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  • Corruption in Ukraine

    Journalist alleges threat after investigating property linked to Yarema’s deputy
    Sept. 23, 2014, 7:55 p.m. | Oleg Sukhov

    Investigative journalist Alina Strizhak alleges that she and her family were threatened by an unknown man shortly before she broadcast a story on the possible illegal acquisition of property linked to Deputy Prosecutor General Anatoly Danilenko.

    Danilenko was Prosecutor General Vitaliy Yarema's chief of staff during Yarema's stint as first deputy prime minister from March to June. After Yarema became the nation's top prosecutor, Danilenko went to work for him there.

    Prosecutors did not respond to a request for comment from the Kyiv Post and refused to discuss the issue by phone.

    Strizhak's allegation comes amid a series of scandals linked to Yarema’s office, with critics accusing the prosecutor of preserving the corrupt practices of former President Viktor Yanukovych’s regime. The latest scandal was triggered last week by the office’s decision to close the criminal case against Evhen Bakulin, former head of state-owned oil and gas monopoly Naftogaz. Prosecutors reacted to the public outcry by resuming the investigation.

    Strizhak works for Nashi Groshi, a show on the Lviv-based ZIK television channel that has extensively covered alleged corruption at the Prosecutor General’s Office and other government bodies. On Sept. 23, ZIK aired an episode of the show called “A deputy prosecutor general seizes more land and lakes than Yanukovych.”

    “Several days before the show (on the property linked to Danilenko) was aired, I received a letter supposedly written by a colleague of mine,” Strizhak said, according to Nashi Groshi’s website. “The letter contained files that turned out to be a virus. On the next day, an unknown man came and threatened me and my family. He advised me not to carry out investigations.”

    Strizhak told the Kyiv Post that, although the man who threatened her did not mention Danilenko or the Prosecutor General’s Office specifically, the only plausible reason was her story about the Danilenko family’s property. She said it would have made no sense to threaten her in connection with her earlier stories because they had already been aired.

    Denys Bigus, head of the Nashi Groshi project, said by phone that this was the first such threat in the show’s history. He added that the Prosecutor General’s Office had not yet reacted to the scandal.

    “They’re still silent,” Bigus said. “I hope the Prosecutor General’s Office will wake up.”

    Bigus also said the Security Service was supposed to investigate cases in which officials of the Prosecutor General’s Office were suspects.

    Anton Gerashchenko, an advisor to the interior minister, wrote on Facebook on Sept. 23 that he had talked to Bigus and that police officers would help Bigus create a facial composite to find the culprit.

    Vitaliy Shabunin, head of the Anti-Corruption Action Center, also commented on the Danilenko scandal.

    “If Vitaly Yarema doesn’t jail his friend and deputy Danilenko, the prosecutor general is also implicated,” he wrote on Facebook. “If Petro Poroshenko allows Yarema not to do anything about this case, he is also implicated. Corruption always has names.”

    The story reported by Nashi Groshi targeted 140 hectares of ponds near the villages of Mala Soltanivka and Velika Soltanivka in the Kyiv Oblast’s Vasylkiv district that they said were illegally privatized by a firm called Soltanivka Kaskad. Under Ukrainian law, the ponds could not be privatized and could only be leased.

    Soltanivka Kaskad used to be owned by Vyacheslav Danilenko, the son of Anatoly Danilenko; Nikita Ilyin, the son of Gennady Ilyin, who is former head of President Petro Poroshenko’s security guards and a deputy chairman of the Kyiv city council’s anti-corruption committee representing Mayor Vitaly Klitchko’s UDAR party, and Ruslan Skarboviychuk, a member of the Verkhonva Rada and a former member of the Communist Party, Nashi Groshi reported.

    Currently, Soltanivka Kaskad belongs to Ilyin’s nephew Yevgeny and Skarboviychuk’s sister Lesya Shvets, according to Nashi Groshi.

    The company’s telephone number is registered at the address of Myroslava Chubuk, a business partner of Alexei Lisa – a co-founder of Kyiv-invest, a firm controlled by the Danilenko and Ilyin families, Nashi Groshi reported.

