Dmitry Vasilets: How the Prosecutor’s Office Was Turned Into a Profitable Business in Ukraine

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



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The journalist Dmitry Vasilet, who, together with Evgeny Timonin, was condemned to nine years of imprisonment on a charge of treason and complicity in terrorism, continues to write to “Vesti” from jail. He transmits his texts via his lawyer. Dmitry has his view on the events in our country, and his experience can become instructive for many.


Before my arrest and mock trial, I honestly admit – I didn’t especially know what the prosecutor’s office does and why it exists. For me, as a person who never especially broke the law (petty violations of traffic regulations don’t count), the word “prosecutor’s office” didn’t mean anything concrete for me, and I’m sure it’s the same for most citizens too. But when I felt for myself the “work” of this prosecutor’s office, I was horrified. I will write about it proceeding from my experience and observations, after all, this is the main part of the repressive apparatus of the regime that for already two years has humiliated me.


Everybody knows that the prosecutor represents the side of the accusation in court, and the police – together with the SBU – must coordinate every action with them at all stages of the investigation. In short, the following depends on the prosecutor: to open a case or not; under what article to qualify these or those actions, and what the judges should say during the trial.

In theory, everything is correct, but in practice in our country the prosecutors, as well as the judges, transformed into untouchable demigods, especially in regions. The law serves these “demigods” – precisely they. After all, it is they who control the law, and as practice shows, the law doesn’t apply to them.

Naturally, these “demigods” can set the law on any ordinary mortal, and it’s not important if they are guilty of something or not, and for the ordinary mortal citizen of Ukraine – it is very difficult to escape the prosecutor’s office, and sometimes even impossible.

And I know what I’m talking about, I will give an example from personal experience. When I was arrested, I was presented a document called “suspicion of a crime”, it is on its basis that the court had to choose for me a measure of restraint. It is the prosecutor Romanenko (maiden name Revut) Lina Valeryevna who directly took part in the writing of this document, she submitted this document (suspicion) to the court, and there it was written that I was “loyally-orientated towards the activity of so-called LDPR, that I share their views, that I support their actions and intentions, and that I also wish for implementation of the arrival of consequences of their terrorist activity”.

Of course, I, as a citizen, was offended by this marasmus, in court hearing about the measure of restraint I demanded to provide at least some proof, to which the prosecutor stated that supposedly they have proof, but it is secret, and she can’t present it in connection with the “secrecy of the pre-trial investigation”. The court listened to the empty words of the prosecutor that had no basis and threw me in prison. I submitted an appeal, and there the prosecutor again repeated, as a mantra, that I allegedly “support the LDPR”.

On the basis of this I sat for half a year in prison while the “investigation was ongoing”, and here the time came for the prosecutor’s office – according to the law – to open all case materials, and also to transfer the “indictment” document to the trial to replace the “suspicion” document. And here is where the “miracle” happened, all delirium that I am allegedly loyally-orientated towards the “LDPR”, that I share their views and intentions, and other nonsense simply disappeared! I.e., when the investigation was ongoing, and I – according to the law – could submit an appeal against the measure of restraint, the prosecutor together with the investigator during the court hearing rose and stated to the judges that I am “loyally-orientated towards terrorists”, and when all the case materials had to be opened, they rejected their own words. But on their basis I was kept in prison for half a year!

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It turns out that the prosecutor and the investigator consciously and repeatedly lied to the judges. And this is only one of many episodes of the lawlessness of the prosecutor’s office that concerned me, and as you already probably managed to guess, the “demigods”, of course, didn’t incur any punishments for their lies, after all, the law serves them, and not ordinary citizens.

Of course, the SBU prosecutor has patrons in Kiev who stand behind political repression. It is they, in fact, who gave the order to fabricate a case against me, and naturally these “patrons” understood that if the judges pass a lawful decision and I will be acquitted, the prosecutor together with the investigator can have serious problems, after all, they kept me in jail for two years illegally. This became the grounds for giving me a conviction, that’s why in many respects the judges counted themselves out in regards to my case and were tossing consideration from one rural court to another.

The patrons of the prosecutor needed to find judges who were tapped in the head and controllable, who will spit on the law, and upon a phone call will give me so many years of prison, as many as is indicated. And they found such ones in the village of Andrushovka. Bragin and Palazyuk – who, despite logic, the law, and the absence of any proof, on the order from above gave to Timonin and I 9 years in prison with the formulation “they setup a YouTube channel”.

