UKRAINE FIGHTING CORRUPTION

I did’t plan to publish an article that you will find below in English. At least now. The article is intended for Ukrainian readers (see: https://www.facebook.com/542873142530967/posts/1282717355213205?sfns=mo; it is available on my web site as well: https://volodymyrivanenko.com/2019/02/27/%d1%81%d0%b8%d1%81%d1%82%d0%b5%d0%bc%d0%bd%d1%96-%d0%b7%d0%bc%d1%96%d0%bd%d0%b8-%d1%8f%d0%ba-%d1%84%d0%b0%d0%ba%d1%82%d0%be%d1%80-%d0%bf%d0%be%d0%b4%d0%be%d0%bb%d0%b0%d0%bd%d0%bd%d1%8f-%d0%ba%d0%be/).

My article turned out to be inaccessible to them – close to corrupt Ukrainian government officials, criminal gurks blocked the publication. And here’s why.

The idea of this article came from a journalistic investigation by Denis Bihus’ team, released the other night as part of the Radio Liberty project.

The morning after the demonstration of the video of the “Our Money” project in social media broke out a discussion both about the journalistic investigation itself and the reaction of people’s deputies at the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine morning session.

It’s about horrible corruption in the president of Ukraine immediate circle. Within the Ukrainian defense industrial complex. During the war time.

***

My article is not about this particular episode. My article is about the nature and causes of corruption in Ukraine as a phenomenon that historically was born more than a hundred years by the Bolsheviks and brought to perfection by the Communist-Soviet nomenclatura.

For the first time, I drew attention to it more than twenty years ago when the United States noticed the “growing level of corruption” in Ukraine (see: http://www.ukrweekly.com/old/archive/1997/119716.shtml).

The West requires Ukraine to step up its fight against corruption. There are several anticorruption bodies in Ukraine built up, but this does not work. Anticorruption agencies and activists are struggling with consequences without even understanding the causes of corruption.

I stand by the fact that corruption in Ukraine can be overcome only through radical SYSTEMIC CHANGES.

***

Now, I am offering my article in English for few reasons:

1. To draw attention of Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), American Cyber Security people and other US authorities (including American politicians and government officials) to the facts of illegal blockages American based social media, Facebook, by criminals in Ukraine and possible in Russia to protect Ukrainian corrupted government officials.

2. To make my article available for broader reading audiences around the world, so, people could see what really is going on in Ukraine, and, of course, for those in Ukraine and Ukrainian diaspora reading in English.

3. This article is a part of Ukrainian University project titled UKRAINE FIGHTING CORRUPTION. It is going to be published as a book. Now, you can imagine what’s going to be about.

Volodymyr Ivanenko

Ukrainian University

February 27, 2019

***

SYSTEMIC CHANGES AS A FACTOR OF COMBATING CORRUPTION IN UKRAINE

The journalistic investigation carried out by the Denis Bihus’ team (see: https://youtu.be/lGTf2nUyxfw) has shaken the Ukrainian politics and shocked a significant part of Ukrainian society.

Such an impression consists of what is happening on my Facebook page. The words of indignation and calls for “overthrow of this power” and impeachment of the president and from the floor of Verkhovna Rada are thrown.

Naïve! Is the story of journalists D. Bigus and L. Ivanova really a sensation?

By tracking the processes in Ukraine from the point of view of the Ukraine Fighting Corruption project, we see this story as one of the typical phenomena of Ukrainian reality.

The trend of the development of independent Ukraine is such that all presidents and their immediate surroundings were unbelievably enriched while in office, since the merger of the crime with business and politics after the collapse of the USSR has become incredible.

Engaged in the old Bolshevik tradition, similar processes took place and occur at all levels of state and social life, transforming Ukraine into a totally corrupt country.

Fighting corruption in such conditions turns into fiction. Both state and public anti-corruption bodies struggle not with corruption as a phenomenon, but with corruptors as subjects of separate corrupt acts.

