"Over the past 8 years, Ukraine has developed the most comprehensive anti-corruption infrastructure in the world." Oleksander Novikov is the director of the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (NACP), wears a black T-shirt with the inscription 'I am Ukrainian' and is part of that new piece of the ruling class that wants to transform the country. Once and for all. He is very proud of his work and it is understandable. Because it's not easy. "Not everyone in the upper echelons is ready for this battle." Parliament, for example, has a law in its name that would save as many as 10,<> corrupt officials. "We asked President Volodymyr Zelensky to veto it." And it would be the second time in a row. The rule - which would allow those convicted of corruption to participate in contracts both in the military sector, during the war, and in future reconstruction - is linked to that on the publication of the balance sheet of public officials, which the Rada tried to postpone, triggering the intervention of the presidency.
"The entire package - he explains during an exclusive interview with ANSA - was presented by the Ministry of Justice. But my agency is the only body competent to present measures against corruption: I am very surprised by what has happened". Novikov speaks very clearly but his body language, so to speak, is even more explicit. According to him, corruption "as a system" was eradicated in 2014 with the Euromaidan. From there a journey began. "But without war, it is terrible to say, but it is so, we would never have been able to get the 2023-2025 national strategy against corruption approved by the Chamber", he assures. "In the first three months after the invasion it became clear that without renewed national integrity we would never be able to beat Russia. Because honesty leads to efficiency. Unfortunately, after those first months, ancient unhealthy practices have raised their heads again". Novikov has in mind a horse cure for Ukraine.
"From the point of view of preventive and repressive structures we are now in place. But the penalties go so far. We need to change people's mentality. We now have programs ranging from kindergarten to university and 20 major awareness campaigns are on the way. Another crucial pillar will be the introduction of 63 IT tools that will digitize 100% of interactions between citizens, businesses and the state: I am sure that by 2025 Ukraine will have all the requirements to be able to enter the European Union". Here, such a man can only have enemies. In Kiev it is fabled that a Russian missile intercepted by the Patriots in the NACP area could have its name written on it. Now, it will be said, what do the Russians have to do with it? Well, quite a lot. "In 2019, 27% of Ukrainians had had direct or indirect experience of corruption. This is a very high figure. In 2022 we are down to 17%. But the perception of the phenomenon travels between 60 and 80%, depending on the surveys. Because? Moscow's propaganda wants to portray Ukraine as a failed, rotten state, both to create internal discord and to undermine our credibility abroad," notes Novikov. And there's more. "Our investigations show that Russia has continued to launder money since the outbreak of the 'laundromat' scandal in order to destabilize democracy in the West, we are talking about tens of billions of euros." And the Kremlin will not be happy about this. But how is the relationship with the EU progressing to implement the reforms requested and not yet implemented? "Very well," says Novikov. "But we would like the EU to be more agile: we are in the middle of a war and we cannot waste time. Funding is needed to launch those 63 IT tools mentioned above. We are talking about little, a few million euros: we asked for them a year ago, they have not yet arrived. I know that the EU contributes a lot to the Ukrainian state budget, but that money doesn't come from there."
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