A spate of resignations and sackings will help to maintain support at home and abroad. Institutional change should follow
The “rally round the flag effect” is well established: faced with an external threat, support for a country’s government and leaders usually surges. It is no surprise that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted former critics of Volodymyr Zelenskiy to mute themselves. Not only has his performance as war leader inspired loyalty; no one wants to aid Moscow’s propagandists.
That does not equate, however, to giving the government a free pass. Mr Zelenskiy knows it. In the last few days, 15 senior officials have quit or been sacked, six of them after allegations of corruption, and the Ukrainian president has declared a zero-tolerance approach. The former deputy minister of infrastructure, Vasyl Lozinskyi, was detained by anti-corruption investigators and fired. Prosecutors accused him of inflating the price of winter equipment, including generators, and allegedly siphoning off $400,000. He has made no comment on the allegations. Vyacheslav Shapovalov, the deputy minister of defence, stepped down following allegations that his ministry was paying inflated prices for food for soldiers on his watch. He has not admitted to any wrongdoing.