Political chaos in Ukraine has exacerbated corruption
According to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2009, the political crisis has led to a fall in Ukraine’s rating from 2.5 in 2008 to 2.2 in 2009. This is one of the worst readings for Ukraine over the decades that such figures have been published. The report particularly highlights political corruption which fosters the spread of corruption in the private sector, as well as a high level of tolerance among the public for corruption. It also notes that measures to fight corruption have become more lacklustre, and sees no immediate prospects for an improval.
Press release from Transparency International
Corruption Perceptions Index 2009
South Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia
20 Countries/Territories included: 20
The 2009 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) demonstrates that corruption remains a serious
challenge for the entire region. All of the countries included register scores below 5 (out of 10)
indicating that they face serious perceived levels of domestic, public-sector corruption.
In South Eastern Europe, the importance of prospective European Union membership cannot be
overestimated as the main driver to spur anti-corruption efforts. The freeze in 2008 of considerable
amounts of EU funds previously allocated to Bulgaria, due to a lack of progress in anti-corruption and
judicial reform, seems to have strengthened the European Commission position in its demands for
reform. It is no coincidence that the tone of the EU progress reports on accession candidates issued
in October 2009, reflect to a large extent, the 2009 CPI ranking.
Notably, the 2009 CPI scores of Turkey and Croatia (both EU candidate countries), 4.4 and 4.1
respectively, surpassed those of the newest EU members Bulgaria and Romania, both at 3.8 this
Various corruption scandals along with the lack of implementation and enforcement of anti-corruption
reforms are likely factors in Bosnia and Herzegovina having the lowest score (3.0) in South Eastern
Many countries from the former Soviet Union show improved CPI scores in 2009. Kazakhstan’s
increase from 2.2 in 2008 to 2.7 may be attributed to government anti-corruption efforts aimed at
improving conditions for foreign direct investment along with the country’s much-discussed upcoming
chairmanship of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) in 2010.
Kazakhstan is the first former Soviet Block country to assume this role and is also considered the
strongest economy in the region. Still, Kazakhstan’s low CPI score indicates that corruption remains
systemic, with the most problematic areas being the judiciary, police, customs, property rights, land
registration and construction projects.
Despite ongoing internal political turmoil, which was exacerbated by the war with Russia in August
2008, Georgia’s CPI score continues to increase, from 3.9 to 4.1. There is a general consensus
among Georgians and the international community that petty corruption has been reduced
significantly. However, concerns remain regarding high-level corruption and on corrupt practices in
the judiciary. The government should focus on promoting greater transparency and public trust in
agencies with an anti-corruption role and it should ensure that related reforms are continuously
monitored and assessed.
Russia’s slim increase from 2.1 in 2008 to 2.2 in 2009 could be interpreted as a mildly positive
response to the newly-adopted package of anti-corruption legislation initiated and promoted by
President Medvedev and passed by the Duma in December 2008. The president recently admitted
publicly that corruption is endemic in Russia. The excessive role of government in the economy and
business sector, which spurs the supply side of corruption, aggravates the problem.
Azerbaijan has improved its score from 1.9 in 2008 to 2.3 in 2009, most likely as a result of the
government’s commitment to improve the business environment and increased general awareness
about the importance of curbing corruption. In the past five years five TI Advocacy and Legal Advice
Centres (ALACs) – offices that help citizens to claim their rights in cases of corruption - opened
across the country and the government has entered into an open dialogue with civil society through a
network of local anti-corruption NGOs and TI Azerbaijan. These are positive developments, though
corruption remains entrenched throughout society. The government should improve law enforcement
procedures to ensure that anti-corruption legislation works.
Armenia’s CPI score continues to slide from 2.9 in 2008 to 2.7 this year. The political and economic
elite continue to exert control over the judiciary, media, business and other institutions. Continued
inconsistency in implementation of anti-corruption legislation, and in meeting international obligations,
as well as unwillingness of the authorities to address grand corruption are among the most critical
factors that contribute to continued decrease in the country’s score.