Reform and the fight against corruption has been a slow process, but progress has been made and the people of Ukraine continue to demand more.
The malignant and ever-present Kremlin propaganda casting Ukraine as so corrupt as to be a failed country is absolute rubbish. And, that such allegations are being perpetuated by Russia, which has done little to nothing to cast aside communism’s systemic corruption is an outrage and should routinely be denounced as such.
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics was governed by the Communist Party and among other things that “c” in “Communist” stood for systemic corruption.
Ukraine as the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic was an integral part of the USSR and locked behind the Iron Curtain for 70 years.
That systemic corruption was and, to a difficult degree remains, part of the Soviet legacy in Ukraine. The Iron Curtain coming down was not like opening a window to get fresh, clean air on a spring morning. Ukraine had been isolated; its citizens had seen and experienced nothing but the corrupt and corrupting Soviet system for decades. Even those who knew the system was corrupt and wanted better, were severely tainted by their life’s experiences.
However, since independence the people of Ukraine have begun to see the extent of the Soviet legacy and the systems and experiences elsewhere, and their strong demands for reform have evolved.
Indeed, Ukraine’s civil society has and is leading the demands for changes and needed reforms.
In 2013 what began as the Euro Maidan protests in Kyiv over the then-President not proceeding toward integration with Europe, morphed into a nation-wide protest against gross public corruption.
The demands for reform continue loudly all across Ukraine, they were important in the 2019 presidential and parliamentary elections.
While it remains critical for the United States, others, including the IMF and World Bank to press for and counsel on needed reforms, likewise it is important to acknowledge progress that has been made.
The U.S.-Ukraine Foundation and its Friends of Ukraine Network continue to address the reform issues across Ukraine from election law reform, to energy sector reform, to reform in the military industrial complex, including support for Ukraine’s anti-corruption activists.