Global Corruption Barometer: Ukraine Leads the Charge downhill...

Transparency International have just released their Global Corruption Barometer 2006 ( and it makes for interesting reading. As expected, Ukraine features prominently...and not in a good way.

The most interesting numbers are the responses to the question "How would you assess your current government's actions in the fight against corruption". Only 1% of Ukrainians thought it was very effective, 6% effective, 33% said it was not effective at all...but the real interesting numbers were 29% who thought that corruption was not fought at all and - frighteningly - 20% thought that it did not fight but actually encouraged it.

With the Orange Revolution, many people thought that a strongly pro-Western government would mimic what is at least a fair attempt to fight the graft and corrupt practices which are endemic to Ukraine. Alas, that is not the case. For only for a few months after January 2005 was there a real fear among corrupt officials that the game was up, that there was no turning back now...and then they saw that nothing happened. All was then as it was before. And they went back to it with gusto. Sure, there are a few high profile trials, but these reflect internal rivalries for getting their hands in the cookie jar rather than any true belief in virtue.

The reality is that in Ukraine, the powers that be seem to have very little ideology other than as a vehicle for self enrichment. There are not that many true Ukrainian nationalists who believe in a free Ukraine...unless they can get a grant from one of the many Western sponsored organizations here. And there are not that many real Russia lovers here either...unless it means a good gas export deal kickback.

That is the sad truth. Corruption is a part of life here, and will remain so until some extreme measures are taken.