Car arsons in Transcarpathia: how, why, who and how much

Regardless of the season and the situation in the country, cars in Transarpathian region keep getting burnt down. At night. Over the past 2 years, such incidents have become especially frequent and bold. To say that the police stand still would be an understatement. Moreover, some police officers are also among the so-called victims.

Almost a year ago, in late January, the systematized car arson cases and described them as a trend.

Since then, little has changed, and the list of victims is constantly expanding.

Unbelievable audacity

The last victim was the Uzhgorod City Council deputy Yaroslav Shafar. His KIA was burnt down on the night to Monday, December 16. Before that, there had been much more important victims of arsons, but the incident with the Shafar’s car was perhaps the pinnacle of audacity and absurdity of the whole arson saga, or rather the disclosure of their instigators and executors.

Please note, that the car of the Uzhgorod City Council deputy was parked in the heart of the so-called administrative block a few meters away from the regional office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and not far from the Transcarpathian Regional State Administration.


Of course, the police have promised to take all necessary measures. Moreover, this time, even the governor Ledyda finally opened his eyes and demanded from the regional police chief Vasyl Vartsaba to immediately find villains. So it was all previous times. They are still looking.

A brief history of VIP arsons in 2013

February 22, around 02.40, Mukachevo city police received a report of the fire in the city of Mukachevo, in a car SuzukiGrandVitara The car was parked onOdesa street, in the yard at the place of the owner’s residence. The car was owned by head of the anti-narcotics department of Uzhgorod City Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Vasyl Shvardak. The cost of the jeep at the primary market is 284,172 UAH.

April 28, the deputy of Transcarpathian Regional Council of the VI convocation, Vice-Rector of UzhNU Yuriy Peresta reported to Uzhgorod City Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in Transcarpathian region about the inflammation of his car.  The fire damaged the engine compartment and refinishing of the car.

May 4, around 5:30 am, in the backyard of Uzhgorod City Council building, a car BMW 5 was set on fire. The front of the car and the engine compartment completely burned out. According to preliminary information, the burnt car belonged to the head of Uzhgorod Department of Municipal Economy Oleksiy Kasperov.

July 11, in Uzhgorod, a car Kia Ceed was set on fire.  The vehicle with Slovak state license plate belonged to a citizen of Ukraine, who lives in Uzhgorod and represents himself as an activist of the NGO "Road Control".

July 12, around 4 am, in the yard of a private house in the village of Storozhnytsya in Uzhgorod district, the car Honda Pilot, which belonged to the family of the head of the OCD of the Office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Ukraine in Transcarpathian region, was burning. At the scene, the investigative team found out that the car produced in 2011 belonged to the wife of police colonel Mykola Kulytka. The fire completely destroyed the vehicle.

August 7, the car of the activist, who, during the elections, had accused the government candidate of the attack, exploded in Mukachevo. The driver of the car Lada 2110 was moving down Zakarpatska street from the parking lot where he used to leave the car for the night. 300 meters away from the parking lot, the car exploded.

August 20, in Chop, the jeep belonging to the Chief of Staff of the Chop border guard detachment Viktor Potetenin exploded. According to preliminary information, the back of the car SuzukiGrandVitara (number 8787 BC ER) was affected the most, the interior only partially burned out.

August 26, around 1:30, unknown persons set fire on the brand new BMW-750, owned by the member of the city council from the Party of Regions Mykhailo Churilo. According to law enforcement officers, the car burned to the ground, at the site of the fire, experts found a piece of a tree branch with traces of an unknown substance that proves that is was an arson.

November 6, around 03.50, an operator of the fire station reported to Mukachevo city police department about the fire in the garage with the car BMW-X6 and 2 quad bikes inside. Everything burned down. The property belonged to a local influential businessman.

November 22, around 7:00 in the village of Kholmok in Uzhgorod district, the car Toyota Land Cruiser, which, according to unofficial information, belonged to Police Lt. Colonel Miroslav Holish – the brother of the former chief of Transcarpathian police Victor Rusyn, caught fire.

Super-efforts of law enforcement

 In September, under the decision of the Minister, the working group consisting of the employees of the Central Investigation Department, Criminal Investigation Department and the Department for Combating Organized Crime was sent to the westernmost region of the country. The period of their stay and especially the details of the work were kept in secret. All inquiries at the time were useless.

But oddly enough, during this time, they suddenly began to find real arsonists and solve cases of arson, which prior to that had never happened. 

Thus, on September 23, the whole region and the country saw the face of one of the arsonists, who until then had been elusive. On that night, not a VIP-car, but an ordinary VAZ was burning in Uzhgorod. The arsonist was a 30-year-old unemployed resident of Uzhgorod previously convicted of theft.


