Prof. ST Hsieh
Director, US-China Energy Industry Forum
August 13, 2023
It is really tragic that the proxy war in Ukraine has no end in sight and Ukraine is being hurt every day. But who should be responsible for such a disaster?
Frankly, Ukraine people is responsible! Ukraine is officially a democratic country as it is being supported by the world leading democracies against the autocratic Putin. They freely elected Zelenskyy as their President in 2019, even though he had no background in governance. As President, Zelenskyy did not control the corruption problem but concentrated power to himself and trusted allies.
On February 24, 2022, Russia attacked Ukraine and Zelenskyy started this proxy war with promises of almost unlimited support from the US and allies. The early expectation was a short and sweet victory by Ukraine defeating Russia. Year and half later, it is clear that the proxy war must end soon, Ukraine has no chance of winning, and the west is already exhausted.
The most disheartening fact that as the war rages on, so does corruption in Ukraine. The US and west have demanded transparency and accountability on the billions of dollars military equipment and cash supports poured into Ukraine. The following news report that “Zelenskyy fires every recruitment officials for accepting bribes” may be a break for ending this bloody war: more resources should be invested for peace as soon as possible.
Then, Zelenskyy has lost the public confidence because the polls show that a great majority of Ukrainians said Zelenskyy was responsible for government corruption. Further, Zelenskyy leads war effort even though he has no military background. Zelenskyy should be removed by Ukrainians with a special election. The new leader will have a fresh slate and clear mandate for ending the proxy war.
Zelenskyy fires recruitment officials for accepting $10,000 bribes. Almost all Ukrainians think the country has a problem with corruption, survey suggests.
Updated Sun, August 13, 2023 at 10:30 AM PDT
- In one poll, 77.6% of surveyed Ukrainians said Zelenskyy was responsible for government corruption.
- It came out as Zelenskyy dismissed all the heads of Ukraine’s regional-military committees.
Nearly all surveyed Ukrainians — 89% — in a newly released survey said corruption was the country’s most serious problem after the war against Russia. The poll came out as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy launched an investigation into bribery related to military recruitment.
A survey by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology, in cooperation with the US Agency for International Development project “Support of Leader Organizations in Combating Corruption in Ukraine,” found that: “Second only to the war, corruption is perceived as the most serious problem in Ukraine by 89% of citizens.
“Despite a notable improvement in the public perception of corruption prevalence, 94% of respondents still consider corruption to be pervasive across Ukraine.”
The survey was conducted in winter and included interviews with over 13,000 people, including internally and externally displaced Ukrainians.
Meanwhile, over 75% of Ukrainians in a second survey said they believed that Zelenskyy was responsible for corruption in the country’s military and government administrations, Interfax-Ukraine, a Ukrainian news agency, said.
Interfax reported that in the survey — which it said the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology carried out for the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation think tank — 77.6% of surveyed Ukrainians said they believed that the president was “directly responsible” for the corruption. The report cited a statement by the think tank’s executive director, Petro Burkovskyy.
“Procrastination in solving problems that undermine people’s faith in victory will also hit the president himself,” Burkovskyy said.
Zelenskyy: Recruitment bribes at a time of war is ‘high treason’
On Friday, Zelenskyy said he dismissed the heads of Ukraine’s regional-military committees as investigations into corruption in Ukraine continued, particularly in its armed-forces recruitment.
“We are dismissing all regional military commissars,” a statement on Zelenskyy’s official Telegram channel said. “This system should be run by people who know exactly what war is and why cynicism and bribery during war is high treason.”
The military officials are accused of taking cash and cryptocurrency bribes or helping people eligible to be called up to fight to flee Ukraine, Zelenskyy said in a video posted on social media, BBC News reported.
Last month, Ukrainian investigators detained the former military commissioner of the Odesa region on charges of illegal enrichment, dereliction of duty, and evading military service, local reports said.
Investigators allege that he and his family bought property in Spain and luxury automobiles worth $4 million.
There are about 1,795 military commissars in Ukraine, of whom about 135 are under surveillance by the National Agency on Corruption Prevention, Newsweek reported.
The commissars, Zelenskyy’s Telegram message added, will be replaced by “soldiers who have been to the front or who cannot be in the trenches because they have lost their health, lost their limbs, but have retained their dignity and have no cynicism — they can be entrusted with this recruitment system.”
Corruption scandals have plagued Ukraine during recent years, with then-Vice President Joe Biden saying in 2015 that it was eating the country “like a cancer.”