News / Europe

    Ukrainian Economy Minister Resigns; West Deeply Disappointed

    Ukraine's Economy Minister Aivaras Abromavicius speaks during a news conference in Kyiv, Dec.10, 2014.
    Ukraine's Economy Minister Aivaras Abromavicius speaks during a news conference in Kyiv, Dec.10, 2014.

    Ukraine's economy minister tendered his resignation Wednesday, citing political pressure and corruption.  

    Aivaras Abromavicius said the country’s leadership had routinely blocked his reform efforts and that the economy ministry was at the mercy of corrupt vested interests.

    "Neither me, nor my team have any desire to serve as a cover-up for the covert corruption, or become puppets for those who, very much like the 'old' government, are trying to exercise control over the flow of public funds," he said.

    The Lithuanian-born Abromavicius said Ukraine needed a total reset of power. Referring to ousted Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych, he said the country's present state is “not just because of Yanukovych,” but because of “the total lack of reform over 20 years.”

    President Petro Poroshenko said Wednesday that Abromavicius should remain in his post and push ahead with reforms. But the president has no direct say over cabinet appointments.

    In announcing his resignation, Abromavicius said Igor Kononenko, a Poroshenko ally in Ukraine's parliament, had lobbied to have loyalists appointed to key positions in state-owned enterprises, and even to the post of deputy economy minister.

    Speaking to Ukraine's Espreso TV channel Espreso, Kononenko categorically denied Abromavicius' accusations and said he would resign if they were proven.

    Ukraine's anti-corruption bureau said it would investigate Abromavicius' accusations against Kononenko.

    Abromavicius's resignation may be reviewed by parliament as early as Thursday.

    A group of ten ambassadors, including those from the United States, Britain and Canada, said in an open letter that they were “deeply disappointed” by Abromavicius' resignation.

    “During the past year, Abromavicius and his professional team have made important strides -- implementing tough but necessary economic reforms to help stabilize Ukraine’s economy, root out endemic corruption, bring Ukraine into compliance with its IMF (International Monetary Fund) program obligations, and promote more openness and transparency in government,” the ambassadors wrote. 

    “Ukraine’s stable, secure and prosperous future will require the sustained efforts of a broad and inclusive team of dedicated professionals who put the Ukrainian peoples' interests above their own.”

    Abromavicius, a former investment banker, advocated deregulation and wide-scale privatization in Ukraine.

    He was appointed to the cabinet 14 months ago along with other political newcomers from the private sector, including U.S.-born Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko.

    VOA's Ukrainian Service contributed to this report

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    Comment Sorting
    by: Anonymous
    February 05, 2016 6:46 AM
    Of course Russia is guilty in all Ukraine problems. And at first in creation Ukraine.
    Nowadays Russia already guilty in the 3 World War.

    by: feel for smb
    February 04, 2016 8:22 AM
    Some ukrainians believe Ukraine is feeling bad "only just because of Yanukovych", some ukrainians (and non-ukrainians) believe "not just because of Yanukovych", but only Yanukovych was kicked out, and if not escaped, would have been killed. And now they can't do anything neither with the economy nor with the army, nor with the Donbass. And they don't know what to do but beg for money from Western bosses-benefactors and begging to continue and to strengthen sanctions against Russia. From harm Russia they can't to extract profits and own prosperity.

    by: Anonymous
    February 04, 2016 1:30 AM
    The Ukrainian people will find in a very hard way that it was a mistake to turn back to their Slavic brethren in hope of a fake better life provided by the west.

    For the western people, Slavic people are the same, be it Russian or Ukrainian, the West hates Slavic people.

    Not too late to re-unite with a state that actually cares about the people of Ukraine not just the resources on their lands.

    by: Igor from: Russia
    February 03, 2016 9:57 PM
    Too bad for Ukraine. The current " democratic government" erected and supported by the West turns out to be a gang of thugs hungry for spoils from public.
    It is a pity that those in Kiev overthrew a lawful government to vote for pirates as their leaders.
    You are only the poor victims of Western propaganda.
    Do more orange revolutions, will you?

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