Denouncing corruption in Ukraine is a lucrative trade. Fighting corruption is not. The ubiquitous recommendation given to Ukrainian civic society to “kick out all the corrupt officials” is difficult to implement in practice. The story of one anti-corruption institution, the National Agency for Prevention of Corruption (NAPC), shows what stands behind the words “Ukraine is making slow progress in tackling corruption,” and what it takes for civic society to not give up.
The currently ongoing reforms in Ukraine are hindered by internal enemies and obstacles, as well as by Moscow’s “hybrid war” against Kyiv. Given the scale, complexity and challenges of the Ukrainian transformation project, its intermediate results are not unimpressive, yet still far from sustainable and successful. Ukraine’s slowly advancing Europeanisation is, sooner or later, going to affect the whole post-Soviet space via demonstration and diffusion effects. To support it further, Western states and organizations should cooperate more closely with Ukrainian politicians, bureaucrats, experts and activists who are backing the reforms.
Despite the bitter scent of renewed political bickering, the failed NCM has helped to avoid an even greater disaster (early elections would not only take a lot of precious time, but could give rise to populist politics and endanger the success of reforms). Still, the coalition parties have to avoid the political stalemate by quickly reaching agreement over changes in the government and accelerating the reforms. Hopefully, this will be done, given the pressure of domestic audience and international partners. The memories about the 2005 post-Maidan political fiasco and the second anniversary of Euromaidan sacrifices should also help.
The dual track approach offers a deal to the incumbents: we do not take away all your rents in the near future but in exchange you do not block reforms and the growth of new institutions. In this post, we focus on corruption, another crucial problem for Ukraine. How can one resolve these challenges using the dual track approach?