Reform Watch

Ukrainian politician and a member of People’s Front party Serhiy Pashynsky.

Photo by Facebook account of Serhiy Pashynsky

Kyiv Pechersk Court on Oct. 7 arrested Serhiy Pashynsky, a former influential lawmaker with the party led by ex-Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk, several Ukrainian media reported.

The arrest order extends until Dec. 4 for wounding a man with a gun on New Year’s Eve on Dec. 31, 2016, as a result of an argument about driving. He was charged by the State Investigative Bureau, a newly formed body that investigates crimes in which top officials are suspected. It was unclear if a judge allowed Pashynsky to be released on bail.

Pashynsky, who has always called the shooting incident a matter of self-defense, claimed the court decision was a political vendetta. Pashynsky named Andriy Bohdan, presidential chief of staff, and Andriy Portnov, former deputy head of the administration of the ousted President Viktor Yanukovych, as people who are behind his persecution.

“I’m very sorry we returned back in times of Yanukovych and Portnov,” Pashynsky told during the court hearing, a YouTube video shows. “There were no reasons for my detention.”

In the previous parliament, Pashynsky headed the security and defense committee and was a close ally of Yatseniuk and Oleksandr Turchynov, former head of the National Security and Defense Council. Turchynov visited Pashynsky’s court hearing on Oct. 7. During his time in parliament, Pashynsky was involved in several corruption scandals, including the alleged attempt to take over a confectionary in Zhytomyr or of being a beneficiary of various corrupt schemes in the defense sector. Pashynsky denied all the accusations. 

The People’s Front party, with 81 out of 423 members in the last parliament, fell out of favor during their five years as the second-largest faction in parliament and are no represented. Pashynsky ran in the July 21 election as a candidate in a single-member district in Korosten, a Zhytomyr Oblast city of 65,000 people located 163 kilometers northwest of Kyiv. He lost.

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