Ukraine’s government corruption shake-up, briefly explained

Corruption scandals are rocking the Ukrainian government, with top officials stepping out as Kyiv appears to want to assure its Western partners of their responsibility for billions of dollars in military and economic aid.

Among the notable departures was Kyrylo Tymoshenko, Deputy Chief of Staff of the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and Deputy Chief of Defense Vyacheslav Shapovalov, who was in charge of overseeing the supply and food for the army. A deputy attorney general has also been fired, as have a small number of provincial governors and other government ministers.

The exact details of what triggered the quake are ambiguous and not all resignations and evictions seem relevant, but it comes after at least one report in the Ukrainian media that the Ministry of Defense The nation bought food for the army at extra high prices. The Defense Ministry said the allegations were a deliberate attempt to mislead, but said it would conduct an internal audit. Additional media reports last week questioned officials, including Tymoshenko, who appeared to be enjoying a lavish lifestyle.

This represents the most famous dismantling since the Russian invasion last year. More details about the alleged corruption are likely to emerge, but it seems clear that Zelenskyy’s government has moved quickly to eliminate any allegations of widespread corruption, especially from international supporters. Which is providing tens of billions of dollars in aid that Ukraine relies on in its fight. Against Russia. Some critics also say the dismantling is a political act rather than a real anti-corruption effort.

In his speech on Tuesday evening, which was posted on the Telegram, Zelenskyy acknowledged the staffing changes and said that any “internal issues” that hinder the state are being cleared and will be cleared. “It is necessary for our defense sector and it helps our relationship with European institutions.”

In the past, Ukraine has struggled to eradicate high-level corruption and strengthen the rule of law, although Zelenskyy promised to do so when he is elected in 2019. Ukrainian supporters in the United States and Europe have long put pressure on Kyiv to address these issues. Especially as a condition for Ukraine’s invitation to Western institutions, including perhaps one day joining the European Union. Russia’s large-scale attacks last year allayed some of those corruption concerns, especially as Western governments rushed to support Ukraine, as Ukraine itself has become a global symbol of the struggle for democracy.

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In Ukraine, some civil society groups and anti-corruption forces have long criticized the Ukrainian government and Zelenskyy. Stop some of their activities as Ukrainian society is fully concentrated in the war effort. According to a report on the war and corruption in Ukraine released last summer, about 84 percent of anti-corruption experts have abandoned their activities due to the conflict.

However, concerns about Ukraine’s approach to corruption have never completely disappeared. The chaos of conflict – multiple rapid acquisitions, inflows of funds and supplies moving through multiple hands – is likely to be a fertile ground for potential corruption and could exacerbate existing problems. This is true no matter where the war is or who is fighting. Ukraine is no exception.

What we know about the shaking of the Ukrainian government

The recent dismantling seems to be linked to a number of other scandals. Perhaps the most famous is the allegation, which was first reported in the Ukrainian media ZN.UA that the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense has signed a contract that pays two to three times more food costs than the sale price. Listed in Kiev. Defense Minister Oleksiy Reznikov dismissed the claim, saying it was a “technical error” and suggested the leak was scheduled for a meeting of Western donors in an effort to make it work. Damage to Ukraine. “Information about the content of food service shoppers who have taken public places is spreading with signs of intentional manipulation and illusion,” the ministry said in a statement. The ministry said it was investigating an “intentional spread of false information”, although it was conducting an internal audit.

In response to the procurement allegations, the Ukrainian National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) has publicly announced its investigation. On Tuesday, Deputy Defense Minister Viacheslav Shapovalov reportedly demanded the dismissal to “do not pose a threat to the stable supply of the Ukrainian Armed Forces as a result of the campaign of allegations related to the purchase of food services.”

But the Ukrainian government’s turmoil extended beyond that. Tymoshenko on Tuesday, Zelenskyy’s close aide announced his resignation, saying it was “his own will.” Tymoshenko played a public role in the war, and Ukrainian media reported last year that he was driving an SUV donated for humanitarian purposes for his own use (he denied the report). In December, another investigation revealed that Tymoshenko drove an expensive sports car and rented a house belonging to a prominent businessman, a brilliant accessory for wartime government officials. Tymoshenko said he rented the house because he was in an area targeted by air strikes.

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Deputy Attorney General Oleksiy Symonenko was also fired after reports last month in Ukrainian media that he was on a 10-day vacation in Spain during the war. On Monday, Zelenskyy banned all government officials from leaving the country to do anything other than formal business. .

In addition to the notorious dismissal, several other deputy ministers and governors, including those in Kyiv and Kherson Oblasts, have been fired. According to the Kyiv Independent, some of these officials have been implicated in corruption, while others appear to have been arrested in the crackdown.

The unrest also comes days after Ukraine’s Deputy Minister of Infrastructure Vasyl Lozinskyi was fired after allegations by Ukrainian prosecutors that he had stolen $ 400,000 (£ 320,000) in donations to buy aid, including generators, to help. Ukrainians withstand the winter. Russia attacks energy infrastructure He did not comment on the allegations.

Ukraine corruption is of renewed interest as years go to war

Some dismissals and resignations will not solve the problem of corruption or the rule of law in Ukraine, just as Ukraine’s struggle against Moscow will not eliminate all governance weaknesses. The bigger question is how widespread these recent corruption cases are, and whether the current dismissals and resignations represent a genuine and sustainable effort to crack down or a partial dismantling. Politics and public display to reassure Western partners and the Ukrainian public.

Aid to Zelenskyy wrote that the move showed the government would not back down. “Blind” To make a mistake. But some critics say it is more of a political upheaval, and other politicians accused Corruption continues to hold its position.

By 2021, Transparency International ranks Ukraine 122 out of 180 countries for corruption, making it the worst criminal. Even on the eve of the Russian invasion, the United States and its European partners continued to put pressure on Zelenskyy to implement anti-corruption and rule of law reforms. The calls did not stop when the war began, but the legitimate focus was on supporting Ukraine’s struggle for Russia and providing military, humanitarian and economic assistance to Kyiv.

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Also in Ukraine, some of the government’s biggest critics have shifted their energy to greater warfare efforts, according to a survey of 169 anti-corruption experts. Answered in April 2022. About 47 percent reported feeling dangerous if they continued to fight corruption during the conflict.

It is true that wars and conflicts can deepen corruption. Ukraine is fighting for its existence as a state, so naturally that is a priority above all else. Government resources, attention and budget are all accumulated for that, which means that anti-corruption efforts and the rule of law reform are declining. In addition, war creates many opportunities for corruption by spending less time and attention on accountability and control.

The latest allegations come almost a year into the war as the West prepares again to send in Ukraine’s vast arsenal, including US advanced tanks. The United States alone has contributed about $ 100 billion to Ukraine, including military, security and economic aid. As of November, European countries and EU institutions had pledged more than 51 billion euros in aid to Ukraine, according to the Kiel Institute for the World Economy. As the war drags on, some Western lawmakers are questioning the amount of aid flowing into Ukraine and calling for more responsibility on where things will go. That includes a majority of Republicans who have just been sworn in in the US Congress. Kyiv relies on foreign support in the fight against Russia, and repeated instructions of misuse can be dangerous, so it is not surprising that Kyiv is moving so fast to respond.

And that may be a big question: How much is this for optics, and does this reflect a deeper commitment to those corrupt promises? The United States has praised Ukraine for these actions, but much will depend on how the probe goes and what They found out. Nevertheless, Ukraine’s efforts to signal to the world and the local audience that have sacrificed so much for the war – remain a warning to other officials.



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