First conclusions after the tragedy in Brovary and the death of the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs

22 January, 02:06 PM

A State Emergency Service helicopter carrying the leadership of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine crashed in Brovary. Among the dead were Interior Minister Denis Monastyrsky, his deputy Yevgeny Yenin, and State Secretary of the Interior Ministry Yuri Lubkovich.

A tragedy happened. I offer condolences to all the families of the victims. This week has been tragic for us.

Speaking of purely political concerns, however, a difficult personnel problem has now arisen for the country's leadership. We need to draw conclusions from this tragedy. In the United States, many European countries, and even in the former USSR, there is a rule that political leadership should not be together on the same aircraft. That is, a top official should not be in the same vehicle as the person who would replace him or her. Whether this practice exists for ministers, it is difficult for me to say. If it doesn't exist, then it's better to have it. I think that the country's leadership must insist on this policy now in order to protect against the repetition of such situations in other departments, especially those involved in organizing the country's defense. After all, the Ministry of Internal Affairs is part of the defense forces.

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I do not think that operations in the Ministry of Internal Affairs will be destabilized now

And now, while we are in a war, we urgently need to decide who will serve as acting head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and then who will take over its leadership, as their candidacy must be approved by the Verkhovna Rada.

I do not think that operations in the Ministry of Internal Affairs will be destabilized now. Still, we must give credit where credit is due – the war has proven that we do not have the weak state and weak state institutions that many of us thought. The Ministry of Internal Affairs is a department where operations have been well-established. It is a complex mechanism, where individual links work quite autonomously. The minister was the coordinator. There is the national police, which is an autonomous unit, the national guard, and so on.

One of the late Minister’s deputies should be made acting minister. But who will become the new minister is an open question. Theoretically, one of the deputies could apply for this position. This often happens. However, it is a very important position, and we should remember from our history that there have been, on several occasions, very powerful political figures at the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. Arsen Avakov was the record holder in terms of his tenure in this position, occupying the top post in the ministry for seven years in a row. The appointment of Denys Monastyrsky after him was political. He was the head of the committee overseeing the Ministry in the Verkhovna Rada, and he was familiar with the work of the department, so he was appointed to the job. It was, in principle, expected.

Now it's hard for me to even say who might be named to the post. I need to look at different sources for who exactly could be chosen. I think there is no ready-made candidate today, but there is an open question: should the new Minister be an administrator, an experienced Ministry insider, or perhaps someone from the national police who already has the confidence of the country's political leadership? Or could it be a political appointee, because the post of minister is a political post?

Now we have two large diversified ministries – the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Infrastructure. Their leaders are, in fact, like vice-premiers in terms of the tasks assigned to them. Therefore, who will head the department is a question of key importance. I don't see a situation like after Avakov's resignation, when it was clear that Monastyrsky was the prime candidate. That is why I say that this will be a difficult personnel issue for the Office of the President and the Cabinet of Ministers.

Taking into account our wartime conditions, I do not rule out that the person named to be Minister of Internal Affairs will be someone with combat experience or from among the department heads within the Ministry of Internal Affairs system.

Now, about why this tragedy happened. We cannot exclude the possibility of sabotage. We recently read about how many attempts were made on the life of President Zelenskyy, and there was information last year that there were attempts on the life of Denys Monastyrsky as the head of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, as well as attempts on the leadership of other departments that are part of our defense forces, in particular the head of military intelligence. Another matter is that there were reportedly difficult weather conditions. This should not be ruled out either. As for the emotional perception of the tragedy, we must understand that this can happen in peacetime as well. There are many examples of this.

But in times of war, such tragic situations can arise. Of course, Russia will try to knock out people in the top leadership of Ukraine and its armed forces. For them, this is also a war. And in wartime, just as with our ordinary soldiers at the front who die every day, so too is there a threat to any of the leadership. Despite the tragedy of the situation, this must be treated with understanding. Emotions should not prevail. It is simply necessary that the issue of replacing dead leaders be resolved as quickly as possible for the system to work. In this case, these are mechanistic issues, but they are very important at the front. Many were surprised (as I mentioned) because there was a stereotype that we have very weak state institutions, but it turned out that the Ministry of Internal Affairs was not so weak either.

This tragedy can affect people emotionally. But this should not affect the overall capacity of our resistance. The dead were worthy people. Let us salute them, but we still have the task of resistance. There is no time to be depressed.

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