The selectivity of prosecuting corruptors depends on the capabilities or the interests of fighters against corruption. That is why there are corrupt officials who have the status of “sacred cows” and who remain untouched in all conditions and circumstances. There are corruption-makers, against whom criminal cases are opened, but they are easily frightened. Of course, there are also “scapegoat”…

The pattern of a selective subjective approach to combating corruption is such that corrupt officials are only inclined, their actions become more refined and corruption becomes an incurable chronic disease of society.

The criminal mining of amber, the merciless cutting of the Carpathian primeval forest, the use of war in which tens of thousands of patriots die and millions are cripples and homeless, and other loud stories are just what is happening in front of everyone and why there is no end.

“Our money” and other similar projects of journalistic investigations bring to light what is happening in the gray zone or in the deep underground, where from time to time the information is fused with the participation of participants in corruption deals, which most likely are deprived of participation in the “case”.

Although Anatoliy Hrytsenko convinced that there are “More Honest” people, in fact, “rubbish from the house” is taken out not by honest ones but being offended or deprived, and Alexander Onyshenko is therefore the very first example. It is obvious that the same person leaked to journalists his “collection of compromise”.

However, it could have been an employee of one of the anti-corruption bodies or one of the law enforcement agencies, who knows that an official investigation of the offense of the president’s own partners in the defense industry is not possible a priori.

***

Anti-corruption politicians and anti-corruption activists, as well as the general public, are convinced that “changing of government”, “change of the political system” and the arrival of new, “honest people” in power, can make the fight against corruption effective.

But if they are really “more honest,” as A. Hrytsenko and his supporters are trying to convince us, why then those who were considered honest and decent, from the very first steps of their way to politics are getting off road, show their dual morality and expressive features of corruptionists?

Want an example? Keep track of the evolution of Gavriluk “the Cossack”. Or recall the last-year-old story with Bubenchyk. I do not call much louder names of beginner politicians, who raised from the mud into princes.

Unfortunately, only a small percentage of people are able to withstand trials by temptation and remain honest and decent in their service to society, their nation.

Victor Hugo said over the coffin of Onore de Balzac: “He sought to occupy a place among those whose world was ruined by his merciless pen”.

Take a closer look at Ukrainian fighters against corruption who are on official duty (investigators, prosecutors, special service officers), and who fight corruption by calling (journalists, public activists).

They are usually overgrown with public scandals, and not because true corruptionists do everything to discredit them. They discredit themselves, if not by their own participation in corrupt practices, then by their mere reckless actions, which disappoint ordinary citizens.

And even greater problem of fighters with corruption is that, in essence, they are struggling only with the consequences of corruption (that is, with corruptionists), and not with corruption as a phenomenon.

As for state anti-corruption bodies, they are created to carry out precisely such tasks – to detect corrupt officials, to grab them on the hottest and to bring to justice.

As China’s experience shows, even the public atrocities of corrupt officials at the throat are not effective: corrupt officials are physically killed by stacks, but corruption remains indestructible.

Why, in your opinion, the level of corruption in China remains as high as in the former USSR, but in such advanced countries like the US, Japan, etc. – is low, the minimum permissible?

The answer is simple: because China continues to live in an authoritarian-totalitarian order and an administrative-command mode of government.

Ukraine continues to live in an authoritarian-totalitarian order and an administrative-command mode of government which it inherited from the Ukrainian SSR / USSR.

Ukraine’s only difference from China lies in the fact that Ukraine abandoned communist ideology, got rid of the one-party system and created an institute of a president.

The institute of a president, however, has grown up with such a clearly unconstitutional executive body as the ‘presidential administration’, which functionally is actually incarnation of… the Central Committee of the CPU. This structure remained even in the same building, and perhaps its departments remained in the same places where there were corresponding departments of the Central Committee. It is possible that during presidencies of Kravchuk and Kuchma, the people who stayed there from the Communist Party times continued to sit on their Communist Party white-oak chairs.

It is noteworthy that the institute of presidential retained the former Communist Party vertical, creating oblast and district administrations. Perhaps, it is even more likely that the old proven Communist-Soviet nomenklatura remained there (and may remain till now) in their well heated and comfortable places, cultivating new generations of post-Soviet nomenklatura.

