Last week, on May 17 the parliament adopted the law "On rules of ethic behavior". The document, initiated by six deputies from Communist party, Party of Regions, BYuT and "Reforms for Future", obliges state officials and local self-government officials to "provide positive reputation for the state authorities and local self-governments, to assist in every way to the strengthening of trust to the authorities among the population."

The law also says that the state officials and local self-government officials must perform their duties politically impartially, must avoid demonstration of their political views, must not use their authority to benefit interests of political parties and organizations, as well as individual politicians. The law does no apply to those, who hold political or elective positions.

The law also forbids the state officials to take donations. If such donation takes place a politician is obliged to identify the donator, if possible, and inform the relevant authorities about the incident. For violation of these regulations the state officials will face disciplinary, administrative, criminal or financial responsibility.

At the same time, the parliamentary expert department drew MPs' attention to the fact that the law does not provide for the order of bringing to responsibility and for concrete sanctions against violators.  

ForUm has asked politicians what the functions of this law are and whether this law means prohibition to criticize the authorities.

Oleksandr Yefremov, leader of the parliamentary faction of the Party of Regions:

- I don't understand why this law raises such buzz. It's impossible to forbid something, which cannot be forbidden. How can you tell a person that he cannot criticize his chief? He will go to a smoking room, for example, and will speak anyway. So, don't look for something supernatural in this law.

Andriy Shkil, MP from BYuT faction:

- This law is a mechanism of pressure on the opposition, regardless of who is in opposition and who is in power. It concerns not only the parliament, but all deputies of district and regional councils, who are forbidden to criticize their leadership from now on. What is this?

Svyatoslav Piskun, MP from the Party of Regions, former Prosecutor General:

- It is an ordinary law on ethics in Ukraine. The relations must be ethic and humane, but if a person insults and discredits another person, he must bear responsibility. Words can result into various consequences, including grave ones - a heart attack or, God forbid, death. I believe people must bear criminal responsibility for this. I want to stress that journalists these days are more tolerant and patient than in 2002-2004 years. I remember how cynical, irresponsible and sometimes gross interviews and comments used to be. Now everything has changed for the better, and I believe politicians should follow the example of journalists.

Valery Bevz, CPU deputy, head of the parliamentary committee on fight against corruption:

- This law is aimed at realization of the anti-corruption law. We can say many nice words about the fight against corruption, but if we do not work with the staff, with people who actually do this work, there will be no results. That's why we have now this law, stipulating 12 rules of ethic behavior. This law was supposed to be the base for the anti-corruption law, but as usual we put the cart in front of the horse. Despite everything we need this law, as it sets requirements to a person, performing state functions.

Taras Chornovil, non-faction MP of Ukraine:

- Ethics and aesthetics are two different things, and the ethics provided by this law is something third. The law does not solve anything. Whether you adopt it or not, the things remain the same. The law does not provide for concrete actions and sanctions. This law does not say that an official must smile to you, but provides for ethics regarding conflict of interests, for example not to hire relatives as subordinates and so on. It has turned out that the law on corruption is unclear, and its norms have been stipulated in the law on ethics, which in fact says "it should be like this" and nothing more.

Ihor Sharov, chairman of the People's party faction:
- I will tell you that a deputy must behave in ethic manner also without the law. And this behavior must be reflected in his work and even in the manner of dressing. The given law just put such things in writing.


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