Human Rights in Ukraine. Website of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group
24.09.2010 | Victoria Syumar
Law enforcement agencies

Head of IMI asks Security Service to not intimidate her concierge


Victoria Syumar, Director of the Institute for Mass Information, has publicly asked the SBU [Security Service] to stop scaring the concierge of the block of apartments where she lives.

Her text in full:

Request to the SBU: Don’t frighten the concierge

Even against the background of regular information about the “active” behaviour of Ukraine’s Security Service regarding “prophylactic conversations”, my terrified concierge was unexpected. She quietly recounted how SBU officers had come to her and asked her about the people living in my flat.  The main questions were: how they live, when they come in, who visits the flat, etc.

Quite honestly, at such behaviour from people who are supposed to ensure my country’s national security, you want to laugh. They could have asked me any of those questions. I’m ready to answer them. My telephone is entirely accessible. And Google in the modern world is also capable of providing more information than my concierge.

I am sorry that our domestic “JamesBonds” are wasting time on such “information gathering” about civic activists, journalists, historians, wasting time on specific “talks” with university rectors, recipients of grants from the International Renaissance Foundation, and so forth.

I am sorry that “the grandiose tasks” of restoring the authority of the Ukrainian Security Service, turning it into the “new KGB”, or at least the FSB, look so feeble. And those setting such a course in just that matter are in no way similar to Vladimir Putin, although clearly they’d like to repeat his career success.

It’s now time to put the question: who in reality is harming national security: activists, journalists and historians who are simply doing their jobs, or people who issue the order to detain the Director of a German Foundation on the eve of the President’s trip to Germany, to have “talks” with Renaissance Foundation grant receivers before the visit of the US Deputy Secretary of State, or to interrogate a blogger, provoking millions of unpleasant notes on the Internet?

I am sorry for those who have to carry out such orders, sorry for the Press Secretary who has to constantly report that the “incident is closed”, and look for some more or less comprehensible explanation for these overt blunders.

Is it not perhaps time to place in question the professional worth of people who should be dealing with serious matters and not playing banal children’s games based on personal psychological complexes? This is a rhetorical question for those who are still publicly explaining that the main offices on Volodymyrska St (SBU headquarters) are occupied by “top professionals in their business”.

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