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The Euromaidan crackdown: perpetrators and beneficiaries

What were Sivkovych and Derkach doing at Popov’s office late on November 29, 2013?
26 November, 11:55

Irreversible processes that were triggered in Kyiv on November 30, 2013 led to mass protests, the Euromaidan, hundreds of deaths, and eventually became a prelude to the annexation of Crimea and the war in the Donbas. That is, they triggered all the developments which were intended to turn Ukraine into an exhausted and enslaved country. On the other hand, those developments actually cleared the way for a new government, which ought to get those responsible for the Euromaidan crackdown punished at last, but something prevented it from doing so.

Discussions in the media and among the public periodically see some names emerging, which to some extent were elements of the trigger, but the court has not even started questioning all suspects. And this is so despite the fact that two commissions of the Ministry of Internal Affairs were created to investigate these momentous events.

The Prosecutor General’s Office has been limiting its charges to the most obvious character, who is absorbing all the negative just as expected – we mean Viktor Yanukovych.

Meanwhile, former minister of internal affairs Vitalii Zakharchenko, recently accused, from his Russian exile, Serhii Liovochkin and Oleksandr Popov of staging the crackdown against the student protest, thus exposing divisions in the former Party of Regions team. Zakharchenko wrote: “Succumbing to pressure from Popov and, most importantly, Liovochkin, head of the Kyiv City Department of Internal Affairs Valerii Koriak attempted to disperse the students by force.” The only thing that is unclear here is how the head of the Kyiv City State Administration could exert “pressure” on the chief of the metropolitan police, given that Koriak was Zakharchenko’s immediate subordinate.

MAIDAN. JANUARY 26, 2014 / Photo by Borys KORPUSENKO

Zakharchenko’s statements blaming Liovochkin for the crackdown are most likely not only an attempt to exonerate himself, but possibly also a hint, a warning for those who managed to “get out of the firing line.” Some time ago, Ihor Kolomoisky said that Liovochkin timely “abandoned a sinking ship.”

There are, however, other important elements of the story to which journalists are not paying attention. We mean MP Andrii Derkach’s role in it. He studied at Dzerzhinsky Higher School of the KGB (later renamed the FSB Academy of Russia) in the early 1990s. Back in 2013, he was also a member of parliament, representing Party of Regions. In the events of November 29, Derkach appears as a man who “visited,” together with Volodymyr Sivkovych (the then deputy of Andrii Kliuiev at the National Security and Defense Council) Oleksandr Popov at his office, where he had a brief conversation with the latter, and then promptly left. The remaining links of the trigger mechanism included Kliuiev, Liovochkin, Sivkovych, Zakharchenko, Koriak, and Popov. What did these men (Sivkovych, Popov, and Derkach) talked about immediately before the mechanism of bloody events came into operation on the night of November 30, a few hundred meters from them?


Oleksandr POPOV, ex-chairman of the Kyiv City State Administration:

“I can defend myself on the basis of the amnesty law which the Verkhovna Rada passed as long ago as 2013. But I’ve chosen a different path, the path of investigation – I want to be heard together with witnesses and the aggrieved parties in a courtroom in order to make a contribution to the impartial handling of this case. It is not an easy choice for me. I have not left this country and am not going to do so. This can be also an example for others, particularly Zakharchenko. He should come to Kyiv, take part in the investigation, tell his version, and defend his position.

“After the Maidan events on the night of November 30, 2013, the Interior Ministry with Mr. Zakharchenko at the head conducted an urgent investigation into the beating of people. The commission included 10-20 senior ministerial officials. The current Minister of the Interior, Arsen Avakov, also organized a similar commission, but both investigations produced almost the same result. There was no one named Popov among the culprits. The findings of both commissions are part of case documents. In other words, this case is for the police to deal with, and certain conclusions have already been drawn. Today, owing to political or other considerations, the abovementioned accusations are being made again. I think they are biased. I am the object of them only because I did not leave the country. As for the impact the then Interior Minister Zakharchenko or National Security and Defense Council Secretary Kliuiev had on the situation, I would like to know it as much as the prosecutors would.”


Hennadii DRUZENKO, public activist, political journalist:

“In fact, the ‘hawk’ Kliuiev and Sivkovych managed the situation in a ‘manual mode.’ I would not look for concrete culprits. The point is that the mentality of the Yanukovych regime was either to buy or to break. As students were not taken seriously, the regime decided to break them so that they never did so again. The simple logic was that corpses are not dangerous. But they came across a mentally different milieu which rejected this approach. The more the regime was breaking, the more the people were rising up. Yanukovych carved out his political career by making deals with the strong and destroying the weak. He believed that civil society was weak and should be destroyed before Western donors made it strong. But there were also some subversive beneficiaries. They undoubtedly included Liovochkin who had thus set up his opponent Kliuiev who dreamed of being chairman of the Presidential Administration. The oligarchs eventually set up Yanukovych, for the ‘Family’ was trying to grab their business. This was in fact of benefit to Ukrainian society, for the Revolution of Dignity would have hardly been possible without this blood-letting.”


Oleksandr SOLONTAI, expert, Institute of Political Education:

“It is, first of all, Putin, Lukashenko, and Nazarbayev, who reaped a benefit from those events because they showed to the whole world that Yanukovych was turning into sort of a dictator who tended, like them, to break up peaceful rallies and build up authoritarian power. Yanukovych also reaped a political benefit by quickly dispersing the protesters shortly after the Vilnius Summit. In the long run, it is he who ordered the protest rally to be broken up. Of course, he lost strategically. Likewise, political opposition leaders also benefited from those events, for they tried to ride on the crest of an unexpectedly large human wave that rose after the dispersal. On December 1, 2013, Poroshenko announced the beginning of his presidential campaign. Tymoshenko also called for a revolution. Politicians thus began to draw as much benefit as they could from that situation. Conspiracy theories should not conceal belief in our own strength. The people proved to be able to resist. We knew even at that time that, given his character, Yanukovych would not allow mass-scale downtown protests and were sure that we must brace ourselves for repressions and a violent dispersal.”

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