Volodymyr Zelensky

A series of alleged corruption cases has rocked Ukraine.


(Photo: dpa)

Sedan In the midst of the war in Ukraine, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky reacted to several suspected cases of corruption with a series of dismissals. A total of four vice ministers, the vice presidential administration, governors and employees in various authorities, offices and the prosecutor’s office have lost their jobs.

The corruption allegations surfaced over the weekend and Selenski has now announced a crackdown. Several suspects are in custody.

The Ukrainian president has become a symbol of the resistance of the Ukrainian people against the Russian invasion in his country and throughout the world. He is tuned in and applauded at many major conferences, most recently at the World Economic Forum in Davos.

But time and time again, scandals scratch the image of the former comedian, who brought former comrades-in-arms from his production company’s television to the government. Now, with the allegations of corruption in his government, Selenski has run into a serious image problem.

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The defense department headed by Minister Oleksiy Resnikov made the start. The ministry is said to have procured eggs for the equivalent of 42 cents from a wholesaler instead of 17 cents in kyiv supermarkets. Other food for the troops is said to have been purchased at significantly higher prices. Resnikov, who recently met German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) and his US counterpart Lloyd Austin in Ramstein, has so far been able to get his head out of the noose. So far, Zelenskiy has only fired a deputy defense minister and five regional army chiefs.

Corruption in Ukraine: Prime Minister Schmyhal has also been criticized

The anti-corruption prosecutor’s office arrested Deputy Minister of Infrastructure and Regional Affairs Vasyl Lozynskyi. It is said that he accepted a bribe equivalent to 400,000 euros to buy diesel generators. The man who wanted to bribe the deputy minister was arrested on Tuesday. Losynskyj is considered to be sponsored by Prime Minister Denys Schmyhal. According to Ukrainian media, Zelenskiy’s personally chosen head of government is also under political pressure.

Deputy head of the presidential administration and former television producer Kirill Tymoshenko avoided ouster by resigning. He has previously been criticized for allegedly profiting unfairly from aid deliveries to Ukrainian cities.

denis schmyhal

A deputy minister appointed by the prime minister is also suspected of corruption.


(Photo: dpa)

The wave of layoffs extends beyond the leadership ranks. Several customs officers were arrested and their supervisors fired on suspicion of embezzlement and corruption in grain exports.

The former head of the state gas company Naftogaz Ukrainy is under investigation because he is said to have received an excessive bonus. In 2018 he won a case before an international arbitration tribunal against the Russian gas monopoly gazprom and made $4.6 billion. The Naftogaz board is said to have awarded him a success bonus of €5.7 million. Investigators and lawyers continue to argue about pretrial detention. The ex-CEO offers full cooperation with the authorities and sees himself in the right as the supervisory board has approved the bonus.

Strong reactions from civil society

The fact that the corruption scandals became known was thanks to “civil society and, above all, the Ukrainian media”. They “can also uncover and fight corruption,” said Stefan Meister, Ukraine expert at the German Society for Foreign Relations. Above all, he sees the presidential administration as an “increasingly authoritarian and non-transparent black box” when it comes to distributing funds. There is no control by the parliament, in which Selensky’s “Servants of the People” party is making everything happen.

>> Read also: These factors will decide the outcome of the Ukrainian war.

Other experts see the uncovering of the scandals as a living example of corruption in the country Ukraine – in contrast with Russia – will be fought in real terms and will require tough measures. “The war must not be used as an excuse for not investigating those responsible in the ministries and the military and not radically classifying them,” demanded Serhiy Gajdaj, head of the political strategy consultancy of the same name in Kyiv.

Alex Lissiza, an agricultural entrepreneur and director of the Ukrainian Farmers’ Association, calls the alleged misconduct in procurement for the military particularly shameful. “Because most Ukrainians are focused on helping our soldiers,” says Lissiza. “Western governments will find it increasingly difficult to help a country if the funds are stolen there and the perpetrators are not punished.”

Meanwhile, Zelensky himself stressed on Sunday that the fight against corruption in war should not be neglected. This is also a signal to foreign allies, who support Ukraine with billions. The EU Commission also called for more efforts in the fight against corruption on Tuesday. This is part of the political conditions for future EU loans and also plays a key role in the EU accession process.

More: Scandalous luxury, corruption: this is how Putin’s military elite lives

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