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Why Deputy Prime Minister Kubrakov Deserved to Be Dismissed?

Iryna Fedoriv
Head of the Civic Initiative "Holka" ("The Needle")

The Ukrainian Parliament dismissed Deputy Prime Minister Kubrakov, who was responsible for reconstruction. Western partners in a series of statements made it clear to the President Volodymyr Zelensky that they support Kubrakov and do not support such a personnel decision.

The Office of the President had its own reasons for dismissing Kubrakov, and unfortunately, they were indeed political. Essentially, the same political reasons apply to those who are publicly defending Kubrakov now. Kubrakov gained the status of a "corruption whistleblower," leading to suspicions against several politicians.

However, being a whistleblower does not mean having carte blanche to lobby corrupt policies and hinder government work in strategic directions!

And it is precisely for this reason that Kubrakov needed to be dismissed. There are several objective reasons for this dismissal.

For the past two years, he, along with the head of the "Servant of the People" party, Olena Shulyak, has been lobbying for the scandalous urban planning "reform" (5655). The same reform that the European Parliament and the European Commission saw as posing corruption risks and which ultimately the President did not sign.

Even after the European Parliament's decision, Kubrakov did not lose hope of convincing partners that the rules of the game, created in the interests of dishonest developers, are entirely normal and should be accepted. And he communicated this publicly. As a result, he was and remains an active lobbyist for these dishonest rules of the game. And the funds allocated for Ukraine's recovery come from taxpayers of other countries. And these taxpayers, like us Ukrainians, want resources to be distributed fairly.

In this process, the role of local self-government bodies was ignored, as our international partners also pointed out. And centralization is definitely not something that leads to the development of democracy and poses a particular threat to democracy in wartime conditions.

Moreover, six months ago, through the Cabinet of Ministers, Kubrakov tried to push through what the President did not sign — a clone of bill 5655. And this was done in an unconstitutional manner.

Chatham House, in its document, noted that adhering to the proposed rules of the game could lead to cartel agreements. And cartel agreements are prohibited by European law. And even in April, a month before the dismissal, Kubrakov did not abandon his attempt to push the cloned resolution through the government.

Instances of censorship were repeatedly documented when criticism of this initiative 5655 was voiced in the media, and the government website was used to provide unreliable information about this project. Censorship and disinformation are certainly not the values on which democracy can be built and which should be defended. And when we talk about Kubrakov's dismissal, we cannot ignore these facts.

Furthermore, one civil organization reported informal pressure from Kubrakov's ministry on donors, including USAID. As a result, funding for a project aimed at strengthening our state's capacity was halted. These are definitely not the methods that should be concealed and sanctified.

Even Kyiv-Mohyla Academy suffered from repression and declared political pressure.

But there are many more questions about the former Deputy Prime Minister Kubrakov, who was responsible for reconstruction. When the Ministry of Community and Territory Development was created, the former Ministry of Regional Development was included. Consequently, in its report for the past year, the European Commission noted that in Ukraine in this direction, our country has made limited progress and there are several unfulfilled tasks. This is also an assessment of the Deputy Prime Minister's work.

Therefore, it is very important to call things by their names, and when we talk about Kubrakov's dismissal, to talk about corruption risks, censorship, and the fact that such important policies as regional development were not properly implemented. We can mention, of course, that he became a corruption whistleblower, but this cannot whitewash all his subsequent actions that multiply corruption and undermine democracy (censorship and pressure on the civil sector).

The worst thing that can happen, and what has already partly happened, is that Ukrainian society, which clearly saw how for two years corrupt rules of the game were dragged out, knew about instances of censorship, now does not understand why officials who did this are whitewashed and the reasons for which he should have been dismissed are simply silenced.

The task of a government official at the level of deputy prime minister is to generate valuable new and effective policies and reforms, not just to allocate billion-dollar budgets and lobby for dishonest rules of the game.

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