Rus­sia hires Ukraine’s ex­iled for­mer top cop

Kyiv Post - - News - BY OLENA GONCHAROVA [email protected] Kyiv Post staff writer Olena Gonc­ahrova can be reached at [email protected]

Ukraine’s fugi­tive for­mer In­te­rior Min­is­ter Vitaliy Zakharchen­ko was ap­pointed a con­sul­tant for the Rus­sian par­lia­ment’s com­mit­tee on prop­erty. His job is to help pro­tect Rus­sian in­vest­ment abroad, Valeriy Seleznev, first deputy chair­man of the com­mit­tee, told the Kyiv Post on March 26.

Zakharchen­ko has a stained rep­u­ta­tion at home. He is wanted by the pros­e­cu­tor’s of­fice for crimes against hu­man­ity for his role in at­tacks on peace­ful protests in Ukraine dur­ing the revo­lu­tion a year ago. Zakharchen­ko was a mem­ber of ex-Pres­i­dent Vik­tor Yanukovych’s in­ner cir­cle, re­ferred to as “the Fam­ily,” and is sus­pected to be one of the hawks who or­ga­nized deadly po­lice at­tacks on EuroMaidan.

He fled the coun­try more than a year ago, along with his for­mer pa­tron, and has re­ceived a Rus­sian pass­port, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal me­dia.

But Seleznev stressed that Zakharchen­ko will not be a civil ser­vant, and will be free to help the Duma “when he has time.” His work will be pro bono, ac­cord­ing to Seleznev.

“Zakharchen­ko presents him­self as an ex­pert in the field of for­eign real es­tate,” said Seleznev. “More­over, some­times there is a need to prop­erly or­ga­nize the pro­cesses of re­turn­ing for­eign real es­tate back to the Rus­sian Fed­er­a­tion, so we’ll ap­pre­ci­ate Zakharchen­ko’s work.”

Sergei Gavrilov, head of the com­mit­tee, was quoted by Rus­sian Izvestiya news­pa­per as say­ing that Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin in his ad­dress stressed the need to strengthen the legal pro­tec­tion of Rus­sian in­vest­ments and prop­erty abroad.

“Vitaliy Zakharchen­ko will work on a num­ber of rel­e­vant leg­isla­tive ini­tia­tives as a part of the ex­pert coun­cil of the com­mit­tee,” Gavrilov said to Izvestiya.

Ukraine has asked Interpol to put Zakharchen­ko on the in­ter­na­tional wanted list for his crimes in Ukraine. In­te­rior Min­is­ter Arsen Avakov said last month that Ukraine is still work­ing to per­suade Interpol that there is no po­lit­i­cal el­e­ment in his pros­e­cu­tion. Zakharchen­ko has also been un­der Euro­pean Union sanc­tions since March 2014. The EU has frozen his as­sets.

Seleznev also said that Zakharchen­ko will solve “some op­er­a­tional prob­lems in the sphere of for­eign prop­erty” for Rus­sian in­vestors in his new ca­pac­ity.

In De­cem­ber 2014, Zakharchen­ko pre­sented a char­i­ta­ble foun­da­tion that started its work in the city of Sev­astopol in Rus­sia-oc­cu­pied Crimea.

The or­ga­ni­za­tion called South-East aims to help the mem­bers of dis­banded Berkut riot po­lice unit and the em­ploy­ees of the In­te­rior Min­istry of Ukraine and the vic­tims of what Zakharchen­ko calls “an armed coup in Kyiv.”

Zakharchen­ko has also worked as an ad­viser to Rus­sian state-com­pany Rostec Cor­po­ra­tion, that pro­motes devel­op­ment, pro­duc­tion and ex­port of hi-tech industrial prod­ucts for civil and de­fense sec­tors.

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