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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Lutsenko Claims Persecution, Accuses President of Shyrka Plans

Speaking outside the Office of the Prosecutor-General, where he was summoned for interrogation, Minister of the Interior Lutsenko said this:

They haven’t invented anything new. I’m being asked why I flew on vacation, together with my family, to the Crimea and back. They also have reconfigured the Chernovetsky case from simple battery, which, according to Ukrainian law, does not carry criminal penalties, to abuse of authority. Now that’s something new. One might just as well reconfigure it to cruel treatment of animals.

Now that NUNS has fizzled out in the recent Kyiv municipal election, Lutsenko speaks with his tongue untied. Later in the day, the Minister of the Interior minced no words at his press conference.

I lost Kyiv elections to Baloha. I’m an honest politician and that's why I always call a spade a spade. I lost to the Secretariat of the President, which has managed to completely destroy the Kyivites’ support for NUNS.

It’s a heavy blow for me personally and for the future electability of Narodna Samooborona, but first and foremost, the bell tolls for Nasha Ukrayina.

Today, we’re witnessing an obvious coup d’etat taking place during the last month. It’s absolutely positively evident that President Yushchenko supports the Baloha-Kolesnikov plan of destroying the democratic coalition elected by the people in 2007, which formed a majority in parliament.

The plan is very simple: Baloha and Kolesnikov have convinced the President that if Chernovetsky has managed to buy the not-to-poor and quite educated Kyiv, then the Donetsk clan can easily buy the not-so-prosperous Ukraine.

Already, in early May, during a meeting with the President of Ukraine, attended by his Chief of Staff, Speaker of Parliament, and NUNS representatives, I was confronted with two requirements: to consent to a grand coalition in the Verkhovna Rada and to a coalition with Chernovetsky in the Kyiv City Council. And, second, to stop pursuing those who are being protected (and whose criminal cases are being soft-pedaled) by the Donetsk clan and the Secretariat of the President.

The President’s response was, quote, “Yura, cut all this cop crap. Remember, as long as I’m President, everyone who comes to my office wearing a tie will not land in jail.” It was a challenge to me, to everything that I did in 2005.

If the plan to destroy the democratic coalition is stopped, if the President states that there will be no grand coalition, and that he will discontinue any contact whatsoever with the Donetsk crime bosses, and will provide an opportunity to pursue any person, regardless of what party they belong to, then I have no objections.

The litmus test for the current government is the willingness to replace the Prosecutor-General, who has turned into a general graveyard of high-profile cases on high-profile people, and into a vehicle of political persecution in overblown cases against others.

I categorically deny the allegation that in 2005 I traveled by air twenty times, let alone with my family. This matter was looked into after my first suspension in 2006; there was no evidence to prove my guilt. Today, they’re trying to dig out this old and supposedly already dead dog and to hang it on me.

Standing procedure circulated by the Ministry of the Interior allows the families of personnel to travel in any direction for leisure or other purposes.

There were such options. For example, I was invited by Lviv authorities and by the state leadership to participate in city festivities together with my wife, so we went together. As for the naval forces festivities, the Commander and the Minister of Defense also invited me and my wife. We went there, too. I flew to Israel on an official invitation, together with my wife, as required by protocol. I guess we went to Greece, too.

Is this a case of Lutsenko's backstabbing or Yushchenko's backsliding? Let's wait and see.

At any rate, the fortunes of Georgian-born Davyd Zhvania, the man who reportedly bankrolls Narodna Samooborona, too, have changed dramatically. Once a friend of the Yushchenko family, he now faces the prospect of having his Ukrainian citizenship revoked.

While authorities cite violations of immigration law, Zhvania alludes to undeserved reprisals from Yushchenko.

According to some media reports, Yushchenko may suspect Zhvania of having a role in his 2004 poisoning.



Anonymous said...

Can't help thinking that it is revenge against Lutsenko and Zhvania. First the incident with Cherno got upped to a higher charge and then it was combined with a look into his travel hx. Unusual to combine unassociated charges into an all for one, while the exam into Zhvania's getting citizenship is reminiscent of Lutsenko being accused of having an Israeli passport. Will see if General Prosecutor will get dumped on the basis of signatures being collected but doubt it.


Taras said...

Your skepticism has a firm foundation.

If the President doles out awards to people like former Prosecutor-General Potebenko — who flat out denied the existence of corruption in this country — then the current Prosecutor-General has nothing to fear.