Where Is Russia’s Strongman in the Coronavirus Crisis?
Putin Lets Local Leaders Take the Credit and the Fall
At the recent G-7 summit, U.S. President Donald Trump was reported to have told fellow world leaders that “Ukraine is one of the most corrupt countries in the world.” Small wonder: for years, U.S. government officials and their European counterparts have publicly castigated Ukraine for dragging its feet on corruption. So too have Western media outlets, whose narrative often echoes the fictitious Russian talking point that Ukraine is a failing, if not failed, state.
Although corruption is a serious problem, the West’s obsession obscures the progress that Ukraine has made in dramatically reducing its scope. Many Western observers have also ignored the other enormous positive changes that Ukraine has experienced since the Euromaidan revolution of 2013–14, which ousted the corrupt, pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych, triggering Russia’s annexation of Crimea and its invasion of the Donbas in the country’s east. Since then, any hopes that the Kremlin