How to attract investment in Ukraine
By the time then-u.s. Vice President Joe Biden got up on July 13, 2015, in Washington, D.C. and said Ukraine has “got to put people in jail,” Ukrainians and their friends abroad were already frustrated by the willful lack of progress in the corruption fight. It’s only gotten worse. More than two years after Biden spoke, Ukraine hasn't convicted anybody of consequence for corruption. The courts, prosecutors and police remain unreformed, ineffective, distrusted and tools of politicians and oligarchs. New anti-corruption institutions are useless without functioning courts.
Here’s what Finance Minister Oleksandr Danyliuk recently had to say: “Law enforcement stayed in the 20th century while the country is in the 21st century. If our court system is not ready, general system, to deal with corruption charges, then we need to, in the very short time, set up the anti-corruption court, to deal with such offenses. Then people will see that the fight with corruption is serious.” Back to Biden at the U.s.-ukraine Business Forum: “Corruption siphons away resources. It weakens economic growth. It destroys trust in government. It hollows out militaries. And it’s an affront to the dignity of the people of Ukraine.”
For Ukraine to attract foreign direct investment, create good jobs and reverse an exodus of millions of Ukrainians, the nation must establish rule of law, end impunity and create trustworthy institutions.. Ukraine’s economy and politics are still dominated by oligarchs and kleptocrats. Top leaders — President Petro Poroshenko, Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko and Interior Minister Arsen Avakov — are imitating the fight against corruption while obstructing meaningful change, such as blocking the creation of independent anti-corruption courts. Many of the “new” Supreme Court justices to be seated soon look very much like the discredited “old” ones.
When Ukraine’s leaders get serious about fighting corruption, investment will come.