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Ukraine's Econ Minister Denounces Corruption, Storms Out of Government

In a further blow to Poroshenko foreign born Economics Minister Aivaras Abromavicius announces resignation at press conference where he accuses colleagues of blocking reforms and of pressuring him to appoint corrupt officials close to various oligarchs

This post first appeared on Russia Insider

The political situation in Ukraine has taken a dramatic twist with the sudden resignation of Economics Minister Aivbaras Abromavicius.

Abromavicius was one of the foreign born “experts” who joined the government in 2014, taking out Ukrainian citizenship in the process.  He is Lithuanian.

The other foreign born expert  holding a high position in the government is Finance Minister Jaresko, who is a US citizen.

Abromavicius resigned in melodramatic fashion, denouncing his government colleagues at a press conference in Kiev.

“My team and I have no desire to be a screen for brazen corruption or puppets for people who want to take control over state funds in the style of the old government……I don’t want to go to Davos and tell them about our successes while issues are decided in the interests of certain people behind our back.”

He specifically denounced Igor Kononenko, a close associate of Poroshenko’s, of pressuring him to appoint deputies against his will who would ensure powerful figures continued to profit from corruption in the energy and defence sectors.

The background to Abromavicius’s resignation is that there has been growing disillusion both in Ukraine and in the West at the failure of the post-Maidan government to root out corruption.  On the contrary, the consensus is that since Yanukovitch fell corruption in Ukraine has got much worse.

Perhaps an even more pressing - though unstated - reason for Abromavicius’s resignation is that the IMF, concerned about the situation in Ukraine itself and about the Russian court case, is becoming increasingly hesitant about releasing more funds.  

If those funds are not released then Ukraine will have to default on its Western debt as well as on its Russian debt and Finance Minister Jaresko says there will be a catastrophe.

Abromavicius’s resignation is a serious, though not crippling, blow to the Maidan regime.  As an outsider he was not politically important in Ukraine itself.  However he did provide the West assurance of Ukraine’s commitment to “reform”, and his resignation puts that in doubt.

Abromavicius’s manner of resignation, hurling denunciations at his colleagues for blocking reform and for corruption, will also inevitably shake confidence in Poroshenko - who originally appointed him - and confirm what Ukrainians think about the corruption of their government. 

One way or the other Abromavicius obviously does not want to be on board what he clearly thinks is a sinking ship

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