He has created the media image of the ideal president of Ukraine, who fights corruption. Zelensky’s key election slogan was fully anti-corruptive. It hypnotically affected the consciousness of the Ukrainians, totally tired of corruption. They believe him and expect changes! At least 73 percent of those who came to the polls.
Major corruption scandals of the time of Petro Poroshenko were associated with Ukroboronprom state defense concern. In February 2019, journalists from Nashi Hroshi program published an investigation into how a group of people connected with the NSDC National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine deputy secretary Oleh Hladkovsky (Svynarchuk), then this name already became the personification of Poroshenko’s corruption and making a profit from the war.
And this fall, Hladkovsky was detained. However, later he was released on bail. The former chairman of the Uroboronprom supervisory board, Serhiy Pashynsky, who was also credited with participating in schemes, was also being taken into custody, but not for corruption. But for some hooligan shooting. That is, in fact, not a single person has yet to answer for the robbery of the Ukrainian army during the war! What is really going on?
For more than five years, Ukraine has been fighting with the Russian invaders in Donbas. People are dying for more than five years. Military, civilian, their tens of thousands...
From the first days of the conflict, the people supported the Ukrainian army: from 140 million phone messages (20 cents each) to volunteer supplies of food, clothing, equipment...
Meanwhile, the country's leader, then president Poroshenko, in every possible way demonstrates the strengthening of the armed forces. Billions flow into the defense industry.
The president arranges military parades, calls on Ukrainians for patriotism with pathos. And even claimed to finance the army from his own pocket.
In 2015, almost 2,07 billion USD were allocated to the army. Military spending was rising. In 2019, more than 4 billion USD was already pledged for defense.
"The defense complex, which at that time was state-owned, began to receive significant revenues, that is, budgetary funds. However, budgetary funds for the army are spent under the stamp of state secrets, without any competition. Which, unfortunately, enabled the then politicians to create schemes so that their business, private business became the lucky one who began to receive contracts at the level with Ukroboronprom the state concern," Glib Kanevsky, anti-corruption activist, assures.
To fill the budget, in 2014 a new tax is introduced – the so-called military duty.
However, while mothers buried their sons, and the people collected cent by cent money for the war, qualitative changes really happened only in the pockets of officials who created corruptive war schemes.
* * *
October 2019. Ex-deputy secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Oleh Hladkovsky leaves jail. Two days earlier, National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) detectives detained him when he tried to fly out of the country. Hladkovsky is suspected of malpractice. The Special Anti-Corruption Prosecutor's Office asked the court to take him into custody for 2 months or make 4,1 million USD bail.
However, the court reduced the amount of bail by 10 times. And soon Hladkovsky was free with an electronic tracking bracelet.
"For the Gladkovsky family, 400 thousand USD is the same as giving up morning coffee for you and me. This is not substantial money, especially if we compare it with the tens of millions of dollars that were stolen from the state budget," Serhiy Bykov, political analyst, assumes.
It’s no secret to anyone, Hadkovsky is a person from the inner circle of ex-president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko.
February 17, 2015 - the president appoints Hladkovsky First Deputy Secretary of the NSDC. Thus Hladkovsky becomes a key figure in the defense sector of Ukraine.
"A large number of offshore companies were registered in the name of Mr. Svynarchuk-Hladkovsky. This was done in order to slightly hide their schemes. And then, when Poroshenko became president, it was necessary to appoint Svynarchuk to the position of deputy secretary of the NSDC. And Svynarchuk changed his last name and became Oleg Hladkovsky in order to hide his offshore background. He pretended to be a man with a clear reputation," Serhiy Bykov notes.
No one is surprised that with the onset of Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine, military budgets begin to grow. And soon the first corruption scandals appear in the media.
“The Bogdan Motors Corporation, linked and owned directly by Hladkovsky, has become a supplier of vehicles for the Armed Forces of Ukraine - Bogdan ambulances, trucks, and other equipment,” Glib Kanevsky says.
In 2018, anti-corruption activists expose a conspiracy between the Ministry of Defense and the Bogdan Automobile Corporation, which received an order for the manufacture of medical cars. “Bogdan Motors, a company that never delivered supplies to the army, better known as a manufacturer of minibusses, as a manufacturer of trolleybuses, which assembled light cars, suddenly began to assemble cars for sanitary purposes of the Armed Forces,” Kanevsky notes.
The first delivery of sanitary “Bogdan” vehicles to the front was in January 2018. Of the fifty cars, half had to be repaired, some of them even returned to the factory.
"Chinese cars with not very high-quality gears. And almost half of the cars in the first batch broke down and were sent for revision. Moreover, the Armed Forces began to purchase additional parts at Prozorro tenders to repair these cars at a budget account," Kanevsky says.
Due to malfunctions, the Ministry of Defense had to suspend the purchase. However, it was quickly restored. But Bogdan loudly announced the modernization of medical transport.
