Corruption and disputes Zelenskyys serious problems in Ukraine

Corruption and disputes: Zelenskyy’s serious problems in Ukraine

According to Transparency International’s latest 2021 corruption index, Ukraine doesn’t look much better than Russia when it comes to corruption: Ukraine ranked 122nd out of 180 in the statistics. Russia, along with Liberia and Mali, ranked 136th. For comparison: Austria was 13th, Germany 10th.

Therefore, it is repeatedly feared that aid money from the West could leak through opaque channels. Many Ukrainians believe that the country’s leadership is enriched by humanitarian aid through financial aid.

Ukrainian soldiers transport canned goods to accommodation

IMAGO/Ashley Chan Ukrainian soldiers carry cans of food into a shelter

Zelenskyy wants to focus on transparency

Following the recent corruption scandals in Kyiv, Zelenskyi announced more decisive action against misconduct in the state apparatus. “Society will get all the information and the state will take the necessary powerful measures,” Zelenskyy said Sunday in his evening video message distributed across Kyiv.

Among other things, he reported that the detained Deputy Minister of Municipal, Territorial and Infrastructure Development, Vasyl Lozynskyi, had been released. According to the media, Losynskyj allegedly received a bribe of $400,000 (about €370,000) for the purchase of generators to deal with the country’s energy crisis.

Secretary of Defense has to justify himself

With his video message, Zelenskyy also reacted to media reports of overpriced food purchases for soldiers. Prices are said to have been paid three times higher than retail prices. Here, too, it is said that civil servants became rich.

According to official information, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksiy Resnikov will be heard in parliament in Kyiv. In addition, the Court of Auditors must closely monitor the Ministry of Defense. According to the news website, the contract in question has a value equivalent to 325 million euros. According to the media, the contract should not deal with feeding soldiers at the front, but at the rear.

Exterior of the Ukrainian Parliament

APA/AFP/Sergei Supinsky The Parliament of Ukraine in Kyiv

Ministry rejects corruption allegations

The Ukrainian Ministry of Defense had previously denied corruption allegations related to the procurement of food for the military. Rations for the soldiers were purchased according to “the procedure established by law”, the ministry said. Media reports to the contrary are “wrong”. An investigation will be launched into the dissemination of this “misleading” information, which harms Ukraine’s “defense interests”.

In the summer of 2022, Zelenskyy had to reprimand the military leadership after fierce criticism of reporting requirements for conscripts. He asked “the General Staff not to take such decisions without me”, Zelenskyy said at the time. In the summer, after the resignation of the head of the secret service and other executives, the Ukrainian government had to move forward with realigning the agency. Even shortly after the start of the war, Zelenskyy had to dismiss generals. It was said that they were traitors.

Decisions to be announced next week

Zelenskyy announced on Sunday that decisions will be taken this week, but not yet published, to further combat corruption and enrichment in office. “I’m grateful to journalists who grapple with the facts and create the full picture,” he said of the revelations.

Zelenskyi said the main focus is on defending the country in the war against Russia. However, he is aware that these cases are also being discussed in society. Action must be taken in the name of justice.

Kyiv Mayor Vitali Klitschko

Portal/Valentyn Ogirenko Kiev Mayor Vitaly Klitschko, a domestic opponent of Zelenskyy since peacetime

“Two Wars”

However, according to the Ukrainian Public Prosecutor’s Office, the Kyiv government advanced its anti-corruption efforts even during the war against Russia. The public prosecutor in charge told the Portal news agency in December that there were at least 109 indictments in 42 cases and 25 convictions.

A senior member of the relevant parliamentary committee, Yaroslav Yurchyshyn, spoke about two wars his country was fighting simultaneously: one against Russia, the other against corruption, which has its roots in the post-Soviet era.

Central condition for EU membership

Officials pointed to the urgent need to convince potential Western financiers that billions in reconstruction investment would not leak down dark channels. Efforts are also seen as a key condition for the long-term goal of EU membership.

Ukraine was granted candidate status in June amid the Russian invasion. According to a poll conducted in early November, at least 88% of Ukrainians expect their country to be a prosperous member of the EU within ten years.

Disputes with Klitschko

Despite the war, the upcoming presidential election will also have a political impact. It wasn’t until November that a dispute with Kiev Mayor Klitschko ended. However, the disputes between Klitschko and Zelenskyy are much older: even as a comedian, Zelenskyy preferred to target Klitschko and his rhetorical weaknesses, as the “Standard” writes.

In the 2019 presidential election campaign, Zelenskyy finally beat incumbent Petro Poroshenko – not to the delight of Klitschko, a Poroshenko ally. Nevertheless, Zelenskyy tried to replace the mayor of Kiev with his own henchman. According to observers, it is also about controlling the flow of money, according to the “Norm”.

Klitschko: Making domestic politics when the war is over

Klitschko once again called for unity in his previously known conflict with Zelenskyy in November. This conflict started in the heating points in Kyiv. Zelenskyy criticized the Kiev city administration for allegedly not working on the heating points. Klitschko was not mentioned by name. Later, deputies from the Servants of the People’s Presidential Party controlled the functioning of these “points of indestructibility”.

“When the war is over, you can do domestic politics,” Klitschko said in an interview with the RBK-Ukraine news agency. However, the unity of all is necessary for the Ukrainian victory. “No public official can appoint or dismiss an elected mayor.” Klitschko has ruled Kyiv since 2014. He is considered a possible opponent of Zelenskyy in the presidential elections scheduled for March 2024.