Ukraine Discussion: Anti-Corruption Efforts Since the Euromaidan Protests

Discussion date: April 28, 2021

Partner: Civil Control Platform and Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE)

Following the 2014 Euromaidan revolution in Ukraine, many democracy activists joined government as elected or appointed officials with the intention of ridding their country of the endemic corruption it suffered from. Nonetheless systemic corruption continues to pose a major obstacle to Ukraine’s transition to democracy. In April 2021, the World Movement for Democracy, in partnership with Civil Control Platform and the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE), held a meeting that brought together business, civil society, and government representatives to share their strategies to addressing corruption and discuss ways they can better collaborate to achieve broad change.

The first session discussed both challenges and benefits of entering government as an activist. Inna Polyakova, Yuzhne City Council Deputy, mentioned despite certain expectations people have of activists who join government which may make it harder to achieve their goals, it is important to keep learning new tools in order to achieve reform. Dymtro Drobot, Chuguev City Council Deputy, highlighted that the pace of reform within government is slower than what citizens expected after the Euromaidan revolution; thus this is a steep learning curve for anyone who crossed over from civil society activism to a government role. Reflecting her own experience in joining the government, Olena Shuliak, Member of Parliament, reminded that“there are not enough discussions, not enough public dialogues, not enough enthusiasm from the entire expert and general community to discuss important initiatives.”

In the second panel, representatives of the business community and civil society activists explored how to work together on anti-corruption reforms. Artem Stynyk, National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), discussed the need for large anti-corruption organizations to be apolitical, since it is crucial that these systems are able to take on corruption cases regardless of the individuals involved. Vitaly Shabunin of Anti-Corruption Action Center cataloged the many challenges at the local government level for handling corruption, and opined that decentralization has created a type of feudalism at the local level. Denys Selin of Civil Control Platform added “the public’s trust in the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office (SAP) and NABU in the regions is very low… because there are no official [anti-corruption] actions in the regions which people can understand—none.”

Watch the discussion here: