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Reflections on Policing in Post-Communist Europe

Reflections on Policing in Post-Soviet Ukraine: A Case Study of Continuity

Adrian Beck


Over the last 10 years the countries emerging from the break up of the Soviet Union have grappled with the reform of their criminal justice systems, with some enjoying considerable success, while others have seen virtually no change whatsoever. This article reflects upon the experience of Ukraine in its attempts to reform the police, and argues that it is more a story of continuity than change, with pre-independence structures, cultures and power elites predominating. It suggests that political and ideological ambiguity has led to uncertainty about how the police should be reformed from one previously focused on serving the state and ‘collective’ interests to one meeting the needs of the individual and local communities. The article begins by highlighting some of the key reforms that have been undertaken by the Ukrainian police in the years since independence, and then goes on to detail the significant factors that have impeded this process. It concludes by reflecting upon future priorities and the prospects for developing a more democratic policing model in Ukraine.

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1The extent of democratic reform in the societies emerging from Soviet control and influence can best be described as patchy and inconsistent, with some countries making considerable progress while others continue to reflect many of the practices of the past. Reforming criminal justice systems – the quintessence of the former regime – has proved to be a particularly difficult, drawn out and contentious task for many countries1. Although the rhetoric of modernising and democratising the criminal justice system is regularly espoused by political elites, particularly in terms of signing up to international conventions on human rights and inviting overseas groups to participate in reform projects, political discourse has been dominated by issues of crime control and order maintenance rather than broadening access to justice and increasing transparency and accountability: ‘increased crime rates and fear of crime have resulted in order maintenance replacing freedom and democracy at the top of political agendas’2. Indeed, for many states of the former Soviet Union, the start of the 21st Century has seen them continuing with criminal justice systems that remain highly centralised and for the most part politicised and militarised police forces that are barely different from those operating prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union3.

2In countries such as Russia and Ukraine very little progress has been made in democratising police relations with the public despite numerous declarations, presidential edicts and even changes to the law. Overt statements expressing the need to re-orient the police towards public needs, to develop more transparency, and make public opinion the main criterion for evaluating police performance have in reality produced very little change in practices and procedures. In these countries there have been numerous examples of what might be described as tokenised reform experimentation – political declarations of reform followed by piecemeal, poorly funded and resourced initiatives (sometime involving overseas assistance) that become emasculated by political opportunism, inept and ill informed implementation programmes, corruption and deceit. Some international evaluations have highlighted such problems: ‘many of the accumulated lessons are negative ones – techniques or tactics that don’t work, create unfortunate side effects, or simply produce less than was promised’4.

3Unlike many of the states emerging from the Soviet Union, independence for Ukraine did not bring sweeping political change and many of the ‘new’ ruling elite were previously senior members of the communist party who were not in a hurry to bring about significant political and structural change5. This lack of a ‘revolutionary’ transformation from the previous regime partly explains why the Ministry of Interior (MIA) has retained a strong centralised structure and lacks clarity about its future role in Ukrainian society6. Political and ideological ambiguity has led to uncertainty about how the militia should be reformed from one previously focused on serving the state and ‘collective’ interests to one meeting the needs of the individual and local communities.

4It will be interesting to observe how the recent election of the so called reforming President Viktor Yushchenko will impact upon the police reform agenda in Ukraine, and whether he has the political will to take on the entrenched power elites within the Ministry of Interior, and bring about more widespread change within the militia.

5This article begins by highlighting some of the key reforms that have been undertaken by the Ukrainian Militia in the years since independence, and then goes on to detail the significant factors that have impeded this process. It concludes by reflecting upon future priorities and the prospects for developing a more democratic policing model in Ukraine.

Militia Reform

6Prior to formal independence, a new law governing the work of the militia was passed by the Parliament of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic in December 1990. Article 1 of this law outlined the main role of the militia as being: ‘… the state armed body of executive authority that protects the life, health, rights and liberties of citizens, the property, environment and interests of society and the state from illegal encroachments upon them’. The Act publicly stated the key activities and responsibilities of the militia, which included: the maintenance of public order; carrying out preliminary investigations and holding inquests on cases within its jurisdiction; crime prevention; the protection of individual, collective and state property; administration of gun permits; the managing of special facilities for homeless people and isolation wards for infected offenders; the administration of immigration control (passport control and registration of foreigners); managing traffic safety; and supervising recently released prisoners. It also put the rights of the citizen before those of the state, a significant change in emphasis from the previously accepted doctrine that the militia were the ‘punishing sword of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union’.

7For many commentators, however, a more symbolic step in the reform process was the adoption of the Ukrainian Constitution, although the considerable lapse in time between December 1991 when participation in the Soviet Union was terminated and the eventual adoption of the Constitution in 1996, speaks volumes of the lack of political commitment to change and the dominance of the nomenklatura in creating reforms designed to preserve the previous political and economic system7. The Constitution set the overall parameters within which the Militia were to operate:

‘The human being, his or her life, health, honour and dignity, inviolability and security are recognised in Ukraine as the highest social value. Human rights and freedoms and their guarantees determine the essence and orientation of the State. The State is answerable to the individual for its activity. To affirm and ensure human rights and freedoms is the main duty of the State’8.

8The new Constitution was accompanied by the ‘Conception of the Development of the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) System of Ukraine’9, which outlined the need for change, and despite little political consensus within Parliament on how the militia should be reformed (a recurring theme throughout post-Soviet Ukrainian history), several key components were agreed. These were:

  • The militia should focus on protecting the life, health, rights and freedoms of the individual and the interests of society and the state;

  • the structure of the MIA should be simple, flexible and cost-effective;

  • the work of the MIA should be focused at the local level;

  • the public should have free access to information about the work of the MIA;

  • consideration should be given to the way in which support services are organised and the pay and rank structure should be reviewed;

  • there should be close co-operation between the militia and local authority bodies in order to maintain public order.

9The key notions of democratic policing (legitimacy, accountability and professionalism) can be seen within these statements. Legitimacy in terms of meeting the needs of the individual first, and being focused at the local level; accountability in terms of access to information and to a certain extent in co-operation with local authority bodies; and professionalism in the recognition of the need to review structure and pay, and become more flexible. How these sentiments were to be transformed into policy and practice was less clear, however, although Ukrainian academics and police practitioners at the time felt that their should be a general move away from the previous Soviet model towards the development of a system based upon accepted best practice from the rest of the world.

10Since 1990 there have also been a number of other notable laws, presidential edicts and government decrees passed covering the work of the militia. These include laws on ‘Operational and Investigational Activity’ (1992); ‘the Organisational and Legal Basis of Tackling Organised Crime’ (1993); ‘Tackling Corruption’ (1995); ‘Public Participation in Maintaining Public Order and State Borders’ (2000); ‘the General Structure and Strength of the Ministry of Internal Affairs’ (2002)10; and Presidential Edicts on ‘a Complex Targeted Programme of Tackling Crime’ (1996-2000); ‘Concepts of Tackling Corruption’ (1998-2005); ‘Complex Programme of Crime Prevention’ (2001-2005); ‘Establishment of Local Militia’ (2001); and ‘Further Measures for Strengthening Law and Order, Securing the Rights and Freedoms of Citizens (2002). In addition, in 1998 the responsibility for prisons was moved from the MIA to the ‘State Department of Ukraine for Matters of Implementing Punishments’, although the MIA continues to carry out a wide range of functions beyond those normally associated with the police (see below). This plethora of legislative activity, however, has seen relatively little change in the day-to-day working practices of the militia and the way in which they are perceived by the public. In some respects it can be portrayed as rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic – a programme of root and branch reform is still required rather than mere alterations to the existing structure.

Obstacles to Reform

11For many commentators, the reform of the police in Ukraine has been piecemeal and partial, lacking a systematic and systemic approach11. It is a country almost always on the verge of reform, but has become bogged down by a whole host of interrelated factors that have combined to reduce not only the impact of reforms introduced to date, but also conspire to inhibit the entire reform process. It is instructive, therefore, to consider the current obstacles to police reform in Ukraine.

