After I posted yesterday on Sasha Borovik's journey back to Ukraine to help reforms, I learned this morning with dismay that he had been fired. He was hired as first deputy minister of the economy with amazing qualifications given his international career, but his nomination was never confirmed due to all sorts of bureaucratic obstacles. Today, it was announced that it would not be confirmed after he had worked several months without salary and that he was let go, without much further explanation. Very Soviet-style, very Orwellian. I expect lots of false rumors and innuendo to be spread. It should hopefully not deceive too many people.
There is no doubt that Sasha Borovik's great knowledge of business and institutions in advanced modern democracies, his intellectual independence, his courage, idealism, integrity and outspokenness ruffled feathers among those who in the shadows want to continue with corrupt and opaque ways, who pretend to reform to continue receiving money from the West, who are satisfied with lousy compromises with dark oligarchic powers. Nobody should be afraid of ideas and debates. Nobody holds the truth, which is why open debate is very important to move forward. Getting rid of Borovik is not a good sign of the current Ukrainian government's willingness to do serious reforms. It is a shame and a scandal and will hopefully lead to more serious scrutiny from international financial institutions about how reforms are implemented .... or not implemented, and how financial aid is really used.
Those who fight for genuine reforms in Ukraine, to transform it into a modern European democracy, to eradicate corruption from government and from people's minds should not be discouraged by this very bad signal. They should instead fight even more, be even more outspoken about what needs to be done and is not done. Politicians and bureaucrats must feel the heat even more. Civil society in Ukraine has woken up, but it will be a long march before Ukraine completely breaks with its Soviet past and its corrupt post-Soviet past. Ukrainian people needs more Sasha Boroviks to lead them towards this goal.