In Ukraine a purposeful campaign to discredit public activists is underway – human rights defender
A campaign purposefully focused on discrediting public activists, who are counteracting corruption in various areas, is taking place in Ukraine.
Olexandra Matviychuk, Chairman of the Center for Civil Liberties, is convinced in this. She published her opinion on the Facebook page after Vitaly Shabunin, Head of the Board of the Anti-Corruption Action Center, claimed that the SBU leadership organized a picket at his house.
“The problem is not only that it is evil in itself. Not only that it is ricocheting all over the public sector, killing the only thing we have – people’s trust. Another problem is that it is only an intermediate phase and next phase inevitably follows”, – wrote the human rights defender and cites the experience of her Russian colleagues. “Even a few years before the events on Maidan, I perfectly remember the irritation of my Russia colleagues: “How can you not understand this, if we go to protest then ordinary people will oppose us, not the police. And police will need to defend us”.
The human rights defender explains that such situation became possible due to many years of increased discrediting of independent civil institutions in the eyes of Russian viewers.
“There was a phantasmagoric story about the “espionage stone”, legislative stamps of a “foreign agents”, gruesome programs of the NTV channel on the status of “American henchmen” and “European Union accomplices”. And when Kremlin undermined the civil society’s capacity to resist because it destroyed the main support – people’s trust, then the unlimited power simply fell into the hands of Putin”, – wrote Olexandra Matviychuk.
In her opinion, currently the authorities managed to shift the focus of the discussion from the very fight against corruption in the higher echelons to declaring incomes by “fighters against corruption”.
“Yes, there are very different people among those who call themselves civil activists, but we should not be naïve. All these measures are taken not to separate “the wheat from the chaff””, – wrote the human rights defender and emphasized the impudence of the Ukrainian authorities.
“I have chronicled political repressions in Ukraine since 2010 and stopped only after the Revolution of Dignity. While we got into the Crimea and the Donbas to close the holes in the work of government bodies. But now the authorities are brazenly using us. And the question remains open: is this campaign “sanctioned” from above? And soon the question will be answered by the following actions or inactions of President Petro Poroshenko, General Prosecutor Yuriy Lutsenko, Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov, Chairman of the SBU Vasily Hrytsak and others”, – wrote Olexandra Matviychuk.
Olexandra Matviychuk heads the human rights organization Center for Civil Liberties, which exercises public control over the authorities through the OZON public monitoring team, promotes reforms in the Police, Courts and Prosecutor Office’s through the Human Rights Agenda platform, monitors political persecutions in Crimea and documents war crimes in Donbass.
Author of many studies on human rights issues, including the submission to the International Criminal Court regarding the crimes of Euromaidan, alternative reports of various structures of the UN, the EU, the CoE and the OSCE on the situation with observance of human rights in the Crimea and the Donbass and so on.
As a reminder, on Sunday of April 9, a picket took place near the house of Vitaly Shabunin, Head of the Board of the Anti-Corruption Action Center (ACAC). Activist accuses the SBU in the organization of a picket.
According to Shabunin, Roman Matkovskiy, Head of the SBU department for the protection of national statehood, is the executor of this picket.
In turn, the SBU denies accusations and state that they have not organized any rallies at the house of Vitaliy Shabunin.
“The Security Service of Ukraine was surprised to learn the latest statements of Shabunin. I emphasize that the SBU does not take any measures in monitoring the activities of representatives of political parties and public associations”, – wrote Olena Hitlianska, the Spokeperson for the Security Service of Ukraine, on her Facebook page.
“Our employees have enough tasks and challenges to counter external and internal threats to state security. They do not have the time, the desire and the legal basis to organize “performances” for certain ambitious politicians and public figures, who in such manner are trying to attract attention to their personalities and raise their ratings”, – she added.
Former ATO fighter Georgiy Turchak confirmed to the All-Ukrainian public association AutoMaidan that the SBU officers have indeed organized a picket at the house of an anti-corruption activist.
The Anti-Corruption Action Center considers the picket to be linked with a lawsuit against the SBU. The activists of the organization publicly demand the disclosure of e-declarations of employees of the Security Service of Ukraine. The SBU leadership declared the information on the status of its employees as a state secret. They believe that the disclosure of such information may inflict irreparable damage to.
Activists of the AutoMaidan believe that the SBU “has something to hide after decades of covering the smuggling in the country, illegal mining of minerals, etc”. In their statement they refer to the journalistic investigation of Pavlo Demchyna, First Deputy Head of the SBU.