11.12.2000 | A. Terlovy, Severodonetsk

A new form of corruption


On 25 September the conference of the round table of political parties was held in Lugansk. This conference was devoted to the freedom of speech and to the protection of journalists. Representatives of all oblast leading mass media being present (altogether about 40 persons gathered in the hall of the Ukrainian-Canadian center) Mr. Valentin Tkalych, the head of the oblast department of the Rukh made a sensational, in my opinion, declaration.

First of all, he expressed the desire to confess and to excuse himself before Aleksey Svetikov, whom he had once threatened.

As Mr. Tkalych informed the present, in 1997 A. Svetikov published a small newspaper ‘Accent’, that acutely criticized the mayor of Severodonetsk Vladimir Gritsyshin. And then, according to Mr. Tkalych, who then worked as a vice-mayor, the mayor ordered to local hoodlums to catch Svetikov near his house, to take to the forest, to beat him black and blue and to hang by legs to a branch.

There are grounds to believe that such an order was really given. At that time (summer of 1997) a militia officer (the name is not given by his request) contacted Mr. Tkalych and had with him a talk (surely within a car not to be eavesdropped). The officer asked to warn Svetikov to be extremely careful and not to appear outdoors after darkness because the order was to be executed.

In the autumn of that year a local godfather turned to Svetikov, as to the editor of the newspaper ‘Accent’, with the request to publish information about many facts of violating law by the local militia. ‘Accent’ published such information. The godfather told Svetikov among other things that one convict released before his time got an order to beat Svetikov, but not to death. The ex-convict came to the godfather to ask his judgement. The answer was not to fulfil the order, or else the executor will have many troubles.

At that time we understood it as an empty threat , but now, after the confession of Valentin Tkalych, we see it in another light. Rather bleak…

PL commentary. One of the definitions of corruption tells that it is blending of the authorities with the criminal element. In Severodonetsk the situation is reverse: liberals and human rights protectors join criminals in their fight against the authorities. We hope that this new form of symbiosis will be as vital.

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