Archive for December 25th, 2017

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Monument to Boris Derevyanko (and de facto the longest trial in Ukrainian history)

December 25, 2017

As a growing number of Ukrainians are expressing their ire by way of protest at a 4-year suspended sentence for hooliganism handed down to Yuriy Krysin for his admitted role in the murder of journalist Vyacheslav Veremiy during Euromaidan in 2014, Odessa will witness the creation of a memorial to Boris Derevyanko, the assassinated editor-in-chief of Evening Odessa (Vechernaya Odessa).

The memorial will appear at Gvozdichny 3, where Mr Derevyanko lived prior to his assassination in August 1997, and marks a victory for the Odessa branch of the National Union of Journalists of Ukraine.

A cynical reader will also understand that in signing the order, Mayor Trukhanov will also be hoping for a slightly friendlier media (insofar as local media not owned by himself).  Elections are only just over a year hence.

The assassination of Mr Derevyanko has already been commemorated by the renaming of his place of assassination to that of Derevyanko Square.

The assassin, Alexander Glek was indeed caught and sentenced to death – a sentence commuted into a life term.

Although Mr Glek never stated who ordered the assassination he carried out, it became clear that the customer was Vasily Mariyanchuk – aka Vasya Chechen or The Accountant.

Vasya Chechen managed to assemble a formidable crime group in the 1990s, numbering somewhere between 50 and 70 former servicemen, police, and “sportsmen”.  It is claimed it was an organisation that ran in a similar way to an “agency” – with dedicated internal intelligence and counterintelligence abilities, as well as wetwork personnel.

Well perhaps.  Within every legend is an element of truth.  Whatever the case it was clearly not an invincible or impenitrable, for Mr Mariyanchuk took refuge in Hungary when a “hit” was put out on him by others.

Two years after the assassination of Mr Derevyanko in Odessa, The Accountant was arrested in Hungary on behalf of Ukraine.

Thus a reader may start the trial/due process clock as of August 1999.

Mr Derevyanko was not the only victim of The Accountant and his organisation.

Among numerous other assassinations attributed are Boris Vikhrov, chairman of the Arbitration Court, Arkady Tabachnyk, President of the Bipa-Mode company, two close associates of former-Mayor Hurvitz, Messrs Sergei Varlamov and Igor Svoboda, notwithstanding Valery Kravchenko, the director general of the ARC Antarctica, in 2002.

Needless to say, those involved in the trial were also prone to death and disappearance.  In 2000, gang member (and former Police Captain) Oleg Yakimenko “vanished”.  In 2001, another member, Mr Ryaboshapko died in rather suspect circumstances in pre-trial detention.  Mr Volodin, another witness was shot, swiftly followed by the “disappearance” of Mr Gusak who was also due to give evidence.  In 2002 two other witnesses, Messrs Pashin and Biryuch also died.

If being a witness, or seeking a “deal” with the authorities was not bad for the health, then several defenders and prosecutors also died – for example defence council Ivan Melnik apparently committed suicide after being accused of passing assassination instructions between the imprisoned “Accountant” and his gang at large.

Clearly, given the nature of the judicial system in Odessa, both then and now, every excuse was found not to hear the case, or to delay it, in order not to hand down a verdict and pass sentence.

So it went on until March 2012 when the Supreme Court transferred the case to Mykolaiv – at which point the accused Mr Mariyanchuk claimed to be too ill to attend court (the politicians favored due process stalling maneuver).  Thus far, The Accountant had spent 13 years behind bars as suspect and not convict.

It was finally, in April 2014, that due process ran its full course – a full 15 years after his incarceration – that Vasily Mariyanchuk (aka Vasya Chechen or The Accountant) received a life sentence.

This due process lasting 15 years remains the record in independent Ukraine – although a cynical reader may wonder whether that record will last.

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