war crimes in Ukraine

The Tribunal for Putin (T4P) global initiative was set up in response to the all-out war launched by Russia against Ukraine in February 2022.


Human rights in Ukraine — 99

The longerUkraine exists as a constitutional independent state, the lessis supported the state policy for the human rights protection.

The highest pointin the progressive development of the national system of human rights protection was the adoption of the Constitutionin 1996. This Constitution confirmed high international (mainly European) standards in this sphere.

The highest pointin the process of ruining and discrediting the efficient national system of human rights protection becamethe bouquet of events connected with the organization and realization of Presidential electionthat lasted practically the entire year 1999.

The Constitution of Ukraineadopted in 1996 looked like a good reading, butafter the practical testing it proved its inability to reflect practical lifeof Ukrainian citizens, Ukrainian society and Ukrainian state.

What is lately happening in Ukraine? Frank and exact assessment is given in many publications in the West (the ‘Economist’, ‘The Washington Post’, ‘Financial Times’), where the modern state of the government and development is characterized as follows: ‘Kuchma’s authoritarianism’, ‘nomenclature capitalism’, ‘ Is the Ukrainian experiment of building an independent and democratic state reaching its end?’, and so on and so forth. All this is incompatible with European standards of human rights.

Ukraine had a chance to build democracy. Ukrainian society had a chance to follow European standards of human rights protection. The both chances are lost.Maybe for a long time. Arguments:

Principles of separation of powers, as it is foreseen by the Constitution, are not realized, although this separation of powers may create the conditions, under which human rights and freedoms are protected;

The great majority of Ukrainian citizens was devoid of the right to the free election (which is confirmed by the OSCE and the Council of Europe);

The great majority of Ukrainian citizens was devoid of the right to get reliable information about the events occurring in the society (the election was not an exception);

The freedom of speech was limited to the critical level;

The oppositional (democratic) press and oppositional (democratic) forces were nearly ruined and pushed to nearly underground activity;

Independent court system (the main institute of human rights protection) has not been created;

Independent lawyer’s profession (self-administered organization of lawyers) has not been created;

Constitutional principles concerning personal and economic rights and freedoms have not been developed in the operating laws (the Civil Code has not been adopted);

Criminal right has not been made more democratic (the adopted Penal Code does not correspond to European standards);

The court process (both criminal and civil) has remained mainly on the level of the Soviet times (an example: the President vetoed the law, which deprived the prosecutor’s office of the right of protesting court decisions about civil cases);

The prosecutor’s office continues to act on the Stalin’s principles of late 30s, restraining timid attempts of the court system to become a democratic institution for human rights protection;

Ukrainian courts, including the Supreme Court, disregarding the decision of the Supreme Court plenum, do not apply Article 55 of the Constitution and the Constitution as a whole, as a law of direct action, thus ignoring its priority relative to common laws (an example: the refusal of the Supreme Court to consider the complaint about the decision of the Central Election Committee concerning the results of the Presidential election);

The official translation of the European Convention of human rights has not been published because of the obstruction of the authorities whose direct duty is to protect human rights;

Top authorities of the prosecutor’s office, officials from the Supreme Court of Justice, influential figures from scientific and professional legal community reject the principle of the superiority of the right and appeal to the term to the fundamental principle of Stalin’s regime: the superiority of the law;

The process is developed of making the state approach more superior than the private, political and economic life of individuals (the control from the USS and MIA has increased, as well as the control of other repressive bodies; the propiskahas not been abolished; the practices of the frontier guard and custom service is repressive and punitive);

Decisions of the judicial bodies (including those of the Constitutional Court) are not obeyed by he executive power and President;

The ombudsperson has not done anything special during two years.

In many respects Ukraine, on the one hand, has not left the state where she was in early 90s, on the other hand, she returned where it had been in early 90s, two years after the adoption of the Constitution.

The reasons of such development are well-known: the way to nowhere is led not by communists, but the operating regime.

The consequences are ruinous for each citizen (lawlessness for today and hopelessness for tomorrow), and for the society as a whole (level of general culture, destructive legal nihilism), and for the state, which in the early 90s had a high authority at the international arena, but lost it very quickly.

Is there a chance to regain the lost? Has Ukraine a chance to turn to the way of democracy and observance of human rights and freedoms, which is followed by Poland, Czechia, Hungary and Baltic countries? The answer is given in the inauguration speech of the President, but the experience testifies that it is just lip service.

International Human Rights Day: On observing human rights in Ukraine

Maybe for some countries this day is the pretext to sum up successful activities on human rights protection, but for Ukrainians this day is suitable to analyze the sad situation with human rights in the country.

Ukraine ratified 16 from 25 international UNO agreements on human rights. Since November 1995 Ukraine is a member of the Council of Europe and participant of a number of European conventions on human rights. Ukrainian citizens got the right to turn to European Court on human rights if their civilian and political rights are violated. According to Article 3 of the Constitution of Ukraine, observance of human rights is the main obligation of the state. However, the Ukrainian state is unable to fulfil this obligation, mainly because the state itself is the source of abusing human rights, and, since the public control on the activities of the state in many spheres is practically non-existent, the abuses are becoming more massive and more large-scale. In our opinion, the Ukrainian realities give ground for this sad estimation. It is not difficult to observe that in the course of recent years dangerous tendencies of abusing human rights are becoming stronger. First of all, the administrative pressure of the state is growing, people as before are helpless and dependent on the state machine, while those, who try to be economically independent, going for private business, got under the press of a great number of fiscal organs, whose administrative procedures are becoming more and more sophisticated, but less efficient. Nonetheless, they create pernicious conditions for the development of business, thus making hopes on the improvement of economic situation unrealizable. Parallelly, poverty and social inequality are growing. Not less than 15% of the population have the income lower than the survival minimum (Hr 78.7). The difference in income between them and 15% of the richest is growing, and now it is 5 – 6 times greater than in the countries of the Western Europe and the USA. Social and economic rights, declared in international agreements and guaranteed by our Constitution, which stipulate the right for an adequate living standard, the right for social protection and so on, look in our country as mockery.

Political struggle, by and by, turns to suffocating opponents by any methods, including the application of state bodies, in particular, law-enforcing ones. This was well illustrated by the past election campaign, during which the violation of political rights was, in our opinion, the most widely applied during all the years of our independence. The ‘correct choice’ was forced on voters in the most violent way, thus leaving few chances to any other candidate to presidency except Leonid Kuchma.

Another negative tendency has appeared and is growing very fast. It concerns the violation of the freedom of speech. This is control over mass media, especially electronic ones. Authorities cannot stand criticism, and the number of claims of the authorities against newsmen and mass media is growing. The libel claims are unreasonably high, and paying them may ruin mass media. Local mass media are especially helpless, because, as a rule, they greatly depend on the local state bodies. As to the information exchange, secrecy, suppression of some topics, restraining access to the official information are steadily growing. This creates a great danger for human rights since only the well-informed society can fulfil one of its most important functions — to control activities of the state bodies. Unfortunately, the civil society in Ukraine is weak, passive and unable to fulfil its functions.

In spite of the efforts on the side of human rights protection organizations, the right for protection from torture and degrading treatment remains not fulfilled. As before, the application of unlawful methods for making suspects to confess is widely applied. The conditions of the upkeep of convicts in most preliminary prisons and detention blocks are similar to torture. These conditions are practically not improved because of the penitentiary policy as a whole. Verdicts of the court system continue to be repressive; in spite of systematic amnesties Ukraine has 453 convicts for 100 thousand population. In this respect Ukraine is one of the world leaders. Moreover, the number will grow because the new Penal Code, approved in the first reading by the Parliament, is more cruel than the operating one.

As before, the notorious problem of dedovshchinain the armed forces remains actual, although we must mention that recently the interaction between public organization and military units have improved, mainly because of the position of the Ministry of Defense.

