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Khatia Dekanoidze, head of Ukraine’s National Police, has announced her resignation.
Dekanoidze, who had previously served as a minister in Georgia under then-President Mikheil Saakashvili, was appointed chief of the new police force on November 4 last year.
Dekanoidze was the last of the Georgian reformers, brought in by the Ukrainian government in the aftermath of the Maidan revolution, to remain in her post, following a spate of resignations over the last year, the most recent of which was Saakashvili himself, who stepped down as governor of the Odessa region last week.
Dekanoidze issued a statement today:
“A year ago, on the request of the country’s leadership, I took on the post of head of the National Police of Ukraine.
This was a difficult challenge and a difficult task.
Practically from nothing, my team and I had to create a new state organ – to transform the militsiya into the National Police and restore society’s faith in the structure, which had discredited itself in the eyes of citizens over many years.
For the first time in Ukraine’s history, the head of a law-enforcement organ was not just a civilian, but a politically independent person.
Not defending their own interests or the interests of politicians, the police became an body whose main value was the people, their rights and security.
Regardless of the tough economic situation, the war, the uncontrolled movement of weapons, corruption, the unreformed courts and prosecutor’s office, we succeeded in not only stabilizing and keeping the situation under control, but beginning real changes in the system…”
But Dekanoidze said that there had been three main challenges to her work:
“First is necessary and sufficient funding. We can endlessly reform the system, implement modern practices, dismiss and the old and hire new employees. But! Naked and barefoot, without papers and gasoline, without modern technology and proper social security, the police cannot operate effectively.
Second is reform of the prosecution system and the courts, without which I do not see the possibility of fundamentally changing the whole law enforcement system in the country. The existing order of things will sooner or later, and already is leading to a conflict of values between those who want to change and those who are stuck in the past.
And last, but not least – the tradition of interference by politicians in the work of the police is still being preserved. I don’t wash dirty linen in public, I am a state official. But I think it is my own duty to appeal to politicians and officials at every level – from the people’s deputies to the highest offices, with the request and even demand that they refrain from interfering in the work of the National Police.
There can not and should not be appointments to law-enforcement organs in accordance with the will of politicians. Politicians can not and should not use or try to use the forces of law enforcement to defend their political interests. Without an understanding of this, the country will sooner or latter be doomed to a confrontation between society and government.
My dear native Ukrainians, I have done everything within the limits of my powers to abide by all these principles. I, as I had promised, have, over the course of the year, created the foundation for the development of the new National Police and have remained faithful to you and your interests up until the last minute of my work.
My function has been fulfilled. But, unfortunately, my will and power were insufficient to realise the changes. In light of this, I am declaring my resignation. I believe it necessary that an open and transparent competition for the post of a new head of the National Police of Ukraine be held as soon as possible.”
Notably, Dekanoidze said that she did not consider her deputy, the controversial Vadim Troyan, to be a suitable successor:
“It is not my prerogative to choose new candidates, but I do not see that Vadim Troyan is a politically independent person. That is, I personally, as Khatia Dekanoidze, citizen of Ukraine, do not see him as the new head.”
The British ambassador to Ukraine, Judith Gough, tweeted:
Yuriy Boyko, leader of the Opposition Bloc, has punched Oleh Lyashko, leader of the Radical Party, during a meeting at the Verkhovna Rada.
Boyko, whose party is formed from the remnants of former-President Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions, became angry after Lyashko claimed that he received guidance from the Kremlin.