KIEV, Ukraine -- Alexander Davydov, former deputy transport minister, said that he’s feeling the heat from an ongoing string of police actions against top officials from the government of ex-prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, this year’s losing presidential candidate. Davydov also did not rule out fleeing abroad to escape the attention.
However, in an exclusive interview with the Kyiv Post, Davydov also said he’s reluctant to claim political persecution. He said he takes comfort in his faith as a practicing Mormon, support from his political allies and the fact that prosecutors have yet to file charges.
On Sept. 2, Kiev’s Pechersk District Court approved a request by prosecutors to search the apartment of Davydov, as part of what they call a pre-trial investigation into a criminal case opened in July by the Prosecutor General’s Office of Ukraine.
The move comes amid a series of jailings and manhunts being carried out under President Viktor Yanukovych, who narrowly defeated Tymoshenko, an outspoken critic of the current administration, in elections held earlier this year.
Davydov, who served as Tymoshenko’s pilot during 1990s and the general director of one her companies (EES-Avia) in the latter half of the same decade, could be charged with two counts of abuse of office going back to April 2008, in the procurement of $10,000 worth of legal services that prosecutors say were in fact performed by ministry lawyers. Each charge carries a minimum sentence of three years in prison.
But Davydov remains upbeat. “The [General] Prosecutor’s Office is still carrying out its investigation, looking into these episodes, but no charges have been filed yet,” he said.
The former deputy minister denied a report by the newspaper Kommersant Ukraine that his apartment had already been searched, but acknowledged being interviewed by prosecutors more than once.
“I cannot say anything more about this. I just don’t know. I am not familiar with the system – the prosecutor’s office and so forth. It seems to me that there is suspicion and that they are working on leads.”
Since mid-summer, several former high-ranking officials who served under ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, are either behind bars or on the run, with Tymoshenko herself publicly admitting that her political team is helping the fugitives evade political persecution.
Ihor Didenko, the former deputy head of state-owned Naftogaz oil and gas monopoly, has already been arrested, along with ex-customs chief Anatoliy Makarenko, the ex-deputy head of energy customs Taras Shepitko and former deputy defense minister Valeriy Ivashchenko.
Former Labor Minister Lyudmyla Denysova said that she is being targeted, while police are searching for Naftogaz accountant Maria Kushnir, and Former Minister of Economy Bohdan Danylyshyn has reported fled to Germany.
Davydov, as well as others could be next, but he told the Kyiv Post that he’s not packing his bags yet. “You know, it hasn’t come to that yet, and I don’t think it will. But you never know in life … You know, the times are such that I wouldn’t like to expand on such themes.”
In the mean time, the minister and arguably the highest-profile Ukrainian Mormon said he is strengthened by moral support from his political colleagues and his faith.
“You know, I am a member of the [Mormon] church. The truth is always stronger. If I am not guilty, what do I have to fear?”