One must mention some positive shifts in the work of the Supreme Court, although the court system, as before, is not reformed and remains dependent on the executive power. Independent experts consider that half of verdicts is unfair.

Upon the whole, the situation with human rights has deteriorated. The main reason, in our opinion, is the conservation of our administrative system, which is based on coercion. The result is the social apathy and low spirits of the society.

Access to information

Information security vs. the risk to lag behind

Evgeniy Zakharov, Cand. Sci. (Technology), Vsevolod Rechitskiy, Cand. Sci. (Law), Kharkiv Group for human rights protection

We have already written about an extremely harmful, in our opinion, tendency to make more information secret and restrain the freedom of the information exchange, the tendency which is observed in the entire post-socialist space. This tendency has lately become very dangerous in Ukraine, and it seems the most dangerous for the future of the country, compared with other violations of human rights and basic freedoms. The reasons are as follows.

The information sphere is the base which supports all political, administrative, economic and plain everyday decisions in many regions of human activities. These decisions will be the more grounded and efficient, the more information will be used in the decision-taking. The most important political decisions are usually fixed on the legal level in some normative acts.

Thus, we have a three-level system of taking decisions: information, policy, legislation. It can be depicted as a tree consisting of roots, trunk and foliage. The tree is stronger and bigger when it has a well-developed root system. And when legislators take decisions on the third level, which forbid or constrain the access to information level, then the quality of political decisions will inevitably degrade. A paradoxical unnatural situation arises, when the foliage prohibits the roots to feed the tree. This situation appears more frequently when the information flows are restrained and controlled by the executive power or even the Parliament. It is done with the best intentions, yet, societies infected by isolationism begin to stagnate, their intellectual elites emigrate and their economies turn to the source of raw materials for more open and more dynamic neighbors.

This situation must, in a certain sense, be expected if one takes into attention the organic nature and character of mutual relations of information and authorities: in the cybernetics sense, information, as Abraham Mole said, is ‘the quantity of unpredictable in the message’. That is why the real information causes the intellectual seduction endangering the social status quo. And the latter is usually guarded by the executive power. To protect the social stability the authorities pigeonhole the information novelties into the farthest corner. At first it seems that nothing bad has been committed, since the crisis and deep social frustration will reveal themselves later. As a result, the best intentions of the authorities lead to hell. To avoid such situations the ripe democracies develop constitutional guarantees that forbid anyone to interfere into the freedom of the information exchange. The vivid example of such guarantees is the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which forbids even the Congress to take decisions that endanger the information freedom.

It is the new knowledge that enables us to efficiently solve social problems, since the restriction of access to information means undoubtful retardation of the social development, and it contradicts the idea of the scientific progress. As Paul Feierabend, a Western philosopher of 20 thcentury science, said, all is admissible in the interests of the scientific progress, since science is a collage and not a bureaucratic organized system. That is why we consider erroneous the new version of the Ukrainian law ‘On state secrets’, which stipulates to regard as a state secret the information ‘on scientific, research, pilot and design works, on the base of which may be created progressive technologies, new kinds of production or technological processes having the important defense of economic significance or an essential influence on the external economic links and national security of Ukraine’. A state may and must restrict the access to the information which is necessary for the realization of the function of protecting order and security, i.e. the information which is procured at their risk and responsibility by the force structures: it is a priori known that the divulgence of it may be dangerous. However, one must in no case restrict the access to the information about whose essence and future importance nothing definite is known.

At the door of the new millenium many people understand that those societies develop faster, where the creative thought using the information sphere for the inspiration grows freely. That is why the clumsy defensive policy of the Ukrainian legislation seems to be profoundly dangerous for the country. This is doubly true because we lag far behind in this sphere. By the number of Internet users per 100 thousand population we occupy the last but one place in Europe, before Belarus. Besides, users of the world-wide Web live almost all in several larger cities.

In general, science, which creates the political and economic future of the country, drags a miserable existence. We have not a single(!) bookshop of the European level, where one can find modern scientific books in the main European languages. In this respect Ukraine differs from other European post-totalitarian states. For example, in Budapest, the capital of the country whose population is five times smaller than in Ukraine, there are two special shops of the English-language books, where the number of titles is counted in thousands. The style of the Ukrainian capital in this respect differs much: one may find shampoos from dandruff and chewing-gum in great variety, but no books. As to the book-trade in the provinces, the situation in the communist times seems now unachievable ideal. As Oksana Zabuzhko once remarked, it seems that Ukraine has no cultural policy at all. Libraries do not get new literature, the number of scientific journals abruptly decreased.

The misery state financing is absolutely inadequate for supporting science. Upon the whole, the state of providing information in Ukraine is so sad, that new generations of Ukrainian scientists are growing without suspecting the real scale of the world achievements in their professional sphere. In humanitarian institutions of Ukraine hundreds of professionals continue to work without having read the books that changed the world humanitarian knowledge. Candidates and doctors of humanities cannot procure the most important books in foreign languages, cannot read them, if they happen to come across such books, because they do not know foreign languages, and cannot understand them even in translations, because they are written in the unknown mental register. They defend their ignorance by a xenophobic thesis that ‘actually these foreigners have nothing to teach us’. They are so ignorant that they are unable to understand their ignorance.

The best scientists manage to survive today on grants from international funds. Now this is the only opportunity to assess the real value of their scientific results, because the market of scientific results in their own country is practically non-existent. However the free transmission of scientific information to their foreign colleagues becomes a thorn in the flesh of the authorities. This is confirmed by the already adopted legal acts and by the legal acts to be adopted. For example, the laws ‘On the information sovereignty and information security of Ukraine’, ‘On information security in communication networks’, — these titles are preliminary. As to the practical state of the affairs, it can be illustrated by the following story. This case will be described in what follows (other related information can be taken from the web-page:

On 21 October 1999 the newspaper ‘Fakty’ published an article that the USS officers in Sebastopol ‘cut short the activity of a group of scientists from one of RAND institutes, who tried to organize the leakage abroad of some experimental research data. According to the PR department of the USS, some foreign scientific centers had to pay „the services“ of the Crimean researchers. The sent information was paid by transferring the money to one of the group members who then paid his colleagues in cash in US dollars.’ The PR department added that ‘this information is so secret that neither the name of the institute, nor the topic of the research whose results were rescued (sic!) by the security service, nor the names of the guilty researchers may be made public’. The similar information was published in other Crimean newspapers under characteristic titles: ‘A criminal group unmasked’ (‘Slava Sevastopolia’, 23 October), ‘Criminals arrested’ (‘Krymskaya gazeta’, 27 October) and others. With the enthusiasm worthy of a better application the newspapers informed that ‘sale of secret information’ to one of the Western countries was intercepted and that ‘the chieftain of the group is arrested’.

Less than a month some additional information on the case was disclosed. On 17 November in the newspaper ‘Slava Sevastopolia’ appeared a lengthy article by Yuri Konratyev titled ‘“The USS prisoner“ Piontkovskiy tried to rob the state treasury of millions dollars’, and on 19 November the newspaper ‘Segodnia’ published the answers of Anatoliy Sakhno, the chief of the USS PR department, to the questions of Aleksandr Korchinskiy, the correspondent of ‘Segodnia’. Colonel Sakhno explained that a group of researchers from the Institute of Biology of Southern Seas and the Maritime Geophysical Institute (further IBSS and MGI, respectively) under the leadership of doctor Sergey Piontkovskiy had, according to the conditions of the grants of the funds INTAS and ‘Darwin initiative’, to pass to the Plymouth laboratory the results of studies of more than 40 maritime expeditions in which researchers of the IBSS and MGI participated from 1963 to 1998. ‘These data are our national property!’ — the colonel declared. ‘They cost, according to modest calculations, 200 million dollars; other calculations yield billions. Besides, part of the works conducted was classified as „top secret“ by the orders of the Ministry of Defense of the USSR, and the secrecy has not been lifted even today. And here we observed the transmission of all unique materials to the Plymouth laboratory, which is notorious with its military orientation.’ The colonel, however, denied the information that doctor Piontkovskiy had been arrested by the Sebastopol USS directorate. Colonel Sakhno said: ‘No accusation has not been declared and doctor Piontkovskiy even was not made to promise to stay in Sebastopol, ‘although he was invited by the ODA department of the USS for the interrogation concerning the case’.

