Reforms in Ukraine
On January 08, 2017, a Finnish newspaper Turun Sanomat has published an article on corruption in Ukraine (http://bit.ly/2izlP7v).
In particular, it is stated there that “Ukrainian corruption reforms have almost come to a standstill. Reforms launched after the 2014 revolution have occurred mainly on paper.”
Now, on my strong belief, half-truth has nothing to do with truth. You cannot balance truth with half-truth. In fact, you can but it will no longer be the truth but a lie or biased information or, even worth, propaganda.
What do I mean by that?
Let me give you some facts, just the facts:
In Ukraine, a network of institutions to combat corruption has been created: the National Anti-Corruption Bureau and National Agency for Prevention of Corruption. The State Bureau of Investigations undergoes its establishment procedures.
With a revolutionary e-declaration system more than 100 000 civil servants made all their assets accessible for public scrutiny. It IS a revolutionary system which does not exist even in Finland, the least corrupt country in the world according to the Transparency International. Here https://public.nazk.gov.ua/ anyone may search information on the assets of any Ukrainian public servant. In fact, you may search my assets here just by printing my name here. I’ve asked several Finnish colleagues, public servants, and, unlike me, they are not obliged to make public information of their assets and I do it every year.
Introduction of the public e-procurement system ProZorro is eradicating corruption while also saving in the region of 100 million Euro to date. The Law “On Public Procurement” became operational and now all state procurement switched to the ProZorro procurement initiative. It establishes e-procurement for all public procurements of goods and services, thus increasing competition and reducing corruption. This step correlates with the best European practices in this domain and is a true novelty in Ukraine.
And I’ve mentioned reforms in the sphere of fighting corruption ONLY.
Unfortunately, the author of the article hasn’t notice or hasn’t been willing to notice that the significant progress in fighting corruption made by Ukraine in the past 2 years has been recognised, in particular, by the European Commission http://bit.ly/2enDWeS and its President http://bit.ly/2iZgj1f, German Advisory Group to Ukraine http://bit.ly/2jd4v9q, the Transparency International http://bit.ly/2iXuxhf and by many others.
Looking back at 25 years of Ukraine’s independence, I clearly see miscalculations, slow reforming and lack of a vision – it takes time to build any independent state at all, let alone a country that underwent “the Soviet experiment”.
But today, after Revolution of Dignity of 2014, I may say that we have already crossed the point of no return back to the USSR. Indeed, in less than three years since the Revolution of Dignity of 2013-2014, my country has made more progress in dealing with corruption and reforming its institutions than in the previous 23 years.
New reformed police forces have already begun to operate in 32 cities. We replaced the soviet-style corrupted street police with new young and motivated police officers. They are already enjoying greater support from the wider public. Having contracted by 9% over the last two years, the economy is now set to grow by almost 3%, investment have increased by 11,4% this year alone, conducting business is becoming easier than ever before.
The success of the Ukrainian reforms is confirmed by reputable international institutions and rankings: Ukraine reformed across all World Bank Doing Business indicators, we climbed 25 positions in the United Nations E-Government Development Index, 16 positions in “Strength of Investors Protection” in the Global Competitiveness Index of the World Economic Forum, 57 positions in Tax Paying Rank composed by the World Bank.
And we have achieved all of this under the most challenging of circumstances – a Russia-led war against Ukraine.
We understand that in these circumstances we have to be strong both inside – and I indicated our progress in this regard – but also outside.
And that’s where we count on our international partners, including Finland: this war costs thousands of lives of Ukrainian both military and civilians, Russian occupation of Crimea and Donbas costs at least 5% of our GDP. So what we need from our partners is their support of our reforms and our fight against the aggressor.
And we feel that support from Finland, in fighting corruption, in particular.
For instance, I can guess, that it will be a surprise for the author of the Turun Sanomat’s article to find out that the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine has been applying Finnish best practices while investigating corruption cases. And they have been doing it with the kind assistance of Mika Aalto, a renowned Finnish expert and the leading expert on preventing and fighting corruption within the project “Support to justice sector reform in Ukraine”.
Now, answering the author’s statement that “Corruption Perception Index of Ukraine ranks far behind Russia”, I would like to remind him the following.
Euromaidan was a wave of demonstrations, demanding closer European integration. Later, the scope of the protests expanded, with calls for the resignation of President Viktor Yanukovych and his government. The protests had been fuelled also by the perception of widespread government corruption, abuse of power, and violation of human rights in Ukraine.
Please answer yourselves a rhetoric question: is it possible in contemporary Russia at all?!!!
And this is what my optimism as regards fighting corruption in my country is grounded on: Ukrainians. They will not allow me or anyone in the Government to live by the old corrupt standards.
Let me finish with quoting Mr. Jean-Claud Juncker, the President of the European Commission, from his article recently published in a renowned Finnish review Baltic Rim Economies: “President Poroshenko’s reform and anti-corruption agenda are putting the country back on a more stable footing and it is our duty and responsibility to help Ukraine build on that.” (http://bit.ly/2iZgj1f).
Indeed, the help from the partners is kindly appreciated!
Ambassador of Ukraine to Finland