Limitation of the right to freedom of speech and functioning of independent media
In the reporting period, the Ukrainian authorities have intensified pressure on uncontrolled media and independent journalists. And in general, all the persons who have the courage to express a point of view different from that of the government. In particular, on June 1, the High Specialized Court of Ukraine canceled a verdict of acquittal in the case of the blogger and journalist R. Kotsaba, who was charged with treason for pacifist appeals, but was released from custody by a court of first instance.
In addition, a number of well-known media uncontrolled by the state ceased to exist. On June 12, the adviser to the Minister of Internal affairs, I. Kiva, initiated baiting on the national news channel NewsOne, stating: “We must, we must shut mouth of the Kremlin propaganda broadcasting through the flaccid NewsOne Channel.” The journalists appealed for defense to the prosecutor’s office and to the President, but there was no reaction to this.
On April 15, a search took place at the premises of the International Center for Advanced Studies, which also houses the editorial office of the Internet publication “Apostroph”. The head of this expert organization, V. Filipchuk, was summoned on April 18 to testify to the Prosecutor’s Office “for the processing of ideas for a peaceful settlement of the conflict on the Donbass”. 
But the most resonant event in the framework of the violation of freedom of speech by the state in Ukraine was the detention on June 22 of the chief editor of one of the largest Internet media in the country, oppositional to the government, “Strana.ua.” – I. Guzhva. At the same time, the office of the Internet publication was searched by the SBU, and the work of the editorial office was blocked. The official charge consisted in extortion of money for non-publication or withdrawal of published material from the site, which was qualified as extortion of 10 thousand dollars from MP Linko. The main actual reason for the arrest is Guzhva’s publication of “Onyshchenko’s films” about the corruption of President Poroshenko and his surrounding, as well as the general opposition opinion of the publication.
The chairman of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine, Sergei Tomilenko, criticized the actions of the authorities: “The search of the editorial office and the detention of the editor-in-chief is an emergency! Especially considering that “Strana.ua” has high ratings and allows itself to systematically criticize officials”. He calls the situation, “when the General Prosecutor’s Office fights for “likes” on Facebook of those people who do not like the editorial policy of Strana, unacceptable.” According to Tomilenko, the international partners of the NUJU are concerned about night searches and detentions.
The social networks have virtually freaked out after the first reports on the search in the Internet newspaper. Mustafa Nayem, MP from the Poroshenko Bloc, who is skeptical about Guzhva, stated: “The sooner the society is shown the evidence, the less chance that we will be accused of attacking freedom of speech … There must be evidence that these people extorted a bribe in exchange for non-publication of the material…”
As the former head of the SBU investigation department, General Vasiliy Vovk, said, the first attempt by the authorities to “slam” Guzhva was undertaken as early as in 2014. “Igor Guzhva was at gunpoint for a long time in the administration of the President of Ukraine. In 2014, I received a request to arrest Guzhva and close the Vesti newspaper, which he then headed…” “Vesti” had “separatism” stigma: there they wrote not quite what all other Ukrainian publications. “We offered him,” the general says, “to close the newspaper for 3 months, so that passions will settle down. He said he would think, and refused.” After watching the video evidence from the Prosecutor General’s Office, General Vovk stated: “The setup with the money is obvious. The investigators simply could not think of anything better.” 
The well-known Ukrainian political scientist, director of the Institute for Strategic Studies “New Ukraine” Andrei Yermolayev said in this regard: “I want to draw your attention not so much to the formal reason for the detention of the editor-in-chief, but how this operation was conducted. Totalitarian regimes often use the methods of information attacks not so much to eliminate the competitor or block criticism, but also to create an appropriate atmosphere in the society, so that journalists are more polite, so that they keep a watch on tongue.”
On June 15, the SBU head V. Gritsak suggested introducing criminal liability for the manifestations of Russian propaganda in the Ukrainian media, that is for journalists: “Our goal is to give in the Criminal Code of Ukraine an adequate legal assessment of all forms and methods of the hybrid war. In the conditions of aggression, not only military charters are written with blood, but also laws for the traitors and accomplices of the aggressor.” In his opinion, it is necessary, “firstly, to develop and adopt amendments in the legislation of Ukraine on criminal liability, and secondly, it is necessary to make “a deed of information unity of Ukrainian journalists in opposing the enemy.” The response to the propaganda “must be a boycott to all representatives of the fifth column of the Russian Federation in the information space of Ukraine.” According to Gritsak, “they should become persona non grata on domestic information resources, for supporters of the “Putin’s Russian world” should have only “Kiselev-Solovyov” site. Due to the vagueness of the very term “propaganda”, freedom of speech in journalistic activity, whose opinion may not coincide with the opinion of the authorities and can easily be regarded as “Russian propaganda”, can easily fall under it with corresponding consequences for the journalists, listed above.
The Administration of the President continues to send editors of newspapers and TV channels “gag orders” with recommendations on “correct” version of current events. This time the main attention was paid to the coverage of Poroshenko’s trip to the USA, the visa-free travel, the resignation of Sadovoy and the ban on the term “occupied territories”. These actions are the first manifestation of censorship (prohibited by Article 15 of the Constitution) and interference in the free coverage of events by journalists and accordingly violation of the right to freedom of speech (Article 34 of the Constitution).
Journalists are further beaten by the pro-government deputies with impunity: thus, on May 18, journalist V. Krutchak was beaten up in the lobby of the Verkhovna Rada by MP Gavrilyuk, and on July 2 journalist V. Apasov was beaten up at the birthday party of the MP from PPB M. Nayem.
All this violates a number of provisions of both the Constitution of Ukraine (Article 34 – freedom of speech, thought and expression), but also international obligations of Ukraine – Art. 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (1966) and Art. 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1950) (Everyone has the right to freedom of expression), as well as the case law of the European Court of Human Rights.
Such actions were condemned by well-known human rights organizations. For example, the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union noted that it sees this practice as “a manifestation of a general tendency for a violation by the Security Service of Ukraine and the prosecution authorities of a balance between national security and human rights in the interests of national security. And we want to remind once again that the political regime that violates human rights is doomed to failure.”
In turn, the Ambassador of the Netherlands, Klompenhauver noted that “… this is a serious issue. We, the Netherlands and, I think, all our colleagues from the international community, watch Ukraine very attentively now and will continue to monitor any attempts to restrict the freedom of the media, even if this is done from a patriotic standpoint.” 
Limitations of the right to freedom of information
In the reporting period, Ukraine has become one of the countries with such countries as the DPRK, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Turkey and the PRC – among the countries that legally block their citizens’ access to social networks on the Internet. President Poroshenko, by his Decree of May 16, 2017, No. 133/2017, introduced the NSDC resolution on sanctions against a number of Russian companies and, among other things, ordered Internet providers to block access to social networks VKontakte, Odnoklassniki and Yandex and mail.ru. It should be noted that soon Poroshenko’s initiative was supported by IGIL. On May 22, the terrorist organization “Islamic State” prohibited the use of social networks for militants.
It should be noted that the principle of network neutrality, where Internet operators have no right to interfere with traffic passing through their networks, is the basic principle of the Internet existence. This principle is supported by most developed and free countries: the United States, the countries of Scandinavia, the Netherlands, even Israel, which is at war. Tough censorship in the network is exercised only by totalitarian and authoritarian countries. It is noteworthy that in the summer of 2016 the UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution condemning countries that deliberately violate the right of citizens to access to the Internet. The resolution was adopted practically unanimously, only countries with an authoritarian regime, including Russia, China and Saudi Arabia voted against it.
Art. 34 of the Constitution of Ukraine provides that everyone has the right to freely collect, preserve and disseminate information, and Art. 10 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms (1950) establishes that everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right includes freedom to hold opinions, to receive and disseminate information and ideas without the interference of public authorities and regardless of frontiers. It was in social networks that this right was implemented by the citizens of Ukraine, which they were legally forbidden by the guarantor of the Constitution.
In addition, the current provisions of the Law of Ukraine “On Telecommunications” and other regulations do not regulate the implementation of the ban on Internet providers to provide users with access to the Internet, restrict access to certain resources/services and simultaneous enforcement of the rights and freedoms of citizens.
Moreover, a number of legal conflicts and inaccuracies in Decree No. 133/2017 should be noted. First, the term “Internet provider” is specified. But no law gives such definition. There are the terms “telecommunications provider” and “telecommunications operator” (the law “On Telecommunications”). Secondly, according to the Law of Ukraine on the National Security and Defense Council “Resolutions of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, introduced by the decree of the President of Ukraine, are binding on the executive bodies” (Article 10), and the Internet providers clearly do not belong to such. Thirdly, the mechanism for implementing the decree provisions is not entirely clear. The NSDC obliged the government together with the SBU to monitor the implementation and monitor the effectiveness of sanctions. The SBU transferred this right to the State Service for Special Communications and Information Protection (SSSCIP). However, according to the law, this is not the responsibility of the SSSCIP. The main task of the service is to ensure the security of secure public communication channels, rather than monitor the Internet. Returning to the letter of the law, the site can be blocked only by a court decision. Fourthly, it is stated that providers are obliged to block access of Internet users to certain resources. However, again we do not have the concept of “Internet user”. There is the term “Internet” and “subscriber” (the law “On Telecommunications”). That is, there is legal nihilism on the part of the AP and NSDC. Fifthly, the decree introduced such innovation as “restriction or termination of provision of telecommunication services and use of public telecommunication networks, but did not specify who exactly should implement it.
This ban triggered a violent negative reaction both on the part of the citizens of Ukraine (lawyer of Chuguev Human Rights Group Roman Likhachev filed a lawsuit to the Higher Administrative Court of Ukraine against the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko, on the cancellation of the decree of May 15, the students held a meeting at the AP, the Internet Association of Ukraine issued a letter of condemnation of the decree: “New sanctions have been imposed for political censorship”, on the website of President Poroshenko, petitions for cancellation of the decree have collected 51 thousand signatures in a few days) and international organizations (European Union: “… we expect the government to ensure that the restrictive measures adopted for national security reasons do not adversely affect the fundamental right to freedom of expression”,  the Council of Europe: “Blocking social networks, search engines, postal services and websites contradicts our general understanding of freedom of expression and freedom of the media”) and of democratic states (US State Department:” Freedom of speech is a key element of a healthy democracy, which is stated in the Constitution of Ukraine. We urge the Ukrainian government to find ways to protect its national interests in such a way that does not undermine the constitutional principles”). Human Rights Watch, the international human rights organization, urged the President, Petro Poroshenko, to “immediately repeal the decree” on blocking social networks in Ukraine to “protect freedom of expression and information” in the country. “This is another example of the ease with which President Poroshenko unnecessarily tries to control public discourse in Ukraine. Poroshenko can try to justify his last step, but this is a cynical, politically motivated attack on the right to freedom of information that affects millions of Ukrainians, their personal and professional lives”, said Tanya Cooper, responsible for the Ukrainian HRW monitoring direction. A similar request was made by the Committee in Defense of Journalists.
