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The return of a prodigal son – or cutting a grubby little deal?

March 1, 2015

Amongst the rightful headlines of the criminal slaying of Boris Nemtsov and the suicide of Mykhailo Chechetov, whilst under house-arrest in Kyiv with on-going investigations into several historically nefarious acts, a similarly nefarious prodigal son returned to Ukrainian soil with far, far less media attention – in fact almost none.

Former Education Minister Dmitry Tabachnik, much loathed during his time in office – a loathing that has not abated since his feeing Ukraine when the Yanukovych regime collapsed – returned to Ukraine from Tel Aviv on flight PS776 a few hours ago.

Whether he was traveling under Ukrainian or Israeli citizenship, perhaps matters not, unless he was trying to sneak into Ukraine – which seems rather unlikely given his notoriety/infamy.

Tel Aviv airport 28/2/15

Tel Aviv airport 28/2/15

That he is wanted by the Ukrainian authorities for several crimes, including a pricing scam over Ukrainian school books and nefarious dealings with educational premises during his tenure as former President Yanukovych’s Minister of Education notwithstanding, his return is clearly of his own free will, rather than under any form of arrest or escort – or deportation from Israel.

It seems very unlikely this prodigal son has returned and is about to throw himself upon the mercy of Ukrainian society, unburdening his soul of past misdeeds.

What seems far more likely is that his return has been negotiated, perhaps with immunity from public prosecution, or with a guilty plea to a minor administrative offence carrying no significant penalty, in return for giving the Ukrainian equivalent of Queen’s/State’s evidence against those within the now vanquished Yanukovych regime.

Presumably he will have his liberty restrained in some form or another whilst the details of any grubby little deal is thrashed out, finalised, signed and then implemented – without the prospect of a leap from a window akin to the late Mr Chechetov, or any significant jail time (if any).

Indeed, in light of recent events over the last 24 hours both in Russia and Ukraine, some form of “protective custody” may be of benefit to him – especially if he is about to unlock the Yanukovych regime’s Pandora’s Box.

The issue to be judged, is whether his testimony and insight into the previous regime’s chronic corruption schemes and oppressive tendencies are worth the leniency his is likely to gain in providing it?  As loathsome as he is, the answer is probably “yes”.

A rather unexpected occurrence to be blunt – and certainly something to keep an eye on in the future.

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