In another 5 days, on September 28, in the suburb of Uzhgorod in the village of Mynai, a Mercedes E270 was almost burning, but in fact, as reported by the police, it was the operation of the OCD, during which Uzhgorod police detained another car arsonist. Again it was an ex-convict. And it was not a coincidence. has long been trying to contact with at least one of the police officers, who would be able to talk about arsons in more detail. It took several months because everyone refused due to the sensitivity of the issue.

According to our source, in the Transcarpathian regional police office, most arsons are very similar to one another, especially in their executors and style.

The source noted that instigators of arsons deliberately indirectly contact previously convicted men aged 20 to 35-40 years, often alcohol or drug addicts who live in appalling material conditions.They are paid with money, or even "in kind" – with drugs. Often, with both. Prices, the source notes, range from $ 200 and more. Everything depends on the status of the victim. Therefore, the price can reach as much as $ 1000.


The instigator rarely asks to burn down the property completely. That is not the point, the source stressed. He noted that the police has all these leads, as well as clearly defined methods to counteract arsonists and quickly apprehend them, but no one does it. Moreover, the source did not rule out the option that ordinary police officers may be mediators in such business.

Smugglers trace, mentality or biased inactivity?

In the investigation of the TV show "Money", they said that the majority of VIP arsons in Transcarpathia are caused by the war of smugglers against officials.


According to our source, this version may be true only for arsons of law enforcement officers’ cars, but unlikely for cars of, for example, Uzhgorod officials and deputies. Those are more likely attributed to land conflicts, that have been constantly emerging in Uzhgorod over the last 2 years.

By the way, despite the fact that Yaroslav Shafar immediately linked the arson of his car to his activities on the Euromaidan, our source advises not to forget that the deputy of Uzhgorod City Council works in the commission on property policies, ownership and privatization. It is the dealing with so-called "business differences" which is the most common reason of expensive car arsons.


In any case, it has become obvious that the indifference and inaction of law enforcement plays a big part in this business. And the numbers clearly confirm that: the number of deliberate car arsons in Transcarpathia each year is growing exponentially – in 2010 – 6 cars, in 2011 – 12, in 2012 – 20 and in 2013 – 30.


За словами нашого співрозмовника, ця версія може стосуватися виключно підпалів автомобілів «силовиків», але навряд, скажімо, ужгородських чиновників та депутатів. Тут скоріше йдеться про земельні конфлікти, які протягом останніх 2 років постійно вибухають в Ужгороді.

До слова, попри те, що Ярослав Шафарь відразу пов’язав підпал свого автомобіля з участю в Євромайданах, наше джерело не радить забувати, що депутат Ужгородської міськради працює в комісії з питань майнової політики, власності та приватизації. Саме з’ясування так званих «ділових розбіжностей» і є чи не найбільш ключовим підґрунтям підпалів дорогих авто.

Крім того, зауважив співрозмовник, часто трапляються підпали VIP-авто на побутовому грунті – після сварок, зрад чи розлучень з дружиною, тощо. Так, скажімо, регіонал Чурило розповідав, що новеньку BMW йому спалили заздрісники.

Водночас, на думку головного міліціонера Закарпаття генерала Варцаби, підпали вже стали ментальною особливістю закарпатців: «Врешті, стурбовані таким станом речей і в столиці. З часу мого приходу в Закарпаття створено спеціальний міліцейський підрозділ, який ґрунтовно опрацьовує всі випадки злодіянь і розшукує зловмисників. Можемо зробити висновок, що це діє не якась одна група підпалювачів. У кожному конкретному епізоді є свої причини і свої виконавці. Буває, розлучається подружжя, починають ділити майно – а завершується сімейна драма підпалом. Посварилися мужчини з якогось приводу: помста – підпал автомобіля. Раніше могли і в морду дати один одному, що також додало б клопоту міліції, а нині ось таке «ноу-хау по-закарпатськи». Не знайшли спільної мови син із батьком – горить будинок. Це вже своєрідна тенденція – так вирішувати конфлікти, бізнесові та фінансові в тому числі», – зауважив він у коментарі газеті «Берегово» у жовтні цього року.

Хай там як, але уже всім очевидно, що без участі, а точніше байдужості та бездіяльності правоохоронців у даному випадку не обходиться. І цифри цьому яскраве підтвердження: кількість умисних підпалів автомобілів на Закарпатті з року в рік росте у геометричній прогресії – у 2010-ому – 6 авто,  в 2011-му – вже 12, в 2012-му – 20, а за 2013 рік – 30. 


Source – М

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