The Sovietised Reform Process

12The unique political milieu within Ukraine at the time of independence had a powerful influence upon the nature and pace of proposed militia reform. The compromise negotiated between the former Ukrainian communist leadership and the ‘new reformers’, which essentially left the previous ruling oligarchy in power, meant that opposition to change was built into Ukrainian political transition12. Whereas some other states emerging from the Soviet Union sought to remove much of the previous nomenklatura, including many of the senior ranks within the militia (such as the Baltic countries, which declared the previous law-enforcement agencies as institutes of a foreign state), Ukraine was characterised by the continuing dominance of the previous ruling elite. This in turn has seen much of the former soviet style of political control and decision-making, based upon centralisation, obfuscation, secrecy and diktat, remaining the overriding approach adopted. The influence of this can be seen in the numerous laws, presidential edicts and governmental decrees relating to militia reform passed since 1991, which are strong on rhetoric but extremely weak on detail and often lack the necessary enabling legislation or financial support. The Soviet culture of plans and reports without any interposing action seems evident in much of the reform process in Ukraine. This is particularly characterised by the official crime statistics, which seem to have more to do with sustaining an illusion of efficiency and control than reflecting the current state of crime and the militia’s response to it (see below).

Organisation and Management

13Much of the previous Soviet structure and organisation, which is based upon a highly militarised authoritarian model of control and decision-making, remains within the Ukrainian militia13. Indeed, while accurate official statistics are not readily available, evidence from individual training institutions suggest that the years since independence have seen an increase in the overall number of those holding senior ranks within the organisation14. This is partly explained by the ongoing link between rates of pay and rank – militia personnel can only improve their level of recompense by achieving a higher position. Indeed, duties that were previously a civilian position sometimes now proffer a rank upon those holding the post15. This ‘rankification’ process has reinforced the militarised nature of the police in Ukraine, which in turn further acts to stultify the reform of the organisational structure.

14In addition, recent research has shown that the militia remains a highly bureaucratic organisation, with perhaps as few as one-quarter being employed directly to protect public order or tackle crime16. There has also been a continuation of a Sovietised model of control, reducing officer discretion to a minimum through close supervision, and a stringent hierarchy of decision making from above. The flow of information is strictly controlled and is primarily from the bottom up, and the extensive use of record keeping maintains an occupational culture of conservatism17. Moreover, concerns persist about the ongoing influence of nepotism and personal relations in the promotion process: ‘it is dangerous when promotion is dependent not on the basis of special knowledge and personal characteristics, but on informal relations’18.

15Militia managers also maintain a monocratic system of routinized superior-subordinate relationships19. Recent research conducted in Kyiv highlighted the continuing reliance upon an authoritarian and disciplinarian model of management with militia managers being perceived by junior ranks as lacking leadership and ‘people management’ skills20. These views were particularly strong amongst female officers and younger male officers. Work is now underway to develop new management courses to address these issues, although at the moment they are only being provided for the most senior ranks within the militia21.

16Militia power elites are also predominantly male with women officers rarely reaching beyond the rank or sergeant or colonel22. A recent internationally funded project in Kyiv found that not a single woman was enrolled on the senior commanders course because: ‘women do not reach this rank in the Ukrainian militia’23. Moreover, there is some evidence that in Ukraine ‘unofficial quotas’ are currently set, aimed at capping the number of women in the militia – each militia training institution is said to ‘receive instructions’ from the Ministry of Interior to make sure that no more than 10 per cent of students each year are female, while senior militia managers are encouraged to maintain an 8 per cent level in the militia24

17Whilst a number of political moves have been attempted to develop a more decentralised militia structure25, the overarching Soviet model of central control and command remains firmly entrenched. Where a more decentralised model has been piloted (for instance in the cities of Berdiansk, Kyiv and Kharkiv) local Ukrainian researchers have described the results as impressive: ‘it helped to establish militia/public partnerships, to bring the militia under efficient democratic control, and compelled the local authorities to improve the financial and technical upkeep of the militia and social welfare of its employees’26. As yet, however, the necessary enabling legislation to facilitate the rest of Ukraine to adopt this approach has not been passed by the Ukrainian Parliament and as such the militia remain a highly centralised organisation, with little local input into the setting of, or control over, their plans, priorities and indeed practices.

