Oleksii Reznikov submitted his letter of resignation from the Ukrainian Ministry of Defence today, 4 September, following ongoing reports of corrupt procurement practices in his department.
He had served as the Minister of Defence since 4 November 2021, and had previously served the government as the Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine, from 4 March 2020.
Several commentators have pointed out that while the outgoing Minister of Defence had built up a good reputation with Western operators, and had personally remained clear of allegations of corruption, the move to oust Reznikov can be attributed to his inaction over corruption by other Ministry of Defence officials. Notable allegations of graft relating to are described by Tymofiy Mylovanov, president of the Kyiv School of Economics, former Ukrainian Minister of Economy and and adviser to the Zelensky administration:
Mylovanov clarifies that he allegations against the department are unproven and relate to non-weapon-supplies, limited to buying over-priced military food and winter clothing, but the appearance of corruption was significant enough to encourage Ukrainian President Zelensky to act.
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In an address to the Ukrainian people, President Zelensky said he would be putting Rustem Umerov forward as the next Minister of Defence:
Umerov has since submitted his resignation as head of the State Property Fund of Ukraine, in anticipation of the Ukrainian parliament approving his promotion:
The political history of Umerov is interesting as he was previously a member of the Ukrainian opposition Holos party that was highly critical of the Servant of the People (SoP) faction that Zelensky leads. He was later hired to run the State Property Fund after a separate corruption scandal, but as assistant director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center, Andrew D’Anieri points out, had some difficulty there in limiting further corruption.
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