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17.11.2004 | Olga Goncharova, Kharkov

Some peculiarities of the election campaign in Kharkov

   

The Kharkov power, which has followed the tolerant and rather sensible policy during last 10 years, behaves, in the course of current election campaign, not only brutally, but also, in our opinion, demonstratively violates Ukrainian legislation under the pretext of petty, insignificant problems.

On 9 September, during the conduction by the Ukrainian People’s party of a mass action (charity concert in support of candidate to presidency V. Yushchenko) in the village of Voloska Balakliya (the Shevchenkovo district of the Kharkov oblast), a group of 10-12 persons of criminal appearance rushed into the village culture center. These persons committed hooligan actions against the spectators, artists and technical personnel, thus brutally violating the public order.

In particular, the hooligans threw raw eggs at the artists and spectators and damaged the audio equipment. The people, among whom there were many children and elderly persons, began to leave the room in panic, some of them fell on the floor. Meanwhile the hooligans left the building unimpeded, got in two cars and disappeared from the place of crime. When the cars drove 30-50 meters from the building, four shots were made from the car “Daewoo” towards the minibuses, by which the concert brigade had come. The second car of the criminals, “Gazel”, had no registration number.

MP of Ukraine Sergiy Oleksiyuk sent a deputy’s request to V. Sinchuk, the prosecutor of the Kharkov oblast, and to S. Sitnik, the head of the USS directorate in the Kharkov oblast, in which request the MP described the events that had occurred on 9 September. The request was titled “On the commitment of crime and passivity of the officers of the Chuguev town directorate and the Shevchenkovo district directorate of the Ministry of Interior of Ukraine”.

The request also read: “In spite of the fact that on 9 September 2004 my assistant-consultant V. Kozoriz had informed in writing the head of the Shevchenkovo district militia directorate about the conduction of the mass action in the village of Voloska Balakliya (incoming No. 18/2 of 9 September 2004), the latter did not take the proper measures for the protection of public order in this settlement. Moreover, V. Morozko, a deputy head of the Shevchenkovo district militia directorate, and district militia officer S. Litovko, who were present at the beginning of the concert, left the building five minutes before the hooligan pogrom and returned only after the criminals went away.

V. Morozko and S. Litovko did not react to the demand of the victims to take measures for immediate detention of the participants of the attack.

I have the testimony that, several minutes before the attack on the culture center, S. Litovko proposed his acquaintance to leave the building with her child. I also have the information that the hooligan pogrom in the village of Voloska Balakliya, committed with especial insolence, was committed by a group of “turnskins” – militia officers with the aim to intimidate the people, who endorsed candidate V. Yushchenko. These actions violate the rights and freedoms of citizens guaranteed by the Ukrainian Constitution and are envisaged by Articles 293 and 296 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. Yet, the report, registered on 9 September 2004 by an officer-on-duty of the Shevchenkovo district militia directorate, reads that public order was not broken during the incident in Voloska Balakliya. So, my assistant-consultant V. Kozoriz handed the appeal about the commitment of crime to the Shevchenkovo militia directorate (reg. No. 686).

I also want to turn your attention to the fact that it was not the first provocation with participation of hooligans, directed against the agitation-concert group of the Ukrainian People’s party, which works in the Kharkov oblast. On 7 September 2004, during the concert in the village of Eskhar of the Chuguev district, several strangers attacked the minibus “Mercedes” of the concert group, broke the side window and escaped from the place of crime. On 7 September 2004 the appeal about the commitment of the crime was registered in the Chuguev town militia directorate, but nobody investigated this case.

In this connection and in accordance with Article 15 and item 5 of Article 17 of the Law of Ukraine “On status of MPs of Ukraine” I ask you to institute the criminal case on the fact of commitment of hooligan actions in the villages of Eskhar and Voloska Balakliya and to bring to responsibility the officers of the Chuguev and Shevchenkovo militia directorates, who did not take the appropriate measures for the protection of public order during the conduction of mass actions.

I ask to inform me and the Supreme Rada Committee of legislative provision of law-enforcing activities, a member of which I am, about the progress of consideration of this request”.

On 11 September, about 20:30, at the entrance to Kharkov from the direction of Kyiv, at the road post “Pesochin”, road militia stopped a truck “MAZ”, which transported a run of social-political weekly “Bez tsenzury”. The road militia officers checked driver’s documents, documents for the load, inspected the truck and, although they found nothing and had no claims to the driver, detained the truck. The militiamen did not give any explanations, but said in a private talk that they disliked the photo on the first page of the newspaper, where a billboard with Yanukovich’s portrait was photographed through the grid of a fence. It seemed to militiamen that V. Yanukovich looked “like behind the bars”, so, in their opinion (but not from the viewpoint of law), this was an insult of the state official.

Assistants of MP Volodymir Filenko, workers and lawyers of the regional headquarters of V. Yushchenko arrived to the place of incident – they tried to clear up the reasons of the detention. Yet, several high militia officers, who came to Pesochin from Kharkov, could explain nothing.

Militia and USS officers came to the place, and detained the truck till 3 a.m. of 12 September. The vehicle was sealed and transported to the Zhovtnevy district militia precinct of Kharkov.

The next morning MP Volodymir Filenko turned to the prosecutor and the head of militia directorate of the Kharkov oblast with the request about the arrest of the truck. The same morning road militia officers phoned to the headquarters, made excuses and informed that they would return the truck and the entire run of the newspaper.

The militiamen asked to give one copy of the newspaper “Bez tsenzury” to each of them as souvenirs. Well, this is one of possible methods of distribution of opposition press among law-enforcers.

Provocateurs from Yanukovich’s headquarters were caught “red-handed” in Kharkov. On 18 September, about 20:00, activists of regional headquarters of Viktor Yushchenko disclosed some leaflets of national-fascist contents in Kharkov downtown. These leaflets discredited V. Yushchenko. The dateline with information about the run of the leaflets and address of printing shop was absent. Jointly with militia patrol the activists caught the “executors” of the provocation, who had no documents. These people explained to militiamen that some strangers had asked them to stick the doubtful leaflets and promised to pay 20 hryvnas for that. However, while the militiamen ascertained the circumstances, a young man approached one of representatives of Yushchenko’s headquarters. Thinking that this was a militiaman, he showed certificate No. 505 of V. Yanukovich’s headquarters. He was detained too. The “No. 505” had to show the law-enforcers his documents and confirmed that it was he, who hired the people for sticking the leaflets.

Our informant

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