Performance Indicators: The Soviet Mythology of Success

18A key stumbling block in the reform process has been the continuation of soviet practices of measuring crime and the performance of the militia. Like police agencies throughout the world there is a strong reliance upon official statistics to assess levels of crime, which take little account of unrecorded and unreported crime and act more as a measure of the administrative (in)efficiency of the police than a true indicator of the level of criminality in society27. Estimates suggest that towards the end of the Soviet period the militia in Ukraine failed to register roughly one-third of the crimes reported to them, although this is now thought to be an underestimation28. More critically, however, the key performance indicator for the militia remains the crime clear up rate, which compared with other non-Eastern European countries, continues to be unbelievably high. It generally hovers around the 90 per cent rate and for certain offences (such as murder) it is often 100 per cent (compared with for instance the UK where it is about 25 per cent). This seemingly impressive rate of success, however, has more to do with dubious militia accounting practices than the way in which the militia are organised or perform their duties. Centrally agreed targets for clear-up rates and associated sanctions for non-compliance act as a powerful incentive for the militia not to record crimes that will prove difficult to solve such as car crime and burglary. Most Western commentators tend to agree that as a measure of police performance, the clear up rate and levels of crime are poor indicators, offering only a partial reflection of the way in which the police perform29. Scepticism and cynicism about the veracity of police crime statistics is now so common in Ukraine that many procurators advocate the transfer of control over data registry to civilian authorities30.

19This mythology of success causes three key problems in the reform process. First, it acts to perpetuate existing practices (if it works don’t fix it). Second, it undermines societal confidence in the extent to which the militia have become more accountable and transparent (a service-oriented approach is seen to be subservient to organisational priorities). Third, it can undermine attempts to persuade Ukrainian politicians and indeed oversees agencies that additional funding is required to reform the militia (existing levels of funding are already producing outstanding results).

Militia – Public Relations

20Another key obstacle to reform is the public’s apathy and general hostility towards the militia. Recent research shows that the majority of respondents considered the militia to be inefficient and not ready to help ordinary citizens31. One recent commentator painted a gloomy picture where most Ukrainians fear the police and agents of law enforcement organs more than they do criminals32. Surveys of the public regularly highlight concerns about corruption, rudeness and low professionalism within the militia33. More positively, research has shown that both the militia and the public recognise the importance of improving the relationship between them and two-thirds of the public surveyed were willing to establish closer links, providing it was well organised and perceived to be the right thing to do34. A recent pilot study in the city of Kharkiv, funded by the UK government, had some notable success in beginning to bridge this gap, and developing alternative ways of organising the militia at the local level35 How the results from this experiment will be incorporated into the ongoing reform process and disseminated more broadly throughout Ukraine, however, is still not clear, although 90 per cent of the recommendations made by the project team were incorporated into a ‘Decision of the MVD Council’ (something which all militia departments are suppose to follow).

Training and Selection

21When independence was declared in 1991, Ukraine did not have a recognised structure of law-enforcement training and research. Most of the high-level research and training centres were located in Russian cities such as Moscow, Leningrad and Omsk, leaving a vacuum that needed to be filled. There was only one militia higher school in Kyiv, and militia schools in some regions, which carried out basic training of rank and file militia, and provided some special courses for militia officers responsible for fighting economic crimes (for example in Kharkiv).

22This situation has since been improved and there is now a network of training and research institutions, with the two most significant being the National Academy of Internal Affairs based in Kyiv and the National University of Internal Affairs in Kharkiv. These two centres annually train more officers than all the other institutions in Ukraine put together, and now employ a wide range of specialists carrying out a wide range of research and training programmes.

23Nevertheless, the system for training police officers faces a number of problems that need to be resolved. There are few links between theoretical courses and practice; a weak system of professional training; and insufficient training in communication skills and methods of working with the public. According to one Ukrainian academic: ‘the main focus of improving the education system today is a reorientation from an informative type of education to one that allows cadets to prove and develop cognitive and creative leanings and to develop their professional qualities to ensure their effectiveness … these need to become core components of the education of future militiamen’36. There is also a continuing strong emphasis (particularly for those attending higher education establishments) on teaching the law rather than providing training relevant to the requirements of being a police officer. Graduates of these programmes are awarded a Diploma in Law and many decide to take these skills into the private sector where pay and conditions are far superior to those offered by a career in the militia. This has caused a major problem with retention of the young office corp within the Ukrainian militia – only a relatively small proportion of students studying at the academies have any intention of remaining within the militia.

24The relatively poor level of pay and the significant reduction in social status associated with the militia has also had a negative impact upon the number and quality of candidates applying to join the militia. The Ukrainian militia is currently 12 per cent under strength and there is widespread concern that the current selection process is admitting candidates who are unsuitable for work in the police, often lacking basic levels of education.

