Arsen Borysovych Avakov (Ukrainian: Арсен Борисович Аваков; born January 2, 1964) is a Ukrainian politician and businessman. Since 2014, he has served as Ukraine's Minister of Internal Affairs, first being appointed in the first cabinet of Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. He was reappointed to the same position by every successive government since then, most recently in March 2020 in the Shmyhal Government led by Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal. Between 2005 and 2010 Avakov was Governor of Kharkiv Oblast. In 2013, Avakov was 118th richest person in Ukraine worth 100 million dollars.
|11th Minister of Internal Affairs|
|Assumed office |
22 February 2014
Interim: 22 February 2014 – 27 February 2014
|Prime Minister||Arseniy Yatsenyuk|
|Preceded by||Vitaliy Zakharchenko|
|Deputy of the Kharkiv Oblast Council|
April 2006 – April 2010
|People's Deputy of Ukraine|
December 12, 2012 – March 17, 2014
November 27, 2014 – December 2, 2014
|Constituency||People's Front, No.6|
|Born||January 2, 1964|
Baku, Azerbaijan SSR, Soviet Union
|Political party||People's Front (2014–present)|
Our Ukraine (until 2010)
|Alma mater||Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute|
|Awards||65 Years of Liberation of the Belarusian Republic from German-Fascist Invaders|
Early life and education
Arsen Avakov was born to an Armenian family on January 2, 1964, in settlement imeni Kirova (since 1992 Rəsulzadə, located within Binəqədi raion) of Baku, Soviet Azerbaijan. "Avakov" is the Russified version of the Armenian surname "Avagyan" (also transliterated as "Avakyan" or "Avakian"). He moved to Ukraine with his family in 1966.
From 1981 to 1982, Avakov worked as a laboratory assistant for the Chair for Automated Control Systems at the Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute. In 1988, he graduated from Kharkiv Polytechnic Institute as a systems engineer with a major in automated control systems. From 1987 to 1990 he worked in Kharkiv. He joined a commercial bank in 1992, becoming a member of its supervisory board.
In 2002, Avakov was elected a member of the Executive Committee of Kharkiv City Council. During the presidential electoral campaign in 2004, he was the deputy head of Kharkiv Regional Headquarters of Viktor Yushchenko, a presidential candidate, and the First Deputy Head of “The National Salvation Committee” in Kharkiv region.
On February 4, 2005, by the decree of the President of Ukraine, Avakov was appointed the head of the Regional State Administration in Kharkiv. He resigned from his positions at Investor JSC and Basis Commercial Bank. In March 2005, he was elected into the council of the political party "Our Ukraine," a member of the Party Presidium. On March 26, 2006, he was elected a deputy of the Kharkiv Regional Council, 5th convocation, and became a member of the Standing Committee on Budgetary Issues.
Avakov was on the organizing committee for Euro 2012 in Ukraine from April 24 to May 8, 2007. From May 5, 2007, through January 21, 2008, he was a member of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine. He was also a member of the National Council on Interaction between Government Authorities and Local Self-Government Bodies and was named an Honored Economist of Ukraine. On October 31, 2010, he was elected deputy of the Kharkiv Regional Council, 6th convocation, and became a member of the Standing Committee on Science, Education, Culture, Historical Heritage, Intellectual Wealth and National Minorities. He resigned on February 9, 2010, pursuant to Part 3 of Article 31 of The Law of Ukraine “On Civil Service”: "Principled disagreement with decisions made by the public body or an official thereof, and ethical reasons preventing continuation of civil service."
On February 1, 2010, Avakov withdrew from Our Ukraine. He issued a detailed Summary Report at the close of his term of office in Kharkiv Regional State Administration. On April 21, 2010, he joined the Batkivshchyna political party and accepted the offer of Yulia Tymoshenko to lead its regional organization (Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc). Avakov ran for mayor of Kharkiv in the 2010 Ukraine local elections on 31 October 2010. He finished second, losing to Hennadiy Kernes by a margin of 0.63%.
Charged on 31 January 2012 with illegally transferring land, Avakov was placed on the international wanted list of Interpol on 21 March 2012. He was detained in Frosinone (Italy) late March 2012. An Italian court placed him under house arrest as a preventive measure on 12 April 2012. In October 2012, Avakov was elected into the Ukrainian parliament on the party list of "Fatherland" (number 24 on this list). This led to a court ruling on 10 December 2012 that canceled the restriction measures against him (detention and a warrant for his arrest). He returned to Ukraine the next day, on 11 December 2012.
