EURONEWS: Corruption in Ukraine: Is time running out for Zelenskyy to reform the country?

Hopes are now fading that President Zelenskyy can deliver on his bold election campaign promises of an end to corruption and a new era of effective governance in Ukraine

Emil Filtenborg and Stefan Weichert
Saturday, 25 July 2020 23:50

The nation's political direction has become a concern for many Ukrainians.

The message many are receiving now is very different from the one of hope and pledges of reform they put their faith in at last year’s elections.

In recent months, Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who was elected in 2019 on the promise of wide-reaching reforms to battle corruption and improve the economy, has sacked and replaced the government for being inept.

Former prime minister, Oleksiy Honcharuk, was fired in March, along with several of his ministers, the Ukrainian prosecutor general, Ruslan Riaboshapka, and other officials. Honcharuk and Riaboshapka, who were well-regarded in the West, have since expressed their concern about the direction of Ukraine, where they feel the malign influence of powerful people on the country’s economy is growing.

“Since early March, when Zelenskyy changed the government for no apparent reason with unknown people, there has been no direction in the government,” Anders Åslund, an economist and senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, told Euronews.

“We have seen that Zelenskyy’s new people have undone everything that was done before. It seems for me that it is done to restore corruption and oligarchs seem to influence this development.

“Everything is getting destroyed.”

The hope for a better future which prevailed when Zelenskyy was elected has gone, he adds. Åslund is not the only one who is sceptical about what is going on inside Ukraine, where the government, he says, is turning away from anti-corruption measures and western-style reforms.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently provided Ukraine with a $5 billion (€4.4 billion) loan to battle COVID-19, but noted in a report that “reforms increasingly faced resistance from vested interests, and court rulings” were undermining “reform progress, especially in tackling corruption and financial sector reforms”.

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