Human Face

KIEV, Ukraine -- Amid the greater freedom of expression that Ukraine has been enjoying since President Viktor Yushchenko took office a year ago, another sign of progress has hardly been noticed in the country’s private sector. Corporate social responsibility is the newest fad among Ukraine’s business elite.

Ukraine's richest man, Rinat Akhmetov

As a Post article this week points out, Donetsk billionaire Rinat Akhmetov is offering workers at one of his metallurgical plants preferential mortgage loans. Fellow business peer Viktor Pinchuk is earning himself a reputation as a patron of the arts. These are but two examples.

It doesn’t, in a way, matter what the main motivation of these powerful tycoons is, be it improving the value of the public stocks they issue abroad, or bolstering their support among the masses in an attempt to feather their political nests. The main thing is that they keep doing it and inspire others like them to follow suit.

It might not be too naive to assume that Akhmetov, Pinchuk and a few others now better recognize that the next step after advertising and image making is really giving something back to the people on the backs of whom they make their money.

We highlight such developments as further evidence that Ukraine is moving toward greater civic responsibility, freer markets and more respect for the individual as opposed to the faceless state.

So far this trend has been tentative and isolated. These baby steps should be applauded in the hope that they will one day become giant strides toward creating a society in which the privileged feel an obligation toward those less so.

Source: Kyiv Post