More than five million hryvnias – this is the amount of non-payments to people’s deputies since the beginning of 2022 due to absenteeism at committee meetings and non-participation in voting at meetings of the Verkhovna Rada without good reason. During the first four months, 101 parliamentarians stopped reimbursement of expenses related to the exercise of their parliamentary powers.
There are truants who have not received funds in all factions and deputy groups, as well as among non-factional ones. However, the largest percentage of truants out of the total number of deputies in the faction is among representatives of the former Opposition Platform for Life: there, almost 66% of people’s deputies have not received “deputy” since the beginning of the year.
Among the truants of the committees are the head of the Servant of the People faction David Arakhamia and his deputy Nikolai Tishchenko, the fifth president of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, the leader of the party “Batkivshchyna» Yulia Tymoshenko, the Levochkin family from PZZhM, leaders of the group «Innovation of Ukraine» Vadim Stolar and Igor Abramovich and many others.
“Rukh CHESNO” analyzed the lists of people’s deputies of Ukraine received from the Department of Affairs and the Regulations Committee of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, who were stopped from accruing funds related to the exercise of deputy powers for the first four months of 2022.
During the entire term of deputyship, the parliamentarian is reimbursed monthly for the costs associated with the implementation of deputy powers. In accordance with Part 4 Art. 33 of the Law “On the Status of People’s Deputy of Ukraine”, he receives these compensations from the day of his election as a deputy. According to Part 4 Art. 32 of the mentioned law, the amount of these payments corresponds to the amount of the monthly salary of a deputy.
Taking into account the declared incomes of individual people’s deputies, the deprivation of deputies’ funds due to absenteeism for several months will not significantly affect their standard of living. However “Rukh CHESNO” emphasizes that the non-participation of the deputy in the work of the parliament without good reason indicates a failure to fulfill the duties assigned to him by the voters. So the positive, at first glance, the effect of “savings” on truants should not replace the real goal – to minimize absenteeism among deputies.
We included among the fined truants all deputies who, since the beginning of 2022, in the Verkhovna Rada of the ninth convocation were deprived of payment for at least one month of absenteeism.
At the same time, it should be emphasized that on 27 April this year the Steering Committee recommended for the period of martial law in Ukraine, to stop not only the reimbursement of “deputy” expenses, but also the compensation of the cost of travel, rental housing or hiring a hotel room to those people’s deputies who, with the start of Russia’s large-scale aggression against Ukraine, missed without good reason during the corresponding calendar month all plenary meetings of the Verkhovna Rada and meetings of committees, as well as those deputies who left the territory of Ukraine and are still abroad.
In addition, according to the deputies themselves, now the apparatus of the Verkhovna Rada is trying to save on expenses as much as possible, in particular, people’s deputies do not receive funds for business trips and salaries for the period of business trips.
The Regulations Committee of the Verkhovna Rada reported that there is a letter from the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Valery Zaluzhny regarding the People’s Deputy from the EU Mykhailo Zabrodsky about the People’s Deputy’s stay at the disposal of the Minister of Defense of Ukraine from February 24, 2022. Recall that Zabrodsky is a lieutenant general of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and in 2015-2019 he commanded the air assault troops.
It is also reported that the people’s deputy from the group “For Future” Sergei Rudik has been in military service since March 13, 2022. Therefore, “Rukh CHESNO” does not include these deputies in the ranks of truants, who were deprived of “deputy” ones.
The Department of Affairs of the Verkhovna Rada, at the request of Rukh CHESNO, reported that in January-March 2022, the people’s deputies of Ukraine were set the amount of reimbursement of expenses related to the exercise of deputy powers in the amount of UAH 24,810, in April – UAH 27,291, in May – UAH 29,772 UAH per month.
Sixteen people’s deputies were deprived of accruals related to the exercise of deputy powers for all the first four months of 2022. The vast majority of them are representatives of the former OPF faction, two are non-factional and former “servants” Lyudmila Buimister and Yevgeny Shevchenko, as well as representatives of the “For the Future” group, Volyn majoritarians Igor Palytsya and Stepan Ivakhiv. In addition, the fifth president of Ukraine, the people’s deputy from the EU Petro Poroshenko, who was on the same list in November 2019after the changes regarding truants have come into force.
Nine more people’s deputies were not counted as “deputies” during three months of 2022. Among them are the head of the Servant of the People faction, David Arakhamia, who, after the start of a full-scale war of Russia against Ukraine, heads the negotiating group of Ukraine, a representative of the Batkivshchyna from the Kharkiv region, Vitaly Danilov, and a majoritarian from the Lviv region from the For the Future group, Yaroslav Dubnevich, who is suspected of taking over UAH 93 million of funds from Ukrzaliznytsia.
Recall: in October 2019, the Verkhovna Rada accepted amendments to the legislation, according to which a people’s deputy, during the calendar month of one regular session, without good reason, did not directly participate in more than 30% of the voting in decision-making at plenary meetings or in more than 50% of the meetings of the committee to which he was elected, for this month they do not reimburse the costs associated with the implementation of deputy powers. What is recorded in Part 5 of Article 33 of the Law “On the Status of People’s Deputy of Ukraine”.
Reimbursement of expenses for the performance of deputy powers should not be confused with compensation to people’s deputies for the cost of travel or rental housing. The parliamentarians themselves call this compensation “the second salary”, or “deputy’s”. After all, each deputy disposes of these funds at his own discretion: someone spends them for their own needs, someone buys stationery for their reception rooms, and someone even engages in “greek breeding”».
On a monthly basis, the apparatus of the Verkhovna Rada submits to the Regulation Committee information about people’s deputies who, during the previous month, without good reason, did not take part in more than 30% of the voting at plenary meetings or more than 50% of the meetings of their committees. On the basis of this information, the committee appeals to the head of the Verkhovna Rada with the idea of stopping the reimbursement of these people’s deputies for the costs associated with the exercise of deputy powers for this period. The speaker, by his order, deprives truants of these payments.
Already after the issuance of such an order, the apparatus can submit to the Regulation Committee updated information about this or that truant, indicating that this people’s deputy actually missed the vote or the meeting of the committee for good reasons (for exampleprovided any documentary evidence). In this case, the procedural committee excludes the parliamentarian from among the truants and asks the speaker to do the same, after which the deputy receives legal payments.
Read more articles by the author link.