According to the media, several senior Ukrainian officials, including front-line governors, lost their jobs due to their alleged involvement in a corruption scandal plaguing President Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s government amid the ongoing months-long war. According to the details, the immediate deputy of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, four deputy ministers including the Deputy Defense Minister, and five governors of front-line provinces had left their posts due to their complicity in the scandal.
Ukraine, a former Soviet republic and East European democracy has been battling the worst hostility of the Russian Federation over the past eleven months. Being the worst opponent and victim of Putin’s hegemonic and aggressive policies, Kiyv enjoyed the status of pro-west democracy and flag-bearer of Western Civilization in the face of Russian aggression. Historically, the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been considered an attack agaisnt Western interests and a serious hazard to western democracy, while the European Union and America unleashed unbelievable economic and monetary assistance to Ukraine to compete with the common adversary. However, recent reports suggest that top Ukrainian officials had been involved in financial embezzlement, fraud, and misuse of economic assistance meant for the Ukrainian military and people residing in front-line states and facing unprecedented and brutal hostility from the Russian Federation. As said, there had been numerous cases of bribes for the allocation of government contracts, and corruption in funds for the provision of utilities including heating, drinking water, and electricity that were damaged through Russian missile strikes as well as theft of food supplies for Ukrainian troops on the battlefield.
In fact, the revelation of corruption stories and money-making was a bit strange and unbelievable amid a months-long war in Ukraine with a staunch enemy when the entire nation was grappled with causalities and grief, and destruction ruining everywhere across the country. Historically, Ukraine had been a hub for its institutional corruption over the past decades while Transparency International (TI), in its worldwide report on corruption, ranked Ukraine 136th out of 180 Countries in the world. Interestingly, President Volodomyry Zelenskyy and his team had been vocal campaigners against corruption and establishment and received huge mandates during the 2019 general election due to their anti-graft agenda. However, after coming to power several close aides of the populist leader left their core point of the electoral manifesto and turned to malpractices, bribes, and corruption. The recent corruption scandal has caused serious challenges for the Zelenskyy regime at the global level, not for its credibility and transparent use of foreign aid but also because the corruption scandal badly tarnished the public perception of the ruling party at the domestic level.
Currently, several countries, including the United States, the UK, and Germany had demanded more accountability for foreign aid, and a reprimand of involved officials because those nations have channeled billions of dollars in assistance to Kiyv while Zelenskyy’s regime has only taken some cosmetic steps including taking resignations from its officials and removing their party memberships and no criminal proceedings had been started agaisnt the culprits so far.
Apparently, criticism of opponents, idealist sloganeering, and preaching of daydreams had always been easy jobs for popular leaders across the world. However, implementing philosophies on the ground, prosecuting corrupt buddies practically, and refusing a free glass of whisky is a bit difficult. Earlier, multiple wrongdoings of Zelenskyy’s regime have been covered up in the war, now several government leaders have committed treason amid the war. Thus, the true nationalism of the revolutionary leader would be evident in his legacy in this regard.