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Author(s)Tatyana Ivzhenko
SourceCurrent Digest of the Russian Press, The ,  No.44,  Vol.68, October  31, 2016, page(s):15
  • Ukraine
Place of PublicationMinneapolis, USA
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Author: Tatyana Ivzhenko

(By Tatyana Ivzhenko. Nezavisimaya gazeta, Nov. 2, 2016, p. 1. Condensed text:). .. The introduction of an electronic system for officials to declare their assets was one of the West’s key requirements for Ukraine. The reform was crucial both for developing relations with the European Union (including the prospect for a visa waiver for Ukrainians) and [for receiving] Western financial assistance. In late 2015, the Supreme Rada almost thwarted the introduction of the new asset declaration system. Parliamentary deputies included it in 2017 plans.

However, the trick did not go unnoticed: The West upped the pressure, making sure that information about the living standards of the powers that be became available in the public domain this year.

The first stage of the declaration process ended on Oct. 31. Several hundred top officials filled out forms. The majority of them did so at the last moment. So the information swept the public like an avalanche. One deputy declared a church he owned, another declared the holy relics he kept at home, and still another [claimed he] had an expensive watch put under his pillow by St. Nicholas while he was asleep. One official declared "a ticket to space" worth almost $1.5 million. [Other declared] fleets of cars and collections of paintings, carpets, diamonds, antiques, yachts and airplanes, dozens of apartments and hundreds of hectares of land. All of them have rich relatives and enormous sums of cash at home: hundreds of thousands and millions in hryvnias, dollars and euros.

The Opora public organization calculated that officials had an equivalent of approximately 12 billion hryvnias (about $500 million) in cash alone. Political commentator Denis Bogush pointed out that what was declared was probably a third of what there actually is: "They had almost a year to hide their assets." A joke making the rounds in the streets has it that the International Monetary Fund has ...

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