However, what kind of post-Soviet?! Established more than a hundred years ago by Bolsheviks, the Soviet power is still alive long after the Soviet Union collapse. Nothing has changed. Ukraine remains a “Soviet country”, with a well-structured system that correlates with the presidential vertical and recognizes the priority of the latter or even with it in the same harness: the Verkhovna Rada, regional councils, city / district councils…

At some levels, we see the merger of the presidential vertical and councils, which was not even the case under the Communist-Soviet regime. Let’s recall at least the mayors, who at the same time are the heads of city councils.

A symptomatic feature of state government bodies, as in Communist and Soviet times, is collective responsibility (even irresponsibility). This prompts government officials to peer into the mouth of a president at national level, a “governor” – on regional and head of the Rayon State Administration – on district.

In turn, it induces the indicated subjects to use manual control methods, gives them an indulgence to “punish and admire”, and thus determine the limits of participation in certain illegal / criminal “deals”, which are called corruption.

***

Public opinion is convinced that “the father” of Ukrainian corruption is the second president of Ukraine Leonid Kuchma. So it may be seen if one does not understand the true nature of corruption in Ukraine and in the former USSR.

Kuchma definitely was not the one who has conceived corruption in Ukraine.

The brink of crime and politics is an “invention” of the Bolsheviks who, from the outset, funded their “political” activities by means of robbery, banditry, racketeering and other popular till now criminal methods.

The unification of the crime and state power took place just after the October Bolshevik coup known in history as the “Great October Socialist Revolution,” especially since February 1918, when Lenin ordered his People’s Commissars to release of a hundred thousand criminals from tsars’ prisons (political prisoners remained jailed).

I remind you that almost all of these criminals joined the Bolshevik lava and formed the backbone of the newly created Dzerzhinsky “Cheka” (“Extraordinary Commission”, later – OGPU, later – NKVD, later – MGB and finally- KGB).

The Lamp-Proletariat and criminals became kennels of the Bolshevik party and state bureaucrats, from ‘better part’ of which sprouted the phenomenon, later named the Communist-Soviet nomenklatura.

The Communist-Soviet nomenclatura in a class society, however, did not become a separate class. It has become a superclass top segment of society, which was “allowed” more than the proletariat as a “hegemony of society”, and even more than the collective-farm peasantry and “working intelligentsia”.

A rigid, even violent, Communist Party discipline contributed to the fact that each cricket knew its place, the perpetrators were punished or pardoned by the internal Communist Party “courts”, and just a few fell out of the “scraps” and ended up behind bars as an “ordinary” perpetrator.

That’s how it used to be before the collapse of the USSR.

***

Pay attention to the fact that throughout the entire former Soviet Union territory, the first presidents of the newly independent states were mainly communist figures of the highest rank. In countries where they did not win the first presidency (Lithuania, Georgia), they regained it during the very next elections circle.

So, here is the question arises about the interaction between the institute of presidency and the Communist-Soviet nomenclatura.

As the former secretary of the Central Committee of the CPU on ideology, and then of the personnel (the personnel, that is nomenklatura, were, in fact, the competence of the second secretary of the Central Committee), Leonid Kravchuk, as the first president of independent Ukraine, could rely only on the Communist Party “elite”, which he knew and trusted.

So, the presidential administration during the first four years of Ukraine’s independence was consisted of those “proven cadres”, even if they were already painted on “national-democrats”. The same happened at the regional and district levels.

So the Communist-Soviet nomenclatura remained in power. The rigor of Communist Party discipline has gone past with the “classical” CPSU. “Democratization” has therefore primarily affected corruption processes. In order for you to imagine the strength of the nomenclatura, I will remind you that Khrushchev lost his power just because he underestimated the internal strength of the Communist-Soviet nomenclatura.

And the leaders, learned in Khrushchev’s lessons, eventually realized the ineffectiveness of “voluntarism” as a method of administrative-command governing. Thus, for the presidency of Kravchuk, the Communist-Soviet nomenklatura realized and felt its historical mission, and at the same time it awakened its ‘historical memory’.

