3 in 4 Ukrainians see Zelensky at fault for government corruption

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky attends a joint news conference with Ireland's Prime Minister Leo Varadkar at Horodetskyi House in Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, July 19, 2023. (Clodagh Kilcoyne/Pool via AP)
By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

More than three-quarters of Ukrainians believe President Volodymyr Zelensky is directly responsible for corruption within both the government and the country’s military administrations, new polling revealed.

According to a survey conducted by the Foundation for Democratic Initiatives and the Kyiv International Sociological Institute, with the support of the Prague Center for Civil Society, 77.6 percent of Ukrainian respondents blame the Ukrainian leader for endemic corruption.

“The delay in solving problems, which undermines people’s faith in victory, also affects the president’s reputation. The survey showed that 77.6 percent of citizens believe the president is directly responsible for corruption in the government and military administration,” said sociologist Petro Burkovsky, director of the Foundation for Democratic Initiatives.

He noted “the widespread argument that the government does not have time to do everything” no longer works after 16 months of war, and is no longer an excuse for those who do nothing to combat the abuses, negligence, and incompetence and who were elected and appointed precisely to “have time to do everything, to do everything to combat it, using the powers that were extended during the state of war.”

“In other words, officials who fail in their duties are no less dangerous of enemies at this time than Russia. And the citizens expect Volodymyr Zelensky to be determined to remove such persons from the leadership, to listen to and appoint executives who will honestly point out the problems and competently propose solutions,” Burkovsky told Hungarian-language Ukrainian news portal Karpatalja.info.

“Therefore, the purging of territorial recruitment centers of ‘invaluable personnel’ should be the start of a countdown, not a point in the process of reforming the defense sector. In this case, the path of easy solutions should not be followed. It is assumed that the majority of citizens could support a ‘simple idea’ of directing offending military commanders to the front line. However, can we trust the weapons and the lives of soldiers to men who have cynically traded in their exemption cards? Such a decision is unlikely to be supported in combat units. But the replacement of corrupt officials with veterans will find a response in society,” concluded the political analyst.

According to the survey, 72.9 percent of Ukrainians also support the dismissal of wounded soldiers from the armed forces, with adequate compensation to cover treatment and rehabilitation, and 46.3 percent support their voluntary transfer to military units to replace current employees.

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