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Corruption is rampant in a divided Ukraine ...

Opinion: Zelenskyy is the problem, not his friends | DW News |

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has fired leading security officials in the middle of a war. But the president's public rebuke only obscures the real problem: lack of reform, says Eugen Theise.

The firing of SBU intelligence services boss Ivan Bakanov and Prosecutor General Iryna Venediktova is akin to a political earthquake in Ukraine. During a war, one would expect maximum solidarity from a government. Such dismissals register as a very public rejection of one's closest confidants.

... Then the situation suddenly snowballed: On Tuesday, parliament dismissed both Bakanov and Venediktova at Zelenskyy's behest. There was no longer any talk of the investigations announced the day before.

This strange personnel gamble gives the impression that the former comedian and actor -- who, after the Russian invasion of his country, was transformed into the courageous leader of a brave nation before the eyes of the world -- has suddenly dwarfed himself. At a time, moreover, when he should have stepped up and taken responsibility for the mistakes of his confidants.

A general's treason

Known cases of treason and desertion in the ranks of intelligences services occurred within the first weeks of the war. But the president needed months to find an effective way to publicly address the situation. Perhaps the most sensational example is the case of General Andriy Naumov of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), who fled Ukraine on February 23, one day before the Russian invasion.

Naumov was Bakanov's right hand at the SBU. In just a few short months, Naumov's patron had promoted him to intelligence services general. As director of Ukraine's domestic security headquarters, it would have been his task to sniff out corruption or moles. Naumov's flight was reason enough to immediately fire Bakanov.

Zelenskyy replaces long-time loyalists with Yermak's people

    Meanwhile, Oleksii Symonenko - Venediktova's deputy - will run the Office of the Prosecutor-General (OPG) in the interim. Similarly, Bakanov's deputy, Vasyl Malyuk, is now acting head of the SBU. Both Symonenko and Malyuk are thought to have ties to Zelenskyy's chief-of-staff Andriy Yermak, and Malyuk in particular has been accused of being rather close to a scandal-plagued deputy of Yermak's, Oleh Tatarov.

'Sapere aude'
by Oui (Oui) on Wed Jul 20th, 2022 at 10:32:33 PM EST
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