On May 21 marking Vyshyvanka [Ukr. hand-embroidered shirt/blouse] Day, the Ukrainian MPs sported a variety of such garments. Good for the traditional Ukrainian attire, bad for it being sported by turncoats, of which there appears to be plenty at the Verkhovna Rada.
That day the Ukrainian lawmakers had another opportunity to prove their worth. May 21 marked Georgy Gongadze’s 46th birthday. There are still more questions than answers in the Gongadze case. To begin with, his body is still to be buried. Previously his mother Lesia Gongadze was against the burial, but she died a year and a half ago. What’s the obstacle now, considering that keeping the body is very un-Christian. Also, the Ukrainian law-enforcement and judiciary systems, as well as politicians, are unable to dot the i’s and cross the t’s in the case by identifying those who ordered that high profile murder.
As it was, no one in parliament mentioned any of this on Thursday, May 21. Later it transpired that some had tried but couldn’t do so. “I wanted to use the VR rostrum to inform the public about what was happening in the Gongadze case, about those who had ordered his murder and murdered him,” Oleksii Podolsky’s personal representative in court, independent MP Vitalii Kuprii told The Day, adding, “I also wanted to honor his memory with a moment of silence. I approached Speaker Volodymyr Hroisman with the proposal but he replied that the matter was irrelevant, wrong-timed and placed. I think the reason is that during the Gongadze-Podolsky court hearings serious accusations were made addressing the Prosecutor General’s Office and the incumbent Justice, Andrii Melnyk, of the Pechersk District Court, to the effect that they were involved in the rigging of the criminal investigation. Also, among the members of the Verkhovna Rada is President Petro Poroshenko’s comrade Volodymyr Lytvyn who would be loath to hear Pukach name him and Kuchma as the ones who had ordered Gongadze’s murder. Hroisman probably didn’t want the team in power to feel embarrassed [by the expose]… I spoke with Oleh Liashko and asked him to announce Gongadze’s anniversary of birth because he had the right to do so and the independent MPs have no such right. Our team, some 20 MPs, wanted to push through this initiative, but we weren’t formally a group of MPs, so we had to ask other factions for help. Perhaps on Vyshyvanka Day all were in a festive mood and no one wanted to spoil it.”
This is another vivid example of short [political] memory, double standard, and a deep-going crisis within our parliament. The Day (No. 31, 2015) quoted Oleksandr Yeliashkevych, Oleksii Podolsky’s personal representative in court, as saying: “I want to remind all of you that on May 21 Georgy Gongadze would have marked his 46th birthday. To refresh the memory of those ‘upstairs’ concerning those horrible events, I will ask MP Vitalii Kuprii to make an appropriate statement in parliament to remind them all of that hair-raising tragedy, to make those in power finally act in accordance with the law.” Apparently, those ‘upstairs’ are still reluctant to act in accordance with the law or ethics.
A number of journalists are regrettably keeping pace with them – and this considering that each of them, when stepping into the press room on the Verkhovna Rada’s third floor, sees the Gongadze plaque. All MPs know it is there. I might as well point out that there are quite a few ex-journalists among the current MPs. How can one explain their silence on the matter?
Journalist and public activist Oleksii Podolsky wrote on his Facebook: “Georgy Gongadze would have marked his 46th birthday today. It is sad to read Ukrainska Pravda about an offended Pashynsky, an intrepid Yatseniuk, along with plush real estate ads, and not a word about Gia [Georgian short name for Georgy].” He then added: “P.S. Ukrainska Pravda has responded to the lashing out at the journalists, particularly to the Kuchma scandal which is in progress on the Verkhovna Rada sidelines, with [Speaker] Hroisman stubbornly sabotaging the initiative of MPs to commemorate Gongadze with a moment of silence. It has published an article dedicated to Gongadze. Let me remind you that over 14 years Ukrainska Pravda has carried a lead on Gongadze come May 21. This time it appeared after noon, following such publications in Obozrevatel and elsewhere. Note that, unlike previously, there is not a word about those who ordered [Gongadze’s murder], about Kuchma, let alone the court. Not a word!”