It’s showtime in Ukraine. Until the 30th of October approximately 50000 state employees most notably including the highest ranking politicians had to file their first declaration of income and possessions. Resistance was voiced and attempts of passing legislation against those anti corruption measurements have been made till the very end of the deadline, but without success. Now in effect, the massive fortunes of politicians and statesmen are for the first time for everyone to see in bluntly honest numbers.
Many of them hold enormous cash reserves in USD and EUR at home and have multiple houses1. Although rumors about the possessions of the ukrainian elite have been widespread in the public, the outrage is huge dominating the news for days. And while the statesmen could previously hide in the fog, the exposure now forces them to move. Yet investigation into the ways of accumulating their wealth and prosecution of criminal activity if found remains unlikely for several reasons.
The progress in the fight against corruption can be illustrated at the example of the newly established institutions, such as the National Anti Corruption Bureau (NABU) and the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI). The NABU is functioning, but remains in constant conflict with the General Prosecutor’s Office (GPO), which is often told to be among the most corrupt institutions in the government. Furthermore the NABU lacks the rights for effective investigations and must rely on the Bureau of Security (SBU), the state intelligence office, which is not any less infested than the GPO. The SBI on the other side was not even opened yet, as there are constant political fights about the nominations of its head and key personnel2.
That said, numerous light of hope and progress can be equally named. In the past two years, Ukraine managed to eliminate nearly 50% of its banks, in order to stabilize the banking sector as well as stop the once common practise of oligarchs founding banks in order to receive loans, then let the banks go bankrupt and make the government rescue them. The state owned gas company Naftogaz is awaited to produce income for the first time in years after the gas prices have been adjusted to market value. This will make it possible to privatise the company in the coming years, relieving the Ukrainian government of another troublesome institution and source of corruption3.
Consequently many indicators such as the Doing Business Index4 and the Bertelsmann Transformation Index5 are slightly positive. The Ukrainian economy is speeding up with a growth of 1.4% in the second quarter of 2016, a forecast of 0.7% for the entire year and a forecast of 2.6% for 20176. The inflation rate has fallen from over 50% in 2015 to just 8% in september 20167. And while the concern regarding the distribution of this new influx of wealth is prominent and justified, the public outcry about the revelations of the possessions of the political elites might give them enough reason to try to minimise it.
6: (en) http://country.eiu.com/ukraine