Stockholm Syndrome of Uzhgorod

It is unbelievable but even for Ukraine the number of candidates for the mayor of Uzhgorod proved: not everything is lost or not everuthing is yet stolen … In the election "menu" of the main – despite "clan" successes of the 42nd kilometer – city of Silver Land proposals were numerous! They ranged within the ideological spectrum, in ethical and moral dimensions their variety was somewhat narrow, but gender equality was taken into account. Probably due to some confusion or fatigue, but rather due to mental gratitude, Uzhgorod citizens did not take the bait: they were neither bothered with ideological issues, nor measured any ethical qualities of potential mayor or took gender into account – they just voted for the money.

The buying of votes was known to everybody but the police. Prices for votes ranged from 200 to 500 hryvnia, regardless of the status of "buyer": whether the payment was for mayor or deputy of the city council. However, it looks like the situation before the election day was not especially discomforting to anyone. Thus, the responsibility for the odious outcome of local elections in the regional center of Transcarpathia lies on those who had to ensure the legitimacy and fairness of procedure.

If after court’s decision to recount the votes the composition of the city council is subject to change, the participants of the 2nd round for the mayor’s office are now determined. Thus, as a classic of political agitation said, we have what we have: Bohdan Andriyiv and Serhiy Ratushnyak have passed to the second round.

Who is Bohdan Andriyiv?


Bohdan Andriyiv   was born on August 12, 1969 in the village of Konyukhiv, Stryi district, Lviv region. After school he started his career as a junior medical person at Stryi district hospital. In November 1987 he was called up for military service in the Armed Forces. Subsequently he graduated from Odessa Institute of Food Industry and Transcarpathian center of certification auctions. Since November 1996 he worked as a senior inspector, chief inspector, chief of smuggling and customs violations prevention department of the Carpathian regional customs. Simultaneously, he studied law in Uzhgorod State University. He left customs authorities in 2004 at his own will, and since that time he is engaged in entrepreneurial activity. In 2006-2010 was a deputy Uzhgorod City Council of 5th convocation. From 2010 – member of the Party of Regions. In 2012, while being an entrepreneur, Bohdan Andriyiv he became a deputy of Uzhgorod City Council from majority constituency number 19.

He left Uzhgorod city organization of the Party of Regions only at the end of February, after the most bloody events on the Maidan.

The main "skeleton in the closet" of this candidate is public transportation. Although Andriyiv sluggishly denies his relevance to the highly coveted business of Uzhgorod, the web-site of Uzhgorod ATP shows different fact: Andriyiv’s wife – Vlada Andriyiv – holds significant number of shares of this open joint stock company.


Although the public minibuses are apparently not the only income of Mr. Andriyiv or rather Andriyiv brothers who are by the way related to the market at Krasnodontsiv street.

What concerns Bohdan, the position of the City Council Secretary allowed him to control decisions relating to his and his family interests.

Thus, Yaroslav Hulan, a journalist who received an answer to his request to avoid conflicts of interest when making decisions (according to the law a deputy has no right to vote on decisions relating to his property or the property of his family), wrote in the publication to ProZahid "It turned out that most "conflicting parties in matters of public and private issues" are the City Council Secretary Bohdan Andriyiv and deputy Anatoly Kowalski." Only within 3 months, 27 sessions of the City Council were included decisions on land issues (like kindergarten on  Zakarpatska street, bus station area, condominium property, etc.) that were directly related to Bohdan Androyiv or his family. And this refers only to the registered and obvious facts that lie in the public domain.


To give him his due, a month before the elections seemed to be very busy for Bohdan Andriyiv – he communicated with voters on regular basis, with admirable consistency, fulfilling his promises. The most significant was the project of Avtomobilist city stadiumn which was really a worthy contribution of Andriyiv brothers into development of sports infrastructure. And there is no point for arguing.

Wow! Same old, same old! Serhiy Mykolayovich…


Unlike his rival, Serhiy Ratushniak is a person, known not only in the Transcarpathian society. Not too choosy about political sympathies (he has been attached to a record number of political brands with radically different ideologies), he remains true to the liberal line of aggressive defense of his own material interests and controversial way of expressing his opinions.

Ratushniak likes to mention that he was a student at the KPI, where, according to his own post on Facebook, he studied (attention!) ballistics and pyrotechnics.

