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19 July, 2013 17:55   ▪  

The new anti-corruption law turns 470,000 civil servants into the regime’s serfs

The new anti-corruption law recently passed by the legislature turns 470,000 civil servants into obedient performers of the Yanukovych regime’s will

As of 2012, Ukraine had 155,480 civil servants with over 10 years in civil service which entitled them to higher pensions. Local self-governments had 42,160 civil servants entitled to higher pensions.

With low salaries in civil service (provided that civil servants are not corrupt although one of the major motivations of working in civil service in Ukraine is the opportunity to quickly grow rich on bribes) and hardly a chance to get a state apartment as was earlier, pensions are virtually the only aspect that attracts people to civil service. However, the Law On Amending Some Laws of Ukraine on the Implementation of the State Anti-Corruption Policy passed on May 14 essentially turns these 200,000 civil servants into the regime’s serfs. The slightest sign of disloyalty to the government on their part may deprive them of that pension. This number does not include civil servants who have eight or nine years of experience in civil service and are equally motivated to get the privileged pension. Overall, the National Agency for Civil Service estimates the former at 375,850 and the latter at 98,000. 

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Earlier, civil servants could lose their privileged pensions “as a result of imprisonment for intentional criminal violation committee through their position”. The new law, No224-VII, introduces new grounds, such as combination of civil service with other activities, receiving gifts and working under supervision or being a supervisor to “related individuals”. However, it is very unspecific on many aspects. This allows courts that are loyal to those in power to deprive a civil servant of a county state administration of his pension after 20 years in civil service for, say, delivering several lectures to college students at working hours. 

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The EU has recalled EUR 70mn of assistance allocated to the public administration reform in Ukraine, its office says in an interview for Kommersant Ukraine. The decision to allocate this amount was taken at the stage when the new law was being drafted but problems emerged after it was promulgated. “The final version of the document (adopted in November 2011), in the EU’s opinion, is insufficient to create an independent, professional and depoliticized civil service. The EU has called on the Ukrainian government to change the law many times, explaining that this would allow it to start transferring the funding, but it was never amended by the end of 2012 – the final deadline under the EU procedures. This made the funding of the programme impossible,” the EU representative states.

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Read more about the new law and its impact in Civil Serfs, an article by Andriy Duda that will be available online next week and after in the upcoming print issue of The Ukrainian Week out on August 2

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