"The eldest" MPs are not always "the most effective". Civil Network OPORA has analyzed political career of the old-timers in Ukrainian Parliament and their "achievements" for many years.
Ukrainian Parliament has real old-timers among its members. Some of them have been working there since the declaration of Ukraine's independence. The status of "lifelong" MPs may receive three eldest Members of Parliament: Yukhym Zviahilskyi was elected as an MP eight times, Viktor Pynzenyk and Ivan Kyrylenko – were elected to the Parliament seven times.
Yukhym Zviahilskyi
He is known as a founder and informal leader of so-called "Donetsk clan" – a criminal financial and political group, which took one of the key places in Ukrainian politics and economy in the end of XX – beginning of XXI century. Honored minor of Ukraine Yukhym Zviahilskyi is a big authority in Donetsk region, was elected in every convocation of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine, and is the eldest MP for today.
He started his activities as an MP in 1990, while holding an office in the mine named after O.F. Zasiadka "Donetsk Vuhillia" production association. Employees of the mine had nominated Mr. Zviahilskyi to the Parliament. He was elected with 62.83% of votes in Kyiv election district in Donetsk oblast. The MP was member of parliamentary group "Promyslovtsi", as well as member of the VRU Committee on economic reform and national economy management. This convocation of the Parliament was a historical one when adopted the Act of Declaration of Independence of Ukraine.
In 1993, Yukhym Zviahilskyi was the First Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine in Leonid Kuchma's government. When Kuchma resigned, he became the Acting Prime Minister of Ukraine.
In 1994, unaffiliated Zviahilskyi was elected to the Parliament in Kyiv election district in Donetsk oblast, winning 9 other candidates with 51.61% of votes. He was a member of the "Constitutional Center" group of MPs.

In Spring 1994, Zviahilskyi was charged with "misuse of authority". According to the Forbes.ua, Zviahilskyi was involved in a scandal involving advanced payment in amount of $19,9 million to a Swiss company Glencore for oil products supply to a state concern "Ukragrotechservice" allegedly based on forged documents.

The Prosecutor General's suspected that Mr. Zviahilskyi, who took a position of Acting Prime-Minister when the contract was concluded, was a founder of the guarantor bank for the agreement. He was incriminated this $19,9 million transfer as a theft of public funds in particularly large amounts. As a result, Mr. Zviahilskyi's immunity was lifted by the PGO.

He had been evading prosecution in Israel until 1997. When simultaneous investigations of Swiss and Ukrainian law-enforcement bodies didn't find the criminal component in the contract between "Ukragrotechservice" and Glencoor, Zviahilskyi returned to Ukraine. Thus, his immunity was restored.
In 1998, Zviahilskyi was elected to the Parliament in election district #43 (Kyivskyi and Kyibeshivskyi districts of Donetsk city) with 59.9% votes, and was the member of VRU Committee on Foreign Affairs and CIS Relations. He was affiliated in the "Ukrainian Regions" faction.
In 2002 parliamentary elections, Zviahilskyi was elected in district #43 (Kyivskyi and Kyibeshivskyi districts of Donetsk city), nominated by the Party of Regions. He received 60.74% of votes in support. Zviahilskyi was the member of VRU Committee on Foreign Affairs. As an MP he had registered 6 draft laws, 2 of which became the laws. In particular, one of them concerned his native mine named after O. F. Zasiadko. That was a time when the mine had some big accidents with many casualties.
In 2006, Zviahilskyi had entered the Parliament one more time in party list of the Party of Regions (#9) and became the member of VRU Committee on Foreign Affairs again. The MP submitted only two draft laws over the year, but none of them were adopted.
In 2007, Zviahilskyi was elected again under number 9 in the list of the Party of Regions. Was the member of VRU Committee on Foreign Affairs. The MP registered 6 draft laws, and 2 of them were adopted. One of them was the Law on Increasing the Prestigiousness of Miner Job.
In 2012 parliamentary elections, Zviahilskyi was nominated in district #45 (Kyivskyi district of Donetsk city). The MP was actively engaging public authorities and communal services to his campaign, and gave presents to children of the voters. As a result, he has gained 83,029 votes, what is 72.59% of the total number. Zviahilskyi has registered only 3 draft laws over two years of cadence, and none of them was adopted by the Parliament. During the Revolution of Dignity in 2014, Yukhym Zviahilskyi voted for "dictatorship laws", which resulted in bloodshed on the Maidan.
In early 2014 parliamentary election, Zviahilskyi was elected to the Parliament for the eighth time in district #45 (Kyivskyi district of Donetsk city). The election was complicated by military conflict in Eastern Ukraine: one part of the district was controlled by Ukrainian army and another by militants. Thus, only 4 of 110 polling stations had opened on the election day. Zviahilskyi won with only 1,454 votes. The Committee of Voters of Ukraine called on the Central Election Commission to void the election in the district, but the CEC had failed to find any grounds for that. According to the Delovaia Stolitsa news agency. the 45th district was a part of agreement between Rinat Akhmetov and the government. The government allowed Akhmetov to put his man in the Parliament. Zviahilskyi, for his part, said in the interview to Livyi Bereh edition that he was against the elections in Donetsk, and even met Petro Poroshenko to discuss this.
The opening of the first session of the Verkhovna Rada was also scandalous. According to the Constitution, the eldest MP opens the first session. Some factions were against Zviahilskyi "from the Regions" reading the oath. Thus, he opened the session with MPs shouting "Shame!".
In the eights convocation of the Verkhovna Rada, the MP had extremely low attendance over two first years. He missed 92.8% of all sessions in the Parliament.
As for the draft laws, he registered only four of them for two years, dedicated to prevention of disabilities and protection of children with disabilities. However, none of them has become the law. It should be mentioned, that protection of vulnerable population groups was among his goals in the election program.

