It is not a secret that the elections of President Zelensky and the subsequent elections of deputies to the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine in 2019 were carrying the hope of a complete change in the political situation. The society expected if not a miracle, then at least serious changes in strategic issues. People hoped for a complete reformatting of public policy and system of government.
The end of the war and the integration of Donbass, the fight against corruption, the improvement of the protection of rights and social and humanitarian policy in relation to each individual citizen of Ukraine are supposed to be the main vectors-markers. In fact, the situation turned out to be exactly the opposite. The destroyed system of public administration, nepotism, godfatherism, the rise of political corruption, unqualified civil servants of all levels unable to manage. A vivid example is the state policy pursued in the East of Ukraine. This applies to all complex issues of life, this is not only a war, but also the activities carried out by the Ministry of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine managed by the Vice Prime Minister Oleksii Reznikov. To understand the cynicism of the situation, it is necessary to come back to the history of the issue of creating the power instruments for the reintegration of Donbass. At different periods of time, it was both de-occupation and integration and reintegration, in fact it is a formed corruption structure that is engaged in the distribution of international assistance in favor of certain individuals.
The State Agency of Ukraine for the Reconstruction of Donbass was created in 2014 to form a strategy of the state, primarily on the issues of social and humanitarian protection of citizens of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and was subsequently reorganized into the Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons. The Agency was formed with the direct involvement of international grant structures, which lobbied for the appointment of people with low qualifications and social responsibility, but understandable and comfortable, who for several years have been engaged in the "development of democracy" for the money of grants, and in fact carried out the assigned tasks. After the formation of the Ministry, people who were already lobbied by internal political structures that were in power at that time were involved in its management. During the formation of the Ministry, a number of violations were committed, which subsequently became critical for solving problems.
First of all, the Ministry did not have its own financial component, but was the coordinator of interdepartmental relations, which ultimately increased corruption risks and did not allow the use of state budget funds directly. The same situation has developed with the regulatory documents related to the problem of Donbass, which not only contradicted each other, but also worsened the situation of Donbass-born people. In addition, for the formation of a financial strategy, international structures put forward a condition for the creation of a trust fund, in which all foreign financial assistance would be accumulated. The total amount of allocated funds related to Donbass amounted to more than several billion dollars. Thus, the World Bank for Reconstruction and Development has allocated 3.2 million dollars for the implementation of subprojects. Scandals, conflicts, criminal proceedings against sub-executors and abandoned 2 million people, violated rights, lack of a strategy to liberate Donbass and return it to Ukraine have resulted from the activities of the Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories managed by the Minister Vadym Chernysh.
In 2019, the government of Prime Minister Honcharuk under a bravura scooter ride has reorganized the Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons by merger it to the Ministry of Veterans Affairs. Two inferior executive bodies sometimes having completely opposite functions have finally discredited the powers of state authorities in the matter of de-occupation and integration of Donbass, and even more in the development of the unoccupied part of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. It should be noted separately that despite the fact that the cabinet of ministers of Honcharuk included “conditional myrmidons of Soros” – activists their actions led to a break in the dialogue between civil society and the executive authorities. Public councils at the ministries have de facto ceased to exist, although de jure they are competent until new ones are formed.
Finally, in 2020, “another hope” appeared, when the Verkhovna Rada and the President's office decided to establish a whole area related to the problems of war and integration, under the leadership of the representative of Ukraine in the Trilateral Contact Group on the peaceful settlement of the situation in eastern Ukraine, Vice Prime Minister, a lawyer, an official of the Kyiv executive power Oleksii Reznikov. Then the most interesting things begin. The first thing worth noting was the lack of an adequate personnel policy, primarily the appointment of the so-called Lviv clan to all leadership positions. To dilute the situation, there is the presence of Crimean Tatars lobbyists, and complete discrimination against people from Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Attempts to build a dialogue, the provision of systemic proposals for the formation of a strategy by experts did not find a response from the officials of the ministry. The ministry made “conditional activists”, who in the previous ministry were actually the recipients of grants, the effectiveness of which did not exceed 4 %, close to itself. Second, which is extremely important, the representatives of Donbass who were included in the Minsk TCG were "selected". The worst thing is that there were no selection criteria, no rules, no requirements, no public discussion. Requests for the above information, including lawyer's request of Yurii Sednev, are ignored. How, in what status, and on whose behalf the "representatives of Donbass" act is still not clear. The new ministry continued the pernicious practice of forming financial flows and their distribution for incomprehensible decisions without involving directly interested parties, namely residents of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, while the Vice Prime Minister allows himself to issue opuses into the information space, such as Donbass is cancerous tumor etc.
