28 October 2016

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Week’s milestones. Crimea on periphery, mess with e-declaration, and "emergency situations"

Provocative statements by the Russian leadership saw no adequate response from the Ukrainian legislators. The topic of e-declarations of senior officials is more about PR today than pragmatism. Competition between law enforcement agencies has risen to a new level.


A stream of provocative statements from the Kremlin about the so-called "terrorist attacks of Ukraine’s intelligence in Crimea" has not forced the Ukrainian legislators to interrupt the recess. Vice Speaker Iryna Gerashchenko tried to save the face of the Ukrainian Rada in this situation, however resolutions or statements on behalf of the Ukrainian Parliament have to be adopted by a majority of its constitutional composition. Unfortunately, current developments show that for many parliamentarians, threats to national security don’t change their vacation plans.

On the other hand, there is Nadia Savchenko, who has been tireless in rocking public opinion in Ukraine. Nadia’s initiatives are becoming more and more unambiguous. For example, she does not publicly deny the possibility of amnesty for the militants with blood on their hands, offering that the opponents of Ukraine’s  current leadership be released from prisons with no court decision, as if it could in any way provide for the return of Ukrainian prisoners. Savchenko is flying at a warp speed from being Ukraine’s new idol to a desperate populist. Her pace raises questions about the independence of Batkivshchyna’s No.1.

Talking about the consequences of the FSB provocations in Crimea, they should result in decreasing negative attitudes toward the new Ukrainian leadership in the society. However, in the face of deteriorating situation, politicians should better find common points for consolidation and search for all possible opportunities to protect national interests. But so far, there has been no real progress in this regard.

Cash discovered in a jar buried in judge Chaus’s backyard / Facebook Nazar Kholodnitsky
Cash discovered in a jar buried in judge Chaus’s backyard / Facebook Nazar Kholodnitsky

The topic that caused sharp discussions last week was the long-awaited launch of the electronic declaration system for VIPs August 15. Following a statement by Petro Poroshenko, who called on all those concerned to “present the contents of their pockets to the public”, it became clear that the e-declaration system is supposedly poorly protected from hacker attacks. The struggle to impede the emergence of the Ukrainian version of Wikileaks lasted all weekend and ended with a tie: head of the National Agency for Prevention of Corruption Natalia Korchak announced the launch of the system without a required certificate of State Special Communication Service, while professional anti-corruption officials accused the authorities of distorting information, and filled the information space with apocalyptic forecasts. In fact, nothing extraordinary happened: the officials have actually never been too enthusiastic in dealing with sensitive issues.

It is worth noting that the “spirit of competition” is becoming more obvious in the relations between the General Prosecutor's Office and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau. The NABU was recently acknowledged for busting upon taking a bribe of the judge of the Kyiv district court. However, the judge can only be deprived of immunity by the decision of the Verkhovna Rada (at least before the entry into force of the judicial reform). Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko announced some significant progress in the investigation into the murder of journalist  Pavlo Sheremet. However, the details are not yet to be made public. Lutsenko has also stressed the PGO’s willingness to seek the extradition of MP Oleksandr Onishchenko, who, in turn, tries to remain prominent in the Ukrainian media.

Competition between law enforcement agencies pushed forward by various motives is, in fact, not that bad. However, it’s not very good, when employees of the PGO and the NABU fight each other, literally, as it was late last week, with their chiefs then having to claim that everything was done within the framework of law. Such "emergency situations" cast doubt on the sincerity of the authorities’ desire to tame corrupt officials.

Yevgeny Magda

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