Interestingly, as the two months of this decree showed, its real effect amounted to 10-15% of the decline in Ukrainian users of Russian social networks. Citizens easily bypass the ban through special programs.
It should be noted that this kick-down of the Ukrainian authorities on the freedom to disseminate and obtain information through the Internet is not limited. Thus, on June 19, a working group at the Ministry of Information Policy (the so-called Minstets) produced and transferred to the SBU “List of sites that contain information that has signs of banned for dissemination by Ukrainian legislation”, with subsequent submission for blocking.
“Minstets” itself has no formal right to block the resources on the Internet, as well as the SBU, which was transferred this list. If such a right exists, this can lead to the transformation of the Minstets into an instrument of political and economic censorship, such as the Russian Roskomnadzor. It is only court that can issue instructions on blocking access to the Internet resource, and only with respect to resources that distribute child pornography (Section 18, Article 39 of the Law “On Telecommunications”). Further expansion of the censorship list and the creation of a Ukrainian analogue of Roskomnadzor pushes Ukraine from the European path to countries like Russia or Iran. As the letter of the Internet Associations of Ukraine states, demanding that such resolution by Minstets to be canceled, even the very title of the document contains a word-based translation of phrases used by Roskomnadzor.
On June 20, PPB faction in the Verkhovna Rada has issued a bill envisaging the obligation of providers to block prohibited sites. Such a practice, besides the above-mentioned “democratic” states, does not exist anywhere in the world. As the Internet Association of Ukraine notes in an open letter, “unfortunately, recently, domestic telecommunication market participants have become subjects of survival experiments that imitate the “best practices” of the DPRK, Iran, and completely ignore the experience of democratic countries, including those that are at war (for example, Israel), or subject to persistent terrorist attacks:
– these are repeated cases of seizure of telecommunication server equipment during the searches which are carried out with violations of the requirements of the legislation of Ukraine concerning which we repeatedly addressed you, dear Petro Oleksiyovych, which have already led to the mass migration of the Ukrainian business of datacenters overseas;
– this is Decree of the President of Ukraine No. 133 on sanctions adopted without consultation with specialists, forcing providers to block access to a number of Russian Internet resources that cannot be properly executed;
– now a representative of your faction announces the next step on imposing purchases of equipment on providers, which, if implemented, will leave a few monopolists on the Ukrainian telecommunications market”.
The fact that all actions on blocking access to Internet sites have primarily a censorship function is evidenced by a statement by the secretary of the NSDC Turchinov with a claim to control other social networks – Facebook and Twitter: “There (Facebook and Twitter) are also Russian intelligence services that create fake accounts, drop rail information, and some kind of provocative information. The Ukrainian special service appeals to them with the statement that this page has a negative, dangerous content, they immediately remove it. It is clear that the FSS will not do it in VKontakte, in “Odnoklassniki”. On the contrary, they intensify this signal“. That is, Facebook and Twitter close their accounts simply at the request of the SSU? No court decisions? By the way, the FSS rules do not provide such a possibility.
Violation of the rights of Ukrainians to health care and systematic attempts to discredit Acting Minister of Health Ulyana Suprun
An important aspect of political manipulation is an attempt to shift the responsibility of the “permanent” leadership of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine, which, in the course of 2015-2017, significantly lost significant funds of macro-financial assistance. Such a situation provoked a further increase in morbidity and mortality in Ukraine. Moreover, schemes for “laundering” of “dirty” funds and financing of illegal terrorist organizations “DNR”/”LNR” were organized.
Target for discrediting reforms may become the Acting Minister of Health of Ukraine Ulyana Suprun (US citizen, her brother is an active participant in the Donald Trump Election Headquarters).
With the participation of so-called “international experts” and the government of Ukraine, conditions were created for the transfer of the function of the executor of the state program and the disposal of budgetary funds from the said institution to public associations (NGOs “Patients of Ukraine”, “Network of PLWH”, “Alliance”). This process occurred in violation of the requirements of the current legislation and the Budget Code of Ukraine.
In turn, the above-mentioned public associations in co-operation (in collusion) with the coordinators of the relevant programs of the Global Fund, the World Bank, USAID, the Red Cross and other international organizations have resorted to the creation of fictitious financial, statistical and departmental reports for the purpose of “laundering” and appropriation of international macro-financial assistance, and in some cases for direct assistance to the activities of illegal terrorist groups, financing of political processes.
The initiators of the campaign to discredit the US citizen U. Suprun created the conditions for appointment of Mr. Dmitry Olegovych Sherembey (born in 1977, Chernihiv region) as a manager of AIDS project implementation. This person has three convictions and served his sentence in the places of imprisonment of Sumy and Chernihiv regions as a person found guilty of committing grave crimes.
At the same time, for the coordination with the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and “support” of U.Suprun, corrupted officials of the Ministry of Health, the coordinators of the Global Fund “delegated” citizens I. Pereginets, V. Kurpita, V. Zhovtyak, N. Nizova, who are involved in the theft of funds and resources of macro-financial assistance to Ukraine in the fight against AIDS by the Global Fund, the USAID, WHO, UNDP in the amount of $ 650 million in accordance with the requirements of the Law of Ukraine “On the National Targeted Program on HIV/AIDS Response for 2014-2018.”
A. Ustinova is used as an anti-corruption screen. At the same time she is the head of the organization “Patients of Ukraine” and one well-known grant anti-corruption organization close to the US Embassy in Ukraine.
As a result of the conspiracy of former officials of the Ministry of Health of Ukraine and the Global Fund and USAID coordinators, the vertical provision of state control has virtually been destroyed, which allowed inspiring accusations of Mr. Suprun’s of embezzling the funds provided to Ukraine by the Global Fund and USAID in the amount of about $ 650 million in which she is not involved in fact.
Experts and journalists have noted a tendency to the possibility of bringing charges against U. Suprun. Based on the results of financing and support of legal entities located in the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, these legal entities may be declared involved in transfer of funds, resources, medicines and the like to illegal terrorist armed formations.
Due to the certain incompetence of Acting Minister of Health U. Suprun in the sphere of public administration and the illegal transfer of authority for the implementation of the National AIDS Target Program through the network of these public organizations, the funds and resources provided to Ukraine by the Global Fund and the USAID in the health sector in the period 2014-2017 come in favour of legal entities registered in Donetsk, Luhansk, Gorlovka, Makeevka and others. These settlements are actually located at the temporarily occupied territory.
Thus, recipients of funds and financial resources of the Global Fund, WHO, USAID, UNDP, provided through the public organizations headed by criminal elements D. Sherembey, V. Zhovtyak – CF “Rassvet”, CF “New Day”, PO “Variant”, PO “Obereg”, CSR “Most”, CF Caritas-Donetsk (Donetsk), CF “Your Choice”, “Life Line”, CF “Hope for Salvation” (Gorlovka), PO “Union “Amikus”, CF “Donbass against AIDS” (Makeevka), Luhansk PO “Set” and others.
In addition, through these hidden mechanisms, the corresponding financing of legal entities located in the temporarily occupied territory of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is carried out.
In this situation, the relevant investigative units of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, in violation of the requirements of the Code of Criminal Procedure of Ukraine, do not provide the relevant legal assessment of organized criminal activities of an international nature that create a number of national and global threats, and materials of pre-trial investigations are illegally hidden, which raises potential level of readiness for the next campaign to discredit health reforms and “throw in” compromising materials against Minister of Health U. Suprun.
With the aim of hiding the aforementioned criminal activity by representatives of international organizations and the above-mentioned public organizations and platforms, Acting Minister of Health U.Suprun has been misled, who during the Revolution of Dignity directly participated in the organization of volunteer assistance, and during the period of military aggression in Donbass initiated the formation of medical-volunteer platforms and the promotion of medical reforms in the state.
To this end, the said public organizations deployed the appropriate disinformation work (parasitism on expectations and slogans of reforms) in relation to the Ministry of Health of Ukraine. In addition, appropriate measures are taken to divert attention and conceal the facts and circumstances of criminal activity.
Linguistic discrimination. Restrictions on the rights of non-Ukrainian-speakers
On April 20, at the meeting of the Kyiv City Council, the draft resolution was adopted on “Overcoming the Consequences of Soviet Occupation in the Language Sphere,” according to which all services in the service sector in the Ukrainian capital should first of all be implemented in the Ukrainian language. The relevant document proposes to establish that in Kyiv the language of work, record keeping and documentation of local government bodies, enterprises, institutions and organizations of communal ownership is the state language – Ukrainian. It is also written that all advertisements, signs, posters, messages and other forms of audio and visual advertising products must be written in Ukrainian or other language with a mandatory indication of their translation or transliteration. 
This decision in case of its final adoption violates Art. 10 of the Constitution of Ukraine: “Free development, use and protection of Russian and other languages of national minorities is guaranteed in Ukraine”. In addition, it invades the sphere of private life of citizens (Article 32 of the Constitution), deprives those who cannot communicate on the Ukrainian of the right to a profession (Article 43), violates the equality of all before the law (Article 21), introduces linguistic discrimination (Article 24), the right to entrepreneurial activity is illegitimately limited (Article 42 of the Constitution).
On June 10, the newspaper Golos Ukrainy published a discriminatory law “On Amending Certain Laws of Ukraine Regarding the Language of Audiovisual (Electronic) Media”, signed by President Petro Poroshenko on June 6. The law comes into force four months later – on October 13. It stipulates that on the air of national and regional TV channels the share of the Ukrainian language in films and programs should be at least 75%, local broadcasters – 60%, and 75% of all news should be broadcast in Ukrainian. The National Broadcasting Council has already warned that it will strictly monitor compliance with the requirements of the law, for violation of which there is a penalty of 5% of the total amount of the license fee.
The committees of the Verkhovna Rada in the direction of the sessional hall also sent the draft law №5669 of 19.01.2017 of the Law of Ukraine “On the Functioning of the Ukrainian Government”, which was written by 76 members of the Verkhovna Rada. Among other things, it provides for total Ukrainization of all spheres of public life in the country, including the service sector. And for violation of it, a penalty of UAH 850 is provided. The draft law contradicts the Constitution of the country and will lead to a split in the society. “The draft law is obviously discriminatory… Covering with the words about the protection of the language and the rights of the “titular nation”, they (representatives of the authorities) continue their policy to split the country”, said political analyst A. Zolotarev .The former Minister of Justice of Ukraine Ye. Lukash called this legislative initiative “a tremendous delusion”. “I have no doubt that the project of forced Ukrainization will become a law. The parliament is perfect in limiting rights and destroying all life”, she said on her Facebook page.