Living in constant political and social stress, taking into account the lack of protection mechanisms, civil society and directly people born in Donbass are forced to actively defend their rights on their own forming systemic public institutions. Thus, on the basis of the Kyivstratpro civil society institute, a platform for public control of the activities of the authorities in resolving the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, monitoring human rights violations, developing solutions at all levels for the most effective reintegration of Donbass and restoration of the territorial integrity of Ukraine was formed.
The Memorandum of Cooperation was signed by five legal entities and more than 20 experts associated with solving the problems of Donbass in various areas, but in fact, joint work both with public institutions and politicians is made. The main task of the platform is to conduct continuous monitoring of the executive authorities activities, and first of all, the Ministry of the Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine.
The expert community does not oppose itself to the authorities of Ukraine, but contributes to the development of optimal methods and mechanisms based on deep knowledge and experience, primarily of the Donbass-born people who were forced to leave Donetsk and Lugansk regions after 2014. The Kyivstratpro expert community is forced to declare that the current situation related to the violation of the basic constitutional rights and freedoms of Ukrainian citizens on the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, both in the controlled and uncontrolled territories, is caused primarily by political mistakes made since 2014, which led to civil confrontation and external (Russian) aggression. These mistakes, first of all, consist in deliberate discrimination of residents of a particular region and opposing them to the rest of Ukraine. At the same time, having formed the prerequisites for the conflict, in order to avoid responsibility, representatives of all branches of government did not make basic normative documents, including on the recognition the war (military actions) status, which in turn led to massive violations of human rights and the loss of the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
In the process of monitoring the activities of the Ministry of the Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, taking into account reorganizations and renaming, at the request of the Kyivstratpro, the Accounts Chamber submitted a Certificate on the results of the audit of the effectiveness of the use of state budget funds allocated to the Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine for measures to reintegrate the temporarily occupied territories and their population into a single constitutional space of Ukraine (the report can be found here), which was analyzed by the legal group of the expert platform.
As a result of monitoring the activities of the Ministry of the Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories within the framework of one project only, it was revealed: Ukraine received financial assistance from the IBRD in the amount of 3 million 200 thousand US dollars for the implementation of the project “Overcoming the consequences of the conflict, a pilot project for restoration and development of capacities”. On the basis of the Agreement concluded with the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade on September 20, 2016 the Ministry of the Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine is the main manager of these funds.
In accordance with the Operational Manual of the said project approved order of the Ministry of the Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories, the successful implementation of pilot activities in the regions that have suffered from the conflict in Ukraine is an indicator of efficiency. Donetsk and Luhansk regions are the regions most affected by the conflict. For the implementation of the project, 10 sub-projects were “selected” by the Ministry of the Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories.
At the same time, the relevant Ministry did not involve territorial communities located on the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, in which more than 54% of the total number of internally displaced persons live, as well as in Kyiv, where almost 175 thousand (11,6%) and Kyiv region where 70 thousand (4.6%) internally displaced persons live. But Kharkiv (8.7% of internally displaced persons), Dnipropetrovsk (5% of internally displaced persons), Zaporizhia (3.7% of internally displaced persons) and Mykolayiv (0.6% of internally displaced persons) regions were involved in the selection of pilot subprojects.
