Lutsenko U-Turn

KIEV, Ukraine -- Just a few weeks after the Post praised Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko for sticking to his principles after consistently pledging he would not serve in any cabinet led by the Party of Regions, Lutsenko failed to keep his word and did the exact opposite.

Yuriy Lutsenko

He was presented as the new interior minister by Prime Minister Yanukovych last week. Lutsenko told reporters that he intends to continue the fight against corruption and that his main reason for carrying on was the desire to continue reforming the police and fighting crime.

He even argued that he had changed his mind “for the sake of the Ukrainian people ... so that everybody is equal before the law.”

Ironically, even Lutsenko has reservations. He told reporters he had “no positive emotions regarding members of the new government” and felt “uncomfortable”.

However, he is making a rod for his own back. Lutsenko is serving in a cabinet led by his political arch enemy, whose associates he even investigated on corruption charges.

One MP, very close politically to both Yanukovych and magnate Rinat Akhmetov, intends to take Lutsenko to court.

To his credit, Lutsenko said he will resign if asked to carry out unlawful actions.

However, most Ukrainians still remember that Lutsenko completely failed to implement a major tenet of the Orange Revolution: that bandits will go to jail.

No major investigation by his ministry into corruption or election rigging resulted in jail terms.

There is no reason to believe he will be more successful this time, now that some of the “bandits” are back in government.

He will be subject to pressure. More importantly, his post is not part of the President’s quota in the cabinet, so the threat of dismissal will always be there.

After this u-turn, ordinary people will also be asking whether Lutsenko, regarded as one of the few untainted members of the two Orange cabinets, can ever be trusted.

After all, he should remember that effective policing requires the implicit trust of the public and not empty promises.

Source: Kyiv Post