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Kharkiv dimension of reforms: anti-corruption, decentralization, courts


How do changes in Ukraine affect the lives of Kharkiv citizens and how do the city and region change? This was discussed on May 7 in Kharkiv by the participants in the discussion organized by the Reanimation Package of Reforms on anti-corruption, judicial and law enforcement reforms. The discussion was attended by activists, academics, MPs, councillors and business people.

Roman Likhachov of the Chuhuiv Coalition of Reforms emphasized a significant risk for reforms: soon there will be nobody to implement them because youth is leaving Ukraine. “Without citizens’ control, reforms will not be effective,” said Maryna Nikolaieva, coordinator of WikiInvestigation Platform in Kharkiv.

“Without real instruments for civilian oversight, including legally binding instruments, neither anti-corruption reform nor decentralization are possible. Investigations by activists demonstrate: there is a simple opportunity to steal budget funds not only at the top level but also on the ground on a large scale,” said the journalist.

Education reform also needs to be improved. According to the head of the parent organization “Ukrainians – Let’s Get Together!” Olena Hrypich, it is necessary to liquidate district education departments, to delegate authority to school principals – so that schools could bear responsibility for procurement without tenders, and so that tenders could be conducted by the Department of Education and Science. To have a real mechanism for this, it is necessary to work out amendments to a number of legislative acts.

Human rights defender, Maksym Korniienko, drew attention to the irresponsibility of judges while discussing judicial reform. When they adopt knowingly unlawful resolutions, they bear no responsibility for this – because of the lack of response on the part of the High Council for Justice and the ineffectiveness of pre-trial investigation into the facts of such resolutions.

The participants agreed that it is necessary to be proactive, in particular, this was emphasized by Ruslan Zernytskyi, a journalist and SMART MEDIA founder.

“It is important to think about the tools and ways of advocating these principles and implementing them at the state level. Otherwise, our discussion will be all talk and no action,” – summed up the journalist.