The Rada is working again. Yesterday a number of important bills were on the agenda in VRU. The shortlist of urgent bills included dismissal of the Acting Defense Minister Teniukh and appointing new acting defense minister. The parliamentary majority refused to accept Teniukh’s resignation. “We will vote when we see who will take the vacant place of the minister of defense and what plan he has. Why should we trade bad for worse? What kind of games are these?” UDAR MP Volodymyr Kurennoi commented to The Day.
As a result, the Verkhovna Rada took a pause. The leaders of parliamentary factions and groups went to consult. After that the Acting President of Ukraine and Head of the Verkhovna Rada Oleksandr Turchynov offered parliament to dismiss Ihor Teniukh and appoint Mykhailo Koval a new acting minister of defense. Two hundred twenty eight MPs voted for this decision and it was approved.
“Teniukh was appointed acting minister of defense from Svoboda’s quota. Now it is Batkivshchyna’s turn,” a nonaffiliated MP who wanted to remain anonymous told The Day. “In the morning, when no one knew who will replace Teniukh, Pashynsky (Acting Head of Presidential Administration) brought Koval into parliament. Oleksandr Turchynov submitted the decree on Teniukh’s resignation. I will tell you even more. Not only do they want to dismiss Teniukh, but they want to do this ignominiously. And this is not a question of resignation, but making him responsible for practical surrender of the Crimea.”
MEDIA PEOPLE REGARD THE APPOINTMENT OF GENERAL KUZMUK AS A DEFENSE ADVISER TO THE ACTING HEAD OF STATE AS A SLAP IN THE PUBLIC FACE / Photo by Mykola TYMCHENKO, The Day
The mistakes have not been learned. First, Svoboda, if it is not expert in military questions, should not have insisted on getting the chair of the head of ministry of defense from the very beginning. Second, the division of chairs based on quota principle continues. At the same time in this complicated situation the new power should have been a priori defending the idea of forming a technocratic government, a government of professionals.
Nonetheless, experts don’t link directly the newly appointed Acting Minister of Defense Koval to any political force. “If we assess him as a professional, he in fact has an impressive biography, corresponding education, he has taken many high posts, and therefore I have no doubts about his professionalism as a military leader,” leading expert in military programs at Razumkov Center Oleksii Melnyk told The Day.
The expert also added that the problem does not disappear with the change of the minister. “We should understand that the minister of defense does not have any authority to give direct orders to the army. The main fault for the events in the Crimea is on the Supreme Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces,” Melnyk says, “Therefore if new Acting Defense Minister Koval is bound hand and foot by the lack of political decisions, he will hardly be able to be more efficient than Teniukh.”
According to the expert, the main tasks faced by the newly appointed ministers include solving of the question of the system of controlling the Armed Forces of Ukraine and maximum fulfillment of the function of the Ministry of Defense which lies in ensuring and forming of defense policy and ensuring of the activity of the Armed Forces.
Yesterday the appointment of MP Oleksandr Kuzmuk, who was a minister of defense in time of Kuchma and Yanukovych, the advisor of the Acting President on the questions of defense raised many questions as well. For he is as well responsible for the current state of the Armed Forces of Ukraine.
“This person, when he was on the same post, advised Yanukovych such things that now we may well defend the country by forces of boy scouts – the army is in quite a poor condition,” coordinator of the Information Resistance Group Dmytro Tymchuk writes in his blog in Ukrainska Pravda. “All this looks more than strange. Therefore we apparently should define what we are going to do next – continue to play the reshuffle around the manger or defend our fatherland.”