in military procurement, and his announcement this week that the country’s defense minister would be replaced. Far from sweeping graft under the rug during a struggle for national survival, Zelensky’s administration has doubled down on holding senior leaders accountable — because corruption has been a driver of malign Kremlin influence in Ukraine, and combating it aggressively is part of the country’s fight for an independent, democratic future.

“Predictably, these new developments were seized upon by Kremlin sympathizers as evidence that Ukrainians cannot be trusted with the billions of dollars in foreign military and humanitarian assistance required to expel Russian forces from their territory. Yet the fact that there was no attempt to downplay the sting operation or protect the officials suspected of complicity speaks to the progress that has been made in Ukraine. From the investigation that revealed these schemes to President Zelensky’s hard-nosed response, Ukraine has come a long way in its battle against endemic graft. Given the determination of its people to secure a European future, it has every reason to continue making progress in that fight. “The allegations currently under the spotlight were uncovered thanks to Ukraine’s robust free press, as well as an ongoing investigation by the country’s National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU), an independent body that is widely praised for its aggressive and uncompromising work. NABU is one of the numerous government entities created over the past decade — others include the Higher Anti-Corruption Court, Corruption Prevention Agency, Asset Recovery and Management Agency, and a Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office — to grapple with corruption. …”

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