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Public hearings in Lugansk

Valentin Pinkevich, Lugansk
On 8 December public hearings devoted to the International Day of human rights had to be held in Lugansk. Public hearings are somewhat similar to public meetings, which our forefathers veche. But unlike veches, where cardinal decisions were taken, modern meetings have no juridical consequences.

The initiators of the hearings (some opposition public organizations) declared that they wanted the opinion of the important citizens of Lugansk on the problems interesting to the organizers. For example, they wanted to learn, why Article 144 of the Constitution does not operate in our oblast, which reads that the action of the decisions of organs of local self-rule, being considered in court, must be suspended. Or why the oblast authorities do not react to numerous publications in central press about the corruption at the top local power? Or why enterprises of the coal concern ’Luganskugol’ send gob instead of coal to local power stations?

The organizers of the hearings do not doubt that all the above-listed facts really occur. The organizers had sent invitations to President administration and committees of the Supreme Rada before the event. The governor, MPs from the Lugansk oblast, town and oblast prosecutors were invited to the hearings. Almost nobody accepted the invitation. Only three MPs attended the hearings: Valeriy Kolomoytsev, Fedor Maramzin and Leonid Deyneko. Deputies of the town council at their session took a decision that the conduction of the hearings was inexpedient. Yet, the organizers were resolute. They rented the building of local museum. In the morning of 8 December it appeared that the heating system of the museum was damaged. The initiators assessed the unexpected breakdown as a well-planned provocation.

Audience of the hearings, mainly pensioners, hooted. The crowd discussed the presence of soldiers armed with Kalashnikovs, who appeared near the museum. ’Intimidation action’, decided the participants continued to criticize the authorities even mote hotly. At last the crowd managed to come to the building of the TV company ’Efir-1’, where the hearing at last began in more or less organized form. Many people took the floor: Andrey Ivanov, a town council deputy, Vasiliy Serdiukov, the chairman of the local self-rule committee, Viktor Bakumenko, a representative of all-Ukrainian organization ’Public control’, Tatyana Kozhenovskaya, the manager of the TV company ’Efir-1’ and Valeriy Kolomoytsev, who, perhaps, was the most active. The speaker regarded Vladimir Pristiuk, the present secretary of the town council, as illegitimate. According to Andrey Ivanov, the Supreme Court has taken a clear and unambiguous resolution: Anatoliy Yagoferov must return to his post until the Donetsk court takes the decision.

Tatyana Kozhenovskaya also more then once turned to court, which suspended the action of the decision of the town council about the liquidation of ’Efir-1’. Yet, the TV company is still not operating, and four workers of it have already been hunger-striking for a month. Vasiliy Serdiukov accused the oblast governor of corruption. He referred to the decision of the Supreme Rada committee for struggle with corruption and organized crime, which was taken a year ago. It is interesting that nobody, except communist MPs, did extend their criticism to President Kuchma. According to Serdiukov, Lugansk governor discredited Leonid Kuchma. Then Fedor Maramzin burst out: ’I do not agree with you! A horseradish is not sweeter than a black one’. Leonid Deyneko also burst out with a long critical speech, which he ended with another proverb: ’One must not live by the principle: my home is at the farther edge’. The hearings resulted in taking the resolution.

Representatives of town community expressed their distrust to Vladimir Pristiuk, Aleksandr Efremov and oblast prosecutor Vladimir Solodkiy. ’All this (violation of laws, corruption. – Author’s note) became possible not only owing to the passivity, but, as it follows from the materials of parliamentary hearings, owing to the direct protection of the oblast prosecutor’s office’, the resolution states. The organizers plan to send the resolution to the Parliamentary Assembly the Council of Europe, to embassies of the USA, Belgium and Sweden.


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