Human Rights in Ukraine. Website of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group
Politics and human rights

Court revokes results of election for Donetsk University Rector


In the latest twist to what should have been a straightforward democratic process, the Kyiv District Administrative Court has revoked the results of the election for Rector of the Donetsk National University [DNU]. This was at the application of Oleksandr Korystin who claims that he also put forward his candidacy but was not added to the list. 

As far as the members of staff were aware, there were two candidates: Petro Yehorov, Acting Rector following the Minister of Education Dmytro Tabachnyk’s dismissal of former Rector V. Shevchenko in September, and Yury Lysenko.  The Ministry’s preference was made even clearer by the presence of the Deputy Minister of Education, Yevhen Sulyma, who stressed that the staff could state their preference, but the Ministry would have the last say.  This, however, in accordance with the Law on Higher Education, was only if the candidate the Ministry preferred received more than 30%.  Yehorov gained 29.67%, one vote off and Yury Lysenko who got 48% was assumed the winner. 

Mr Lysenko comments that he is hearing of Korystin’s candidacy for the first time and says that his colleagues don’t know who Oleksandr Korystin is.

“There were two candidates – they were announced at the meeting by the Deputy Minister Yevhen Sulyma. I think that he knew the situation perfectly, and if there had been anyone else, their application would have been considered. And it’s incomprehensible how there could have been no information about a third candidate after all there wasn’t even any campaigning”.  Mr Lysenko says that his lawyers are preparing an appeal against the ruling.

The Former Rector, Volodymyr Shevchenko who had widely been expected to re-run for office himself was reported by the media as being adamant that there were only two candidates.  He called the apparent emergence of a third candidate trickery.

This new development can surely only deepen concern over the course of events around the election of a new Rector for the university. 

Yury Lysenko’s wife, Tetyana Lev, who has also worked at DNU for 30 years, recently both as Vice Rector and Chief Accountant, has been subjected to a number of checks by the law enforcement bodies.  The couple’s flat was searched, and a third search of Ms Lev’s offices took place with apparent procedural infringements through the night into 17 December.  On Friday afternoon the Prosecutor’s Office finally announced that a criminal investigation had been initiated, supposedly back on 9 December, following an application from the management of the University.

On Friday evening Tetyana Lev was attacked outside her home by two men who apparently shouted that this was “for your husband, bitch”.  She was diagnosed as having concussion and bruises.

The BBC Ukrainian Service reports that the police are looking into the attack but have not initiated a criminal investigation.


Halya Coynash  (new information from the BBC, and )

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