Transparency International released a report on people’s perception of corruption in Europe and Central Asia. 56% of Ukrainians acknowledged that corruption is the main problem.

Ukraine was dignified enough to have a stand-alone report in the “Global Corruption Barometer” of Transparency International, a full version of which can be found at LIGA.net. The Ukrainian Red Cross Society (URCS) was the main culprit due to its failure, in explaining an expenditure of 253 million hryvnias from governmental funds. Moreover, volunteers revealed cases where URCS asked for bribes in return for basic humanitarian aid which should have been provided free of charge. The level of corruption amounted to millions of hryvnias.

This is an isolated case of a forty-page digest on corruption in the world, and it is not a coincidence that Ukraine features in it. According to the survey, Ukraine is fifth in terms of corruption perception among European and Central Asian states.

Note: The Global Corruption Barometer is the largest ever survey tracking world-wide public opinion on corruption in different countries around the world. The survey has been conducted yearly since 2003. All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from Transparency International GCB 2016. The survey was carried out face to face using a Computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI) approach by TNS in the period 24/02/2016-26/05/2016. The figures are weighted and are representative of all adults (aged 18+).

Ukraine’s total sample size was 1507. Ukraine’s margin of error is 2,6  percentage points.

The world is not that simple

According to the survey, the problem of corruption is most severe in Slovenia (59%), Kosovo (65%), Spain (66%) and Moldova (67%). The fifth place goes to Ukraine. For 56% of Ukrainians, corruption is seen as the main problem in the country. However, people in Moldova, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Spain do not see any progress in fighting against corruption. More than 80% of the population in these countries reckons that state authorities do nothing in the fight against corruption.

Ukrainians are reported to have the highest level of distrust to the government: 86% consider that anti-corruption activities have no results.

People in Albania, Romania and Bosnia and Herzegovina are sure the members of their Parliament are corrupt. According to the enquiry, Moldova has the highest percentage of corrupt officials at 76%.

Citizens of post-soviet countries are more likely to pay bribes. Two out of five households in Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine and Moldova faced corruption in public utilities sector (38-42% of respondents). This number was highest at 50% in Tajikistan, while Georgia was the exception. Transparency International estimated the level of bribery in this country at only 7% which corresponds to EU standards.
Interestingly, Ukraine and Russia are most lenient to corruption. Citizens in these countries are more likely to pay bribes, e.g. in the education sector. More than one third of Russians and Ukrainians have contributed to corruption in the sector in 2016. The most intolerant countries to corruption are France and Portugal. The number of people in these countries that are eager to report on corruption is 74% and 78% respectively. As for Montenegro, Belarus, Ukraine, Hungary, Croatia, Bulgaria, Lithuania, Armenia, Russia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, only 10 to 17% of population is ready to inform competent authorities on briberies.

Ukrainian realities 

Researchers from Transparency International claim that anti-corruption sentiments of Ukrainians have considerably grown in comparison to 2013 when the latest analogous survey was held. Every third Ukrainian is ready to stop paying bribes, 9% of the respondents are eager to report on corruption, 6% were willing to vote for honest candidates and parties, 7% are ready to discuss the problem of corruption aloud, 2% are willing to join an anti-corruption organization and 1%  to boycott dishonest business.
Nevertheless, 72% of the respondents claimed that little has changed in four years of fighting corruption. The government’s attempts to influence the situation are estimated negatively by 86% of the respondents. Additionally, oligarchic influence on the government is still obvious. 49% of Ukrainians consider that the elites influence the government in their own interests. 67% of the respondents are certain that the prohibition for companies to give funds to both political parties and candidates could be one of the many ways to reduce such an influence.

It was reported by respondents that more than 60% of state officials, parliamentarians, fiscal services employees and judges are directly related to corruption. 60% of the respondents acknowledged Presidential and Prime Ministerial corruption. This year alone, 38% of Ukrainians paid bribes when interacting with state authorities. It was more likely to pay bribes for services in the primary or secondary schools (38%), medical institutions (33%), for traffic misconduct (33%), tertiary-level education (31%), when formalizing unemployment payments (9%) and social benefits (6%).

Only 58% of the respondents are ready to report on corruption. 16% are certain that a notification on bribery will change nothing, and 14% of Ukrainians are afraid of the consequences of such an exposure. Despite such concerns, such a result shall be deemed as a positive one as there were only 26% of the Ukrainians ready to report on corruption in 2013.