However, the so-called modernization took place at the expense of the Ministry of Defense, which had to once again allocate money for this. And even after the Bogdanov update, activists say, the transport was unsuitable for the Ukrainian front.
“Someone in the Ministry of Defense published a press release that they could not accept the next installments of Bogdan equipment until the problems of the first installment were sorted out. So that press release was removed from the official website of the Ministry of Defense,” Kanevsky adds.
The cost of one car, according to experts, is 32,000 dollars. Of the first 50 delivered to the front, at least 25 were out of order. This is at least 800,00 dollars. How much they spent on repairs? This is a secret.
“They were bought in batches. About two hundred cars. We could suppose that Ukraine then paid more than $ 7 million. Despite the fact that the army was not sure that it was buying high-quality goods,” the activist said.
The actual number of sanitary “Bogdan” vehicles after modernization and whether the army received them is still unknown. After all, after the scandal, all purchases related to the Ministry of Defense were classified.
Journalists of the Nashi Groshi program published investigations of billions of thefts in the defense sector of Ukraine. The protagonist of the story is the son of an official Ihor Hladkovsky.
“This is the so-called Svynarchuk scheme when Hladkovsky Jr. and his friends completed a deal when parts at high prices were delivered to the Zhytomyr Armored Plant. A total of 10 million USD,” Kanevsky tells.
Investigators intercepted the correspondence of 22-year-old Vitaly Zhukov, a comrade and partner in schemes. At the very height of the war in 2015, dealers, together with another partner Andriy Rogoza organized the supply of smuggled parts from the Russian Federation to Ukraine. Defense enterprises overpaid several times for goods, buying them from gasket companies. The management of Ukroboronprom knew about the deal and received its percentage from them. This is evidenced by the correspondence of Hladkovsky Jr. comrade Vitaly Zhukov with Pavlo Bukin, then director of Ukroboronprom.
Most deliveries went through OptimaSpetsDetal, the founder of which was mentioned Andriy Rogoza. Hladkovsky Jr. through his father was supposed to solve problematic issues and influence defense enterprises. Journalists found that the guys “earned” at least 10 million USD through 3 main laying companies. Andriy Rogoza calls the amount of 20 million USD, so you can only guess about the actual income on the blood of the Ukrainian army.
Subsequently, it turned out that some of the parts that were supplied by the companies of Gladkovsky-Zhukov-Rogoza were of poor quality. And in 2016, fraudsters resold spare parts that were already in use in the Ukrainian army and had to be disposed of.
After the publication by journalists of the facts of the cynical robbery of the defense sector of Ukraine during the war, the society exploded.
Activists brought toy pigs, money, and filled it all with red paint near the house of Hladkovsky.
Then President Poroshenko dismissed Hladkovsky from the post of deputy secretary of the National Security Council.
In the wake of popular anger, Poroshenko was forced to react, because the presidential election was ahead.
“Poroshenko’s entourage, his political consultants advised him not to react or even aggressively react to Hladkovsky’s actions. And Poroshenko did the right thing since this corruption scandal surrounding Hladkovsky and Ukroboronprom cost at least 7 percent of the rating,” Bykov believes.
Hladkovsky Jr. was defending himself. He even removes a caricature that he wants to prove that this exposure is the tricks of the hostile political strategists before the election. Poroshenko himself washes his hands quietly.
“Petro Poroshenko understood that he had to distance himself from Hladkovsky. Since Hladkovsky was toxic and negatively affect Poroshenko’s ratings. Poroshenko didn’t even go to court to try to bail Hladkovsky,” Bykov says.
After the schemes of Gladkovsky’s father and son were publicly announced in February, law enforcement agencies called this a leak of information. Like, they knew about all the situation and investigated it.
As a result, not a single partner in the fraudulent schemes was behind bars, and the main person involved, Oleh Hladkovsky, calmly returned to big business and again headed the Bogdan corporation.
Then Petro Poroshenko pretended to hear for the first time about fraud in Ukroboronprom. However, ex-MP Vitaly Kupriy claims that he knew everything earlier. Because back in 2016, he personally sent an appeal to President Poroshenko about the theft of 1,2 million hryvnias at the enterprises of the defense sector. It was about the Zhytomyr Armored Plant, the Kyiv Armored Plant, the Civil Aviation Plant 410 and the Odesa Aviation Plant. According to Kupriy, all these state enterprises bought nonexistent goods from gasket companies, among which was the infamous OptimaSpetsDetal.
“When I wrote these appeals seriously, and I wrote to Poroshenko, and then Prosecutor General Lutsenko, Matios, it did not help. As far as I know, NSDC had a small meeting, Oleksandr Turchynov headed it. In 2016, they didn’t know what to do, they just panicked. What should be done, if such a leak of information occurs, they thought," Kupriy notes.
However, there is no reaction. After all, conducting an investigation against himself and his people Poroshenko was impractical.
To be continued.