22 March 2019

On March 15, four presidential candidates and five representatives of the candidates partook in the talk show on defence corruption. NAKO invited for discussion those candidates or their representatives who previously provided their answers to NAKO Questionnaire. The event had been initiated by the Independent Defence Anti-Corruption Committee in cooperation with ObozTV, with the support of New Media Development Group NFP. Media partners are LIGA:ZAKON and 24 Channel.

The following presidential candidates joined the talk show discussion: Balashov Hennadiy, Bezsmertnyy Roman, Koshulynskyy Ruslan and Kupriy Vitaliy, as well as the representatives of the candidates: Andriy Senchenko – Yulia Timoshenko’s Military Cabinet Coordinator, Ruslan Ryaboshapka – Volodymyr Zelenskyy’s representative, Ivan Aparshyn – a Member of Parliament and Anatoliy Hrytsenko’s representative, nominated by Hrytsenko as his future Defence Minister, Olexander Polischuk – Ukrop party member and Olexanders Shevchenko’s representative, and Taras Pastukh – a Member of Parliament and Andriy Sadovyy’s representative.

Everyone in the studio agreed on, is the need to reduce secrecy and increase transparency and thus the civil oversight within Ukraine’s defence sector. Presidential candidates and experts discussed also the future of state defence conglomerate Ukroboronprom. NAKO Secretary General Olena Tregub noted that “NAKO has advocated for the international audit of Ukroboronprom for already two years and hopefully after the recent corruption scandal and a new commitment made by the President it will go through”. Permanent and service defence housing was also widely debated. Now the defence housing queue includes more than 47 thousand servicemen and women. That is why the Committee recommends to stop the practice of the unrealistic post-Soviet promises of free permanent housing.

The candidate and their representative engaged in a well-informed debate and made commitments to fight defence corruption. Concrete corruption cases were discussed and even some documents demonstrated.

So far 16 presidential candidates have announced their position on the issues of defence corruption in response to NAKO’s Questionnaire. NAKO Co-Chair Volodymyr Ohryzko mentioned during the show that ‘if the rest of the presidential candidates send answers to the Questionnaire before the first round of elections, we will publicize them on NAKO’s online platform’.

Majority of top presidential candidates provided their answers and commitment to eliminate defence corruption, including Volodymyr Zelensky, Yulia Tymoshenko, Anatoliy Hrytsenko. Notably, Ukraine’s current President and Commander-in-Chief Petro Poroshenko didnot share his vision on dealing with defence corruption despite that fact his administration and campaign have been numerously approached by NAKO.

Photos by the press service of Roman Bezsmertny.