Saturday, April 13, 2019

Defeating Russia Requires the Defeat of Corrupt Ukrainians

In the last data dump I commented on the importance of Ukraine fighting corruption in order to be able to defend their country against Russian aggression:

Russia remains corrupt. Which offers Ukraine hope of being strong enough to deter Russia if it can be more than a smaller version of corrupt Russia. And thanks to Joe Biden, Ukraine was held back from that rule-of-law path to security. And we aren't exactly setting an example of caring about rule of law in our dealings with Ukraine in this matter, either. What's up with that?

As I noted in the second link in the above quote:

Only by becoming more like the West can Ukraine build the economic and military power to remain a free country, just as a free West built on rule of law defeated the USSR.

Remember, Russia is fine with a corrupt Ukraine. It allowed Russia to weaken and dominate Ukraine's government before 2014, and it will allow Russia to buy influence and control in Ukraine once again.

Stalemate, even tilted toward Ukraine as I noted in this post, in the Donbas won't matter if the real fight for Ukraine takes place in the secret bank accounts of Ukrainian officials and business people.

Ukraine seems to be taking care to avoid being just a smaller version of corrupt Russia:

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko on Thursday announced the launch of a special court to try corruption cases, part of a flurry of activity to shore up his reform credentials ahead of a presidential election run-off next week.

The court is being set up as part of Ukraine's $3.9 billion loan program with the International Monetary Fund, aimed at rooting out entrenched corruption and ring-fencing court decisions from political pressure or bribery.

It is distressing that it takes an election to push Poroshenko on this issue. But it is gratifying that Poroshenko realizes it is important to enough voters to push him to move on this issue.

Defeating Russia requires success in this war on corruption. We should fully support this effort.

UPDATE: It is not futile to think Ukraine could gain a quality edge over Russia:

The damage the one year conscript service did to the [Russian] military was never officially admitted until recently because senior officers were told that anyone speaking about this publicly would do serious damage to their careers. But as officers with knowledge of the extent of the damage retired or resigned from the military more of them spoke openly of the problem. Because of the growing demand for troops to serve in eastern Ukraine and Syria there was more discussion on the Internet of the negative impact one year conscripts have inflicted. Denials from the government were no longer working and active duty generals and admirals unofficially admitted it was all true, and that it was actually as bad as much of the Internet chatter implied. It was no secret that the presence of so many ill-trained conscripts in the military discouraged men from joining as volunteers (contract soldiers) and many existing officers and career enlisted men were leaving as well.

It is not futile for Ukraine to resist.