Actually, on 16 November Sergey Piontkovskiy (by the way not a doctor of biology, but a Ph.D. — for five years he could not find time to defend his prepared doctoral thesis) was officially accused of illegal operations with foreign currency jointly with a criminal group, and on the same day a promise not to leave Sebastopol was taken from him. His foreign passport was withdrawn. He himself describes his treatment by USS officers as follows.

‘On 15 October 11 USS officers arrived in IBSS. First of all they were interested in the projects headed by me. They started so-called ‘talks’ with all researchers participating in the projects. We, who took part in these talks, express opinions that the talks looked more like interrogations. Soon we were convinced that it was so. I was interrogated for two days on end (certainly without meals — they gave me only tea and water). By the end of the second interrogation they told me that I was accused in illegal operations with currency and in the attempt to sell to the West scientific and technological information belonging to Ukraine. I was told that my flat would be searched. Soon I was pushed into a car and brought home. We and even civil witnesses protested, but this was not taken into attention (the warrant for the search was brought one hour after the beginning of the search. — Authors’ Note). Five USS officers wasted five hours to take my manuscripts, documents, money, personal photos, floppy discs and my computer. They also took personal possessions, documents and money of my wife and even my son’s clothes. Floppy disks and manuscripts, folders with documents were dumped into sacks without compiling the list of what the folders contained.

Late in the evening I was taken to the institute. There, from the laboratory where I worked they also took manuscripts and diskettes. The laboratory computers were sealed (and taken away in two days). At the same time the property of my two colleagues was searched and partly arrested.’

What provoked such extraordinary actions of the USS? The group of biologists of the above-mentioned two institutes under the guidance of Sergey Piontkovskiy had, according to the grant, to sum up the results of the numerous expeditions on the variation of tropical waters in the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. These particular results had been published in the open press and reported at numerous international symposia; they had to create also a database on a laser disk, thus presenting the information in the convenient form. This work up to the recent time had been performed jointly with researchers from the Great Britain, Netherlands and USA according to the project adopted by the intrastate and interstate expertise and financed on the parity basis by the state budget of Ukraine and the European Community fund INTAS (INTernational ASsociation aiding cooperation with scientists of new independent states). This grant was mentioned in the letter of Boris Griniov, the first assistant of the Minister of Science and Technology of Ukraine, to the USS chairman Leonid Derkach of 27 October 1999, where it was remarked that the started criminal case ‘has caused a considerable international resonance and would certainly have negative consequences for the international scientific cooperation with Ukraine; this case will certainly harm the reputation of Ukraine and it contradicts the state policy of integration of Ukraine into the world science’. Nonetheless, these explanations have not satisfied the USS.

It should be pointed out that not a single participant of the project, according to Sergey Piontkovskiy, has ever had an access to state secrets, and that IBSS stopped to study this theme nine years ago. That is why all the accusations in passing any secret information are quite absurd. The arguments of journalists and USS officers on the research work of Sebastopol biologists are very ignorant and distorted. ‘Unlike many foreign RAND institutes, IBSS and MGI do not evaluate the cost of the research information, which is the property of the state and may serve as goods at the international market. This information is not accounted for on the organization balance. The unique research data is not classified even as for service use only’, — writes Yuri Kondratyev. And further: ‘The data concerning the grant theme were recorded on disks and became the property of — alas! — not our science. Here the ‘research activities’ of our scientists ended. Thus the copyright of many researchers was violated’. Yuri Kondratyev, perhaps, does not understand that any real science is international and that the information exchange in the world science is gratis (except the pay to the Internet provider, so that for one dollar it is quite possible to ‘pump’ results of many-year research from ‘a foreign science’); that namely by creating a CD with a database the Ukrainian scientists confirm their priority and authorship.

Quoting an American professor Karl Bance, who said that ‘Sergey Piontkovskiy’s activities spare 15 – 20 thousand dollars a day for the USA’ , colonel Sakhno comes to the following conclusion: ‘… the world is built so that if something will add in one place, then it will be subtracted in the other. We will not permit that the subtraction happens in Ukraine’. This simple-minded philosophy borrowed from Chekov’s ‘Letter to the learned neighbor’ is applied for assessing processes whose real structure and peculiarities are hardly known to the learned colonel. Almost everything in this scientific sphere does not obey the colonel’s theory: scientific information is a product, whose value after a transfer does not decrease, but increases because of the additional opportunities to apply the theory. That is why those, who are capable to give away more information, are in advantage. Here, as the Georgian poet Shota Rustaveli said: ‘What you hoarded is the loss, what you gave is doubly yours’. We are interesting today to the external scientific world namely thanks to such Ukrainian scientists as Piontkovskiy, who ‘is much ahead of American or British colleagues’, as Karl Bance said. Such investigations are financed by international funds. We wonder if colonel Sakhno admits the possibility of paying for the investigations of leading foreign scientists from Ukrainian grants? It seems that within his service convictions it would be a stupid and risky waste of our national finances.

Nowadays the main treasure of any country is the people capable of creating the new. They are such people, who attract investments desperately needed by Ukraine. Long ago J.Locke said that as to the difference of intellectual capabilities, individuals differ more than people from animals. One of the saddest features of our national existence is that the official system of education and science does not practically recognize and remunerate gifted people. Instead of this we have a tedious official system of granting scientific degrees and ranks within the system of the Ministry of Education. Here in bureaucratic millstones ‘scientific’ personnel, candidates and doctors of sciences, assistant and full professors are ground, who never take part in the world scientific process. As to the fact that an average Western student is provided with information by one or two orders more than a Ukrainian academician, it is somehow awkward to mention it.

By the way, Piontkovskiy has worked in the West since 1992 and had many opportunities to emigrate and develop an ‘alien’ science. Instead he all the time procured financing for his colleagues in Sebastopol, enabling them to continue research. In 1999 in IBSS the research workers were paid for two days in a week, that is their monthly salary was about Hr 100 (to compare: this is the wages which a charwoman in the students hostel in Edinburg University earns in 4 hours). It is shameful that Ukrainian newsmen published articles where they, before the court decision, regarded researchers as criminals. What must the accused feel, what must feel their relatives and friends, what will hear the 11-year-old son of Sergey Piontkovskiy? At last a sad question arises: why our journalists sympathize not with their colleagues in the free profession, but with USS officers acting upon rigid rules?

The inevitable retort followed: in the middle of December 1999 representatives of the European Community informed the Ukrainian authorities that, due to Piontkovskiy’s case, financing of all scientific projects by the INTAS fund is suspended for nine months until Ukraine brings her financial and tax legislation to the accordance with the European norms. More than 4 million USD will be lost in this way.

As to the accusation of Piontkovskiy in conducting the illegal operations with foreign currency (Article 80 of the Ukrainian Penal Code), this seems to be ill-grounded. The money was sent to his personal account in accordance with the fund’s rules, and the fund has no pretensions to Piontkovskiy. Giving the salary to the participants of the project Piontkovskiy conducted a simple technical operation, not some machinations with foreign currency. By the way, Article 80 of the Penal Code has been excluded as obsolete from the draft of the new Penal Code accepted by the Supreme Rada in the first reading.

