The changes made by Vladimir Zelensky in his Managementthe most important since the war began, show the extent of corruption in Ukrainewhere even the strife and destruction wreaked by the Russian invasion have not diminished the mafia behaviors and illicit enrichment at the heart of Ukrainian institutions.
Under the stern gaze of the European Union, the Ukrainian president has carried out an extensive purge of senior officials, more than a dozen, in an attempt to show the seriousness of his commitment against this evil, endemic in Ukraine since before the war and which placed this country among the most corrupt of the world. In Europethe level of corruption in Ukraine was only surpassed, and by little, by that of Russia.
The cases of corruption revealed by this readjustment carried out by Zelenskyaffect, among others, several deputy ministers accused of trafficking or receiving bribes in relation to the military and logistical aid delivered by European countries to face the war and the invasion launched by Russia eleven months ago.
USA and numerous European countries have delivered billions of euros, as well as hundreds of tons of ammunition and weapons, to Ukraine since the war began on February 24. In some European capitals, such as berlinthere have always been misgivings about the final destination of these funds and the possibility that part of the weapons could be diverted by arms traffickers, as has already been denounced on several occasions.
Corruption and its ties to the war in Ukraine
That corrupt Ukrainian officials are benefiting from this Western goodwill by diverting funds intended to resist the Russian invasion and support the population in such difficult times (for example, with contracts for the supply of electric power generators) could stain irreparably kyiv Government and Zelensky himself.
The government “reshuffle” was announced by Zelensky on Monday night, two days after the deputy minister of Infrastructures and Community Development, Vasil Lozinsky, was arrested on charges of receiving bribes and diverting $400,000 from contracts for the purchase of electricity generators and other equipment. The Russian attacks with missiles and drones against the Ukrainian energy infrastructures have left millions of people without electricity and water for many days, hence the impact that this particular cessation has had on the Ukrainian population.
In addition, on Tuesday morning, the Ministry of Defence announced that the until now vice-minister of this portfolio had resigned, Vyacheslav Shapovalov. This senior official was responsible for the quartermaster for the Ukrainian troops. Shapovalov said he was resigning out of “dignity” after media investigations accused him of corruption and overpaying food suppliers for soldiers.
The deputy attorney general was also dismissed. Oleksiy Symonenko, who had been denounced by the Ukrainian press for having taken a vacation in Spain. In the announcement of his dismissals in his Administration, Zelensky prohibited Ukrainian officials from leaving the country except for public service. “Ignoring the war is a luxury that no one can afford,” said the Ukrainian president.
Another of those who have left their post is Kyrylo Tymoshenkodeputy head of Presidency Staff Ukrainian and one of Zelensky’s closest collaborators, whom he helped in the 2019 presidential campaign, when the current head of Condition Ukrainian came to power promising to combat the rampant corruption that plagued his country. The governors and governors of the kyiv provinces were also dismissed, Kherson, Zaporizhia, sumi Y Dnipropetrovskas well as the vice ministers of Development and Social Policyin addition to those mentioned above.
One of the top advisers to the Ukrainian president, Mikhailo Podoliakwanted to insist on a message on Twitter about the exemplary nature that this purge wanted to have: Zelensky’s decisions “bear witness to the key priorities of the State. He will not turn a blind eye. During the war, everyone must understand their responsibility. The president sees and listens to society. And he responds directly to a key public demand: justice for all.”
Zelensky purges his government and Germany agrees to send its Leopard tanks
The purge in the Ukrainian Administration has preceded by a few hours the German decision to reluctantly accept the shipment of the latest generation Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine and to grant permission to third countries to deliver this battle tank manufactured under German license to the Ukrainian army.
Berlin’s misgivings about supplying this heavy tank, very useful in an eventual counter-offensive by the Ukrainian forces as it would mean mobile firepower capable of facing any challenge from Russian artillery, had confronted Germany with its European partners.
Berlin not only feared that this step would lead to an escalation of tension with Russia. Germany has also considered among its objections the possibility that the technology of the Leopard 2 systems ends up in the hands of arms dealers.
European applause for Zelensky’s “remodeling”
“We appreciate that the Ukrainian authorities are taking these matters seriously,” said the community spokesperson for Expansion, Ana Pisonero, who has asked that the war context in which Ukraine finds itself be taken into account. The Zelensky government has requested the entry of Ukraine into the European Union, something very difficult in the same context in which this country finds itself, but which, in any case, would require a lot of effort and reforms to reduce the previously high level of corruption to the contest
The Corruption Perception Index for the year 2021 of International Transparency indicated that Ukraine was ranked 122 on that scale of 180 countries, while Russia ranked 136. The main signs of corruption were related to the payment of bribes in any sphere of Ukrainian life, from education and health, to justice and citizen security.
Widespread corruption before the war
Political corruption before the war was also widespread, from electoral fraud to prevarication and bribery. Tax evasion by private businessmen was also another of the pre-war sources of corruption. Against this backdrop, Zelensky’s post-election promises to end corruption were hailed by Ukrainians.
Corruption also affected the international commercial and political arena. There is the scandal that will still give a lot to talk about the suspicious relationship of Hunter Bidenson of the current president of the United States, Joe Biden, with the hydrocarbons business in Ukraine, after, between 2014 and 2019, he was a member of the Burisma address, the largest private gas company in the Slavic country. The Burisma-Hunter Biden case is one of the issues that Republicans could publicly investigate, now in the majority in the House of Representatives in it Congress US.
Zelenski under was under suspicion
Despite leading the crusade against corruption in his country, Zelensky himself is not free from inquisitive looks either. During the electoral campaign that brought him to power, he had the open support of the Ukrainian magnate Ihor Kolomoisky. This oligarch has been accused of fraud and money laundering in the United States. At that time, critics of Zelensky painted him as a Kolomoisky man, who was said to have been a partner and mentor of the current Ukrainian president.
It was also indicated that what his 2021 law to end corruption really intended was to call the most rebellious oligarchs to order and subordinate them to the State, something similar to what Russian President Vladimir Putin did when he came to power in the year 2000.
In the filtration of pandora paperscoordinated by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ, for its acronym in English), on international financial crimes, also appear Zelenski and his creation of companies offshore since 2012 through his production company Kvartal 95 in order to acquire luxury properties in London and have shares in film production and film distribution companies.