Problem of Corruption

25The problem of corruption is a major obstacle not only to the reform of the militia, but more broadly, the economic and political well being of the country37. For some it has become endemic, leeching into every facet of Ukrainian society, severely undermining the prospects for developing a democratic society38. Western businesses cite corruption as one of the main reasons why they are unwilling to invest in Ukraine, and the Corruption Perception Index ranks it as one of the countries with the highest rate of corruption in the world, rated 85th out of 102 countries surveyed39. While the debate about the causes of corruption in post Soviet societies continues (some argue that Ukraine was never governed by the legal rationality associated with Weberian bureaucracy, and much of what outsiders call corruption reflects traditional exchange relationships’40) what is clear is that the militia are regularly highlighted as one of the state groups most involved in corrupt practices. Very little data is available on the scale and extent of the problem; it has been estimated that only between 2 and 5 per cent of bribery cases ever reach the criminal justice system41, and in 2000 some 15,000 civil servants were convicted (5 per cent of the total)42. Various surveys suggest that as much as 60 per cent of government officials’ income comes from bribes43. The militia account for 26 per cent of those called to account for corruption44 and bribery makes up for 13.6 per cent of all crimes committed by members of the militia45. While much of the corruption can be regarded as relatively insignificant, often committed by employees of the State Automobile Inspectorate (GAI), other more serious incidents committed by the militia are evident, such as performing ‘services’ for wealthy individuals, criminal groups and businesses. This can take the form of selling information, providing protection services, or negotiating with fire, health and tax inspectors46. At the highest level, this can involve very serious crime such as kidnapping and murder, for instance, allegations have been made that the former Minister of the Interior, Yuriy Kravchenko, acting on instructions from the President, was involved in the murder of the journalist Georgi Gongadze47

26The gravity of the problem of corruption cannot be underestimated and will play a major role in undermining efforts to develop a more democratic policing system in Ukraine. The impact on the public perception of police integrity and efficacy is considerable and no doubt helps contribute to the scale of unreported crime and the public’s ongoing scepticism about the militia’s raison d’etre.

Oversight and Control

27For the most part, the pre-independence structure of oversight and control has remained largely unchanged, although there have been some notable changes. Reports of instances of abuse of power, corruption and torture persist48 and calls for greater accountability continue. When the 1996 Constitution of Ukraine’s ‘Transitional Statutes’ expired, only the courts were left with the right to issue arrest warrants although how strictly this is adhered to by militia officers is open to debate. The creation of the Ombudsman’s Office, oversight of the Minister of Interior by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine (the Parliament), the creation of special committees set up by local authorities to monitor the work of the militia and perhaps more significantly, the revised role of the Procurators Office, which became the highest supervisory body charged with controlling observance of the law by all Ukrainian subjects (Law on the Procurator’s Office, 1991, which included Article 5 ‘ … ensuring that bodies which fight crime and misdemeanors observe the law), have all brought some modicum of greater oversight and control over the militia. Indeed the Procurators office annually uncovers about 15,000 crimes ‘concealed’ by the militia and opens criminal investigations into another 15,000 cases that the militia unjustifiably decided not to investigate49. There is ongoing concern, however, about the lack of independence of the Procuracy and uncertainty about its future role and function50.

28In June 2003, a new law was adopted entitled ‘On Democratic Civilian Control Over Military and Law Enforcement Bodies of the State’. According to Article 7 of the law, the system will consist of control by: parliament; the president; executive authorities and local authorities; judicial bodies and the prosecutor’s office; and the public. This new act continues to give primary responsibility for overseeing observance of the law to the Prosecutor’s Office, although Articles 19 and 20 give the public and the media (in theory) greater access to information about the militia: ‘the mass media can, as laid down, ask for and receive (free of charge) from … law enforcement bodies open information, documents, and materials within their competence…’ (Article 20). In addition, the MIA have begun to make more information available to the public through the annual publication of regular reports on its activities and a new ethical code has been introduced for MIA employees. It is too soon to say how these new initiatives will work in practice, although it is hoped that it will bring about greater levels of accountability and control over the militia.

Future Priorities

29A recent Ukrainian document, perhaps inadvertently, neatly summarises the current situation. It states that the MIA has recently started to draft a new reform programme, with the help of the National University of Internal Affairs. Those working on the project state that ‘the reformed militia will comply not only with Ukrainian legislation but also with the norms of international humanitarian law, the standards of democratic police activity and the interests of Ukrainian citizens, society and the state as a whole’ (emphasis added)51. Simple deduction would suggest that the current Ukrainian militia are not meeting these norms, standards and requirements.

