Officials found ways to avoid purging

Officials found ways to avoid purging
While citizens are clamoring for lustration, not all officials will feel the brunt of it
Photo: Unian

The Law On Purging of the State Apparatus of Members of the Former Government and USSR Intelligence Agents took effect as of today. Screenings of officials will begin after the elections and will be carried out until 2016. Nonetheless, civil servants and law enforcers are seeking ways to avoid cleansing.

Crouch start

Member of the Public Lustration Committee Karl Volokh said that within a month the Ministry of Justice should develop a screening plan and create a special authorized body that will carry it out. Following the approval of the plan by the Cabinet of Ministers the screening of the Ministry of Justice should begin within ten days, as it will be the body authorized to conducting the screenings. Then the Interior Ministry, the Fiscal Service and the Security Service of Ukraine will be inspected.

“After screening of the offices of ministries they will inspect regional offices and then local governments. I would like to point out that officials will be inspected only upon their written consent, but refusal to undergo screening will be a precept for immediate dismissal from their post within three days,” says Volokh.

He says the candidate for the office of the head of the special body to conduct lustration has already been chosen. However, Volokh refused to disclose the name of the individual responsible for screening.

Representatives of the Ministry of Justice pointed out that everything was ready to start lustration and the agency has drafted and submitted all the necessary regulations to the secretariat of the government. Head of the Constitutional and Administrative Law Office Iryna Chypenko, who is responsible for drafting the documents, said the test plan was submitted on October 15 and the screening procedures were submitted last week. “The Cabinet may approve them by the end of the week, though nothing specific has been reported thus far. According to our calculations, it is possible to complete screening in 2016, including local governments”, she stated.

Chypenko clarified that the Interior Ministry, the Security Service and the Fiscal Service would be immediately screened to the level of territorial administrations, as they will be required to provide information about inspected officials.

The law also applied to heads of central bodies of state power and their deputies, who held offices for at least a year in the period February 25, 2010 to February 22, 2014. Law enforcement officers, judges and prosecutors are also subject to screening. Another category consists of former functionaries of the Communist Party, members of the Committee for State Security and the Main Intelligence Directorate of the Defense Ministry of the USSR. All officials and managers of state enterprises are subject to inspection of their declarations and verification of their compliance with property they own. All who fail to pass the lustration procedure will be listed on a common public register and deprived of the right to hold public offices for at least ten years. The law does not apply to elected offices.

ATO prevents lustration

The Ministry of Justice demonstratively launched the process of lustration even before the law came into force. So, a few days ago they dismissed First Deputy Minister Inna Yemelyanova, who has served in office since 2010. “I quit by my own volition. There is no connection to cleansing. But I would like to note that the law is far from the standards of the rule of law. People are evaluated not for their merits, but for reference to the time frame,” she said. Officials who do not comply with the provision of the law decided not to wait for the beginning of the screening in ministries and departments and started retiring en masse, according to our sources. Our source at the Office of the Minister of the Cabinet of Ministers said the secretariat received dozens of tenders for voluntary resignation. In particular, Chairman of the State Statistics Service Oleksandr Osaulenko and Chairman of the National Agency for Civil Service Affairs Kostyantyn Vashchenko tendered their letters of resignation.

Vashchenko himself refused to talk to Capital after the Law On Lustration was mentioned. “I am not comfortable discussing this issue at the moment,” he said.

Head of the Lustration Committee Yehor Sobolev said in a conversation with Capital that with the help of dismissals officials tried to avoid inclusion of those who did not pass the screening into a common registry. He is also aware of mass dismissals on the regional level. “People think that the law will not work forever. The government will change and lustration will be canceled. Therefore, they prefer to wait on the sidelines”, he says.

Heads of law enforcement agencies followed in the footsteps of government officials. After Head of the State Border Service Mykola Lytvyn, First Deputy Pavlo Shysholin and five other generals tendered their resignations. More than 80 employees fall within the scope of the law at the Interior Ministry, according to Advisor to the Minister Anton Herashchenko.

A brief analysis shows that the new Defense Minister Stepan Poltorak could lose his deputy Ihor Kabanenko, who served as Deputy Chief of the General Staff in 2010–2012. However, the cleansing will not affect First Deputy Chief of General Staff Hennadiy Vorobyov and his Deputy Yuriy Dumanskiy, who took part in the anti-terrorist operation in the Donbas region. “At present, a number of employees of the prosecutor’s office are in a mad rush to serve in the ATO zone, particularly since now combat is not so dynamic and they have a chance to avoid screening of officials with less risk,” said a source in the PGO.

Volokh says officials that fail to pass the inspection will be able to retain their positions in the civil service as advisers to the minister, seeing as the law does not forbid it.

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