News Politics Society, 30/08/2017

Cruel Attack on Kharkiv Deputy and Anticorruption Activist

Today at about noon the deputy of the Kharkiv regional council and Head of Anticorruption center Dmytro Bulakh was attacked near his house in KhTZ district on his way to work.

Two people jumped upon him from behind and struck him on the head “with a heavy object.” After Bulakh fell, he was kicked severely.

Badly wounded Bulakh was able to call the ambulance, the police and his friends. In the hospital, the doctors diagnosed a craniocerebral injury, several fractures and other heavy injures stating the 34-year-old man’s condition was “medium grave” currently. 

The police began investigating the crime. However, the preliminary categorizing of the criminal proceedings as “hooliganism” sounds doubtful to the deputy’s colleagues taking into account his civic activity and work.

City council deputy Ihor Chernyak who is Bulakh’s partner and friend states that the attack was certainly connected with Bulakh’s anti-corruption activity and investigations.

“It was not a robbery or a rowdy attack as Dima’s valuable things and money were not taken. It was a political assault for sure. However, it is difficult to name the suspect as there were many directions of Bulakh’s work recently and various people were affected by his investigations.”

Kharkiv Observer wrote about protest actions against a tawdry column on the Maidan Svobody, when Bulakh and his colleagues stood against the unlawful architectural contest and won the court.

Also one of the resounding investigations by the Kharkiv Anticorruption centre was revealing the so-called “cooperative scheme.”

Yesterday Kharkiv mayor Hennady Kernes was reported to become a suspect in the proceedings on the cooperative scheme case. According to the Prosecutor’s investigation, in 2008, the then Mayor of Kharkiv Mikhail Dobkin, together with Kernes who was the Secretary of the City Council, and the heads of the Architecture and Land department used their official position for illegal land allocation.

It is difficult to say whether yesterday’s news and today’s cruel attack were only a coincidence.

Just recently the Economist wrote about “the increasingly hostile environment facing anti-corruption activists, journalists and reformist officials in Ukraine.” Today Kharkiv has sadly become the bright illustration of this point.

The Kharkiv Observer team wishes Dmytro Bulakh to recover soon. We also hope that the criminals who attacked the deputy will be punished.

Text: Olena Sokolynska

Photo: Pavlo Pakhomenko, Tetyana Bednyak