Prime Minister Viktor Yushchenko came to Washington last week, preaching reform, seeking aid and investment, and trying to cope with charges of widespread corruption. He had mixed results.
Yushchenko met with President Clinton, whom he will see again when (as is likely) Clinton stops in Kyiv on his way home from the June 4-5 Moscow summit. But he secured no new commitments from U.S. government agencies or private investors. He did get a renewal of the long unfulfilled pledge of funding for the decommissioning of the Chernobyl reactor, but the check is not yet in the bank nor even in the mail.
Instead, Yushchenko was dogged at every step by issues of corruption, which he said the American side “raised with utmost severity” and “at every meeting.” American officials were not so much concerned with allegations of improper conduct at Ukraine’s central bank under Yushchenko’s management, as with broader problems of state favoritism and fraud, in the energy sector in particular. Because of corruption, U.S. officials said, Ukraine is still not close to consideration for permanent normal trade relations or “market economy” status under U.S. trade law.