Transparency International’s “Corruption Perception Index” showed Ukraine improving from 128th place under the final year of ex-President Leonid Kuchma to 117th just two years later under Yushchenko, a gradual but noted improvement.
Transparency International found that Ukraine improved its battle against corruption only in 2005-2006 (primarily due to the efforts of the Yulia Tymoshenko government, not Yushchenko) but then stagnated rapidly from 2007 back to low levels found in the Kuchma era. In 2009, Yushchenko’s last year in office, Ukraine’s Corruption Perceptions Index ranking was worse than in 2004, Kuchma’s last year in office. The return to high levels of corruption in 2007-2009 is a product of the country’s lack of leadership, weak political will to combat corruption, political crises and intra-elite conflict.
Georgia represents a different trajectory to Ukraine since the Rose Revolution in Georgia with President Mikheil Saakashvili showing the political will that was absent under Yushchenko to combat corruption and provide a better business environment. The World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business gave Georgia 16 and 11 annual rankings in 2009 and 2010, placing it alongside European and North American economies. Ukraine was ranked during the same two year period as 146 and 142nd. The World Banks rankings on Starting a Business and Protecting Investors showed a similar gulf between both countries with Georgia ranked 5 for Starting a Business in both 2009 and 2010 while Ukraine was ranked 126th and 134rd. Georgia was ranked 38th and 41st in 2009 and 2010 under the Protection for Investors ranking while Ukraine again received a poor ranking of 143rd and 109th.