New Podcast Episode, Featuring Oksana Nesterenko

A new episode of KickBack: The Global Anticorruption Podcast is now available. During the ongoing emergency in Ukraine, as Russia’s unprovoked military aggression throws the region and the world into crisis, my colleagues at the Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network (ICRN) and I are going to try as best as we can to feature on KickBack experts who can shed greater light on how issues related to corruption relate to the ongoing crisis. And rather than keeping to our usual schedule of releasing new episodes every two weeks, we will release new episodes as soon as they are available. In the new episode, I was privileged to welcome to the podcast Oksana Nesterenko, Associate Professor of Law at the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla and Executive Director of the Anti-Corruption Research and Education Centre. Professor Nesterenko was forced to leave Kyiv after the Russian attack, and she spoke with me from Poland, where she, like so many of her fellow citizens, is a refugee. In the first part of our conversation, Professor Nesterenko explains why the war between Russia and Ukraine is really a war of values, and why gradual reforms in Ukraine in the direction of liberal democracy and anticorruption threatened the Putin regime, and why this, rather than any actual military or security threat to Russia, is the real underlying reason for the Putin regime’s attempt to topple the current Ukrainian government. She also explains that Putin’s war is also an attempt to deflect domestic attention from his regime’s failures, including the government dysfunction caused by his corrupt approach to governance. She also provides an assessment of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s pre-war anticorruption efforts, emphasizing that from the perspective of anticorruption activists were disappointed in the lack of progress on some issues, but recognizing that as a politician he had to balance interests and demands from different stakeholders. In the final part of our conversation, we turn to the question of Russian (and Ukrainian) dirty money flowing into wealthy Western countries, and what more can and should be done to stop this. You can also find both this episode and an archive of prior episodes at the following locations: KickBack is a collaborative effort between GAB and the Interdisciplinary Corruption Research Network (ICRN). If you like it, please subscribe/follow, and tell all your friends. And if you have suggestions for voices you’d like to hear on the podcast, just send me a message and let me know.

A Message from Ukraine’s Anti-Corruption Research and Education Center

On my previous visits to Kyiv, I have had the opportunity to meet and exchange ideas with several of the outstanding scholars and researchers affiliated with the Anti-Corruption Research and Education Centre (ACREC). This morning, ACREC a message to a list of people in the worldwide anticorruption research community, describing the situation in Ukraine and appealing for more international support. With ACREC’s permission, I am reproducing the message below:

Dear colleagues

Anti-Corruption Research and Education Centre (ACREC) addresses you on the ninth day of the invasion of the russian federation.

All these days we have been trying our best to help the Armed Forces of Ukraine – to transfer funds, organize aid and necessary purchases. We also helped people in need and those who were forced to leave their homes.

Some of us still remain in the hottest spots of today’s war – Kyiv and Kharkiv.

You can see how russian troops are bombing Kyiv and its suburbs, Kharkiv, Sumy, Chernihiv, Enerhodar and it’s nuclear power plant. We are sure that many of you have been to these cities and remember them only for the best. Help us save these cities, their people and Ukraine. Call on your governments to close the skies over Ukraine in order to prevent further casualties and to help neutralize military aggression. This is a war not only against Ukraine, but also against the whole civilized world. Putin’s terror will not stop exclusively on the territory of Ukraine, after some time it may be repeated with other neighboring countries of russia. Ukraine is only the first outpost on the path to a peaceful Europe. Ukraine will fall – Europe will fall.

We, as a think tank at the Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, appeal to you to call on your governments to support Ukraine in every possible way and to prevent further losses among the military and civilian population of our country by:

  • closing the skies over Ukraine as it was done during the 2008 Russian-Georgian war;
  • further implementation and strengthening of sanctions against russia, its leadership and its satellite countries, family members of the russian leadership;
  • sanctions against those associated with the leadership of the aggressor country should be sought separately:
  • depriving Russia of the status of a member of the world’s leading organizations, such as the UN Security Council and the UN General Assembly.

If you have friends and / or colleagues from russia, please spread the truth about their military aggression against Ukraine by their state.

We also sending you the links on:

  • website for fundraising for the needs of the Ukrainian army: In addition, we encourage you to join the volunteer initiatives in your countries to help Ukrainian citizens in need;
  • website with news in English about the course of military aggression in Ukraine:;;
  • website for the search for prisoners of war and victims of military aggression:

If you have any questions, you can contact us – we will help with any kind of information.

Best regards,