Yesterday, I met Oleksandr Tretyak. For 13 years he was the director of a Bible School, and then in 2020 he was elected mayor of the city of Rivne. That’s a huge step for a Christian in Ukraine, and one that I hope many others will follow. Please add Oleksandr to your prayer time.
I met Oleksandr because he was on trial, and one of his friends asked me to come and show support. I had never been in a Ukrainian court room before. It was quite an experience to sit on the front row, very close to Oleksandr, surrounded by several members of Parliament and other friends. It was even more interesting to watch how corruption works in Ukraine firsthand, how the very justice that people should depend on is weaponized against anyone brave enough to speak up.
It was surreal that President Trump was having his mugshot taken at almost the same time.
Like President Trump, Oleksandr has political enemies, and it became obvious that with enough money and by pulling strings, they could simply destroy his career and remove him from office. I learned that he was the second man they had in their sights. The Mayor of Chernigev has already been removed through similar tactics. They have even compiled a list and two other Mayors are expected to fall next. Baseless charges with no evidence are presented, and a corrupt judge looks the other way, and reads out in robot like monotones a verdict written long before by someone else.
I thought how there were soldiers fighting and dying on the front line, at the same time Oleksandr was standing up in that Kangaroo Court.
His may be the more important battle. Ukraine cannot afford to achieve victory over Russia without first securing a victory in society. I can even say that now, at this moment -- but I do believe real change is coming-- at this moment Zelenskiy doesn’t deserve victory, because he would not know what to do with it.
Afterwards, my friends and I were discussing the dilemma of what we had witnessed. Should we talk about corruption in Ukraine when many American politicians are already trying to stop US support? How can we look the other way?
Let me be very clear (specifically to you politicians reading this): There are two wars being waged in Ukraine and both must be fought to the bitter end. In 2014, the war against corruption began in a million man protest called the “revolution of dignity.” Shortly after the corruption of President Yanukovich was excised, a real hot war began and Russia invaded Ukraine. It was then as it remains now, a one-two punch: remove corruption, engage in a hot war.
These two wars still persist. The war against corruption is literally a fight against the former Russian and Soviet methods and systems that remain to this day. Men drunk with power, who have no understanding of liberty and freedom, occupy positions they have conformed to the old way of doing things. Several of the organizations that the USA created to stop corruption, have themselves become a means of corruption in their hands. They are being removed, and will be removed. New leaders, and better, empowered by judicial reform, are rising up.
President Biden and many others thought the city of Kyiv would fall to the Russians within 5 days after the full scale invasion in February, 2022. They didn’t count on so many regular people running to the front line to defend their homeland.
Many of those same people expect Ukraine to fail and fall victim to more and more corruption. They make the same mistake, they fail to consider so many regular people running into government to purge out the corruption and bring forth something new.
They fail to consider Oleksandr Tretyak.