According to the results of the audit, none (!) of the projects reached their goals. A number of facts of inappropriate and ineffective use of funds have been confirmed. For example:
1. Subproject "Creation of a medical rehabilitation center for combatants, including anti-terrorist operation participants, and other advantageous groups on the basis of the communal enterprise "Kamensk City Hospital No. 5" of the Dnipropetrovsk Regional Council", for the implementation of which more than 7 million hryvnias were used, of which about 4 million hryvnia for repairs. The direct performers were individuals who were hired to work with the terms of payment of shadow wages, and they were not related to the contractor. It has been established that today a pre-trial investigation is being carried out on misappropriation of funds.
2. Subproject: "The future is being created now" (Pervomaysky town, Kharkiv region). In the absence of appropriate powers, the implementer transferred sets of computer equipment worth more than UAH 300,000 purchased for the grant funds to a non-profit communal enterprise “Pervomaysky Center for Health Care”, which is not related to the subproject under a loan agreement. In addition, law enforcement authorities established a number of violations in the supply of goods and the provision of services during the repair of the physiotherapy department of the non-profit communal enterprise "Pervomaysky Central District Hospital"; today, a pre-trial investigation is being carried out on misappropriation of funds.
3. Subproject: "Creation of conditions for the provision and implementation of state policy in the field of fire and industrial safety in the territory of the Sursko-Lithuanian amalgamated territorial community" (Dniprovsky district of the Dnipropetrovsk region). About 4.5 million UAH are spent on the purchase of a fire engine, purchased and imported under temporary documents of the Republic of Belarus. The lack of title documents does not allow this equipment to be registered by the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine and, accordingly, used.
4. Subproject "New opportunities for adaptation of internally displaced persons and anti-terrorist operation veterans in the community of Mykolayiv". The supply of medical equipment for almost UAH 2 million, as a result it is deficiency, the lack of the necessary instruments to stop bleeding, it is necessary to buy additional equipment to bring it into working condition. The supplier is involved in criminal cases for the supply of medical equipment in the amount of UAH 38 million.
5. Subproject: "Development of the Center for Psychological Assistance and Social Adaptation of internally displaced persons and anti-terrorist operation veterans" (Kryvyi Rih, Dnipropetrovsk region). There are major repairs of the premises and the installation of an elevator in the amount of UAH 7 million in the Kryvyi Rih Economic Institute of the State University “Vadym Hetman Kyiv Natioanl Economic University”, as a result, the executing company is involved in criminal proceedings with signs of fictitiousness.
And there are a lot of such examples. Nevertheless, to date none of the decision-making heads of the Ministry of the Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories has been brought to justice. The new Ministry, headed by Oleksii Reznikov, simply does not react to all our appeals and does not take any actions.
In this connection, in order to ensure the legality and to ensure proper control the team of the Kyivstratpro expert platform has sent the above facts to 16 deputies through the Verkhovna Rada Committee. We want to say that this is one small project. There are more than 13 such projects for the amount of more than half a billion dollars. We will continue to analyze both the actions and inactivity of the executive authorities, as well as make every effort to punish the guilty and form real assistance to victims of the armed conflict.
A press conference was held on the results of the work already done and the analysis carried out, where the main problems were raised: https://ukranews.com/other/742475-ekspertnaya-platforma-kyivstratpro-schitaet-chto-sejchas-otsutstvuet-edinaya-strategiya-razvitiya?fbclid=IwAR2D8w5yfCfQaCyx_uZKdqJEmTuYbDfjow-ArOV2wdwUzqV0HpvCUUb3ioc
To form the completeness and quality of monitoring, stable communication has been formed with the deputies of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, and primarily with the Verkhovna Rada Committee on Human Rights, De-occupation and Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories in Donetsk, Luhansk regions and the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, the city of Sevastopol, national minorities and interethnic relations and a number of deputies interested in a real solution to the problem of de-occupation and integration of the East of Ukraine, who do not divide people into those who are in the occupied territory and those who live in the free one.