Thus, a new stage in the merger of the crime (first of all, the criminals in the law), politics (parties) and public administration (government) has come. It is remarkable that not only criminals wanted to get into politics and governing, and that’s how they were politicized, but also politicians (parties) and government bureaucrats were looking out for criminals, and that’s how they were criminalized.

It began before the actual collapse of the Soviet Union and may have even accelerated its collapse. In any case, we noticed the active processes of the interaction of the nomenklatura and the crime from the beginning of Kravchuk’s presidency.

With the involvement of the criminal elements, in particular, the “reforming” of the world’s largest Black Sea shipping company took place. Initially, it was transformed into a joint-stock company called “Blasco”, and then “Blasco” disappeared as well.

Whoever is interested, you can dig in the history of the Dynamo Kyiv FC, whose honorary chairman L. Kravchuk has remained since his presidency. It was Dynamo that became a central legal entity for creation of various limited liability companies and joint ventures with non-transparent property, numerous financial machinations and even serious criminal crimes both in Ukraine and abroad, which are described in the cycle of interviews by a former criminal offender and an active participant of the early 90’s ‘events’ L. Roytman.

Under Kravchuk’s presidency, the “new Ukrainians” were gaining strength by heavily investing the Communist Party or Komsomol money (V. Sumin, L. Chernovetsky, etc.).

***

If for the presidency of Kravchuk, the Communist-Soviet nomenclatura was only beginning to relax and criminalize, criminals started massively joining government during Kuchma’s presidency, and thus began an active “capture”, cutting and selling everything that could be cut and sold, and also taken over.

The agglomeration of the Communist-Soviet nomenclatura and criminality has created what is now called the oligarchy. Corruption has become open and cynical, which we are watching now.

So, if someone wants to call Kuchma a “father” of something, then he is a “godfather” of no corruption, but oligarchy and oligarchic governing.

As a result of this oligarchic form of government, private political projects, which call themselves parties or even civic associations, are more reminiscent of organized criminal gangs.

The oligarchate turned out to be a convenient tool for Yushchenko’s presidency, and especially for Yanukovych’s, although these two themselves were not oligarchs.

Petro Poroshenko is one hundred percent product of the oligarchy – both as a businessman and as a politician. Outside of politics and participation in the government his enrichment would simply be impossible. Without his wealth, oligarchic status,his presidency would be impossible as well. Such is the phenomenon of Poroshenko. Therefore, there is nothing to wonder about what happens to him and his entourage.

***

Poroshenko’s administrative-command presidential administration is the logical consequence of the evolution of the authoritarian-totalitarian system in the so-called “Soviet Ukraine”. Otherwise it could not be.

They will not be different from Poroshenko and future presidents, which otherwise they would not have seemed to ordinary voters.

The oligarchic features are seen in almost every one of these year’s presidential candidates. Even the most intellectual of them is a… rentier. This means that enrichment and wealthy life for them subconsciously is more important than the desire to serve their nation, their society and to enter the History as an outstanding statesman.

Their parties or other forces behind them are not ideological parties with well-considered and well-meaning strategic development programs for Ukraine, but privately organized groups whose purpose is to come to take over the government and populist promises of reforms, which then revolve in the best case of cosmetic repair of the facade.

Some candidates rely on the support of their colleagues’ professional associations. But there are those who, because of lack of their own ideas and concepts, are inquired of by the people, whom they offer hopes in case of their victory.

None of the candidates, any political and social forces that are behind them do not even stutter about the urgency of systemic changes – the replacement of the authoritarian-totalitarian order and the administrative-command mode of government inherited by Ukraine from the UKrSSR / USSR, without which even the talk of overcoming corruption, the oligarchy, etc. do not make sense.

Volodymyr Ivanenko

Ukrainian University

February 25 – 26, 2019

PS. This translation was done in a hurry. If you see anything that can be improved, please, let us know via e-mail: ukrainianuniversity@gmail.com, a message box. Thank you!

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