I don’t write all of this so that someone is up in arms against the prosecutor’s office – God is the judge for them, but so that you, dear readers, accurately comprehend: if the prosecutor’s office worked according to the law, then SBU employees – despite all their will – couldn’t repress all dissidents of Ukraine who dare to criticize the authorities.

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Neither the police, the SBU, nor any other structure can bring any charges to you without the prosecutor’s office, and it is precisely for this reason that the most fierce political struggle is ongoing for the prosecutor’s office, after all, whoever controls it can crackdown on political opponents, grab somebody’s business, engage in blackmail, and so on. In general, the law starts serving those who control the prosecutor’s office, because only the prosecutor’s office decides what is lawful and what isn’t.


In Ukraine there are three prosecutor’s offices: General, its sub-division – Military, and the recently created one – Anti-corruption. The biggest one is the Prosecutor-General’s Office. It, as is known to all, serves Poroshenko. According to the Constitution, of course, the law must serve the people, but the godfather of Poroshenko, Yury Lutsenko, who heads the General Prosecutor’s Office, knows better who the law must serve.

How the General Prosecutor’s Office serves the President, in principle, is seen to the naked eye: the case of the murder of 100 people on Maidan isn’t being investigated (the President doesn’t want to put his colleagues in prison), the case of the burning of people in Odessa on May 2nd isn’t being investigated (the President doesn’t want to put his colleagues in prison).

Political repression goes at full speed: you say something against the regime – you become the enemy of the people, the helper of terrorists, a traitor. The case of Generals from the Ilovaisk cauldron, Debaltsevo cauldron, and others aren’t being investigated (again, it’s clear why), the case of banks that were ruined by the NBU isn’t being investigated (it’s clear why), the murders of Buzina and Sheremet are also not being investigated (it’s clear why), Pashinsky opening fire at citizens of Ukraine also isn’t being investigated (it’s obvious why). And such examples of the law serving the President are even not in the hundreds, but in the thousands, I just listed the most resonant cases. I would be very glad if the General Prosecutor’s Office served the people, and I had nothing to list, but alas.

However, the Military Prosecutor’s Office, as I understood, serves the “party of war”“People’s Front”, and it is used mainly to earn money, because, after all, it is only in this way that it is possible to explain the leader of the Military Prosecutor’s Office Anatoly Matios attacking journalists with armoured personnel carriers and special troops. Also, the Military Prosecutor’s Office was noticed in the show on detention of the former tax specialists. The acting tax specialists, of course, weren’t detained, after all, as far as I understood, this is the Prosecutor General’s Office’s sphere for the earning of money. Just on thing is unclear to me: for what reason is the Prosecutor’s Office, which serves Matios, called the Military Prosecutor’s Office?! After all, according to logic, Matios should be engaged in something that is at least somehow connected to the military, but it is obvious that ordinary military personnel don’t have much money, so there is nothing to suck out.

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Once I came face to face with the Military Prosecutor’s Office, when approximately a year ago I was brought from the pre-trial detention center in Zhitomir SBU, and where I received at least 10 injections of something unknown. My lawyers and I appealed the court with a demand to investigate what the SBU employees injected me with, and on the basis of what laws did they do it. The Military Prosecutor’s Office was charged to investigate it, but after all I’m not the godfather of the President, I’m not an oligarch, I’m not a judge, I’m not a prosecutor, that’s why nobody carried out any investigation into the lawlessness of the SBU. Probably, the Military Prosecutor’s Office considered that SBU employees can inject unknown liquids into ordinary citizens, and there is no need to investigate it.

The documents confirming the lawlessness of the SBU, for unclear reasons, “were lost” in the Military prosecutor’s Office. After SBU employees injected me with an unknown substance, over two months I restored my health, I felt so bad that my cellmates helped me to even go for a walk. But gradually I managed to emerge from it, and now my health is again strong.

Well, and also the third prosecutor’s office – Anti-corruption, which appeared on the demand of the International Monetary Fund, and as far as I understand, it was created to defend the interests of international creditors against our corrupt officials and businessmen.

In general, I tried to share with you, dear readers, my observation of the Prosecutor’s Offices in Ukraine, and in my opinion, at least the General Prosecutor’s and Military Prosecutor’s Offices, don’t differ in anything from a well organized criminal group, they are such a legalised organized criminal group, the “masters of Ukraine”. And if we want to live in a normal country we can’t avoid the cardinal reform of the prosecutor’s office. Rigid public control over the activity of all prosecutor’s offices is needed, and also an effective mechanism for the suppression of abuses coming from the prosecutor’s office, which ordinary people could use. Otherwise the law will serve an organized criminal group.

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