The Order of the Golden Star of the Hero of Ukraine was also received by MP Nadia Savchenko, who would soon be in prison on suspicion of organizing a terrorist attack.
No matter how the power changes in Ukraine, one old practice remains constant. When leaving the post, each president of Ukraine distributes awards to his comrades and confidants. The astonishing number of awards demonstrates that Ukraine has not gone too far from the traditions of the Soviet Union. According to the official website of the president, Petro Poroshenko, whose cadence is coming to an end, has honored 273 people with state awards.
We will not list all those “lucky” ones, we will mention the most famous or symbolic names. Yevhen Nishchuk, Minister of Culture, has received the Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise of the 5th degree from the hands of Petro Poroshenko. Along with him, Stanislav Dovhy, Director of the Institute of Telecommunications and the Global Information Space of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, and father of Oles Dovhyi, former Secretary of the Kyiv City Council during the mayor’s office of Leonid Chernovetsky, won the award. Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise was also received by Yuriy Onishchenko, the head of the main department of the Presidential Administration.
The next award is the Order of Merit. The 1st degree was awarded to Mykola Haman, First Deputy Head of the Administration of the Verkhovna Rada. And yet a citizen of the Russian Federation Vasiliy Duma, chairman of the Council of the Association of Ukrainians of Russia and the Federal National Cultural Autonomy "Ukrainians of Russia."
The Order of Merit of the 2nd degree went to Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration Kostyantyn Yeliseyev, First Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine and the Minister of Economic Development and Trade Stepan Kubiv, and Mayor of Boryspil airport Anatoliy Fedorchuk. Archbishop Vasyl Semenyuk (Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church) has a similar reward.
At the same time, the Order of Merit of the 3rd degree was awarded to Dmytro Bykov, mayor of Horishni Plavni town, and head of the Donetsk Regional State Administration Oleksandr Kuts. People from the closest presidential circle have also received this award – presidential press secretary Svyatoslav Tsegolko, presidential adviser Ruslan Demchenko, freelance adviser to the president Oleg Medvedev.
The Order of Bohdan Khmelnytsky of the 3rd degree is also on the list, it was given to Colonel Andriy Salenko, Head of the Directorate of the Main Directorate of the Security Service of Ukraine in Donetsk and Luhansk regions.
The titles are more modestly marked by officials, who were also in close proximity to Bankova. In particular, two deputy heads of the main department of the presidential administration became "honored economists of Ukraine." And the main consultant to the reception of the presidential office, Iryna Bozhko, and along with her, Oleksandr Yarema, the deputy minister of youth and sports, were awarded the Honored Worker of the Social Sphere of Ukraine title.
At the same time, one of the most honorable awards - the title of Hero of Ukraine – came to head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), Vasyl Hrytsak. A lump sum payment is 50 living wages, that is 3,200 USD.
The figure of Vasyl Hrytsak is not just controversial, but for many, it is even negative. The chief intelligence officer is remembered for quite a few "sins" – from bloody Ilovaisk and Debaltseve battles, which were under his management as part of the SBU antiterrorist center, to an unequivocal deal with the mysterious "murder and resurrection" of Russian journalist Arkadiy Babchenko. Another Hrytsak’s dark stain is his supposedly unofficial involvement in the creation of paramilitary associations, such as included in the American terrorist base far-right C14, involved in violence against students, journalists, lawyers, national minorities, LGBT activists, etc.
Leveling awards and titles and the very essence of heroism and self-sacrifice is a serious accusation. The basics of treating state awards as a kind of "award" or "gratitude" were laid in Ukraine a long time ago. Actually, Petro Poroshenko with his 273 state awards looks still rather modestly next to Viktor Yushchenko, who has granted over 350 orders.
Or let us remember Ukraine’s ex-President Leonid Kuchma, who was generous for the pistols. Leonid Kuchma presented 141 firearms, which was a distinctive feature of his rule. He began this practice in 1995, and at first, only the military had the right to such an award. But later the rules were simply ceased to be observed.
During the second term of the presidency of Leonid Kuchma, 42 people receive premium weapons, of which only 16 were military personnel. Among those awarded were MPs Bohdan Hubsky, Borys Deich, Volodymyr Nechyporuk. Against this background, it looks rather like the exception of awarding Leonid Kadenyuk, the first and so far the only cosmonaut of independent Ukraine.
Taking over the club from Kuchma, Viktor Yushchenko solemnly promised: the bacchanalia with awards would be ceased, a new system of awards would be developed. However, he failed to keep his word: orders, weapons, titles fell down like from a cornucopia. This was a "gratitude" to the participants of the Orange Revolution (2004). One of these participants was "granny Paraska," who looked more like a comic character, which, nevertheless, has not prevented her from receiving the order of Princess Olga.
The Hero star was received by late Stepan Bandera, whose party participated in Holocaust and organized ethnic cleansing of the Poles. And along with him, MP Hryhoriy Omelchenko has got the award, which, in the opinion of the then observers, was unacceptable and illogical.
When the distribution of state awards passed into the stage of obsession, Viktor Yushchenko began to grant the Order of Yaroslav the Wise to church hierarchs – both of Kyiv and in Moscow Patriarchates. By the way, notorious Leonid Chernovetsky, Kyiv mayor in 2006-2012, has got the Order of Yaroslav the Wise "for significant personal contribution to the socio-economic and cultural development of the Ukrainian state, significant labor achievements and on the occasion of the 17th anniversary of Ukraine's independence."
Obviously, it was a favorite reward of the Ukrainian presidents. Kuchma also gave Order of Yaroslav the Wise to a more exotic man – Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi. As for Viktor Yanukovych, the fourth president of Ukraine simply did not have time to contribute to this Vanity Fair.