The mutual cover-up system, which has engulfed Ukrainian politics and public service, will collapse as soon as the first top corrupt officials are thrown to jail, says Yehor Soboliev, Samopomich MP, chairman of the parliamentary anti-corruption committee.
In this regard, he believes that the key solution for Ukraine is to create the Anti-Corruption Court – a body that will stop the practice of covering kleptocrats and corrupt officials from responsibility.
More about how this court will be different from the current ones and about how the “out with criminals” ideology helps oligarchs win elections – told by Yehor Soboliev in “Face2Face” program on “Zik” TV channel.
Why is it important to create the Anti-Corruption Court?
Important investigations that have been launched against top corrupt officials are being killed in courts. We are talking about all cases without exception – ranging from Kostiantyn Kulyk, the prosecutor of the ATO zone, who was the first in the history of Ukraine to be accused of illegal enrichment, to Boryslav Rozenblat. That is why today the Anti-Corruption Court is the key solution.
The corresponding bill was proposed to the President in November last year. Almost a year has passed, and we again have to ask the President to become the author of this document, despite the fact that the fulfillment of the promise is in his interests.
Why is the process slowed down?
I have read the military expertise which was made available to MPs by the Main Military Prosecutor’s Office, as we have access to state secrets. In the course of the judicial investigation, the expertise showed the direct involvement of the leadership of the General Staff in the Ilovaisk tragedy, starting with ignoring the information about the invasion of regular Russian troops, which led to the encirclement in Ilovaisk, and ending with terrible agreements on the so-called green corridor, in which many motivated fighters from volunteer battalions were killed.
And I start wondering, why after all this the chief of the General Staff Muzhenko is still in the office? It’s all very simple: at all the leading posts there are people who are somehow involved in this cover-up system, in corruption. Top corruption is not only robbing of the state, it is also the surrender of our national interests.
I often say that corruption is the best agent of Putin in Ukraine, because with its help he achieves the results that could not be achieved even by the most elite special forces.
Therefore, it is necessary to destroy corruption, and the Anti-Corruption Court allows imprisoning those who are detained by the Anti-Corruption Bureau and accused by the Anticorruption Prosecutor’s Office. As long as corrupt officials know they will be covered up in court, they remain quiet. As soon as they get in jail, the corrupt system will collapse.
How does the new court differ from the current ones?
What scares them the most is the selection process. We propose to have it as follows: let us have a Ukrainian court consisting of Ukrainian lawyers, but let Europeans and Americans select those lawyers for us; in such a way we will be able to avoid manipulations, as it happened with the selection of judges to the Supreme Court – technically it is called a new one, while in fact there are even those judges who tried the current Prosecutor General.
Why did the system of president Yanukovych return?
When we got to the parliament, during the first week I was in euphoria, because there were really many people from Maidan, volunteers, battalions commanders in the Verkhovna Rada. When they were all elected to the parliament, I had great hopes that we would destroy corrupt officials. In the first three months we really reached a lot. Before Viktor Shokin was appointed Prosecutor General, I was proud of all the voting of the Verkhovna Rada. There are things that should have been done faster, some of which have not been done yet; nevertheless, I was very proud.
And then we started to lose – quarrels were caused between the battalion commanders, some MPs were tempted by money, some were dragged through the mud, some were told, “You’d better stay at the frontline, do not come to the parliament, you have no influence here anyway.” The story about Maidan participants is tragic altogether, since many of them are now using Yanukovych’s words and are irritated by the fact that people gathered outside the Verkhovna Rada and demand something.
It looks like three years have passed and the system of Yanukovych has returned completely.
How do oligarchs win revolutions?
Now we are largely guided by all the same losing ideology of the “Out with criminals”. When we cheerfully chanting “out with criminals” in 2004, this was already our defeat. Because we made one criminals go, while welcomed new ones prepared for us by the oligarchs.
The Ukrainian oligarchy has never lost a single revolution. These people are very skillful in analyzing public sentiment, and when they see that the society begins to resent, they say, “Indeed, it is high time to get rid of the criminal authorities!”; and they immediately present us with another candidate. Therefore, we need not only to change people, but also the rules of governing the state.
The truth is that Ukrainian politics is an oligarchic contest of who will manage to bring to office more of their people. Moreover, they don’t only give money to their parties, but also to their people in other parties. They are satisfied with the rules under which they can buy the whole parliament, sponsor somebody’s campaigns and win elections. This unites all oligarchs.
Our task is to give people a chance to have more of their representatives than the oligarchic ones in the parliament. One of the most important things to be done in this regard is to ban political advertising on television. Political advertising is the main weapon of the oligarchs in elections.
Have Ukrainians learned the lessons of the “school of democracy”?
People need to understand: quality managers of the state should be selected very carefully. Recently, I have encountered a real tragedy of democracy, when an old lady was crying outside the parliament because she had gas cut off at home. She said, “I have written to all of you, but you do not help.” I asked, “Who is the deputy from your district?”. She replied, “Onyshchenko.” And I said, “You see, he has robbed the “Ukrhazvydobuvannia” company, and now you have gas cut off.”
This is the reality that Indians call karma. People need to understand that when we vote for scums, they will give us no life. Aristotle called apolitical people idiots. It seems to me that the current great trials, tragedies and mistakes are a school of democracy for Ukrainians. Maybe, we are not very much experienced in it, but we are not kids anymore either.