News / Europe

Ukraine’s Toughest Battle Yet: Corruption

Ukraine’s Fight Against Corruption May Be Toughest Struggle Yeti
X
June 20, 2014 7:52 PM
"Corruption is a cancer," said Ukraine's new president during his recent inaugural address, vowing to root his nation of the backdoor deals that have dogged the nation since its post-Soviet days -- and created countless oligarchs. But can this seemingly clean oligarch-turned-president really clear out such an entrenched system? VOA's Anita Powell looked into the lifestyle of the rich and former leader of the country at his luxurious pleasure palace north of Ukraine's capital, Kyiv.
Anita Powell
"Corruption is a cancer," said Ukraine's new President Petro Poroshenko during his recent inaugural address, vowing to root his nation of the backdoor deals that have dogged the nation since its post-Soviet days — and created countless oligarchs.

But can this seemingly clean oligarch-turned-president really clear out such an entrenched system?

It was tales of former president Viktor Yanukovych’s excessive lifestyle at his Mezhigirya estate — furnished at the expense of his people — that brought thousands of protesters to Kyiv’s central square in February to demand his ouster.

Since he fled to Russia, his home has become an unlikely tourist magnet.

Although Yanukovych’s fabled golden toilet never existed, corruption is a very real problem in Ukraine.
 
Fighting corruption is not easy, says anti-corruption crusader Alexander Kostrenko, who travels with a retinue of armed guards. He questions Poroshenko’s vow to fight corruption from within.
 
“Authorities shouldn’t establish anti-corruption committees inside their ministriesm," he said. "How can state authority organize their own state officials to fight against themselves? It’s ridiculous.”

But Kyiv region deputy governor Dmytro Khrystyuk says government has a big role to play.

“The authorities’ credibility now is extremely low," he said. "To regain people’s trust, we need to make the access to the officials transparent and open.”

Back at Yanukovych’s palace, caretaker Petro Oliynyk gives tours of the more than 100 rooms.

He lives on site, and calls it “my golden cage.” But he feels strongly about the need to maintain a monument to Ukraine’s legacy of pork-barrel politics.

“Everything on this territory, everything was made at the people’s expense," he said. "At the cost of people’s lives, the lives of children and retirees, people’s souls and blood.”

The site has become a popular venue for wedding photos.

One couple, who gave VOA News an interview on their wedding day, said they feel their country also needs a new start.

“I think we need absolutely new people," Yaroslav, the groom, said. "We need to break a system, to have young people in the government, old ones all have been rotten.”

But restaurant owner Maria Taranova says it will take more than that to trim the fat in Ukraine.

“It will take at least two generations to get rid of corruption,” she said.

Ukrainians who came to see this monument to corruption say they don’t want this grandeur for themselves.

In the new Ukraine, they say, they just want to make sure that everyone — not just one man — can have a piece of the sweet life.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: sharon from: kentucky
June 22, 2014 9:58 PM
all governments have that problem, from city to the very top. Some are just more transparent than others.

by: lester from: East Coast
June 22, 2014 8:51 PM
OMG, the most corrupted oligarch talks about fighting corruption.
Same as cartels start war on drugs.

by: Olga from: NH
June 22, 2014 4:50 AM
Poroshenko is more corrupt that the ousted President Yanukovich. Poroshenko will be fighting his opposition in government while presenting it as the fight against corruption meanwhile putting his own people in key positions. God save that country!

by: TaTa from: US
June 21, 2014 12:55 PM
Poroshenko has a history as a corrupt oligarch and government official, he was a close associate of Yanukovich before his ouster his wealth was the product of drug dealing loan sharking and government corruption he was dismissed from government a couple of times due to corruption allegations and investigations, his political connections kept him from being convicted.

by: bob from: Kiev, Ukraine
June 21, 2014 5:52 AM
Where in the world is 'Kyiv'? Is that like Kiev after it got the European/US 'makeover', to put it gently?

by: Derbis
June 21, 2014 2:41 AM
That, my friends, is something we all deal with.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs