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3 April, 2012  ▪  Maksym Vikhrov

Fault Line Across Society

It is common knowledge that we most empathise with someone in whose place we might find ourselves. Rank and file citizens of Mykolaiv took to the streets in order to send a number of monsters who are the sons of influential parents behind bars.

Over one and a half days, the mother of Oksana Makar, the girl who was cruelly gang-raped, badly burnt by the three sadists, and eventually died in the hospital despite all efforts to save her life, received UAH 35,000 in donations. “Some send UAH 10, some donate 8,000,” she said. Fellow citizens were willing to donate blood alongside with money: in two days more than 100 people turned up at the blood transfusion centre.

This is suggestive of wartime solidarity: in the face of the enemy, even a stranger becomes a friend. The same is happening today. Each of us seems to have realized that he or she can become the next victim of some “golden youths,” intoxicated with their impunity. With a bit of luck, you will not be raped, strangled, or burned alive, and might only be beaten, run over, or shot to death.

The fault line in society is as clear as the front line. We, humble mortals, stand on one side, while on the other side are those who believe they are the bosses. “If I f*cking want, I sniff coke, or shoot up, or drink, or drive a car, or f*ck, or fire.” This is the essence of their philosophy, given by Volodymyr Kryvko, a businessman from Donetsk, in a drunken conversation with law enforcement officers (see the video on YouTube). And you can hardly blame it on the local Donbas flavour. All the way across the country, in Uzhorod, a certain city council member called Mykhailo Pisniak shot a firearm in a café and then insisted that the police could not lay down the law for him since he was friends with the son of the Uzhorod police chief, and the latter would “have all the issues settled”.

Their references to being well connected to people who will “have all the issues settled” are more than just drunken blather and bragging. Road police officers in Odesa, who preferred to remain anonymous, shared that they are obliged to memorize the registration numbers on the plates of top city and regional officials’ vehicles, and they must never stop them. One of their colleagues nearly got sacked for having halted the personal car of Mr Starodubov, deputy chief of the regional police. The other got a dressing down from his bosses for having stopped a car driven by the wife of Mr Reznikov, Odesa regional chief of police. Little wonder that two out of the three young men who [allegedly] gang-raped and tried to kill Ms Makar (see photo) were released without bail. After all, their parents are influential citizens of Mykolaiv.

No-one would perhaps mind much if these VIPs beat, shot, and burned one another. That’s their own private business. However, news reports show that the victims are mostly ordinary Ukrainian citizens. Who has ever heard of one VIP hurting another?

Thus we have a close-knit layer of society which has accumulated property and power to apply without taking the trouble to follow the letter of the law. Within this layer, relations are built on clan and patron – client principles. Your place in the food chain depends on which group you belong to, and who you are subordinate to. Clans can wage cruel wars against each other, but they are solidary against the rest of society. Pre-election promises is the farthest they can ever go.

Moreover, this caste of “masters” keeps its distance from society even physically: in Ukraine the so-called VIP villages have appeared, i.e. residential neighbourhoods for MPs, government officials, judges and their kind, who would not mix with the populace.

Our history abounds in similar examples: this is how the nobles in the Russian empire treated Ukrainians (and “Great Russians,” too). For example, Prince Kurakin gladly indulged in amorous games with his bondmaids in his estate on the territory of modern Luhansk Oblast. If they gave birth to baby boys, they were brought up, educated, and provided with jobs. But girls were burned alive in specially built furnaces. The systematic killing of babies was not even really kept a secret, but the Prince went unpunished. Against the background of the contemporary nobility’s habits and entertainments this did not seem unusual.

For lords of bygone days everything came to an end when they were exterminated as a class. How the modern grandees’ unbounded lawlessness will end, we will know sooner or later. Mykolaiv has already revolted.


Maksym Prysiazhniuk

Foster son of Liudmyla Prysiazhniuk, head of Yelanets district administration, Mykolaiv Region, reportedly a member of the Party of Regions, and her husband and deputy Volodymyr Prysiazhniuk. Maksym is accused of gang rape and attempt on the life of Oksana Makar on 10 March in Mykolaiv. One of the alleged rapists, Yevhen Krasnoshchok, tried to strangle the victim and then set fire to her, leaving Makar for dead. Now the girl, whose condition is described as critical, is being treated at the Donetsk Burn Centre. Prysiazhniuk and his accomplices were detained and placed in a pre-trial prison.

Snizhana Kravtsunenko

Member of Izmail town council, Odesa Region. On 8 March this year she decided to take a shortcut home and drove her ATV right through the local market. Fortunately, no-one was injured. Kravtsunenko and her husband had a scuffle with security guards and indignant eye-witnesses. No criminal proceedings were initiated.

Roman Landyk

Son of an MP for the Party of Regions, and himself a former representative to the Luhansk city council from the same party. On 4 July 2011, Landyk beat up Maria Korshunova, 20, at the restaurant Baccara. The girl was diagnosed with a concussion. The assaulter fled to the Russian Federation, where he was soon detained. This unusual scenario (the arrest of an influential figure) can be accounted for by his father’s enmity with important fellow party members and police officers. On 19 January the Leninsky District Court sentenced Landyk Junior to three years on probation.

Dmytro Rud

Son of the public prosecutor of Zhovtnevy district (Dnipropetrovsk). Former investigator for the prosecutor’s office. On 20 October 2010, Rud ran over and killed three women at Peremohy Embankment, and fled the site of the crime, only to be detained later. As of today, the victims’ relatives have totally dropped the charges (it was rumoured that they had been well paid off). The culprit was tried in Zaporizhia and sentenced to five years in prison. However, the effective law provides for a 10-year prison term for killing two persons in a car accident.

Nazarii Bochuliak

Former official of the General Prosecutor’s office. On 2 July 2009, Bochuliak smashed his BMW against a Tavria, which had stopped at the red traffic light. After the collision the Tavria exploded. The driver Mykola Khranovsky from Kyiv burned alive inside. Bochuliak immediately resigned. The case was terminated “for lack of corpus delicti”: there were allegedly no eye-witnesses, who could have testified to the official’s breaking traffic rules.

Dmytro Karatumanov

Son of a member of the Kharkiv Regional Council. On 1 November 2008, Karatumanov, driving his Audi, ran over and killed a university student and fled the scene of the crime. The criminal proceedings were initiated only to investigate the accident, but Karatumanov was not indicted. Later, the victim was found guilty of his own death. At present, Karatumanov Junior is finishing his studies at the local university to work at a public prosecutor’s office.

Vitalii Faingold

Son of a former member of the Simferopol city council, an influential Crimean businessman. On 16 September 2008, he accelerated his Bentley to 200 kilometres per hour and hit a Suzuki motorbike and two cars. The motorcyclist, Hanna Mishutkina, died on the spot; the owners of the damaged cars had to be taken to hospital. In November 2009, Faingold was sentenced to three years’ probation. The victim’s family disagreed and obtained a ruling of the Supreme Court to review the case.

Valentyn Savytsky

Son of a former MP and ex-director of the Centre for Public Land Cadastre. In April 2008 in Kyiv, driving his Lexus, he broke traffic rules and hit a Chevrolet killing its passenger, Liudmyla Lysenko. Later, the accused would not turn up for interrogation, and eventually disappeared. He is still on the Interpol wanted list.

Volodymyr Zimin

Son of the head of the Shevchenkivsky district state administration, Kyiv. On 30 March 2008, in Stolychne Road, Kyiv, Zimin Junior drove his Toyota Land Cruiser into a patrol car at full speed, tearing the police vehicle in two. The “golden boy” fled the site. The injured officers ended up in hospital. They got money compensation for the treatment and a new car. The case was not brought before the court.

Feliks Petrosian

Son of a now-deceased businessman, member of the Odesa Regional Council. On 13 January 2008, he drove his Toyota Land Cruiser Prado into 11 other cars in Viliams Street in Odesa. One of the drivers died on the spot, several other people were injured. The investigation lasted for several years, and on 7 June 2010, the case was closed. The court failed to find any violations of traffic rules on the part of Petrosian, who had already redressed the damage, even though previous expert examinations had found that he had caused the accident due to drunk driving.

Serhii Demishkan

Son of Volodymyr Demishkan, director of the state-owned firm UkrAvtoDor, friend of president Viktor Yanukovych. In November 2007 Demishkan Junior and his accomplices kidnapped Vasyl Kryvozub, director of the minor Krunk Airline, and tried to force him to sign papers surrendering a freight aircraft to Demishkan. After torturing their victim, the kidnappers drowned him. First Demishkan was arrested, but after the change of government in Ukraine he was released on bail. Recently, the Baryshiv District Court sentenced him to a probation term, whereas his accomplices received five and seven years in prison, respectively.

Serhii Kalynovsky

Stepson of the oligarch Dmytro Firtash. On 30 May 2007, he smashed his convertible BMW into a Zhiguli parked at the side of the street, killing a man inside (warrant officer Volodymyr Kulykovsky). A few days later Kalynovsky’s passenger, Anastasia Bronnikova, died in hospital. The culprit fled Ukraine and is still wanted by Interpol.

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