Corruption is Ukraine’s main internal problem. Crony capitalism, biased media and unfair government procurement procedures are even more dangerous than the Russian aggression in the East of the country. The “Revolution of Dignity” was not only directed against Yanukovych, but also against the oligarchs who were the main beneficiaries of his regime’s corruption. However, even after the fall of Yanukovych, oligarchs have remained powerful in Ukraine. They influence politics through puppet parties, private media assets, football teams and volunteer battalions used to protect their business interests. It is high time to implement measures to limit oligarch influence by launching an Anti-Corruption Bureau, building up public television and establishing the public financing of political parties. This Political Salon will debate the possibilities of reform in Ukraine.
Sergii Leshchenko is a member of the Ukrainian parliament for the Petro Poroshenko Bloc. Before entering the political arena in 2014, he was Ukraine’s most prominent investigative and political journalist fighting corruption on all political levels. Up until recently, he was the deputy editor-in-chief of Ukrainska Pravda, Ukraine’s leading independent online newspaper. The results of his investigations, which have been published in news sources throughout Europe and the US, have gained international recognition. He recently won Poland´s Foundation of Reporters Award in 2011 for being the best journalist within the countries of the Eastern Partnership (Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan) as well as the Press Prize established by the Norwegian Fritt Ord Foundation and the German ZEIT Foundation in 2013. Leshchenko is a founder of several influential civic initiatives in Ukraine, such as “Stop Censorship!” and “Chesno” (Fair), a public campaign that monitors candidates and members of parliament.
Carl Henrik Fredriksson
Head of Publications, IWM; Co-founder and President, Eurozine
Head of the Foreign Politics Department, Die Presse
In cooperation with the Austrian Newspaper Die Presse and generously supported by EVN.