Well, we shall hope that the USS, always declaring that they obey the laws, will stop this case and will excuse before the scientists. The USS, which is a special state body in guarding state secrets, has not only the forbidding functions, but the duty to forbid with reason. Its zeal, if misdirected, will become a direct threat to the Ukrainian civil society. There is no need to prove that the informational isolation from the rest of the world will have only one result — stagnation and massive drain-brain. That is why, in our opinion, a wide public discussion is needed about the question what information must be controlled in Ukraine and outside, and what to do to guarantee that cases like that of Sebastopol biologists will never be repeated in our long-suffering motherland.

Children’s rights

Meeting in Bakhchisaray

On 10 December the medjlis of Crimean tatars and Ukrainian nationalist organizations (Rukh and Gromada) organized a meeting in Bakhchisaray dedicated to the 51 stanniversary of adopting the Universal Declaration of human rights. However, the meeting soon turned to the protest action against the local authorities. During the meeting the Crimean tatars seized the building of the district administration.

The protesters demanded to appoint the chairman of the Bakhchisaray department of the medjlis Ilmi Umarov, the former Prime-Minister of the Crimean government, as the head of the district administration.

About a year ago President Kuchma appointed Leonid Sheket, one of the leaders of the communist party of the Crimea, as the head of the district administration. The Crimean tatars organizations of Bakhchisaray, as well as Rukh, insisted on the appointment of Ilmi Umarov. The tatars, who seized the administrative building, declared that they would negotiate only with Sergey Kunitsyn, the Crimean Prime-Minister. Kunitsyn demanded to vacate the building immediately and unconditionally. This demand was not fulfilled, and next day the negotiations began.

At the moment when this note is written it became known that some compromise is reached. Next Monday Edip Gafarov, the candidature suggested by the medjliss, will become the chairman of the Republican Committee on ethnic affairs and Ilmi Umerov will get the post of the first assistant of the head of the Bakhchisaray state administration. Crimean tatars will also get the post of the first assistant of the head of Krasnogvardeyskiy district of Bakhchisaray and the post of the first assistant of the Bakhchisaray town administration.

Women’s rights

Struggle with pay arrears

Since 1998, when pay arrears in Kharkiv oblast became systematic, the courts received a great number of claims to get the due pay.

According to Article 47 of the Labor Code, the employer must give the labor book to an employee dismissed on the day of the dismissal and pay the dismissed employee’s all wages on the day mentioned in Article 116 of the Labor Code. This article stipulates that all the pay must be given on the very day of dismissal.

The same term is required by Article 12 of the Convention No. 95 of the International Labor Organization.

In this connection a number of questions appear which are not resolved or incorrectly resolved in the court practice.

First of all, when a dismissed employee, having got no money, turns to court and the court decides that the money must be paid, this court decision is not executed for months. Theoretically, this question is solved simply: ten days after the court decision the act of execution is directed to the state execution service of the same district. After this the state bailiff, in case when the employer has no money on his account, has the duty to distrain upon the employer’s property for selling it from the auction and pay the debt to the claimant. The form of property is immaterial in this case. If the state bailiff refuses to order the sale of the employer’s property, the plaintiff hands the complaint to the court.

In actual practice in the Kharkiv oblast another way appeared more efficient: turning to the oblast Directorate of justice, although this way is not mentioned in the law.

Other legal questions concerning compensations to employees are solved with more fantasy. Article 117 of the Labor Code considers the question of how the employer must be punished for the untimely payment of wages. The article stipulates that, beside paying the wages, for the delay the employer must pay the average wages for the delay duration. This clause is quite unambiguous, but court decisions are very diverse. What unites such decisions is that every approach impinges the employees rights. Some courts recover the average wages if the employee has been taken on account in the Employment Center, otherwise only the minimal wages are recovered.

Other courts accepted at first the complaint on recovering pay arrears and only after the decision to recover the due wages accepted the complaint on recovering the compensation for the delay. Still other courts refuse to accept such complaints referring to the fact that labor books were given in time, although another article of the Labor Code considers how to solve this problem. Recently the courts have been instructed to recover the average pay for the delay of payment if the employee complained within three months. This instruction is based on the clause that in labor disagreements the claims must be handed within three months. This is a very tricky instruction, because, as a rule, the dismissed employees do not hand the claims to court, because the employer promises to pay the money from day to day.

At last, pay arrears inflict great moral damage, make many families to starve, cause stresses and become reasons for divorces and suicides. Yet, claiming compensation for moral damage because of pay arrears are not accepted by courts on the basis of Article 440-1 of the Civil Code of Ukraine.

We must only hope that the Supreme Rada of Ukraine will adopt new laws about the very actual problem of pay arrears.

Good intentions are better than court practice

While politicians reason about the necessity to carry out the court reform in Ukraine and try, without special successes, to convince the Council of Europe in the ‘substantial progress’, the court practice in our country remains unchanged.

As before, a person suspected in committing a crime and tried at court is considered guilty almost automatically. According to the data of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, in 1998 from the total number of 232,598 brought to court only 884 (0.38%) were acquitted. In the first half of 1999 the proportion of the acquitted was even less: 399 out of 114,551 (0.35%).

People who committed not grave offences make the majority among the condemned. Such people who were incarcerated for the term up to three years counted 25,468 out of the total number 42,977 or 59.26% in the first half of 1999 (in 1998 it was 59.1%).

The number of those who got delayed verdicts made 26,081, i.e. 22.8% (in 1998 it was 21.6%), 5,224 were fined, i.e. 4.56% (in 1998 it was 5.96%).

Although the penitentiaries are overcrowded and have grave problems with the provision of food and medicines, the main punishment in Ukraine remains incarceration (37.5% in 1999 and 37.2% in 1998).

In the first half of 1999 8,868 minors were convicted, i.e. 7.74% of the total number of the convicted of all ages (in 1998 it was 7.8%), 2,192 of them were incarcerated, i.e. 24.7% (in 1998 it was 27.2%). Almost 15% of the convicted are women — 17,044.

In spite of the stern demands of the Council of Europe concerning the death penalty in Ukraine, the rate of convictions to death is not decreased. In the first half of 1999 71 criminals were condemned to death, i.e. 0.062% of the convicted (in 1998 it was 131 death verdict or 0.056%). At present about 410 criminals are expecting the execution.

Court practices

Protection of rights of recruits and servicemen with psychic disorders

Editor’s note:We print some documents which were sent by our colleagues from the Russian fund ‘Mother’s right’. This fund was created in Russia in 1990 to protect civil rights of servicemen and members of their families. The fund’s bulletin also named ‘Mother’s right’ often publishes materials, which are actual for Ukraine too. In what follows we publish the resolution of the conference that was held in Volgograd and was aimed at drawing attention of the public to enlisting of recruits with psychic disorders.

Readers of ‘Prava ludyny’ remember that we also publish materials about this painful problem. Kharkiv Union of soldiers’ mothers found from the complaints received in 1998 – 99 that out of 20 soldiers who deserted their units 14 complained of psychic disorders. After we turned to the Ministry of Defense 11 from them were demobilized with psychiatric diagnoses. Certainly, all of them were the immediate victims of dedovshchina. Besides, in all cases of mutilation, suicide or murder the victims and often the perpetrators had psychic disorders of different kinds.

Thus, servicemen with psychic disorders obviously should not be taken to the army. Unfortunately, recruitment of psychic cases is not a rare exception. That is why the program initiated in Russia by the fund ‘Mother’s right’ would be useful and actual for Ukraine.

* * *

The material published below is taken from the leaflet describing the materials of the conference ‘Protection of rights of recruits and servicemen with boundary psychic deviations, character pathologies and other psychic disorders’. The conference was held on 20 April 1999 in L. S. Vygodskiy charity society jointly with ‘Mother’s right’ with the financial aid of the Institute of open society. The conference was attended by leaders of human rights protection NGOs, representatives of legislative and executive organs, members of recruiting commissions, psychologists, psychiatrists and journalists. The medical establishments and military hospitals were widely represented too.

