Halushchenko’s Group: Profile
article by Yurii Nikolov,
Journalist and founder of the Nashi hroshi project, Ukraine
The appointment of Andrii Yermak as head of the Presidential Office at the turn of 2020 ushered in the change of top managers in Ukraine’s key energy agencies. Bankova Street is confidently switching the economy to manual mode. Energoatom was the first; the Ministry of Energy, the National Commission for State Regulation of Energy and Public Utilities, Guaranteed Buyer and Market Operator followed suit. The Gas Transmission System Operator of Ukraine was targeted the other day; Ukrenergo is expected to be captured soon. Thankfully, evil is more than personified, and it is time its face was revealed.
All these instances are clearly influenced by Herman Halushchenko, who got into the power industry together with the people of Andrii Derkach. He now enjoys unquestioning trust of the Presidential Office, represented by Andrii Yermak and his deputies, Oleh Tatarov and Rostyslav Shurma.
Links between Derkach and Halushchenko
Herman Halushchenko, a career lawyer, became vice president of Energoatom in spring 2020, shortly after Andrii Yermak replaced Andrii Bohdan as head of the Presidential Office and Andrii Honcharuk’s cabinet was supplanted by Denys Shmyhal’s team.
It was not Halushchenko’s first time in atomic energy. In 2013–2014, he had officially served as legal services director at Energoatom, when the enterprise was chaired by Mykyta Konstantinov. In turn, the latter had worked as vice president of Energoatom in 2005–2006, when the company was run by Andrii Derkach. After the Revolution of Dignity in 2014, Konstantinov fled Ukraine and started working at Rosatom. According to the Security Service of Ukraine, Derkach was recruited by Russian intelligence services during the same period.
In 2020, along with Halushchenko, Energoatom saw the coming of Oleh Boiaryntsev, Andrii Derkach’s aide in 2002–2019. At first, he became chief consultant at the presidential service of Energoatom and was later appointed human resource director. At the beginning of the Russian invasion in March 2022, the Security Service of Ukraine suspected Boiaryntsev in treason and detained him not far from the Rivnenska Nuclear Power Plant. The apprehension, however, did not result in his removal from office.
Consequently, Derkach’s influence on the personnel of Energoatom was evident enough to be brought up by Yurii Vitrenko, who served as acting energy minister in 2021: “Derkach’s influence on Energoatom has reached historic proportions. Many of his people are there. I know that for a fact.”
Now known as a traitor, Derkach was allegedly recruited by the Russian intelligence as late as 2016. After Volodymyr Zelenskyy became president, he and Oleksandr Dubinskyi, a member of the Servant of the People party, published recordings of phone calls between Petro Poroshenko and Joe Biden, leaks meant to discredit the two presidents and heighten anti-American sentiment among Ukrainians.
However, Derkach’s activity ended in a failure. Haluschenko publicly stated that his links to Derkach were a fake. Derkach was eventually relegated to a minor post in the border Hlukhiv district, Sumy region, where he hid before being put on the wanted list for treason.
He used to be an extremely influential player on the Ukrainian political scene. Andrii Derkach’s father, Leonid Derkach, served as head of the Security Service of Ukraine from 1998 to 2002 – exactly at the time of Heorhii Honhadze’s assassination and the high-profile scandal around recordings from President Leonid Kuchma’s office, known as Melnychenko’s tapes.
Andrii godfathered children of Yurii Lutsenko (former Prosecutor-General and Minister of the Interior) and Davyd Zhvania (former MP and supplier of Russian fuel to Energoatom, who defected to Russia before the invasion and was killed near Zaporizhzhia).
Derkach’s daughter is married to the son of Volodymyr Lytvyn, a long-standing chairman of the Verkhovna Rada and the Presidential Administration (also at the time of Honhadze’s assassination). The brother of Derkach’s wife is married to the daughter of the Russian oligarch Konstantin Grigorishyn.
In 2004, during the first Maidan, Derkach put on an orange scarf as one of the key members of the Socialist Party that joined the ruling coalition. In 2005–2006, it enabled him, with President Viktor Yushchenko’s permission, to become director of Energoatom. Herman Halushchenko’s then official position was in President Yushchenko’s secretariat. Rumors have it he allegedly provided legal counsel to people from the atomic industry; it has not been officially confirmed.
