On September 16, the day of the 13th anniversary of journalist Heorhii Gongadze’s kidnapping and murder, former minister of internal affairs Yurii Lutsenko posted the following on his Facebook page: “To be free means to constantly make independent decisions, proclaim your stand on a daily basis. All that the mafia needs is your indifference and pessimism. Think about Heorhii on this day. And make a decision.” Mr. Lutsenko himself had already made his decision. A few days after the post, he took an active part in the Yalta Forum YES, organized by the former president Kuchma’s family, his son-in-law Viktor Pinchuk in particular.
But the most important thing happened during the summit. Correspondent’s photograph Natalia Kravchuk captured a moment, let us call it the culmination of reconciliation, when Lutsenko and Kuchma shake hands. “Another historic photo. The leader of ‘Ukraine without Kuchma’ and the target of his activity. Don’t you even think this is a court room – it is at the YES conference,” wrote Myroslava Gongadze on her Facebook page. “The friends finally at last!” commented Oleksandr Moroz in the social network.
By the way, in his conversation with journalist Serhii Leshchenko, Lutsenko described the Yalta encounter which speaks volumes in the following way: “He is responsible for the Gongadze case and the creation of the oligarchic system. But when compared to his two successors, Kuchma looks a strong and intelligent president.” To which the journalist himself adds “…to whom he once brought bast shoes, whose dummy he drove around Kyiv, whose portraits he burned.”
One can only wonder how Lutsenko’s comrades in the anti-Kuchma rallies, field commanders of the Maidan (Taras Stetskiv, Volodymyr Filenko), reacted to Lutsenko’s behavior.
“Of course, there are certain moral boundaries, which each person sets for themselves,” tells MP Oles Donii to The Day. “For example, there is a number of people I do not shake hands with on principle, because they have crossed that boundary. That is why I would say that this issue primarily deals with our inner choice. It is not the court or majority that defines a politician’s guilt. Everyone does that for themselves. Obviously, now it looks like they can communicate. As for Lutsenko’s possible re-assessment of Kuchma’s persona, it would be the best to ask Lutsenko himself about it. So far I have not had an opportunity to talk to him after his release.”
“The historic photo” of Lutsenko and Kuchma’s reconciliation did not just blow up the Internet, but became a notable event in Ukrainian political processes. Here are a few sarcastic comments from the Internet:
“The third republic welcomes the first one.”
“We can see that Yura has changed for the better.”
“Mr. Lutsenko bowed and scraped pretty bad…))))”
“Prison breaks down everyone. We do not know what Yulia will be like when she is released.”
“Prison does not break anyone, it tears masks off.”
“Yes, guys… But how did the Gongadze case end? Is Leonid Kuchma going to be made answerable for it? Or did it get hushed up?”
“Time to immediately leave the handshaker’s friend list.”
“It looks like this handshake is not a coincidence, but a prearranged condition of Lutsenko’s participation in the forum organized by Kuchma’s son-in-law.”
“Even Kuchma’s bodyguard is shocked.”
“Leonid Kuchma giving thanks to Yurii Lutsenko for maintaining stable Kuchmist traditions in the MIA structure during the turbulent period of 2005-10?”
“Come back, Lionia! And forgive us.”
“That is, everything that was written in Grani, and everything that the socialists were freezing for in tents in Khreshchatyk, and all Lutsenko’s demands to jail the person who ordered to have Gongadze killed, all this was just a prelude to Yalta…”
“Kuchma is so lucky with successors)))”
“…which proves once again the hypocrisy of our politics and its careerist nature.”
“Did Yatseniuk try to cover this disgrace with his head?”
“Kuchma, go away?”
Lutsenko could not withstand the critics and reacted rather passionately to everything that was said and read on Facebook: “Just took down the photograph with Kuchma, which was uploaded by Leshchenko. I do not consider that event at the Yalta Forum important. Let me repeat for the curious ones: I do not think it necessary to arrange protest actions for the battered president at an international summit. But the questions of his role in the establishment of oligarchy and Gongadze’s murder still remain, which I told him right in his face when I had an opportunity.”
But as they say, the decision is made. You can delete a photograph from Facebook, but is it possible to delete it from the Internet? “The opposition must think about the way it should behave,” someone wrote. But do we have opposition, after all?
“Despite the complicated economic situation and political conflict, the opposition does not have a chance of beating Yanukovych at the upcoming presidential elections in 2015. The opposition itself will be to blame for it, because it has long ago chosen for the commercial track supported by Kuchma’s family,” tells MP of two convocations Oleksandr Yeliashkevych to The Day.
Meanwhile, Lutsenko continues operating in the wake of the reconciliation with the former president. It is obviously a final decision. In the commentary to Ukrainian National News, when talking about the latest statements by first deputy attorney general Renat Kuzmin in his address (Kuzmin called Lutsenko “a common thief”), Lutsenko said: “Renat Kuzmin makes harsh statements every time there is a need to undermine the regulation of relations between the EU and Ukraine. Analyze all his outwardly moronic statements and decisions, and you will see that they are strictly subordinated to the Kremlin’s policy.”
Yeliashkevych adds about Lutsenko in his conversation with The Day: “Handshake with Kuchma is a logical conclusion of undercover deals including high-profile cases, parliamentary mandates, political views… No one has ever discredited anti-Kuchmists like that before.” Read an interview with Oleksandr Yeliashkevych on his attitude towards Lutsenko and Kuzmin’s activities, and on other up-to-date topic in one of the next issues of The Day.