Ukraine Rape Case: You Can Get Away With Anything With Friends in the Right Places

Imagine a society in which the wealthy citizens could get away with any crime. What if you or a close friend had been assaulted on the way home from work or a party and the assailant went untried due to a hearty bank account or his "high connections" in government?

Twenty-nine-year-old Ukrainian citizen Irina Krashkova has had to endure a situation like this — one involving both the horrors of rape and the injustice of political corruption in its aftermath. Kidnapped on the way home from a bar, Krashkova was sexually assaulted by two police officers in the forest, an attack from which she is still recovering in the hospital one week later. Although the officers’ driver and one of the officers have been taken into custody, the policeman whom Irina states was the main instigator walked free. Much to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich’s dismay, such cases often occur these days, due to the country’s governmental corruption. Criminals of all kinds are getting away with more felonies based on whom they know. After this crime, however, protesters have taken to the streets and stormed the local police station of Vradiyevka, a small city 200 miles south of the capital Kiev. It seems that these citizens are finally fed up with the mass corruption that has claimed the political and judicial systems of their country.

Classifications of the former Soviet Union as widely corrupt and in perpetual disarray are stereotypes that are backed by instances such as these. Although President Yanukovich expressed frustration at this growing dilemma, citizens protest that the issue has only increased since his rise to office. Unfortunately, the police headquarters of Vradiyevka are simply fending off the protesters with tear gas, framing the uprising as a sort of civil unrest to be quelled. The problem arises here in the treatment of such revolts as simple "temper tantrums" which can and should be easily snuffed out by the powers that be.

It is exactly this type of cavalier attitude of a government toward victims of crime within its society, as well as the society at large, that facilitates the continuation of this breed of corruption.  If the Ukraine and other such countries hope to work past such conditions and stereotypes as corrupted societies, their governments must step up and acknowledge the reality of these heinous crimes. They must require that all criminals take responsibility for their actions, regardless of the socioeconomic status or perceived power of these perpetrators. 

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Sarah Katz

I hold a B.A. in Middle Eastern Studies from the University of California Berkeley. While at UC Berkeley, I founded the Iran-Israel Student Coalition, the first student-led Iran-Israel peace initiative. I am currently pursuing a dual Masters degree in International Management (MBA) and International Policy Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies. In addition to PolicyMic, I contribute to the "Times of Israel" online news blog.

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