Despite the fact that he took office as an utter political neophyte in one of Europe’s most dysfunctional nations, Volodymyr Zelensky’s government so far has been an extraordinary — and, under the circumstances, almost miraculous — success, The Washington Post’s Jackson Diehl writes:
For those focused on corruption, one big question lingers about Zelensky: whether he will remain independent of Ihor Kolomoisky, an oligarch who supported Zelensky’s television career and presidential candidacy, and who is trying to regain control over Ukraine’s largest bank despite being accused of looting it. The jury is still out. But so far, says David Kramer, a Ukraine expert at Florida International University, Zelensky “has kept Kolomoisky himself seemingly at arm’s length.”
A landmark whistleblower protection act Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky signed in October entered into force last Wednesday, the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) reports:
The new law protects whistleblowers and offers financial rewards for important tips useful in investigations of corruption cases where the damage to the state is more than UAH 10 million (US $420 000). The whistleblower can get up to 10 percent of the monetary value of the revealed corruption after the court has handed down the conviction. The state will also provide whistleblowers psychological assistance to deal with stress from retaliation as well as free legal aid, according to Kyiv Post.
According to Transparency International’s 2018 Corruption Perception Index (CPI), Ukraine is ranked 120 out of 180 countries.
The partial restoration of relations between Russia and Ukraine over the past few weeks will not end the conflict in eastern Ukraine or lead to Russia returning the annexed territory of Crimea. But in energy terms the deal agreed last week is important for both countries, and potentially a significant success for Russian premier Vladimir Putin, Nick Butler writes for The Financial Times (HT:FDD).