Oleg Tsarev: Yanukovych’s Cowardice During Interrogation Let the Kiev Authorities off the Hook

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



It sometimes happens in your presence that someone humiliates themselves, plays up, doesn’t behave with dignity, and it is you who feels ashamed for them. During the entire interrogation of Yanukovych, I felt a sense of shame and embarrassment for him. Ashamed of the fact that he accused Berkut of being in excess of their powers. While he, as a witness of the defense, had to give statements in defense of the guys who not only defended the country, but also him personally. I am ashamed that he wriggled, and shielded himself, hiding behind a lawyer, and that he apologised.

He didn’t apologise to those he should have. He had to apologize to the families of the deceased Berkut officers, who were not issued firearms, even after the armouries in the regional departments of the SBU and the Interior Ministry were captured, and the weapons from them found their way to Maidan, even after the Maidan leaders asked protesters to bring weapons to Maidan.

He had to apologize to all those who perished after the victory of Maidan; to those who burnt in the Trade Union building in Odessa; to those who were massacred in Donbass; to thousands of political prisoners, who were imprisoned but didn’t surrender. It is to all of them that he had to apologize, to show repent for being a coward. To ask God and the people for forgiveness, for not fulfilling his duty and not restoring order in his country – something he could have done, like Allende or Assad. And at least somehow to prevent others from being ashamed of him.

Shortly before the interrogation, there was panic in Kiev. There was a sensation that it’s not Yanukovych who will be interrogated, but Yanukovych who will interrogate. In order to divert attention away from Yanukovych, there was a topic about an exercise – fire in the sky over the Crimea was pushed to the forefront.

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It is quite possible that we are indebted to the fact that this hearing took place with the participation of Yanukovych, not only thanks to the persistence of the lawyers of Berkut members, and the desire of Yanukovych for PR. It seems to me that it’s not only in Donbass and in Russia that people were waiting for him to name the specific names of the perpetrators of the shooting of the Heavenly Hundred. I think that the Ukrainian side allowed Yanukovych to involve himself in this process so that he can name the names. Petro Poroshenko has not an easy situation with a group of friends that stand behind the shootings on Maidan. Avakov, Parubiy, Turchynov. Shortly before the US elections, when the threat of a coup became very real, Poroshenko almost settled at Pinchuk’s home in order to use all of his network with the team of Clinton and Obama, and to neutralize the threat of a coup. Think about it. In the event of the resignation or sudden death of Poroshenko, who will inherit his authority? The speaker of Rada – Parubiy, and the Secretary of the NSDC – Turchynov. Poroshenko has reason for concern.

If Yanukovych would have named names, it would have suited Poroshenko. It’s not an accident that the judges and prosecutors behaved so loyally towards Yanukovych. He was repeatedly asked leading questions about what information he has about the shooting on Maidan. His response was: “about the snipers firing from the opposition-controlled buildings – I learned from the media… I have no proof… I can’t name specific names… There was a provocation on Maidan… I don’t remember how many people were killed… the actions of “Berkut” were a complete surprise to me…”

The process that could become a tribunal for the Kiev authorities was incompetently turned into a failure. Yanukovych looked not like a head of state sentencing impostors, thieves, and murderers, but as a petty criminal that justifies himself. The worst part is that, by his behavior, he demonstrated that he behaves towards the court of the new Ukrainian authorities seriously and with respect. As if with his behavior he wanted to show to those who did not surrender: do as I do and maybe you will see the light of day. And compare how a simple guy like Mefedov behaved at trial with how Yanukovych behaved.

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He definitely succeeded in only one thing. He convincingly demonstrated his futility. Now it became obvious for everyone that it was not due to the fierce resistance of Yanukovych that Maidan for so long could not win. It’s not for the struggle to cling on to power that Yanukovych spent five billion dollars. Remember how much effort foreign ambassadors and politicians put in. You will ask – so what did all the efforts of such a quantity of people go towards, which such a large pile of money was spent on? I’ll tell you. Certainly not for the fight against Yanukovych.

All the effort and money was spent on the collapse of the Ukrainian state.

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