While Russia and the West fight over Ukraine, it is events inside the country that will determine its destiny. Two years after the Maidan revolution, Ukraine is stuck in a grey zone of half-reforms and half-war, The Economist reports:
While the country has held together better than many had expected, it has not transformed itself into a modern nation-state. After the revolution, power was seized not by a new political generation but by “those who were the closest to the government chairs when the music stopped,” says Yulia Mostovaya, editor of Zerkalo Nedeli, a Ukrainian weekly. Young Ukrainians are frustrated by their inability to keep the revolution’s promises, but unable to form a political force strong enough to challenge the government….
Corruption, in both Ukraine and Russia, is so ubiquitous that it is better described as the capture of the state by oligarchs and vested interests. According to Zerkalo Nedeli some 30 defence manufacturers have been transferring state money into fake firms as “payment” for non-existent equipment. Some pro-Ukrainian militias, who answer to no one but their own field commanders, are growing impatient with corruption and the lack of reform.
A new global rule of law index has ranked Ukraine 78th out of 113 countries, an improvement of three places on its standing in 2015. Ukraine’s position puts it 14 places above neighboring Russia but below states such as Belarus, Botswana and the United Arab Emirates, says the report, released Oct. 20 by the World Justice Project, a Washington-based think tank.
“Ukraine obtains relatively high marks in the areas of open government and fundamental rights,” Alejandro Ponce, the report’s chief author, told the Kyiv Post. “On the other side, Ukraine still faces challenges in the areas of checks and balances on the power of the executive, corruption and regulatory enforcement. In comparison to other countries, the courts are relatively efficient, but affected by undue influence and corruption.”
Yet instead of concentrating on fighting large-scale corruption, Ukrainian prosecutors are targeting journalists, activists and pro-European members of parliament, The Economist adds:
Sergii Leshchenko [right], an anti-corruption journalist and MP, has been attacked by the prosecutor’s office for acquiring a 7.5m hryvnia ($292,000) flat in Kiev, bought with a loan from a friend. “The purpose of this campaign is to discredit us, to show that everyone in Ukraine is the same and anyone who fights against corruption is himself corrupt,” says Mustafa Nayem, another pro-European MP.
A forthcoming conference – October 25, 2016 from 8:30 AM – from the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation and Friends of Ukraine Network focuses on Initiating Dialogue with the Next President of the United States.
Speakers and themes include:
11:10 – 11:55 pm: Sanctions: A Tool for Confronting Putin’s War in Ukraine. Karen Dawisha, Miami University (Ohio) ● David Kramer, McCain Institute. Moderator: Nadia Diuk, National Endowment for Democracy
3:15 – 3:55 pm: Russia’s Propaganda War (Old Playbook, New Methods, Weaponization of Information) Alina Polyakova, Atlantic Council ● Paul Goble, Editor, Windows on Eurasia. Chris Walker, National Endowment for Democracy. Moderator: Myroslava Gongadze, Voice of America (TBC)