by Alexander J. Motyl
"Ukraine has made significant progress in combating corruption in recent years and has still managed impressive reforms, prompting former Finance Minister Natalie Jaresko to say that Ukraine has changed more in the past three years than in the 20-plus years since independence in 1991. On December 13, 2016, the EU concluded that Ukraine is carrying out intense and unprecedented reforms across its economy and political system, while its democratic institutions have been further revitalized. That report, unlike years of headlines about corruption in Ukraine, did not catch the media’s eye.
So why is the fixation on Ukrainian corruption? Partly because it provides a simple theme around which to organize ignorance about Ukraine, as well as a convenient rationale for Ukraine fatigue in foreign policy. Corruption provides Westerners with an attractive us versus them picture: there, the bad, corrupt Ukrainians; here, honest, virtuous Europeans and Americans. Russian propaganda has managed to spread this image of Ukraine in a bid to reduce it to an irredeemably failed state unworthy of the West’s attention."