This passion for the means of attack and defense seems to be entirely justified. Judging by the difficult political and life experience, Serhiy Ratushniak is not used to apply intellect when resolving conflicts, and tact is not the strongest feature of his character. So:

– May 27, 2002, he beat the then head of the Privatization and Property Management Fund of Uzhgorod Vasyl Margita. According to the act of forensic examination, the head of the Fund had bodily injuries, criminal proceeding was not initiated.

– May 17, 2003, he broke into the office of the deputy Uzhgorod City Council Stanislav Ponomarev and inflicted him injuries.

– November 12, 2003, S. Ratushniak had a fight with the head of the Department of Tourism and Resorts of the Transcarpathian Regional State Administration, Serhiy Slobodyaniuk.

– December 15, 2003, there was a conflict about the Uzhgorod Market on Krasnodontsi Street. Serhiy Ratushniak brought from Kyiv about 30 fighters from security agencies who raided the office building of the "ATP 12107" which was a part of the market complex. As a result of the attack, two ATP employees were seriously injured. One of them had a leg broken.

– December 29, 2003, Serhiy Ratushniak beat two visitors of the restaurant "Zheglov" – the director of Uzhgorod private dental clinic "Natadent" Ilya Kovalev and his wife, the mother of a newborn. 


– September 1, 2005, on Zhupanatska Sq., Serhiy Ratushniak took a baseball bat from the car and began to chase passers-by. As a result, he managed to twice hit a boy with a bat. The victim filed a statement with the city prosecutor’s office.

– October 23, 2005, on a train "Kyiv-Uzhgorod", he beat the then head of the domestic policy department of the Transcarpathian Regional State Administration, the head of the regional organization of the People’s Movement of Ukraine Volodymyr Pipash and the former head of one of the departments of the RSA Istvan Tsap.

– The deputy also participated in the raiding of the market office on Koryatovich Square in Uzhgorod, where he fought with the police officers and broke a camera. By the way, the infamous car arsons are also attributed to this colorful figure…

The list of questionable business achievements of Mr. Ratushniak can take up even more space. For example, the elimination of the historical pharmacy in the city center, the transfer of the public swimming pool to private property, and so on. Let’s not forget the territory in front of the Regional Music and Drama Theater which turned into three private plots .. What will we see there? That’s right! Another metal anf glass "masterpiece" of the widespread "for rent" chain. By the way, this kind of business accounts for the lion’s share of Ratushniak’s income, although the rentier usually registers his property for his relatives. Therefore, thanks to Ratushniak’s specific idea of urban planning, Uzhgorod has received a lot of unclear architectural complexes and even more unclear prospects. And this is what Ratushniak, if elected, will be implementing.


Uzhgorod, given its choice, is not too concerned about the fate of the "Molocharnya", pharmacies and a number of not very well-known sites and objects.Instead, Uzhgorod has chosen a fierce defender of the purity of Orthodox faith and the white race. Let’s recall the forgotten conflict with a journalist of the "Novy" channel, after the mayor had beaten a female electioneerer, during which Serhiy Ratushniak very emotionally reacted to the nationality of the current prime minister. A tolerant Ukrainian court did not see any violation in that.

The latest story of Ratushniak’s excessive concern about the epidemiological situation in his hometown and his sincere contempt for people with different skin color (the scandal with the pool where Hindu students were denied entry to) caused a lot of noise in domestic and foreign media. Again, given the result of October 25, this concern was not in vain… And except for the noise in media, it did not bring Ratushniak any troubles.

And so, these two inicdents prompted Ratushniak to choose another ethically questionable, but seemingly surefire election slogan: "Let’s not give Uzhgorod to the Galician-gangster clan!". 


Yet, as the usual tradition in Uzhgorod has it, "whatever" the city elects, it still elects Ratushniak. Understandable rhetoric, inadequate expression, outright rudeness, solving conflicts with fists, humiliation of opponents, demonstrative abuse of power and the complete impunity – these are the features that seem to be the most attractive to an average resident of Uzhgorod suffering from the Stockholm syndrome regarding Ratushniak who is constantly present in its history.  A hostage did get accustomed to his hijacker, identified himself with him and thus justified him… Or maybe not, after all?

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