The Ministry of Internal Affairs states that now about 160 facts of collaborationism are recorded every month, and more than 1,200 criminal proceedings have already been registered in the Unified Register of Pre-Trial Investigations. Almost every day, we read stunning news about collaborators, but opinions vary as to who can be considered to be them. To understand the phenomenon of collaborationism, we need to dig deeper.
Collaborationism is voluntary cooperation of the citizens of the state with the enemy to harm their country.
Modern historians roughly distinguish five types of collaborationism:
- military (service in the military, intelligence, security structures, etc.);
- economic (cooperation in any sectors of the economy);
- cultural or spiritual (propaganda, participation in information and psychological operations of the enemy);
- everyday (establishing friendly relations between the occupiers and the population);
- political or administrative (cooperation in the occupation authorities).
Collaborationism in Ukrainian Legislation
In Ukraine, a law came into force on March 14, 2022, which interprets the collaboration activity and establishes criminal liability for it. MPs have tried to adopt this law for the last eight years, but criticism of the society and sabotage of the fifth column have become an obstacle.
There were statements that this would be used by Russian propaganda to intimidate the local population in the occupied territories, as well as that the draft law played into the hands of the authorities, which could destroy competitors in this way. MPs from pro-Russian parties were afraid that they would be subject to the law. The full-scale invasion was a catalyst for making the necessary amendments to the Criminal Code.
However, there is no concept of “collaboration” and “collaborator” in the law, since international law does not recognize them as legal categories. The Criminal Code contains articles on high treason, collaboration, and assistance to the aggressor state. The wording of the objective side of high treason is stated in a rather general way. Therefore, all the elements of the crime in the article on collaborative activity, at first glance, may look like individual cases of high treason. However, this is not quite the case.
HACC judge Oleksii Kravchuk and judge of the Darnytskyi District Court of Kyiv Maryna Bondarenko point out that, unlike high treason, collaborative activities can be conducted not only by citizens of Ukraine, but only in favor of the aggressor state under the conditions of the occupation or aggression.
Thus, the following are considered to be collaborative activities:
- public denial of armed aggression;
- voluntary holding of office in the illegal occupation authorities;
- carrying out propaganda in educational institutions and promoting the implementation of education standards of the aggressor state;
- transfer of material resources to the occupiers and conduct of economic activity in interaction with the occupier;
- organization and active participation in political events, information activities in cooperation with the occupier;
- other actions.
Collaborationism is punishable by deprivation of the right to hold certain positions or engage in certain activities for a period of 10 to 15 years. For certain types of collaboration, the law provides for liability in the form of a fine, confiscation of property, correctional labor, arrest, or imprisonment from three years to life imprisonment, depending on the severity of the crime.
Yes, There Are Nuances
We cannot call any cooperation of Ukrainians with the Russian occupiers collaboration. People being forced to work for the occupier under a threat to their lives are not collaborators.
If a person continues to perform the duties assigned to them by the state of Ukraine, then there will be no punishment for this. Educators are subject to the law only if they teach according to the Russian program or carry out propaganda work. The ministry offers either to leave for the controlled area or to stand idle with the preservation of wages. Leaders or other officials of temporarily occupied cities should not bother if they have not carried out any actions that have simplified the entry of Russian troops into the territory. Workers who receive a salary in rubles are not guilty either.
“If a person really did not have the opportunity to leave their city or village, which is now under the illegal blockade of russia, then it is logical that if they are not involved in the seizure of territory, do not actively transfer documents, property, and everything else belonging to Ukraine to russia, then they are just a hostage of these tragic circumstances,” said Deputy Minister of Justice of Ukraine Valeria Kolomiets.
The line between survival and crime is now really thin. But we hope that the Ukrainian court will determine the gradation of the level of cooperation with the occupation regime to protect Ukrainians who found themselves in a blockade in the occupied territories.
Collaborationism in Faces
Unfortunately, some Ukrainians deliberately betrayed the interests of our state and cooperate with the occupiers. In addition, russia for years created an intelligence network in Ukraine and secretly brought saboteurs to us. All this greatly simplifies the subversive activities of the enemy and contributes to the growth of terror against Ukrainians who find themselves in occupation.
Here are the most famous citizens of Ukraine who deliberately took the enemy's side from the beginning of the full-scale invasion:
- Halyna Danylchenko is a local MP from the Opposition Bloc, who is now the mayor of Melitopol. On March 12, 2022, she appealed to the citizens with a call to “start living in a new way as soon as possible” and persuaded MPs to cooperate with the occupier. The regional prosecutor's office has already served her with charges of collaboration activity.
- Volodymyr Saldo is a current Gauleiter of Kherson Oblast. He is a former MP of the VII convocation from the Party of Regions and the mayor of Kherson from 2002 to 2012. He participated in the pro-Russian rallies and meetings of the occupation body of the “Salvation Committee.” He was served with charges of high treason in absentia.
- Illia Kyva is an ex-MP from the Opposition Platform — For Life, and the owner of a certificate from a mental institution. He arranged anti-Ukrainian performances, demonstrated immoral behavior in the walls of the Verkhovna Rada, publicly urged to destroy Volodymyr Zelenskyy and to realize a nuclear strike on Lviv. The SBI accused him of high treason and encroachment on territorial integrity, and placed him on the international wanted list.
I Know Collaborators. What Should I Do?
The National Agency on Corruption Prevention, together with the CHESNO Movement, has created an open register of national traitors, which currently includes more than 600 politicians, media workers, judges, and law enforcement officers. Law enforcement agencies help fill the register. Everyone can join by filling in the form at the link.
Collaborators are not only distant famous people. Even your neighbor or relative can be a collaborator. If you have come across information about the collaborator next to you, and you can prove it — please report this to the SBU in the special chatbot “E-Voroh” (E-Enemy) in Telegram. It is necessary to specify the geolocation of an alleged collaborator, add photos or videos of them if possible, and describe the details of this person's criminal activity. If there are no images, you can simply describe in detail what you saw in “E-Voroh.”
If you are under occupation, do not forget to take care of your safety. Make photos or videos from afar and carefully, and, after sending, remove the footage and correspondence with a bot from your device.
It is important to help the state fight the collaborators, as it brings our victory closer. Citizens' efforts and publication of evidence in crimes against Ukraine play a major role in our fight.
The rear must work in harmony so that our fighters have more victories at the front. It is also necessary to support Ukrainians in occupation, who are now forced to feel as strangers at home. Each piece of Ukrainian land will be returned for control and the criminals will be held liable under the law. We are strong, and we will win!