Various provocateurs also engage in discrimination on the linguistic basis of people working in the service sector by applying violence to them, which the law enforcement bodies do not react at all.
The struggle continues with the Russian book. On May 18, the procedure for seizing literature published in Russia came into force in Ukraine. Printed products, whether books, newspapers or brochures, will be seized from individual entrepreneurs and organizations that bring it from Russia. If the distributor of books refuses to provide them, Ukrainian law enforcers should interfere with the situation.
On June 29, on the website of the Verkhovna Rada, another discriminative bill was issued from the Freedom MPs prohibiting the tours of Russian performers in Ukraine and Ukrainian ones in Russia: No. 6660 dated June 29, 2017 “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine (regarding the limitation of conducting tour events On the territory of the state-aggressor and on the territory of Ukraine, including in the temporarily occupied territory of Ukraine)”. In particular, the authors offer the performers from Russia who want to perform on the territory of Ukraine to provide a written statement “On the condemnation of the occupation of the territory of Ukraine by the aggressor state”. Restrictions on performances will not affect Russian citizens who immigrated to Ukraine for permanent residence, and performers who condemn Russia’s actions against Ukraine. The performers of both countries shall be forbidden performing in the Donbass and Crimea. That is, a violation of several fundamental rights enshrined in the International Covenants on Human Rights of 1966 and the European Convention on Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of 1950: the right to freedom of movement, the right to freedom of thought, privacy, right to freedom of creative activity.
On May 19, SSU officers searched the activists of the Hungarian community of Transcarpathia. The head of the district council, Yosef Shin, and the deputy of the district council of Otto Vas, were detained on suspicion of separatism and “cooperation with the aggressor.” Earlier, the Berehove district council appealed to the president of Ukraine with a demand to switch to “contractual relations” with the Kyiv authorities. At the entrance to Berehovsky and Vinogradovsky districts, indexing stellas were installed in Hungarian with the inscriptions: “Vinogradov district, the Hungarians greet you” and “Berehove district, the land of the Hungarian language”. According to the deputies of the Berehove district council, the appeal to Petro Poroshenko was aimed to protect the rights of Hungarians in Ukraine in places where they live in Transcarpathia. Deputies also drew attention to the lack of funding of local communities by the central authorities.
Pressure on the judiciary
The pressure on the judiciary in Ukraine is exerted both by representatives of power structures, deputies, and by various “social activists”. These actions violate Art. 126 of the Constitution providing for the independence and inviolability of judges, as well as prohibiting to exert influence on them.
In particular, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau declares on pressure on April 21 on behalf of 10 MPs from People’s Front” on the judge of the Solomenskyi Court of Kyiv, which selects a preventive measure for the ex-MP Mykola Martynenko and the deputy head of the NJSC Naftogaz of Ukraine Sergey Pereloma. In particular, MPs Logvinsky and Pynzenyk told the investigating judge Bobrovnik that “the fate of the judges of Kireev and Chaus is awaiting him,” the NABU statement says. As a result, Martynenko was released on bail.
V. Troyan, head of the Main Department of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in the Kyiv region, said in an interview that he exerted pressure on judges to make the necessary decisions: “I did exert pressure, told that if (suspect) is released, I will brought him (the judge)to liability for corruption, I will prove that the decision was made incorrectly”.
On June 21, the Kyiv Court of Appeal cancelled the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine to ban trade with the Crimea, while MP of the Verkhovna Rada, I. Mosychuk, threatened the judges with reprisals: “Until the lanterns on Khreshchatyk are decorated with the corpses in black robes, nothing will change in our country,” wrote he.
Activists also actively pressurize judges. Thus, in 2016 in Odessa and the Odessa region 170 cases of pressure on judges were recorded and 850 meetings were foiled due to false reports of mining. “Lack of appropriate and adequate response to such facts forms in society and a certain environment the notion of permissiveness and impunity of actions committed against judges in order to achieve certain unlawful goals in the interests of individuals,” they say in court. On June 1, during a review by the Supreme Specialized Court of Ukraine of an acquittal in the case of blogger and journalist R. Kotsaba, a fight was under way. The verdict was canceled.
On June 27, the Court of Appeals of Odessa region was to consider the issue of changing a preventive measure for Alexander Kushnarev, a defendant in organizing a fake kidnapping of MP Alexei Goncharenko,. However, activists that arrived in court frustrated the hearing.
On May 30, the Primorsky District Court of Odessa refused to satisfy the prosecutor’s petition for detention of the criminal authority Vladimir Sh., better known under the nickname “Shusharik”, who was detained in Odessa, and released him under house arrest. Apparently, the soft decision of the court was influenced by the presence in the hall of the “support group” of about 20 activists who demanded the release of their comrade. As the adviser to the head of the administration of the National Police in the Odessa region, Ruslan Forostyak, two dozen “activists”, probably from his like-minded people came to support Shusharik, in court, as it now seems, it became fashionable.
The use of law enforcement bodies in political activities, as well as in the creation of media news reasons
Use of Ukrainian law enforcement bodies in political activity has taken on an international format. In this case, it is important to pay attention to the synchronous implementation of investigative actions in relation to the SFS chairman Roman Nasirov and the attack of the so-called “liberal” world media on US President Donald Trump in order to question his legitimacy and ability to make decisions.
In this case, the activities of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine and their curators at the US Embassy were in fact synchronized with a black post-inauguration PR campaign launched by representatives of Donald Trump’s opponents in the United States.
It is important to mention that Roman Nasirov was appointed to the chair of the SFS of Ukraine on the basis of the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine on May 05, 2015, following the results of the first large-scale competition conducted by the commission headed by the Minister of Finance Natalia Yaresko.
Until this appointment R. Nasirov was MP of Ukraine, chairman of the tax and customs policy committee, a member of the BPP faction, and prior to work in the parliament he held executive positions in investment banks.
After the appointment, R. Nasirov, together with the IMF, developed and agreed a plan for the SFS reforming, and within 2 years established a close relationship with US Treasury, CBP, IMF FAD, USAID.
After the election of the US President in 2016, R. Nasirov repeatedly visited Washington. According to information from a circle of people close to him, he met with the close associates of newly elected President Donald Trump.
In January 2017, R. Nasirov was invited to the inauguration of the US President and being the only acting state person, who visited this event and had a number of meetings after it.
According to information available in the investigation of journalists, he was introduced and met with the new head of the Administration, the new head of the White House, the National Security Adviser and other persons of the highest rank.
In the state corridors of Ukraine there immediately appeared talks that R. Nasirov could become a contact person between the new US Administration and Ukraine.
In January 2017, after visiting the inauguration, the Minister of Finance of Ukraine, Alexander Danilyuk, attempted to investigate this incident and remove R. Nasirov from office. A. Danilyuk’s information was actively used by publications and public organizations close to the US Embassy.
In February 2017, the National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption conducted an audit of the declaration of R. Nasirov and found no violations.
NABU officers on March 2, 2017 at 11.50 pm tried illegally to lay the suspicion and detained R. Nasirov within the framework of the so-called “Gas Case of Onischenko”.
On the proposal of the Minister of Finance of Ukraine on March 3, 2017, the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine removes R. Nasirov from execution of duties for the duration of the investigation (although such resolution must be taken by the court).
In the future, the judge Bobrovnik controlled by NABU takes a non-legal decision on the pre-trial restriction.
According to journalists, the implementation of “R. Nasirov’s case” was personally led by George Kent, a high-ranking official of the US Embassy in Ukraine. It came to the point that Kent personally came and was at the courthouse, and also put the team to organize and support a positive decision for NABU.
From the very beginning of R. Nasirov’s case, the law experts asserted the futility of the charges brought forward, since the procedure for the determent of customs payments is provided for by law, and for the year the SFS grants thousands of such determents.
It is also clear that with threats, pressure on forensic experts and courts, the NABU will be able to mislead the public. However, sooner or later such a scheme will be exposed, and society will understand the whole truth about the organ, which was used as a mechanism for dirty reprisals against persons who interfere.
In the context of this situation, it is important to pay special attention to the grave violation by NABU of Art. 364, 365, 366, 372, 374, 387 of the Civil Code of Ukraine. There is also a violation of Art. 371, namely the illegal detention of R. Nasirov.
After the “PR-criminal show” with the participation of NABU and SAP, which was perceived by the media audience extremely positively, details of Nasirov’s medical record were revealed: in fact, his pressure was exaggerated because of thyroid problems. In a consequence it was found out that Roman Nasirov has cancer of a thyroid gland.
In early July, he had an operation to remove the thyroid gland. When communicating with his lawyer, the journalists found out that he did not want to use information about oncological disease during the detention and at the trial to ensure that information in the press did not injure his wife and three children.
Using this, cynical young politicians from NABU and SAP organized a show, and later, knowing full information about Nasirov’s health and the operation performed, they did not allow the sick person to go abroad for further chemotherapy, in oral conversations motivating it with a negative reaction of the public.
For reference, chemotherapy drugs used in Ukraine certified in 2001-2003 and are an anachronism with an effect of 50%. The mentioned conclusions, including the leading doctors-academicians, are available to NABU, the leader of which, A. Sytnik is aware that they endanger human life.
These officials clearly understood that the bail of UAH 100 million in an empty unpromising trial is a guarantee of the return of R. Nasirov after chemotherapy to Ukraine. Nevertheless, they continue the disgraceful game for the purpose of political PR, having absolutely non-legal and non-state goals and interests.
Summarizing, it can be noted that the figure of R. Nasirov was chosen by the politicians, NABU and their patrons in the US embassy, as the quintessence of the person allegedly close to the team of Donald Trump and personifying the general dislike of citizens for customs and tax services.
It is important to emphasize that law enforcement bodies, instead of realizing the fight against corruption and strengthening the democratic foundations, are involved in creating a “political and technological show”, used to discredit the image of Donald Trump, both in Ukraine and internationally.
It is also important to note that the personality of Artem Sytnik, the “headliner” controlled from outside in the creation of this media “anti-corruption” measure was chosen on the grounds that he was already seen in corruption schemes with land in the Kyiv region during his work in the prosecutor’s office of the region and even after dismissal from it. The lack of priority of legitimate actions to political expediency and careerism, according to experts, is the basic motivation of this “new” anti-corruption person.
Observance of the right to freedom of religion
The brutal violation of the rights of believers of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (UOC) continues, both on the part of state bodies through torture of various kinds of anti-church acts and laws, and thanks to indulging other religious organizations misappropriating the church property.
