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

At Khmer Rouge Court, Long-Awaited Verdict Approaches

First phase of trial, which is coming to an end, has focused on forced exodus of Phnom Penh in 1975 - and now many are hopeful justice will be served More

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities More

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

Downing of Malaysian airliner, allegations of cross-border shelling move information war in war-torn country to a new level 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.
Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukrainei
X
Al Pessin
July 31, 2014 8:13 PM
The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Information War Rages Alongside Real One in Ukraine

The downing of the Malaysian airliner two weeks ago, and allegations that Russians are shelling Ukrainian troops across the border, have moved the information war swirling around the Ukrainian conflict to a new level. VOA's Al Pessin reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video When Fighting Eases, Gazans Line Up at Bakeries

When there is a lull in the conflict in Gaza, residents who have been hunkered down in their apartments rush out to stock up on food and other necessities. Probably the most important destination is the local bakery. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Gaza City.
Video

Video US-Funded Program Offers Honduran Children Alternative to Illegal Immigration

President Obama and Central American leaders recently agreed to come up with a plan to address poverty and crime in the region that is fueling the surge of young migrants trying to illegally enter the United States. VOA’s Brian Padden looks at one such program in Honduras - funded in part by the United States - which gives street kids not only food and safety but a chance for a better life without, crossing the border.
Video

Video 'Fab Lab' Igniting Revolution in Kenya

The University of Nairobi’s Science and Technology Park is banking on 3-D prototyping to spark a manufacturing revolution in the country. Lenny Ruvaga has more for from Nairobi's so-called “FabLab” for VOA.
Video

Video Gazans in Shelled School Sought Shelter

Israel's air and ground assault against Hamas-led fighters in Gaza has forced many Palestinians to flee their homes, seeking safety. But safe places are hard to find, as VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from Jabaliya.
Video

Video Rapid Spread of Ebola in West Africa Prompts Global Alert

Across West Africa, health officials are struggling to keep up with what the World Health Organization describes as the worst ebola outbreak on record. The virus has killed hundreds of people this year. U.S. President Barack Obama and other world leaders are watching the developments closely as they weigh what actions, if any, are needed to help contain the disease.
Video

Video Michelle Obama: Young Africans Need to Embrace Women's Rights

U.S. first lady Michelle Obama urged some of Africa's best and brightest to advocate for women's rights in their home countries. As VOA's Pam Dockins explains, Obama spoke to some 500 participants of the Young African Leaders Initiative, a six-week U.S.-based training and development program.
Video

Video Immigrant Influx on Texas Border Heats Up Political Debate

Immigrants from Central America continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border in south Texas, seeking asylum in the United States, as officials grapple with ways to deal with the problem and provide shelter for thousands of minors among the illegal border crossers. As VOA's Greg Flakus reports from Houston, the issue is complicated by internal U.S. politics and U.S. relations with the troubled nations that immigrants are fleeing.
Video

Video Study: Latino Students Most Segregated in California

Even though legal school segregation ended in the United States 60 years ago, one study finds segregation still occurs in the U.S. based on income and race. The University of California Los Angeles Civil Rights Project finds that students in California are more segregated by race than ever before, especially Latinos. Elizabeth Lee reports for VOA from Los Angeles.

AppleAndroid