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Interview of Olexander Sergiyovych Ishchuk, the former law enforcement officer. His last post - Head of the Department of the Law Observance by the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of Ukraine in the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine, Senior Counsellor of Justice. He was dismissed from the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine by his personal wish on 02.12.2013
Question: Why did you decide to quit prosecution authorities?
- I have realized that lately I could not influence either the processes in the country or the processes in the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine, mainly that were connected to my work. Taking this into consideration, I did not see the prospects of my professional carrier as a prosecutor.
Q: We have the text of your speech you have delivered during your visit as the representative of the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine before the experts in Strasbourg in June 2013. Let me quote it:
“We are very grateful that you care about the future of Ukraine, that you study the law of our country and help us to establish principles of democracy and protection of rights and freedom of the citizens. I should admit that the main problem in Ukraine is not connected to the law that was applied earlier or is applied now, as it was not mentioned in the law that the rights and freedoms of citizens can be neglected in any way. The main problem is connected to the inappropriate compliance of the law by citizens or public officials. This negative influence goes back to the times of the Soviet Union, when the principle of the compliance of the state communist system was in the first place. The rights and freedoms were neglected to save the system and in some cases people, who were real patriots of Ukraine and were not afraid to tell this, were crushed by criminal communist system.
On the contrary, in the countries of the West Europe after the end of World War II the principles of democracy and regulatory compliance became crucial. The countries of the West Europe and North America granted political asylum to 200 000 of Ukrainians who were in captivity or were held in servitude by the Nazis. These 200 000 of Ukrainians had a decent lives, families and children. Their rights and freedoms were fully guaranteed.
What expected people of the Soviet Union, who were in captivity or were held in servitude in Germany and who decided to come back to the Soviet Union in the end of the World War II? They could be either sent for more than 10 years to Siberia or were shoot. Lives of thousands people were maimed. In particular, my grandfather - Ishchuk Vladimir was illegally sentenced and deported to Siberia for being kept in captivity.
Analyzing what happened in the Soviet Union to the rights of citizens, it is clear that the democratic process in Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union is not as fast as we would like it to be. A number of people, especially of the older generation still stick to the mentality of the communist past. In this regard, from time to time Ukraine has problems with compliance to legislation, such as the ones we have discussed with you during the study visit to the Council of Europe.
Therefore, we want to take your advice and change the laws that are still applied since the times of the Soviet Union in order to limit and exclude the possibility of violations of human rights.
I assure you that the majority of Ukrainians, especially the young generation, truly like Europe, we are proud of the high level of the law observance by police, prosecutors, judges and ordinary citizens of the EU.
We want to have the same level. We understand that in order to do this we need to work a lot. We need to use your experience, and we need your support and help. So I ask you to support Ukraine at all levels.
I believe that with the flow of time our society will achieve such level and the common ideal system and model of law in the EU countries will be created. Ukraine will be the part of it.
We have a very beautiful and great country. We are kind, good and honest people. Come to visit us. We look forward to meeting you. We love you all and thank you sincerely! Goodbye!
Q: We know that your speech has deeply affected European experts. Haven’t you changed your point of view considering the external vector of Ukraine?
-No, I have not. I am convinced that this is the only possible way for Ukrainians to build the truly independent, democratic and prosperous country.
Q: What is your current occupation?
My current occupation is science. Using the knowledge, experience and information gained in almost 18 years in the law enforcement authorities, I want to become a journalist and human rights activist. I want to be useful to the society and with the help of a pen to start fighting “mould” in the public system and the system of law enforcement authorities, that is present on each level during the whole period of the independence of Ukraine. It can be seen in the contract murder, corruption and embezzlement of the state budget and protection of the crimes by public officials. It is clear that all this “mould” exists from the times of the former Soviet Union, where the rights and liberties of the citizens were reduced to zero, and the state machine smashed all “dissidents” who claimed a right to dignity and a decent life
Q: Why do you think the majority of Ukrainians lives in poverty and has to seek a better life elsewhere?
My teacher when I was studying in 1995 in Lviv university, said a phrase that I remember . "Why are the Poles rich and we, Ukrainians, are poor? Because Poland is a poor country. The authority of Poland has embezzled the whole country in two years after the collapse of the Soviet Union and started to build up the country from scratch. And we have such a rich country that it can not be embezzled”. It is clear that still it can not be embezzled. Some people, who have power can not embezzle the country to the last, because they can not fit all the money to their pockets and bank accounts, so they try to divide the country.
Throughout the independence of Ukraine , the amounts of money stolen in one year by officials in all areas of the state (through illegal privatization of state enterprises and procurement of goods and services at inflated prices, or that does not exist, by lending nominees the opportunity to smuggling through "protection", tax evasion and other charges, illegal mining of mineral resources etc.) are so great that all these stolen funds, deposited in the accounts of a limited number of persons would be enough to form at least several dozens of state budgets of Ukraine.
Here is one example . Little Rivne region is famous for mining of precious stone - amber. In the northern region at night this stone is illegally mined by unknown persons, using about 100 pumps. For 1 pump "protectors" that “protect” this illegal mining are paid $ 500 a day. For 100 motor-pumps - $ 50 000 a day. For a month – $ 1.5 million. For 1 year - $ 18 million. After that illegally mined stones are sold for a song or are exported abroad by unknown persons. And because of this priceless sale of amber, we lose about $ 80 million per year. Why not legalize the production of amber and exercise proper control over its output? Thus, stealing almost $ 100 million per year by "protection scheme" of illegal mining of amber in Rivne region, carried out for decades is a grain of sand in the Sahara desert among all the methods and amounts of stolen money of Ukrainians by officials.
If do not give those in power any opportunity to steal, the level of financial security of every Ukrainian would now be similar to the level of material welfare of native of UAE citizens.
It is heart-breaking to hear on television that sick child needs surgery abroad and does not have money. Do not these children come in sleep to officials, who shamelessly robbed them? Where is our "hospital of the future"? You do not have money- you will die. This is a genocide of Ukrainians.
Q: Do you support the protesters on Independence Square in Kiev, and how do you assess the actions of the government that led to the deaths of many people?
- By my dismissal from the prosecution authorities I personally condemned the decision of authority to change the vector of the development of our country and the actions that took place on the night of 30.11.2013 related to illegal assault of the peaceful protesters by police officers.
And what happened then - the gangs of “titushkys" with police committing atrocities that led to the violence and a lot of deaths – is difficult to comprehend. As far as I am concerned I supported Maidan, and became a member of All-Ukrainian Union "Maidan” on 23.01.2014. I am a native of Western Ukraine and I consider myself to be a patriot of my country and people who live in it, who are the best people in the world. It is important to the government never to forget the dead and wounded heroes and their families who have sacrificed their lives and health in the name of our country.
Words by Taras Shevchenko - " Struggle and you will conquer" mean flaming call to fight against social and national oppression. And I will fight for equality and justice in our country by all available to me legal means, for my future and the future of my children. Glory to Ukraine !Printable version