Lower Your Expectations! How an Anti-Corruption Witch Hunt Buried Ukraine’s Hopes of Modernization for Years.

Criminal cases against successful reformers are nothing but a natural consequence of the creation of new punitive bodies in Ukraine instead of systemic changes in governance.“Keep your head down, smart***!” is the message that the people who drive reforms are getting from corrupt officials. Such messages discourage those who are willing to break the mold to change the system and throw the entire country years back. The cases against Andriy Kobolyev and Yevhen Dykhne are model examples of such signals.Here is the story in a nutshell: the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and the Specialized Anti-Corruption Prosecutor’s Office of Ukraine (SAPO) are charging Andriy Kobolyev, the former Chairman of Naftogaz with awarding himself an illegal bonus of UAH 261 million (1% of the money collected after winning the case against Russia's Gazprom). It was UAH 229 million over the legal limitation for such bonuses in state-owned companies. The excess also equaled the amount of bail that the Appeals Chamber of the High Anti-Corruption Court (HAAC) set in Kobolev’s case.The High Anti-Corruption Court had found Yevhen Dykhne, former director general of Boryspil airport guilty of abuse of office and had sentenced him to 5 years in prison.The creation of an anti-corruption infrastructure generated a great deal of discussion in Ukraine. Such discussions were often used for political gain.

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