In winter, Transparency International presented its Corruption Perceptions Index 2019.

Ukraine scored 30 points out of 100 possible, while Belarus gained 1 point and reached the 66th place with 45 points.

Let’s figure out why Belarus has that score.

First off, let’s keep in mind that the CPI only assesses corruption in the public sector, but it does not take into account other violations such as human rights or freedom of speech violations.

We shouldn’t say that Belarus got a good score in CPI 2019. Its 45 points have remained unchanged for the past three years. This is level with the worst scores in the European Union.

There have hardly been any anti-corruption reforms in the country.

Most foreign research indicates that the risk of people or companies in Belarus encountering bribery or other corrupt practices is overall lower than in Ukraine. But we need to take into account that our civil society and journalists expose a lot of our corruption schemes. In Belarus, on the other hand, no critical publications about the authorities’ actions are allowed.

Ukraine’s score is based on 9 studies, while Belarus’ score is informed by 7. This can affect the comprehensiveness of the score, too. By the way, some of the research sources place Ukraine higher than Lukashenko’s regime.

It’s not that Belarus has that much less corruption. It’s that due to censorship and violation of basic rights, citizens and international organizations are much less aware of it. For obvious reasons, there is no Transparency International chapter in Belarus, which could help us shed light on the situation.

TI Ukraine’s legal advisor Oleksandr Kalitenko thinks it’s not the best idea to compare ourselves to Belarus, whose scores are lower than those of other post-socialist Eastern European countries.

Better examples to follow are the EU countries, such as Lithuania, Portugal or Spain (60-62 points), our neighbor Poland (58 points), and others who have made a breakthrough after the collapse of the socialist bloc.


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