Within the framework of the anti-church legislation, the right-wing radicals tried on May 18 to carry out all the bills that legitimize church raiding and church seizures (No. 4128, 4511 and 5309) with all their might. These bills were opposed by the citizens of Ukraine (the Center for Social Research “Sofia” conducted a survey, according to which 59.7% of respondents do not support the bill No. 4511), believers of the UOC, who held a prayer vigil under the VRU, and representatives of foreign countries (Patriarch of the Bulgarian Orthodox Church Neophyte sent an official address to the President of Ukraine, Petro Poroshenko and Chairman of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Andrei Parubii, in which he expressed deep concern of the Bulgarian Church; Jerusalem Patriarch Theophilus III said: “… we strongly condemn those who take actions against the parishes of the canonical Orthodox Church in Ukraine”) and other Ukrainian religious organizations (Bishop Stanislav Shirokoradyuk, Bishop of the Kharkov-Zaporozhye Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church spoke about the famous religious bill on the air of Radio Maria: “Anarchy is being created, it is clear that everything is being done so that the Kyiv Patriarchate can take for itself the parishes of the Moscow Patriarchate. A corruption scheme is being created, so that the parishes freely go to the Kyiv Patriarchate”).
Various kinds of officials of state bodies actively interfere in the affairs of the church and violate the rights of believers. Thus, President Poroshenko, Prime Minister Groisman, the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine Parubii interfere with all their strength in the internal church life trying to organize the United Church in Ukraine on the basis of the UOC KP, which directly contradicts Art. 35 of the Constitution, according to which the state is separated from the church and there is freedom of religious activity. It is in this direction that the norm of bill No. 4511 can be assessed according to the provisions of which the authorities get the right to participate in the appointment of metropolitans and bishops. As a result, religious organizations, having lost all independence, will become the department of the Ukrainian state machine.
The Ministry of Culture of Ukraine sent a letter dated 10.03.2017 “Regarding the Registration of Charters of Religious Organizations”. According to the letter, the regional state administrations are recommended to consider the charters of religious organizations from a strictly defined “political perspective”, refusing to register the documents of those churches that do not suit the Ministry on certain criteria. As Oleg Denisov, member of the board of directors of the international human rights organization Human Rights Advocacy, notes, the real meaning of the “recommendations” described is to destroy the UOC hierarchical structure, to tear the community away from the church center to make it easier for the Kyiv Patriarchate to carry out raider actions.
Officials of a smaller rank also do not lag behind. Thus, the Commander of the National Guard, Lieutenant-General Yuri Allerov, said that representatives of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church do not take part in his department as chaplains. Moreover, Allerov also noted that this provision is spelled out in the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers. But, the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers of January 5, 2017, “On approving the Regulations on the Service of the Military Clergy (Capellan Service) in the Armed Forces of Ukraine” has no such norm. It is only stipulated that the chaplain must be a citizen of Ukraine, proficient in the state language and be a clergyman of the religious organization of Ukraine. In addition to slandering the canonical Church and the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, which was quickly picked up by the media, the general also said he personally saw how the UOC representatives blessed the militants for a “holy war against the Ukrainian people.” That is, in this case there is an unlawful arbitrariness of the general, restriction of the rights of believers and religious organizations and vilify the UOC.
In turn, the head of the Kolomiya City Committee of the Trade Union of Workers of State Institutions, Nikolai Repiakh, agitated the parishioners of the Annunciation Cathedral of the UOC, to change the jurisdiction, not even a parishioner of this church. At the parish meeting, conducted by the rector of the church, Archpriest Vasily Kobelskiy, 215 parishioners, you-spoke for preserving the religious community in submission to the canonical Ukrainian Orthodox Church.
Former MP Doniy on April 21 on ZIK channel fomented inter-confessional enmity urging deputies and officials to boycott the UOC and show “their example” to believers who do not want to go to other confessions.
National radicals are actively used against the UOC e and church communities for the purpose of “church raiding”. They legitimated their cooperation, on May 4, when the Chairman of the Office of the Military Clerical Department of the UOC-Kyiv Patriarchate and members of the Right-wing Sector signed an agreement on cooperation and interaction, which “is a new stage in relations between the Church and the nationalist movement”. The consequences of such “interaction” were not long in coming.
On April 28, right-wing radicals disrupted the meeting of the Zbarazh district court, which was to consider a criminal case on seizure of the UOC church in honor of the First Martyr Stefan in Kotyuzhiny village, Ternopil region.
On May 2, in Zhytomir region, unknown persons in camouflage and representatives of the UOC-KP from Zhitomir blocked the road Metropolitan Vyssarion of Ovruch and Korosten, who was going to the temple of Novaya Buda village of Radomysl district. Representatives of the “UOC-KP” intended to disrupt the metropolitan’s conversation with the villagers and, shouting contradictory words, they succeeded.
Jonathan, Metropolitan of Tulchin and Bratslav, is threatened for his articles in the media, that “radicals will just come to him”.
On May 5, in the center of Kyiv near the department store “Ukraine”, the cleric of the Kyiv Eparchy of the UOC, the founder of the mission “Mercy without borders”, Zakharia Kerstyuk, actively assisting the population in the East of Ukraine was shot.
On June 4, Greek Catholics, supported by the fighters of the “Black Hundred” captured the Annunciation Cathedral of the UOC in Kolomyia. Now the temple is sealed.
On May 15, supporters of the Kyiv Patriarchate broke open the doors to the Church of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul of the UOC in Kinakhovtsi village in the Zbarazh district of Ternopil region and beat the rector of the church of the priest Vitaly Hureva and captured the temple. The UOC clergyman filed two statements to the police. One – under Article 126 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, on the fact of the attack, the second – under Article 179, which defines as a crime non-legal detention, desecration and destruction of shrines. No action is taken by the police.
On May 16, in Zoryanoye village, Vinkovets district, Khmelnitsky region, the representatives of the Kyiv Patriarchate and Svoboda party activists, with the participation of a regional councilor V.V. Burlyk, illegally captured the Holy Dormition Church of the UOC.
On June 9, under the pressure of “people in camouflage” in the Rivne region, the village council did not allocate land for the UOC spiritual and educational center.
On June 7, “patriotic” organizations of Zhytomyr went to the city center to protest against the allocation of land to the UOC monastery in Chopovychi village of Malyn district. It is planned to raise the issue again at the next session, so that the councilors explain what made them change their decision in 40 minutes. As a result of such actions of radical elements over three years, 40 temples have already been seized in Ukraine.
For two years, the UOC community of Kuta village in Shumsk district, Ternopil region cannot return to the St. Anna’s temple that it won lawfully in court, which UOC-KP captured and refuses to vacate, despite the court’s decision. The UOC clergyman filed a statement to the police regarding the illegal actions of the UOC-KP community.
In Volyn region, in Velimche village of Ratne district and in Osmigovychi village of Tury district, the UOC-KP, in May-June 2017, fraudulently collected among the parishioners of the UOC the signatures for registering parishes with the same names as the UOC operating parishes, that would in the future, after registration “in various ways create hostility between fellow villagers, and in the future to claim their rights to the temple”.
Limitation of citizens’ right to assembly and expression
During the reporting period, the constitutional right of citizens of Ukraine to freedom of assembly (Article 39) and expression (Article 34) was repeatedly violated both by the authorities and due to inaction of the authorities against various “activists”. The situation particularly aggravated in connection with the celebration of the Victory Day on May 9.
First, on April 29, Z. Shkiryak, an adviser to Interior Minister, completely illegally forbade people to use the “St. George ribbons”, which is a symbol of Victory and an integral part of many military orders and medals of the Great Patriotic War at festive events, while at the same time expressing a threat against dissented “activists”: “Please refrain from using prohibited communist symbols. First of all – St. George ribbons. …. Today it is a sign of Russian terrorism. Please do not use these ribbons during the May celebrations. This causes a logical and objective correct reaction in the Ukrainian patriot and citizen”.
The actions on May 9 across Ukraine were marred by clashes with radicals. In Kyiv, the police took by storm the OUN office, after the participants of the action “Immortal Regiment” were targeted by a grenade launcher from there. Mass fights were in Mykolayiv and Dnipro, when the procession was attacked by various “activists”. To date, 25 people from among the vigilantes have already been identified by video recordings, and they are charged. One of the organizers of the “Immortal Regiment” – MP A. Vilkul is accused by the Prosecutor General’s Office and the Ministry of Internal Affairs of organizing mass disorders. Although radicals attacked the column, and not vice versa. On May 10, representatives of the Azov organization in the number of 30 people attacked the office of the Association of Afghan Veterans in Mykolayiv, where there were 6 people, and beat the head of the Association Yuri Solovey.
Afraid of mass participation of Ukrainian citizens in non-governmental events in honour of the Victory Day, the authorities decided to take subsequent punitive measures that limit the freedom of expression of citizens. Thus, on May 16 the Verkhovna Rada passed a law banning the “St. George’s ribbon” and introducing administrative liability for its use.
The citizens who organized these actions were also arrested. Thus, in Vinnytsia on May 18 73-year-old pensioner Ivan Bondaruk from the party of the Union of Leftist Forces of Ukraine was arrested charged an article for “treason”.
The first sentence under art. 436-1 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine for “propaganda of communist ideology” has been rendered. A student from Lviv on May 4 was sentenced to two and a half years for information posted on the Internet in his “Contact” page. In the court’s decision it is written that it was precisely in the distorted understanding of the Ukrainian prosecution authorities that they began to be interpreted as “propaganda of communist ideology”, and what the right-defenders warned about earlier: “in the public use of products with symbols of the communist regime, which include: publications dedicated to V.I. Lenin, that is, the person who held the leading position in the highest USSR government bodies, his philosophical and political citations, as well as the well-known Communist slogans: “Lenin lived, Lenin lives, Lenin will live!”; “The plan is the law, fulfillment is duty, over performance is an honor!” . At the same time, material evidence is indicated: “Komsomol ticket, party ticket, Capital by K. Marks, Georgian, yellow-blue and red ribbons, invitations with the inscription “Guest of the XXII extraordinary congress of the Progressive Party of Ukraine”, 5 flags, 19 T-shirts, 7 Caps and 5 CDs with communist symbols, 8 Komsomol tickets, forms of Leninist Young Communist League of Ukraine registration cards, postcards with communist symbols, a disk with an inscription”. The article was introduced in the CPC after the adoption of the law on de-communization, and it is this article that determines the criminal liability for the violation of the law. There are two more such cases pending in court.
This process has been condemned by human rights defenders. M. Butkevych, coordinator of the project “Without borders”, notes that “When a package of 4 laws was adopted, including the ban on demonstrating the symbols of the communist and Nazi regimes, and the justification of these regimes as criminal, several times during a stormy discussion they pointed out that the law does not prohibit the spread of ideology, it is not about ideology, for example, not about Marxism, and not about Marxism-Leninism. It is about specific criminal regimes so their symbols cannot be shown, just like Nazi, for example. There is no talk about banning ideology”. Human rights activists believe that the law does not say that it is prohibited to disseminate quotes of that time in the social network. The problem lies in the fuzzy definition of the concept of “propaganda” in the law itself, and note that the methods of combating political opponents are very reminiscent of the USSR times.
