­ Ukraine fights crisis and corruption with massive ministry reform

President Viktor Yanukovich has ushered in deep administrative reform by starting with Ukraine’s ministries. Four of them have been closed completely, with eight ministers sacked.

Yanukovich announced the unprecedented cuts late on Thursday, and says it is only the beginning of massive nationwide bureaucratic reform. The changes are aimed at slashing government spending and fighting corruption.

Ukraine’s been hit hard by the global economic crisis, with its budget deficit at over five per cent of its GDP this year. The former Soviet state’s also riddled with corruption, which Yanukovich has vowed to tackle.

The president says the next round of reforms will target lower government officials, with their number to be eventually slashed by at least a third. Yanukovich added that cutting government spending should benefit the whole population.

The formerly NATO-friendly country took another direction when Yanukovich was elected president this year, and announced his country has no plans to join the alliance. Kiev’s current political agenda is closer cooperation with Russia and the European Union.