Continuing to translate this interview (which I found in somewhat circuitous fashion) given by Viktoria Gretskaya-Mirgorodskaya, ex-wife of Anton Gerashchenko (alt-spelling Herashchenko), member of inner circle of Arsen Avakov, Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine. In other words, G&A are the secret police of Ukraine, pretty much, except that their names are not secret, nor many of their dark deeds. Given that they inhabit a government consisting mostly of publicly exhibitionist and violent circus clowns.
The other major player in this saga is the Mayor of Kharkov, Gennady Kernes. Whom many have compared to the fictional Jewish gangster Ostap Bender. Not to be confused with the non-Jewish Stepan Bandera, who is the political idol of G&A.
Got all that clear? Where we left off in the interview, Vicky was telling us how Avakov and her ex met during the heady days of the Orange Revolution 2004-2005. Which, as we now know, in hindsight, was the dress rehearsal for the Maidan Revolution of a decade later.
[Bosak]: Did they [Gerashchenko and Avakov] have a joint business together?
[Vicky]: No. I can’t really say, since I have not communicated with him for three years now. And I don’t want to talk about things I don’t know. That’s first of all. Secondly, there was no joint business during that time.
Do you know how Gerashchenko got the position of Head of the Regional Administration? Who lobbied for him?
I lobbied for him. He was quite prepared to settle for the position of Assistant to the Governor, he was afraid to ask for more than that. At that time the so-called HQ was active and there were discussions, as in, you know, there is such a position, and we talked with various people. I don’t want to say their names, I think it would be very unpleasant for them. At that time there were 5 candidates for the position.
I believe that you recall the story about the Ferris wheel, which Gerashchenko sold for scrap metal? Why did he sell it, and to whom?
Here is the situation, to the extent that I remember the way he told the story. According to the documents, the Ferris wheel was already considered dangerous. Yes, in truth, he received a proposal from one of the structures, to take that wheel and turn it into scrap metal. That situation did take place. As to what extent the sale was legal/illegal? From the legal point of view, I don’t think there were any serious breaches. But I can tell you a different story. The Ferris wheel is funny, of course, but there are more serious matters. Gerashchenko organized land deals in the name of his assistants, and if you look in the registries, you can find the name of Sergei Chechetka, in whose name many land deals were made in the Krasnograd area. They were planning a project – a glass factory. All of this was supposed to be done for foreign investors. I don’t know what ever happened to that land, but there is no factory there. And you should also look at the information about his deputy, Alexei Rudenko, who was arrested for bribes, Gerashchenko’s ears are also burning on that one…
Was he the candidate for any party, when he was working as a Deputy of the Kharkov City Soviet?
He was working with Gennady Kernes, he was his assistant. They didn’t have a (political) party, but rather, if I am not mistaken, a social organization called “New Kharkov – New Possibilities”, and on the foundation of this organization he (Gerashchenko) had the opportunity to PR himself, and he received financing from Kernes, in order to become a Deputy.
Do we understand correctly, that Gerashchenko was able to become a municipal deputy and thus actually get into politics, thanks to Gennady Kernes?
Yes, 150%. Before then he had been on the ballot three times, but never won. The fourth time he got in, thanks to Kernes.
What connected Gerashchenko to the party “Our Ukraine” ?
In Krasnograd, as far as I know, he was the head of the party organization. He developed it himself and became a deputy on that list.
Do you happen to know why (he picked) “Our Ukraine” ? This was the East, all the same. There was a huge choice (of parties)…
Well, Arsen Borisovich was also in “Our Ukraine”, it made sense that the Head of Administration should be in the same party. Already in 2007 I had an argument with Gerashchenko because I had decided to join the “Batkivshchina” party; he was afraid that this would reflect on his career. I told him at the time: “Just you wait, some time will pass and you will all be in this party.” And so it came to be.
Do you know anything about Gerashchenko’s project “Mirotvorec” [“Peacekeeper”] ?
I know as much as any Ukrainian citizen. I know that there is such a project, and such a web site.
How would you evaluate the actions of such a project?
It is difficult for me to answer that question. I consider, that any attacks against the wholeness of the Ukraine — is a crime. The struggle against this crime can take various forms — and all the same, this is a question to be addressed to the security organs. I do understand that, having control over such a site, it could be used, partially, in one’s personal interests. Furthermore, I can tell you that, at the request of certain people, the names of certain citizens came onto that site; citizens who have no relationship whatsoever to Separatism, yet in some manner touched on the interests of Gerashchenko or his friends, and in this manner they extracted their revenge. I had a conversation with one such person, whose name was put onto that list, and he had a very tough time solving that problem. Due to this [having his name listed], he had a problem travelling abroad, and his reputation suffered, and yet he had nothing to do with Separatism. Everything depends, not on the concept of the project, but on whose hands it rests in. If this is just a mechanism for settling personal scores and defending one’s private interests, then I would never entrust such an instrument in the hands of Gerashchenko. In his character there are very few honorable principles, and therefore it is very hard to say how he would conduct himself in any system of struggle. He is a type of Beria… In my opinion, one should never hand a grenade to a monkey.
[to be continued]