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Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum | Bonn, Germany, 2018 © European Endowment for Democracy
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Automaidan fights corruption in Ukraine

24 May 2016

Automaidan became famous for holding car rallies at the homes of high-level government officials suspected of corruption, including the residence of former Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovych. Since the Euromaidan protests, with EED support, it has continued to play an active role in Ukraine as an anti-corruption watchdog.

Participation in police reform

Fighting corruption in Ukraine became the concrete focus of the organisation’s work. One of the key issues it has concentrated on is the on-going police reform: Automaidan representatives took part in the recertification process of police officers, aimed at de facto lustration of corrupt officials. The organisation mobilised its activists to gather information and provide comprehensive background checks on police officers to identify weak links, particularly in police departments prone to high corruption such as traffic police and the economic crimes division.

Due to the diligence of Automaidan activists, the dismissal rate of police officers was two times higher in commissions benefiting from Automaidan input. This is particularly important in Ukraine’s regions, where panel members are often related to local police officers. In Khmelnytsky, Automaidan experts held strategic training sessions for members of their local branch and as a consequence, the region now has the highest dismissal rate of police officers in Ukraine (57 percent, according to Automaidan internal statistics).

Automaidan discovers illegal amber mining in Ukraine

Automaidan discovers illegal amber mining in Ukraine

Holding authorities accountable

Ahead of the EuroMaidan protests, citizens grew increasingly frustrated with the mismatch between the salaries of Ukrainian officials and their actual lifestyles and property holdings. Automaidan pressured the government to tackle these issues by revealing video footage of government officials’ mansions, the most famous of which – the "Harry Potter House" – was widely broadcasted in Ukrainian news channels and has more than 450,000 views on YouTube. Through public pressure, Automaidan also contributed to the 2015 opening of Ukraine’s property registry, allowing to track down the assets and properties of officials and compare them with officially declared incomes and salaries. Becoming more popular every day, Automaidan plays an important role in raising citizen’s awareness about corruption, injustice, and their responsibility to stand up and address these issues. Citizens and businesses concerned about cases of bribery turned to Automaidan, leading to the investigation of two police officers:

“One of the significant change[s] that we traced was the moment when the people from the outside of the organisation started to share with us information of concrete corrupt officials (police personnel) and they were eager to take part in the subsequent actions (not only to send information anonymously)” , argues Automaidan Team

Automaidanian protest

Automaidan protest

Corruption investigations

Automaidan was furthermore the first civil organisation to investigate illegal amber mining in Ukraine. With EED support, they were able to buy a quadcopter with a camera and record footage revealing the extent of illegal mining and its disastrous environmental impact. In response to the revelations, the problem was widely discussed and authorities launched an official investigation, leading to the arrest of several corrupt police officers and prosecutors. Furthermore, legislative initiatives to control such activities are currently underway, underlining that Automaidan actively contributes to the reform process.

“… [we] started working with the reform department of the Minister of Interior Affairs. The appreciation of our work was that the Head of this department has started consultations with Automaidan and asks us for the constant feedback and support” , mentions Automaidan Team.

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