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Post Scriptum. Cop wars

Infighting between Ukrainian law-enforcement agencies has reached its apogee. It has always been there, either in the open or veiled form, but today it became plain obvious.

The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) is in confrontation with the Interior Ministry, the Prosecutor-General's Office with the National Anticorruption Bureau of Ukraine. And other way around. All of them "follow" each other, tap conversations, subject each other to checks and confiscate documents.

Sometimes they clash over who gets a praise for cracking a high-profile case, sometimes for control over illegal amber mining, and sometimes for covering up smuggling in the "grey zone" [of the security operation area in the east].

The problem is that our law-enforcement agencies are products of the Soviet and post-Soviet legacy. They are "Soviet" in a sense that they are politicized. Remember how such agencies were called an "armed team of the party" back in the Soviet times?

In the post-Soviet era, they turned into true businessmen. Many of them still are.

How should power-wielding agencies be reformed now? Not of the Interior Ministry, or the Prosecutor-General's Office, or the SBU separately but collectively? It should be directed above all at preventing them from being a) a tool for settling political scores; b) a tool for making profits.

The agencies have to focus on carrying out their direct functions: solve crimes, fight against criminals, do counterintelligence for the benefit of their country. They should be competing in these tasks. Healthy competition for the benefit of the system, our state and us, ordinary Ukrainians. Publicity and as broad as possible civil control are the tools which can make them do this by turning their attention away from enrichment and murky corruption deals.

We, civil society, are capable of using these tools. It depends on us to how far we are ready to go.

It seems to me it is time we give it a thought.

Good night and good luck!

Sonya KoshkinaSonya Koshkina, editor in chief
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