Urging to EU Parliament: Decentralization in Ukraine is harassed. How Ukrainian political mafia demolishes reforms

We appeal to all the Members of the European Parliament to attract your attention to the major problem in Ukraine – blocking the Decentralization reform that ruins the perspectives of pro-European vector of the development for our country, and asking for your assistance.

The purpose of the Ukrainian Decentralization reform is to delegate responsibilities and finance to the level, where local and regional communities will be able to implement them most efficiently. But unfortunately, influential politicians are trying to get entire control over the communities authorities, so that they could use their budget and resources for personal gains. To achieve their goals they skillfully manipulate electoral regulations by using an administrative resource and criminals.

“Heading for decentralization, we use a European compass. The process of decentralization is a key issue for getting a membership in the EU”, – Petro Poroshenko, the president of Ukraine, stated.

In fact, all the statements about the success of decentralization in Ukraine (financed from the European budget as well), made by the Ukrainian government for the EU are pure lie, aimed at using the EU reputation for violating and demolishing civil society rights and raising the power of criminal-political dictatorship. The corrupt authority, that prioritizes personal gains and enrichment over society needs, is ready to kill a European dream of the Ukrainians and even the whole country for the sake of their own self- interests. The present situation utterly threatens the European vector of the development, backed by the majority of the Ukrainians, and requires the EU urgent and relentless reaction.

The brightest case of the false decentralization in Ukraine that takes place under the lee of the “EU support”, is the process of ultimate depriving the local communities of their rights by the corrupt authority of Dnipropetrovsk Region in the east of Ukraine bordering the Donbas.

The process of decentralization in Dnipropetrovsk region, presented as an example of successful reform by the authority, has turned into the politically supported resources takeover that is being carried out under the pressure of the local government, that reports directly to the president of Ukraine – Petro Poroshenko, represented by the governor of Dnipropetrovsk Region – Valentin Reznichenko, People’s Deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine – Vadym Nesterenko and their closest surrounding.

Freezing the process of decentralization in Dnipropetrovsk Region has drawn attention of the special monitoring mission of OSCE, based in the region.

The inhabitants of four settlements of Dnipropetrovsk Region (Pіshanka, Orlyvshchyna, Znamenyvka, Melyoratyvne) in their efforts to organize the Pіshanka’s United Hromada, have been struggling with a local latifundist, the people’s deputy from the The Petro Poroshenko Bloc “Solidarity” (the party of the President of Ukraine), a person, who has participated in the numerous raids of the objects of local infrastructure, Vadym Nesterenko.

The People’s Deputy of the Petro Poroshenko’s political party, Vadym Nesterenko, owns a number of agricultural enterprises and a big land bank in Dnipropetrovsk region, he also controls the majority of the deputies of the nearby town Novomoskovsk local and regional councils. So far he has strongly argued the necessity of decentralization and tried to form a big failed local community with its headquarters in Novomoskovsk. The main purpose of the community was meant to keep tight control over the budget allocation and the land distribution.

The consequences of the Vadym Nesterenko strong influence on the local policy strategy have resulted into impeding the work of the local and regional councils, an increase of organized crimes and raids, completely inefficient budget allocation along with demolishing a regional infrastructure and destroying utility facilities.

By means of taking unjust decisions and support of his delegates in the Dnepropetrovsk State Regional Administration he hindered the process of considering documents and brought pressure to bear on local inhabitants, heads and deputies of the villages who wanted to see the process of decentralization more transparent and consistent.

On the 6th July 2017, a judge of the Babushkynskyi Regional Court in Dnipro (a new name of Dnepropetrovsk since 2016) Eleonora Zhenewsku deprived the Dnepropetrovsk State Regional Administration of the right to issue any positive conclusion that can support organizing the Pishanka’s United Hromada (trial №804/6192/17). Later, a judge of the Dnepropetrovsk district-court Olexandr Kononenko, entertaining a suit of Vadym Nesterenko, an agricultural enterprise worker, issued a court decision, that forbids the Dnepropetrovsk State Regional Administration to consider any further (!) decision of the Znamenyvka Local Council by obstructing organizing the Pishanka’s United Hromada again (№804/6192/17).

As for the Dnepropetrovsk State Regional Administration that reports directly to the president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, it has chosen a dubious position: on the one hand, it poses as a true supporter of organizing the Pishanka’s United Hromada, on the other, not only have they litigated the unjust decision of the court that obstructed the process of decentralization, they have not even turned up at any sitting of the court.

On the 20 of November 2017, to clear out the situation, the representatives of the special OSCE monitoring mission visited Pishanka.

“We described the situation as it is: we told them about Nesterenko, his agents in the Dnepropetrovsk State Regional Administration, about framed-up cases, pressure on the local inhabitants, heads and deputies of the local places that are involved into organizing the communities” – Vyacheslav Gorobets, a local public activist says. “They wanted to set up a feud but failed. The people rebelled. The fight is still under the way.”

