war crimes in Ukraine

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Roksana Gedeon. Chain reaction


The unexpected event happened: the General Prosecutor’s office declared that the murder of TV journalist Igor Aleksandrov was solved. On the past Tuesday Svatoslav Piskun informed that the direct executors of the crime had been detained and were giving evidence in presence of advocates, and the Pecherskiy district court of Kyiv resolved to leave them behind the bars till the beginning of court consideration.

The author of this article knows from the trustworthy sources that Aleksandr Rybak, an ex-businessman from Slaviansk and the former head of the firm “Ukrliga”, was arrested. The inhabitants of the Northern Donbass not unfoundedly believe that it was Rybak, who ordered the murder of I. Aleksandrov.

The law-enforcers dealt with Rybak for two years. He was detained in Kyiv on 8 August. According to some data, he had been in hiding for a long time. For two years the law-enforcers hunted him, but in a very strange way: they detained Rybak, and, after some negotiations (most probably about the sum of ransom), released him.

For instance, in summer 2001, soon after the death of I. Aleksandrov, the group of Kyiv law-enforcers came to the Donetsk oblast and tried to detain the manager of “Ukrliga”. Yet, Rybak arrived to the interrogation under escort of the USS special squad “Alfa” (some time later Yuri Vandin, a deputy head of the squad, recognized that in the press accompanying his statement with some incoherent explanations).

It became clear that Rybak had the protectors not only in Donbass, but also in Kyiv. In particular, according to the data of deputies’ commission, which investigated the murder of Aleksandrov, the essential part of his business was patronized by the Security Service.

So, Rybak was released. And on the next day the law-enforcers announced that he was wanted again!

For the second time he was caught in November 2001 in Kramatorsk. The official version was that he was wanted not for the murder of the journalist, but for some financial gerrymander. This sham version was supported by Sergiy Vinokurov, a deputy of the General Prosecutor (now – the first deputy of S. Piskun). In his interview to “Interfax” this “upholder of legality” hotly protected Rybak from the suspicions and insisted that the latter “had no connection with the murder of Aleksandrov”. So, how Mr. Vinokurov may pretend to the high post, epaulets and great salary paid at the expense of tax payers?

The version of Vinokurov is disproved by the fact that the detention of Rybak was directed by Chechil, a deputy head of the Main Criminal Investigation Department. However, the gangster gave the written undertaking not to leave a place and was released in the accordance with the decision of Slaviansk town court. It is rumored that this time Rybak had to pay 30 thousand USD.

The business of “Ukrliga” was destroyed. During last two years Rybak became poor. The political situation changed too. Svatoslav Piskun, who appeared to be unable to solve the murder of Gongadze, decided that he had to solve at least Aleksandrov’s murder that seemed to be simpler (it did not infringe the interests of Leonid Kuchma and other top officials). So, the prosecutor dared to disturb “the Donetsk hornet’s nest”. Along with Rybak two other citizens were arrested, who were the direct executors of the murder. The law-enforcers were looking for these people throughout Ukraine. It is not comprehensible why the criminals did not escape, since they had two years to do that. Maybe, they were sure of their impunity or had no money. In any case, their detention is a great success.

Now Dmytro Rybak, a younger brother of Aleksandr, is wanted by militia.

However, it were not only wealth and relations with influential persons that made A. Rybak immune to justice. According to the data collected by Oleg Solodun and Mykhaylo Serbin, the former officers of the Kramatorsk DFOC who provided the information for Aleksandrov’s TV features, prudent Rybak created something like a video studio in his office. The office was situated in the downtown of Slaviansk, near the buildings of prosecutor’s and mayor’s offices. Cavalcades of expensive cars came to his office. Many influential people: prosecutor’s, state officials, USS officers and militiamen, came to the den of mafia to discuss their problems. Rybak helped to many of them to make the career. And, naturally, he made the video records of some meetings in his office…

Moreover, Rybak had a very scrupulous secretary. She made notes about everyone, who came or phoned to the office, in a special register. Unfortunately, this priceless material evidence vanished in militia storerooms after the murder of Aleksandrov. Yet, Solodun and Serbin managed to get the copy of the register. I saw the copies of several pages, and I can say that many personages would pay much for the disappearance of their names from this list!

The register proves that militiamen, USS officers, prosecutors (including the prosecutor for supervision over the law observance!) and MPs visited Rybak in order to inform him about their law-enforcing and other important activities. It is not strange: “Ukrliga” operated with great sums. Yet, another thing is strange: why these officers were not disturbed by the investigation for two years?

Rybakov’s register evidence, in particular of a very ominous detail: on the days, when Aleksandrov’s feature was broadcasted, real conferences of law-enforcers and state officials gathered in Rybak’s office. Maybe, they liked to look TV together?

The list of the surnames mentioned in the registed allows to imagine the scale of the risk, which Aleksandrov ran, when he gave the floor to Solodun and Serbin. In fact, he saved their lives at the cost of his own life.

The ex-militiamen were loyal to the memory of their friend. During two years after his death they continued the active work. The main reason of the progress of the investigation was the fact that Solodun and Serbin were, at last, included to the investigation group. The version of the murder suggested by the former militiamen has become official now. Most probably, the accusation has been already preferred against Rybak.

However, there are many other questions. For instance, what will be the lot of the accomplices of Rybak: the Donetsk law-enforcers, who planned and committed the ordered murders?

Besides, the circle of the people involved to “Aleksandrov’s case” include not only those persons, who are mentioned in Rybak’s register. After all, the investigation of this crime was crudely falsified. The behavior of some officials was very suspicious. Viktor Pshonka, the Donetsk oblast prosecutor, investigating officer Perunov, many Kramatorsk militiamen did their best to find a tramp, who had allegedly murdered the journalist, and prosecutors Sergiy Vinokurov and Mykhaylo Potebenko actively supported this fabricated version. The leaders of this “plot” of law-enforcers occupy the high posts in the oblast militia, USS and prosecutor’s office.

I heard that the Kyiv investigation group that detained A. Rybak and the executors of the murder works actively and coherently. The investigators are full of enthusiasm. They promise: “Wait a little. Soon we will send a train to the Donetsk oblast and detain everybody connected with this case”.

At the same time, it is rumored that some MPs, who are afraid that Rybak’s arrest will affect them, are collecting the enormous bribe for his release. It is unlikely that they will succeed, but the attempt to give this bribe is quite probable.

The serious struggle is conducted now. And the time will show, who will win the field.

(«Silski visti”, No. 112, 25 September 2003)

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