Besides that, Zviahilskyi promised in his election program to focus on urgent measures for restoration of infrastructure and housing in Donbas. However, when the Parliament voted on a draft law allocating 3 billion UAH to local budgets of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, targeted on restoration of the infrastructure, the MP was absent in the session hall.

Zviahilskyi had also promised in his election program to help the IDPs come back to their homeland, and restore the economy and industry in Donbas. However, all 4 draft laws, which he had registered, did not concern these issues.
Today, Yukhym Zviahilskyi is Honorary President of the mine named after O. F. Zasiadko, but in fact he is still in control of the biggest coal mining enterprise in Ukraine. The mine is now seized by militants, who claim a so-called "nationalization".

According to the declaration, the MP is now leasing a house in recreation complex "Concha Zaspa", which he received for the use while Viktor Yanukovych was prime minister. "Ukrainska Pravda" agency wrote in 2011 that this fact was kept in secret for a long time. Zviahilskyi has built three-storey estate on the place of the old house in lease, despite the law prohibits any new constructions, allowing only the reconstruction of the existing ones. The agency also mentioned that this so-called "reconstruction" is paid from personal funds of Mr. Zviahilskyi coming from the unknown sorce, because he had been working as an MP for the whole life.

Zviahilskyi has declared around 19 million UAH income in 2016, has 76 million 809 thousand 590 hryvnia, 180 thousand 870 euro,and 1 million 497 thousand 626 dollars on his bank account.
19 000 000
Income for 2016
76 809 590
On his bank account
180 870
On his bank account
1 497 626 $
On his bank account
Viktor Pynzenyk
Viktor Pynzenyk was elected to the Parliament seven times, is an Honored Economist of Ukraine, ex Minister of Finance of Ukraine under six governments.
In 1991, Viktor Pynzenyk, who was the Head of Economic and National Economy Management Department in Economy Faculty at Ivan Franko National University of Lviv, was elected to the Parliament winning his 7 opponents with 94.28% of votes in Radianskyi election district of Lviv city. In the first convocation of Parliament he was the member of VRU Committee on economic reform and national economy management. In a year, the MP was appointed as the Minister of Economy in Leonid Kuchma's government, and the Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine.
In 1994, Pynzenyk was elected to the Parliament for the second time with 64.66% of votes in his support in Pivdennyi electoral district of Lviv oblast, and joined the group of MPs "Reforms".
In the period from 1994 to 1997, Pynzenyk held a position of the First Vice Prime Minister. The chair of government head shifted four times during this period from Vitalii Masol to Yevhen Marchuk and Pavlo Lazarenko.
In 1997, Pynzenyk became the leader of a new party "Reforms and Order Party". The MP was elected in a year again to the Verkhovna Rada in Frankivskyi district of Lviv city, and became the member of VRU Committee on Finance and Banking.
In 2002, Pynzenyk entered the Parliament in list of Viktor Yushchenko's Our Ukraine block, and worked in the VRU Committee on Finance and Banking. He supported actively Viktor Yushchenko in the Orange Revolution, as the candidate for the President of Ukraine.
He had registered 94 draft laws over his cadence, and 12 of them became the laws.

