The rusted nail of corruption in Ukraine

 

Op-ed

Article by: Serhy Madovich

A Letter to the editor: In the wake of Canadian volunteers’ Appeal to the authorities of Ukraine.

We often hear the word corruption, but few know the literal translation from Latin. It consists of two parts: together, united and to destroy, to break down. The term best describes the current political and economic situation in Ukraine. From the old Soviet system we have inherited the same paradigm of values ​​- disrespect of people and the Law, irresponsibility, command and administrative management of the so-called vertically-oriented model of power.

There is an ongoing war. An idea is being promoted that the Government cannot be criticized right now. They tell that the timing to carry out reforms is not right. “Right after the war, yes, we immediately begin to act! Now all the criticism of the government only benefits the enemy!,” they tell. This is a typical “horror story” that persistently introduced to the masses. It is well known that fear is the best way to control people’s minds. Let’s see whether this is true. What are the risks of the policy of imitation, a showcase “flurry of activities” and pseudo-reforms?

1) The impossibility of joining NATO and receiving substantial military assistance.
Ukraine is ranked the fifth largest nation in Europe in terms of population. The quantity of arms and military equipment it requires is enormous. NATO must be fully confident in the irreversibility of Ukraine’s European choice, a confirmation of structural reforms, fighting corruption, respect for rights, real democracy. West (especially US and Canada) and NATO are not interested to strengthen a large corrupted State. Joining NATO is directly linked to structural reforms in the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine and in all other departments. It was openly stated by Canadian Ambassador to Ukraine, “Do not assign dumb people responsible for cooperation with NATO.” US Senator John McCain mentioned in regard combating corruption in Ukraine, “At this point it is important to overcome endemic corruption, to initiate an investigation of corruption cases and prosecute corrupt officials under the law.” The big problem is the incompetence and inability of Ukraine’s authorities to listen carefully to the message that come out from the West.

2) The impossibility to obtain substantial financial assistance and investments.
No significant loans and investments would be possible without addressing the above problems. Some of these concerns were discussed at the meeting of Mikheil Saakashvili with Odessa’s prosecutors on June 16th, 2015. “It needs to blow off motes,” was the main message of the meeting, regarding authorities’ dealing with local businessmen. Without a transparent procedures and lawful rules for doing business, there will be no trust on the part of investors and financial institutions.

3) The risk of disappointment and doubt in reforming the government.
An extremely slow transformation and reforming of the government during the war, total corruption, economic decline and a real income slump will eventually lead people to doubt the ability to make a difference, to influence the government. As a result, the motivation for such a transformation will fade. This will lead to a confidence’s drop in the current government in one part of the population, and the willingness to return to the “Pre-Maidan era ” in the other one. Revenge tendencies of the old bureaucracy will increase. This will weaken the ability of Ukraine’s armed resistance.

Unfortunately, last year was the time of missed opportunities in Ukraine. The authorities still operate by the principle “one step forward, two steps back.” Authorities in the regions have not changed, the Yanukovych’s Politbureau clings to its “manger.” Lustration has not occurred, and therefore no positive changes are expected. The West is ready to help – it is waiting for a request for help from the people of Ukraine. The military and financial assistance to Ukraine will depend on Ukrainian people, on their determined actions toward democracy. The people of Ukraine are the only source of power, the government and president are for exercising the people’s will. We need fundamental, revolutionary measures. The rusted nail needs no lubrication – it must be ripped out by iron tongs.

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