30The legacy of the Soviet Union continues to pervade all aspects of the militia in Ukraine and the attempts to reform it since independence in 1991. It is a country that recognises the necessity for change but lacks the political will to design and deliver a programme that necessities a radicalised approach to the creation of a new structure and ethos. The notion of democratic policing as defined by many western scholars is for the most part singularly absent in Ukraine52. Undoubtedly democratic ideals can be seen in much of the law making over the past 10 years, but there has been little evidence of this being translated into operational policies and rules for working. As Marenin states ‘the challenge for democratic policing … is to translate principles into rules of work which can be taught, enforced, rewarded if properly done and sanctioned if abused’53. To date the policing culture in Ukraine is such that implementing the existing legal rhetoric, observing the rule of law and delivering many of the other practices of democratic policing (such as accountability, transparency and so on) seem emasculated by a sovietised tradition still focused on protecting the elite and maintaining the status quo.

31More specifically, emphasis needs to be given to developing the service function of the militia, which is not only concerned with partnerships between the militia and the public, and the development of a respectful and attentive attitude to all citizens, but is also focused on putting individuals’ rights and interests at the centre of all militia activity. This in turn will help to overcome some of the hostility ordinary citizens have for the militia and improve levels of accountability.

32There needs to be a rationalization of the functions of the MIA. This has already begun (with the removal of responsibilities for prisons) but other tasks could be reallocated such as: registration of motor vehicles and driving tests; prevention of air and reservoir pollution by motor transport and farming machinery; passport and immigration control; providing quarantine measures during epidemics; and responsibility for bringing infected and ill people to hospital and reporting them to the medical services for obligatory examination and treatment54. This would enable the militia to focus more on their core functions of public order, crime control and crime prevention.

33The MIA has been plagued by a lack of financing. Observers suggest that the Ministry receives only around one-third of the funding it requires55. Between 1997 and 2000 wage delays were a regular occurrence for militia officers, whose average salary is now around US $100/month. In addition, militia officers have lost a number of social guarantees, such as free public transport, and housing benefits, which has put further pressure upon their incomes. Severe financial constraints also make it difficult to retain staff (in the last three months of 2002, 5,537 MIA employees resigned); attract high quality trainees; purchase much needed equipment, renovate building; and even provide petrol for police cars (the MIA state that they will only receive 9 per cent of the necessary funding for non-salary costs in 2003).

34In terms of the ruling elites within the Ministry of Interior and the Ukrainian militia, there is a pervading sense of continuity of power, control and influence. The years of transition have realised little change in the mechanisms through which the previous Soviet elites have continued to sustain their lineage. The opportunity to be promoted to the highest ranks continues to be more about whom you know, how much cash you can pay and what favours have you done than personal ability, leadership skills or scholarly activity. The situation was neatly summarised by a young Ukrainian militia officer when responding to a question about his likelihood of becoming a general: ‘you must be joking, I’m not the son of a General, my father is not rich, and I don’t take enough bribes!’.

35Undoubtedly, considerable challenges face the reformers in Ukraine and it could take a generation before any significant change takes place56. The recent election of Viktor Yushchenko as President could be the catalyst and political stimuli to kick start the reform process, although the extent to which he will prioritise police reform is as yet unclear. There are many able and committed people working within the MIA who seek to create a Ukrainian militia that is committed to the notions of democratic policing. Whether they will be successful is highly dependent upon a sea change in thinking amongst the ruling elite, something which to date has been largely absent.

