Yanukovych's cops made a career in Moscow
The repression of Moscow's demonstrations this time has been particularly tough. Many recalled the Ukrainian police response of the early days of Euromaidan. Well, there is a reason.
- Thursday, 15 June 2017
Sergei Kusyuk's face wasn’t unnoticed. Former deputy chief of the Berkut, Yanukovych's special police, who fled Ukraine after the Maidan, was spotted in Moscow during anti-government demonstrations on June 12th.
The police response to the demonstrators was particularly tough. According to latest data, more than 1,600 people were arrested, not only in Moscow but in several Russian cities.
A video shot during dispersion of protesters on Tverskaya clearly shows Kusyuk in gray camouflage uniform, giving orders to riot police. A policeman calling him "colonel", the same rank he occupied in the Berkut, can be heard.
Kusyuk - according to many witnesses - was responsible for the first police beat-down on peaceful demonstrators in the early days of Euromaidan, on the night of November 30, 2013. This was also the episode that pushed more people on Independence Square, giving way to a revolution that caused more than one hundred dead.
The name of Kusyuk in those days was synonymous with violence and brutality. No wonder he fled Ukraine shortly after Yanukovych was ousted. According to information from the Interior Ministry, he sought shelter in Crimea along with another seventy Berkut. It is well known that some of them were granted the Russian passport and that at ten joined the Russian police already in May 2014. However, Kusyuk’s name wasn’t among them. Until recently.
A TV Dozhd reporter, Maria Karpukhina, photographed Kusyuk during the demonstrations while he was wearing the OMON uniform, sort of SWAT of the Russian police, giving orders to the radio. The picture clearly shows the Interior Ministry, MVD, badge on his right arm. The OMON have actually joined the Rosgvardija, the National Guard Putin recently created under his direct command.
Moreover, Kusyuk is not the only ex Berkut involved during the Maidan, seen in action against Aleksey Navalny's supporters.
It is wondering why some Ukrainian citizens wanted by the judiciary for crimes against the population are instead in a career in the ranks of the Russian police.
Kiev's Svyatoshinsky district court is proceeding against some former Berkut, suspected of the massacre of protesters on February 20, 2014 on Institutska Street. However, Kusiuk isn’t among them.
Last November, the court also heard former fugitive president Janukovich as a witness, in videoconference from Russia.
Why has Russia become the refuge of suspected wanted for such serious crimes as shooting at Maidan's unarmed demonstrators? How can we continue to ignore the direct involvement of the Kremlin in the Ukrainian crisis that led to the Crimean military annexation and the proxy war in Donbass?
It’s indeed an issue that deserves to be taken on the international agenda of relations between the USA and Europe with Russia. That should be put on Minsk's table, and in the rooms where sanctions are decided.
The photo taken by Karpukhina is (yet another) smoking gun in Putin's hands. How long can we keep ignoring them?