No shame

Nana Chornaya
10:40, 19 February 2018
Ukraine
334 0
Opinion
It has always been a mystery to me, how come the Ukrainian politicians are rarely concerned over potential reputational losses.

The latest case is when an official, tarnished by his desire to snatch another piece of "budget pie", simply went on and held a regular session of the City Council right after a court hearing was held in a corruption case against him. Yes, I'm talking about Odesa Mayor Gennady Trukhanov. And it's not even about how softly the court treated someone suspected of abusing power (although law enforcers could have worked on some of his graver "sins") by letting his friend from parliament bail him out. Another thing is what enrages me most – it's how Trukhanov and the like are convinced of their impunity, despite the trail of crimes, crawling behind them from one high office to another. They are so self-assured that they seem to perceive as a mere itch that public outrage that they cause. In fact, they couldn't care less about this very public.

Another thing is what enrages me most – it's how Trukhanov and the like are convinced of their impunity, despite the trail of crimes, crawling behind them from one high office to another

In more civilized countries, everything is different. The prime minister of Iceland resigned after allegations were reported in a Panamapapers probe that he had been concealing assets in an offshore jurisdiction.  The minister of industry, energy and tourism of Spain took the same decisive step, also in the wake of the "Panama Dossier".

The minister of finance of Japan, who was spotted being boozed up at the G7 meeting, also resigned immediately. The country's defense minister stepped down over the story with the documents of Japanese peacekeepers in Southern Sudan.

The British secretary for international development filed a resignation letter amid a scandal because during her vacation in Israel she held 12 meetings with Israeli officials in violation of the government protocol.

Sex-related accusations dating back some 20 years have made Canada's minister and governor go. Previously, a light touch on the female journalist's knee got the British defense secretary sacked.

According to the rules in a civilized state, a person with a tarnished reputation cannot hold a public office. They just can't be at the helm, that's it

There are hundreds of similar cases worldwide. But those targeted officials choose not to wait for long-term trials. They are mostly overpowered by shame and embarrassment forcing them to leave office. It's just that, according to the rules in a civilized state, a person with a tarnished reputation cannot hold a public office. They just can't be at the helm, that's it. So, those officials just did what they had to do. They messed up – and they left their post.

Unfortunately, such logic is incompatible with the mentality of the political elite in Ukraine. And this has already been verified by the years of the country's independence. Our "helmsmen" simply don't care about all those Panama dossiers and other reputational scandals, accusations of embezzlement, and "fake" asset declarations where they "forget" to state their real estate, luxury cars and, and millions in cash "fairly won in a lottery"...

It is really hard to say, what could change the situation for the better. Perhaps someone needs to launch ethics classes just for them, Ukrainian politicians? There's only one thing that must be taught there: you mess up – you go. You go before the people take on the streets and make you.

After all, this could all end up badly, and not only for those politicians but for all Ukrainians as well.

Nana Chornaya

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