Executive Director of the Transatlantic Renewal Initiative Jeffrey Gedmin cowrites for The Weekly Standard on the progress Ukraine has made in the last two years, quoting Dinu Patriciu Eurasia Center Resident Senior Fellow Anders Aslund on how to combat corruption:

It’s said that hopeless causes are the only ones worth fighting for. At first blush, that’s Ukraine. On a recent visit to Kiev, we heard account after account of the problems facing Ukraine, the two most serious being corruption and the ongoing conflict with Russia. Two doozies, to be sure.

Corruption is ubiquitous. Famously, Ukrainian oligarchs have stolen massive amounts of the country’s wealth and used that wealth to control Ukraine’s political order. But corruption is pervasive in daily life as well. It’s not uncommon for university students to pay to take their exams, defend a thesis, or obtain their diploma. Diabetics are deprived of insulin, children lack vaccines, and HIV/AIDS patients die because they can’t get antiretrovirals, with doctors bilking patients and the system. Want a license for this or that from the bureaucracy? Expect to pay something under the table. Transparency International pegs Ukraine at 142 out of 175 countries in its world rankings. That’s on par with Uganda, worse than Nigeria (136th), and far from the league of ex-Soviet republic Georgia, which ranks 50th. By the Ukrainian government’s own estimate, the country’s off-the-books “shadow economy” is somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 percent of the official GDP figure.

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Related Experts: Anders Åslund and Jeffrey Gedmin