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More Ukrainians see corruption as a top threat to reconstruction than renewed fighting, Transparency International survey shows

Corruption poses a bigger threat to the reconstruction of Ukraine than renewed fighting once the war ends, according to a survey of Ukrainians taken for Transparency International.

Some 79% of Ukrainians cite "lack of control and embezzlement" as a top concern regarding the reconstruction of the country, the survey shows. Second on the list of major concerns was "resumption of corruption schemes," at 75%, followed by "large-scale destruction" at 65% and "recurrence of hostilities" at 63%.

"According to Ukrainians, corruption and war remain the main problems of the country," Transparency International said in announcing the results. "Moreover, the population has more concerns about corruption in matters of the future recovery than the recurrence of hostilities."

The survey, conducted by the Info Sapiens research agency with the support of USAID, also shows that, although war was the top concern in 2023, cited by 96% of those surveyed, corruption was not far behind, at 88%. Notably, the difference between those two concerns narrowed considerably since March when 98% cited war as a main concern and only 77% cited corruption.

The numbers also show that the Ukrainian citizenry is becoming more pragmatic about the efforts needed for reconstruction while demanding a prominent role for the public. The latest survey, in November, showed that 73% of Ukrainians believe reconstruction will take 10 years or more, up from 63% in the survey eight months earlier.

The percentage of people who say they plan to participate in social processes in the country, a key indicator of a commitment to democracy, meanwhile, was little changed, at a high 92% in November from 93% in March.

“At the end of 2023, the focus of Ukrainians is increasingly shifting towards internal problems," said Anastasiya Mazurok, deputy executive director of Transparency International Ukraine. "People clearly distinguish corruption as the embodiment of all serious issues Ukraine experiences. They demand full-fledged engagement and honest dialogue from the authorities.” 

Transparency International’s global Corruption Perceptions Index gives Ukraine a score of 33 out of 100 in its fight against corruption, labelling the country as one of the most corrupt in Europe.

In an August report, Transparency International said most early contracts in an estimated 1 billion-euro project to rebuild the Kiev suburb of Irpin, the scene of heavy fighting last year, were granted to “suspicious” companies with no open bidding.

By value, contracts awarded at the time totaled about 933 million hryvnias ($25 million), and contracts worth 434 million hryvnias, or almost half, were awarded to six “suspicious” companies with a history of criminal cases, Transparency International said.

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