One of Ukraine’s most-respected reformist ministers, Aivaras Abromavicius, resigned yesterday because, he said, the corruption of President Petro Poroshenko’s government had become too much. Over at Bloomberg View, Leonid Bershidsky reports:
The unofficial view has been of Ukraine’s reformist ministers as the public faces of a little-changed corrupt system, in which the teams of Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk had divided up control of government revenue streams. But without confirmation from trusted government figures, Ukraine’s foreign donors and creditors could ignore the mounting evidence that the president and prime minister were involved in covering up corruption. It was more convenient than crying foul while Ukraine was involved in a hybrid war with Russia and struggling to implement a bailout program devised by the International Monetary Fund.
Bershidsky’s analysis is, as always, worth reading in full. But the important piece is this: Poroshenko’s government doesn’t look like it’s holding together very well at the moment. Particularly with the anti-corruption Odessa governor, and former President of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili waiting in the wings, it’s looking increasingly likely that Ukraine’s current regime may be poised for some sort of crisis. Poroshenko could certainly survive, but the current political mess is another reminder that reforming Ukraine is a bigger challenge than the ever-optimistic Western well-wishers tend to realize.