Avakov vs. Poroshenko: Political show of muscle

Author : Kateryna Liashevska

Source : 112 Ukraine

Relations between Ukraine's Minister of Internal Affairs and the President are rapidly deteriorating. What would be the result of the struggle?
23:16, 5 October 2017

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While President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko is busy with establishing mutually beneficial relations with the leaders of neighboring and distant countries, and Minister of Internal Affairs Arsen Avakov is opening new service centers in the country and reports on the victories of the patrol police, there are more rumors of their mutual rejection and anticipation.

Members of presidential faction publicly assert that these are just rumors, but members of "Popular Front" faction, represented by Arsen Avakov, claim about some disagreements. Adviser to the Minister of Internal Affairs, MP from "Popular Front" Anton Herashchenko noted that the conflict between the president and the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs does exist. It has emerged when Poroshenko became the head of the state.

Related: Avakov announced new police’s hardline approach

Let us try to outline the circle of reasons for establishing a tense relationship between the president and the Minister of Internal Affairs. If we analyze all the sticking-points, in which both political figures are involved, indirectly or directly, it turns out that the main reason is struggle for power.

According to Anton Herashchenko, the basis of the conflict between Poroshenko and Avakov lies "in a different approach to security issues and criminal investigations."

"The president wanted to concentrate all power over the law enforcement agencies in his hands."Popular Front" and I, and Arsen Avakov believe that this is a very dangerous precedent. Previous president Viktor Yanukovych had full control over the security forces in the country, and you remember what happened," he said. In other words, Poroshenko began to encroach on the sphere of Avakov’s interests.

Related: Avakov considers assault of OUN office as warrantable

When it became clear that Bankova intends to remove Arseniy Yatsenyuk (Avakov’s associate by the line of "Popular Front") from the Prime Minister’s office, this hatred was noticed by the public.

Related: OUN members plan to hold rally demanding Avakov’s resignation due to detention of their activists

As you know, at that time a famous quarrel between the then governor of Odesa region Mikheil Saakashvili and Avakov took place, after which Poroshenko admonish the latter, and he responded with a sharp rebuke.

Interior Minister Avakov threw glass of water at Saakashvili for calling him 'a thief' of National Council. December 14, 2015 during a meeting of the National Council of Reforms Interior Minister Avakov threw glass of water at Saakashvili for calling him 'a thief' of National Council. The reason for the conflict was the sale of Odesa port plant. According to Avakov, he asked Saakashvili why he was negotiating the sale of the enterprise with the Russian oligarch, but instead of explaining, he fell into hysterics. According to Saakashvili, he made a report on the robbery of state enterprises in Ukraine and criticism of the government, after which Avakov began to accuse him of stealing. For two days there was no president's reaction to this incident. As a result, the head of state plead for Saakashvili.

112 Agency

Avakov could brace his energies, but at the time, there were rumors that Saakashvili could become prime minister instead of Yatsenyuk. In this situation, the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs could also leave his post, and this has significantly heated the situation.

When the resignation of Yatsenyuk still took place, but other personnel decisions were taken, a temporary truce between Poroshenko and Avakov took place. There was no reason to complain about the president, as the "People's Front" received some high posts as compensation for it, and no one attempted to interfere with Avakov's ministerial possessions.

We all still remember well the murder in Kryve Ozero, Knyazhychi shooting, the death of patrolmen in the Dnipro and so on.

So, today the "People's Front", apart from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, controls the financial flows of the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Infrastructure, the Ministry of Ecology, the Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Youth and Sports. Blok of Petro Poroshenko reserved its right to distribute the funds of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Energy, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Regional Development, Ministry of Agrarian Policy, Ministry of Social Policy, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Information Policy and Ministry of Occupied Territories.

Related: Avakov calls on Anti-Terrorist Centre lift Donbas blockade

An unspoken law on non-aggression was allegedly announced between two powers. It acted for about a year, until Poroshenko's side (Blok of Petro Poroshenko, Prosecution General, and Security Service) conducted new attacks on the "Popular Front", Avakov and his close associates. Avakov was suspected of "blunders" in his electronic declaration of 2015.

In turn, starting with the Independence Day of Ukraine - August 24 – we might notice the new constraints in Avakov’s relations with the president. The head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs refused to participate in the military parade. He did not want to create crowd scenes for the head of state, since the minister was invited to sit in sector A with other important guests, but not next to the president himself along with Prime Minister Groysman, Speaker of Parliament Parubiy (former member of far-right Social-national party – Ed.), and others.

Presidential Administration press office

After that, Avakov began to ignore Poroshenko at other events. According to our sources, Ministry of Internal Affairs left the wedding of the son of Prosecutor General Yuriy Lutsenko, 10 minutes before the arrival of the president. Avakov has visited the international competition "Games of the unconquered" in Toronto, Canada, completely apart from the president and the Ukrainian delegation.

Related: Protest action in Kyiv: Far-right nationalists demand resignation of Avakov, Dekanoidze

The aggravation of the conflict is most likely connected with the preparation of political forces for the forthcoming presidential race in March 2019. This summer, information appeared that "Bloc of Petro Poroshenko" and the "Popular Front" are negotiating on uniting forces and approving a single candidate for president from the current government. We are talking about several groups of politicians: the president and his closest associates (deputy head of the faction Igor Kononenko and Serhiy Berezenko, prosecutor general Yury Lutsenko, etc.), incumbent Prime Minister Groysman, NSDC Secretary Olexander Turchynov and his entourage, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov and his associates, former Prime Minister Arsen Yatsenyuk and some of his "front-line soldiers" loyal to him, Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada Andriy Parubiy, and perhaps Kyiv mayor Vitaliy Klitschko.

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