In 1995 the L. S. Vygodskiy charity society in Volgograd, as the only public organization in the region, which protects the rights of youth in the sphere of psychic health, received an appeal from the fund ‘Mother’s right’ to organize the independent psychiatric expertise for servicemen who became victims or perpetrators of grave conflicts in the army because of psychic disorders. This activity was passed to the medico-psychological center ‘Neuro’. The medical aid was rendered on charity principles up to 1999, until the charity society got a grant form the Institute of open society.

At present this program has become supported by the Volgograd city administration and several native and international charity organizations.


According to the data of mothers’ organizations, more than 80% of appeals for help are related with servicemen’s complaints of extreme depression or extreme aggression. This statistics is confirmed by military psychologists which believe that 18% of servicemen must be sent from the units due to their inadequate reactions and general psychical state.

Many youths have obvious disorders formed in their childhood or adolescence. Such ‘special’ youths are weakly differentiated and are regarded as practically healthy. That is why they are taken to the army as everybody else. Later, having got under the press of strong psychical and physical load, their pathological psyche cannot find adequate reaction, their adaptation mechanisms run out and acute behavioral breakdowns occur.

Another group of servicemen are those who acquire psychic disorders because of crimes which they observe in military units. Their psychic disorders may be caused by head traumas or tortures. The army conceals that psychic disorders depend on the military service.

Unstable psyche of a partly abnormal soldier who is well-armed is an immense and tragic problem for the army. Neglecting this problem causes terrible and irreparable consequences: suicides, torturing or murdering comrades at arms. To lose a son or to learn that he became a murderer of a son of another distraught with grief mother is, perhaps, equally awful.

A young man with the unusual behavior must serve in the army with many defensive restraints or be exempted from the army service.


The first link of the chain is when the parents turn for help to ‘Mother’s right’. The relations with the army for each soldier must be solved in a rather complicated manner, by organizing the proper chain, by overcoming many difficulties, since the state and the army, psychiatric establishments regard the sick as simulators, and have a tendency to underestimate the state of the diseased. These conflicts can be resolved only by the independent psychiatric expertise.

To support the right of the serviceman with psychic disorders for demobilization from the army or for the special attention in the army, the center ‘Neuro’ carries out the apparatus and computer investigation, which results in a well-proven psycho-neurological diagnosis determining the character, acuteness, direction and degree of the possible decompensation or aggression. The expertise results are recorded in the form of recommendations. In doubtful cases the patient is directed to the stationary examination.

Using these recommendations, an independent lawyer and a psychologist give their own recommendations and aid the serviceman and his parents to write the correct documents to the military prosecutor’s office. Then the medical and legal recommendations are directed to the military command and to independent public organizations, which provide the legal escort. In the case of a conflict with the military the documents serve as the basis for the claim to court. The court decision, as a rule, protects the serviceman.


The growth of frequency and graveness of adaptation breakdowns of servicemen makes the society pay attention to this problem, and the realization promotes the cooperation between the society and the military agencies. In particular, it focuses the attention on the work of recruiting commissions.

It is very essential for the medical commissions to find the psychic deviations of the youth in the pre-army period and put him under a special observation during his army service. Lately the center ‘Neuro’ records data on the accidents, which happened with those servicemen, about whom the center warned the commissions. The statistic is very convincing, and now the recruiting commission pay more attention to warnings from the center. Now army psychologists sometimes turn to the center ‘Neuro’, asking them for an expertise before the recruit will take an oath.


Seminar ‘Legal aid in the countries of the former Soviet Union’

The Constitutional and Legal Policy Institute (COLPI), which is a branch of the Institute of open society (Budapest), and the Central-European University, held on 22 – 23 November in Budapest the seminar ‘Legal aid in the countries of the former Soviet Union’. Representatives of public organizations which render a free legal aid to poor population in the in the countries of the former Soviet Union took part in this seminar. Only representatives from Belarus and Tadjikistan were absent.

Some delegations from the former republics of the USSR delivered reports on the systems of legal aid in their countries and analyzed these systems relative to Article 6 of the European Convention on protecting human rights and freedoms.

Besides, reports were delivered on legal aid in the former socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe, as well as in the USA, South Africa and Western Europe.

Certainly, the reported problems differed very much. Valery Wattenberg told about various new schemes of rendering free legal aid in different states of the USA. In his report Lukas Boyarski analyzed the quality of legal service rendered by the appointed advocates in Poland. The representatives of Bulgaria told that their government began to treat legal aid more seriously after loosing several cases in the European Court of human rights and having paid compensations. It appeared that in several countries on the territory of the former USSR the guaranteed by state free legal aid to the poor is insufficient, by which reason the functions of the state are taken by various NGOs and individual advocates-volunteers. For example, one of the advocates told that each tenth case he conducts gratis. There was a lengthy discussion on the quality of the free legal aid and professionalism of human rights protection activists.

The initiative of the city administration of Tbilisi that supported the project ‘Town advocate’ was discussed. According to this project, in every police precinct an advocate is on duty around the clock. His duty is to render legal aid to the detained. The project is financed by the city administration.

In Shaulay (Lithuania) is created the Public Office of advocates, whose duty is to render legal aid in criminal cases, in which legal aid is obligatory. This project was financed the first two years by the Foundation of Open Lithuania and the COLPI. After two years the expenditures will be paid by the state and other potential donors.

In Lithuania, Georgia, Azerbaijan and Estonia they organized the so-called ‘juridical clinic’. There students of last courses of juridical institutes render free legal aid instructed by experienced advocates. This work is counted to students as practicals.

Alina Biriukova, the vice-rector of the Juridical Institute at Kyiv State University, told about the Ukrainian experience.

Victims of political repression

News from Russia: a new way of expressing solidarity with Chechnya

The Committee of public monitoring of Russian obligations to Chechnya invented a new method of expressing protest against the Chechen war. It started in the end of October and is still continued. The participants of the protest are the Metropolitan of Old Believers in Russia Viktor Popkov, the orientalist Mikhail Roshchin; this action is supported by the writer Andrey Bitov, poet Aleksandr Tkachenko, journalist Irina Dementyeva, human rights protection activist Kirill Popov, medical doctor Lidiya Gileva, academician Tatarinov, director of Sakharov’s center Yury Samodurov, Nataliya Nelidova from the refugees’ organization ‘Warm home’ and a number of others. The total number of the supporters of the action is now 25 people. The ultimate aim of the action is to demonstrate the solidarity with the Chechen people and other victims of our egotism.

The form of the expression of the protest is the relay hunger strike: one goes on strike for a certain time, and then one is replaced with another participant.

The public part of the action is held daily from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. in a quiet yard in Moscow downtown, by the address 12 Maly Karetny Bystreet (metro station ‘Tsvetnoy bulvar’). Deputies and public figures more than once addressed the Moscow authorities, asking them to permit to hold this action in a more public place. All the requests were refused. Moreover, the Moscow authorities did not permit to put up a tent or even to cover with plastic the improvised chapel which the organizers erected in the yard. However, neither administrative obstacles nor colds shattered the resolution of the protesters to hold the action. The organizers are sure that if the action is pleasing God, then the union of prayer, patience and time sooner or later will improve the public attitude.

Now, as a result of the action, Viktor Popkov lost 16 kg and Aleksandr Gorbenko, who went on hunger strike after Mikhail Roshchin, lost 10 kg.

We all have what to confess, the load of responsibility for all whom we have not saved, lies on us.

The simplest way of building a party system

In May 1991 the Constitutional-Democratic Party (CDP) was initiated, and in 1993 the Ministry of Justice duly registered this party.

