Russia hires Ukraine’s exiled former top cop
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.