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1  B. Ferreira, “The Use and Effectiveness of Community Policing in a Democracy”, in Policing in Central and Eastern Europe, M. Pagon Ed., College of Police and Security Studies, 1996.
2  R. Mawby, “The Impact of Transition: A Comparison of Post-Communist Societies with Earlier ‘Societies in Transition’”, in Police in Transition, A. Kadar Ed., CEU Press, 2001
3  L. Shelley, “Post-Socialist Policing: Limitations on Institutional Change”, in, Policing Across the World: Lessons for the Twenty First Century, R. Mawby Ed., UCL Press, 1999; ibid.
4  L. Hammergren, retrieved 14 July 2004.
5  O. Bandurka, and Y. Dreval, Parliamentarianism in Ukraine, the National University of Internal Affairs, Kharkov, 1999; G. Smith, Reforming the Russian Legal System, Cambridge University Press, New York, 1996.
6  Y. Kravchenko, Problems of Reforming the Bodies of Internal Affairs (Organizational and Legal Questions), Candidate’s Thesis, University of Internal Affairs, Kharkov, 1998.
7  Smith, 1996, op cit.
8  Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Constitution of Ukraine, Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, Kyiv, 1996, Article 3.
9  Ministry of Interior, Conception of the Development of the MIA System of Ukraine, Ministry of Interior, Kyiv, 1996.
10  The various laws passed by the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine can be viewed at:
11  S. Foglesong, and P. Solomon, Crime, Criminal Justice and Criminology in Post-Soviet Ukraine, National Institute of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Washington, 2001; Shelley, 1999, op cit.
12  Foglesong, and Solomon, 2001, op cit.
13  O. Bandurka, O.Bezsmertniy, and V. Zuy, Administrative Activity, Espada, Kharkov, 2000.
14  O. Bandurka, The Basics of Management in the Bodies of Internal Affairs, Osnova, Kharkov, 1996.
15  An example provided by Ukrainian colleagues was the position of head of logistics for a police college that had previously been a civilian post, but was turned into a position with a rank of Colonel in order that the level of pay could be increased.
16  Bandurka, 1996, op cit.; M. Frolov, Departments of the Bodies of Internal Affairs in the Conditions of Law Reform, the National University of Internal Affairs, Kharkov, 2000.
17  T. Jefferson, The Case Against Paramilitary Policing, Open University Press, Philadelphia, 1990.
18  N. Lyashenko, “Career Growth in the Bodies of Internal Affairs”, Vistnyk of the National University of Internal Affairs, 2002, pp. 446-452.
19  E. Angell, “Alternatives to police organisation”, Criminology, Vol. 9, 1971, pp. 186-206; M. Dantzker, Police Organisation and Management, Butterworth-Heinemann, Boston, 1999.
20  A. Beck, V. Barko and A. Tatarenko, “Women Militia Officers in Ukraine: Exploring their Experiences in a Post-Soviet Policing Organisation”, Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies and Management, Vol. 26, #4, 2003, pp. 548-565.
21  A. Beck, V. Barko and A. Tatarenko, “Developing Police Management Training in Post-Soviet Societies: Understanding The Context And Setting The Agenda”, Policing Quarterly Journal, Vol. 5, #4, 2002, pp. 447-469.
22  Beck, Barko, and Tatarenko, 2003, op cit.
23  This was a comment made by a course tutor at the Kyiv National Academy of Internal Affairs, who was taking part in a project funded by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office, focussing on the reform of police management courses at the Academy.
24  Unfortunately, it was impossible to find any official documentation stipulating such orders. Interviews with senior staff at the Ministry of Interior stated that such ‘norms’ do not exist on paper, but take the form of a ‘gentlemen’s agreement’ within the Ministry.
25  See for instance the Presidential Edict on the Establishment of Local Militia, 2001.
26  Bandurka, 1996, op cit.
27  M. Maguire, “Crime Statistics, Patterns, and Trends: Changing Perceptions and Their Implications”, in The Oxford Handbook of Criminology, M. Maguire, R. Morgan and R. Reiner Eds, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 1994.
28  Foglesong, and Solomon, 2001, op cit.
29  A. Crawford, Crime Prevention and Community Safety: Politics, Policies and Practices, Longman, London, 1998; C. Griffiths, Canadian Police Work, ITP Nelson, Toronto, 1999.
30  Zelenetskiy, cited in Foglesong and Solomon, 2001, op cit.
31  A. Beck and Y. Chistyakova, “Crime and Policing in Post-Soviet Societies: Bridging the Police/Public Divide”, Policing and Society, Vol. 12, #2, 2002, pp. 123-137.
32  P. Byrne, “Many Fear the Police More Than They Do Criminals”, Kyiv Post, March 23, 2000.