The party regards itself as the successor of the so-named party in the pre-revolutionary times. Ideologically the party is somewhere between liberalism and conservatism; it is based on the works of Hayek, Popper and other researchers of totalitarianism and open society. The main goal of the CDP is the political expression of interests of the middle class — businessmen and intellectuals, creating conditions for building the civil society based on democracy, entrepreneurial activity and minimization of state regulation of market relations.

In 1992 and in 1994 the Constitutional democrats directed their draft of the Constitution to the Supreme Rada and Presidential administration, but this draft was disregarded. In 1994 we directed the concept of the national program of fighting corruption to L.Kuchma, together with some similar documents; all of them were disregarded.

In January 1997 the Zhytomir oblast Directorate of justice legalizes Zhytomir branch of the CDP. From the day of foundation the CDP opposed L. Kravchuk. During the Presidential election of 1994 Zhytomir Constitutional democrats supported L. Kuchma and headed his election headquarter in the oblast. We believed that, having become the President, Kuchma would begin to fulfil his election promises. When we got convinced that the promises were not kept, the CDP went to opposition.

After the notorious adoption of the Constitution in the small hours of the morning of 28 June 1996 the CDP was the only party which declared that the adoption of such Constitution was a tragedy for the Ukrainian people. The Constitution confirmed the superiority of the state over economy and private life of citizens, an absolute irresponsibility of the state, inefficient system of administration, absence of feedback to the state from the society. The CDP published in the republican and regional mass media hundreds of articles criticizing the existing regime and showing that the authorities often apply administrative methods typical for fascist regimes.

In the Presidential election of 1999 the CDP actively supported Aleksandr Moroz. that is why the authorities decided to finish with the inconvenient oppositional party. It is surprising how brazenly it was done.

In November 1999 the Zhytomir oblast Directorate of justice sent an letter (No. 3566 of 4 November) to the head of the oblast branch of the CDP. It read that, according to Order No. 749/3 of 20 October issued by the directorate’s head the record of the registration of the Zhytomir oblast branch of the CDP is liquidated. No explanations were added.

As is well-known, the legal procedure of the registration of political parties is written in the ‘Regulations on the procedure of legalization of unions of citizens’ approved by the Cabinet of Ministers of 26 March 1993 with amendments of 16 October 1998. According to p. 3 of Article 14 of these regulations: ‘The registering body takes a decision on the liquidation of the record only in case of terminating the activity of the union’. Certainly, the CDP during 8 years of its existence never terminated its activity and does not intend to do it! The bureaucrats from justice, whose duty is to guard the law, broke the law together with Article 36 of the Constitution, which declares the right of citizen to the freedom of uniting in political parties, as well as p. 4 of Article 37 of the Constitution which stipulates that a union of citizens may be forbidden only by the decision of court.

The method invented by Zhytomir bureaucrats is promising and may be taken as standard of how to trample the law.

Torture in law-enforcing bodies of Lugansk oblast

The Public Committee of protecting constitutional rights and freedoms of citizens held a press conference in Lugansk. The experience of the Committee and its contacts with citizens enables it to conclude that torture is a routine practice in militia while interrogating the detained. The main two factors which support the application of torture is the low professional level of crime investigators and the corruption in law-enforcing bodies.

There exists a strong barrier in investigating facts of torture and punishing the guilty — the corporate amoral mutual assistance of law-enforcers. The reason lies in the absence of any public control in the law-enforcing practice. The other reason is that either in militia or in prosecutor’s office or in the court system nobody is eager to clean the profession from amoral people who subvert the authority of the power.

Ukraine ratified the European Convention on human rights in 1997. According to Article 9 of the Constitution of Ukraine international norms must be regarded as a part of the national legislation. The international documents that must become a part of the national legislation are mostly not published and are not known to law-enforcers, such as, for example, prosecutor Shvachko in the town of Krasny Luch.

The Committee finds it necessary to carry out the following actions:

to inform about the events in the Lugansk oblast the following addressees: the President of Ukraine, government of Ukraine, ombudsperson, General prosecutor, Supreme Court, Council of national security and defense, Supreme Rada, administration of the Lugansk oblast, human rights protection organizations of Ukraine, Council of Europe and a number of international organizations, such as Amnesty International, the World Organization against torture, Advocates without frontiers, Helsinki foundation on human rights;

to prepare materials on the inadmissibly low professional qualities of prosecutors and judges for passing the materials to the Supreme Council of Justice;

to send our materials to all court instances up to the European Court in Strasbourg and monitoring how they are considered.

At the press conference the following facts were made public.

Anatoliy V. Zhovtan, residing at 19/51, 16 line, Lugansk.

On 27 November 1998 was detained as an accomplice to the murder of Yu.M.Zaskalko and was taken to the precinct of Leninskiy district. There he was interrogated by militiamen R.R.Ushcepovskiy, O.M.Serbin and K.V.Kiyanitskiy, who tormented the detained by cruel beating, suspending in handcuffs, suffocating with a gas mask, burning intimate parts, thrusting a stick to the anus, etc.

With many traumas, broken ribs and concussion of cerebral brain A. Zhovtan was later taken to the hospital, where he stayed 42 days. A criminal case was started against the militiamen, and now it is in charge of Leninskiy district court. Contrary to Article 147 of the Penal-Procedural Code the militiamen were not suspended from work and they had many opportunities to influence the ODA, to intimidate witnesses and the victim himself.

Sergey I. Lazarenko, residing at 17/16, micro-district 3, the town of Krasny Luch.

On 9 June 1999 detained at home by detective Vasilenko on suspicion of theft in a private flat on 4 March 1999. At the town precinct the militiamen Vasilenko, Popeta, Vasitskiy and Slobodeniuk tormented Lazarenko 37 days on end. All this time they beat the detained forcing him to confess several crimes which he did not commit; among them was one murder. As a result of this criminal investigation Lazarenko got a cerebral brain trauma, concussion, injuries of the chest, broken lower jaw and many smaller injuries. After the demand of his cell-mates a motor ambulance was summoned three times. The doctors demanded putting Lazarenko to a hospital, but it was not done. As a result, Lazarenko got festering of the lower jaw bone and shrinkage of his left arm. As a grave criminal he is still under arrest. And all this time Shvachko, the prosecutor of the town of Krasny Luch, did not take into consideration numerous complaints from the victim and from his mother. Shvachko refused to start a criminal case. The tormentors were not called to the criminal responsibility and were not suspended from their jobs. They used their service position to threaten the victim and his family, ordering them not to start the criminal case. Lazarenko’s mother turned to the oblast prosecutor’s office, the oblast directorate of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, to the General Prosecutor, to the Minister of Internal Affairs and to the ombudsperson. Absolutely no response followed.

Taras V. Maslov, resided at 10 Repin St., the town of Krasny Luch.

24 July 1998 was detained in a street with his friend Maksim on a complaint (faked, as a turned out later) about an attempt to rape. In the office of V.P.Kostiuk, the head of the crime investigation department, Taras and Maksim were third-degreed. In the evening they were released. It was Friday, the corresponding medical department was closed for the week-end, and they could not pass the medical expertise. On Saturday and Sunday Taras was at home and felt himself very badly. On Monday morning he died. All the attempts to draw the guilty to responsibility were unsuccessful. The town prosecutor Shvachko refused to start the criminal case because of ‘the absence of the event of crime’. The post-mortem of Maslov showed that there were numerous injuries, internal hemorrhage in intestines and in the cerebral brain shell.

4. Vladimir S. Vodolazov, resided at 22/46, micro-district 2, the town of Krasny Luch.

Was arrested at home and brought to the town precinct. There in the office No.16 he died during the interrogation. The forensic expert Ovchinnikov determined the reason of death as cordial deficiency. When the body was taken from the mortuary Vodolazov’s relatives could not recognize it: all the body was black and blue, the flesh on hands was cut off to bones. Before the arrest he was healthy and never complained at his heart.

A criminal case has been started. However, Vodolazov’s relatives cannot get any information about the course of the investigation.

