Saturday, 16 November

The passing week had taken Ze-power to the absolute. The newly-appointed Prime Minister holds closed meetings, the Prosecutor General and the majority in the Council represent one party. But what are the results of the first week? Look for the answer in the traditional Opinion digest.

The passing week had taken Ze-power to the absolute. The newly-appointed Prime Minister holds closed meetings, the Prosecutor General and the majority in the Council represent one party. But what are the results of the first week? Look for the answer in the traditional Opinion digest.

The Verkhovna Rada voted in favor of removing the parliamentary immunity. As of the new year, the Council will not have to consent to the arrest or prosecution of deputies.

The promises to remove the inviolability have lasted since 1997. Every “major” political force vowed to abolish this privilege, but in the end, left the tasty option for the people’s deputies.

Only now the project was finally supported by 373 MPs:

Servant of the People – 252 for;

Opposition Platform – For Life – 27 did not vote;

European Solidarity – 25 for, 3 abstained;

Batkivshchyna – 23 for;

For the future – 22 for;

Voice – 19 for;

Non-fractional – 33 for, 1 did not vote.

Critics immediately said that it would now be easy to pressure and intimidate MPs, and the opposition would not be able to openly criticize the authorities. Viktor Yanukovych‘s times are worth mentioning here: in spite of his mandate and legal protection, Yulia Tymoshenko was behind bars. And in Leonid Kuchma‘s time, his main opponent, Vyacheslav Chornovil, was killed in a car crash.

Instead, this term was used every time by oligarchs, lobbyists and corrupt officials who acted as broadcasters in parliament. Lyashko, for example, stated that his ex-colleague Ihor Mosiychuk‘s deputy request “on order” cost $ 5-10 thousand. Not a bad side business.

“Ukrainian deputies invented the eternal engine of political life. It works very simply. Initially, candidates promise to give up their immunity, then fail the vote, then forget the people. In the next election, candidates have a promise again. It’s time for this gadget to go to the dump of history. I appeal to all deputies. Just do what you promised,” said President Volodymyr Zelensky.

Photo by Hromadske

But despite the removal of immunity, the power is distancing from the people. Within minutes of the start of the first meeting of the newly-appointed government, Prime Minister of Ukraine Oleksiy Honcharuk asked the journalists to leave the meeting.

“Government meetings should not be turned into a show. Therefore, we will change the format of government meetings. We will talk to the press about the results of the meeting,” he said.

From now on, government meetings will be held in private, and as a result, government officials will inform the journalists of the decisions taken and answer questions.

Although Honcharuk has promised to grow the economy of Ukraine by 40% over the next 5 years, reduce tariffs, reduce harmful emissions and increase fertility in the country – it is this set of promises that looks like a show, not a broadcast of official meetings.

A real show (albeit a very fierce one) is the “exchange” of Ukrainian prisoners. Former Russian State Duma deputy Ilya Ponomarev said prisoners would be exchanged between Ukraine and Russia on August 30. A former Russian parliamentarian called for holding fingers crossed for prisoners of war. Subsequently, information emerged that Kremlin captives had already departed from Russia. This information was reposted by Prosecutor General Ruslan Ryaboshapka, it later turned out to be a fake. Many relatives and indifferent Ukrainians were waiting for prisoners at the summer camp.

Later, they had to refute the misinformation, and President Volodymyr Putin himself said:

“It was difficult to make decisions about specific people, but we are coming to the finals. I think it will be known soon. The exchange of detainees between Russia and Ukraine will be large-scale, it is a good step towards normalization of relations,” he said.

The main auction went for the person involved in the case of MH-17 Volodymyr Tsemakh – a mercenary of fighters suspected of involvement in the hitting of a Malaysian Boeing.

Law enforcement in the Netherlands said they wanted to question Tsemakh, and MEPs called on Zelensky not to give him to Russia. The gunman may be a witness or suspect in the MH-17 assault case. In Ukraine, Tsemakh was pressed standard for fighters charges – “participation in a terrorist organization”, Article 258-3 of the Criminal Code.

He is called the trump card for the exchange of Oleh Sentsov.

Immediately, many Ukrainians were outraged: how can a country give away the key witness (and the contributor) to the largest terrorist attack in Europe? But the situation is that Putin will not change Sentsov to any volunteer-militant. He knows that Sentsov is a key defender for us, so he raises the stakes.

In any case, the decision will have negative consequences: if Sentsov isn’t exchanged, he will have to sit in the Arctic Circle for another 14 years, if not — there will be no key witness in The Hague. But do not forget that a few weeks ago, the Netherlands voted in favor of Russia’s return to the PACE. So what is more important to us: a sense of justice (or deep concern – how will it turn out) or the return of prisoners?

“The negotiators prepared a list for exchange, there was no Tsemakh. And at the last moment, an order was issued from the Kremlin to include Tsemakh. And if it is not there, then there will be no exchange at all. This is not just an ordinary character, but a key figure. And here, in essence, it is a matter of blackmail,” added the journalist Roman Dobrokhotov.

The deputies of the Odesa Regional Council have dismissed the director of the Odesa Fine Arts Museum Oleksandr Roitburd. He was fired not for his job (because they did not even listen to the report), but because of the artist’s political confrontation with the Opposition Bloc. The latter were joined by members of the Europian Solidarity party of Petro Poroshenko, and by 53 votes they terminated the contract with the manager.

“Your persistence has no limits, your frame contradicts common sense and logic. At Roitburd time, the museum’s collection has increased by 49 objects, repairs have been carried out, note, at the expense of philanthropists,” Dumskaya quotes Svitlana Shatalova.

European Solidarity MP Yuriy Basyuk (one of the few in the party who spoke in support of the manager) added that Roitburd raised ticket sales and created a patron’s club which required participants to pay 30, 000 hryvnias for the development of the museum. There are now 50 people in this club, said Basyuk.

On the weekend a rally in Odessa will be held in support of the director, Roitburd himself is going to challenge the decision in court. In the meanwhile, his colleagues report: for the first incomplete year of his work, the museum earned more than 2.8 million hryvnia, while in 2017, before Roitburd took the position, the museum earned 740, 000 hryvnia.

And what about the initiator, the Opposition Bloc party? Former people’s deputies of the Opposition Bloc Oleksandr Vilkul and Dmytro Kolesnikov are now wanted. According to the investigation, Vilkul, being the chairman of the Dnipropetrovsk Regional State Administration, illegally leased several plots of land that were collectively owned. It has caused damage to the community of one of the Dnipropetrovsk districts in excess of UAH 12 million hryvnia.

Kolesnikov, according to the investigation, while occupying the post of State Property Agency Head, contributed to the illegal alienation of two shops of the defense enterprise which provided the Ukrainian army with missiles “Smerch” and “Hrad”.These are the opponents of the museum. Think.

Text by Denys Sokolov

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