    Near Soltanivka, there is a luxury estate owned by Anatoly Danilenko in the village of Khlepcha, according to the Nashi Groshi show. Bigus said by phone that Danilenko’s security guards had stolen Nashi Groshi journalists’ camera tripod when they tried to investigate the estate.

    Journalist alleges threat after investigating property linked to Yarema’s deputy

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  • #2
    Lviv mayor’s party wants more power for local authorities and implementation of lustration law
    Sept. 23, 2014, 7:26 p.m. | Anastasia Forina

    Lviv Mayor Andriy Sadoviy’s party Samopomich, or Self-Help, is running for parliament along with around 200 other parties the Oct. 26 snap parliamentary elections.

    On Sept. 23, Sadoviy -- considered a rising political star for his revival of Ukraine's unofficial western capital -- laid out his agenda. Giving more power to local authorities, creating new defense system and implementing a law on lustration are among the priorities of the party, which is not represented in the current parliament.

    Sadoviy, who is 50th on the party list, believes that authorities in the cities and villages should have more responsibilities, including protection of public order on local level and financing of the cities, villages. He also would like to hold elections to local councils. Cancellation of non-aligned status of Ukraine is another aim of the party.

    Pavlo Kyshkar, who serves in the volunteer Donbas Battalion is No. 7 on the party list. Budget financing for the scientific research of military projects, development of the military industry and education are among other concerns of the party, according to Kyshkar.

    Implementation of the law on lustration which was passed last week is the priority for Yegor Sobolev, activist of EuroMaidan revolution and head of the civic committee on lustration who is 13th on the party list. The law should make it possible to fire officials who can’t disclose the sources of their incomes and former KGB employees, according to Sobolev.

    Aside from that, the party wants Ukraine to become the member of G20, increase purchasing power parity from $7,000 to $20,000 and life expectancy from 69 to 75 years, according to Viktor Kryvenko, chairman of the board of the charity fund Kolo (Circle) who runs 5th on the party list.Lviv mayor’s party wants more power for local authorities and implementation of lustration law
    Old Article from April 2014 Washington Post

    What is lustration and is it a good idea for Ukraine to adopt it?

    Lustration (from the Latin verb lustrare, to ceremonially purify) refers to a policy that seeks to cleanse a new regime from the remnants of the past. The process involves screening new officials (elected or appointed) for involvement in the former regime and sets some consequences if they are found to have been involved. These consequences can range from publicizing information about collaboration in the previous regime, through dismissal and banning from holding certain offices. read in its entirety:What is lustration and is it a good idea for Ukraine to adopt it? - The Washington Post

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    • #3
      Avakov: 91 policemen, including 8 generals, fired under lustration law
      29.10.2014 | 13:59 UNIAN

      The Interior Ministry has begun to apply the law on lustration, firing more than 90 police officers, including eight police generals, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov wrote on Facebook on Wednesday.

      “The Interior Ministry, in accordance with the requirements of the law ‘On the cleasning of power’ has begun the process of lustration,” Avakov wrote.

      "As a whole, in the first phase yesterday, I gave orders for the dismissal of 91 workers, some of whom held senior positions in the ministry, as well as others in the ministry's territorial bodies," he said.

      According to the minister, the lustration law has already cost eight police generals their jobs.

      Among the dismissed officers are the the chiefs of regional offices of the Interior Ministry in Kyiv, Donetsk, Chernihiv, Ternopil, Khmelnytsky, and Poltava, and the leadership of the Security Service Department at the State Automobile Inspectorate.

      The lustration law came into force on October 16, the day after its publication in the official government and parliament newspapers.Avakov: 91 policemen, including 8 generals, fired under lustration law : UNIAN news

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      • #4
        15:47 30.10.2014 INTERFAX-UKRAINE
        Klitschko: 3 employees of Kyiv administration fall under lustration, almost 50 people fired earlier

        As of today, three employees of Kyiv City State Administration have fallen under the effect of the lustration law, Kyiv Mayor and Head of the Kyiv City State Administration Vitali Klitschko has said.