Dmitry N. Zinchenko, residing in the town of Krasny Luch.

Was arrested at home on 2 June 1999 as an accomplice to the theft. On 5 June 1999 he was beaten during the interrogation by militiaman Vasilenko. As the result the motor ambulance was called, but the doctors were forbidden to testify about the beating. The expertise was carried out only on 20 June. For the second time he was interrogated in the precinct on 11 August. Again he was tormented, this time with the participation of Kovbasa, a deputy of the commander of the precinct.

About all the above-mentioned facts more than 20 complaints were directed to various control instances. The result is nill.

Deported peoples

Andrey Sakharov died 10 years ago

In July 1968 I was in Moscow as a correspondent of ‘The New York Times’.

I was quite alone. The political situation was strenuous: the invasion to Czechoslovakia was being prepared, there were other crises, the Vietnamese war.

There was another very important phenomenon — the Soviet democratic movement. I had various contacts, I received various materials, and among them there were fakes prepared in Lubianka, when I got a manuscript, an open letter and something of the kind. All of it had to be checked.

I received Sakharov’s article from Karel van het Reve. We agreed to print it on the same day. It had to be translated, and it had to be checked — it could be another fake. I read it and, risking my career, I decided that it was genuine.

What had I to do with the manuscript? I could not transmit it by telephone, since it was too long, 12 thousand words. I could not take it on me — I could not risk with the only copy. I found a way at last and sent the manuscript.

It was printed, and it became dangerous for me to stay in Moscow, but this was not essential. Editors in New York could not believe that academician Sakharov could write such an article. More than once they also had been deceived by various articles, letters, etc. That is why they were rather skeptical. They had to be convinced. All the same they abbreviated the first article and put it on the front page, but at the bottom of it. So they protected themselves from the probability that it was a fake. They published the first article on the 1 July. This was an important day: Naser completed his negotiations with the Soviet leaders and decided to prepare the campaign in Sinai. The frightening term ‘counter revolution’ applied to Czechoslovakia appeared on this day in ‘Literaturnaya gazeta’. My opinion was that it meant the invasion, and I informed my newspaper about this, but the editors did not believe me and put on the front page the materials concerning Naser and Sakharov.

American professors also doubted that it was a genuine article.

I had already translated the first half of this article and it was printed in New York without abbreviations on 22 July.

This time President Johnson’s administration expected the Soviet aid in getting rid of the Vietnamese war. That is why everybody was nervous, and Kosygin delivered a very important speech where he said that the Soviet Union suggested the nuclear disarmament. These were very important words approved by Brezhnev. It was a very strenuous month, and the invasion to Czechoslovakia was prepared too.

I got convinced that Sakharov’s article was a very important and genuine document. I checked who Sakharov was, I learned that he signed the protest against the plans to rehabilitate Stalin. He also criticized Khrushchev’s plan of making pupils, who finish school, work one year, thus intercepting the education. I understood that such a person as Sakharov actually could right this article. I also learned that this article was the open letter to the Party Central Committee, but it made no difference.

(A question from the audience: Who gave you this article?)

In 1975 Andrey Amalrik said to me in New York that it was he who gave the command to give me the article. Pavel Litvinov also gave this command. There was some third person, Aleksandr (I forgot his surname) who also gave such a command.

Later I learned that somebody in Washington also had the text, but they did not intend to make it public. As to ‘The New York Times’, they published it next morning, having decided that it could be a genuine document.

Elena Bonner made a small comment to this text:

I know this history from Andrey Amalrik, who more than once helped me in passing Sakharov’s materials to the West.

Sakharov himself never dealt with distributing his writings. The only exception was his speeches later, when he had press conferences in his house. Here correspondents heard Sakharov’s ideas from Sakharov himself.

Andrey Amalrik told me that he passed this article to you through van het Reve. Then Sakharov heard, I do not know from whom, the rumors that the editorial board of ‘The New York Times’ doubted that it was a genuine document.

Once it had happened with Anna Frank’s diary. Her father brought the diary to the USA, offered it to publishers and to newspapers in the abbreviated version, but everybody decided that it was a fake. And then the newspaper ‘Het Parool’ started to print the diary by portions. There is no need to tell what Anna Frank’s diary has become.

The same ‘Het Parool’ published this Sakharov’s article on 6 July.

News from the CIS countries

An Anti-Soviet book

Sergiy Bilokin. ‘Mass terror as a way of state administration in the USSR (1917 – 1941)’, Kyiv, the Petro Mogyla Kyivan Scientific Union, 1999, 448 pp. (in Ukrainian).

Vasyl Ovsienko, Kyiv

The book is dedicated to the memory of people who became victims of the criminal state system. ‘Several my good friends,’ — as Bilokin writes, ‘were killed in different years. The life of many my friends were shortened for the guilt of reading and distributing books, the books read and distributed by all. This was the work of the known organization, which seems to disappear. This organization by its crimes against those who were close to me, by its brutality, with which it treated myself, became my personal enemy’.

This book is really anti-Soviet and anti-Communist — in the Soviet times there followed cruel repressive measures for a little piece of such truth.

Bilokin avoids emotions, each opinion of his is linked to a concrete fact. The book has 2,400 references to genuine documents. He avoids retelling the sources, he gives them verbatim, with all mistakes. He avoids to translate the Russian terminology into Ukrainian, the repressive bodies are the GPU, NKVD, KGB. Like a real scientist Bilokin investigates the object — the mechanism of destroying people — with scientific pedantry. When a reader studies the parts ‘Selection of people for the future society’ (pp. 147 – 156), ‘Liquidation of classification’ (pp. 156 – 160) and a further part (pp. 346 – 359), the reader learns about the level of the people, who conducted the terror, he begins to suspect that the sophisticated theory of destroying people was not created by them, it somehow came from Satan.

Sergiy Bilokin is a candidate of philological sciences (since 1978) and he is well known in Ukrainian scholarly circles. Starting since 1969 Bilokin has published some essays about the repressed figures of the Ukrainian culture: Stepan Taranushenko, Mykhaylo Boychuk, Ludmila Starytska-Cherniakhivska, Fedor Ernst, Vasyl Bazylevich, Veronika Cherniakhivska and others. After the defeat of the putsch, when the KGB archives were partly opened, Bilokin studied about fifteen hundred of KGB files, protocols of Political Bureau of the Communist party of Ukraine, many memories of the repressed. At the presentation of the book reviewed the author said with a note of triumph that in the battle with those in charge of the USS (being the successor of the KGB) archives he won, but his victory was very uneasy.

Only a part of the archives are opened now, one may receive the files of those repressed, who later were rehabilitated. The protocols of the ODA are still secret, although they lost their significance long ago. It was clearly seen when the USS published the ODA files in the cases of M. Grushevskiy and O. Dovzhenko. Until now there is no law which states the term of secrecy for such archives. Everything depends on the whim of the bureaucrat in charge. Sometimes the reader of the archive file is warned up to which page he is permitted to read the materials. Two months ago the author of this note went to the former party archive, and the man in charge of the reading hall said with satisfaction: ‘And now this fund has become forbidden’.

Machinations around the archives of the KGB began in mid-fifties. In his report at the XX Congress of the Communist party Khrushchev said much about the unjust repression of the ‘honest communists’ Rudzutak, Eiche, Tukhachevsky, but he said nothing about the method of building collective farms, extermination of peasants and culture figures, writers, priests.

In mid-fifties a wave of rehabilitation started. Such bandits were rehabilitated as Tukhachevsky (he had fought against the peasants in the Tambov oblast and applied chemical gases). Another rehabilitated ‘angel’ was Zatonskiy, who had introduced the ‘collective responsibility’, when for real or imaginative crimes not only that who committed the crime was punished, but many people from his environment. By the names of rehabilitated executioners like Uritskiy, Postyshev, Kosior, Vorovskiy, Frunze, Kotovskiy, Artem, Petrovskiy the streets were called and monuments erected. During this rehabilitation widows of some repressed writers were rehabilitated too (Zerov, Kulish, Kurbas). But they were rehabilitated as ‘honest communists’. Those who wore the label ‘nationalist’ were not rehabilitated.

