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Ukraine Names Woman, 23, Anti-Corruption Head

A 23-year-old law graduate has been given the task of leading Ukraine’s anti-corruption drive, the second major appointment of a young woman in weeks.

Anna Kalynchuk’s promotion has provoked consternation among some Ukrainians who say she is unqualified and too young.

She will direct Ukraine’s department of “lustration”, which aims to purge officials tainted by corruption.

Corruption was a key complaint of protesters who forced President Viktor Yanukovych from power in February 2014.

Ms Kalynchuk’s appointment comes days after Anastasia Deyeva, 24, was named by Interior Minister Arsen Avakov as deputy minister, one of Ukraine’s top police and security posts.

That announcement was met with anger, which only intensified when nude photos of Ms Deyeva were shared on social media.

As well as the private photos shared on social media, she has also been the subject of a more tasteful photo-shoot in Ukrainian lifestyle website Style Insider.

Interior Minister Avakov defended the appointment as a breath of fresh air, but that has not satisfied those who wonder whether there were other factors behind her appointment.

Kiev political analyst Vadim Karasyov told Associated Press that Ukrainian politics increasingly resembled “a circus show in which clowns come to succeed frustrated professionals”.

Why so young and are they qualified? By Irena Taranyuk, BBC Ukrainian

The majority of Ukraine’s ministers are now in their thirties, ever since a reshuffle in February. The Prime Minister, Volodymyr Groysman, is only 38.

In a country as ridden with corruption as Ukraine, the promotion of younger talent could be seen as an antidote to the wasted decades associated with older politicians.

Despite the outcry in the social media about age and lack of experience, these two young women are well suited to their posts.

Anna Kalynchuk was already deputising for the previous head of the anti-corruption department, Tatiana Kozachenko.

As a freshly qualified lawyer, two years ago she was engaged in setting up the very institution she now temporarily heads. On her Facebook page, she said she was prepared for claims that she was too young and inexperienced for the post.

Anastasia Deyeva was appointed on 11 November, having acted as an assistant to the former deputy minister, a Georgian who resigned from her position earlier this year.

In a recent interview, her predecessor as deputy minister was full of praise for her abilities as a negotiator.

What’s the bigger picture?

At the heart of the storm is the frustration of ordinary Ukrainians at the pace of the drive to clean up Ukrainian politics. Perception of corruption is worse in Ukraine than in Russia, according to Transparency International.

Little more than two weeks ago, the charismatic governor of the Odessa region, former Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, resigned, accusing Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko of backing corrupt officials who, he said, were undermining his reform efforts in Odessa.

His resignation followed that of the Odessa police chief, fellow Georgian Giorgi Lortkipanidze.

Only days before, top officials were forced to reveal their huge wealth – hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and collections of luxury items – under new anti-corruption rules.

None was accused of criminality, but it was a stark illustration of the trappings of power and the gulf between some officials and the mass of Ukrainians.

The lustration department says hundreds of officials have been forced to resign over corruption, but Ukraine’s corruption problem clearly still remains crippling.

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