Statement on the appointment of a top Yanukovych-era Interior Ministry official to the Office of the President Zelensky

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We, the representatives of human rights and other civil society organizations, express our grave concern over the appointment of individuals, who discredited themselves during the Revolution of Dignity and while holding top positions in law enforcement were directly or indirectly involved in mass scale human rights violations, to top positions in the government, in particular to positions that allow to shape law enforcement policy and to reform the law enforcement system.

The statement is a reaction to the appointment of ex Deputy Head of the Chief Investigative Department of the Ministry of Interior Mr. Oleh Tatarov to the  position of Deputy Head of The Office of the President of Ukraine.  According to the information published on President’s official website: “Oleh Tatarov’s mandate will include shaping of the state policy in the area of law enforcement, expert analytical support of the operation of The Office of the President of Ukraine, safeguarding national security interests in the area of law enforcement, fight against corruption and protection of human rights.”

We remind that during the reign of Viktor Yanukovych and during the EuroMaidan Oleh Tatarov worked as the Deputy Head of the Chief Investigative Department of the Ministry of Interior.

In 2014 Oleh Tatarov blatantly misled journalists on the events that happened at night ahead of January 23rd, 2014 on Kriposnyi Lane and on Konovaltsia street in Kyiv. That night representatives of the riot police unit Berkut had beaten activists of AutoMaidan  and smashed their cars.  According to Tatarov’s version, it was the activists of AutoMaidan who “chased four buses of Berkut” and “attempted to injure them” that night. 

The lawyer of families of the Heavenly Hundred, Yevheniya Zakrevska points out that the lies spread by Tatarov legitimizes “inhumane beating up, tortures and destruction of vehicles of activists during a special operation (i.e. organized crime) which was planned by and executed by Berkut, anti-drug unit of Ministry of Interior, Criminal Police, contracted thugs (aka titushky), top management of the Kyiv Office of Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Interior.” The beaten activists were then arrested, majority were later detained, accused of, according to Tatarov’s words “hooliganism and mass riots”.

On top of that, during the reign of Yanukovych, Tatarov, in the role of Deputy Head of the Chief Investigative Department of the Ministry of Interior, on many occasions publicly stated that police had no relation to the violence and killings that happened during EuroMaidan.  In particular, he made statements about police not using firearms against protestors and that the nature of the wounds identified on some of killed protestors may indicate they could have been shot at by fellow protestors. 

Following the Revolution of Dignity, there were attempts to appoint Tatarov to the position of Deputy Head of Kherson Regional Administration. Yet, after resonance in media the Head of the Kherson Regional Administration changed his mind over the appointment. Among those who was a vocal opponent of that appointment was later assaulted and killed Katya Handziuk.

Based on the analysis above we call on the President of Ukraine to dismiss Oleh Tatarov from the position of Deputy Head of The Office of the President of Ukraine and in the future not to allow for appointment of individuals who justified and covered mass crimes and human rights violations and who themselves epitomize the Yanukovych regime as they were holding important positions in law enforcement back then to any important political positions.   

Association Of Ukrainian Human Rights Monitors On Law Enforcement

Human Rights Center DIYA

Human Rights Initiative


Analytical Platform NGO

People’s Council NGO

Civic Position

Institute of Mass Information NGO

Vostok SOS

Human Rights Center POSTUP

DEJURE Foundation

Media Project “Watchers”

Agency for Legislative Initiatives

Ukrainian School of Political Studies

Media Initiative for Human Rights

Center of Development and Democracy

CHESNO movement

Truth Hounds NGO

Kharkiv Anti-Corruption Center


Kharkiv Human Rights Group

Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union

Anti-Corruption Action Centre

Human Rights Center ZMINA

Center for Civil Liberties

Human Rights Platform

Advocacy Advisory Panel

Kharkiv Regional Foundation “Public Alternative”

Capitulation Resistance Movement

Institute for Social Innovation

Pylyp Orlyk Democracy Institute

Human Rights House Chernihiv

Cherkasy Human Rights Center

Group of Strategic and Security Studies

Center for Political and Legal Reforms

NGO “E + Initiative

NGO VO “ -” Trukhanivska Sich “

Odesa Political Platform Media Center


GS “Initiative group of victims / wounded on the Maidan”

NGO “Association of Families of the “Heavenly Hundred” and activists of the Revolution of Dignity “

Editorial staff of the memory site