President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko has recently fled from his rally in Zhytomyr after Ukrainian nationalists came there to "greet" him. Not only photographers, but also local residents were taking pictures of the head of state jumping over puddles. People wearing uniform and plain clothes were running after him.
Activists of the National Corps came with posters and were shouting "Shame!", "Liar!", and "Marauders to prison!" Poroshenko labeled them as scoundrels and hurried away. Today these pictures are widely discussed on Ukrainian social networks. They have gathered several thousand likes and comments in just a few days.
A similar situation occurred on March 9 in Cherkassy, where the radicals tried to rush their way to Poroshenko. They provoked common Ukrainians for a fight, attacked policemen, sprayed gas, and tried to block the passage of the president's escort. Twenty-two police officers were injured.
The radicals staged the "Day of Wrath" action near the presidential administration on the same day, demanding to punish corrupt officials. Members of the National Corps party led by Andriy Biletsky vowed to disrupt any Poroshenko's rally until he imprisons his associate Oleh Gladkovskiy and his son Ihor for corruption at Ukroboronprom.
"Radical units in Ukraine were traditionally controlled by Minister of Interior Affairs Arsen Avakov. It is hard to imagine that the radicals got out of his control and started to act on their own. Judging by this, one can assume that Avakov was aware of what was happening. It is likely that it was he who had made such an order. There is an impression that Avakov intentionally plays against Poroshenko. Many of his recent actions and statements prove this," Deputy Director of the CIS Countries Institute Vladimir Zharikhin told Inforos.
Ukrainian journalist Bohdan Koval said in his investigation material in late February that back in 2018 there was an agreement between Poroshenko, Prime Minister Groysman and Avakov to reinforce Ukraine's National Police and National Guard in between the parliamentary and presidential elections.
The sum allocated for this purpose considerably exceeded the figures of the previous years and amounted to almost 6 billion hryvni. It was expected to buy vehicles, protection means, water cannons, stun guns, batons, shields and other special means to disperse rallies and demonstrations. Well, and to distribute by tradition the remainder of the sum between themselves.
Later a group of investigative journalists from Bihus.info published data indicating what the money requested by Avakov was spent at in reality. A program of selling excessive military materiel that is supervised by the government and Ukroboronprom was introduced in 2016. The journalists publicized correspondence of the scheme participants from which it comes clear who is paid, for what is paid and how much is paid.
The fraud was masterminded by the defense company head and officials close to Poroshenko. The corruption scheme had worked for several years and allowed to launder billions of hryvni. The essence of the scheme is that Ukrainian companies were supplied hardware and spare parts with a 300% markup through rogue companies.
The journalists said that for some reason Avakov wasn't taken into account. As a result, some of the money was spent at buying the required means, but the major part of it was divided among people from Poroshenko's and Groysman's entourage. The minister of interior affairs was "duped," as people would say. It is quite possible that this was the reason for Avakov's revenge on President Poroshenko.
"A hundred of the eastern war veterans came to the rally of the presidential candidate, who is also the commander-in-chief. They came to look into his eyes and ask a simple question – why his godson and his business partner Gladkovskiy, both senior and junior, are not yet in prison? Poroshenko and his subordinates want to forget about them. Let me recall that they stole hundreds of millions, and more likely billions, from the country's defense budget," leader of the National Corps and Verkhovna Rada member Andriy Biletsky explained the situation.
Ukrainian soldiers were deprived of an opportunity to ask the president how he together with his associates became a billionaire on the blood of their brothers-in-arms, Biletsky said. He thinks that Poroshenko's associates "exist only on the Internet and they live on the money stolen in Ukraine."
Today, Poroshenko has encountered another threat which he is unlikely to eradicate before the election. Ukrainian nationalists associated with Minister of Interior Affairs Avakov started a hunt for him. To a certain extent the events in Zhytomyr and Cherkassy are purely electoral in nature.
It is quite possible that Avakov and his people want to eventually discredit the president making the remainder of his supporters turn him down. That is why the interest in the corruption scandal in the defense sphere that Poroshenko and his team are involved in is being maintained. It is likely that this will be the minister's main trump in the fight against the associate, who deceived him.