What's wrong with state funding of parties in Ukraine?

Author : Iryna Shostak

Source : 112 Ukraine

National Anti-Corruption Agency (NACA) has checked the financial documents of Ukrainian parties and revealed signs of violations in the reports of 11 parties. For parliamentary parties, such oversights can threaten with deprivation of state funding. For example, last year, in connection with the indication of false information in the reports, similar sanctions were already applied to the Batkivshchyna and Holos parties. But this time everything is much more interesting: the most expensive Ukrainian party in content, and the ruling force, Servant of the People, managed to get into the list of the violators
12:48, 4 March 2021

Verkhovna Rada
Open source

You can endlessly look at three things: how the fire burns, how the water flows and how the Ukrainian MPs are "caught by the hand." It is only unclear what is more ironic in this situation - that the accusation of "servants" in the waste of taxpayers' funds symbolically flew in on the first day of spring, or that the pro-presidential party, which includes certified lawyers, has forgotten how to correctly draw up reports and act strictly according to the law?

Related: Strongman Vasyl Virastyuk runs as candidate MP from Servant of the People party

NACA accuses Servant of the People of violating the procedure for financing the party, embezzlement, and seizure of property, as well as official forgery of documents. At least 3 episodes from the party's financial report testify to violations: 2 million USD for a party website, 10,000 USD for photography services, and 21,500 USD for online webinars. It is not known how much money the Servant of the People sent to the accounts of various individual entrepreneurs for such "important" services for the state. Obviously enough to get the attention of anti-corruption officials.

And it is still the NACA did not investigate the fact that the party financed the national poll "Five Questions from the President." It would be interesting to know how much Servant of the People paid, or rather, let go, on this senseless holiday of the guarantor's PR, piles of empty ballots after which they were found in trash cans and dumps, and the final results were drawn on their knees and forgotten the next day.

Related: Ukraine's MP Dubinsky expelled from Servant of People faction

How will the Servant of the People continue to act? To challenge the decision, in the fight not only for the "hard-earned" 12 million USD, which the party should receive in 2021 but also for the rapidly leaving electorate. Indeed, even despite the fact that there is no institution of reputation in Ukraine, and many Ukrainians do not follow the activities of the NACA and do not know about the intricacies of state financing of parties, they associate Servant of the People with Zelensky. And any mention of the party in a negative way in the media or on social networks increasingly lowers the rating of trust in the president.

It is on this basis that the versions seem doubtful that the "alarm bell" for the Servant of the People was organized on Bankova Street as an instrument of control over individual representatives of the party.

Related: Servant of People party offers Parliament to let Ukrainians have dual citizenship

It is possible that the stop of state funding is a signal for Volodymyr Zelenskyy from the anti-corruption structure, which was created and operates under the patronage of Western partners. Moreover, some experts believe that, perhaps, such attacks towards the "green" party are part of the political crush between NABU, NACA, and the President's Office.

But whatever the reasons for the attacks against the ruling party, since violations were found in the reports of more than ten Ukrainian parties, it is worth understanding the very approach to their financing.

What's wrong with funding parliamentary parties?

The issue of state financing of parliamentary parties has been raised more than once in expert circles - such financing requires transparent reporting, which simply does not exist in Ukraine as a phenomenon. Each of the parties shows in the reports what it wants to show.

Today, the mechanism that was supposed to protect parliamentary parties from lobbying the interests of sponsoring oligarchs, on the contrary, is becoming an instrument for subsidizing oligarchic interests by the state by financing the political forces under their control.

Related: Servant of People party to pay for “Zelensky poll”

It turns out that while the parliamentary parties, which already have the opportunity and resources to "shine" in the media space, receive salaries from the state treasury and are additionally supported by the state, other political forces find themselves in a trap, from which there are only two ways out: support with one or another oligarch, or give up a place in the big political arena. The choice is obvious.

There is a solution to the current situation - it is worth revising the mechanism for financing political forces.

The taxpayers themselves should be interested in this more than anyone else - ordinary Ukrainians, at whose expense the "banquet" takes place. Each of us must realize that money for financing parties is not taken from the ephemeral "state treasury," but from the pockets of each of us.


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