In the position of NSDC Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov will assume part of the responsibility of the president for the Donbas

In the position of NSDC Secretary Oleksandr Turchynov will assume part of the responsibility of the president for the Donbas
Photo: Ivan Chernichkin

The decree on the appointment of Oleksandr Turchynov as Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council may be issued early next week. On the same day, the Verkhovna Rada is planning to adopt a law that will expand the functions of the NSDC secretary. The change of Turchynov’s post is a result of an agreement on distribution of portfolios in the country’s leadership between Petro Poroshenko and Arseniy Yatsenyuk with the participation of western allies.

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Leader of the People’s Front faction Oleksandr Turchynov agreed to accept his appointment as the NSDC Secretary, a source from Turchynov’s entourage informed Capital yesterday. A source in the Presidential Administration confirmed that the candidacy of the former VR Speaker has been approved. “Turchynov took a long time to respond and in the end accepted the offer,” the source confirmed. The issues of this appointment were discussed at a meeting between the president and the former VR Speaker on Sunday, which Premier Yatsenyuk, VR Speaker Volodymyr Groysman and Presidential Chief-of-Staff Borys Lozhkin also attended, according to the source.

A people’s deputy from the Petro Poroshenko Bloc said on condition of anonymity that President Poroshenko proposed the appointment of Turchynov to this position. “I know that it was the president’s idea to invite Turchynov to head the NSDC in order that the latter not return to the position of the VR speaker. When we were bargaining on the distribution of portfolios with the People’s Front, PPB faction leader Yuriy Lutsenko said that Turchynov was insistently offered the position of the NSDC Secretary, though he was quite obstinate. In order to make the position more appealing the decision was made to approve a bill that would expand the powers of the NSDC Secretary. There is talk in the faction that this is being done, most likely, to satisfy the demands of Turchynov,” said the deputy.

A source in People’s Front explains that Turchynov hesitated because he believed that the NSDC secretary does not have serious powers. However, everything will change after the president’s bill expanding these powers is adopted. “After the format of the NSDC is adjusted properly and all the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed,” said the deputy.

As a reminder, on Thursday the Verkhovna Rada passed in the first reading the draft law expanding the powers of the NSDC by a constitutional majority after voting for the government’s action plan. The document was drafted by the Presidential Administration. In particular, it proposes giving the NSDC the right to approve decisions and not just drafting proposals for the head of state. This means that the NSDC will be able to independently take urgent measures in crisis situations that threaten the country’s security. These decisions will be mandatory for execution by the bodies of power. The NSDC will be granted the right to coordinate the work of law enforcement bodies and not simply control them.

It is also proposed that the powers of the council’s secretary are expanded. In particular, the secretary will coordinate and control the decisions of the NSDC, organize the Supreme High Command General Headquarters when needed, influence the appointments of military leadership and draft the army’s budget. “This is imperative due to the threat of Russian. At that, the NSDC secretary will not replace the Commander-in-Chief,” said the source in the Presidential Administration.

People’s deputy Oleksandr Chernenko (PPB) predicted that the aforementioned draft law will be adopted in a week, next Tuesday. “The faction will vote for this draft law, although there are some reservations to it,” he said. Deputy Head of the PF Serhiy Pashynskiy named the same terms for adoption of the draft law.

Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends…

At the same time, those in the milieu of the PF faction leader claim that the insistence of the president on Turchynov’s appointment is “due to the desire to take the burden of responsibility for the war in the east off his shoulders”. “Poroshenko is doing whatever it takes to not be involved in the defense of the country, meaning that the NSDC secretary will be the scapegoat for the situation in the Donbas region,” a source of the publication said. At the same time, he attributes Turchynov’s consent to the fact that the former VR speaker is burdened by the obligations of the faction leader.

Noteworthy, the seat of the NSDC secretary has remained vacant for several months since the resignation of Andriy Parubiy in early August. First Deputy Head of the PPB Ihor Kononenko said the future appointment of Turchynov is a positive step. “In the current conditions, when we are in a state of war and economic crisis, we cannot squander such figures as Turchynov, whose experience and qualification can be relied upon in difficult times for the country. The People’s Front is our 100% ally,” he told Capital.

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