(GPA) Ukraine – Many Ukrainians have become outraged with the introduction of a new online archive that shows their elected officials declared personal wealth online.
Two years ago, the Ukrainian people deposed president Viktor Yanukovych and were outraged by his vast personal fortune. In the documents seized from government buildings and Yanukovych’s personal estates there were ledgers pointing to possible corruption that made the people feel justified in their ouster of the leader despised by some of the country.
Those opposed to Yanukovych got their wish and saw the ex-president flee the country and be provided shelter by Vladimir Putin in Russia. Those who got Yanukovych out wished for a more westernized pro-EU Ukraine and were willing to elect anyone who promised to help move toward that goal, even if they were puppets of the US who weren’t really vetted by anyone.
Now, it seems the Ukrainian people are getting some disheartening news as they learn their new neo-liberal leaders aren’t much different than the thief they alleged Yanukovych of being.
Sunday evening was the deadline for the elected figures of this new Ukraine to declare all their personal wealth in the new e-database that was then made publicly available online. The disclosures showed the Ukrainian people just how little things had actually changed, regardless of who was in charge.
In a country where the average household income is around $200, the excesses of their leaders (whether they were legally obtained or not) draws a stark comparison between the average Ukrainian and those they voted for.
From civil sergeants, to judges and all the way to the highest offices in the Ukrainian political sphere there was a range of almost insulting excesses. The material assets alone included a range of things including wine collections, weapons collections, tickets to space, sports cars, luxury watches, expensive real estate, and even Faberge eggs.
There was however, one asset all of the top tier leaders had in common; massive reserves of cash. Besides his collection of luxury watches, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman holds on to a cash reserve of $1.2 million in US dollars and €460,000, and he is one of the small players. President Petro Poroshenko holds $26.3 million in bank accounts along with investments in 104 companies and charity funds. Poroshenko was obviously a businessman before he was elected but he had promised to sell off some of his largest companies, including a successful chocolate business after he won, which he did not do.
Possibly the most disturbing revelation of all of this is that Ukrainian leaders keep their cash reserves in American and European currency. This has shaken the faith the average citizen of Ukraine has in the official currency of the country, the Hyrvnia. It was also noted by some Ukrainian journalists and soldiers that the army fighting in the ongoing civil war is relying heavily on volunteers and donations while the leaders live so lavishly.
The ethnically Ukrainian half of the nation wanted change in their country along with more transparency. Receiving the transparency they wanted now seems to show that they aren’t quite getting the change they also asked for.