What did Azov Civil Corps do near Kyivmiskbud's office?
We are speaking with Serhii Filimonov, the head of the Kyiv branch of Azov Civil Corps, about the conflict with the SHC Kyivmiskbud and activists' demands.
During the clashes near the office of Kyivmiskbud police arrested head of the Kyiv branch of Azov Civil Corps Serhii Filimonov, who was later released on bail of people's deputies Oleh Petrenko and Andrii Biletskyi. Today we will talk with him about what really happened near the Kyivmiskbud s office.
Oleksii Burlakov: What is the history of relations between Azov and Kyivmiskbud
Serhii Filimonov: The situation has languished for too long. We were already aware of it in February, when hired thugs, so-called “titushky”, tried to get there. We found some information on the Internet. I met with people to learn about the situation. At that time, they told me that the assistance of Azov was not needed, but they took my contact info. I said that in case they would need our help, we were always ready. I explained them that we are Ukrainian nationalists who are concerned for the future of our country and our city.
This September, I received a call from the people who live on Sviatoshynskyi Lane. They told me about the construction of a barbed wire fence, barricades, etc. When people come up to the fence, behind which their cars are, they are met with stones, bricks, pepper sprays. They simply couldn’t get to their cars.
Therefore, we arrived there. I saw many wounded activists and local residents. I saw tires burning near the playgrounds, and the smoke came in the windows of residential buildings. All of this was done by people who had been hired by Kyivmiskbud It is a reliable information. This is their building site. They received documents for the construction of a kindergarten, but eventually it turned out to be a 25-storey building.
Oleksii Burlakov: Why did conflict arose at this very construction site?
Serhii Filimonov: First, I would like to explain my position. In fact, one can read information on our activity and find out that we have already helped people to solve many problems with construction companies. But we are not lawyers and not the people who check the construction sites. Every now and then, local residents complain that they are faced with such problem as "titushky". Those are hired people who beat people for money. We arrive at construction sites when the businessmen think that they can pursue their own interests at the expense of people's health. There are also problems with the Kachyne lake, Bychok tract and Mykilska Slobidka.
Natalia Sokolenko: Do you find it normal when military or paramilitary forces like Azov, interfere with a purely civil conflict?
Serhii Filimonov: Azov Civil Corps is often associated with the Azov Regiment. We are somehow related indeed. But those are two different structures. For example, I used to be a soldier of the Azov battalion. There are many veterans of Azov regiment in our movement. Our leader, Andrii Biletskyi is the former commander of the Azov battalion.
Azov Civil Corps brings together all sections of the population: students, animal rights activists, environmentalists, people neighboring illegal constructions, veterans of different military units. We are activists, ordinary Kyivans. We are ordinary people who care about the fate of our city.
When activists and local residents made successful attempts to break through the gate, the police immediately pushed them back.
Oleksii Burlakov: You were released on bail of Oleh Petrenko and Andrii Biletskyi. Why did the police detain personally you?
Serhii Filimonov: On the day before the rally at which I was detained, hired thugs smashed the heads of local residents and activists (Azov Civil Corps activists includingly), used firearms, pepper sprays, fire extinguishers, and burned tires on Sviatoshynskyi Lane.
Oleksii Burlakov: And what were the police doing at that moment?
Serhii Filimonov: Police allegedly maintained a position of neutrality. But when activists and local residents made successful attempts to break through the gate, the police immediately pushed them back.
Natalia Sokolenko: What did the police do when people were being attacked?
Serhii Filimonov: First, the police authorities came to me. I will not tell you the names. They said: "We see what the situation is. You’d better calm down, and we’ll deal with this problem." But once we made concessions and pulled back, the police immediately created the border in order to prevent us from breaking through the gate.
Natalia Sokolenko: Did the construction work behind the fence continue when people had been pushed back?
Serhii Filimonov: It’s impossible, because the cars of local residents are behind the fence. People stand 24 hours a day at their posts, they will not allow any construction equipment to be brought to the construction site. They have been stand there for a long time.
Natalia Sokolenko: The Head of your organization, people's deputy Biletskyi, is a member of the People's Front faction, which had delegated the Interior Minister Avakov. And at the same time you criticize the actions of the police Why isn’t it possible to make sure that the police will be with the people? Why do not you put that question?
Serhii Filimonov: I don’t understand, what does this situation have to do with Avakov? I don’t feel that we have any connection with anyone from the political leadership of the state.
Natalia Sokolenko: Did you raise the question of the actions of the police in conversations with your commander, Andrii Biletskyi? Maybe, he can directly put this question to his party ally, Arsen Avakov?
Serhii Filimonov: I do not know whether Biletsky can put a question to Avakov. Andrii Biletskyi is our commander. He was on Sviatoshynskyi Lane with us on the day when I was detained. I was at my trial. He supported me and openly spoke against the police brutality. I just cannot judge, whether he can speak to certain person or not.
Oleksii Burlakov: Don’t you think that you may become involved in some political games?
Serhii Filimonov: No way! I have been the head of the Kyiv branch of Azov Civil Corps for more than a year. I already knew about this problem in February. I saw how "titushky" were trying to get there. I came there to examine the situation. At the time, people said that everything was fine and they will solve this problem by themselves.
I took personal control of this issue. And that was me who had asked Andrii Biletsky asked to arrive. When we found out that there was a problem, the MP and our commander Biletsky came to help us. It would be inappropriate to talk about political games here.
Natalia Sokolenko: Is it possible to find a comprehensive and systemic solution to prevent the violation of law to ensure that company, which was supposed to build a kindergarten, will build it under the decision of the City Council. What should be done at the systemic level?
Serhii Filimonov: Only the fight agains corruption may help. As far as I know, our police officers receive apartments. And according to my information, every real-estate developer before starting the construction, gives a part of the flats to the Interior Ministry and SSU There is no doubt that the developer and the police will work together. This is what we saw in Osokorky, where the police protected "titushky" from local residents for the first time, on Kachyne lake, and here.
Oleksii Burlakov: Why did the police detain personally you?
Serhii Filimonov: All our boys brought under the Kyivmiskbud s office had been taken from the construction site on Sviatoshynskyi Lane. We brought barbed wire, which had been thrown at the people, the tires that had been burned there, and the fence, behind which the cars of local residents are.
The situation regarding my detention is very strange. People were standing near the entrance to the building, then they were pushed back by the police special unit equipped with helmets and flak jackets. An unknown man came up to me without introducing himself. He shouted obscenities and punched me in the face. I think these materials won’t be attached to the case. The police won’t show them. And the Kyivmiskbud s cameras are also unlikely to show the beginning of the scuffle.
It was obvious that he was a provocateur, who hit me first. When I tried to find out from the police who that person was, I was pushed off again. I almost fell on the wire lying on the street. Then a cloud of smoke appeared, and I understood that this person was holding my T-shirt.
Then started a scuffle broke out. I heard: "Come on, come on, take this one". There they detained two more activists. They were immediately released, without any accusations. They had questions only for me and took me to the Pechersk district police department. The police tried to make me write something, but I know how our law enforcement agencies work. I said that I will say something only in court, according to Article 63. That’s how it happened.
Natalia Sokolenko: What do you want to achieve from the Kyivmiskbud
Serhii Filimonov: It should not be the case that people, who have a lot of money, can “buy” athletes to defend their interests by force. But for every action, there is an equal reaction. We will ensure that those, who use money and athletes in Kyiv to pursue their interests, will achieve nothing. That is our conviction.