Cleaning Up Ukraine

Can Kiev Overcome Its Dysfunction to Fight Graft?

A climber installs the Ukrainian national flag on a roof, marking the Day of the State Flag, on the eve of the Independence Day, in Kiev, Ukraine, August 23, 2016. Gleb Garanich / Reuters

Over the past several weeks, Ukrainians have been treated to a digital feast, of sorts. Although most of the population has long resigned itself to the fact that its leaders are corrupt and, as a result, financially well-endowed, never have the particulars of that wealth been laid bare in volume and detail—until recently, that is. Thanks to Ukraine’s new “e-declaration” system—an online database through which public servants are required to openly declare their assets—citizens can now behold the spoils that their politicians and others across the state bureaucracy collected during nearly three decades of misrule and widespread graft.

The declarations are startling and also downright ludicrous. Besides suspiciously large bundles of cash, parliament deputies and ministers registered multiple properties, extravagant watches, and extensive collections of wine and antique art. One lawmaker even declared his private chapel, and Borys Filatov, the mayor of Dnipro, a major city

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