Arbitrary searches in Ukrainian capital

Last week active oppositional non-government organizations and their leaders were at blow of Ukrainian special services in Kiev.

On November 6 the Security Service of Ukraine carried out searches in the apartment of the human rights activist Elena Berezhnaya and the office of the former deputy head of Kiev City State Administration Irena Kilchytskaya. The SBU suspects Berezhnaya, who planned to carry out an event for the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Kiev from fascist aggressors on November 6th, of state treason.

On November 6 in Kiev employees of the SBU carried out searches in the apartment of Elena Berezhnaya, who is the director of the Institute of Legal Policy and Social Protection of Irina Berezhnaya. After she refused to let them enter the apartment, having referred to the absence of her lawyer, security officers broke down the door. Employees of the Ministry of Emergency Situations, who with the help of special equipment dismantled the apartment’s door, were called to the scene. Then law enforcement bodies started procedural actions in the presence of witnesses, but Berezhnaya fell to the floor and the medics who were on duty at the scene took her to hospital.


According to the human rights activist, when the entrance doors were being opened she was shoved and hit her head on the floor. Also she noted that security officers confiscated a letter from the Institute of Legal Policy and Social Protection of Irina Berezhnaya, which is led by Elena Berezhnaya, a video camera and phones, and also wrote down the numbers of cash cards.

In addition, investigative actions took place at the office of the lawyer and former deputy of the Kiev City State Administration Irena Kilchytskaya, which Elena Berezhnaya also used in the past. After the search finished Kilchytskaya told journalists that the SBU was looking for documents related to the work of the human rights defender in her room.

Berezhnaya connects the searches with the event planned on November 6th at the monument to Vatutin devoted to the 75th anniversary of liberation of Kiev from fascist aggressors. She wrote about this on her Facebook page.

The press secretary of the SBU Elena Gitlyanskaya in an official comment declared that the employees of the department carried out a number of searches at the homes of “members of a pro-Russian public organisation within the framework of criminal proceedings under part 1 of Article 109 (‘actions aimed at violently changing or overthrowing the constitutional system or at capturing state power’) and part 1 of Article 111 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine (‘state treason’)”.

As a reminder, on May 9th during the “Immortal Regiment” event in Kiev law enforcement officers, having used brute physical force, detained Elena Berezhnaya on suspicion of using a “St. George’s Ribbon“, which is forbidden in Ukraine [in reality it isn’t – ed], and took her to the Pechersk regional police department. Then she was taken to hospital.

Also earlier the coordinator of the “Uspishna Varta” human rights platform, together with the well-known Ukrainian lawyer Andrey Domansky, gave recommendations on how to correctly behave and what to do if you are subjected to a search.


Ukrainian Deputy Vasily Volga: Kiev Forces Anti-Fascist Parties Out of Ukrainian Politics

The Security Service of Ukraine carried out a search in the apartment of the leader of the “Union of Left Forces” political party Vasily Volga, incriminating him under articles 109 and 111 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine.

Vasily Volga commented on the actions of law enforcement bodies on the air of the “Russia 1” TV channel during the “60 minutes” talk show:

“Everything will become clear tomorrow at 12 o’clock. During the search I was handed a warrant and a summons for interrogation,” said Volga.

He also added that interesting things were written in the search warrant.

“If they actually have proof to back up what is written, then tomorrow they have to arrest me”.

The party leader of “Union of Left Forces” described what is written in this warrant:

“They (the SBU) claim that I, Elena Berezhnaya, and some other persons form a united conspiracy group and receive money from the Russian Federation for the carrying out of subversive activities in Ukraine, and also that we are going to carry out protest actions against the increase in prices for municipal tariffs, while in reality (this is what the SBU thinks) we mean overthrowing the existing authorities in an unconstitutional way,” said the politician.

Volga expressed his opinion regarding the real situation in Ukraine:

“You, Mr Gordey [Gordey Belov, the deputy from Nikolaev who is in the studio – ed], please determine if there is or isn’t fascism in Ukraine. When today they turned my home upside down they didn’t find other than ‘Union of Left Forces’ party documents and books that I read. In these books is there or is there not, in their opinion, something forbidden in that list [of banned books in Ukraine – ed] that they wrote. So is it fascism, Gordey, or not? The situation that has developed in Ukraine – the real situation – is such is that freedom of speech is being destroyed and the country is being destroyed. Any person who raises their voice in defence of their own country is trampled or is being carved out of their apartments via grinders (a reference to Elena Berezhnaya).

A campaign is ongoing concerning the registration of presidential candidates [the Ministry of Justice refuses to accept the registration documents of “undesirable” political parties – ed],” summed up the politician.

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After carrying out searches at the homes of the anti-fascists Elena Berezhnaya and Vasily Volga (the leader of the “Union of Left Forces” party), the SBU have now checked the “Bratya” public organisation “for treason”.

Representatives of the organisation participated in rallies of defense of the Eternal Flame in Kiev and to events in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Kiev from fascist aggressors.

According to the leader of the “Bratya” public organisation Aleksandr Sukharsky, he and his deputy were searched with the participation of special forces troops.

“Today at 7:00 employees of the SBU and ‘Alpha’ arrived at the specified address and, having shown the warrant of the Pechersky Court, came to carry out searches. In the warrant of the court, which I managed to read, it specifies that we allegedly call to forcefully overthrow the authorities and to change the constitutional system. There were no calls, I can only guess within the framework of what these events happened,” said the head of the public structure.

He considers that the visit of the SBU is a response to the denunciations of the “patriotic” public and radicals.

“On November 6th we laid flowers at the monument to Vatutin, and, as I understand, social networks reacted to it not really normally, and these are the consequences of this event,” said Sukharsky.

“This is all because we criticised the SBU and demanded the resignation of the government,” says Sukharsky.

The SBU hasn’t yet officially comment on the matter.

“Bratya” is a non-profit social-political organisation founded in 2016 as an effective structure to assist citizens of Ukraine in the fight for their Constitutional rights and for a return to moral standards and true human values,” it is said on the website of this organisation.

Members of this organisation participated in events in defence of the Eternal flame in Kiev, in honour of the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Kiev from fascists, and other events. Some media outlets call the organisation “anti-Ukrainian”, however they fail to provide any evidence of illegal activity.

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