One of the most consistent fighters against authority corruption, deputy of the Supreme Rada of second and third convocations, member of the opposition Ukrainian Republican Council Party, Anatoly Yermak died Tuesday evening, February 11, in Zaporozhye Region, in a car accident on the highway Zaporozhye – Mariupol.
The case is being investigated by chief workers of Ukrainian Internal Ministry, for everybody expects many questions to appear: Ukrainian politicians too often die in car crashes, and always to the point. However, in all cases, the results of official investigation witness “usual car accidents.” But the most suspect thing is that officials start speaking about the results already before the investigation if over.
Now, the situation is similar: the version was already pronounced – icy conditions of the road are guilty. Ukrainian Internal Ministry’s PR centre reports the car VAZ-2107, by which Anatoly Yermank, his brother and son were driving, drove to the median strip and collided with a lorry. Only Anatoly Yermak’s son, 23-year-old Alexandr survived, who was hospitalized with many injuries.
State Car Inspection Department of Internal Ministry considers the reason of the car crash was over-speed driving with bad weather. According to the investigation, Nikolay Yermak wanted to turn the car, as he saw the lorry moving towards him, though the car was thrown to the median strip.
Now, almost all Ukrainian mass media, while covering the tragedy, remember Anatoly Yermak was special service officer (in 1993-1994, he was deputy chief of the military counter-intelligence office) and participated in many anti-corruption investigations carried by the Anti-Mafia Association against Ukrainian functionaries. Certain questions appear, of course.
According to the Ukrainskaya Pravda newspaper, in early 2001, Anatoly Yermak called some names of high officials from Internal Ministry who had very possibly committed a terrorist act against People’s Rukh Party leader, Vyacheslav Chernovol in 1999. So Yermak died like Chernovol. This is a fact. The circumstances of the tragedy looks to suspect.
Official sources investigate the case details, though the version of “icy road” will most likely win. While Internal Ministry high officials’ participation in the investigation shows the authority intends to defend itself. From what? From the opposition who says about masterminded political murder.
So, while Yermak’s colleague from Anti-Mafia Association, Grigory Omelchenko is going to the spot, the authority thinks about the maximally effective use of the situation.
Any way, whatever the results of the investigation are, this suspect colour will remain in the case. According to Grigory Omelchenko, his colleagues started already a kind of “parallel investigation.” Omelchenko noticed the accident “took place on that section of the road, which Anatoly Yermank had known very well.” The Anti-Mafia leader, Grigory Omelchenko seems to incline to the version of so-called masterminded accident. However, any chances also cannot be excluded.
But not only Omelchenko says about the political murder version. “This version is probable at least because Anatoly Yermak was one of the most consistent fighters against the regime and did his best to disclose crimes of Leonid Kuchma and his closest surrounding,” – said Our Ukraine faction deputy, Taras Stetskiv to the ForUm.
Of course, it could have bin a trivial car accident, though when people like this die, the version of masterminded accident suggests itself. To make definitive conclusion, the deputies intend to take the case under their control. Another member of Our Ukraine faction, the head of the parliament Committee on Freedom of Press and Information, Nikolay Tomenko considers the authorities must themselves start the investigation with the version of “masterminded car accident.” “It is obvious that the Anatoly Yermak activity did not please the central authority, the local authority, and business circles,” – Tomenko said to the ForUm. – “He was one of the hardest persecutors of shady economy. This is why, the Public Prosecutor General’s Office must start its investigation from the first version – political murder. And only after this version is fully checked up and put aside, other versions can be considered.”
Anatoly Yermak is reported to be buried Saturday, February 15, in Baikov Cemetery, in Kiev.
Translated by Vera Solovieva