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The Ukrainian way of fighting corruption - a vicious circle or an absolute “0”

It seems that Ukraine has found the unique recipe of the complete victory over corruption. Numerous and long reforms, strategies and programs turned out to be unnecessary for this aim - the final victory needed just 5 days. This is the exact time that the new Law "On corruption prevention and counteraction" was ‘in force'. It replaced the old anti-corruption legislation, but already on January 5, 2011 it lost its force. Therefore, there is not a single legal act in Ukraine, which would regulate the notion ‘corruption' at the legislative level, there is neither state anti-corruption strategy, nor anti-corruption institutions. The Cabinet of Ministers eliminated the latter in the framework of reduction of the general amount of the State machinery.

Those who know the story of lawmaking remember that the first anti-corruption act of the independent Ukraine appeared on October 5, 1995. When it came into force, they started to seize corrupt officials and bribe-takers, but at the same time general level of corruption in the state was still increasing. This law would have been probably in force until now, if Ukraine wouldn't have ratified European conventions, since the law simply didn't comply with their requirements.

Taking this into consideration, on June 11, 2009 the Verkhovna Rada adopted the so called anti-corruption package of laws, the main of which was the Law "On the principles of preventing and combating corruption". In the closing provisions of this act the legislator indicated: "To recognize as such, which become invalid from January 1, 2011 the law of Ukraine "On combating corruption", the Decree of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine from October 5, 1995 "On the order of putting into force the law of Ukraine "On combating corruption".

During another year and a half the Parliament transferred twice the term of putting the law into force. According to the last version it had to take place on January 1, 2011. However, on the eve of this, on December 21, 2010 the Parliament abolished the law and the President signed the relevant decision. Officially, the law was published only on January 5, 2011. Therefore, formally non-existent law was in force from January 1 to January 5. So, according to its provisions, the old law "On fighting corruption" from 1995 lost its force. As a result Ukraine currently doesn't have a single law, which would determine the notion of corruption and acts of corruption, as well as responsibility for corruption.

The paradox of the situation is reinforced by the fact that special anti-corruption institutions, created according to GRECO requirements, have been eliminated. The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, executing the Order of the President Viktor Yanukovich on decreasing the general amount of state machinery (which was adopted at the International Corruption Day) has passed such decision. Besides, National anti-corruption strategy, approved in October of the last year by the decision of the National anti-corruption committee within the President hasn't come into force until now. The President simply hasn't signed the relevant Order.

Therefore, Ukraine doesn't currently have anything to fight with (notion "corruption" is absent in the legislation), there is no one to fight corruption (specialized institutions have been eliminated, and the specialized law-enforcement organs work ineffectively) and there is no way how to fight it (there is no anti-corruption strategy in the country). As a result, Ukraine goes the rounds in its anti-corruption efforts. And it resembles zero.


Creative Union "TORO" is Transparency International Contact group in Ukraine - global anti-corruption non-governmental organization, which has more than 90 national chapters and works in more than 100 countries of the world. Organization's mission is to introduce democratic procedures of citizens' participation in forming and realizing state policy in Ukraine. You can learn more about the activity of "TORO" at the web-page www.toro.org.ua.


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Oleksiy Khmara, President of Creative Union “TORO”
T: +380 (0)522 27 27 54
E: media@toro.org.ua