To be a parliamentarian is profitable even after the termination of the term. According to the Law on status of people's deputy, once elected as an MP, a person remains the deputy for life (unless he or she was deprived of the status through court, for example). MPs of all convocations keep the status and right to come to the parliament and continue to enjoy numerous benefits.

The law stipulates: "After the end of term or in case of resignation a deputy can have his previous job (position) or will be enlisted in the candidates pool of the Main department of state service of Ukraine." The parliament also provides a former deputy certain financial support for the period of employment readjustment in the amount of full deputy's salary including bonuses and supplements for one year, and in case of study or professional retraining - for two years since the termination of service.

If a former deputy does not find a job for the provided period, he gets financial supported in the amount of 50% of deputy's salary including bonuses and supplements until his retirement age, providing that his labor experience makes 25 years for men and 20 years for women. On average, acting deputies get 14-17 thousand hryvnias of salary, thus the compensation for ex-deputies is about of the same amount.

Moreover, not only former deputies have the right for priority employment and compensation for uncollected housing, but also members of his family. Families also have the right for treatment and rest in departmental institutions.

Some of these benefits were suspended by the state budget 2012, but today are again in force. MPs of previous convocations are now standing in line for money: the parliament has registered 151 applications for financial support from former deputies, and 109 out of the total were submitted by MPs of the sixth convocation. There are some applications even from ex-MPs of the first convocation.

Today we have the seventh Verkhovna Rada, and every parliament has 450 MPs. If we do the math, it is paralyzing how much it may cost the state to maintain all graduates' of the parliament. ForUm has asked politicians and experts about why MPs have the right for such privileges even after the termination of service.

Taras Chornovil, MP of third, fourth, fifth and sixth Rada:

- Honestly, I am among those who applied for financial support. I am one of a few deputies who really worked hard in the parliament and I am not a millionaire. I have difficulties with finding a job, thus I applied for support. This support exists and even millionaires apply for easy money. So, I also have the right. However, if this norm is cancelled I will not challenge the decision in court.

The mechanism is following: every month before the 10th a former deputy must file the application for the speaker and the money will be paid (or not) after the 20th. The first month the compensation was not paid, but at the end of the second month they paid for two months together. It is about 14 thousand hryvnias monthly. I also know there are MPs of the first and second parliament, who have never been reelected, but who still receive financial support - 50% of the standard salary of a deputy.

As for your question and privileges themselves, I believe all privileges, which do not relate to the execution of deputy's commissions, must be cancelled. The financial support we are talking about is not the biggest part of expenses of the Verkhovna Rada.

The biggest part of means goes to the uncontrolled payment "provision of deputy's activity." It is additional UAH 17 thousand monthly to every acting deputy. Deputies do not report on spending this money. And I can tell you that almost nobody spends it for what it is aimed for.

The second biggest article of expenditure, which must be cancelled, is unlimited right to use all means of transport. There are deputies who fly from Donetsk or Lviv to Kyiv for plenary session in the morning and then back home in the evening. Every flight costs up to three thousand hryvnias. Only imagine what sums we are talking about!

Ihor Popov, president of analytical center "Politics":

- There are too many privileges for deputies. Some of them must be cancelled, for example provision of free of charge dwelling in Kyiv or compensation for unclaimed accommodation. Free of charge use of public transport and parking.

The same thing concerns former deputies. A capable person can find a job after the termination of service and live on salary and not on social security.

The question is whether MPs will do it. May be during some election campaign or udner public pressure a part of privileges will be canceled. 

Oleksandr Chernenko, chairman of the Committee of Voters of Ukraine:

- The question arises all the time, and every parliament speaks about cancelation of privileges for both acting and former deputies. However, speaking is all they do. Every acting MP understands that some day he will become an ex-deputy, thus all of them take care about their post-parliamentary future.

As for privileges themselves, I believe Rada should keep minimal packages, excluding monetary compensations. The amount of money the state spends now is an enormous pressure on the state budget. Thus, privileges should be revised.
Volodymyr Oliynyk, MP (Party of Regions):

- The amendments to the Law on status of people's deputy have already been worked out and submitted by the Ministry for social policy. I believe that when we ask people to hold on and endure the crisis, the authorities should give a lead and reduce expenses for maintenance and privileges.
We must put an order into the execution of privileges. If we speak about free of charge use of public transport, it must be free only for business trips, not personal affairs. A deputy must report where he was, whom he met and what he did. Being a deputy of three parliaments, I've never used the privilege of free or charge transport or treatment in "Feofania".

As for former MPs, I stand against current privileges for them, especially regarding financial support until retirement age. Certain maintenance is needed for ex-deputies to find a job, but only for a short period. Otherwise, people get used to be maintained by the state and stop looking for other opportunities.

Valery Karpuntsov, MP (UDAR faction), first deputy head of the parliamentary committee on VR regulations, deputy's ethics and business assurance:

- Current privileges are unfair. A deputy is elected by people for certain period of time to represent their interests. So, what does it have to do with some privileges, especially life-long ones. It is simply inappropriate.

We need changes at the legislation level to remove these privileges once and for all. Our faction has already worked out and registered a relevant draft bill. Will it be adopted? Well, we need public pressure and attention of mass media. In this case, MPs will have no choice but to vote for it.


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