Monday, 16 November 2015

Zaporizhzhia Diary, South-Eastern Ukraine, November 2015

by Duncan Leitch (CREES) with Svetlana Kruglyak (Vmeste Zaporizhzhia)

Zaporizhzhia is regarded as one of Ukraine’s most important manufacturing centres with steel and machine-building sectors which account for 10% of the country’s productive and export capacity. Yet even in Soviet times the region was overshadowed by its more powerful neighbours, Dnipropetrovsk and Donetsk, and its local political elites have remained weak and largely subject to manipulation from Kyiv. This tendency reached new heights in the Yanukovich period, when the activities of the notorious Smotryashchiy figure enabled the former president’s ‘family’ to extract extortionate rents from most of the region’s large and small enterprises and earned Zaporizhzhia the unfortunate reputation of being Ukraine’s most corrupt region.