18 June. — Ukrainian parliament voted for the resignation of Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) chairman Valentin Nalivaychenko. His departure was initiated by President Petro Poroshenko. Despite the confident result of voting in parliament, it does not hide various interests and conflicts within the governing coalition.
A formal reason behind the resignation was that the President had become disappointed with his work, with the involvement of his staff in illegal trafficking of goods at checkpoints and corruption. Nalivaychenko had also begun to demonstrate his presidential ambitions, supported by large financial and industrial groups of Sergey Levochkin and Dmitry Firtash, and Dmitro Yarosh’s volunteer movement.
It was 10 June when President Poroshenko proposed Nalivaychenko to resign for the first time but he refused. However, quite soon another chance emerged. A conflict between the SBU and the General Prosecutor’s Office broke out over a burnt bulk plant near Kiev. On 14 June, the SBU chairman used his TV appearance to disclose that the plant was covered by deputy General Prosecutor Anatoly Danilenko. This resulted in an invitation of Nalivaychenko to the General Prosecutor’s Office as his visit to the US was cancelled.
Pro-government deputies also levelled their criticism at the SBU chairman. On 15 June, deputy Sergey Leschenko wrote on Facebook that Nalivaychenko abused his position to help Dmitry Firtash when he prevented one of his rivals from entering Ukraine.
However, Nalivaychenko again refused to resign and the President started to gather votes to fire him. People’s Front, the Fatherland and the Radical Party hesitated. President’s bloc lacked unity and one its member groups, UDAR (close to Vitaly Klitschko), withdrew their support. There were divisions within the Self-Reliance Party. Many demanded explanations in public but led secret talks over concessions for their support. On 16 June, only the President’s bloc was ready to vote for the resignation.
The situation made a U-turn next day when the President managed to reach agreements. The media wrote that Poroshenko offered various preferences to different factions in exchange for their votes.
However, the confident outcome of voting did not hide contradictions. The resignation was criticised by Oleg Lyashko, Borislav Bereza and Semyon Semenchenko. The latter added in an interview with the 112.ua website that the faction would press ahead with the motion to fire all those in the General Prosecutor’s Office who were disclosed by Nalivaychenko.
There are now two candidates for the post of the SBU chairman: first deputy chairman Vasily Gritzak and deputy head of the Presidential Administration Andrey Taranov.