        "Three people have fallen under the lustration for now," he said at a briefing in Kyiv on Thursday.

        In addition, Klitschko urged not to speculate about a number of lustrated officials, as a couple of dozens employees of Kyiv City State Administration, not fit for their positions, had been fired before the law's coming in effect.

        "I'd like to attract your attention to [the fact that] without waiting for the lustration law the leadership had been renewed... nearly 50 employees, who didn't meet the key criteria and weren't effective, were fired from Kyiv City State Administration," he added. Klitschko: 3 employees of Kyiv administration fall under lustration, almost 50 people fired earlier

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        • #5

          Western Ukraine, Crime ZIK LIVE
          Sunday 02 november, 2014, 15:25

          Lustration of officials picks up in Western Ukraine
          Many officials, prosecutors, customs and police officials have been dismissed in Western Ukraine under the law to cleanse the power. However, officials try to put off the lustration by going on sick leaves, our correspondent reports Nov. 2.

          n the Ivano-Frankivsk oblast, 7 officials have been dismissed – 2 prosecutors, 4 high-ranking police and 1 customs official.

          In the Ternopil oblast, 2 police officials and 1 prosecutor fell under the axe.

          In the Rivne oblast, 9 officials have been dismissed – 4 customs officials, 2 prosecutors, 2 police officers and the head of the Korets rayon administration.

          In Zakarpattia, 9 officials have been fired – 2 police officers, 3 customs officials and 4 prosecutors.

          Lviv oblast takes the lead for the number of purged officials, with 12 officials dismissed.

          Officials are in no hurry to comply with the lustration law. It is important that the media and NGOs join in the campaign, the author of the lustration law Yehor Sobolev says.

          In total, about one million officials are to be screened by the law.

          Officials are to be screened for their unaccountable wealth or loyalty during the Miadan revolution.
          Lustration of officials picks up in Western Ukraine

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          • #6
            Yatsenyuk: Ukraine to start 2nd phase of lustration on Nov. 10
            Nov. 5, 2014, 2:12 p.m. | Ukraine — by Interfax-Ukraine
            Ukraine plans to start the second stage of a lustration inquiry on Nov. 10, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said.

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            • #7
              Yanukovych-Era Counterintel Chief Arrested In Ukraine
              November 10, RADIO FREE EUROPE

              A state security officer who was Ukraine's counterintelligence chief in the final weeks of former President Viktor Yanukovych's rule has been arrested on suspicion of "high treason."

              The head of Ukraine's Security Service (SBU), Valentyn Nalyvaychenko, said in a televised interview late on November 9 that Volodymyr Bik is suspected of helping "a foreign country to prepare saboteur activities in Ukraine."

              Nalyvaychenko said Bik was arrested on November 8.

              He had been appointed on February 5, weeks before Yanukovych fled to Russia following huge protests over his decision to abandon plans to tighten ties with Europe.

              Nalyvaychenko said investigators are still searching for former SBU chief Oleksandr Yakymenko, who is wanted for alleged giving a command to shoot at the protesters.

              Yakymenko and Bik disappeared after Yanukovych’s ouster.

              Nalyvaychenko said 25 high treason probes have been launched against Yanukovych-era SBU officials.
              Yanukovych-Era Counterintel Chief Arrested In Ukraine

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              • #8
                11 November 2014, 09:00 Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine official web port - Lustration Examinations

                In November and December the Decree of the Chairperson of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Oleksandr Turchynov determines to conduct an inspection of officials that are appointed and dismissed by the Parliament

                Positions to be examined:

                Prime Minister of Ukraine;

                First Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine;

                Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine - Minister of Regional Development, Construction and Housing and Communal Services of Ukraine;

                Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine;

                Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine;

                Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine;

                Minister of Ecology and Natural Resources of Ukraine;

                Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine;

                Minister of Energy and Coal Industry of Ukraine;

                Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine;

