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Ministry of Interior – The Deeva story (who benefits?)

November 13, 2016

A little scandal has broken in the Ukrainian media regarding the appointment of 24 year old Anastasia Deeva as Deputy Minister for European Integration for the Ministry of the Interior.

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Mrs Deeva has been working within the Ministry of Interior for a number of years since EuroMaidan/Revolution of Dignity, being closely associated with the outstanding Eka Zguladze during her tenure.  Indeed under such tutelage Mrs Deeva cannot fail to have both worked very hard and also become very competent at what she does.

During that time there was no public scandal surrounding Mrs Deeva or her work.

No publicly aired problems were seemingly forthcoming from her previous tenure as an assistant to former Party of Regions deputies Leonid Kozhara and Elena Nemockoy (working under her maiden name of Shalko – she married in May 2016).  No issues were raised with her departure to Scandinavia whilst the dust settled in the post Regionaire aftermath of 2014, nor her return.

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Her time in Scandanavia was apparently spent on “green” issues prior to her return to Ukraine and working once again within the organs of power in Kyiv.

Since her appointment within the MIA as Deputy for European Integration a few days ago however, the media environment surrounding her has rightly worsened.

Immediately a number of provocative and revealing photographs became public.

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The above, of those released, is the only one that with certainty does not break any service provider rules for this blog.  (It also contains a Klimt print on the wall and the blog appreciates Klimt.)

Putting aside wry, sarcastic commentary regarding the Ukrainian civil service seemingly going to extraordinary lengths of transparency if such photographs be a guide, this blog will take the position that such photographs are in no way a reason for preventing any such appointment – and neither are they reason for dismissal.

In fact, when it comes to kompromat/blackmail, they are far better out in the open than used as a nefarious lever over Mrs Deeva.  No matter how uncomfortable this may be for Mrs Deeva now, it is short lived in comparison to an ever-hanging Sword of Damocles.

There are however issues that cannot be allowed to slide regarding the nature of her appointment and the due diligence surrounding an individual that probably has had, and will have access to sensitive information and partake in sensitive dialogue within and without Ukraine from time to time.

There are laws and rules of procedure regarding the appointment of civil servants that came into force in May 2015 – and these seem to have been willfully disregarded in the case of Mrs Deeva’s appointment.  This in a ministry that is key to upholding the rules and laws of the land.

Excuses – there are none.

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Aside from a blatant disregard for the new statutory selection processes, there is a curriculum vitae that if genuine is blatantly erroneous and that should have been caught by any HR department when sifting such material – not to mention having raised flags for any relevant clearances regarding access to classified material (if any were done).    (Considering Mrs Deeva is now only 24, a declared ten year professional career within the halls of governance is clearly wrong – unless child labour is something entertained within the Verkhovna Rada.)

There are then matters of very expensive wardrobes (Luis Vitton etc) that do not fit comfortably a very modest e-declaration of a junior civil servant’s career.

Tempting as it is to make Mrs Deeva the story, there are perhaps more important questions to be asked and answered.

All in all, a very poor display by one of the “power ministries” has been brought to light through the seemingly illegitimate appointment of Mrs Deeva and the subsequent release of information about her to the Ukrainian media which then ran the story.

A reader may question whether the Interior Ministry actually requires a Deputy for European Integration, the position to which Mrs Deeva has been appointed, when there has been nothing short of direct inward assistance within that ministry for 2 years from the UK, USA, Canada, Japan, and several European nations – planning, financial, training, mentoring, equipping etc.  The Interior Ministry has been a point of focused and direct effort.

A more interesting question is perhaps why has Interior Minister Arsen Avakov allowed himself to be compromised so easily?  And why over such a quibbling matter?

Mr Avakov sits atop the only “power ministry” not controlled by a presidential loyalist.  That there would be no tears shed upon replacing him with a presidential loyalist would seem assured – if only good reason could be found to do so.  Needless scandals over such appointments should be something Mr Avakov is therefore particularly keen to avoid – yet complete disregard for laws and procedures occurred of which both the Interior Ministry nor he are in no position to claim they were not aware.

Why then was this risk taken?  As always, the first question is who benefits?

What was in it for Arsen Avakov to make such a decision?  How did he believe he would benefit?

Now this sorry tale has rightly grabbed the headlines, how can he mitigate the outcome?  Can Mrs Deeva be saved within his ministry, and with it the experience she undoubtedly gleaned from Eka Zguladze?  Obviously her retention in her recently appointed position is now untenable, but her retention within the ministry may yet be possible if she is considered worth fighting for vis a vis any continued political damage to Arsen Avakov should he try to do so.

If Mr Avakov jettisons her, how lasting the political damage that he has sustained?

Do the political wolves at the Interior Ministry door consider this needlessly self-inflicted debacle sufficient to force Mr Avakov out?  If so, and in calling out a coalition partner’s bluff, would the People’s Front really sacrifice their political future by leaving the coalition and the inevitable early Verkhovna Rada elections that would follow over the future of Mr Avakov – or not?

A needless mess.

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