These actions of the authorities have also caused condemnation by international human rights organizations. Thus, O. Pokalchuk, director of Amnesty International in Ukraine, said that Ukraine held detentions of peaceful demonstrators because of the non-violent use of the Soviet symphony. “We believe that the Ukrainian government is obliged to ensure freedom of speech and freedom of peaceful assembly for all citizens. “Freedom of expression is a fundamental right, must be recognized by all in Ukraine.” Prohibition of the symbols associated with the Communist Party and the Soviet past (“decommunization” laws passed in May 2015) is a violation of the right to freedom of expression, and the detention of peaceful demonstrators is a step in restricting freedom of speech and peaceful assembly by Ukrainian authorities. All detained demonstrators must be released. We also demand an effective and impartial investigation of all cases of violence during today’s demonstrations. “The detention of peaceful citizens and the prohibition of Soviet symbols are unacceptable. Such measures not only do not free Ukraine from the Soviet legacy, from the draconian laws and practices of the Soviet times, but on the contrary they bring us and our country closer together”.
In turn, the deputy head of the People’s Front faction in the Verkhovna Rada, Yury Bereza, promised to arrange an opposition massacre on May 25, if he lost power: “We have combat experience, and this revolution ended in a big blood trial. As soon as I feel that we are losing Ukraine, I will Take actions … I have a “plan B”. Bereza said that there will be no “revenge” or “civil war”. There will be a “Night of long knives” and that’s all”, – Bereza said.
On the other hand, volunteer Sinitsyn said that in the first days of May he went to Kherson, “there we chased a bit Russian patriot and nationalist”. Only this statement should be enough for law enforcement agencies to initiate a case in fact. More global organizations of radicals, like C14, attack the campaigns under anti-fascist slogans, for example, against the renaming of Vatutin Avenue in Kyiv. In all cases, the law enforcement bodies do not get involved in the events.
The government itself also actively uses the achievements of the Soviet government to fulfill its goals. In particular, to organize the image of mass support by the people of the “visa-free travel celebration”, budgetary institution employees are driven out to create the crowd by order.
Activities of professional “public activists”
There are still destructive actions of a certain circle of people who self-endowed themselves with unlimited powers to invade the privacy of citizens and the public life of the country under the guise of various “activists”, “leaders of public opinion”, etc. Their actions have long since passed from the category of semi-criminal pressure of all those who disagree with them (violation of Article 15 of the Constitution – “social life is based on the foundations of ideological diversity”), into the category of open crime – intimidation, beatings, abductions of dissenting citizens, racketeering of entrepreneurs, pressure on the court, etc. And the government, in its turn, does not try to stop this criminal activity somehow, but uses them as a Ukrainian analogue of the Latin American “death squads” in its sordid purposes of social control.
Thus, the famous performer of popular songs and “activist” O. Skrypka openly made a statement “to create a ghetto for those who cannot learn Ukrainian” and called them “morons”. No state body has condemned this frankly xenophobic assertion, which openly incites national hatred in the country.
In April in the center of Kyiv, in the area of the Bessarabian market, radical elements from the National-patriotic Movement of Ukraine” headed by M. Kovalchuk under the slogan “Remember stranger, Ukrainian is a master here!” And with the flags “Misanthropic division”, which follows a neo-Nazi and xenophobic ideology, committed a bashing of the Lebanese cafe “Linas Cafe”. The authorities did not react to this in any way, and judging by the photos of Kovalchuk with the cafe owner, the latter began paying “activists” for the “roof” in the style of the ’90s. singer I. Bilyk made a similar statement: “The guys who wanted to sabbotage my concert (in Odessa on June 8) demanded money, but not directly, because it can be recorded and made public. They said that if we gave money, they would not touch me. We asked: how much? And we were told “let them themselves call this amount” through third parties.
The “activists” were also involved In the murder of the runaway Russian deputy Voronenkov – on June 14, the participant of the “Pavlograd Self-Defense” Ya. Tarasenko was detained in the case, although initially the authorities unequivocally accused Russia of this.
The “celebrations” on May 9 resulted in another round of aggression by radical elements, frightened by the massive participation of citizens in the actions and the rebuff given to them. The aggressive racist, neo-Nazi and xenophobic grouping C14, whose name is associated with the phrase of 14 words used by the supremacists of the white race, became extremely more active in this process. Thus, on June 2, radicals from the group stated that they grabbed and brought to the police Dmitry Maksymenko, associate professor of the Department of Advanced Mathematics of the Kyiv University of Construction and Architecture (KUSA), who rebuffed them on May 9 in the Glory Park. From the legal point of view, they unlawfully deprived a person of liberty (Article 146 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine), attributed themselves to the powers of law enforcement bodies, under the Law of Ukraine “On Participation of Citizens in the Protection of Civil Order and state Border” (2000) concerning “civil detentions”, although they do not fall within it. In addition, they broke into the office of the KUSA rector and demanded from him to dismiss the associate professor from work, what the frightened rector had done in the end.
On June 7, radical elements from the C14 attacked the opposition politician D. Zharkikh in the center of Kyiv. June 16, C14 attacked the action against the renaming of Vatutin Avenue into Shukhevycha Avenue in Kyiv. On July 1 in Kyiv metro, C14 attacked the blogger R. Kotsab. In all cases, the police remained inactive.
Regular practice is when various “activists” commit lynching, and after their detention by law enforcement agencies, they are protected by their colleagues, committing new offenses.
On 14 May, the drunken guards of the ex-leader of Right Sector Yarosh attacked a taxi driver in Kamensk, for his refusal to shout nationalist slogans. The taxi driver was defended by his colleagues, and the attackers surrendered to the police, but within a few days (May 22) the radical elements filed an application with a request to initiate criminal proceedings on the fact of the guard being beaten by the taxi driver in part 4 of Art. 296 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine and it was opened. In such uncomplicated way, the injured and wounded taxi driver can become an accused. On June 10, the radicals were released by the court for house arrest.
Other radicals who two years ago committed a massacre in Mukachevo, when four people were killed, also on June 26, were released on bail by the court: “During the trial it became known that a number of accusations were abandoned, because of the lack of evidence: banditry, threats of murder and blockade of roads in the episode of the gas station”. According to other articles, they were sentenced to 3 years and 9 months each, but this time they completely left under the so-called law of Savchenko, when the day in the detention facility is counted for two days in prison.
A series of assaults on local self-government bodies of various kinds by “activists” began again. On May 30, about 100 “activists” broke into the session hall of the Lviv regional council: they threw several smoke bombs into the room and shouted nationalist slogans. The goal was that the deputies should support the manifesto by the nationalist forces in Kyiv: “This manifesto is the basis for continuing the resolution of the dignity. Manifesto on how to get out of the crisis country. The central government is not just the authorities in Kyiv, but also its people at the local level”. At the same time, the MP, the leader of the National Corps Andrei Biletskyi said that the activists will storm regional councils in all regions of Ukraine, following the example of an assault in Lviv, demanding an amnesty for ATO participants. On June 1, fighters of volunteer battalions broke into the Kyiv city council. The reason for the indignation was that the members of the City Council did not adopt in the second reading the regulation on granting the status of combatants to those serving in volunteer battalions. After this people’s deputies passed the bill. The law enforcement bodies did not react to the facts of seizures.
On June 19, another group of activists announced the capture of the Burshtyn CHPP. Law enforcement bodies once again ignored this statement.
It should be noted that the persecution by “activists” of people with different opinions on social networks is common. This phenomenon gains a special context, if the person is a civil servant. For example, lawyer from the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade Olga Kushnir in Facebook publicly supported the petition for the return of the former name in honour of General Vatutin to Shukhevycha Avenue. After that, “activists” started hounding her in social networks, and the Ministry made a comment: “We reminded our employees of the ethical behaviour of civil servants in social networks and the inadmissibility of such statements”. At the same time, the Ministry of Economy did not explain how exactly Kushnir violated the norms of ethical behaviour, having told that she used her rights as a citizen of Ukraine and voted for the petition on the resonant topic discussed in the country. Similarly, Ye. Berezhnaya, who appeals in court the acts perpetuating in the names of Kyiv streets the ambiguous historical figures such as Shukhevych and Bandera, is subjected to harassment: “I get a lot of calls to my address – I do not know where they get my phone number, a lot of threats on Facebook too, and everywhere that they will do to me what they did to Oles Buzyna, that I will be burned as Odessa residents on May 2, will turn into a “colorado” bug, etc.
As a result, a lot of people leave the territory of Ukraine, these are economic migrants, whose number is approaching 5 million, and representatives of the nation that receive citizenship of other countries. For example, the political expert E. Kopatko in April 2017 received Russian citizenship, the deputies Onyshchenko and Artemenko fled to the EU because of political persecution. But, the countries where they reside are reluctant to extradite them to Ukraine. The authorities are not active in opposing these processes. Having no desire to improve the social and economic situation in the country, the pro-government MPs decided to act by means of repression. The Verkhovna Rada has introduced a law on the prohibition of dual citizenship.
Situation in the social protection, health care and sanitation
In violation of the provision of the Constitution of Ukraine, that “a person, … is considered the highest social value in Ukraine” (Article 3) and raising tariffs for housing services above the subsistence minimum, the government decided to apply additional measures for deprivation of citizens of the apartments and forcing them pay the excessive tariffs in time. Thus, under the cover of the law banning the “St. George ribbons”, the Verkhovna Rada adopted in the first reading a bill on imposing a penalty for late payment of communal services – “in the amount set in the agreement, but no more than 0.01 percent for every day of delay from the amount of debt” (“Law on Housing and Communal Services” No. 1581-d).
Subsidies are not sufficient to help the population pay for unaffordable tariffs. Thus, according to new information from the State Statistics Committee, the arrears of Ukrainians in payment for utility services increased by 34.6% in May this year. Compared to April, the total amount of debt increased to UAH 25.2 billion. The state owes another 35 billion to the service providers as part of subsidy coverage. In addition, since May 1, according to government decree, the subsidy will not be issued to citizens who have a debt for housing and communal services for more than 2 months.
In the continuation of the theme of “bringing tariffs in line with economically justified indicators,” in Kyiv, the cost of housing and communal services continues to increase. Since July, the cost of house maintenance has risen twice, and the tariff for hot water supply for the Kyivenergo power generating company has been increased by 1.6%. From July 15 in Kyiv, the fare for metro and all types of land transport – bus, trolley, tram and funicular – will increase. The metro will cost UAH 5, other modes of transport – UAH 4. The fare of the city train will also increase – it will be UAH 7.