                Minister of Infrastructure of Ukraine;

                Minister of Culture of Ukraine;

                Minister of Youth and Sports of Ukraine;

                Minister of Defense of Ukraine;

                Minister of Science and Education of Ukraine;

                Minister of Health of Ukraine;

                Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine;

                Minister of Finance of Ukraine;

                Minister of Justice of Ukraine;

                Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine;

                Head of the Security Service of Ukraine;

                Head of the National Bank of Ukraine;

                Head of the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine;

                Head of the State Committee for Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine;

                Head of the State Property Fund of Ukraine.
                Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine

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                • #9
                  SBU to weed out ex-KGB and corrupt Yanukovych appointees
                  18.11.2014 | 14:37 UNIAN

                  Ukraine’s SBU state security service on Tuesday announced plans to weed former KGB members and corrupt appointees of ousted former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych from its ranks.

                  SBU Chief Valentyn Nalyvaychenko told journalists at the press conference in Kyiv that the security service had created a public council to help it in the task, according to an UNIAN correspondent.

                  "People who worked at the Committee for State Security (the Soviet-era KGB) and those who committed corrupt actions under the regime of the ex-President Viktor Yanukovych will be subject to lustration," he said, citing Ukraine’s new “lustration law” on rooting out corruption in government.

                  The Security Service of Ukraine will start the lustration check from November 23, Nalyvaychenko said.

                  "Since I was appointed the head of the SBU, more than 2,500 employees, including 108 executives, have been fired from the [security] service," he added. SBU to weed out ex-KGB and corrupt Yanukovych appointees : UNIAN news

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                  • #10
                    SBU chief says 82 cases against the Yanukovych inner circle are completed
                    Nov. 18, 2014, 5:45 p.m. | Kyiv Post+, Olena Goncharova

                    Ukraine’s Security Service chief Valentyn Nalyvaichenko said that his agency has completed investigation of 82 cases related to Ukraine's former top officials, including fugitive president Viktor Yanukovych.

                    The SBU reported they have tracked the officials' assets and accounts and handed the information to the general prosecutor’s office, Nalyvaichenko said during a news conference in Kyiv on Nov. 18.

                    The prosecutor's office opened dozens of criminal cases against Yanukovych and his inner circle after their escape from Ukraine in the wake of the EuroMaidan revolution in February.

                    "The bank accounts, securities, other assets totaling more than Hr 6.2 billion and $1.8 billion, and the movables and real estate of former senior officials have been confiscated in order to compensate the state for the losses," General Prosecutor Vitaliy Yarema was quoted as saying by the Ukrainian newspaper Dzerkalo Tyzhnia (Weekly Mirror) on Nov. 17.

                    Previously, Ukraine's officials estimated that Yanukovych stole some $70 billion in assets from Ukraine in three years of his presidency.

                    Nalyvaichenko says he hopes to see those Yanukovych and other officials on trial some day, but said the SBU will focus mostly on bringing their property back to Ukraine. He said the agency will also collect materials to ask for extradition of these officials from other countries.

                    "However, the question of extraditing these people, it's just a matter of time," Nalyvaichenko says. Most people from Yanukovych's inner circle found shelter in neighboring Russia, which has no extradition agreement with Ukraine.

                    Nalyvaichenko also said that his agency is sensing the help of the hackers in countering terrorism in Ukraine, and thanked them for cooperation. Earlier, Ukraine’s hacker Eugene Dokukin of so-called Ukrainian Cyber Forces claimed that his group blocked around $1 billion on the accounts of Russia-backed separatists during the last five months.

                    Recently the group blocked webmoney accounts of the activists of so-called Kharkiv People’s Republic, the separatist movement in Ukraine's second-largest city.

