Valerii Khoroshkovskyi: One should handle the moods of a society very delicately

8 June 2010, 15:01 | Society-digest | 0 |   | Code for Blog |  | 

KOMMERSANT, May 31, 2010 

Chief of the Security Service about the priorities in the work of the special services  

An excerpt from an interview with Khoroshkovskyi for Kommersant.


- Recently a conflict flared up due to a letter of Father Borys Gudziak, Ph.D., the rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University, where he accuses the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) of putting pressure on the university. Can you explain why a representative of the security services visited him?

- Prevention of crimes is a sacred duty of any law enforcement agency. So when we receive information about instigation to illegal acts and evidence, the only thing we want to do and, by the way, will always do, is try to protect the students’ environment by disengaging them from these processes.

- The SBU official had a meeting with the rector shortly before a visit of the President Viktor Yanukovych to Lviv. Are these events somehow connected?

- Only to a certain extent – the timing of the meeting and the visit was a coincidence. Our prevention work is not connected with the visits of higher officials. Although, I agree, the visit of the head of the state in Lviv could become a motive for some political forces.

- The rector’s indignation was caused not so much by the preventive conversation as by the fact that he was required to sign some documents. Was it not enough to confine the meeting to a conversation?

- The SBU official believed doing so he would provide evidence that he has done his job well, so I do not see any problems here: the rector did not want to sign – and that is his right. Generally speaking, don’t you think that this situation is slightly exaggerated and reminiscent of some technology? I have the deepest respect to professionals in any field, in this case to the rector of the university, and I am sincerely ready to explain to him the position of the service. But, I emphasize, no one and nothing will prevent the Security Service from doing its work; this is ruled out. We will use everything that makes up the toolbox of the SBU and is useful for the state. That is why I am not going to recede or cave in – I guarantee it one hundred percent. I was not present at the conversation, I do not know what was said and what words were used, though, as far as I know, this agent is acquainted with Fr. Gudziak and had met him a few times. I do not know why the conflict arose exactly now.

- If the clamor that arose around the SBU including the foreign press is a technology, what is its purpose?

- Now I see a few technology lines, which are realized by opponents of the stabilization processes occurring in the state. In particular, a line with a conditional name "restriction of freedom of speech” and linking the SBU to restriction of individual freedom... This doesn’t sound right. Once again I want to emphasize: we will be very tolerant and open, but we have our own duties and we will fulfill them rigidly.

- You have mentioned freedom of speech. In your opinion, is a statement about censorship, establishing an initiative, in particular, "Stop Censorship!" also a technology?

- Someone, probably, acts sincerely, someone picks up an idea of fighting for their own purposes, and someone finds infringement of freedom of speech, which indeed is not so. This is a process connected with an internal political struggle because the press is a sharp thing like a scalpel. It can be harmful and can serve to heal society. I believe freedom is a necessary attribute of development. Any limitation – like a boomerang – you will sooner or later come face-to-face with. Probably, I could be accused in something, but not that the Security Service in any way is trying to put pressure on the press; we will definitely not do so.

Translated by RISU

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