The last week or two of Oleksandr Turchinov’s stint as acting president of Ukraine sparked a scandal in Brovary County.
On May 23, the interim head of state appointed Oleh Kyshchuk, who is locally known as corrupt wheeler-dealer, as the head of the Brovary State Administration.
In addition, Kyshchuk is remembered for his relatively recent public statements against activists who opposed the previous regime and his counter-revolutionary escapades against Euromaidan in general.
Kyshchuk’s appointment occurred in sharp contrast to the Kyiv Regional State Administration’s assurances that newly appointed heads of district administrations would undergo a process of open public discussion.
In particular, every candidate would be reviewed by the expert committee of the Public Council under the local head of State Administration, composed of representatives of political factions in the regional council, Maidan alliance, People’s Council, veterans’ organizations and other public associations registered in Kyiv oblast.
The activists say the expert council considered the candidatures of county heads, and Oleh Kyshchuk was rejected. However, the appointment took place anyway, and on May 27 the new district head was officially presented to the general public.
As Oleh Kyshchuk told those gathered about his appointment, a local news reporter reminded that the expert committee under KOSA voted Kyshchuk down.
Unabashed, the new county head insisted that his appointment was entirely legal, “You know, there are a lot of commissions, committees, councils, and all sorts of people’s organizations nowadays, but there are laws in Ukraine, and we should move on to leave all these rallies and meetings behind, and work effectively for the incumbent president. “
Oleh Kyshchuk assured the crowd that his subordinates would be subjected to lustration, but in a ‘gradual’ fashion so as not to interrupt the administration’s smooth work.
It should be noted that people who were involved in attacks on journalists and activists during the 2012 parliamentary campaign and the organization of hired thugs during Euromaidan are still among the current officials in the Brovary administration.
Kyshchuk then expressed hope that the newly elected President, Petro Poroshenko, would not remove him from office – even contrary to the fact that Kyshchuk previously compared Poroshenko with Yanukovych in a press article during the recent presidential campaign. He also hinted that Poroshenko was nominated by national oligarchs who are cronies of Putin.
Overall, local communities in Brovary expressed dissatisfaction with the new appointment. For example, on June 9, the Knyazhychy village community held a general meeting where the locals, inter alia, voted for the resignation of Kyshchuk.
Earlier, Brovary activists rallied outside the Cabinet of Ministers and Batkivshchyna’s headquarters (the party that recommended him for the post and of which Kyshchuk is a member) against the appointment.
Before the appointment, Oleh Kyshchuk was the Brovary Councilman from Front for Change, and was elected in the village Kulazhyntsi.
In 2012 he ran for parliament as an independent candidate with Batkivshchyna support, but stepped down after the opposition parties made a joint decision about a common candidate in every district.
Brovary activists link Oleh Kyshchuk with Batkivshchyna MP Kostyantyn Bondarev, who is considered to be his patron and a friend.
Knyazhychy villagers accuse Kyshchuk of shady land dealings, theft of communal property, and currying corrupt relations with the previous government.
Serhiy Martiyan, a human rights activist and Deputy Chairman of the Union of Property and Land Owners, says Oleh Kyshchuk, in cahoots with village head Olha Kasian, forced the local land authority to map farmers’ plots with intentional overlaps in order to force land owners to waste extra money when obtaining land ownership acts. Many locals confirmed this. Citizens said some land plots were simultaneously resold several times.
In addition, according to activists, Kyshchuk illegally sold village communal land without owners’ consent.
In particular, citizens believe that the village head illegally allocated 8 hectares of land with a well of clean drinking water to Kyshchuk, which earlier served the needs of the local community.
This “present” was ostensibly in gratuity for when Kyshchuk gave the village community a scrapped tractor.
Serhiy Martiyan believes that Kyshchuk’s schemes cost the village at least 1,000 hectares of land. Some sources indicate that Kyshchuk was involved in similar shady dealings in other neighboring villages, particularly Kulazhyntsy.
During and just following his 2012 parliamentary campaign, Kyshchuk was charged with “zaprodanstvi” corruption and the use of dirty technologies against his opposition and local journalists; however, there was no evidence uncovered to support these accusations.
During the Euromaidan events, Kyshchuk created the Brovary People’s Council, about which the news outlet Obozrevatel reported on January 30. However, the general public did not notice any signs of its existence except for a tent with a sign in the center of the village.
The Brovary People’s Council was officially formed on February 12. It was composed of prominent public and opposition figures, including the activists and representatives of Euromaidan and National Resistance Headquarters that had been formed in Brovary in December.
According to activists, a day or two after the formation of the Brovary People’s Council, Kyshchuk accused its members of collaboration with the Yanukovych government.
It should be noted that it was the same BPC, formed on February 12, that launched the local lustration and anti-corruption initiatives in Brovary.
Kyshchuk’s counterrevolutionary activities have flourished following the Dignity Revolution.
Immediately after Yanukovych’s escape on February 22, the People’s Council of Brovary agreed with the management of the local TV studio, Our Town, that fair and impartial news should be broadcast on the local channel, EKTA.
However, the TV studio’s director, Iryna Kulish, refused to cooperate. On the same day, the studio’s broadcasting equipment was damaged and the channel disappeared from the air.
In response, community activists broke into the TV studio and established control over it.
On February 24, unidentified masked young men, led by Kyshchuk, took control of the studio.
Kyshchuk described the unknown men as “bodyguards” and ordered everyone to clear the premises. The attackers obstructed the work of the journalists in the studio, manhandled them, and eventually forced them from the room.
Kyshchuk soon disappeared from the scene, and the TV studio was taken over by a group who called themselves “Brovary self-defense.” The previous attackers took off their masks, claimed they were with the people and that Kyshchuk framed them – and then left the room.