                    “This is how we stopped financing the terrorism,” Dokukin posted on his Facebook page on Nov. 17. “Ukrainian Cyber Forces attacked the separatists again. Since June we have blocked $1 billion on at least 128 terrorists' accounts,” according to the post. SBU chief says 82 cases against the Yanukovych inner circle are completed

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                    • #11

                      Lie Detector Tests for Politicians, At Least In Ukraine
                      By Polly Mosendz 11/18/14 at 5:44 PM NEWSWEEK

                      Stepan Poltorak, the defense minister of Ukraine, took a polygraph test along with nine other officials today. The test was conducted before a meeting between the president, Poltorak and a group of leaders from volunteer organizations who help maintain the Ukrainian military. The volunteer leaders are in charge of helping maintain the clothing, food and medical system for the Defense Ministry.

                      The tests are part of a larger effort to rid the Ukrainian government of corruption. On October 23, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko signed several anti-corruption laws. The laws create an anti-corruption bureau which will investigate top Ukrainian officials. The bureau’s director is limited to serving one, seven-year term to further prevent corruption. The 700 employees at the bureau may also be subject to lie detector tests during the hiring process. All those in charge of public spending must take polygraph tests, starting with Poltorak and his volunteers.

                      “We will mercilessly fight corruption in the Defense Ministry. We will not let anyone line one's pockets, especially in the Defense Ministry, which performs the sacred mission of defending the independence and territorial integrity of our state,” Poroshenko said in a statement. During today’s meeting, nine out of 12 volunteer leaders passed the test successfully, as did Poltorak. The president’s press office did not clarify if the remaining three leaders took the test and failed or were unable to take the test.

                      In addition to setting up polygraph tests, Poroshenko praised the volunteers in attendance for their work with the ministry. “The council of volunteers has made the work of the Defense Ministry more open and efficient, which has significantly improved the material maintenance of troops. Due to your activity, we are now having a different army in comparison to the beginning of September,” the president told them.

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                      • #12
                        Yatsenyuk says some 540 Ukrainian officials fired in two stages of lustration
                        Nov. 26, 2014, 10:49 p.m. | Ukraine — by Interfax-Ukraine

                        A total of 28,000 people have been let go as a result of the reduction in costs of keeping Ukrainian public officials, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatseniuk said.
                        Yatsenyuk says some 540 Ukrainian officials fired in two stages of lustration

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                        • #13

                          16:34 27.11.2014 INTERFAX-UKRAINE
                          Poroshenko sees foreigner as head of National Anti-Corruption Bureau

                          Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has proposed appointing a foreigner as head of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau.

                          "I have a concrete proposal for all those involved in the appointment of the head of this extremely important institution [the Anti-Corruption Bureau]. I propose inviting to this post a person from outside Ukraine," he said in an extraordinary address on Ukraine's domestic and international situation at the Verkhovna Rada on Thursday.

                          "He will have an advantage – no connections in the Ukrainian political elite," Poroshenko said.
                          Good idea.

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                          • #14
                            01.12.2014 INTERFAX-UKRAINE
                            Ukraine's Supreme Court starts lustration checks on judges

                            Judges in Ukraine's Supreme Court will come under lustration checks in compliance with the law on lustration, the court's press service told Interfax-Ukraine.

                            Supreme Court Chairman Yaroslav Romaniuk has issued a directive obliging judges to hand in filled questionnaires between December 1 and 10, which will be further referred for checks to the justice and interior ministries, the State Financial Service and the Security Service.

                            The judges' statements and income and property declarations, and the results of the lustration checks will be posted on the Supreme Court's official website.

                            Only newly employed judges will be checked now. The staff employed earlier will be questioned in the summer of 2015.

                            The Ukrainian Supreme Court on November 20 filed an inquiry with the Constitutional Court on whether individual provisions of the Law on the Purges of the Government complied with the constitution. The inquiry will be processed by the Constitutional Court's secretariat before a relevant case is opened.
                            Ukraine's Supreme Court starts lustration checks on judges

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                            • #15
                              Bloomberg News
                              Ukraine Revolution Fails Business as Graft Envelops Bureaucracy
                              By James M. Gomez, Kateryna Choursina and Aliaksandr Kudrytski December 01, 2014

                              Thirteen floors above a snow-covered complex on the outskirts of Kiev, in a half-built high-rise, Egor Popov wondered aloud when the warren of dusty rooms would be ready for move-in: maybe next year, probably not.

