The Verkhovna Rada dismissed Arsen Avakov from the post of Minister of Internal Affairs on July 15. 291 deputies voted for the corresponding decision. Should we wait for the reform of the agency with the change of its head? What kind of relationship will there be between the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the OP?
Why Avakov has resigned right now
Avakov wrote a letter of resignation on July 13. The politician has served as Minister since February 2014. Under his leadership, one of the most ambitious reforms in Ukraine took place—the establishment of the National Police. At the same time, there were some scandals.
One of the most notorious and corrupt cases was the so-called "Avakov's backpacks" case. For instance, in 2015, the Prosecutor's Office began an investigation into abuses in the purchase of backpacks for the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the National Guard. The media reported that the backpacks were purchased via enterprises controlled by Oleksandr Avakov, the son of the Minister of Internal Affairs.
Avakov's resignation was repeatedly initiated by various political forces. In June 2020, a draft resolution on his resignation from the post of Minister was even registered in the Verkhovna Rada. The initiators were 55 MPs from the Voice (Holos in Ukrainian) and Servant of the People factions.
- The reform of law enforcement agencies is proceeding ineffectively.
- The police never became an effective government institution or won the public's trust.
- The heinous crime crimes committed by police officers, unfortunately, remain unsolved.
"We cannot continue to ignore this, such cases must be investigated, brought to court and end with fair sentences for the perpetrators."
Head of the party Voice
According to political scientist Volodymyr Fesenko, two factors were the reason for the resignation.
«Firstly, the Office of the President decided to take control of the main power structure in the country—the Ministry of Internal Affairs. They decided that Volodymyr Zelensky had already gained experience and strength, and the impact of the sanctions played a very important role. This became publicly noticeable at the President's big press conference in May. There it manifested itself in the unsolved case of the murder of journalist Pavel Sheremet. This is the second reason that became a time bomb under Arsen Avakov. And it worked, as the question of the Minister's political responsibility for this situation was constantly raised.»
What will happen next with the MIA
After the Minister's resignation, not only some unreasonable searches await us, but also political pressure through the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Taras Kotov, a member of the political council of the party Democratic Axe party, told .
According to him, the agency is now in a strange situation, when it launched many external reforms like traffic cameras, motorcycle police and others, but at the same time it has a very serious problem with internal reforms, since it purposefully dealt with the visual image.
At the same time, there is a severe shortage of investigators, Kotov says. For example, in Kyiv, everyone involved in the investigation of criminal activity is overworked.
"The first position in any of our regional departments is not to open (not register) a case, as far as possible. And then, if it has been opened, do not deal with it. All this was aggravated by the fact that new personnel who were supposed to create an image of some reforms among citizens began to receive higher salaries. Therefore, during the entire period there was a conflict between the patrol police and the personnel of the Ministry of Internal Affairs whose salaries did not increase."
Member of the Political Council of the party Democratic Axe
Monastyrskyi for replacement
The position of the head of the MIA, most likely, will be taken by Denys Monastyrskyi, the head of the parliamentary Committee on Law Enforcement from the presidential party Servant of the People. Voting for his candidacy will take place on Friday, July 16.
Denys Monastyrsky is called the optimal and compromise figure for the power transfer in the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
"He is the head of the relevant committee, which is very important, and did not get into any scandals. The appointment of Monastyrskyi will mean a sharp and significant increase in the influence of the Office of the President on the MIA. Because under Avakov it was an independent empire."
But Monastyrskyi has personal relations with Avakov's team, the political scientist adds. Even before becoming a deputy, he worked as an assistant to Anton Gerashchenko in the Rada and at the Institute for the Future. Gerashchenko was one of its founders as well.
Therefore, ultimately it is difficult to predict whether Avakov's influence on the place of his former employment will remain.