The World Today for October 03, 2023


Roots and Branches


Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov resigned in early September.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that, while Reznikov had succeeded in obtaining sophisticated weaponry from the West for Ukraine’s war against Russia, he had presided over “chaos and disorder” in the Ministry of Defense in regard to its corruption scandals, the Associated Press reported.

Two weeks later, after naming a new defense minister, Zelenskyy fired seven ministers, according to United Press International. Notably, the purge came shortly before Zelenskyy traveled to the United States to meet with American leaders and ask for more financial, military, and humanitarian support.

At around the same time, Ukrainian lawmakers voted to reinstate an anti-corruption rule requiring them to disclose their assets – but delayed it taking effect for a year. The International Monetary Fund had made the disclosures a precondition to disburse $15.6 billion in economic assistance to the war-torn country. But the delay raised “new questions about the country’s commitment to fighting graft at the highest levels of government,” wrote the Washington Post.

That’s because Ukraine is extremely corrupt, like many former Soviet republics, including Russia.

Many important members of Zelenskyy’s administration stand accused of graft, for example. The Ukrainian president’s senior adviser, Oleh Tatarov, was allegedly the bagman for Oleh Maiboroda, an oligarch who ran one of Ukraine’s largest construction companies, Reuters revealed. Maiboroda would allegedly give cash to Tatarov to bribe officials for public building projects. Tatarov denied the claims.

US officials – whose support is essential to Ukraine’s success on the battlefield – have demanded Zelenskyy make progress in rooting out corruption in the Ministry of Defense, the notoriously corrupt and inefficient courts, and state-owned enterprises that are often like piggy banks for criminals with political connections, El País reported. These demands came, moreover, as many Republicans on Capitol Hill expressed reservations about helping Ukraine indefinitely.

Still, the recent arrest of Israeli-Ukrainian oligarch and businessman Ihor Kolomoisky on corruption charges was also likely a signal that the Ukrainian government was serious about cracking down on graft, added Ynet, an Israeli news website. Kolomoisky allegedly embezzled $14 million from banks under his control. He had been under American sanctions, the Atlantic Council explained.

Zelenskyy is trying to demonstrate that he won’t tolerate graft that draws resources away from the front. “Now more than ever, Ukrainians understand that corruption can kill,” Daria Kaleniuk, executive director of the Kyiv-based Anti-Corruption Action Centre, told the Guardian. “The war changed Ukrainian society and now everyone in government understands that people want a new social agreement with authorities.”

If the Ukrainian state can stop the Russian army in its tracks, criminals should beware.

To read the full edition and support independent journalism, join our community of informed readers and subscribe today!

Not already a subscriber?

If you would like to receive DailyChatter directly to your inbox each morning, subscribe below with a free two-week trial.

Subscribe today

Support journalism that’s independent, non-partisan, and fair.

If you are a student or faculty with a valid school email, you can sign up for a FREE student subscription or faculty subscription.

Questions? Write to us at

You don't have credit card details available. You will be redirected to update payment method page. Click OK to continue.