Bilokin analyzed the cases of some rehabilitated KGB-men. Before they themselves were repressed, they had destroyed very many innocent people. So the power rehabilitated both criminals and their victims. The criminals are being rehabilitated even now. On p. 367 of Bilokin’s book the photo of the document is shown, issued in 1997 (with the Ukrainian trident!) about the rehabilitation of Sergiy Pustovoytov, who before his arrest in July 1937 had been the head of an NKVD department. He was shot, but before he headed a factory of faked information against Ukrainian intelligentsia.

The main idea of the book is to refute the idea in the modern history that only one person — Stalin — is guilty in all the crimes. In the times of Gorbachev’s glasnost they wrote that Stalin was psychically ill and that the tops of repressions in the USSR were caused by the virulent periods of his disease. Such theoreticians admitted that if instead of Stalin the country had been governed by Kamenev or Kirov, then the repressions would not have happened. During the recent election campaign we were persuaded that present communists are quite different, but in truth the communist ideology whenever and wherever it is applied predetermines the extermination of a sizeable part of the population, unsuitable for building communism.

‘German occupants’, — said Bilokin at the presentation of his book, ‘could surround a block in a town, gather all the inhabitants and shoot down every tenth: it was a very primitive terror. Russian revolutionaries in the czarist times cherished the idea to exterminate all the people older than 25 years of age, as carriers of incorrect ideology. Their successors, bolsheviks, had a more reasonable plan based on the profound Marxist-Leninist theory of class struggle. They acted in two directions: 1) to form a new breed of people — builders of communism; 2) to liquidate that part of the population, which, by some or other reason, are unable to become the builders of communism.

Ukrainians with their profound religious convictions, with their individualism and love to property, especially to their plot of land, were clearly the wrong material for building communism. We had to be exterminated as a nation. What would remain of the Ukrainian people had to blend with the ‘new historical community — the Soviet people’, based on the Russian people, Russian language and culture. Now 38% of electors in Ukraine voted for the communist Simonenko. Up to now they have not understood that they voted for their own death. If — save God! — they got another famine and another campaign of repressions, then 99% of those who remained would vote for communism.

The author of the book reviewed investigates how since the first days of the Soviet power with the initiative and under the guidance of Lenin the administration by means of the internal passport system, filling in various questionnaires, etc. created a powerful information system, which enabled the party leaders to know all about the population. All the people had to write their biographies, fill in questionnaires with scores of questions (such as about the social origin, in which military units served, in which parties was a member and who recommended you there, if you were represses or had the repressed relatives, if you have relatives abroad and have you had hesitations in following the main party line). Having got this information the top party leadership at the proper time decided who must be liquidated.

On 2 June 1937 the most massive Ezhov’s purge began. On this day the Political Bureau of the Communist party approved document Ï 51/94 ‘About anti-Soviet elements’. The operation started by the order of the NKVD No. 00447 on 5 August 1937 and lasted to 15 November 1938. Every republic, oblast or district received limits for the number of the repressed divided in two categories (I. To be shot, II. To be incarcerated, with the ratio 3:1). The receivers of this plan started the socialist competition for overfulfillment of the plans. So, the People’s Commissar of Internal Affairs of Ukraine I. Leplewski three times requested the centre to increase the limits.

Ukrainian national aristocracy, as a class, had been destroyed by 1925. The best part of the Ukrainian peasantry had been destroyed by the famine and exiles to the Siberia, which dealt the mortal blow to the Ukrainian grain-growing culture. The Ukrainian clergy was fully liquidated. All members of the Central Rada, all members of Ukrainian public organizations and parties (including the Ukrainian communist party) were liquidated as well. Almost all the members of the union of Ukrainian writers were exterminated too (from 200 in 1934 only 36 remained in 1939). In the purges of late 30s all the rest of the Ukrainian population, layer by layer, was combed. As a result the communists exterminated the best, the most active, the most educated, the most productive part of the Ukrainian people. For further breeding they left the most obedient, which they interbred with the imported aggressive, godless population using Russian bad language. Only in 1934 about 240 thousand families from Russia were transferred to villages of Eastern Ukraine devastated by the famine. Walk in the central Pechersky district of Kyiv. It is almost completely populated by offsprings of NKVD-men and occupants brought here ‘to Russify the land’. Here, during the 1998 election, a Russian communist (enemy of the Ukrainian independence) nearly got to the Supreme Rada of Ukraine.

‘The bond of times is lost’, — Bilokin writes. ‘Many features of our time do not follow from the previous culture of the Ukrainian people. Bolsheviks severed the historic links. No modern Ukrainian minister, no ambassador in other countries, no manager of a plant are offsprings of Hetman Myhailo Hanenko, Count Grigoriy Miloradovich, Colonel Martyn Nebaba. Nowadays people know two, maximum three, generations of their ancestors. No family lives in the same house more than 80 years. All lost their nests, no one has at home things older than their grandparents’. All had been robbed, destroyed or got lost during the last war. The roots have been cut, the soul of the nation has been raped’ (p. 14).

That was the way how the ‘indivisible Soviet people’ was created. Do we like it or not, it existed and still exists. That is why our communists do not consider us as the Ukrainian people, only as the people of Ukraine. We really are a gravely ill society glued from the fragments of exterminated classes. Our society is marginal, it has no national spine. Self-conscious Ukrainians do not make its skeleton. The richest owners in our country are not Ukrainians (there was one, but now he stays in an American prison). The best culture and education are not Ukrainian. Main mass media are not Ukrainian. On the great part of our land, including the capital, one need courage and psychological efforts to speak Ukrainian.

The time has come to analyze the situation objectively, in a scientific way. It is time to understand why happened what has happened and who is guilty. It must be done not for the purpose settle accounts with our neighbors, close and distant, it must be done in order to understand which relations must be established for future. I think that our neighbors at least during nearest 50 years will be approximately such as in the past 500 years. The present explosion of the militarist psychosis in Russia in connection with Chechnya is the confirmation. We shall have Russia as a normal neighbor not very soon. And when the Russian Empire collapses, the Russians will not forget the syndrome of the imperial grandeur very soon.

Let us look into the document ‘The personnel of the NKVD for 1937’ (pp. 346 – 559). We shall see that almost all command of all levels consisted of Jews. On the other book (‘The last address. The 60 thanniversary of the Solovky tragedy. Volume 2’, Kyiv: Sfera publishers, 1998, p. 14) we read that in 1935 40% of the Ukrainian NKVD personnel were Jews, whereas in 1940 it was only 4%. They were also exterminated, after they exterminated the best Ukrainians.

And now from the remains of the human mass of not the best quality we have to sculpt a modern European nation.

We shall need for this many decades. The God Almighty caught us falling to the precipice and gave us a slim chance. If the independence had been given to us 15 — 20 years later, then it would have been unneeded (as in the Belarus case). But we must remember that God is angry with the lazy. So in order to resurrect the people we need super-efforts of several generations of the Ukrainian elite, which is just being shaped now.

As a former teacher I assess the book of Sergiy Bilokin as excellent. Its publication is an important event. The time has come to comprehend what has happened during the social and cultural catastrophe which our people survived. In spite of the small run (500 copies) the fundamental investigation by Bilokin soon will become a foundation stone in building the ideology of Ukrainian elite. The author, understandingly wants to continue his work in the archives, but I would advise him to spare some time for a cycle of radio transmissions and try to come to TV.

“Prava Ludiny” (human rights) monthly bulletin, 1999, #12