Other members of Halushchenko’s group
Two years after Halushchenko’s return, key positions in the state energy sector were occupied by managers associated with Halushchenko or loyal to him.
Two days before the invasion of the Russian Federation, Kostyantyn Ushchapovskyi was appointed head of the National Commission for State Regulation of Energy and Public Utilities, replacing Valery Tarasyuk, who resigned under pressure from the President’s Office. Prior to that, he was an adviser to Minister of Energy Halushchenko.
During his career, Ushchapovskyi managed to work in many state structures, including Ukrenergo and Energoatom. His wife Valeriya Ushchapovska owned a share in the company Enerhospetsremont. Her partners in this firm were Hryhoriy and Ivan Plachkovy, also well-known actors of the energy market at the beginning of the century.
Yuriy Vlasenko is the first deputy and right-hand man of Minister Halushchenko. He worked for many years at the National Commission for State Regulation of Energy and Public Utilities. According to the source, it was Vlasenko who forced chairman of Ukrenergo board Volodymyr Kudrytskyi in December 2021 to submit a petition to the supervisory board to dismiss two board members Andriy Nemyrovskyi and Maksym Yurkov, with a view to appointing ministerial people in their place (read about Hapon and Olefir below). After the synchronization of the Ukrainian energy system with the European one this spring, Vlasenko had to supervise Halushchenko’s order to distribute to six companies Ukrenergo’s income from the sale of rights to the interstate crossing.
Mykola Kolisnyk worked for many years in the directorate of the ministry dealing with international relations. Under Safarov’s patronage, Halushchenko promoted him up the official ladder to the level of deputy minister. The team of the Halushchenko’s Group tried to promote Kolisnyk to the position of head of the OGTSU with the help of a series of illegal decisions. They abandoned the idea only after its publicity.
Yuriy Hapon is the second unsuccessful candidate from Halushchenko for the board of Ukrenergo. He is a Security Service of Ukraine employee, specializes in economic security, is not an expert in energy at all, and owes his career to Andrii Derkach’s father, Leonid (head of the Security Service of Ukraine during Leonid Kuchma’s time).
Petro Kotin is head of Energoatom, in fact controlled by Halushchenko. People with Russian passports and close ties to the Russian Federation work under his command. Known for categorically opposing the IAEA mission to the Zaporizhzhia NPP until August, he changed his rhetoric only after Andrii Yermak’s public statements. He desperately defends the detained by the Security Service of Ukraine subordinate Oleh Boyaryntsev, whose work he refused to discuss at the meeting of the parliamentary committee. Boyaryntsev, of course, was also a member of Derkach’s team in the past.
In December 2021, Andrii Pylypenko headed the Guaranteed Buyer SE. Before that, he worked as a lawyer at Khmelnytskoblenergo. Ex-head of Guaranteed Buyer Kostyantyn Petrykovets was fired for refusing to “follow the illegal instructions of government representatives regarding settlements with producers of electricity from renewable sources.” The government denied these words of Petrykovets.
In December 2021, Oleksandr Gavva became the head of Market Operator SE, which is responsible for organizing the purchase and sale of electricity. Before his appointment, he was an adviser to Minister Halushchenko. His wife, Darina Gavva, works in the energy committee of the Verkhovna Rada.
It is not enough for the army, but there will be enough personnel for a criminal group. What is the threat of such usurpation of the entire industry?
Locally, with trivial schemes like the already described unconscionable bargain relating to the OGTSU worth 3 billion UAH, bringing Energoatom to bankruptcy or bringing the Chornobyl NPP administration under its control. ZN.UA has already analyzed the results of the work of this group. According to them, Ukraine has approached the most difficult heating season in history without money to cover tariffs for the population; without gas, which was supposed to ensure a comfortable passage of the season; and with the coal reserves no one is acquainted with. This is very dangerous even under normal conditions, let alone now, one step away from the most unpredictable heating season, during which it is desirable to replenish the bins for the following winters.
Globally, manual control of the entire industry, which will flush the last money out of it, pushing it towards a large-scale default crisis. The main problem is that we may lose a unique chance to get rid of the influence of the oligarchs on the energy industry, where they have felt comfortable since Kuchma redistributed property. This year is the first one that they do not have a final voice in decision-making. But this may also be the year when people empowered by the state will become new oligarchs. And one can forget about integration into the EU, instead a new endless cycle of accumulating money and fighting new groups will begin...
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