Ukraine is ‘at the forefront’ of broader struggle for liberal democracy


Ukraine’s victory over authoritarianism matters for Europe, says Stanford University’s Francis Fukuyama.

The country “is really at the forefront of a broad struggle for liberal democracy with various populists and authoritarian forces in the world right now,” he told the Atlantic Council in Washington.

But Ukraine’s new asset declaration act is designed to put pressure on civil society, according to a prominent activist.

By introducing this law the government wants to collect a “database of anti-corruption activists to prosecute them in the future,” says Sasha Drik, the head of the Declarations Under Control, a civic watchdog.

“We need to make sure that this law does not consume all of our time and distract us from fighting corruption,” she said.

The U.S. State Department “strongly encourages” Ukraine’s government to repeal legislation requiring asset declarations by civil society groups and foreign members of state-owned-enterprise boards.

“Ukraine’s asset declaration system should hold public officials accountable and not place unnecessary burdens or pressure on civil society,” said a statement:

This punitive law targets those very individuals who seek to increase transparency and accountability in Ukraine, fulfilling the promises of the Euromaidan and the Ukrainian people’s aspirations for a democratic country governed by the rule of law. We urge the Ukrainian government to expeditiously cancel the asset declaration requirements, in line with recommendations by the Venice Commission, and, in the interim, provide a temporary amnesty for those individuals who do not file declarations by the upcoming deadline.

The launch of Ukraine’s e-declaration system—one of the world’s most advanced—remains among the country’s biggest post-Maidan achievements, says Olena Prokopenko, the head of international relations at Reanimation Package of Reforms in Kyiv, Ukraine. It has been a groundbreaking step toward the transparency broadly supported by the country’s Western partners. Yet ever since its inception, electronic asset declarations for officials has been under continuous sabotage and has been attacked on a wide range of fronts, she writes for the Atlantic Council’s Ukraine Alert.

Despite significant funding from the budget and international donors as well as the strong backing of leading civil society organizations, the country’s leadership has gone out of its way to block effective verification of the declarations. RTWT

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