Recently, it was clear that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky loved democracy just as much as his predecessor Petro Poroshenko.
Zelensky has consistently protected corrupt officials from prosecution and killed anti-corruption reforms. Now, he and his insiders have destroyed two of Ukraine’s most famous pairing cases – against Zelensky’s deputy chief of staff Oleg Tatarov and Ukraine’s most corrupt judge Pavlo Vovk.
Now it is clear that Zelensky is also an authoritarian ruler like Poroshenko and is using non-judicial tools to crack down on critics and redistribute wealth.
As the West is trying to help Ukraine amid Russia’s new escalation, Zelensky is making the country sink even deeper by defending the current state of corruption and lawlessness.
The case of Tatarov
Specifically, Zelensky and his allies have broken the corruption case against the president’s deputy chief of staff Tatarov.
Zelensky blatantly violated the law when he appointed Tatarov from the start. Tatarov, who served as the top police official under former President Viktor Yanukovych, does not have the legal right to hold any state jobs under the 2014 lewd law regarding the dismissal of Yanukovych-era officials.
Tatarov was also under investigation for illegally terrorizing protesters during the EuroMaidan Revolution, which overthrew Yanukovych in 2014. He defended former Yanukovych’s deputy chief of staff Andrey Portnov and lawmaker Vadim Novinsky is pro-Russian as a lawyer.
This means that, while Zelensky is dedicating to EuroMaidan and imitating against Russian aggression, he appointed Yanukovych’s close friends and pro-Russian officials to important jobs of government.
In December, Tatarov was charged with bribing a forensic expert when he was a lawyer at the state-owned Ukrbud company. The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) has released a letter from WhatsApp confirming the reality of the bribe.
Former Ukrbud CEO Maxim Mykytas, a suspect in a burglary, also testified that Tatarov bribed $ 600,000 to the staff of the Senior Anti-Corruption Court in 2019 for release. Mykytas for a very small bail, according to law enforcement sources. In addition, Mykytas testified that he was accused of giving bribes through Tatarov to the judges of Kyiv’s Solomyansky Court, the sources said.
Zelensky’s puppet general prosecutor, Irina Venediktova, did everything possible to solve the case.
She and her deputies intercepted the allegations in December 2020 by replacing the group of prosecutors in the Tatarov case twice and then transferring the case from NABU to Ukraine’s Security Agency politically. Last month, the prosecutors of Venediktova refused to arrest Tatarov and question the allegation.
In February, a corrupt court refused to extend the Tatarov investigation, and Zelensky’s staunch prosecutors killed it for missing a deadline to bring it to trial.
Corruption of Vovk
Zelensky also completely destroyed the corruption case against Judge Vovk. The reason is because Vovk has pledged his loyalty to Zelensky and has always pursued and called upon him.
The Ukrainska Pravda e-newspaper reported in March that in the summer of 2019, Vovk met with former Zelensky chiefs officer Andrei Bohdan and Ruslan Riaboshapka, who would later become prosecutors general.
A law enforcement source told Ukrainska Pravda that Vovk met Zelensky in 2019 and convinced him that he would work as part of the presidential team. In the recordings published by NABU, Vovk discusses the many corrupt transactions, unlawful orders and satire that no one should have doubted about the court’s “political prostitution”.
Vovk was charged in 2019 in an obstruction of justice. But a corrupt court defended Vovk by refusing to extend the investigation, and prosecutors loyal to Zelensky missed the deadline to bring it to trial. As a result, the death of the machine. The same goes for the second Vovk.
In July 2020, Vovk was charged in a new corruption and organized crime case. For months, Vovk ignored the summons NABU sent him and fled from his office trying to take him to court. The office asked Zelensky’s Prosecutor General Venediktova to allow the arrest of Vovk to be executed for several months, but she refused. Prosecutors were also pressured by Venediktova for pursuing Vovk, and one of them was fired for that.
In March, a judge from the Superior Anti-Corruption Court refused to extend the investigation after being pressured and reprimanded by the High Judiciary Council for corrupt conduct. As a result, Zelensky’s prosecutors did not bring it to trial ahead of time, and the case was buried.
On April 6, NABU also arrested Vovk’s brother and accused him of accepting a bribe of $ 100,000 to mediate Vovk. The bureau also found a treasure worth $ 5 million that belonged to Vovk.
