Stop The Awards

KIEV, Ukraine -- Serhiy Kivalov, considered among the most odious figures in modern Ukrainian history, was recently awarded a certificate of honor by the Central Election Commission for his “important contribution toward ensuring the observance of citizens’ constitutional voting rights” when he served as CEC chair.

Serhiy Kivalov (L), Borys Kolesnikov (R) and Mykhailo Potebenko (C)

This is the same Kivalov who was sacked from his post by parliament at the height of the Orange Revolution for validating the mass election fraud.

Borys Kolesnikov was among those who led an eastern Ukrainian separatist movement during the heat of the Revolution. To honor such an upstanding citizen, President Viktor Yushchenko awarded Kolesnikov with the second degree of the Yaroslav the Wise Order, among the nation’s most prestigious awards, on the anniversary of Ukraine’s independence referendum.

Earlier in the spring, Mykhailo Potebenko also received a Yaroslav the Wise Order, which is given for wisdom and honor, among other qualities.

For those not around during the Kuchma years, he was Ukraine’s top prosecutor in 2000, when the investigation into the murder of muckracking journalist Heorhiy Gongadze was stalled and covered up.

In the presidential statement accompanying the award, Potebenko received it for his “great personal contribution toward the building of a law-abiding state, the strengthening of legality and the rule of law.”

While all three deny the wrongdoings mentioned above, and have not been found guilty by Ukraine’s dysfunctional courts, outrage over the awards is widespread.

Many question whether these individuals deserve awards, or time in jail instead.

To restore legitimacy to the practice of giving out state awards, a committee of experts needs to be formed to debate, consider and vote on honorees.

Operating in a transparent manner, the committee would need to state clearly what the award is being given for and place the nominees’ achievements in clear historical context, so that the cover-up of a murder is not equated with the strengthening of the rule of law, and massive election fraud is not equated with ensuring citizens’ voting rights.

Source: Kyiv Post