Tackling Corruption in Ukraine

Anti-government protest in Kiev, Ukraine - 20 Feb 2014

Shaky truce in Kiev. Police and demonstrators prepare for another day Anti-government protest in Kiev, Ukraine – 20 Feb 2014 At least 26 people have been killed and hundreds injured as violence once again flared between police and anti-government protesters, after several weeks of calm. The anti-government protesters are calling for the ouster of President Viktor Yanukovych over corruption and an abandoned trade agreement with the European Union (Rex Features via AP Images)

Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 3, No. 1, January 2015.

By Irene Kovalchuk and Matthew Michaelides

During the last year Ukraine has accelerated its transition toward democracy, started reforming its institutions, and introduced a package of anti-corruption laws. Nevertheless, the expelled ex-president, Viktor Yanukovich, accused of stealing billions from Ukraine and overseeing mass killings of civilians, has not been brought to justice. Only a small fraction of the equivalent of billions of dollars stolen by the “Yanukovich family” has been frozen.[1] At the same time, with mounting debts, the government needs the lost money more than ever. And Ukrainians will not have full faith in their new government without seeing those guilty of crimes punished.

Domestic and international actors must work diligently both to recover the government’s stolen assets and ensure that the level of government corruption witnessed under Yanukovich’s rule are never repeated. This would require effective cooperation among the Ukrainian government, the nation’s civil society and Western nations. But the consequences of insufficient action would be too costly for a country already under severe stress.

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Countering ISIS Recruitment in Western Nations

Journal of Political Risk, Vol. 3, No. 1, January 2015. 

By Katherine Leggiero

Katherine Leggiero is currently getting her Master of Science in Conflict Analysis and Resolution from George Mason University. She is also a recipient of the Secretary of Defense’s Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Boren Fellowship.

Executive Summary

Personal grievances associated with political, economic, social and religious aspects of Western society in conjunction with naiveté of war, Islam and terrorism may expedite the radicalization process and motivate both Western women and men to participate in ISIS’s cause. ISIS incentivizes the bay’ah and hijra obligation by offering a recruit new identity and a part in the founding of the Caliphate. Participating in ISIS’s jihad and founding of the Caliphate may also provide individuals experiencing relative deprivation with employment, basic needs, or politics and religious practices that aligns with their expectations of how society should operate. Westerners with Somali and Palestinian heritage are frequently socially marginalized and believe the Caliphate can provide them with a new life and group identity governed by religious law. While recent Western converts to Islam find a sense of purpose as ISIS members in being a part of the founding of the Caliphate and will use media (e.g. suicide missions, burning passport, propaganda video, social media recruiter) to prove their allegiance.

In turn, ISIS encourages its Western members to use their smartphones to instruct, guide and recruit other Westerners on their social media accounts (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr, Kik, Ask.fm, Skype, and blogs). ISIS facilitators recruit at community events (religious seminars and community activities) and schools (e.g. high schools and colleges), but require an ISIS sheikh recommendation and “jihad mentor” for Western recruits to be selected and to prevent US intelligence collection. ISIS keeps its messaging simple (“join the Caliphate”) within its branding and recruitment campaign on its Google Play App, The Dawn of Glad Tidings and its monthly electronic magazine, Dabiq. ISIS’s narrative uses group identity to prevent an individual from employing any other values that could disrupt ISIS’s group coherence and unified action. ISIS makes the sacred value (e.g. governance by Allah) incompatible with other values, which in turn prevents trade-offs and concessions from occurring within their in-group. When the value becomes non-negotiable, the individual relies on emotional processing opposed to complex reasoning processes. ISIS’s narrative uses group identity to prevent individuals from employing any other values that could disrupt ISIS’s group coherence and unified actions.

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