When, finally, the election was scheduled, Vadym Nesterenko intruded into election process and used the local organizations of the political parties “Narodnyi Front” and Petro Poroshenko Bloc (that represent the governing coalition in the parliament) to initiate the changes in the electoral commission. The number of commission members, controlled by Vadym Nesterenko increased to 11 (out of the total 18) as a result of that initiative. The politician, that represents the interests of Petro Poroshenko in the region, got a steady opportunity to take any decisions against any unfriendly to the present power people.

As a result of the intrusion, Vasyl Astyon, a person with a criminal past, was appointed as a Head of a newly-organized electoral commission. Vasyl Astion is said to organize illegal takeovers of the enterprises and property, process known in Ukraine as a raidership. (For reference: Vasyl Astion is the son of Mykola Astion, Major General of Police, that is known to be a perpetrator in the “Gongadze case” – a blantant kidnapping and latter cruel assassination of the Ukrainian journalist Georgiy Gongadze. Georgiy Gongadze strongly criticized corruption at the political level in the times of the Leonyd Kuchma’s presidency. Mykola Astion was the Head of the Organized Crime Unit in Kyiv, an organization, that according to the court conclusion, was implicated in the crime.


Vasyl Astion has been reported to be involved in a number of other criminal cases, i.e. Astion is mentioned to have been involved into criminal violations of the law, stated in the part 2 of the article 189, and part 3 of the article 206 -2 0f the Criminal Codex of Ukraine:

“…Going ahead with his criminal activity and acting voluntarily, on the 27.11.2012 he threatened O. Sevydov with imprisonment if he does not give up the goodwill of corporate rights for owned by him enterprises PC “Pektoral”, “Kryla Tawryi” Plc, “Pektoral-Agro” Plc.
The prejudicial inquiry about the deputy of the Dnepropetrovsk State Regional Administration Vasyl Astion that comprised a list of raid takeovers of the agricultural and other enterprises (“Tsentrtorg-Agro” Plc, “Progress-Agro” Plc, “Gardens of Prysamarya”) was finished in the Vasylkivskyi District Court of Dnipropetrovsk Region in 2016 and passed over to the court.”

Hardly was the Head of the commission appointed, he disappeared with the other members of the commission, having stolen the electoral commission stamp. No wonder, it led to the impeding the process of elections.

Thus, the local criminals, coalesced with the local presidential power vertical, is demolishing institutes and leverages of influence, typical in democratic society. They are transforming the process of decentralization into organizing feuds so that they could complete appropriation of the resources and assets from the local communities.

The facts, mentioned above, represent a systematic strategy, used by the present government all over Ukraine. This policy is campaigned as “Europeanization of Ukraine”. In the meanwhile, the authority is building corruption schemes, pretending to be backed by the EU and sheltering behind the process of decentralization.

It is obvious, that situation contradicts the principles of the local self-administration and decentralization, assaults the EU image in the local communities and threatens the stability of the country, and, in a conclusion, of the whole Eastern Europe.

In this regard, we kindly ask you to take the actions aimed at getting the policy of the Ukrainian government to the legal and democratic roots that promote principles of decentralization and a long-term collaboration between Ukraine and the EU.


Vyacheslav Gorobets, journalist, community leader.
email: slawa19@gmail.com
Olexiy Prokopenko: lawyer, community leader.
email: alekseiprokopenko01@gmail.com

Члени ініціативного об’єднання “Команди розвитку та реформ” Вячеслав Горобець та Олексій Прокопенко звернулись до Європейського парламенту.

“Ми надіслали ПЕРСОНАЛЬНЕ звернення кожному члену Європейського парламенту з закликом звернути увагу на те, що відбувається з реформою децентралізації в Україні загалом і зокрема – в нашій громаді.

Розповіли про те, як реформа, покликана покращити життя людей, передати повноваження в їх руки, блокується президентською вертикаллю влади та представниками його політичної сили. Як цей процес в області, яка межує з Донбасом, перетворюється в остаточнє пограбування місцевих громад корумпованою владою, за допомоги криміналітету та під прикриттям «підтримки ЄС»”, – говорить місцевий активіст Вячеслав Горобець.

Ситуація суперечить принципам місцевого самоврядування та децентралізації, завдає істотної шкоди іміджу ЄС в локальних громадах і загрожує стабільності країни і, в підсумку, всьому східноєвропейському регіону.

“Ми звернулись до євродепутатів з закликом відреагувати на цю ситуацію та вжити заходів, які повернули дії української влади до демократичного і законного русла, що відповідатиме принципам децентралізації і довгостроковим інтересам співробітництва України та ЄС. Надії на вирішення ситуації в середині країни вже немає.”, – додав Олексій Прокопенко.