Ukraine’s Interior Minister Asks Questions of the Day

2014/03/18 • Analysis & Opinion

imagesMarch 11

1. One of the organizers of the separatist rally and seizure of Governor’s office in Luhansk, Arsen Klinchaev, has been detained. This is a natural outcome. Regardless, this is to be determined by a court.

What is more questionable is, how do we respond to the video showing Klinchaev’s  “civic arrest” by MP Oleh Lyashko, which has been posted online.

2. Mykhailo Dobkin has been detained. I can only imagine the outcry we’ll no face by his “brothers in arms.” Somehow, I took this completely unemotionally. I just recalled his posts on the need to kill, on the Molotov-Ribbentrop pacts, on telling Halychyna to “screw off”, and on the idiotic session of Kharkiv Oblast Council in Berkut t-shirts. I suppose I should have searched deeper and pulled out something else from recent years… but, as I told you, there are almost no emotions, just like there’s almost nothing personal. It just burned out. Perhaps, our trying present times have eaten away any emotions I had for  him. Let only the facts remain, and let everything be settled by investigation and justice (I realize how trivial this sounds). THEY were the ones who opened the Pandora’s Box of political persecution, and WE certainly should not play by the same rules. There’s no persecution for dissent. On the other hand, what do we do about calls aimed at destabilizing the country? What is the degree of responsibility? These are exactly the questions for the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Security Service to pose to the court, which will determine Dobkin’s degree of responsibility.

3. The Interior Ministry’s criminal intelligence staff has located the kidnapped journalists – the girls in Crimea. Negotiations are ongoing. God willing, everything will be fine. We should wait for resolution. As an aside: we understand everyone taking part in holding the girls hostage. Are you really sure you need this, guys? Let there be a quick and positive resolution.

4. A draft Law on the National Guard of Ukraine will be introduced in Parliament tomorrow. We’ll post a call for mobilization to the National Guard in the nearest future. We plan to draft 20 thousand guardsmen to protect Ukraine’s borders and public order in the country. This is our response to external attempts at destabilizing the situation. Note this is not a military response; this will be an organized response by civil society. For those of you who don’t know this, I will note that tens of thousands of people have requested mobilization on their own initiative at military enlistment offices throughout the country. All of this is separate from the system of organized and targeted mobilization in Ukraine.

5. Our Interior Ministry investigators have seized approximately USD $70 million and 60 thousand tons worth of fuel in Odesa, which belong to one of Kurchenko’s companies. We are seizing assets connected to crimes uncovered relying on our assessment of criminal schemes throughout the entire country. We are transferring the seized fuel for storage to the Ministry of Defense. This is resonating, isn’t it? Let them do the storing. It’s just the right time.

6. Meanwhile, in Donetsk, the Interior Ministry and the Security Service jointly detained a Russian Central Intelligence Department officer under certain circumstances that discredit this special agency. I just don’t know yet whether Valentyn Nalyvaichenko would prefer to talk about this tomorrow or keep mum for now.

7. Question number seven (although it’s not seventh in terms of priority): I really and truly do not want to say anything about the investigation into the mass murders. I know this is a sore subject for you, moreso than any other. I really do know this! I was out on the same streets at the same time. I know there may not be anything more important in the midst of today’s heap of routine bedlam taking place around us! I do know this. I hear curses and accusations. I hear advice and information. But I also appeal to you to hear me out, my dears: for now, nothing may be said publicly. We are not watching a movie or reading a detective story here; we are investigating our real sorrow, and everything needs to be done properly. These are the demands and requests of professional investigators and inquisitors working as part of the team consisting of the Interior Ministry, the Security Service, the Prosecutor General’s Office, and Public Security Department. We have information, progress, and hints at understanding. These do exist. I will reveal all I can at the earliest opportunity as soon as it’s clear that I can do so without damaging the case. For now, please, have some patience. I know, you have thousands of questions here, but please, try to understand.

8. You are asking why police does not interfere in some of the events, suggesting that they’re  acting improperly, are not showing their best qualities, are not with the people… You are cursing. There have been personal assaults. You are being indignant, demanding. I understand and accept this. There’s no getting away from this. This is the boiling point. But since it’s already night, I decided to write a couple of posts just for you – and ask you questions in process. Do you really believe that, having appointed a new minister, the entire vicious, repressive machinery of the Interior Ministry that was crafted over the past few months will simply transform once you wave a magic wand? Did you really believe that, upon the arrival of the new government and new minister, more than 200.000 Interior Ministry staff throughout the country would cure of all their vices and project positive aspects and creation? That those who concealled criminal schemes yesterday would immediately renounce them today? That it would even be possible to identify and get rid of everyone in the system who is corrupt? There are dozens of questions like this. And they should be coming up to ME for a response rather than resorting to the rhetorical as I have myself at the beginning of this discussion.

This is the boiling and indignant point that we, as the society, are dealing with, but this is also the decline point. We should be honest: certain police units are virtually unmanageable and inadequate in a number of regions. Our small (so far) group of new arrivals at the Ministry are making colossal efforts to restrain the situation. It is crucial to restore the livelihood and functioning of the existing mechanism, while inoculating changes to the previously modified system. This is a process. Not an easy one, but a hard one. Its mug faces are pushing out here and there, and you can see this. There’s no getting away from this. We should not lie to anyone. Post-revolutionary changes and renewals are moving slowly and with difficulty. Yet, they are moving ! I am counting on having already passed the first, and most dangerous, thresholds in this transition.

9. This one I get asked all the time, as of an hour after my appointment: will I resign? Yes. Beyond any doubts, I will. I do not perceive this position as the crowning achievement of my career or some highly desired placement. Not at all. I see it more as the Golgotha of necessity. More as the place for concentrating the negative and the anger directed towards this employment. More as the quintessential straight line of resentment towards the government. This is a justified reaction of the people to what has been happening and, by momentum, is continuing at the Interior Ministry.

After three difficult months on Maidan, my friends have entrusted me with an even more complex task. It’s not going to be easy for me. There’s zero excitement, nothing positive, but 100% understanding of the responsibility and the necessity; this is how I perceive it. I will do what I must and, undoubtedly, leave. Maybe there will be a negative – curses behind me – but there will also be the understanding that I did everything candidly and as required by momentary necessity. This is more important to me. We do not live in an era of popular positions.

10. I was asked today: did I use public funds to take a charter flight to Kharkiv on March 4? The answer is: I paid US $670 each for my and my wife’s tickets, out of our own pocket, for seats on a plane that was traveling from Zhulyany to Kharkiv, using the opportunity to travel with other Kharkiv residents. I saved half a day of time in the process. I realized that I will get this question, and I paid right away :) For those who are interested, receipts are available from my press service.

11. The MPs mandate? Yes, I submitted my resignation letter.

12. Sasha the White, Kolya the Black… I will leave these answers for later. For tomorrow’s meeting, I have a report on 50 laundromat banks sitting on my desk. Together with a brother in arms, friend, and former Maidan superintendent – and the current Chairman of the Central Bank and superb financier, Stepan Kubiv – we want to bring this vestige of the former system of “the Family” to an ultimate and severe end. “You cannot come unprepared when speaking to Stepan. You must be competent, and the night is short.

QUESTIONS … There are always lots of them. Such is the nature of man. Such is the boiling point we face today. Everything will turn out fine. Can we just be optimistic? Until we recieve the next answers.

Source: Avakov’s FB

Translated by Olga Ruda, edited by Lesia Stangret

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