Zelensky clamps down on corruption in Ukraine - Dispatch Weekly

January 25, 2023 - Reading time: 3 minutes

​As President Volodymyr Zelensky starts to reorganise the staff in his government, a number of senior Ukrainian officials have resigned.

On Tuesday, a senior adviser, four deputy ministers, and five regional governors resigned from their positions.

Their departures happen as Ukraine begins a significant anti-corruption drive.

Authorities have recently come across allegations of bribery, evidence of officials purchasing food at inflated costs, and one individual suspected of leading a luxurious lifestyle.

Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior adviser, claimed that Mr. Zelensky was responding to a “major public demand” that justice be applied equally to everybody.

State officials are already prohibited by the president from leaving the nation unless on authorised business.

Kyrylo Tymoshenko, who managed regional strategy and had previously worked on Mr. Zelensky’s election campaign, was the first to resign on Tuesday.

He started acting as the government’s spokesperson on a regular basis after Russia began its invasion of Ukraine in February of last year.

Although he denies any wrongdoing, he was charged by investigative journalists in Ukraine of using multiple sports cars throughout the battle.

He praised Mr. Zelensky for giving him “the opportunity to conduct good things every day and every minute” in a Telegram post.

In response to allegations that he managed the purchase of military food supplies from a relatively unheard-of company at inflated costs, deputy defence minister Vyacheslav Shapovalov also announced his resignation. The department claimed that this was a “technical error” and that no money had been exchanged.

Oleksii Reznikov, the defence minister, has also come under fire for the same reason.

On Tuesday, a number of other key officials were fired, including:

Oleskiy Symonenko, deputy attorney general
Ivan Lukerya, deputy minister for community and territorial development
Vyacheslav Negoda, deputy minister for community and territorial development
Vitaliy Muzychenko, deputy minister for social policy

Transparency International rated Ukraine 122 out of 180 nations on its ranking of corrupt states in 2021 due to the country’s long history of corruption.

If the nation wants to move forward with its bid to join the club, a crackdown is one of the main requests from the EU.

In his address on Sunday, Mr Zelensky claimed there would be “no return to what used to happen in the past.”

His remarks came after Vasyl Lozinskyi, Ukraine’s deputy minister of infrastructure, was detained on Saturday on suspicion of receiving a bribe totaling more than $350,000 (£285,000) in connection with the provision of electrical generators. He has refuted the accusations.

According to David Arakhamia, the leader of Mr. Zelensky’s Servant of the People party, corrupt officials may go to prison.

“Both official and unofficial channels have repeatedly admonished officials at all levels to concentrate on the battle, assist the victims, cut back on bureaucracy, and cease engaging in shady business,” he said, via Telegram.

He added that many officials have listened, while some, regrettably, have not.

“Wartime laws will be followed if it can’t be done in a civilised manner. This holds true for both recent generator purchases and brand-new controversies at the Ministry of Defense.”

Despite recent anti-corruption initiatives, Kyiv is at risk since it is getting billions of dollars in financial support from Western friends.

DW Staff

David Lintott is the Editor-in-Chief, leading our team of talented freelance journalists. He specializes in covering culture, sport, and society. Originally from the decaying seaside town of Eastbourne, he attributes his insightful world-weariness to his roots in this unique setting.