OPINION – Ukraine Is Weakened by Corruption, So How Is It Stymying the Russians?
Corruption undermines society as surely as termites undermine houses. Ukraine suffers from corruption. So how has Ukrainian society nonetheless managed to stymie a Russian invasion, and even turn the tables on its invaders?
I asked experts inside and outside Ukraine for their answers to this pivotal question and heard several interesting theories. The most intriguing is that it’s possible in certain situations to be simultaneously corrupt and patriotic.
Here are some of the explanations:
Ukraine is corrupt, but the enemy is even more corrupt. On Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index, Ukraine was 122nd of 180 countries last year (higher numbers are worse). Pretty bad, but Russia was ranked even worse, at 136th. In May the U.S. State Department said, “While it may be too early to draw definitive conclusions, we have seen open-source reporting about expired rations, lack of fuel and outdated and poorly maintained equipment that point to the waste, misuse and abuse of ‘public’ resources designated for Russia’s military.”
Ukrainians are rallying around their flag. “Corruption is less because the survival of the nation is at stake,” said Brian Bonner, who was chief editor of The Kyiv Post from 2008 to 2021 and is now an editor at Geopolitical Intelligence Services. “We’re at a higher level of unity and selflessness than I’ve seen since I’ve lived here.” Prince Michael of Liechtenstein, who founded Geopolitical Intelligence Services, agreed: “People stuck together. There was a strike from outside and they came together.”
Read the article on The New York Times.