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5 April, 2013 10:30   ▪  

The Economist: graft in Ukraine is so rife that it is hard to see how any money at all is left in the budget

In Ukraine political power is a means of enrichment rather than governance while the opposition politicians are an extension of the business groups they claim to fight, writes The Economist.

“With Viktor Yanukovych, a thuggish president, in charge and his arch-rival, Yulia Tymoshenko, in jail, Ukraine is clearly not a democracy. But it is not a dictatorship either. Political power is a means of enrichment rather than governance. Street protests are scarce not because of fear of repression but because Ukraine is increasingly atomised. Opposition politicians are an extension of the business groups they claim to fight. Rules are flexible, allegiances fluid and the idea of an elite—a class of people responsible for the country—is almost meaningless. Oligarchs treat Ukraine as a cash cow. Graft is so rife that it is hard to see how any money at all is left in the budget. In the words of one foreign observer, Ukraine “resembles a car in a fog with no light and no map.” Surprisingly, it is still running,” wonder The Economist.

“Politically Mr Yanukovych is not as strong as he seems. In last October’s parliamentary elections, his Party of Regions got only 30%, despite using every dirty trick in the book. “The election was not fair, but the result was a loss for Yanukovych,” one Western observer says. His rivals, including Ms Tymoshenko’s block, reinforced by Arseny Yatseniuk, a former speaker of parliament, Udar (Punch), a party led by Vitaly Klichko, a heavyweight world boxing champion, and Svoboda, a party of right-wing nationalists, jointly got over 50% of the vote. Had it not been for Mr Yanukovych’s tinkering with the electoral code, he could have been out of power,” states the magazine. 

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