President Volodymyr Zelensky announced today, Aug. 11, that all regional heads of military commissariats are set to be dismissed. They will be replaced by servicemen who have experienced frontline duty or are unable to partake in active combat assume these roles.

 

The decision comes in the wake of numerous instances of corruption within Armed Forces of Ukraine’s military commissariats.

 

“We are dismissing all regional ‘military commissars.’ This system should be managed by people who know exactly what war is and why cynicism and bribery during war are treason,” the president said in his address to Ukrainians, published via his Telegram on Friday, August 11.

 

Who are military commissars, and what is the role of military commissariats?

 

It has been several years since the military commissariats were renamed as Territorial Centers of Recruitment and Social Support.

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Nevertheless, ordinary citizens and officials still commonly refer to them by their former name, and their leaders are still addressed as military commissars.

 

The key responsibilities of the Military Commissariat entail: preparation and mobilization; management of human and economic resources; training of young individuals for military service; organization of conscription and training sessions; and facilitation of voluntary enlistment for military service.

 

When was the decision made?

 

The Ukrainian president convened a meeting of the National Security and Defense Council (RNBO) today, focusing on the outcomes of an inspection of the “military commissariat” system.

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Zelensky revealed that a staggering 112 criminal proceedings have been initiated against military commissars, resulting in 33 formal suspicions. Instances of misconduct by military commissars have been documented across various regions, including Donetsk, Poltava, Vinnytsia, Odesa, Kyiv and Lviv.

 

The President commented, “Whether regional military commissars, city or district officials, or employees of military medical commissions – the cynicism is consistent, even if the forms of corruption differ, be they in cash or cryptocurrency.”

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After the RNBO meeting, a decision was reached to dismiss all regional military commissars.

 

The process will be carried out swiftly, said Fedir Venislavsky, a member of the Verkhovna Rada Committee on National Security, Defense, and Intelligence, as well as the Presidents representative in the parliament.

 

On national TV, Venislavsky elaborated that lists of qualified military personnel ready to assume the roles of military commissars have been compiled. Notably, the lists do not include current commanders or officers actively leading combat units.The pool of potential personnel for the leadership of military departments will be composed of military personnel who, after sustaining injuries and based on evaluations from the military medical commission, are deemed unfit or only partially fit for continued military service.

 

Who will lead the military commissariats now?

 

Zelensky emphasized that military personnel who have firsthand experience on the front lines or those who, due to injuries, are unable to participate in active combat should now head the military commissariats.

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“Soldiers who have served on the front lines or who cannot be in the trenches due to injuries, including those who have lost their health or limbs but have maintained their dignity and have not succumbed to cynicism, these are the individuals whom we can trust with this recruitment system,” the President stressed.

 

He further highlighted that the execution of this decision rests with Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, Valery Zaluzhny.

 

The Security Service of Ukraine will subject prospective military commissars to thorough scrutiny prior to their appointment.

 

“Any military commissar under investigation will be held accountable, fairly and fully,” the Zelensky said.

 

What awaits military commissars with an untarnished reputation?

 

According to Zelensky, military commissars and officials with unblemished records who wish to retain their positions and affirm their integrity must serve on the front lines.

 

“I want to emphasize: the army is not and will never serve as a substitute for criminal punishment. Officials who have mixed up epaulettes and profit will undoubtedly be brought to trial,” the president added.

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The backdrop of recent scandals involving military commissars

 

Ukraine has been rocked by a series of high-profile scandals involving leaders of Territorial Centers of Recruitment and Social Support over the past month.

 

Evidently, investigations revealed opulent real estate holdings in Spain and luxury vehicles belonging to Yevhen Borysov, the military commissar of the Odesa region. Borysov is suspected of embezzlement and is presently in pre-trial detention.

 

In Zaporizhzhia, a military officer orchestrated a scheme for personal enrichment and aided criminal elements in evading justice.

 

Transcarpathia saw a military commissar exploiting soldiers for personal estate construction, while an official in the Kyiv region facilitated illegal border crossings for monetary gain. Additionally, a Cherkasy region Military Commissariat employee allegedly discharged men from service in exchange for $10,000.

 

Lastly, in the Kramatorsk district of Donetsk region, a military officer established a mechanism for issuing counterfeit documents to enable state border crossings.

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