For the past two weeks, Ukraine has been swamped in a torrent of news stories unveiling the magnitude of the country’s police brutality and impunity. Policemen in Kyiv were accused of beating a student to death. Raisa Radchenko, an elderly civil rights campaigner in Zaporizhya, was incarcerated in a mental institution against her will, and only recently released under pressure from human rights groups. Stories like these make the headlines of Ukrainian news on a daily basis. Increasingly, these police abuses unleash a wave of resistance from the civil society, similar to protests in Turkey and Bulgaria, yet on a much limited scale. This movement has, however, received very little attention in European Union countries, both in EU foreign policy circles and general public alike.
At the end of June news broke out that a 29-year-old woman had been severely beaten up and raped by three men, two of them policemen, in a Southern town of Vradiyivka. Amid the foot-dragging of law-enforcing authorities, a crowd of over 1000 townsmen besieged the local police station demanding to hand over the accused policemen. Under pressure from the protesters, the latter were arrested and some low-ranking officials sacked.
The events in Vradiyivka had ripple effects across the country, as they were followed by protests in a dozen Ukrainian towns. Read More…