Minister of Internal Affairs
On 22 February 2014, following the February 2014 revolution, Avakov was appointed Acting Minister of Internal Affairs of Ukraine. His appointed supported 275 out of 324 members of Verkhovna Rada and he was the only candidate to be voted. He had agreed to the post on the condition it would be a temporarily assignment. The Euromaidan activists at the Maidan Nezalezhnosti voted against the appointment of Avakov and former parliamentarian Stepan Khmara announced Vitaliy Yarema as the alternative to the appointment and which was supported by the crowd. Avakov described pro-Russian separatists as "terrorists". Soon after his appointed, Avakov announced that to the MVS leadership will be placed members of the Maidan Self-Defense and the Right Sector. On 26 February 2014 Avakov announced that the MVS suspended its search for Viktor Yanukovych in Crimea to avoid "provoking clashes". As the newly appointed minister, Avakov also signed the MVS order #144 "About dissolution of special detachment of the Militsiya of Public Safety "Berkut"", after internal investigation into allegations of abuse of power.
On 14 March 2014 Avakov gave an interview to the chief editor of LB.ua Sonya Koshkina where he stated that he was initially given five main tasks: stabilization of situation, ensuring an investigation of resonant crimes (which is so urgently society requires), structural transformation of the MVS, creation of the National Guard of Ukraine, and opposition to destabilization of Ukraine from the outside.
Russia requested that Avakov be placed on Interpol's wanted list for "the use of prohibited means and methods of warfare, aggravated murder, the obstruction of professional activities of journalists, and abduction." On 9 July 2014, a Moscow district court arrested him in absentia.
On 3 April 2014 Avakov stated that the investigation has identified all the shooters from the Berkut special detachment (company, also known as the "Black Special Detachment") who were sniping protesters from the roof of the former October Palace and were commanded by the MVS Major Dmitri (Dmytro) Sadovnik. At the same time the acting minister announced that "the former leadership of MVS and Berkut has made everything that any investigation on the subject were impossible". Avakov also added that gangs that were killing and abducting activists of Euromaidan were coordinated by a head of media holding "Kontakt" Viktor Zubritskiy.
In September 2014 Avakov became a founding member of his new party People's Front.
Avakov has published twelve scientific papers, one monograph, and a number of essays on political and social issues.
In November 2014, Ukraine's chief rabbi Yaakov Bleich condemned Avakov's appointment of Azov Battalion deputy commander and leading Patriot of Ukraine member Vadym Troyan as Kyiv Oblast police chief, and demanded that "if the interior minister continues to appoint people of questionable repute and ideologies tainted with fascism and right-wing extremism, the interior minister should be replaced."
Avakov was reappointed as Interior Minister in December 2014 in the second Yatsenyuk government and again in August 2019 in the Honcharuk government. He was reappointed in August 2019 despite the plea of 24 NGO's (including AutoMaidan, StateWatch and Transparency International Ukraine) not to re-appoint Avakov. In a joint statement they claimed “Avakov is responsible for failing to reform the police, sabotaging the vetting of police officers, keeping tainted police officials and suspects in EuroMaidan cases in key jobs, failing to investigate attacks on civic activists and numerous corruption scandals linked to him and his inner circle.” The day after Avakov's reappointment Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk stated Avakov kept his post because his experience was needed and it was better not to appoint a new Interior Minister during the ongoing War in Donbass.
In December 2019, Arsen Avakov was included in the list of the 100 most influential Ukrainians by Focus magazine, taking the 8th place.
A number of experts point out that during Avakov's time as Minister of Internal Affairs, the reform of main Ukrainian law enforcement agency fell through. Started out on 7 November 2015 with entering into force of a new law "About the National Police", the former Ukrainian militsiya has simply changed its name and most of its staff remained unchanged.
Arsen Avakov is author of 12 scientific papers and one monograph including:
- Circulation of Bills: Theory and Practice / А.B. Аvakov, G.I. Gaievoy, V.A. Beshanov etc.. — Kh.: Folio, 2000. — 382 p.;
- “Glavnoe” (The Main): Collection of Articles (April 2005 — October 2006) / Arsen Avakov. — Kharkov, 2006. — 48 p.: il.;
- “Aktsenty” (Emphases): Speeches, Articles, Statements, Interviews, Publications (November 2004 — December 2006): collection of articles / Arsen Avakov. — Kharkov: Golden Pages, 2007. — 464 p.: il.;
- Lenin with Us: Article + Internet Epistolary Documents / Arsen Avakov. — Kharkiv: Golden Pages, 2008. — 100 p.: il.;
- Yesterday and Tomorrow / Arsen Avakov. — Kharkiv: Golden Pages, 2008. — 48 p.;
- Strategy of Social and Economic Development of Kharkiv Region For the Period till 2015: Monograph.- Kh.:«INZHEK» Publishing House, 2008.- 352 p.
- New Cabinet formed in Ukraine, UNIAN (14 April 2016)
- "People's Deputy of Ukraine of the VII convocation". Official portal (in Ukrainian). Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
- "People's Deputy of Ukraine of the VIII convocation". Official portal (in Ukrainian). Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. Archived from the original on 20 February 2018. Retrieved 22 December 2014.
