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    In Ukraine, Western Bailout Money Simply 'Disappears Into a Black Hole'

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    Dietmar Studemann, a former diplomat who served as Germany's ambassador to Ukraine from 2000-2006, suggested that so far, all the funding which has arrived in Ukraine from the West to 'help' with the country's modernization and democratization efforts has simply "disappeared into a black hole."

    In Studemann's (rather overbearingly paternalistic) viewpoint, a new 'Marshall Plan' for Ukraine would be successful only if finances are controlled by the International Monetary Fund, European institutions, and "bilaterally by the states involved."

    "If things are left entirely in the hands of Ukraine, experience shows that this does not work," the diplomat said, speaking to Austrian business newspaper WirtschaftsBlatt.

    The current situation, he suggested, was Ukraine's third attempt at becoming a 'modern democratic state' in the last quarter century. "In the 25 years of [Ukraine's] independence, we have observed an uncontrolled struggle for power and an effort to secure private interests, which have very often consisted of [private] financial interests."

    "The money constantly disappeared into a black hole. If this is repeated again, the current financial stabilization [measures] will not achieve their goals," Studemann warned, speaking about the IMF loan and the funds provided by Western governments. 

    According to the former diplomat, Ukraine must create new democratic institutions, reform its justice system and to make it more independent of authorities. So far, however, nothing of the kind has been observed.

    Ultimately, Studemann suggested that unlike Russia, Ukraine has hope for the future, in the form of the Maidan. "Ukraine, like Russia, is dominated by a kleptocracy," he explained. However, "unlike Russia, Ukraine has its Maidan," a secret "strength" of conscious citizens concerned over politicians who are only interested in looting the state. "This is a strong moment. In this sense, something positive is present."

    It remains unclear what exactly might be on the former ambassador's mind for him to consider the events of Maidan, which led to the overthrow of an unpopular but democratically elected government, the breakaway of Crimea, civil war in the southeast, mass corruption and almost total political, social and economic paralysis, a "positive" thing. If what Ukrainians refer to as the 2014 Maidan 'Revolution of Dignity' or the 2004 'Orange Revolution' have indicated anything, it's that the country's democratic process is often overshadowed by street revolts which have been unable to ensure the aptitude or accountability of the leaders they put into power.

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    Tags:
    International Monetary Fund, kleptocracy, Maidan, interview, Dietmar Studemann, Europe, Ukraine
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