From Kruty to Rostov
The authorities, overwhelmed by their pre-election panic, are now destroying their own achievements (or, to say the least, those implemented under their rule thanks to the incredible efforts and pressure of Western partners and public activists).
Over the past two years, independence of anti-corruption bodies from the central government has been completely eliminated
Zarub Alasania, the first head of Ukraine's public broadcaster that once used to suck on budget funding who has not become the "servant" of the highest authorities, was dismissed for "failing to broadcast the president sufficiently." At one time, in the wake of post-revolutionary euphoria, people tried to turn our public broadcaster from the bleak UT-1 channel that served the information needs of the authorities, into a Ukrainian equivalent of the British BBC. But this appeared to be too uncomfortable for the Bankova and the Cabinet. Instead of broadcasting meaningless boring events with the participation of Petro Poroshenko, they began airing stories about the relationship between the president and Putin's crony Viktor Medvedchuk.
Over the past two years, independence of anti-corruption bodies from the central government has been completely eliminated. While the presidential team managed to get "their" people to the National Anti-Corruption Agency right away, it took more time for them to tame the head of the Specialized Anti-corruption Prosecutor's Office, Nazar Kholodnytsky. The last to fall was the National Anti-corruption Bureau, which fabulously failed their own case against the above-mentioned head of SAPO. Even the recorder hidden in the aquarium at his office was of no help, it appeared.
The most sophisticated scheme was applied to courts: first, on the post-revolutionary wave and in the opening of the investigation of crimes committed during the Maidan Revolution, the judges were put on a hook of grim prospects for their criminal prosecution and lustration, forcing them to hand down rulings required by authorities their affiliates. These rulings, in turn, have become a new effective hook for those judges. Then, gradually, in the course of judicial reform, the authorities vowing a "new way of life" reformatted the Supreme Court to fit their needs. Contrary to the promises of politicians and public demand, some odious, but well-managed by the Presidential Administration, figures emerged there.
Most stupid were the developments around the law enforcement system and state security
The dirtiest work was done with local administrations, where Poroshenko’s team put some outright thugs from the 1990s who couldn’t even speak clearly or Yanukovych’s cops (in the case of the Kyiv Regional State Administration head, who even had to do dirty work personally when he canceled the lustration of an expert on suppressing Maidans and protests, Mr Tereshchuk). The names of certain presidential envoys in the regions now appear in criminal cases, and they are not only about corruption. The murder of activist Kateryna Handziuk was committed after the Revolution of Dignity, but the central government is not showing any real attempts to punish those standing behind this brutal crime.
Most stupid were the developments around the law enforcement system and state security. One prosecutor general (who was unable to explain the origin of his real estate in the Czech Republic and is now hiding somewhere) was allegedly almost assassinated with a 'thermal imager,' while another one lacks legal education, but has a good sense of timing that allows him to take time off and go on business trips at the moment when he could initiate criminal cases and inspections, to put it mildly, into ambiguous actions of top-level officials he supervises. The police do not deal with bloody clashes between citizens and thugs hired by illegal developers and raiders. Investigation of attacks, assassinations, and successfully completed murders of civic activists is seeing no progress. For the last five years, the majority of professionals left the Security Service of Ukraine, especially its Central Office, having been replaced by incompetent but very obedient performers who, in the intervals between masturbation on playgrounds, fabricated some ridiculous fake killings of journalists, which led to Ukraine losing trust of international media. One of the top leaders of national intelligence is in family relations with the citizens of the aggressor state with which we are at war, and cannot explain the origin of his wealth.
Now, the ruling team in its rhetoric has moved to a primitive-instinctive level
A maniacal thirst for profit and the urgent need to retain power are pushing the top officials to further raise the stakes in the game of political survival. And, the closer the elections, in which sociologists predict the collapse of today's elites, the more desperate their actions will be. The hybrid martial law of the end of last year could well seem an innocent prank to voters.
Now, the ruling team in its rhetoric has moved to a primitive-instinctive level, completely copying the political model of the authoritarian regime in Russia of the late 20th – early 21th century. “Either Poroshenko or Putin” is just like “either explosions in apartment buildings or Putin”. And this did not start today – earlier, there were attempts to oblige public activists and anti-corruption figures to file income declarations, the network of troll factories emerged, there were attempts to control the Ukrainian segment of the Internet and media… Nothing new here. This anti-democratic groundwork has already been laid in the neighboring kingdom...
The growing pre-election hysteria of state authorities and their guardsmen could bring us new some unpleasant surprises. Ukrainian society should be ready for this. But those who put themselves above this society should also be prepared for the fact that the path from Kruty to Brussels could get indiscriminate travelers to Rostov.
Mykhailo Gannytskyi is an editor-in-chief at UNIAN