- Oleksiy Sorokin (March 6, 2020). "Shmygal's awkward start as nation's prime minister". Kyiv Post. Retrieved 25 March 2020.
- "Арсен Аваков". ФОКУС. Retrieved 2019-02-16.
- "Armenian Arsen Avakov Elected as Ukraine's Interim Interior Minister". Asbarez. 24 February 2014. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
- Sindelar, Daisy (27 February 2014). "Who's Who In Ukraine's 'Kamikaze' Cabinet". RFE/RL. Retrieved 12 April 2014.
Arsen Avakov (50) – Baku-born and of Armenian origin...
- Mirskiy, Georgiy (30 March 2014). Арсен Аваков – вот враг! (in Russian). Echo of Moscow. Retrieved 5 December 2014.
...Аваков (русифицированная форма армянской фамилии Авакян)...
- (in Ukrainian) Avakov's record, Ukrayinska Pravda (28 February 2021)
- Avakov doubts Rada will strip him of MP's immunity from prosecution, Kyiv Post (17 December 2012)
- Interpol puts ex-governor of Kharkiv region Avakov on wanted list, Kyiv Post (21 March 2012)
Prosecutor's office: No reason to arrest Avakov, Kyiv Post (11 December 2012)
- Official: Avakov placed under house arrest in Italy, Kyiv Post (12 April 2012)
Kozhemiakin: Roman court releases Avakov, Kyiv Post (12 April 2012)
- (in Ukrainian) Список депутатів нової Верховної Ради, Ukrayinska Pravda (11 November 2012)
- (in Ukrainian) Аваков Арсен Борисович, Civil movement "Chesno"
- The new head of the Ukrainian MVS: The members of law enforcement have sided with the opposition (Новый глава МВД Украины: Правоохранители перешли на сторону оппозиции). Vzgliad. 22 February 2014
- Constantly temporary. As Avakov sat in the minister's chair at Zelensky ('Постійно тимчасовий. Як Аваков всидів у кріслі міністра при Зеленському'), Ukrayinska Pravda (9 October 2019)
- To the post of head of the MVS instead of Avakov, the Maidan has offered Yarema (Майдан на посаду голови МВС замість Авакова запропонував Ярему ). RBC-Ukraine. 26 February 2014
- "Avakov: Over 30 'terrorists' killed in east Ukraine operation" Kyiv Post. May 6, 2014
- Arsen Avakov dossier. RBC-Ukraine.
- Avakov: searches for Yanukovych in Crimea are suspended (Аваков: поиски Януковича в Крыму приостановлены ). LB.ua. 26 February 2014
- Avakov liquidated the Berkut special detachment (Аваков ликвидировал спецподразделение "Беркут"). LB.ua. 26 February 2014
- Sonya Koshkina. Arsen Avakov: In total, today we have about forty people out of the "former" who are among wanted (Арсен Аваков: "Всего на сегодня в розыске порядка сорока человек "бывших"). LB.ua. 14 March 2014
- "Russia puts Ukraine's interior minister, Dnepropetrovsk governor on int'l wanted list". Voice of Russia. June 21, 2014.
- Moscow Court Arrests in Absentia Ukrainian Interior Minister Avakov, RIA Novosti (9 July 2014)
- Vladimir Ivakhnenko. Who was killing the Maidan protesters (Кто убивал майдановцев). Radio Liberty. 3 April 2014
- Golovniov, Igor (9 September 2014). "Yatseniuk elected head of political council of People's Front Party". Demotix. Archived from the original on 2 January 2015.
- Kiev regional police head accused of neo-Nazi ties, The Jerusalem Post (12 November 2014)
- Аваков покупает сайт "Буквы" у Грановского (in Russian). Znaj.ua. 2019-03-06. Retrieved 2019-03-08.
- "Archived copy" Аваков у Грановского покупает сайт "Буквы" (in Russian). POLITICA.COM.UA. 2019-03-06. Archived from the original on 2019-03-11. Retrieved 2019-03-08.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- Аваков покупает сайт "Буквы" у Грановского (in Russian). "Акценты". 2019-03-06. Retrieved 2019-03-08.
- Zelensky, parliament keep Avakov as interior minister, ignore civil society, Kyiv Post (29 August 2019)
- Oleksiy Honcharuk: Mr Zelensky is the political leader of this team ('Олексій Гончарук: Політичним лідером цієї команди є пан Зеленський'), Ukrayinska Pravda (30 August 2019)
- "100 самых влиятельных украинцев". Focus (Ukrainian magazine). 2019-12-23.
- Reform of police as profanation and sabotage (Реформа поліції як профанація і саботаж). Argumentua. 6 March 2018
- (in Russian) Short bio, LIGA
- (in Ukrainian) Son of Avakov volunteers, Ukrayinska Pravda (8 August 2014)
- Сын Авакова служит в батальоне «Киев-1»