Corruption in Ukraine: From Chaotic to Systemic
Despite declarations by those in power of their commitment to fighting corruption, bribe-taking is changing form, but not its essence. Analysts believe that this is making it more dangerous for the country. On the eve of a press conference entitled “Ukraine is heading towards kleptocracy “, one of its organizers, the Director of the Democratic Initiatives Foundations, Iryna Bekeshkina explains that the term in today’s Ukraine should be understanding as meaning “power of thieves”.
Ms Bekeshkina points out that the present regime has not attempted to refute accusations of corruption from the international community. Yet those in power try to present themselves as fighters against corruption and stress successes achieved. Yet corruption, she notes, “is not just about the bribes taking by traffic police from drivers, but the sale of places in party candidate lists, as well as the “kickbacks” which everybody talks about, but as a result of which nothing changes”.
Corruption permeates all parts of Ukrainian society, Iryna Bekeshkina says, from the bottom to the top, and is the most dangerous thing for Ukraine. She is convinced that a country with kleptocracy can never flourish since such a system fosters stagnation, prevents honest competition and attracting investments. It means that property is not protected and forces even big business to pay money to be left in relative peace.
She believes it possible that to some extent bribe-taking is being subjected to pressure from the government. Particularly “ those who encounter representatives of the regime at various levels” are saying that it has become dangerous to take bribes. For this reason they take more now because they add risk to the price of the bribe.
Iryna Bekeshkina believes that the present government’s fight against corruption is more reminiscent of a change in the form of corruption. “At present they’re trying to systematize corruption, knock it from below and leave only “permitted corruption”. The sort of corruption which continues to envisage kickbacks for public officials, tenders with only one bidder and so forth”. She believes this is even more dangerous since it penetrates into the very core of the state.