Photo by Viktor Bystrov on Unsplash

The new interior minister in Ukraine promises to do more to make Ukraine less corrupt. On top of his agenda is the long-awaited reform of the police. 

Arsen Avakov, one of the most powerful men in Ukraine, recently stepped down as interior minister after being in power since February 2014. The Ukrainian parliament has approved his resignation, and parliament member Denys Monastyrsky from the President’s party Servant of the People has been appointed as the new interior minister. 

His predecessor Avakov has been criticized for being inefficient and corrupt by many. Kyiv Post refers to “how his (Avakov’s) annual declarations revealed the vast riches he acquired despite having spent most of his life in public service.” The paper also writes that Avakov has been accused of being inefficient, referring to his unsuccessful police reform and many unsolved cases such as the 2016 murder of Belarusian journalist Pavel Sheremet. 

In a speech in parliament, Monastyrsky promised to do more to battle crime and corruption.

“I’m from the president’s team, and I’ve been with him from the very beginning,” said Monastyrsky, “I’d like to thank President Volodymyr Zelensky for his trust.”

“I will do my best to fight those who use their authority to enrich themselves and those who violate human rights… I guarantee that the patrol police will keep punishing judges, prosecutors, and members of parliament for misdemeanors,” he said, according to Kyiv Post

He is close to Zelensky

Monastyrsky is hand-picked by Zelensky as the new interior minister. He has a background as a lawyer who represents a tv production company owned by Zelensky. He is, therefore, expected to be a loyal man, which critics say could either be good or bad. 

Many hope that he will be able to bring long-awaited changes to the police, while others are worried that the appointment of Monastyrsky will make no real difference. In parliament, member Oleksandra Ustinova asked Monastyrsky if he would reform the police.

Monastyrsky said that he would do everything that he can to combat organized crime and drug trafficking. He also said that he would focus on traffic safety, border security, and the problem of Russian aggression. 

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