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Odessa governor says current levels of corruption worst-ever in Ukraine

December 24, 2015, 2:04 UTC+3 KIEV
Saakashvili declared formation of a broad non-partisan anticorruption movement in Ukraine
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© ITAR-TASS/Sergei Fadeichev

KIEV, December 24. /TASS/. The current level of corruption and the overall status of the economy is the worst Ukraine has ever seen, Odessa region governor and Georgia's former President, Mikhail Saakashvili said on Wednesday as he took the floor at anti-corruption forum in Kiev.

"During all the time I'm here, I haven't met a single person who would say corruption had waned since the times of (President Viktor) Yanukovich," Saakashvili said. "What's more, I'm hearing now and then the fees today are much higher. I haven't spoken a single small or medium-sized business owner who wouldn't tell me the situation at present is as bad as it never was under (President) Kuchma or the 'orange' government or Yanukovich.

On Wednesday, Saakashvili declared formation of a broad non-partisan anticorruption movement in Ukraine. "We’re launching Ukraine’s refurbishment," he told reporters on the sidelines of the Anticorruption Forum underway in Kiev.

He said the new movement was not built to assist the interests "of a concrete politician and a concrete political party."

More than 6,000 delegates registered at the forum, the convocation of which was steered by Saakashvili’s team. As a TASS reporter said in an eyewitness report from the event, the volunteers distributed the badges reading "Movement for Ukraine’s Cleansing."

In most probability, this motto will become the official name of the movement.

Ukrainian Interior Minister Arsen Avakov has accused the former Georgian President turned Odessa region governor, Mikhail Saakashvili, of populism and absence of practical achievements.

He made his accusations public in an interview published on Wednesday by the Ukrainskaya Pravda news portal.

Avakov believes that Saakashvili engages in self-promotion instead of engaging in reforms. "One cannot parasitize endlessly on society’s intents," he said. "People are overstrained; the economy is in a poor condition and war is going on. Why? Corruption. This explanation naturally finds a response in any heart and that’s why crafty politicians try to make a ploy of it."

"I’m not urging him (Saakashvili) to refrain from vociferous statements," Avakov went on. "Let him make them. Let him create the needed atmosphere because people like it."

"But object to substituting of the cornerstone notions of morality and right with make-believe," he said, adding that self-promotion occupied 98% of Saakashvili’s time while work took up only a spec of it.

Earlier this month, Saakashvili accused the cabinet of ministers with Arseny Yatsenyuk at the head and the country’s biggest business tycoons of involvement in sweeping corruption. The climax of the conflict occurred during the December 14 session of the National Council for Reforms that was chaired by President Poroshenko.

An exchange of insults between Avakov and Saakashvili, in which Yatsenyuk was involved tentatively, ended up with Avakov’s throwing a glass of water at Saakashvili and Yatsenyuk calling the Odessa governor "a traveling entertainer.".

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