Sunday, July 06, 2008

Ukrainian Woman Wins Major Corruption Case

Although it's probably just a drop in the bucket in the fight against post-communist corruption in Ukraine, it's encouraging to come across stories like this:

A Christian woman who became known for her personal crusade against high level corruption in Ukraine's border region with the European Union has won a, potentially precedent-setting, trial against municipality authorities of the western city of Uzhhorod ...

... the mayor and his allies ... have been involved in controversial business dealings. The mayor has a tendency not to speak to foreign reporters and has beaten up opponents.

Communism obviously didn't leave any legacy of civility in Ukraine's civic arena! But I must say it's very heartening to see acts of courage like this on the part of Ukraine's citizenry...which goes a long way to breaking down the awful legacy it did leave.

...[Svetlana] Milchevich is the mother of BosNewsLife Senior International Correspondent Agnes R. Bos who ... used the trial to unravel wider corruption in Uzhhorod, despite apparent death threats directed towards her and her mother. .. lives in a rundown apartment block in the center of Uzhhorod, near potholes and wild dogs. She wants the Orange Revolution to reach areas far removed from Kiev. "I hate corruption," she [said]. ...

Full story here.

Congratulations to these brave women fighting corruption by personally facing down vicious thugs obviously caught in a soviet time warp. Such moxy is remarkable in the midst of an indifferent world of self-absorption.

As a Canadian, I find it quite shameful that the mainstream western media is so disinclined to celebrate the bravery of people like Svetlana Milchevich and Agnes Bos. Not a single story in the western press about this case.

Likewise, it's hard to find any entertainment celebs who publicly condemn not only barbarians in Ukraine and elsewhere in the FSU for abusing their positions of power and privilege, but also corrupt leadership hopefuls in bastions of western democracies.

Could it be that the western media and entertainment elite are caught in a time warp of their own and find it easier to focus on the latest cause celebre than to re-examine (and end) their collective love affair with communism?

But if they ever did, and finally found the courage to support people like Svetlana Milchevich and Agnes Box, it would sure improve the lives of people in today's world who are still suffering from the fallout of communism's collapse.


Vasyl said...

The problem of corruption is still big in Ukraine, whether we like it or not. I remember that back in 2002 Ukraine ranked about 161 out of countries studied in Transparency Internationals Corruption Perception Index, and last year it had ranked in 116th position out of 180 countries. So there are some improvements over the years.

However, the problem of corruption is as the name of the index suggests a perception of corruption. Ukrainians find it quite normal to pay a bribe, as they find nepotism to be quite normal. Until the mindset of many is changed, along with the laws, then corruption will continue to be present in Ukraine.

Not to long ago there was a report that the Mayor of the Crimean resort town of Alushta was caught red-handed for receiving a bribe of 10 Million USD. It has only been recently that local media has been covering such incidents,but I'm sure they happen every day. I wonder how much form Kyiv mayor Oleksnadr Omelchenko received in order to put up the shopping complex in front of the Olympic Stadium in Kyiv?

Stanislav said...

Very interesting case. Pano Milchevich has done a great work for bright future her country and community. Thank you Pawlina for bringing it up to our attention. In such minor cases solution of a big issue.

Pawlina said...

That rate of progress is encouraging, Vasyl, but of course it will take some time to reverse the damage done by 70+ years of soviet communism.

From what I can tell, the people of Ukraine are working hard to rekindle the national spirit the soviets tried so hard to extinguish. The West could do more to help, but there are forces in our midst as well that are hardly benevolent.

Razom nas bahato was never more relevant...or crucial.

Pawlina said...

You're welcome, Stan. Stories like this are so important to build the self-confidence of Ukrainians the world over.

Vasyl said...


It is true that there are champions in this country. We should all give them accolades! The problem is that the media in this country and elsewhere cover the negative, as opposed to the positive.

The media needs to stand behind the underdog, they need to be there and en mass not be bullied by bureaucrats which very often happens in this country and elsewhere, believe it or not.

Stan you may not believe it but the media in North America is not an angel. When I was at home in Montreal over the New Year I always take some time to meet up with a couple of friends as well as family. One of those friends and I started talking about the US primaries which led to something much deeper. As a result of that two hour discussion he sent me the following, and I quote his e-mail here:

"Take a look at this blog site for the info on the FBI whistleblower (Sibel Edmonds) I was telling you about - reads like a "Bourne Ultimatum" book. Very interesting reading. Compare the names involved in this with those associated with the project I was telling you about which was initiated by Richard Perle (project: A Clean Break) who is, of course, also a very influential member of PNAC (Project for a New American Century) - read their mission statement as well, interesting to note the names that show up. Then as a last thing, take a look at the high-ranking decision-makers in Dick Cheney's office, the Pentagon and the State Department. Incredible."

Project "Clean Break"">/3_27_2003_Clean_Break_or_Dirty_War.html

"Clean Break" Document Report found here:

PNAC website:

When you read all this material you begin to realize that not just Ukraine is corrupt, nor do all governments have the best intentions.

Pawlina said...

Bingo, Vasyl!

Stanislav said...

Vasyl, what I do writing in Internet in Ukrainian it is about 90% fighting Ukrainian Media Depression outcome. You probably know that Ukraine has "three crowns" of most depressive society in the World, recognised by different researchers most unhappy society in thee World, EU and CIS. That's why as an Ukrainian I don't care about corruption in American media as soon it is a quality balanced media comparing to Ukrainian.

Pawlina said...

But Stan, don't you see that corruption in America (and Canada) is directly detrimental to Ukraine?

Think about it. The Ukrainian media follows and imitates a corrupt role model. So what else can you expect from the Ukrainian media but more of the same, since it's modelled on the "professional standard"?

Apathy and complacency have never changed anything ... for the better, that is.