After years of pressure from the public and the West, Zelensky on April 13 submitted a bill to liquidate Vovk’s court. But Zelensky’s representative Fedir Venislavsky said that Vovk and the other judges of his court may be moved to another court.
One thing is clear: Vovk will still not be punished for his corrupt behavior because he is a member of Zelensky’s team.
Another famous judge, Mykola Chaus, was caught accepting a bribe of $ 150,000 in 2016. Former President Petro Poroshenko’s allies, who controlled Chaus as a puppet judge, helped him escape. to Moldova, according to NABU. But before being extradited to Ukraine, Chaus was kidnapped in Moldova on 3 April and disappeared.
According to the Moldovan investigation documents, the alleged kidnappers of Chaus were linked to Ukrainian military intelligence, cited by Ukraine’s Slidstvo.info press project and Moldovan RISE Moldova.
The Moldovan NewsMaker page on April 13 reported that Moldovan authorities had filed an application to lift immunity for a Ukrainian diplomat allegedly involved in the kidnapping.
Why did the Ukrainian authorities kidnap Chaus? That could have been an attempt to help Zelensky’s deputy chief of staff Andrey Smirnov, who was involved in the Chaus case, escape justice. Smirnov, then a lawyer, also helped Chaus escape to Moldova in 2016, according to NABU.
He denied the allegations.
Vandalism of reform
Vovk’s impunity was the direct result of Zelensky’s stubborn refusal for two years to fulfill his election promise to implement judicial reform.
The main governing body of the judiciary, the High Judiciary Council, is a corrupt gang whose members are involved in Vovk’s conspiracy, according to tapes released by NABU. The council defended Vovk and refused to suspend him twice. Ukrainian civil society and its Western partners have called on the government to remove corrupt members of the council and replace them with integrity. Zelensky declined.
In February, Zelensky submitted a bill that mimicked the High Judiciary Council’s fake reform. The bill did not change as it did not give foreign experts a decisive role in the reforms and provided a void for Ukraine’s kleptocrats.
In February, Zelensky’s loyal Cabinet also tried to help Vovk and Tatarov by submitting a bill to fire the head of NABU Artem Sytnyk before his term ended in 2022. The bill aimed to destroy independence. of the NABU and defending the corrupt minions of Zelensky.
The attempt to get rid of Sytnyk was Zelensky’s response to the NABU Tatarov case and the government’s investigation into embezzlement during the purchase of the COVID-19 vaccine by the government, according to sources knowledgeable.
Due to Zelensky’s efforts to destroy both the NABU and judicial reform, in February the International Monetary Fund suspended negotiations on a $ 700 million grant to Ukraine.
Zelensky’s allies were even worse off profanely defaming the IMF.
Timofey Mylovanov, the top aide to Zelensky’s Chief of Staff, threw obscenity at the International Monetary Fund, accusing it of obstructing negotiations with Ukraine.
Mylovanov openly admits that the Ukrainian government has failed to reach an agreement because it does not want to give foreigners a major role in judicial reform. This means that the Ukrainian government is trying to protect its blossoming democracy and prevent any meaningful reforms.
The tendency to be overbearing
As Zelensky is defending Ukraine’s corruption, he is also turning the National Security and Defense Council into an authoritarian tool. Instead of legal proceedings, he is imposing non-judicial sanctions on Ukrainian citizens through the council.
Although some of these citizens may be criminals, this is completely lawless. Their guilt should be justified by the court, not by decrees of Zelensky. But he uses sanctions to shut down critical media and redistribute wealth from competitors into his inner circle.
Despite Zelensky’s empty courage, the main punished individual – pro-Russian politician Viktor Medvedchuk – has yet to be charged in a criminal case. Zelensky’s law enforcers are also increasingly suppressing civil society and activists who challenge the president’s lawless reign. These include veterans Semen Semenchenko, Anatoly Vynagrodsky and Yevhen Shevchenko and citizen activists Sergei Sternenko, Roman Ratushny and Sergei Filimonov.
There was also plenty of evidence of vote fraud in a March parliamentary sub-election that a member of Zelensky’s party won. The evidence, recognized by regional courts and legislatures, could be a harbinger of future voting fraud.
All of these lead to a real dictatorship trend. Brussels and Washington now have to curb both corruption in Ukraine and Zelensky’s dictatorship.