From December 2005 to August 2006, Pynzenyk was the Minister of Finance in two "orange" governments – Yuliia Tymoshenko's and Yurii Yekhanurov.
In 2006 parliamentary election, Pynzenyk's party entered the race in a bloc with the PORA Civil Party, but they didn't overcome the 3% threshold.
In 2007 parliamentary election, the party Reforms and Order joined Yuliia Tymoshenko Bloc. Pynzenyk received the mandate under party quotas, but worked only one month until he was appointed as the Minister of Finance in Tymoshenko's government. In 2009, he resigned, announcing his disagreement on economic policy of then Prime Minister Tymoshenko.
In 2012, Pynzenyk became an MP for the sixth time, representing Vitalii Klytschko's party UDAR, and entered the VRU Committee on Economic Policy. He had registered 38 draft laws for two years, and 5 of them were adopted as the laws. One of them was his Draft Law on Making Amendments to the Law of Ukraine on the Status of National Deputies of Ukraine, which canceled a number of privileges for MP of Ukraine. For example, calculation of the time when an MP was temporarily unemployed because he couldn't return to his previous job or the job equal to it, as a continuous time of service; one-time payment amounting three month salaries for an MP in case of withdrawal or resignation.
Pynzenyk entered the eighths convocation of the Parliament in the list of Petro Poroshenko Bloc. Now he is the member of Budget Committee in the Verkhovna Rada. The MP had registered 29 draft laws over his cadence, and 2 of them were adopted.
Pynzenyk is one of the MPs, who were present at each single sitting of the Verkhovna Rada.
Electoral program of Petro Poroshenko Bloc, which had enlisted Pynzenyk as a party candidate, contains a promise to create autonomous judges, independent of legislative and executive branches. Thus, Viktor Pynzenyk voted for the draft law, which introduced a mechanism for competitive selection of judges.

However, Pynzenyk didn't support another electoral promise of this party, namely to create public television. He was absent when the Parliament voted on the corresponding bill.
According to the "Slovo i Dilo" online resource, the party hasn't yet fulfilled the following promises: decentralization (draft law on establishment of executive local self-government bodies in communities, subjected and accountable to community's council); anti-corruption lustration of judicial, law-enforcement, customs and tax authorities; decreasing taxes and their rates; switching to open-list electoral system in parliamentary election.

Viktor Pynzenyk has "gained" 1 million 800 thousand hryvnia on his bank accounts over the period of his cadence. The MP doesn't have any other property registered on his name besides 2 apartments with a total space of around 200 sq. m. Most of the property of his family belongs to his wife Maria. The MP has declared around 4,500 sq. m on her name, as well as 2 million 800 thousand hryvnias, 30 thousand euros and 60 thousand dollars.
4 500 sq. m.
In MP wife's property
2 800 000 ₴
MP's wife declared
30 000 €
MP's wife declared
60 000 $
MP's wife declared
Ivan Kyrylenko
Membership in the Parliament has also became the way of life for Ivan Kyrylenko, who was elected to seven convocations of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine. Yuliia Tymoshenko says he's her godfather and mentor in politics. Kyrylenko's carreer in the Parliament has been successful in all seven convocations. It's a pure success story without any scandals. The MP had managed to take and keep leading positions under presidents Leonid Kuchma, Viktor Yushchenko, Viktor Yanukovych and Petro Poroshenko.
In 1995, Ivan Kyrylenko was elected to the Parliament in an electoral district of Pavlohrad city, Dnipropetrovsk oblast. In 1995, he took a position of the First Deputy Head of Oblast State Administration in Dnipropetrovsk oblast.
In the Verkhovna Rada of third convocation (1998-2000), the MP represented an electoral district of Pavlohrad city, Dnipropetrovsk oblast, and was the member of Batkivshchyna faction. He was also elected to the National Council on Youth Policy under the President of Ukraine. In 2000, Kyrylenko was appointed to the position of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy of Ukraine.
In 2002 parliamentary elections, Ivan Kyrylenko was elected to the Parliament in a nationwide multi-mandate district, nominated by the bloc "For United Ukraine!". He was member of faction United Ukraine, but had changed it to the Agrarian Party of Ukraine in the end of 2002. From November 2002 to February 2005, the Politician was "agrarian" Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine. Kyrylenko registered 5 draft laws, and 1 of them was adopted.

