“Not all traitors and moles have yet been identified.” Political scientist Volodymyr Fesenko on the removal of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine and the head of the SBU Zelensky

The scenario for the dismissal of the Prosecutor General of Ukraine, Irina Venediktova, and the head of the Security Service of Ukraine, Ivan Bakanov, was with President Volodymyr Zelensky even before February 24. Ukrainian political scientist Vladimir Fesenko spoke about this in a conversation with The Insider. Today, Zelensky submitted to the Verkhovna Rada a draft resolution on the dismissal of Bakanov, there has been no talk of dismissing Venediktova yet.

According to the political scientist, the removal of Venediktova is due to a combination of reasons, many of which go back to the pre-war period. Disappointment in the effectiveness of Bakanov's work as head of the SBU was also there even before the war, Fesenko believes.

“I may surprise you, but the scenario for their dismissal was even before February 24th. There was even such an option when Bakanov could be redirected to the post of Prosecutor General. One way or another, there was dissatisfaction in the work of both, and the war intensified this, especially according to Bakanov. What the president said is inevitable, there were a lot of traitors and collaborators in 2014, and then they were quite prominent figures - this is Poklonskaya and the current head of the LPR Pasechnik, who headed the SBU in Lugansk.

At the same time, Bakanov actually dropped out of team work in the first days of the war, Fesenko emphasizes. According to the political scientist, this increased Zelensky's discontent, despite the fact that Bakanov is his longtime friend. After the outbreak of the war, it became clear that many personnel errors had been committed. For example, one of Bakanov's deputies, the former head of the internal security department of the Security Service of Ukraine, Andriy Naumov, fled to Serbia in the early days of the war. Several other leaders turned out to be traitors or acted extremely inefficiently. The trigger for Zelensky, according to Fesenko, was the detention of Bakanov’s assistant, the former head of the SBU department in Crimea Oleg Kulinich. Previously, Kulinich worked as the head of the territorial administration for Crimea, he was detained on charges of treason and work for the Russian special services.

“I think that this was the immediate reason for the removal of Bakanov. The fact that there are traitors among the prosecutors who remained in the occupied territories, according to individual employees of the SBU - unfortunately, this is a fact. I think that not everyone has been identified yet, so we should expect an investigation. Clearly there are moles, there are people who leak classified information, including for shelling. These are not only employees of the SBU and the prosecutor’s office, there are suspicions that there are such people both in the Armed Forces and in state structures.”

Zelensky was very dissatisfied with the situation in the SBU, the decision could have been prepared a month ago, when information about the possible dismissal of Bakanov appeared in the Ukrainian Pravda, the political scientist recalls. Then the President of Ukraine said that all government agencies and their work during the war is being audited. The results of this audit did not work in favor of Bakanov and against Venediktova, Fesenko explained. At the same time, there was also dissatisfaction with her work before the war, in particular, in the case of Petro Poroshenko, problems both in relations with international structures and within the country. In his opinion, they decided to unite the dismissal of Bakanov and Venediktova, because the Verkhovna Rada must give consent to the dismissal of the head of the SBU and the federal prosecutor. It is only a question of dismissal, since there is no decision yet on who will replace them, but they will still be fired, the expert believes. Fesenko expressed doubt that the people who are currently acting as Prosecutor General and head of the SBU will eventually become full-fledged leaders. They were appointed, since they were both first deputies.

The political scientist described the common problem of Bakanov and Venediktova as follows: “Both led structures for which they were strangers. Both the SBU and the prosecutor's office are corporate entities with their own clan consciousness, a kind of professional caste. This also comes from the Soviet KGB, and they are wary of strangers, if not hostile.” Venediktova herself had difficult cases, for example, the case of Putin's godfather Viktor Medvedchuk and ex-president Petro Poroshenko, in which she began to act very carefully, which caused "dissatisfaction and suspicion of a double game."

“Here I will note an important feature of Zelensky’s personnel policy - teamwork is important for him, this is from the 95th quarter, his associates in different positions should work as a single team, there should be no conflicts inside. When he sees work in his own interests or a departure from common tactics, this first causes distrust, and then discontent. As a result, such distrust and discontent gradually increased in relation to Venediktova.

Fesenko concluded that Bakanov worked as a lawyer, and Venediktova worked as a teacher of legal disciplines, so they “see legal restrictions,” and more decisive action is needed in a war.

The fact that the President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky dismissed the Prosecutor General of the country Irina Venediktova and the head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) Ivan Bakanov was reported on July 17. The duties of the Prosecutor General are assigned to her deputy Alexei Simonenko. Zelensky commented on the dismissal of Bakanov as follows:

“Today, 651 criminal proceedings have been registered on high treason and collaboration activities of employees of the prosecutor's office, pre-trial investigation bodies, and other law enforcement agencies. In 198 criminal proceedings, the relevant persons were informed of the suspicion. In particular, more than 60 employees of the bodies and the SBU remained in the occupied territory and are working against our state. Such an array of crimes against the foundations of the national security of the state and the connections recorded between the employees of the law enforcement agencies of Ukraine and the special services of Russia ask very serious questions to the relevant leaders.”

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