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Why Ukrainian corruption is not a reason to lift sanctions on Russia

Why Ukrainian corruption is not a reason to lift sanctions on Russia
Article by: Vitaliy Portnikov
Translated by: Anna Mostovych

The issue is not that Ukraine cannot deal with corruption. The issue is that it is the West that cannot deal with it. And that is much more dangerous because it can lead to the collapse of the European Union.

When I hear statements that the West “is tired of Ukraine” because of our failures in the fight against corruption and in reforming the country I am genuinely surprised.

Yes, I can fully appreciate the West’s fatigue with the  pace of reform in Ukraine. It is not even fatigue; it is concern about their loans. What I do not understand is when this “fatigue” is tied to a desire to lift sanctions on Russia.

However, let us remember the political alphabet. Sanctions on Russia were established not in exchange for our desire to defeat corruption and carry out reforms but because Russia had violated the territorial integrity of Ukraine. Any state can expect its territorial integrity to be respected. Even the most corrupt. Even the most under-reformed.

The only time that the international community can agree — and then only partially — to the violation of territorial integrity is when a state is carrying out genocide against its own people and when this is confirmed by decisions of international tribunals. This was the case in Kosovo. And even Kosovo’s independence from Serbia was not recognized by all.

Putin and Medvedev attacked Georgia after the great portion of what have been called Saakashvili’s reforms had already been completed. Corruption had been defeated and the laws had been changed. But the West “tired” of Georgia in the span of one day. Not even contingent sanctions were introduced against Russia. The same will happen with us.

If we vanquish corruption but fail to create a strong army nothing will help us. Ukraine will lie in its coffin clean and uncorrupted.

The statements made by several Western politicians about the need to lift sanctions on Russia is not evidence of our failures in the fight against corruption. It is evidence of the corruption of Western businessmen who are cooperating with Moscow and of the politicians who are lobbying for their interests.

And quite a few are able to receive advice and assistance from Moscow or Caracas directly. Proof of these “official” contacts by the leftists from the Greek Syriza, the Spanish Podemos or the right-wing populists of the Le Pen family have long been made public.

The issue is not that we cannot deal with corruption. The issue is that the West cannot deal with it. And that is much more dangerous because it can lead to the collapse of the European Union.

In the West not everyone discusses this out loud. And not everyone understands it. But those Ukrainian politicians who link the possible lifting of sanctions to “fatigue” and Ukraine’s fault are playing on the side of Putin and his agents in the European Union and they are becoming part of the Kremlin’s corrupted abscess on the body of Europe.

Translated by: Anna Mostovych
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