According to the electronic registration data, Ivan Kyrylenko visited 80% of sittings from 2002 to the appointment on Prime Minister office.
He entered the V convocation pf Parliament in the election list of Yuliia Tymoshenko Bloc (YTB), The MP had registered 10 draft laws over the year, but none of them was adopted. The MP has 49% attendance.
Ivan Kyrylenko was elected in YTB list again on early 2007 parliamentary elections. After appointment of Yuliia Tymoshenko on the position of Prime Minister, he became the leader of faction in the Parliament. The MP attended on 575 of 457 sittings. This convocation became a record-breaking in law-making efforts: he had registered 73 draft laws from 2007 to 2012, 14 of which were adopted. Ivan Kyrylenko and other MPs had initiated the negotiations between Kyiv and Brussels concerning simplified visa regime for Ukraine. Thus, in 2010 I. Kyrylenko with B. Tarasiuk, S. Kurpil, V. Vecherko, P. Hasiuk, I. Herashchenko, and V. Lemza registered Draft Resolution #7504 on Application of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine concerning cooperation between Ukraine and European Union in visa field. The resolution was adopted in April 2011. It was one of the first steps towards securing equal rights of Ukrainian citizens and citizens of EU Member States for free movement and development of contacts.
In December 2012, he entered the Parliament of VII convocation under 15th number in electoral list of the All-Ukrainian Union Batkivshchyna. The MP had 90% attendance. He has registered 28 draft laws over two years, and 4 of them were adopted. Two of these adopted laws concern European integration. In January 2013, the Parliament has adopted the statement "On Realizing Ukraine's Aspirations for European Integration and on Signing the Association Agreement between Ukraine and the European Union", initiated by Ivan Kyrylenko and 14 other MPs. In 2014, a resolution "On Ukraine's European Choice", initiated by Ivan Kyrylenko and 12 other MPs. Both documents were the next steps towards European integration of Ukraine.
Ivan Kyrylenko entered the current convocation of Parliament in the list of the All-Ukrainian Union Batkivshchyna. He is now the member of All-Ukrainian Union Batkivshchyna faction in the Verkhovna Rada. From November 2014 to April 2017, he registered 99 draft laws, 21 of which were adopted. The MP has stably high attendance – around 80%. Ivan Kyrylenko continues voting for European integration of Ukraine. However, most of the adopted laws, which he had initiated, concern education sector. Head of Subcommittee on Science, Education, Innovative Activities and Intellectual Property had participated in initiation of 15 adopted bills. Most of them concern education reform, professional education and young scientist.
According to the "Slovo i Dilo" online resource,Ivan Kyrylenko has fulfilled 34% of his election promises.
Despite he declared that local judges must be elected by the people, he actively voted for termless appointment pf judges by the President of Ukraine upon submission of Supreme Council of Justice. The program of returning Crimea under Ukraine's control has also remained "on paper".
The MP has been developing his political carrier while working in the parliament for years. His earnings has also increased. Most of the property and cash in MP's declaration is registered on his wife. Thus, Zinaida Kyrylenko has 39 thousand euro on her bank account. In 2013, she bought the 2012 Infinity. Besides that, she has registered on her 2 land plots, 2 estates, and 3 apartments with total 3,800 sq. m.
39 000 €
On wife's account
Infiniti (2012 year of production)
Wife purchased in 2013
3 800 sq. m.
2 land plots, 2 houses and 3 apartments
MPs Serhii Kivalov, Yulii Ioffe, Kostiantyn Zhevaho, Serhii Soboliev, Mustafa Dzhemiliev, Anatolii Matviienko, Andrii Derkach, Yuliia Tymoshenko, Oleksandr Abdullin have been working in the Parliament for six convocations.
Law-making is the major responsibility of an MP. MPs have the right to speak before the Parliament, send parliamentary inquiries to any government authority, and should respond to appeals of citizens. At the same time, MPs enjoy their major privilege – immunity. A politician cannot be brought to liability without consent of the Verkhovna Rada. Each MP receives a service housing and car. Even after the term, MPs receive free medical services and their pension equals to the wages of MPs.

However, the efficiency of old timers in the Parliament is often much lower than expected for such long terms. For example, Yukhym Zviahilskyi has registered only 21 draft laws for 8 convocations, and only 4 of them were adopted.

At the same time, 21 of 99 draft laws, registered by Ivan Kyrylenko only in the current convocation, were successfully adopted. Viktor Pynzenyk is also more active in law-making than Zviahilskyi: he had registered 145 draft laws over the period of his cadence, 45 of which were adopted.

Besides that, all old timers used the time in the Parliament to lobby for their interests For example, Yukhym Zviahilskyi submitted draft laws, which concerned his native mine named after O. F. Zasiadko, and the carrier of Viktor Pynzenyk and Ivan Kyrylenko has drastically risen along with their enrichment. Continuous work in the parliament has become for many of them a key to personal interests, but not an effective instrument for lobbying and progressive reforms.
The project is co-funded by the Polish-American Freedom Foundation within the RITA program - "Changes in the Region" implemented by Education for Democracy Foundation
Olena Lohvynenko
Kateryna Minkina
Prepared for INSIDER website
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