Expert: Mass dismissals at Kyiv Pechersk Lavra may bring back dishonest schemes for carving up reserve's profit
Some 20 employees who used to work in spheres that earn profit for Kyiv Pechersk Lavra National Historical and Cultural Reserve have been dismissed from the reserve, according to the public movement "Kyiv - Hospitable City."
"The labor dispute between the director and one of her deputies is not the only problem in this situation. But now we are facing a serious labor conflict, as some 20 employees, including several employees, have been dismissed from the reserve. There are questions over why they were fired and whether it was it done according to the law. Unfortunately, we are concerned about the fact that the dismissals took place in spheres that earn profits for the reserve," an expert in labour conflicts and a member of the public council at Kyiv City State Administration, Oleksandr Paliy, said at a press conference in Kyiv on Monday.
Paliy said that Deputy Director General for Financial and Economic Issues Liliya Styrenko and Deputy Director General for Scientific and Sightseeing Activities Svitlana Zorynets were dismissed from the national reserve.
"For example, people that directly managed sightseeing work, [sales of] jewellery and souvenirs were dismissed. And these are three key sources of profit at Lavra," he said.
The expert added that in 2010 the reserve earned UAH 6 million on excursions for the national budget, while in 2011 the national budget received UAH 17 million from the reserve thanks to the elimination of shadow schemes. He added that the same sum could be transferred to the national budget this year "despite the increase of the cost of tickets in May this year."
"We're seriously alarmed by the issue. I we don't rule out that the schemes of 2010 could be used again," he said.
"Our public movement is ready to hold a public check of the allocation of funds for restoration work, construction, and so on," Paliy said.
He added that the management of the national reserve should be appointed according to the results of a competition.
Coordinator of the public movement "Kyiv - Hospitable City" Yulia Shkurko, in turn, said that the recent conflict over the dismissals at the reserve could damage Ukraine's image. She said that the national reserve needs effective management to be appointed.
Earlier, the media reported that in late July employees of the national reserve wrote an open letter to Ukrainian Culture Minister Mykhailo Kulyniak and asked him to dismiss Deputy Director General for Scientific and Sightseeing Activities Svitlana Zorynets and Deputy Director General for International Cooperation and ex-model Vlada Prokayeva. The employees explained their demand by the fact that the abovementioned persons threatened and "humiliated" them.
Later on, Prokayeva stated in public that she gave a bribe of $50,000 to Ukrainian Culture Minister Mykhailo Kulyniak for her appointment as deputy director general of Kyiv Pechersk Lavra National Historical and Cultural Reserve.
Prokayeva was dismissed from the post on July 31 after having worked at it for less than a month. According to media reports, the ex-model had a conflict with the director of the reserve, Viktoria Lisnycha.
In turn, the culture minister denied he had taken a bribe.
The Interior Ministry of Ukraine has been instructed by the Prosecutor General's Office of Ukraine to check the statements by Vlada Prokayeva.
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