Since its independence from the Soviet Union, corruption has become inseparable from Ukraine’s government and its leaders.
Ukraine, after its independence in 1991 from the Soviet Union has become an odious nation, always nurturing corruption as an aspect of its governance. Corruption is seen to be ingrained in the country and every leader who occupied the highest office has been a party to its rise, with no efforts seen to curb the rate at which corruption has become an everyday experience. In the 2015 Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index investigation of 167 nations, Ukraine was ranked 130th, and Ernst & Young in its research put Ukraine as one of the three most corrupted countries in the world, along with Brazil and Colombia. It is a disgrace for the country and its leadership; and yet executive changes in leadership every four years, and the uprisings of 2004 and 2014 have failed to register any major impacts.
It all started with the country’s independence when, to establish growth the only immediate (albeit ignorant and unpropitious) means adopted by the leadership was corruption. The practice gradually became customary in everyday life and remains so, even to this day. The biggest beneficiaries of bribery include departments of education, health services, and the police. Citizens almost regard it as a ‘custom’ to pay bribes for getting things done.
The leadership of Viktor Shokin has been at the most, unimpressive. He was voted out in March this year. As per the Global Financial Integrity survey, for every dollar that comes in the country there goes out $6.25 dollar from the country. Incoming funds primarily arrive from the US and Europe as growth finance. The US and Europe have been vocal about the persistence of corruption being a cancerous obstacle for doing business in Ukraine. The regimes of Yushchenko and Kushma as Presidents have been declared as kleptocracy. ‘Expensive’ public services, hard-to-establish businesses, and downright corrupted bureaucracy and politics were some key features in their regimes. Unapologetic corruption is not anymore a stand-alone feature of Ukraine. While sustained protests have had little effect, beliefs and attitudes of citizens are changing even though at only a periphery level. it may take years before their conscience penetrates those originators of corruption. Continued efforts form the basis of the present country; desired results will depend on how the current President Poroshenko, though an oligarch himself, goes on a reform binge with the support of citizens.
The country suffers from more than corruption. Ukraine’s national drink is Vodka; half of the country’s men and a fifth of its women smoke; and their national diet is extremely unhealthy containing animal fats. The Chernobyl disaster has been a significant contributor to health anomalies. Domestic issues act as reagents to bad governance. Containing corruption has to be an unrestrained affair in the country. It has to penetrate all spheres, regions and corners of sustenance. Only then, will there be a strong collective voice against the anguish.