Last Friday, Yanukovych promptly dismissed his predecessor’s appointed head of the SBU security service Vasyl Hrytsak. Surprisingly he was conspicuously replaced not by another qualified individual but rather media magnate & television network owner Valery Khoroshkovsky. It seems to have worked well for Italy!
One of Yushchenko’s most progressive moves was the declassification of all Soviet secret police archives up until 1991. The State Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) opened up the archives, put a young team of researchers in charge and made the materials accessible to the general public. People could now find out the truth about what happened to their relatives or pay researchers to find that out.
But now Yanukovych has made Valery Khoroshkovsky – a billionaire with an opaque past and even murkier business interests in Russia andUkraine – in charge of the SBU. It’s like making Ted Turner or Donald Trump the head of the CIA: he may look nice on TV, but he’s not in his league. That means that other people will be pulling his strings and those others are old KGB pros. Kremlinologists rejoice!
Yanukovych promptly got rid of the young team working on declassified Soviet archives. And newly-appointed SBU chief Khoroshkovsky announced a review of declassification policies. “The special service’s main concern is the protection of its secrets,” Khoroshkovsky was quoted by UNIAN as saying on March 11.
So much information has been discovered since these archives have been opened, what possible motives could a millionaire oligarch with Russian ties have to stop the security service from uncovering the truth about his business deals and truths about a country hidden from a century of totalitarianism?
- Ukraine IDs Thousands Of Stalin Victims Buried Near Kyiv
- SBU: Claims about Ukraine’s involvement in attacks on South Ossetia – untrue
- Soviet Church Demolition Files Given To Ukrainian Church
- SBU deputy head: Pukach confirms his involvement in Gongadze’s murder
- SBU blames Stalin for genocide of Ukrainians
- SBU to declassify Soviet-era documents
- Ukraine accuses Moscow of genocide over 1932 famine that killed millions
- Ukraine Calls On FSB To Declassify Crimean Tatar Files
And that was just last year. Don’t expect too many of these headlines in 2010 now that Kuchma’s cronies are back in power.
Also don’t forget that this couldn’t of been accomplished without Yanukovych being able to change laws that skirted around the constitution:
The process of forming this coalition was controversial, bordering on bending the constitution. Having failed to form a conventional coalition with other parties, Mr Yanukovich signed a law to allow a coalition to be formed by individual MPs, rather than by factions only, as the constitution demands. After a few days of busy trading, Mr Yanukovich’s Party of Regions has won over 235 members to its side.
Under the constitution the prime minister is nominated by parliament and then forms a government. But Mr Yanukovich has circumvented this “formality” and de facto appointed his own prime minister and cabinet. In effect, he has reinstated the presidential power enjoyed by a former president, Leonid Kuchma. And he has managed it without scrapping the constitutional amendment in 2004 that split executive power between the president and the prime minister. The constitutional court is yet to rule on the legitimacy of the coalition, but expectations in Kiev are that the timing and outcome of its decision will lean towards Mr Yanukovich. Yet if Mr Yanukovich decides he wants new parliamentary elections after all, the court may find the coalition illegitimate.
The new cabinet consists mainly of old faces, many of them associated with the worst excesses of Mr Kuchma’s rule.
It’s looking to be a very scary five years in Ukraine with Yanukovych in power.