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Today our guest is the ex-head of the National Police of Ukraine Khatia Dekanoidze. Good evening. At the age of 30, you became a head of the Georgian Police Academy. Did you need experience, knowledge of police specifics, progressive career growth for such a position?
Dekanoidze: I was 24 when I headed the administration of the Ministry of Security of Georgia. It was after the Rose Revolution, when all my friends and those who studied abroad, decided that it was already real time to save the country. And it happened: the changes that were in Georgia proved that after the Rose Revolution, it has really changed. In 2005, I headed the administration of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and after that, I continued my diplomatic career. But after that, I came to Georgia again and headed the first national police academy. Knowledge of police specifics is not necessary, because the most important thing is the knowledge and skills of the manager - this is the first. Secondly, all standards of training for the modern police are the same throughout the world. We were trying to do this in Ukraine, too. We also made sure that people who worked in the old system in high positions were replaced by new workers.
What is the essence of the police reform in Georgia?
The first is the political will to reform the police. Already in 2006, the Georgian police stood in third place in terms of trust - 86-88%, after the army and the church. Under Soviet rule, law enforcement structures were very corrupt. Law enforcers of Georgia and the criminal world were very close. It was necessary to change all the leaders and appoint entirely new staff. Young people came and started to do it all. The most important thing is that the common worker must understand that he cannot take bribes, because he will be punished. We have put a lot of policemen into jails, about 220 people in 2005-2007.
What did you do with the "thieves-in-law"?
The law on organized crime was adopted, according to which, if a person confesses that he is a member of an organized group or a "thief-in-law", then immediately criminal prosecution begins. "Thieves-in-law" under Shevardnadze lived in prisons like kings. They controlled the whole criminal world. After we overcame the organized crime in Georgia, they were treated like ordinary prisoners. This was a very serious breakthrough, and in 2007-2008 Tbilisi was considered the safest city in Europe. The murders and kidnappings stopped. There was no crime at all.
Was your young team proud that you managed to achieve such a result?
Of course. I am still proud that I participated in the creation of a modern Georgian. Most importantly, our joint enemy, Ukraine and Georgia, Putin very well understood that he is missing Georgia, because Georgia is thriving.
Before the presidential elections, the whole world was shocked by videos about tortures in Georgian prisons. Was that true?
This was a scenario promoted by the shareholder of Gazprom, Ivanishvili, who now informally leads Georgia. This scenario was raised by the FSB of Russia. After that, experts arrived, studied this material, and those people who took part there, were not arrested. They still go to Tbilisi with security. These are the methods of oligarchs, who have accumulated their entire fortune in Russia. It is impossible that people, having earned several billion in Russia, had no relationship with Putin. This pro-Russian oligarch, Ivanishvili, was sent to Georgia, and he wanted to seize power. From 2003 to 2012, we created a modern Georgian government, but at the same time, had a very serious enemy in the person of Putin. Entire institutions: the FSB, the GRU, the KGB, worked against the modern Georgian state, as now this scenario takes place in Ukraine.
I was shocked by the ingratitude of Georgia's intellectual elite towards Saakashvili.
This is the red Soviet elite. Ivanishvili keeps them for many years, pays them money. And this elite is not interested in the modern Georgian state at all. They really think that the modern Georgian state means cheap flies to Moscow.
You were Minister of Education and Science of Georgia. Is Georgian education system is very different from the Soviet one?
Currently, yes. All applicants go to universities through independent tests, absolutely without corruption. Graduate School is adapted to the Bologna process. All schools in mountain areas are computerized. Every first-grader receives a computer. From the first grade they study English and Chinese. When we removed Russian, there were serious protests, but now there is a generation who speaks English, German, French absolutely without problems, but they do not know Russian. There are no educational moments between Russia and Georgia. All young people who finish school want to get education in the US, Britain, in Europe, and return home. We had a presidential program that funded very smart people. The most expensive and most important security is to invest in the educational process.
You have headed National Police of Ukraine. In your opinion, reforms in the Ukrainian police were successful or failed?
We cannot say that they were failed, because the first wave of reform that we did – I mean the patrol police, really, did not rob the people. I think that the patrol police is the first reform that really took place in Ukraine.
A lot of decent people served in the Ukrainian militia. Under the law on lustration they were simply thrown out. I think that the law on lustration was written in Moscow to weaken the Ukrainian state. Is this so or not?
This was demanded by the society, especially after Maidan. Maidan demanded creation of a modern Ukrainian state. People came out, died in order to build a modern state. There were very serious demands, including to law enforcement agencies, and to the judiciary. A modern state and democracy without a normal judicial system are impossible. Ukraine still does not have them. After Maidan there were very serious demands, but, unfortunately, we missed a lot of time. People understand this, and most importantly, they have not felt reforms everywhere.
How long does it take for a person to become a professional policeman from scratch?
It depends in what direction he will work. Patrol police were prepared for three or four months. If a person is a bachelor or a master with a legal education, and she wants to become a police investigator, then retraining takes 6 months, but then practice is very important.
How do you like the crime situation in Ukraine?
They say that the statistics have improved. But I do not have any real information now what is going on in the field of statistics. But you can never trust statistics. We did not hide, we registered everything, especially after the creation of the patrol police. There were a lot of calls: they increased 6-7 times. People started to trust us.
Is it possible that Ukrainian police do not take bribes?
Of course, this is possible. They should not take bribes. The patrol police do not take bribes. Law enforcement structures cannot compete with organized crime who will pay more. Especially with organized economic crime: we now have criminal authorities who have gone into business and bleach money.
How high should policeman’s salary be in Ukraine, so that he does not take bribes?
It is necessary that the ideology and philosophy of the police worker has changed. Especially among those who are investigating. I think, repressive mechanisms are necessary. If a law enforcer is caught with a bribe, he must be arrested and put into jail.
Why did you resign from the post of head of the National Police?
I think that I have fulfilled my function. We really made a very serious springboard and a platform for the creation and establishment of the National Police. Reforms must be continued, but I have performed all my functions.
You said that the reformers were used as scapegoats in Ukraine. Why?
Probably, there is not enough political will to finalize the reforms that are mandatory for the country.
Is Minister of Internal Affairs Avakov in his place?
I believe, yes. He is the Minister of the Coalition.
Could Avakov be Minister of the Internal Affairs under President Saakashvili in Georgia?
What is happening in Georgia now?
The country is very beautiful and warm. But, unfortunately, Georgia is returning to Moscow's orbit, the democratic processes that are important for the country's development have stopped. For me it is, really, a disaster. We dreamed that our country would become a missile for development in the post-Soviet space. Unfortunately, this does not happen.
Would you like to stay in Ukrainian politics?
No. I take a very active part in Georgian politics. Georgian president has returned Georgian citizenship to me, and I have a great desire to take part in Georgian politics. This is very important in order to prevent not only the rollback, but also really prevent the return to Russian orbit. It is very important for me.