The prize for being Ukraine’s funniest clowns goes to the top officials of the Security Service of Ukraine, or SBU, and the National Agency for Preventing Corruption.
Reformist former customs official Yulia Marushevska said on Feb. 8 that SBU Deputy Chief Pavlo Demchyna had asked the anti-corruption agency to investigate her over an $18 bonus that she awarded to herself. In January, the National Agency for Preventing Corruption also started probing anti-corruption lawmaker Sergii Leshchenko for getting $333 for delivering lectures. The anti-corruption show eclipsed circuses all over Ukraine. Among those laughing were both cronies of ex-President Viktor Yanukovych and incumbent top officials who steal billions of dollars and whose cases are going nowhere.
The National Anti-Corruption Agency is headed by Natalia Korchak, an ally of the People’s Front party, and Ruslan Radetzky, an associate of President Petro Poroshenko. Last year the agency did its best to sabotage the launch of officials’ electronic asset declarations, and it has not checked a single declaration since they were finally launched last September.
Another anti-corruption crusader concerned with Marushevska’s wealth is Demchyna, a protege of Poroshenko’s top allies, Ihor Kononenko and Oleksandr Hranovsky. They are accused of running the government’s biggest graft schemes, while denying the accusations.
State Fiscal Service Chief Roman Nasirov has also launched a bribery probe against Marushevska. Nasirov is a symbol of corruption to his critics: he has declared multimillion-dollar wealth and has been accused of running graft schemes by his own ex-deputy, Kostyantyn Likarchuk. He too denies the allegations.
Perhaps it’s time to rename Ukraine’s anti-corruption institutions as anti-anti-corruption ones? It is obvious that, instead of fighting corruption, they are doing the exact opposite: persecuting anti-graft activists and critics of the government.