Revolution on trial
The Prosecutor General’s Office indicted three activists of the AutoMaidan car-based protest group on Sept. 10 and will send the cases to trial in the upcoming days. They were charged with throwing eggs at Oleh Barna, a lawmaker from the 135-member faction of President Petro Poroshenko, at a protest in 2017. They face up to seven years in prison.
Meanwhile, Lviv Oblast’s Lawyers’ Association is scheduled to consider on Sept. 20 stripping the AutoMaidan’s lawyer Roman Maselko of his lawyer’s license. He is accused of violating a lawyer’s ethics by criticizing the competition for the Supreme Court and supporting whistleblower judges.
The ridiculous persecution of the AutoMaidan shows that the authorities are actively cracking down on those who are exposing their corrupt schemes and at the same time covering up for those who spearhead corruption.
One of the lucky untouchables is Interior Minister Arsen Avakov’s son Oleksandr, thanks to his father’s protection.
On Sept. 11, Volodymyr Lytvyn, the scapegoat in the Hr 14 million embezzlement case against Oleksandr Avakov, was sentenced to a fiveyear suspended sentence after concluding a plea bargain and giving testimony on an alleged accomplice who died in 2015.
Lytvyn claimed that Avakov’s son and his ex-deputy Serhiy Chebotar had not been involved in the scheme, and the case against Chebotar and Avakov was closed. This version contradicts a massive amount of evidence, including the video footage in which Chebotar and Oleksandr Avakov negotiate the corrupt deal.
The ongoing triumph of top-level corruption and the crackdown on dissent resemble ex-President Viktor Yanukovych’s authoritarianism. Moreover, the incumbent kleptocrats also have an excuse for stealing and stalling reforms that Yanukovych didn’t have: war.
The authorities’ crackdown on the AutoMaidan, which played a major role in the 2013–2014 EuroMaidan Revolution and in ousting Yanukovych, signals the ultimate victory of the counter-revolution.
Now it’s becoming increasingly clear that the revolution’s victory was only an illusion. The hydra of Yanukovych’s corrupt regime has been deprived of its head but it has grown new ones.