Corruption Park Opening in Kyiv
Ukrainians aspire to a day without corruption
Detain a corrupt official, visit a detective’s office, and see Ukraine free of bribery. All these experiences will soon be available at Kyiv’s “Corruption Park.”
Ten interactive zones will be opened on June 1 at Hryshko Botanical Garden.
You read that right. The park’s theme is corruption. But the park’s purpose isn’t to celebrate corruption, but rather to make people aware of the country’s fight with the problem.
Prior to the park’s official opening, one could see a giant, inflatable, golden loaf of bread being blown up. The balloon is modeled after the real golden loaf that was discovered in the mansion of Ukraine’s ex-president Viktor Yanukovych after he fled the country in 2014. It’s become a symbol of bribery and corruption in Ukraine.
EU Ambassador to Ukraine Hugues Mingarelli attended a celebration prior to the official park opening.
“This is one of the objectives of this initiative – the corruption park – to ensure that an increasing number of young Ukrainian people are aware of the cost of corruption for their country, the mechanisms of corruption,” Mingarelli said, “and we have to ensure as well that they understand that there are ways to limit, to fight this phenomenon.”
In the park’s ten zones, visitors will get a clear explanation of what corruption looks like. There will also be a display of items which were confiscated from corrupt officials. Like a statue of a bird made of rhinestone weighing 30 kilograms and costing $35,000.
In a translucent sphere, artist Olexandra Zhumailova is creating an exhibit titled “Country That Came Out of Our Dream.”
“No matter how hard I work on all the details – it’s just my sincere dream. A dream about the country which we can build if we don’t steal the construction materials in the process,” Zhumailova said.
The park’s food court is already up and running. The names of the dishes also tell the story of corruption.
“For example, the “Kickback Burger” only consists of half a burger. We won’t give people the other half so that they would understand that one half went into the budget and the other one – into someone’s pocket. The burger called “Expensive Road” represents a long-standing problem — the poor quality of Ukrainian roads. There will be a symbolic pothole in the burger. People will see it and wonder why it’s there. Well, we’re sorry, our burgers are the same as our roads,” Terentiy Sopit said of the dishes he was cooking.
Early park visitors said they enjoyed the food and the creative approach. Many say that corruption is a firmly entrenched problem in Ukraine that won’t be removed easily, but it’s hoped that projects like the Corruption Park are one step on the road to rooting it out.