Unemployment in the country is also actively growing – up to 10.1%, a possible reason for this phenomenon is the ill-conceived decision of the government to double raise the minimum wage to UAH 3,200.
To fulfill the IMF requirements to obtain the next tranche of loan money, the Ukrainian government started another reform of the pension legislation. Without raising the minimum retirement age, the government published its bill on May 17, 2017, according to which, within the framework of the pension reform, it was suggested that the minimum length of service, allowing one to receive a pension for one year, should be increased by 1 year, already to 35 years in 2028. Persons who do not have an insurance (general) length of service for 15 years will be entitled to the state social assistance after reaching the age of 65.
Another blow to the social protection of low-income citizens was inflicted on July 1, when the resolution of the Cabinet of Ministers on the abolition of state regulation of food prices came into force. Henceforth, producers will not be obliged to declare prices for food products, as well as to justify for the State Procurement Service the need to change these prices.
In the health care sector, the situation in the country remains in a depressing state with a tendency to clear deterioration. The state clearly does not fulfill the right of citizens to have “effective and accessible to all citizens health care” stipulated by Art. 49, paragraph 3 of the Constitution. The Ministry of Health still does not have a full-fledged leader – is headed by the acting minister. New epidemics were added to the epidemics of HIV-AIDS and tuberculosis, which continued since the end of the 1990’s in Ukraine. Thus, in July 2017, the situation with measles morbidity worsened in Odessa. In Ukraine, there is a growth spurt in the incidence of tuberculosis among children and adolescents. In 2016, the incidence rate of children increased from 4.2 to 5.8 per 100 thousand of the population, in Ukraine this figure was 8.6.
This situation is exacerbated by insufficient vaccination of the population and the lack of procurement of new doses of vaccines. Vaccines for BCG and tuberculin were lost. In May – June 2017, the country completely lacked serum from botulism, which was not purchased by the Ministry of Health. This situation is connected with the adoption of the law on public procurement of medicines only through international organizations, lobbied in May 2015 under Minister A. Kvitashvili, the international medical lobby. Such organizations included the United Nations Development Program, Crown Agents, and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) . In addition, Ukraine voluntarily adopted the “advanced” experience of the world’s most backward countries. Special attention in this context deserves the British company Crown Agents – the former commercial structure of the British government (since 1997 – a private company) to promote the economic interests of London in the colonial countries. For its rich history, Crown Agents has repeatedly been a participant in corruption and criminal adventures in various countries around the world.
An even larger piece of the budget pie was received by the United Nations Development Program, which has close ties among civilian “grants organizations”. Those who are dissatisfied with the current distribution of financial flows are actively criticized by the Ministry of Health along with its reforms. But the notorious fighter with corruption, Dmitry Sherembey argues the opposite: “All the hysteria that is raised today around the Ministry of Defense is the protection of capital, which lost the old corruption system”.
To correct the situation it is planned with the help of the healthcare system reform, which was voted in the first reading in June 2017 in the framework of bills No. 6327, 6328, 6329 and 6347 (the main is draft law No.6327 “On State Financial Guarantees for Provision of Health Care Services” on June 8, 2017). It is assumed that from now on, only primary health care will be paid from the state budget, and the most expensive – specialized and highly specialized – will be provided on terms of additional payment by patients of part of its cost. At the same time, there is yet no specific list of state-guaranteed health care services and tariffs for other types of care.
That is, roughly speaking, it is completely incomprehensible from the draft laws – where the “guaranteed package” ends and “specialized health care” begins. Operation on appendicitis is included in the free package (like emergency help) or already for a fee (as a specialized operation)? Or USE? And what will be the size of this fee? 
It is assumed that all this will be spelled out by separate regulatory acts of the government. But the meaning is understandable in general. A significant part of the health care services will become officially paid (exception – ATO veterans). I would like to note in this connection that the state actually cancels Art. 40, paragraph 4 of the Constitution of Ukraine: “In state and municipal health institutions, health care is provided free of charge: existing network of such institutions cannot be reduced”, as well as the equality of citizens provided for in Art. 21 of the Constitution – “All citizens are free and equal in their honor and rights” (Article 21).
In theory, if the state refuses to free universal health care some compensatory mechanisms should be provided. For example, the introduction of health care insurance (at least for working people). However, the bills do not mention this at all.
The reform will divide the medical institutions into three levels: family outpatient department; single-profile institutions (including laboratories and hospitals); highly specialized hospitals. Patients will themselves enter into contracts with family doctors that will provide customers with a basic package of services at public expense.
A specially created National Health Service of Ukraine will conclude contracts with all primary health care institutions (regardless of the form of ownership) and control the allocation of budget funds on the basis of “money follows the patient”, according to the actual number of contracts concluded.
Quite unexpectedly, the possibility of state reimbursement of the cost of drugs for three categories of patients is announced: diabetics, people with cardiovascular diseases and bronchial asthma. What looks absolutely unrealistic today, proceeding from the budget possibilities: not long ago a similar program for hypertensive patients stopped due to a lack of funding.
It also suggests the introduction in the country of clinical protocols of the international sample, which are much less liberal to the wishes of the patient in comparison with the standards that have been in force since Soviet times. For example, the doctor may decide to visit a patient on his own, based on the patient’s complaints. No one can force a doctor to go to the house to the patient, he can offer the patient to come for the appointment himself/herself.
Previously, the population was already agitated by the initiatives of the acting Minister U.Suprun on wide attraction of “paramedics”, rescuers and firemen for work in sphere of emergency medical aid. And in all regions at the beginning of the year, there were unrests in connection with the formation of the so-called “state-funded districts”, as a result of which the majority of residents of district centers actually lose the opportunity to receive qualified medical assistance near their place of residence. Thus, a vivid example is the Sumy region – instead of the necessary six hospital districts, in particular Glukhiv, the MOH proposes to create only four in the region.
As the responsible secretary of the National Medical Chamber of Ukraine Sergei Kravchenko: “We are totally destroying the health care system. We have destroyed everything. Primary health care was reformed, and as a result, it was destroyed. The sanitary and epidemiological service was reformed, and as a result it was destroyed. Currently, we are reforming secondary and tertiary health care within the state contingent districts – we are dying both inpatient specialized medical care and highly specialized medical care, to which the academic system belongs”.
At the same time, it is important to emphasize that Ulyana Suprun was appointed to the post of Acting Minister of Health in violation of the Constitution and Ukrainian legislation (violations with the appointment of U. Suprun started in the summer of 2016 when she was approved as First Deputy Minister of Health – Prime Minister adopted an order on the appointment of U. Suprun on the basis of a submission signed by a person unauthorized to commit such actions). Thus, the legitimacy of all decisions taken by it, as well as the medical reform itself, is brought into question.
Another reform carried out by the Cabinet of Ministers – amendments to the law on education – according to the estimates of the Ministry of Finance of Ukraine can be achieved only by reducing more than half of pedagogical and scientific pedagogical staff and reducing other budgetary expenses, or by significantly increasing the deficit of the state budget of Ukraine. That is, it is a question of the next populist step of the authorities.
The state completely does not carry out rehabilitation of 300 thousand participants of military operations (PMO). Thus, the Minister of Internal Affairs Avakov gave statistics on suicides among ATO participants – 500 people at the beginning of this year, 90-95% of participants of military operations subsequently have medical (associated with the nervous system) and social problems, the number of appeals of family members of ATO participants with complaints of domestic violence has increased eight-fold. For the country that experienced the “Afghan syndrome” in the 90’s, with a smaller amount of PMO, the “Donetsk syndrome” will clearly be a bigger problem.
In the sphere of sanitation, the epic with the removal of garbage from Lviv has lasted exactly for one year (since May 2016). The city landfill in Grybovychi is closed. The garbage-incinerator is not built. A temporary landfill for garbage collection was not found. Local and central authorities cannot find a common language. The city is still sinking in garbage, in which rats grow, and it is a hotbed of dangerous diseases in the summer. Trucks with Lviv rubbish travel across Ukraine that discharge it out daily in other cities and villages of Ukraine without the consent of local residents.
Corruption in the formation of tariffs and the work of the FEC (fuel and energy complex)
Corruptive actions created the basis for violating the constitutional rights of citizens in the activities of independent coal trade unions, as well as creating large-scale shadow schemes aimed at enriching pro-government groups.
According to experts, losses from corruption schemes in the fuel and energy complex of the country are estimated at USD 8 to 10 billion, which is about 10% of the country’s GDP. Such large-scale corruption does not exist in any country on the planet, including the third-world countries.
Experts and analysts have found as many as ten corruption “schemes” that contribute to the illegal enrichment of business people close to the government and the representatives of the top leadership of Ukraine. Such “schemes” include the inflated cost of heat at leased CHPP. Thus, a striking example of such a “scheme” is pricing at the state-owned Kalush CHPP. The price of heat at it is half of that at CHPP in Sumy, Cherkassy, Chernigov and Darnitskyi district of Kyiv leased by business agencies. The losses of the state budget from this corruption “scheme”, according to experts, reach UAH 3 billion.
One of the most well-known in the media space corruption “schemes” associated with the fuel and energy complex is the so-called “Rotterdam + scheme”. The essence of the scheme is that the price for Ukrainian coal is formed according to the principle of its delivery from Rotterdam, Holland. The experts tell that this “scheme” damages the state in the amount of UAH 30 billion every year. The authors of this corruption “scheme” are the head of the NCSREUC (National Commission exercising State Regulation in Energy and Utilities Sectors) D.V. Vovk, head of the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine Yu.A. Terentyev, head of the State Regulatory Service KM. Lyapina and former Minister of Energy V.V. Demchyshyn, who approved the relevant resolution of the NCSREUC.
The corrupt “scheme” of the sale of natural gas produced in Ukraine requires special attention. The country is provided with this raw material on a scale that could fully cover the public needs of the population. At the same time, the cost price of natural gas production in the territory of Ukraine is rather low and is about USD 60 per one cubic meter. However, the state buys it at a price of USD 250 per cubic meter. According to the most conservative estimates, this “scheme” damages the state budget in the amount of UAH 75 billion annually.
The corrupt “schemes” in “Ukrtransgaz” are also evident. This company receives about USD 3.5 for the transit of Russian gas through the country. Previously, these funds were used to maintain the operation of the gas transportation system and to compensate gas prices for the population. However, at the moment such actions are not carried out, and no one knows where the funds go. As experts point out, this corrupt “scheme” “costs” Ukraine UAH 87.5 billion every year.
