Tomorrow, on November 21, Interpol election will take place in Dubai. The current vice-president Russian Major-General Olexandr Prokopchuk has the greatest chances to head this international organization of criminal police.
The Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Police urgently went to Dubai
This news looks shocking, because, as you know, in Russia, the police are used for political persecution. De facto, in the territory of some post-Soviet countries, there is already a local Russian “Interpol” – Russian intelligence services arrest citizens of Ukraine in Belarus. Let’s recall the sad story of Pavlo Hryb, who was kidnapped and imprisoned in Russia, accused of terrorism.
Under such conditions, membership of Ukraine in Interpol becomes simply dangerous. According to the rules, which all members are obligated to carry out, the Interpol order (the so-called “red notice”) is a must for the immediate extradition of the accused and suspected of crimes. Not surprisingly, Arsen Avakov has already stated, “Ukraine will consider the issue of suspending membership in Interpol in the event of the appointment of a representative of Russia as head of Interpol.” The spokesman of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Artem Shevchenko, said that the Ministry had sent a delegation to Dubai headed by the Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov and head of the National Police Serhiy Knyazev. “There, they try to convince representatives of all 192 member states of Interpol that the election of Olexandr Prokopchuk is a hybrid threat to the whole world,” said Artem Shevchenko.
Will Interpol become an instrument of political persecution?
The head of the NGO (Non-governmental Organization) “Center for Civil Liberties” Oleksandra Matviychuk compared the stay of Oleksandr Prokopchuk in Interpol with the “goat in the garden”, which will receive full access to the cabbage. This is very similar to the definition of four US senators ‒ Republicans Marco Rubio and Roger Wicker and Democrats Jeanne Shaheen and Chris Coons ‒ who compared the possible appointment of Prokopchuk with a fox that they want to “make responsible for the henhouse”. Senators appealed to US President Donald Trump and the General Assembly of Interpol to prevent the appointment of the Russian.
The reasons for such deep concern are quite material: behind the “red notice” from Moscow, oppositionists and critics of the Putin regime are constantly arrested in European countries. For example, American businessman Bill Browder, who accuses the Russian authorities of stealing funds from the Hermitage Capital Management fund, which he headed, and killing the auditor Serhii Magnitsky, was tried to be arrested six times through Interpol. The last time it happened was six months ago in Spain. They also arrested a Russian journalist, Petro Silaev, and an anti-corruption activist from the Navalny team, Mykyta Kulachenkov. Each time, the arrested were released several days later, because the cases against them were recognized as politically motivated.
Oleksandra Matviychuk says that the list, which her organization concluded, already contains 70 Ukrainians, who were illegally arrested by the Russian authorities. “Some of these people specifically were chosen to be the victims in order to build their connection with the top leadership of Ukraine,” she said. “I mean the so-called “Chechen case”, according to which Mykola Karpyuk and Stanislav Klych were kidnapped in Russia. In the indictment, according to which they were sentenced to twenty years of imprisonment for alleged terrorism, then Prime Minister of Ukraine Arsenii Yatsenyuk is mentioned 282 times.”
Another bright case is a resident of the village Komyshne, Serhiy Lytvynov, who was abducted in Russia and accused of raping and killing several dozen women with the aim of “genocide of the Russian-speaking population of Donbas”. The case also states that he did this ostensibly for the money of the then chairman of the Dnipropetrovsk Regional State Administration Ihor Kolomoisky. “It is not difficult to assume that such cases will happen to the Ukrainian military, volunteers, and other citizens of our country,” Oleksandra Matviychuk said. “That is why we protest against the appointment of Oleksandr Prokopchuk as the head of Interpol. It’s not about this candidate, but in general about the entire political system that now dominates in the Russian Federation. This system is trying not for the first time to seize international organizations in order to get their ample opportunities to strengthen political repressions and reprisals against their opponents abroad.”
People’s Deputy of Ukraine and Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Refat Chubarov believes that if the Russian is elected as the head of Interpol, this organization will become a powerful international tool through which Moscow will carry out global human rights violations all over the world. “This happens with the connivance of world organizations,” Refat Chubarov recalled. “Back in 2014, after the seizure of the Crimea, the OSCE declared that Russia had violated all ten of its principles, but there was no response to this ‒ Russia continues to be a member of the OSCE.
Under the guidance of Heidrich and Kaltenbrunner
Incidentally, Interpol was run by even more odious characters. Initially, the headquarter of this organization was in Vienna, but in 1938 after the Austrian anchor of Nazi Germany, it moved to Berlin and there until 1945 led the leading national Socialists and SS generals: first Reinhard Heidrich (1940-1942) , then Arthur Nebes (1942-1943) and finally Ernst Kaltenbrunner (1943-1945). They practically turned Interpol into a Gestapo branch. This led to the fact that most of the participants had left the Interpol, and it ceased to exist until 1946, when the headquarters were transferred to Paris, and in 1989 – to Lyon. At present, 190 countries are members of Interpol. Ukraine joined it in 1992.
By the way, Interpol has long refused to submit to the international search of previous Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych. It succeeded only on January 12, 2015, but after seven months, it was removed from the wanted list. This only happens when persecution qualifies as a political one. A completely different attitude was to Dmitry Yarosh, the leader of “Pravyi sector” organization: he was wanted in Russia in 2014, and he was in this list for a year and a half. The Open Dialogue Foundation reports that Russia, Azerbaijan, Belarus and Kazakhstan abused Interpol to assassinate political opponents. The total fund accounted for 44 politically motivated cases: 18 from the law enforcement agencies of Russia, 10 – Kazakhstan and 5 – Belarus. But this list is constantly supplemented by new affairs.
Prokopchuk was born in Ukraine
Russian contender Olexandr Prokopchuk was born in Zhytomyr Oblast while studying at the Kyiv State University (now – Kyiv National Taras Shevchenko University). He went back to Moscow in 1986 and worked as a Komsomol functionary. Then he worked in education since he had a diploma in philology, and since 1996 – in tax and law enforcement agencies, he was in charge of the Ministry of Internal Affairs for economic and tax crimes. In 2006, Prokopchuk was appointed as a deputy-in-chief of the Russian Bureau of Interpol, and in 2011 – the head of this bureau. In 2016, he became one of the four Vice-Presidents of Interpol and the first Russian in this post. His chances to be elected are very high so that it is worrying even in London. Lithuania’s parliamentarians have already promised to leave Interpol in case Prokopchuck is elected.
Anyway, Olexandr Prokopchuk’s younger brother, Igor Prokopchuk, is currently working at the Permanent Mission of Ukraine to the OSCE in Vienna, and before that, he was the ambassador to Ukraine in Lithuania. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs asserts that “family ties didn’t affect the work of the Permanent Representative of Ukraine to the OSCE Igor Prokopchuk and don’t harm the national interests of Ukraine”. Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Serhiy Kislytsa said, “The situation with the fact that the Ukrainian diplomat, an Ambassador Igor Prokopchuk is a relative of Olexandr Prokopchuk, a Russian policeman… In fact, the Russian FSB (Federal Security Service) has to worry about this, because such a relative as Ihor Prokopchuk is another compromise in Russian realities if you want. For Ukrainian realities, it’s an honour to be a colleague or even acquaintance of Ambassador Prokopchuk”.
Text and photo by Oleh Shynkarenko