President Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine made a significant move towards promoting transparency and combating corruption by publicly disclosing his income for the first time. This comes as Ukraine endeavors to gain European Union (EU) membership, facing stringent conditions on addressing its historical corruption problem. Zelenskyy’s income, as outlined in the declaration on the presidential website, reveals a substantial decrease for the year 2022 compared to the previous year, largely attributed to the onset of Russia’s aggression towards Ukraine.

In 2021, Zelenskyy and his family members received a total income of 10.8 million Ukrainian hryvnias ($286,168), which witnessed a significant drop of nearly 12 million hryvnias compared to the previous year. Notably, this figure included approximately $142,000 in income generated from the sale of government bonds. However, the income for 2022 plummeted further to 3.7 million hryvnias due to the “temporary termination of lease agreements” amidst Russia’s full-scale aggression.

Zelenskyy’s decision to publish his income serves as a call to action for other public officials, urging them to disclose their earnings as part of a broader effort to enhance transparency. In alignment with this effort, Ukraine’s National Agency on Corruption Prevention recently reopened a register allowing the public scrutiny of declared incomes. This move is crucial, as it not only demonstrates Ukraine’s dedication to transparency but also bolsters its credibility in the eyes of its allies and international institutions, including the United States and the International Monetary Fund.

The battle against corruption in Ukraine faces significant challenges. The recent revelation by the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) of a $40 million arms procurement corruption scheme sheds light on the persisting issue. A two-year investigation led to the discovery that five employees of Lviv Arsenal, a Ukrainian arms firm, colluded with Ministry of Defense officials to embezzle funds allocated for the purchase of 100,000 mortar shells. The implicated individuals now face possible imprisonment of up to 12 years if convicted.

Ukraine’s aspiration for EU membership necessitates concrete steps in addressing its corruption problem. The disclosure of income by President Zelenskyy represents a positive stride in this direction, as it showcases the country’s commitment to combating corruption and embracing transparency. The EU, along with other international partners, extends financial aid and supplies weaponry to Ukraine. These allies have consistently emphasized the significance of eradicating graft in public offices. The disclosure of Zelenskyy’s income reinforces Ukraine’s position as it strives to meet the standards set forth by the EU and strengthen its ties with the international community.

President Zelenskyy’s publication of his income becomes a pivotal moment in Ukraine’s efforts to promote transparency and tackle corruption. The decline in his family’s income from 2021 to 2022, influenced by Russia’s aggression, highlights the challenging conditions faced by the nation. Nonetheless, the push for transparency and the reopening of the register for declared incomes demonstrate Ukraine’s determination to address its corruption problem. As the country seeks EU membership, these initiatives play a crucial role in enhancing its credibility and fostering trust among its allies and international partners.


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