Ukraine is finally on the right path toward an open society. President Volodymyr Zelensky’s victory was a victory of the people, and for the people, against the corrupt Poroshenko regime which dominated the country’s courts and the rule of law unfettered. The promise of a fair and open Ukrainian society resonated with the electorate who removed the corrupt kleptocrat, Petro Poroshenko, from power. The Ukrainian people ousted a regime which prosecuted the innocent and shunned a free and fair society for all; not just the wealthy.
As Ukraine moves forward, Ukrainians must realize that the hard work has just begun in order to achieve prosperity. Ukraine needs to align itself more closely with NATO. There should be deeper integration into global markets, and closer economic ties with the EU and the United States. Mr. Zelensky is in Canada this month to talk to our ally which has been a reliable and strategic partner.
Ukraine must also eradicate the corruption of the previous regime and steps in the right direction have already been taken. The president has dismissed of several important figures from SBU leadership (Ukraine’s Secret Service). I myself am setting up and planning to head an NGO called “The Asset Recovery Group” with the aim of recovering the $5 billion that was embezzled by former Mr. Poroshenko and his inner circle. I have dedicated my career to exposing the corruption that plagued Ukraine under Mr. Poroshenko’s rule and fighting against any corruption that exists within the system as a remnant of the old regime.
When I ran away from death threats and political persecution in 2016, I learned that most of the Western world knows a lot about the world but still very little about Ukraine. We gained our independence on Aug. 24, 1991, but 28 years later and two revolutions later the country, only until recently, was owned by a group of corrupt government officials and powerful agency called the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU), which was created under a false anti-corruption flag.
In the words of Transparency International, “Transparency is central to tackling corruption — access, participation and collaboration depend on it and if transparency is the first step towards progress, accountability is the next. Yet holding governments accountable for the things they said they would do is the piece of the puzzle that all too often gets forgotten.”
Why should the West care? Because Ukraine’s geopolitical location is of strategic interest to the West. Moreover, Ukraine is a case study for how funds which the United States donates and loans the Ukrainian government are used against our own people and opposition, until the recent change in leadership.
As President Zelensky tackles corruption under his new administration let’s remember that the winds of change are finally here for my country. I want to help move our country forward, so whether it’s starting the NGO or running for a seat as a member of Parliament (MP), I want to be part of the change that has finally come to Ukraine and stand shoulder to shoulder with my president as we tackle corruption and set a new course.
As I write this article, the Ukrainian Election Commission refuses to allow me to run in the election scheduled on July 21, 2019. This is the same commission which originally refused to register the party of former President Mikheil Saakashvili and is still being controlled by Mr. Poroshenko and his puppets.
Ukraine is starting a new chapter in its history and I am excited to be part of the change in Ukraine’s future.
• Oleksandr Onyschenko, member of the Ukrainian Parliament and whistleblower, is author of the book “Peter the Fifth.”