There is also the corruption “scheme”, in which individual businesses receive preferences when exporting state energy abroad. A vivid example of such “scheme” is the situation with Burshtyn Energy Center. This is a special area around Burshtyn CHPP, which is used by business representatives close to the authorities for the export of electricity. It is purchased at Energorynok at a reduced price, and then is exported to Moldova. Ukrainian citizens are subsidized for such “business” in the amount of 70 kopecks per kilowatt of electricity. According to analyst estimates, the budget annually loses UAH 2.5 billion on exports to Moldova and UAH 4 billion on subsidies for Burshtyn Energy Center.
There is also a scheme similar to Rotterdam + with the purchase of natural gas called Baumgarten +. The essence of the corruption “scheme” is that Ukraine buys Russian gas at the price of the most expensive European hub, and in addition, the cost of the transit of raw materials from this hub to Ukraine is added to this price. However, this transit is nothing more than virtual, and in fact it does not take place, because Ukraine takes this gas back for its transit from Russia to Europe. As experts point out, this “scheme” damages the state in the amount of UAH 25 billion a year, and its authors are the heads of NJSC “Naftogaz of Ukraine” A.V. Kobelev and Yu.Yu. Vitrenko.
One of the latest corrupt “schemes”, which at this moment is at the implementation stage is a subscription fee for gas. Thus, the businesses close to the government hope to “shift” the financial support of the gas infrastructure to the end users, who do not always use gas in domestic needs, but only are connected to the public network. This “scheme” will cause damage worth UAH 5 billion per year.
According to experts’ estimates, these “corrupt schemes” cause general harm on the state and its citizens at a minimum of UAH 230 billion a year, which in recalculation for each Ukrainian (in particular, infants and pensioners) is UAH 5,500 per person per year.
Torture and murder of citizens
The life of a citizen is considered the highest social value of the Ukrainian state (Article 3 of the Constitution), no one can be arbitrarily deprived of life (Article 27), and torture is prohibited (Article 28 of the Constitution), while violating these provisions of the Constitution are a frequent phenomenon in the current Ukraine. And the punishment for their violation for the authorities is minimal, if any at all.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has sharply criticized the situation with respect for human rights in Ukraine. The latest June report of the Monitoring Mission for the period from February to May 2017 published extremely unpleasant for Ukraine conclusions.
Most of the Report is devoted to the description of cases when law enforcement agencies (mainly Ukraine) allowed torture and ill-treatment of detainees. So, in April 2017, two men were detained by the police in Bakhmut and taken to an unknown place outside the city. One of them was held for two and three days without contact with the outside world and individually tortured during interrogations about their participation in armed groups in 2014. Both were severely beaten and one was subjected to electric shock in the area Genital organs. Both victims were transferred to the detention center and charged with involvement in armed groups. In the case of the SBU, OHCHR recorded new data from victims and witnesses who testified to the systematic use of torture and ill-treatment of persons detained in connection with the conflict by SBU officials in order to obtain recognition. During the reporting period, OHCHR has documented five cases involving nine persons who were tortured in the premises of the Security Service in Kharkiv in 2015-2016.
OHCHR considers it ineffective to investigate reports of torture and ill-treatment committed by victims to law enforcement agencies or courts. According to the SSU, the cases in June and December 2016 described above were considered, but neither the investigating judge nor the regional SSU found the grounds for initiating an official investigation. Moreover, three investigations and 14 inspections were carried out concerning possible violations of human rights in the buildings of the Security Service of Kharkiv region, but no illegal actions were detected. In addition, there was no progress in the investigation of the Military Prosecutor’s Office for 13 incidents in which there was allegedly arbitrary detention and ill-treatment by the Security Service in Odessa and Zaporizhzhya. The victims have not yet been questioned by the prosecutor.
OHCHR describes cases of extrajudicial executions and other murders, “pre-positively,” as stated in the Report, committed by Ukrainian forces. On March 10, the body of a man who disappeared in Avdeevka on March 3, 2017, was found near Krasnogorovka in Yasynovata district. The Security Service officer, suspected of committing a crime, was taken into custody in March, but released on bail. Pre-trial investigation continues, but there are concerns about the safety of relatives and witnesses.
The Report criticizes the inactivity of the Ukrainian authorities in relation to the investigation of the fights on the Maidan and the tragedy of May 2, 2014 in Odessa. Three years after the violence in Kyiv and Odessa, in which at least 169 people were killed, no one was held liable for these deaths. Regarding the “May 2 case”, the Report says: “The actions taken so far look selective and testify to possible bias”. For the period from mid-April 2014 to May 15, 2017, the OHCHR mission recorded 34,056 victims of the Donbas conflict. This includes victims among the civilian population, the Armed Forces of Ukraine and members of armed groups. This figure includes 10,090 deaths (of which 2,777 are civilians) and 23,966 wounded.
In addition, in response to a request from prisoner S. Babich, who is in Artemovsk Detention Facility under Art. 258-3 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (participation in a terrorist organization) to the Administration of the President of Ukraine to provide a list of legal acts according to which “L/DNR” are recognized as terrorist organizations it was replied: “The Verkhovna Rada has repeatedly called for international Organizations to recognize the DNR and the LNR as terrorist organizations, but the Administration of the President does not know any acts of the Verkhovna Rada, according to which these organizations are considered terroristic”. In other words, there are as yet no signs that the Ukrainian state officially acknowledged DNR and LNR as terrorist organizations at a regulatory and legal level. And this calls into question the detention of citizens, the sentences themselves on terrorism charges and ATO carried out for the third in the Donbass.
Moreover, on April 27, Artemovs Court of Donetsk Region sentenced to 5 years of imprisonment the sergeant of the 54th power-operated brigade from Kotovsk, who together with his comrades kidnapped and tortured a resident of Donbass, who died after being tortured.
In May-June 2017, a group of messages from Mariupol came about the murders of civilians by members of Azov regiment and no control over them by the local police, by the calls of their curators from Kyiv – Biletsky and Troyan. A detailed investigation of Azov police regiment at this stage was conducted by A. Furmanyuk, a journalist who described it as a “personal criminal group of Biletsky”, engaged in mugging, murders, and elimination of those out of favour.
Issues of state building and reforms
On 8 June, the Verkhovna Rada adopted the law “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine (regarding Foreign Policy of Ukraine),” which determines accession to NATO as a priority of the country’s foreign policy. This act is again a violation of the Constitution of Ukraine and a number of laws. Thus, Art. 17 of the Constitution prohibits the deployment of foreign military bases in the country, while the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada made a statement during his visit to America: “The deployment of US military reserves” is possible on the territory of Ukraine. The very membership in the military alliance provides for the possibility of placing foreign military bases in the country, and rare countries in NATO have avoided such a fate. In addition, Section XI of the Declaration on State Sovereignty of Ukraine (1990), which is mentioned in the preamble of the Constitution, as a “guiding act” it was stated that Ukraine “declares its intention to become a permanently neutral state in the future, which does not participate in military blocs”. The question of the course to NATO membership was never put to a referendum, although the president of Ukraine assured that the Ukrainian people would make a decision.
The speaker’s statements that the accession to NATO “has the support of the majority of the population in Ukraine” is unverified information. Even on the wave of Euro-Atlantic beliefs, there were fewer supporters of NATO membership in Ukraine than opponents. According to the results of the February poll by the American Gallup Institute, 35% of respondents see NATO as a threat, 29% – protection, another 26% consider the alliance to be neither a threat nor a protection. In addition, the bill itself was adopted in the already usual manner of our current speaker Andrei Parubii – with violation of the regulation (from the third attempt).
Information on the unlawful actions of various kinds of “volunteers”, in particular from Tornado, continues to appear. The leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs was informed about their activities from the very beginning, but no action was taken to curb them. Accordingly, it is it that is responsible for all the actions of Tornado in the future.
Legislation on the forbidden symbols is further interpreted by unauthorized state bodies according to their ideological taste. In May 2017, the director of the Institute of National Memory, Mr. Vyatrovych, announced the permission to wear SS symbols: “Symbols of the 14th grenadier division of SS troops “Galychyna” (1st Ukrainian Division of the UNA) in accordance with the current legislation of Ukraine is not a symbol of national-socialist (Nazi) totalitarian regime, the distribution or public use of which in Ukraine is prohibited”. This was the response to a request for a solemn funeral service in St. George’s Cathedral on 29 April 2017 in honour of the 74th anniversary of the SS Gaychyna division, a joint prayer at Lychakiv Cemetery and public veche.
Although even Nuremberg Tribunal recognized the SS parts as an integral part of the Nazi state and an instrument of terror, and the SS organization was recognized as a criminal one and convicted. Director of the Ukrainian Jewish Committee Eduard Dolynsky appealed to the Lviv city prosecutor with a request to bring to justice the organizers and participants of the event on April 29, 2017.
It is important to emphasize that in Ukraine there is an atmosphere of impunity with respect to corruption. This was announced on May 23 by the chairman of the global anticorruption movement Transparency International Jose Ugas on the results of visit to Ukraine. In his view, over the past year the Ukrainian government has demonstrated “very small results” in the fight against corruption and “does not realize how vital it must be”. “There is not a single instance of the judicial punishment of corrupt officials from the Yanukovych’s government, and Yanukovych himself is at liberty in Russia, and only one case has been brought against him, but it is for treason, not for involvement in corruption”.
After Ukraine received a visa-free regime with the EU, on May 24, 2017, President Petro Poroshenko announced that citizens of Ukraine living in Donetsk and Luhansk regions and Crimea that are not controlled by Kyiv will not receive biometric passports: “If we do not have the basis to issue biometric passport, urgently, upon agreement of the SBU with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, submit to the Cabinet of Ministers a position that we can issue passports of the old form for these citizens” and accordingly they will not be able to use the visa-free regime. By this statement, the guarantor of Constitution breached its Art. 24 about equality of all citizens of the country and prohibition of privileges and discrimination.
The EU did not support such proposal of the President either. On June 9, the head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, Hug Mingarelli, said: “Some representatives of your government have stated that people from the Crimea and the temporarily occupied territories of Luhansk and Donetsk regions cannot travel the same way. This completely does not correspond to our understanding”. The EU representative added that this position was brought to the Ukrainian authorities. But, in practice, additional obstacles in obtaining biometric passports for residents of Donetsk and Luhansk regions are created directly in the places where these documents are issued.
On May 25, 2017, the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine, in collaboration with the military prosecutor’s office in various cities of Ukraine, detained 23 officials from the State Fiscal Service of the time of the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych. In fact, of course the detention of persons suspected of corruption can only be welcomed, but in fact these detentions involving helicopters were carried out with gross violations of the specialized Art. 208 of CCP of Ukraine and were needed more for the PR of the active work of the prosecutor’s office. For example, at arrest in Poltava, only the building was indicated in the search warrant, without an indication of the apartment.