33  Beck and Chistyakova, 2002 op cit.; U. Zvekic, Criminal Victimisation in Countries in Transition, United Nations Interregional Crime and Justice Research Institute (UNICRI), Publication #61, UNICRI, Rome, 1998.
34  Beck and Chistyakova, 2002 op cit.
35  See A. Beck, and Y. Chistyakova, Crime and Policing in Ukraine: The Kharkiv Crime Survey 2000, Scarman Centre, University of Leicester, Leicester, 2001; Beck and Chistyakova, 2002 op cit; A. Beck and Y. Chistyakova, “Closing the Gap Between the Militia and the Public in Post Soviet Ukraine: A Bridge Too Far?”, Police Practice and Research: An International Journal, Vol. 5, #1, pp. 43-65, 2004.
36  V. Venedictov, “The Problem of Higher Education of Personnel of the Bodies of Internal Affairs of Ukraine”, Vistnyk of the National University of Internal Affairs, 2002, pp. 241-247.
37  UFE Foundation, Lviv Integrity System, Report Presented to USAID, Kyiv, UFE Foundation, Lviv, 1997; A. Ledeneva, Russia’s Economy of Favours, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1998; S. Rose-Ackerman, Corruption and Government, CUP, New York, 1999.
38  W. Miller, A. Grodeland and T. Koshechkina, A Culture of Corruption?, CEU Press, Budapest, 2001.
39  Internet Center for Corruption Research, retrieved August 14, 2003, from
40  Foglesong, and Solomon, 2001, op cit.
41  S. Shalgunova, “Ways of improvement of activity of territorial bodies of internal affairs”, Protection of rights, freedoms and legal interests of citizens of Ukraine in the process of enforcing the law, Donetsk, 2001, pp. 448-454.
42  Foglesong, and Solomon, 2001, op cit.
43  Shelley, quoted in Foglesong and Solomon, 2001, op cit.
44  D. Vysotski, “Liquidation of corruption as a condition of providing for human rights and freedoms”, Protection of rights, freedoms and legal interests of citizens of Ukraine in the process of enforcing the law-enforcement, Donetsk, 2001, pp. 271-281.
45  Shalgunova, 2001, op cit.
46  Kravchenko, cited Foglesong and Solomon, 2001, op cit.
47  J. Koshiw, Beheaded: The Killing of a Journalist,Artemia Press, Reading, 2003.
48  See European Roma Rights Center, The Misery of Law: The Rights of Roma in the Transcarpathian Region of Ukraine, retrieved August 22, 2001, from; Liga Online, retrieved August 22, 2001, from; US State Department, Ukraine, Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, 2000. Released by the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, retrieved August 23, 2001, from
49  Foglesong, and Solomon, 2001, op cit.
50  Ibid.
51  National University of Internal Affairs Propositions of the NUIA on the Reform of the System of the Ministry of Interior of Ukraine, up until 2006, National University of Internal Affairs, Kharkov, 2002.
52  For definitions see J. Brodeur, How to Recognize Good Policing. Problems and Issues, Police Executive Research Forum, Washington, 1998; D. Das, “Challenges of Policing Democracies: A World Perspective”, in Challenges of Policing Democracies: A World Perspective, D. Das and O. Marenin Eds, Gordon and Breach Publishers, The Netherlands, 2000; P. Kratcoski, and W. Cebulak, “Policing in Democratic Societies: A Historical Overview”, in Challenges of Policing Democracies: A World Perspective, D. Das and O. Marenin Eds, Gordon and Breach Publishers, The Netherlands, 2000; O. Marenin, “Democracy, Democratization, Democratic Policing”, in Challenges of Policing Democracies: A World Perspective, D. Das and O. Marenin Eds, Gordon and Breach Publishers, The Netherlands, 2000.
53  Marenin, 2000, op cit.
54  Kravchenko, 1998, op cit.
55  Ministry of Interior, retrieved August 14, 2003, from
56  R. Roberg, “Can Today's Police Organisations Effectively Implement Community Policing?”, in The Challenge of Community Policing. Testing the Promises, D. Rosenbaum Ed, Sage, London, 1994; Shelley, 1999, op cit.
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Electronic reference

Adrian Beck, “Reflections on Policing in Post-Soviet Ukraine: A Case Study of Continuity”The Journal of Power Institutions in Post-Soviet Societies [Online], Issue 2 | 2005, Online since 19 April 2005, connection on 21 July 2024. URL:; DOI:

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About the author

Adrian Beck

Senior Lecturer in Crime and Policing, Department of Criminology, University of Leicester

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The text only may be used under licence CC BY-NC-ND 4.0. All other elements (illustrations, imported files) are “All rights reserved”, unless otherwise stated.

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