                              Presales on the 1,210-unit Sun Gate’s fourth wing, still a concrete-and-brick skeleton accessible only by a shaky open-air elevator, may be delayed, he said. Not because of a lack of financing or demand for flats. The issue is the nine layers of red tape and graft requests that are part of finishing the project, said Popov, a spokesman for TMM Real Estate Development Plc (TR61), Ukraine’s only publicly listed developer.

                              A year after Ukrainians rose up against the pro-Russian policies of then-President Viktor Yanukovych, business leaders still wait for an end to corruption and cronyism, promised by the revolution’s leaders. Even as war rages in the east and the deepest recession since 2009 shows no sign of lifting, the president, premier and foreign minister said in the past week that graft is the nation’s biggest threat. Ukraine ranks as Europe’s worst on Transparency International’s corruption index.

                              “Man cannot live by patriotism alone,” said Popov as blue-and-yellow Ukrainian flags fluttered from balcony railings across the courtyard. “The year that’s passed hasn’t brought many positive things to ordinary people. Bureaucracy and corruption just haven’t changed.”

                              As foreign investors flee the former Soviet republic, Ukraine relies on a $17 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund to stay afloat. The hryvnia has lost 45 percent against the dollar this year, the biggest decline among all currencies tracked by Bloomberg. Central bank reserves are at $12.6 billion, the lowest level since March 2005.
                              IMF Departure

                              It may get worse. IMF negotiators left Kiev on Nov. 25 without an agreement needed for disbursement of a $2.8 billion installment of the loan. Two days later, lawmakers met one of the key concerns by agreeing on a government coalition, a month after snap parliamentary elections.

                              Parliament is scheduled to vote today on whether to approve new cabinet members following October elections. The cabinet’s “key challenge” will be to fight “total corruption,” President Petro Poroshenko said last week.

                              Ukraine has been in tumult since December 2013, following Yanukovych’s surprise about-face on his promise to sign a European Union trade agreement, the first step in eventual membership. Instead, he sided with Russia, sparking mass demonstrations that choked Kiev’s city center for months and led to the deaths of more than 100 protesters.
                              Crimea Takeover

                              The country was rocked further by Russia’s forced annexation of the Crimea peninsula in March and the ensuing conflict in the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk. Ukraine, the U.S. and the EU accuse Russia of financing and supporting the separatist effort with military aid. Russia denies accusations it is fomenting the conflict, saying it is only supplying humanitarian aid to pro-Russian rebels.

                              Even so, business leaders and economists say the government should have done better in stamping out corruption and red tape and has been hiding its failure behind the war effort.

                              Business people “are frustrated by the lack of progress,” said Nicholas Burge, the head of the European Commission’s trade and economic delegation to Ukraine. If the incoming government fails to implement changes in its first six months, “then that window will have been lost.”

                              European Bank for Reconstruction and Development President Suma Chakrabarti, who met with Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk on Nov. 25, said the two leaders agreed on establishing a Ukrainian “business ombudsman” by year’s end.

                              “There is much more political commitment” to fight graft than a year ago, Chakrabarti said in a phone interview after the meeting. “But it will not happen tomorrow. No country has ever managed to tackle corruption in one year.”

                              Ukraine ranks 144th among 177 nations in last year’s corruption-perception list by Berlin-based Transparency International, unchanged from the year before. The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business index shows Ukraine at 96, better than only Bosnia Herzegovina in Europe.

                              Investigative journalist Tetiana Chornovol, appointed in the spring to lead the anti-graft office, quit in August. She said it was useless because there is no political will to conduct a full-scale war on corruption.

                              One sign of action can be seen on the website of Ukraine’s prosecutor-general’s office, which regularly reports on arrests and seizures. Few names are given in the announcements, mostly companies only, and progress of the cases isn’t publicly available. Ukraine Revolution Fails Business as Graft Envelops Bureaucracy - Businessweek

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