Moving forward: 'Ukraine needs real change, not an imitation of it' - Saakashvili

16:50 Nov. 17, 2016

'Ukraine needs real change, not an imitation of it' - Saakashvili

Mikhail Saakashvili speaks during the anti-corruption forum in Kyiv (AP photo)

Active and patriotic youth will destroy corruption and change Ukraine forever, according to Saakashvili 

Ukraine's greatest resource is the young, educated Ukrainians who, given the opportunity, would become effective, honest public servants and political leaders, eager to rid the country of corruption, the former Odesa governor and president of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili wrote in his New York Times column.

After getting ahead of Odesa region and starting introducing reforms in it, Saakashvili faced dire resistance from Ukraine's elites, he wrote on the newspaper pages. 

"As the reform movement picked up pace and gained popularity, we suddenly ran into resistance where we least expected it — from people in prominent positions in government back in the capital, Kyiv. The first sign of trouble was when I had to confront the then prime minister, Arseniy P. Yatsenyuk, over evidence of corruption involving government officials at a chemical plant in Odessa, one of the largest state-owned enterprises of its kind," Saakashvili wrote. 

Ukraine's president, Petro O. Poroshenko, pledged to crack down on the old practices and bring in greater transparency, although no major changes have been seen yet, Saakashvili notes. 

"I've am severely disappointed with Mr. Poroshenko's apparent inability to see that the status quo is unsustainable. Ukraine needs real change, not an imitation of it. Today, many of the reform initiatives we began have come to a halt. This is an amazing country, full of hard-working, educated and talented people who deserve a much better future. Its greatest resource." he wrote. 

Ukraine's old corrupt establishment has discouraged and blocked these young reformers from assuming leadership positions in the public sector, Saakashvili summarises in his article. 


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