On June 5, the Deputy Minister for Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons G. Tuk on the air of the national television channel NewsOne voiced the call for unconstitutional change of the state system, and this did not cause any reaction from law enforcement agencies – the Security Service, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Prosecutor’s Office: “The state system that we have today is not able to take our country out of the deepest crisis in which we ended up. I am a supporter of more stringent measures – a dictatorship,” – said the deputy minister. There is a clear violation of Art. 109 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine establishing criminal liability for both public calls for violent change or overthrow of the constitutional order or for the seizure of state power, and dissemination of materials with calls for such actions. At the same time, according to DW, in the open registry of judicial decisions, over 50 sentences on this article were pronounced by the courts since the spring 2014. Of these, 36 are somehow related to the spread of appropriate calls through social networks. That is, we are dealing again with selective justice.
During the reporting period, the Kyiv City Council carried out a very controversial renaming of streets. It was carried out within the framework of “decommunization”, although even according to the meaning of the Law on decommunization (2015), there are not subject to renaming. We are talking about the renaming of General Vatutin Avenue into Roman Shukhevych Avenue (June 1). The decision caused protests and outrage in the Jewish community. This was reported by the chief rabbi of Ukraine Moshe Reuven Asman: “A person who fought on the side of Hitler’s Germany, who dressed the military uniform of the Wehrmacht and served in the battalion of the German auxiliary police, defending the criminal Third Reich, cannot be considered a hero. Shukhevych avenue in Kyiv is an amoral propaganda of cooperation with the most terrible Evil in the history of mankind”. On June 12, 2017, the Kyiv District Administrative Court suspended the renaming.
Ukraine and the processes of European integration and international relations
International organizations and “advocates of Ukraine” in Europe draw attention to the multiple facts of undemocratic behavior in the politics and actions of the Ukrainian authorities.
European countries are tired of three years of lack of reforms in Ukraine in law enforcement agencies. Thus, in June, the head of the EU Advisory Mission (KMES), Kestutis Lanchinskas, said that NATO and the EU jointly proposed the concept of reform to the Security Service. “Among other things, the goal of reform is to reduce the level of such abuse of power (by the SSU). The integration of the Security Service with the Euro-Atlantic structures is expected, the service should transfer the law enforcement function and investigation to other bodies”, he explained. The SSU have ignored the proposed concept so far. “We are still waiting for their response”, Lanchinskas said.
In July, the EU ambassador said that “the Security Service needs to be urgently reformed so that it focuses on counterintelligence, as well as stops its activities entrusted to (other) law enforcement agencies”. In particular, “fight against corruption”. In addition, it must “cease to be used for political purposes”.
The Committee Against Torture of the Council of Europe is concerned about the situation with the conditions of detention in Ukraine stated in the report of the body on Ukraine, published on June 19. The Committee expresses serious concern about the ill-treatment by police officers and the lack of progress in the situation of life-term prisoners. “The Committee calls on the Ukrainian authorities to pursue a policy of “zero tolerance” for ill-treatment by the police and effectively investigate all complaints”, the report says.
Other problems associated with the police include unregistered detentions, non-application of safeguards against ill-treatment, such as access to a lawyer and a doctor, as well as the further practice of keeping people in police facilities outside the prescribed period of 72 hours.
The Committee is concerned about the violence among prisoners in pre-trial institutions that were visited during the visit and expresses dismay about the terrible conditions in detention facilities, in particular, in Odessa, Khmelnitsky and Kyiv. Conditions in pre-trial detention centers in Kyiv and Odessa from 2013-2014 have worsened even more, and can “easily be considered as inhuman and assaulting dignity”.
In turn, Polish Foreign Minister Vitold Vashchikovsky said that Ukraine will not be able to enter Europe until historical issues and issues of the status of Polish minorities are resolved. In turn, the chairman of the ruling party of Poland, “Law and Justice,” said: “I clearly told Mr. Poroshenko that they will not enter Europe with Bandera. This case is clear for me, we have already shown great patience, but there is a limit to everything”, – Kachinskyi said.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees published a report on torture and murders committed by law enforcement agencies and the armed forces of Ukraine for February-May 2017.
In June, the head of the international organization Transparency International, Jose Ugas, stated that in Ukraine there is an atmosphere of impunity, because the Ukrainian authorities do not advance in the investigation of high-profile criminal cases. Separately, the head of the organization dwelled on the investigation of cases against former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych: “Last year I heard that they would do their best to combat corruption, including corruption of the previous regime of Yanukovych. Now, a year on, I returned to Ukraine and see that very little has been achieved”, – the head of Transparency International said.
Jose Ugas emphasized that he “did not find any information” either about money withdrawn by Yanukovych and his entourage from Ukraine, nor about any amount in general.
The head of Transparency International also criticized the electronic declaration system in Ukraine: “This agency (the National Agency for Prevention of Corruption) does not fulfill its direct duties, does not monitor or analyze the information. In this case, it makes no sense to have e-declaration in the country”.
It is important to emphasize that the current leadership of Ukraine is pursuing an extremely incompetent international policy. So, in addition to attempts to sabotage the campaign of Donald Trump, Ukrainian officials have never shown any activity in an attempt to establish contact with a candidate from the Republican Party during the election campaign.
Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States Valery Chaly wrote an article for The Hill,, in which he reproached Donald Trump for a series of confusing statements. In these statements, the candidate from the Republican Party allegedly expressed the willingness to consider the question of recognizing the annexation of Crimea by Russia. The sources said that the article put the embassy in an awkward spot.
At the same time, Chaly spent the night of vote counting at the headquarters of the candidate from the Democratic Party, drinking champagne, each time demonstrating joy on TV channels, after each announcement of results in the states where the candidate from that party won.
Such actions of the ambassador are nonsense and have no analogues in practice in the civilized countries of the world.
Another direct consequence of the actions of Ukrainian officials and the onset of financial losses for the state is a 30% reduction in the provision of US financial assistance in 2018.
Preliminary volumes of assistance for 2018 should be over USD 570 million. However, the new draft budget provides for a reduction in funding to the level of USD 177 million, that is, a reduction by 69%.
Thus, during the reporting period, the state pressure on freedom of speech increased. Opposition journalists are subjected to direct repression; undesirable media outlets are closed. The state interferes with the private life of citizens and their right to collect and store information by prohibiting social networks, there is a gradual introduction of censorship on the Internet.
The right to freedom of assembly and expression is clearly and directly restricted. Measures of criminal responsibility for criticism on the Internet are actively used.
Discrimination of citizens on a language basis is gaining momentum. The State adopts laws that minimize the presence of Russian and other minority languages in the public sphere. Preparations are being made for the introduction of “language police” and administrative penalties in the language sphere. Attacks on service providers on language grounds have become more frequent. The state does not protect linguistic minorities in the country.
A number of NGOs launched a global campaign to discredit healthcare reforms, which, in the opinion of the majority of experts, is of poor quality and leads to social protests, creates conditions for violating citizens’ constitutional rights to health care, as well as the flight of medical personnel, doctors and nurses to Eastern Europe. Social unrest against medical reforms occur in many regions of Ukraine and in Kyiv. In parallel, heads of these NGOs public organizations, with the assistance of corrupt officials of the Ministry of Health, have established a scheme for “laundering” of macro-financial assistance to Ukraine from a number of international organizations.
The arbitrariness of persons who have vested themselves the right to speak on behalf of the entire Ukrainian nation under the guise of various kinds of “activists” regarding the violation of the citizens’ right to freedom of assembly continues. The radical groups were particularly active in this area. Law enforcement agencies often merge with such organizations and do not interfere with their activities. “Activists” detained for the commission of criminal offenses are released. Criminal cases are initiated against their opponents.
There is interference in the activities of courts and the pressure on judges, both on the part of the state and officials, as well as various “social activists”. The count of the interference of “activists” in the work of the judicial system in the regions of Ukraine is hundreds over a year.
In continuation of violation of the rights of Ukrainians to just court, the fact of using law enforcement bodies in the political struggle and in creating specific media information reasons should be pointed out. Instead of really fighting corruption and crime, domestic law enforcement agencies execute a number of political orders, and periodically participate in global PR actions to discredit politicians of a global scale.
The number of searches in apartments and offices has sharply increased, which in 70% of cases are conducted without sufficient justification semi circularly in witnesses in registered criminal cases. Materials of confiscation during the search are supplemented with personal items (cheap award watches with a signature from representatives of the previous government), personal texts and correspondence with the aim of creating a negative image in the media and manipulating public opinion.
For the sake of trust ratings, complete arbitrariness occurs during the searches, secret investigative actions, removal of information from communication channels, and delivery of “fake” suspicions of crimes.
The right of citizens to freedom of religion is also violated in Ukraine. In particular, there are seizures of the UOC churches by religious organizations of various kinds with the help of “activists” and radical elements. In turn, the authorities are trying to legitimize this “process of “church raiding” on part of the UOC-KP by the adoption of relevant legislation. In addition, the state interferes with the church life, from which it is separated, trying to create a “single local church” on the basis of UOC-KP and get the right to approve the leadership of these churches, which is past belief in a democratic state.
In the social sphere, the system of subsidies is to collapse – the state owes the service providers over UAH 30 billion, the citizens have not paid for housing and utilities another UAH 26 billion. Reform of the health care system has led to a lack of public procurement of vaccines and medicines. The epidemic of measles and tuberculosis among children is unfolding in the country.
The government bodies are guilty of murders and tortures of citizens, the rights of prisoners to human treatment in prisons are not observed. There is no investigation of crimes on Maydan, on May 2 in Odessa. The SSU and the prosecutor’s office refuse to carry out internal reforms and stop fulfilling the political order of the authorities. International organizations are actively drawing attention to these human rights violations, but their appeals and remarks remain unnoticed by the ruling authorities.
The current Ukrainian government is pursuing an extremely incompetent international policy, confusing its political predilections with the state interests. The ruling government of the country has led to the fact that Ukraine is perceived by international leaders as a problematic, thoroughly corrupt state, which is dangerous to deal with. This image directly affects the business and investment attractiveness of the country, which deteriorates daily.
 Decree of the President of Ukraine of May 15, 2017 No. 133/2017 in Introduction of the Resolution
of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine of 28.04.2017 “On Application of Personal
special Economic and Other Restrictions (Sanctions).”
 https://youtu.be/Yu17hD5tHJo; https://youtu.be/_V7RREInj_k;
 http://korrespondent.net/ukraine/3859409-spetssud-otpravyl-delo-kotsaby-na-novoe-rassmotrenye; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWoO8kXryAU&feature=youtu.be
 https://youtu.be/aC8vAUka-uY. Комментарий https://youtu.be/KvSxEpC1_U8 .