UKRAINE’S ILL FAME

corruptionThese days, the internet media have been making a lot of noise about the internal war between the law-enforcing bodies in Ukraine. The Security Service of Ukraine is said to have supplied the General Procurator’s Office with corresponding information, and the latter searched the offices of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) confiscating lots of what has become known as “compromising” materials. As a result, the NABU was accused of using “wrong” methods in combating corruption in Ukraine. In short, they, unexpectedly, turned out to be bad guys.

The curious thing is that all the three bodies are sister agencies called to fight the same enemy – corruption. The difference between them is that while the Security Service and The Procurator’s Office are purely Ukrainian government’s creations, the NABU was created following the request of the IMF and the EU. Its funding is mandated under American and European Union aid programs and it has an evidence-sharing agreement with the FBI. In fact, a part of the NABU agents received training from the FBI. Until recently the NABU was criticized for slow progress with its main task of investigating high profile corruption cases. But as soon as the NABU attempted to catch really “big fish” they were made an object of attack on the part of the plutocrats, who are “in control.”

It’s funny that before the NABU was formed, there had existed (and there keep existing!) four more bodies invested with the power of fighting graft in this country. Besides the Security Service and the General Procurator’s Office already mentioned, there are the National Agency for Prevention of Corruption and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office, both of which are subordinated either to the Cabinet of Ministers (the Government), or to Parliament, or to the Cabinet and Parliament at the same time. The NABU is more independent and can perform its duties without fear or favor, which is why it has become more difficult for the Ukrainian political leaders to pretend that they are up in arms against corruption. Hence, the shakedown in the NABU offices accompanied by the anti-NABU campaign.

Corruption is a widespread and growing problem in Ukraine. In 2016’s Transparency International Corruption Perception Index  Ukraine was ranked 131st out of the 176 countries. It scored 29 points out of 100. To compare: the least corrupted country Denmark scored 90, the tenth least corrupted United Kingdom – 81, the 18th-ranked USA – 74, and the most corrupted Somalia has got 10 points. In a survey in 2010, up to 50 per cent of respondents admitted paying a bribe to a service provider during the previous year. A comparable figure for Great Britain for 2011 was 1.9 per cent. Politics, the court system, the police, the health service and the sphere of education are particularly corrupt in Ukraine. Doctors are not relied upon. It’s generally considered that a high school pupil will not be properly taught if he/she is not tutored privately. Politicians, judges and lawyers are not trusted. One example: a few days ago the father of a murdered young man killed himself and the murderer by exploding two grenades in a courtroom in a provincial town where the case of his son’s murderer was being heard.  The reason could be, as it is generally believed, that he didn’t think the court’s sentence would be just.

Being a retiree, I just receive my pension every month, visit a supermarket once a week and regularly pay my utility bills. I am not in touch with corruption in any way. As an individual, I’m a happy man. As a citizen, I am not.

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