To overcome corruption, to introduce the mechanism of president’s impeachment and to make him submit a report after the termination of the term, to move towards the Euro-Atlantic community and energy independence. The main theses of Ihor Smeshko’s program, official and real biography, the declared property – about this and more in the section “Candidates” from Opinion

We have created this section for you to have an opportunity to make conscious, objective and most importantly – your own decision in the presidential election this spring. Telling about each candidate, we turn to the official biography, open sources, emotionlessly scrutinize the program promises and the reality of their fulfillment. 

We have planned materials about 12 candidates who have the highest chances according to the data of sociological companies. To avoid manipulation, the texts order has been defined alphabetically.  

What is the candidate’s program this time?

Ihor Smeshko runs for the presidency with the program “Seven Victories for Ukraine”. At the very beginning, the candidate complains about the ruling power, talks about clan-oligarchic autocracy, deindustrialization, and demographic crisis. Instead, the politician offers his own qualities – will, experience, and a professional team.

1. Restoration of stability and control over state

Describing the “first victory” the candidate promises to overcome poverty, to reform the Armed Forces of Ukraine, to organize the “golden fund of Ukraine” and to develop new mechanisms for the return of the occupied territories. The candidate plans to implement the latter within the framework of the Budapest memorandum.

2. Return of Donbas and Crimea

The politician plans to overcome the enemy by strengthening the economy, improving living standards and building up military capabilities. At the same time, Smeshko emphasizes “steady progress towards the Euro-Atlantic community”. Further, the candidate appeals to the Budapest memorandum again and assures that it will become the main format for political and diplomatic action.  

As a Commander-in-Chief, Smeshko promises salaries and provision of military according to NATO standards, to reform law enforcement agencies, to obtain an Action Plan for membership in the Alliance and the creation of a professional national army. The candidate also plans to support the internally displaced persons.

3. Overcoming corruption

The policymaker is going to fight corruption by imposing more severe penalties for doing business alongside the civil service and by completing the creation of the Anti-corruption Court. Smeshko also promises to ensure the effectiveness of the NABU and to enhance the role of the Antimonopoly Committee.

4. Restoration of the Ukrainian middle class

The middle class, according to Smeshko, should be more than half the population and consist not only of representatives of small and medium business but also creative intellectuals, doctors, teachers, civil servants, and military personnel.

Among other promises in this section, there are the protection of private property, prevention of raiding, upward mobility “for the sake of natural talents’ realization” and preventing the outflow of youth and specialists.

5. Economic recovery

The candidate targets a “citizen”, whose potential is steadily growing. Therefore, the politician promises to “clear” economic relations from monopolies, oligarchs, offshore and shadow schemes, to develop industrial production and carry out land reform, creating the State Land Bank.

In addition, he’s going to provide energy independence, including through the modernization of nuclear energy and stimulation of the natural gas production. Smeshko also promises to take care of ecology by introducing the program “Clean Water, Clean Air, Clean Environment”.

6. Reform of the political system

The first steps of Smeshko in this direction is the elimination of political interests in the executive branch of government. The immunity of the president will only apply for his term in the office, and parliamentary immunity will protect only from responsibility for making political decisions. It has not been without the law on the impeachment of the president. Moreover, the candidate promises to introduce a mandatory report for the head of the state after the expiration of his term.

7. Building a genuine democracy

All the previous “six victories”, according to Smeshko, should lay the foundation for building democracy in Ukraine on the basis of three modern laws:

– the presence of a critical mass of a wealthy middle class with a high level of political culture;

– the maximum of state functions should go to local self-government bodies alongside separation of legislative, executive and judicial branches of power;

– the presence of at least two political parties that are based on democratic principles.

What can we know about him from the CEC and his official website?

As always, the website of the Central Election Commission gives us a bit of general information: the candidate was born in Cherkasy region, has a higher degree, lives in Kyiv and is a member of the party Syla i Chest (Power and Honor). He’s entered the presidential race as a self-nominee.

On the official website of the candidate we find an amazingly detailed biography. Therefore – briefly about the main things. In 1977 Smeshko graduated from the college with a degree in a “military radio engineer”. Immediately afterwards, he became commander of a missile complex in a group of Soviet troops in Germany.

According to his biography, at the age of 35 Smeshko became the youngest doctor of technical science in the USSR in the field of military cyberneticsSubsequently, he received two other specialties – state military administration and jurisprudence.

In 1991-1995 Smeshko holds the position of the first military attaché of Ukraine. At the same time, as it is said in the biography, the candidate becomes “the main channel of communication between Ukraine and then US Secretary of Defense.”

Smeshko received the first general rank in 1995, the same year he became Major General. The same year he becomes the Chairman of the Intelligence Committee. Two years later he is the head of the Main Directorate of Intelligence of the Ministry of Defense.

Then goes the position of the first deputy secretary of the National Security and Defense Council in 2002, and in 2003 – the head of the SBU, where Smeshko lasted for a year and four months.

In October 2014, the candidate becomes an adviser to Poroshenko, however, he filed for retirement in 2015. Today, he remains the only representative of Ukraine in the Euro-Atlantic Security Leadership Group.

What wasn’t mentioned in the official biography?

According to information, published by journalists of Radio Liberty, while heading the Intelligence in 1997 Ihor Smeshko signed an agreement with the similar structure of Russian Federation on mutual refusal to conduct intelligence activities against each other.

On the eve of the Orange Revolution, between the first and second rounds of the presidential elections, Ihor Smeshko had dinner at the cottage with the then Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, where he was offered to join Yanukovych ’s team. However, the proposal was rejected by Smeshko, and the then president was informed about everything in advance.

In his biography, Smeshko assures that, as the adviser to the incumbent president, “within three months he persuaded him to resume the activities of the Intelligence Committee under the authority of the president,” but all these attempts were in vain. Instead, it is known that this committee… was actually created in October 2014. The structure was headed by… Smeshko, until Poroshenko had liquidated the Committee in January 2015.

What does the candidate own?

According to the infographic, presented by the team of the resource Slovo i Dilo and created on the basis of Smeshko’s official declaration, we can find out that the total amount of income of the candidate is 356 thousand hryvnias. Much more interesting is the real estate declared by Smeshko: he owns 17 land plots, the total area of them is slightly more than… one hundred thousand square meters.

Source: analytical portal Slovo i Dilo – slovoidilo.ua

Are there any scandals with the candidate?

Yes. The figure of Ihor Smeshko is allegedly connected to the poisoning of Viktor Yushchenko. However, Smeshko himself denies his involvement in poisoning, as well as involment of anyone from then Security Service of Ukraine.

In January this year, commenting on this assumption, Smeshko assured journalist Dmytro Hordon that if he had a goal like this, it would be definitely reached. At the same time, the candidate said that the identification of those responsible for Yushchenko’s poisoning (or imitation) is one of the main questions to be answered by the intelligence services of Ukraine.

In the network, you can also find information that allegedly there was a criminal case on high treason in the form of espionage filed against Smeshko in 2000. However, in 2003, Smeshko became the chairman of the SBU and it seems that all the materials of the investigation have disappeared. In his turn, the candidate himself repeatedly stressed that nobody had even tried to recruit him. So, as well as with rumors about Yushchenko’s poisoning, there is no evidence or facts.

By Dmytro Zhuravel

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