What’s known about Vasyl Malyuk, the man taking over the SBU

19 July, 11:24 AM
Before the beginning of the Russian invasion, Vasyl Malyuk was appointed deputy head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, but then he was returned to work in the SBU (Photo:Department of Combating Narcotic Crime of the National Police of Ukraine)

Before the beginning of the Russian invasion, Vasyl Malyuk was appointed deputy head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, but then he was returned to work in the SBU (Photo:Department of Combating Narcotic Crime of the National Police of Ukraine)

First Deputy Chairman of the SBU Security Service of Ukraine, Vasily Malyuk, became the acting head of the SBU after President Volodymyr Zelenskyy suspended the former head of the service, Ivan Bakanov, from his duties on July 17.

NV summarizes what’s known about Vasily Malyuk, the new interim head of the security agency.

Career in the SBU

Vasily Malyuk was born in Korostyshev, Zhytomyr Oblast. He is 39 years old.

He completed higher education at the National Academy of the Security Service of Ukraine with a degree in jurisprudence (2005). Later, he received the title of candidate of legal sciences.

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Malyuk has been serving in state security departments since 2001. He first worked in the regional departments of the SBU, holding different positions such as detective officer, as well as a stint as the Deputy Head of the Department for Combating Corruption and Organized Crime.

Malyuk has been working at the Central Directorate of the SBU for the last 2.5 years:

·         In January 2020, he took the position of First Deputy Head of the Main Directorate for Combating Corruption and Organized Crime of the SBU;

·          In March 2020, he was appointed First Deputy to the Chairman of the SBU, Ivan Bakanov, and at the same time, became the head of the Department for Combating Corruption and Organized Crime.

In July 2021, Malyuk was fired from senior positions in the SBU, simultaneously with another one of Bakanov’s deputies. At the time, the Office of the President voiced a number of complaints to the service.

“For the president, it is fundamental to significantly intensify the work of the SBU in order to finally put an end to all smuggling schemes,” presidential advisor Mikhailo Podolyak said when explaining the dismissals. 

“Unfortunately, we haven’t seen enough work from the Service in this area lately. We need new management solutions. Greater mobility and speed in decision-making are needed. We need criminal cases, which deal with specific challenges to our national security, brought to their logical conclusion.”

The Anti-Corruption Action Center NGO noted that in the summer of 2021, the SBU department which Vasily Malyuk was in charge of at the time, should have been abolished as a result of a reform to the special service.

On February 16, 2022, a few days before the full-scale Russian invasion, Vasily Malyuk was appointed as a deputy to the Minister of Internal Affairs, Denis Monastyrsky. 

However, after the start of full-scale invasion, he again returned to the SBU. On February 28, Malyuk was fired from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and starting March 2022 he was again appointed the First Deputy Chairman of the Security Service of Ukraine.

Titles, awards and participation in the Anti-Terrorist Operation

At the end of March 2022, Malyuk was granted the rank of Brigadier General. 

After the first Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014, he participated in the anti-terrorist operation - the former formal name of the defense against the Donbas puppet authorities, later renamed to the Joint Forces operation. For his participation in hostilities, he was granted a number of awards:

·          SBU badges For Courage and For Valor;

·          Award of the President of Ukraine For participation in the Antiterrorist Operation

·          The highest SBU award 

·          Awarded a personal weapon

Appointment of Vasily Malyuk as the acting head of the SBU 

After Zelensky unexpectedly relieved Ivan Bakanov from his duties as head of the SBU on July 17, these functions were temporarily entrusted to Malyuk. The Zelenskyy administration explained that Bakanov’s removal was reportedly due to underperformance, and that relevant internal audits would be held. Base on the results of these audits and inspects, Zelensky would decide whether to submit proposals about the actual sacking of Ivan Bakanov and Prosecutor General Irina Venediktova to parliament, or leave them in their positions.

Ukrainian news outlet The Babel’s sources in the SBU and parliament call Malyuk a person close to Oleh Tatarov, the scandalous deputy chief-of-staff of the President’s Office, who during the Euromaidan Revolution served as the deputy head of the main investigative department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and publicly justified the actions of the security forces against the Euromaidan participants. Tatarov continues to work in the presidential administration, despite the stink of scandal following his appointment, and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine investigation on a theft involving apartments owned by the National Guard, where Tatarov was suspected of bribery.

“In a year and a half, Oleh Tatarov tied himself to the vertical power of law enforcement in the country,” wrote NV journalist Dmytro Bobritsky in February 2022. 

“His formal and informal responsibilities include moderating relations between the Office of the President and law enforcement agencies, as well as taking care of ‘special assignments’, which NV’s sources prefer to speak about only anonymously.”

Tatiana Nikolayenko, a journalist from Censor.net, also called Vasily Malyuk "Tatarov's asset". And the journalists of Ukrainska Pravda noticed Malyuk among the guests of Oleh Tatarov’s birthday celebration in early September 2021, where more than ten high-ranking officials from various law enforcement agencies participated.

Journalist Yurii Butusov suggested that the appointment of Vasily Malyuk as the acting head of the SBU, and Oleksiy Simonenko as the acting head of the Office of the Prosecutor General, will only increase the President's Office influence on these structures - though Bakanov was already a personal childhood friend of the president’s, while Venediktova was widely seen as carrying out Zelensky’s grudge against former president Petro Poroshenko via the justice system.

What's in the declaration 

In his asset declaration for 2020, Malyuk stated he owned the following:

·         A residential building with a total area of 228 square meters with a land plot in Korostyshiv

·         Land in the Korostyshevsky district of Zhytomyr Oblast.

·         An apartment in Kyiv with an area of ​​122.4 sq. m, which the family uses free of charge,

·         A residential building in the capital, owned by the SBU.

The Malyuk family uses a 2004 Lexus LX470 and a 2014 Nissan Rogue for transportation. 

Over the year, Vasily Malyuk’s family received an income of UAH 2.2 million. They keep $90,000 in cash.

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