Remarkably, while fighting for their lives against Russian invasion, Ukrainians continue to wage their long internal battle against oligarchy and corruption. Ukraine is midway through this generational struggle, which began on the streets of the Maidan in Kyiv nearly a decade ago. In 2014, after deposing a kleptocratic president whose campaigns were bankrolled by agents of the Kremlin, Ukrainians got to work transforming this post-Soviet oligarchy into a modern European state under the rule of law.
Continuing to uproot oligarchy—a critical part of winning the war, rebuilding the country, and preparing for EU accession—will require heavy domestic and foreign support. Anti-corruption must be central in that support. This issue drove Ukrainians into the streets a decade ago. It has topped voters' minds in every Ukrainian election since, helped trigger the largest war in Europe since WWII, and is now motivating Ukrainians to win even at enormous cost. Transparency and accountability mechanisms are essential to reassuring Western taxpayers that their wartime aid to Ukraine is safeguarded. They must also be key conditions of the ambitious reconstruction and European modernization that will inspire freedom's cause globally. Countering corruption is as strategically vital today as the policy of containing communism was in the Cold War.