During the period of activity, in order to form an integrated approach to the strategic plan for solving the problems of Donbass, our team sent a number of relevant requests regarding the activities of both the Ministry of the Temporarily Occupied Territories and the Ministry of Reintegration, as well as the activities of the Minsk Trilateral Contact Group, both independently and with the help of deputies and lawyers. In total, more than 50 applications and inquiries were sent. It should be noted that a number of inquiries, primarily from public organizations, were left unanswered or formal notes were received, which fully corresponds to the “communications policy” chosen by the Ministry of Reintegration with the public organization. Please note that this practice applies only to organizations that are not participants in certain grant programs, and are not partners of foreign missions, which directly calls into question the target orientation and subordination of the ministry. It clearly acts not in favor of the people of Ukraine, but in favor of Western partners and their own wallets. But it is possible to see conventionally formal shows that are broadcasted on the Ministry of Reintegration's page, especially on the issue in respect of which there are a number of criminal cases and minimal effectiveness.
Thus, we see that the reality in which seven million residents of Donetsk and Luhansk regions live, both in the occupied and non-occupied territory, is completely different from the reality of the Lviv officials.
We responsibly declare that the state of Ukraine, and separately the Ministry for the Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories under the leadership of Vice Prime Minister Oleksii Reznikov, does not have neither long-term nor short-term strategies for comprehensively resolving problems associated not only with the return of territories, but also with the solution referred to the violation of constitutional rights and freedoms, minimal social protection of citizens of Ukraine, both in the uncontrolled and controlled territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
The lack of a broad dialogue with civil institutions, and first of all feedback, the formation of a team (selection of specialists) based on personal preferences, discrimination on the basis of territoriality (the absence of specialists from Donetsk and Luhansk regions in the Ministry of Reintegration, primarily in management), all this leads to the formation of ineffective methods of solving problems, opportunities for the development of corruption, the deterioration of the social and humanitarian situation in Donbass and postpones the period of full reintegration.
Separately, it should be noted that the international positioning of the ministry, the politicization of humanitarian issues, the provision of incomplete and incorrect information to international partners, the lobbying of close civil society structures (receipt of grant funds), the formation of imaginary achievements lead to a negative image in the international arena, which aggravates the possibilities of reintegration and economic development of Ukraine, and, first of all, the non-occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Without opposing ourselves to the state of Ukraine and its interests, we, the Kyivstratpro expert community, are forced to form independently an alternative social institution that takes over the functions of the executive power, primarily in developing a reintegration strategy, resolving social and humanitarian issues, preventing an environmental catastrophe and mechanisms of economic development of non-occupied territories of the East of Ukraine. Today, we have formed the strongest team of specialists at all levels capable of solving both strategic and operational tasks.
Ii should be noted separately that by increasing measures to control the activities of the Ministry of Reintegration managed by Oleksii Reznikov, we begin to form mechanisms of control and monitoring, not only for officials, but also for the so-called activists who were directly involved in the ineffective spending of international aid. After the investigations have been carried out, we will provide information and send requests to law enforcement authorities and regulatory structures. The violation of human rights and the politicization of the social and humanitarian catastrophe, as well as a fake strategy announced by Oleksii Reznikov, almost like a panacea, plan "B" , in terms of the strategic development of the territory controlled by Ukraine are the results of the activities of such "specialists" in conjunction with government officials of the same level. For example, in 2017, the strategy for the development of the agricultural sector in the Donetsk region was written by people who have never worked in the agricultural sector and even have not had the appropriate education, but had a significant experience of cooperation with USAID in processing grant funds. We can now imagine the level of inherent inconsistencies and contradictions, and, accordingly, the quality of the written advertised strategy and the reality of solving the problems associated with the war and its consequences.
To date, as a result of the analysis of the collected information, the first statement on criminal offenses committed by officials of the Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine has already been submitted to the State Bureau of Investigation, as well as appeals to the People's Deputies of Ukraine regarding abuse and misappropriation of public funds, as well as their inappropriate use by the Ministry of the Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, following the consideration of which a group of People's Deputies sent requirements to the controlling authorities to audit the effectiveness of the use of state budget funds allocated to the Ministry of Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine.