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Ukraine’s Own Worst Enemy

Why Corruption Is More Dangerous than Putin

Banknotes of Ukrainian hryvnia are seen Kiev, May 23, 2012. Gleb Garanich / Courtesy Reuters

From the outside, the state of affairs in Ukraine seem easy to summarize. Peaceful protests for closer ties with the EU in Kiev’s Maidan Square provoked a brutal crackdown, which in turn, led to the ousting of incumbent President Viktor Yanukovych. After that, Russia annexed Crimea. There have since been violent tremors in cities such as Odessa, and Russian-backed separatists in the self-declared Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics continue waging brutal insurrections.

An end to all this death and destruction would bring some measure of respite to the new government of Ukraine, led by President Petro Poroshenko. However, upon a closer examination, it is clear that this alone will not be enough to place the country on a truly new path. To do that, Ukraine must overcome its self-inflicted problems, in particular rampant and pervasive corruption.

CORRUPT TO THE CORE

Traveling through Kiev and Odessa, it is hard

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