As officials acknowledge that funding for military contracts has “vanished,” the New York Times is beginning to gradually acknowledge the widespread corruption that has been a defining characteristic of the former Soviet state. This could be a sign of changing perspectives regarding the manner in which the war in Ukraine has been covered by the legacy media.
After the Ukrainian Defense Minister, Oleksii Reznikov was fired because of corruption scandals related to the war with Russia, the New York Times stated that “corruption throughout Ukraine has become a persistent problem” that has now “emerged as a rare point of criticism regarding President Volodymyr Zelensky’s leadership.”
Even though Reznikov hasn’t been directly linked to any of the corruption cases, the Times said that his departure has “raised the issue up to the highest levels of Ukrainian politics.” Anonymous Ukrainian officials further informed the paper that a portion of the money meant for military contracts “failed to produce weapons or ammunition, and a part of the money has gone missing.” They said that this problem only happened in the beginning of the war.
Even though nine high-level government officials were fired after being accused of corruption, such as buying military food supplies at much higher prices and going on luxury vacations, the paper wrote in January that “corruption hasn’t been a major factor in the war, even with Russian propaganda assertions to the contrary that are meant to hurt his [Zelensky’s] government.”
After Defense Minister Reznikov was fired this week, the New York Times said that there haven’t been any specific accusations of corruption involving American money, but that corruption within the country has changed from taking advantage of state-run businesses to making money off of war as billions of dollars come into the country from other countries.
“Where is all this money?” is the question that has to be answered, according to Daria Kaleniuk, executive director of the Anti-Corruption Action Center for Ukraine, who was speaking to the newspaper.
She went on to say, “Corruption can kill. The soldier’s weaponry will be determined by our level of success in protecting public funds.”
The Times additionally stated that the mood in Ukraine is changing about the problem, which it claimed was “mostly taboo during the first year of the war when Ukrainians united around their government to fight for the country’s survival.”