New defense minister began cleaning house of the army’s top brass

New defense minister began cleaning house of the army’s top brass
Photo: Reuters

The Law on Cleansing of the Ranks of Power (law on lustration) has led to a new round of staff shuffling in the high command of the anti-terrorist operation (ATO) forces in the Donbas region. In addition to that, several top brass officials of the Ministry of Defense were dismissed in the process of lustration. Representatives of the ministry, however, claim that the application of the norms of the law is selective.

Chaos in the General Staff

Yesterday, Presidential Advisor Yuriy Biryukov told Capital that there have been changes in the command of ATO forces. Commander of the Land Forces of Ukraine Anatoliy Pushnyakov will now be leading the operation instead of Deputy Chief of the General Staff Hennadiy Vorobyov. “This is the third replacement of the ATO Commander. The first was Viktor Muzhenko, then Vorobyov, who was screened and let go, and today Pushnyakov has been assigned, but he also falls under the law,” said Biryukov.

Vorobyov began working as Chief of General Staff in early September after its former chief Muzhenko was dismissed for the period of investigation of the deaths of servicemen in the operative encircling near Ilovaisk. On October 25, Vorobyov was placed on the common state register of officials that are subject to the law on the cleansing of ranks of power.

Minister of Defense Stepan Poltorak also screened his deputy on European Integration Ihor Kabanenko, Chief of Staff and First Deputy Commander of the Air Forces Artur Artemenko and First Deputy Commander of the Land Forces Serhiy Bessarab. Personal information on them was also entered into the common state register.

In a conversation with Capital, Kabanenko said the information about his screening came to him as quite a surprise and then he received notice of his dismissal by email. “I could not even imagine that this was possible. When the whole process began (screening – Capital), I was in Brussels and then worked in Warsaw upon the invitation of the PACE secretary general. These are incorrect measures. If you analyze the situation, much becomes clear,” Kabanenko stressed. He noted that he was let go based on the first category, which includes all officials that held senior positions in the period from February 25, 2010 to February 22, 2014 during the presidency of Viktor Yanukovych. The law envisages their automatic removal within 10 days. Moreover, participation in the ATO does not exempt these officials from the effect of the law, although the norm on a 10-year ban on holding a civil service position does not apply to them.

Selective approach

A source of Capital in the General Staff says that after the law on lustration entered into force its norms have been applied to officials in the Ministry of Defense and in the General Staff quite selectively. The source claims that the majority of heads of departments and agencies of the ministry are subject to this law, though not all of them are dismissed. “The human resources department of the ministry is at a loss when it comes to the methodology that should be used to apply the norms of the law. While deputies of the Chief of General Staff Volodymyr Khyzhiy and Yuriy Dumanskiy fall under the first category of the law, Vorobyov was the only one that was dismissed. In addition to that any actions of the minister of defense are possible only after the approval of the Commander-in-Chief,” says the source.

He reminded that Dumanskiy was the initiator of the appeal to then president Yanukovych that he take immediate measures to “bring order back and prevent extremism in the country” in January 2014. Noteworthy, Dumanskiy currently heads the group that is holding talks on delimitation of the buffer zone in the Donbas region.

Former Chief of the Main Intelligence Department of the Ministry of Defense and Secret Service of the SBU Oleksandr Skrypalskiy believes that screening in the Ministry of Defense in the midst of combat actions destabilizes its operation. He says the application of the law should have been postponed for the army, while its norms should have been replaced with reclassification.

“The fact that unsuccessful and discrediting appointments are repeatedly being made that obstruct the normal work regime is absolute nonsense. In addition to that, there is the law on the cleansing of power. This gives an impression that all of this is the work of foreign secret agents,” Skrypalskiy told Captial.

Yesterday, it also became known that Head of the Evaluation Department of the General Staff Mykola Tsytsyurskiy also falls under the law on the cleansing of the ranks of power.

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anpuopumem mekcm
anpuopumem mekcm 31 October 2014, 21:16

Настало видьмо "время золотое", когда многим из тех, кому завидовали, больше не завидуют, и даже не мечтают о такой карьере-участи.

И эта нетипичность насущного моумента оч. настораживает даже тех, кто и не помышлял завидовать тому племени в самые лучшие времена его царения.