European Union Corruption Case Study: Ukraine
European Union Corruption Case Study: Ukraine By Ollie Richardson for The Saker
Over the past 4 years, since the coup d’etat in Kiev in 2014 orchestrated by the “civilised” West, a “team of reformers” has been at work in Ukraine. They promised to implement so-called “anti-corruption reforms” in cooperation with European countries, such as France and Germany, who, by the way, both placed a stake on installing project “anti-Russia” aka Euromaidan. But here is where things get interesting. The level of corruption in Ukraine has not decreased!!!! According to independent experts, the virus of corruption has spread even further!!!! In fact, corruption has also captured new anti-corruption bodies that were create post 2014, including the “National Agency of Ukraine for finding, tracing and management of assets derived from corruption and other crimes”, also known as ARMA. On paper, it was conceived to combat unscrupulous business, but in practice it works under the protection of officials and has itself become a hotbed of corruption and lawlessness. But how did this happen?
The creation of so-called anti-corruption bodies in Ukraine, including ARMA, took place at the request and with the assistance of the institutions of the European Union. ARMA was created within the framework of the recommendations of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the implementation of which was mandatory for Ukraine in order to obtain the carrot on a stick known as the visa-free regime.
The prerequisites imposed by the West concerning the creation of ARMA were Ukraine’s obligations to implement the UN Convention against Corruption and other acts of international law, to implement the recommendations of GRECO and FATF, as well as one of the main criteria for Ukraine – to implement the Action Plan on visa liberalisation with the EU and one of the conditions for Ukraine to receive macro-financial assistance from the European Union.
However, according to official statements, in the current Ukrainian realities ARMA does not function in the way that the “well-intended” European partners of Ukraine had expected. According to EU officials, it was created as a body to fight corruption in the best European practices, but in reality, ARMA has become a stronghold of corruption and a tool for literally looting local Ukrainian businesses. According to Ukrainian experts, this may be directly related to the person who leads ARMA – Anton Yanchuk, who influences the work of the agency, as well as the companies that are chosen to manage the confiscated assets. According to an internal document that I had the chance to study, Yanchuk is not an independent leader at all. He is someone whose appointment was lobbied by the “People’s Front” party, which is a part of the parliamentary coalition and is known as the “party of war”, since most of its members were responsible for illegally launching the war in Donbass. Members of “People’s Front” hold key positions in the Verkhovna Rada, the Cabinet of Ministers, and the National Security and Defense Council. They have been repeatedly accused of being involved in legislative and other initiatives related to the political persecution of those who can be described as “anti-Maidan”, attacks on freedom of speech, and violations of other rights and freedoms enshrined in not only Ukraine’s constitution, but all such treaties ratified by Ukraine as the European Convention on Human Rights. Therefore, it is natural that ARMA is also engaged in persecuting people and enterprises on political grounds.
Who became a victim of ARMA and who was chosen as its contractors?
An indicative example of the work of ARMA in this sense was the attack on the office of the “Vesti Ukraine” media company, which can be described as being anti-Poroshenko. ARMA arrested the property that this media agency rented on the 32nd floor of the “Gulliver” business center in Kiev (what a coincidence, from all the businesses that operate here!). Prior to this, the journalists of “Vesti Ukraine” had repeatedly investigated the activities of representatives of “People’s Front”, the chief military prosecutor’s office, АRМА, Yanchuk himself, as well as other structures and persons that are in the higher echelons of power. The active role played by state bodies in the attack on “Vesti Ukraine” give grounds to consider this attack as a way of putting pressure on media agencies whose position is inconvenient for the junta in Kiev.
At the beginning of February 2018 at about 6:00 a.m. representatives of the Military Prosecutor’s Office, the National Police, ARMA, the company that was granted the right to manage the assets confiscated by ARMA – “Navigator business center“, and unidentified persons in civilian clothes and masks (at least 50 people) forcefully occupied the office of “Vesti Ukraine” located in the “Gulliver” business center. The premises that “Vesti Ukraine” rented was arrested and transferred to the management of ARMA. At the same time, all the equipment belonging to “Vesti Ukraine” was stolen and destroyed. All property – including furniture, equipment, expensive radio equipment, and even the personal belongings of employees that were in the premises – belonged to “Vesti Ukraine” and was not burdened with any judicial arrests. Access to the premises and workplaces for journalists of the radio, paper newspaper, and website departments of “Vesti Ukraine” were blocked, and the newsrooms and broadcasting studios of the radio facility were occupied by the SBU, which made it impossible to broadcast the radio station live on the air. Journalists were in fact deprived of their right to carry out their legitimate professional activities, about 200 media employees lost access to the office infrastructure, working equipment, office equipment, and their personal belongings. The seizure of “Vesti Ukraine” also resulted in the editorial office being smashed up.
Refusing any contact and to provide access to the personal belongings of the employees of “Vesti Ukraine”, a gas substance was sprayed at the journalists. There was smoke in the office of the agency, the fire alarm system was triggered, and the employees working in the entire premises of the business center were evacuated. The editor-in-chief of the “Vesti Ukraine” website Anastasiya Reyn suffered 1st degree retinal burns.