While it is no secret that Ukraine is an overly corrupt nation that excels in bribery, the recent attempt to bribe, or some may say blackmail, US officials in order to secure further IMF funding is audacious to ridiculous extremes.

In December Ukrainian officials descended on Washington with one overriding mission –to convince the Obama administration that without the financial help of the IMF, Ukraine might be unable to supply the EU with Russian gas this winter. This badly disguised attempt at blackmail on the part of both Petro Poroshenko, the confectionary oligarch and a member of President Viktor Yushchenko’s inner circle, and recently appointed foreign minister and Hryhoriy Nemyria, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s right-hand man, was so transparent and brazen that few in Washington were inclined to believe them.Source: www.jamestown.org

It seems that rather than take the subtle approach, Ukraine decided a brute force approach would be better.  While this generally works in Eastern European states, the USA and EU generally frown on this type of corruption.  Some party funding would have been far more welcomed.

This recent attempt by Ukraine stems from the impending natural gas crisis with Russia.  Similar to last years crisis, Ukraine is unable to pay its gas debt to Russia.  Currently, payments are being made, but many believe this is going to abruptly end once elections are finalized, or rather all votes are cast. 

While the EU were quick to blame Russia for the previous gas crisis, their tone has changed since and are willing to lay at least part of the blame where it belongs.  Since the previous gas crisis, Ukraine has been unable, or by most accounts simply unwilling, to fulfill its reform promises.

In a further sign of disenchantment and frustration with the current Ukrainian leadership, EU leaders speaking at the 13th EU-Ukraine summit in Kyiv on December 4, blasted the lack of promised constitutional reforms in the country, its erratic gas policies and placed part of the blame for past breakdowns in supplying Russian gas to Europe on Ukraine. Jose Barroso, the head of the European Commission was blunt in his criticism of Yushchenko: “Mr. President, I will speak honestly with you. We are often led to believe that Ukrainian promises about reforms are only partially fulfilled and that words are not followed by deeds”Source: www.jamestown.org

While the elections which are to be held on January 17th don’t present the people with any significant change in policy, many are hoping that with Yuschenko out of the way the next president will be able to achieve at least one of their campaign promises.  The leader of the EU, Russia and the USA seem to be hoping this as well.