Prytulak   InfoUkes Posting   01-Sep-1997   Boris Derevyanko (Hurvits on the attack)
Date:  Mon, 01 Sep 1997 08:02:54 -0700
To:  [email protected]
From:  Lubomyr Prytulak
Subject:  Boris Derevyanko (Hurvits on the attack)

The principle of CUI BONO — (Who gains? In whose interests is this act?) — invites us to place probable responsibility for an act with the one who has most to gain.  We may soften the application of this principle to that of merely beginning our search for the wrongdoer on the basis of apparent gain for the wrongful act.  Say a woman is killed and her husband is the beneficiary of a million dollar life insurance policy (and perhaps no one else can be seen to have gained anything by the death) — then on the basis of this alone, we don't convict the husband, we don't even accuse him, but we do start our search for the killer with him.

In the case of the murder of Boris Derevyanko, it appears that since it is Mayor Eduard Hurvits and his administration who were the focus of editor Boris Derevyanko's criticisms, and since it is the mayor and his administration who were threatened with losses in the upcoming municipal elections in 1998, that the gain from Derevyanko's death is theirs, and at the same time no other interests appear to have benefited.

That Eduard Hurvits is saying the right things with respect to the police is just so much hot air — it does not appreciably increase the probability that the police will catch the real assassins and trace their chain of command to the top.  The big joke is that it would appear that in fact it is the mayor himself who heads the police, or at least has enough administrative control over them that he is in a position to increase their efficiency or to wipe out their corruption: "...conceding that as mayor he was answerable for the success or failure of the investigation...."

Thus, Eduard Hurvits' railing at the police is no more than a further condemnation of his own administration.

Below is Evandro Martins Fontes' posting of September 1/97, subject "Boris Derevyanko" that occasioned my reflections:

Editor’s murder prompts mayor to blast police

By Stefan Korshak


ODESSA – Police are holding two suspects in the apparent contract killing of Odessa newspaper editor Boris Derevyanko on Aug. 11 [1997].

Both of the detained men resemble a composite sketch of a man witnesses saw running from the scene of the murder, which took place on a city street in broad daylight.

Neither suspect is known to have been charged.

Odessa Region Assistant Police Chief Grigory Epur, who is leading the manhunt for Derevyanko’s assassin, said the search for the killer is continuing.  Police spokesmen remained close-mouthed about the suspects, declining comment on the backgrounds of the two men, their responses to detectives’ questions, and any possible leads they had provided. Police are known to generally consider the murder the result of a political vendetta, although Epur said robbery has not been ruled out as a motive for the shooting.

The investigation is already drawing fire from all points of the political compass, with long-time Derevyanko opponent Mayor Eduard Hurvits oddly the most vocal critic.  "If in a very short period of time Boris Derevyanko’s murderer is not found, I intend to demand from the president of our country that new people that are capable of catching bandits be named to direct our regional law-enforcement agencies,” the mayor said in a speech carried on regional television.

While conceding that as mayor he was answerable for the success or failure of the investigation, Hurvits claimed that long-term shortcomings in the police force had muddied the case.

“One, and perhaps the main, reason for the death of Boris Fyodorovich Derevyanko is the unprofessional, ineffective work of law enforcement agencies in the past,” said Hurvits.  “The criminals believed that they would go unpunished, and that they had the ability to do whatever they chose and that their strength was unlimited.  With each previous attack they went further and further.”

Hurvits, who faces a re-election campaign next year, said Odessa police had a history of either failing to catch contract killers or killing suspects, and demanded that that they bring in Derevyanko’s killer or killers alive.  “I would like to request, indeed beg, the police that if they do manage to capture the murderer of Boris Fyodorovich, that they show him to us alive so that we can hear the suspect’s version of what happened, and not what the police say a dead man told them,” he said.

Acting Prosecutor General Oleh Lytvak agreed that Odessa police could do a better job protecting media representatives, noting that 12 of the 42 attacks on Ukrainian journalists in the previous 18 months had taken place in the city. By comparison there were six recorded attacks in Dnipropetrovsk and three in Kyiv in the same period.

Facing re-election in March 1998, Hurvits has criticized police here with increasing vitriol for what the mayor said is chronic inability by police to get their man if the suspect is a contract killer.