On Friday, on the 'Savik Shuster Live' TV program, former minister of Defence Anatoliy Hrytsenko, who presently heads the Parliamentary National Security and Defence committee, suggested that current Deputy Minister of Defence, Oleksandr Cherpitsky, could be out of a job by the end of the week. Hrytsenko's committee has written to both president Yanukovych and to PM Mykola Azarov demanding his dismissal.
Hrytsenko alleged the SBU, [Security Service of Ukraine] had twice refused Oleksandr Cherpitsky access to state secrets, therefore he was not allowed to attend a recent meeting of his parliamentary committee.
[Incidentally, Oleksandr Cherpitsky's brother, Oleh, was until recently a BYuT deputy but switched loyalties and is now part of the PoR-led ruling parliamentary coalition. Last year he was in the headlines for seriously assaulting a journalist.]
Oleksandr Cherpitsky was appointed deputy Minister of Transport in February this year by the-then PM Yulia Tymoshenko to gain loyalty and support of his sister-in-law i.e. brother Oleh's wife, who was a judge in the Higher Administrative Court. She may have been useful to Tymoshenko when Yulka T. was challenging the result of the presidential elections, having lost to Yanukovych, earlier this year. In the event, the lady judge went 'AWOL' and was of no help.
In April this year, the authorative 'Dzerkaly Tyzhnya', citing official police records, published an article revealing Oleksandr and Oleh Cherpitsky's sinister past.
In 1991 Oleksandr, nickname 'Chepchyk', was a member of a criminal gang 'Kuponshchyky' - and was sought by the police for extortion and other crimes. Two years later he joined the 'Akademiky' gang, and sought refuge in the Czech republic or Slovakia. In 1997 he was placed on an Interpol wanted list and was detained in 1999. In 2001, as member of the 'Vosmynohy' gang, he was linked in police reports to violent robberies.
Anyhow, perhaps in recognition of his expertise in these fields, newly-elected president Yanukovych quickly appointed brother Oleksandr as Deputy Minister of Defence, and also director of the State Department responsible for "disposal" of surplus land and other military assets. These amount to thousands of vehicles, buildings, many thousands of hectares of land, and most alarmingly, hundreds of tons of weaponry etc. etc.
How may more 'Chepchyks' are are walking through the corridors of power in Ukraine right now, I wonder?
P.s. On the above-mentioned Shuster programme Cherpitsky confronted Hrytsenko and denied that he was ever in jail, or ever associated with such a criminal past. The looks on the faces of most of the guests in the studio suggested otherwise..