Open Letter Of Riviera Village Co-Owner Serhiy Slyusarenko To The President Of Ukraine
Dear Mr. President!
For more than two months, while I and the employees of my Riviera Village company have been unjustly and illegally detained in a pre-trial detention centre, I did not dare to write this letter. The president of a country fighting for the survival of his people has enough to worry about.
But the more I learned about the circumstances of my case, the more I became incensed by the barrage of unjust accusations, falsified examinations and illegal court judgements. When, having tested the scheme on my company, unscrupulous law enforcement officers launched a large-scale attack on Ukrainian business as a whole, I finally realized that what from the very beginning seemed to me to be a terrible mistake, actually poses a threat of a national scale to the economic security of Ukraine, the European future of our country.
To me today, from a prison cell, Serhiy Slyusarenko of twenty years ago, who together with his partner decided to create an honest business in Ukraine, appears very naive. Without connections in power, without corrupt capital - I, as the head of the legal department of Citibank, my partner, its chief treasurer, invested their first bonuses received from the bank into our project. For more than twenty years, driven by our faith in success, our energy and the tireless daily work of our team, the cottage town Riviera Village has grown to become not only a home for our children and for hundreds of Ukrainian families, but also a challenge to the established stereotypes that it is not possible to do business honestly in Ukraine.
Now, locked in the walls of the pre-trial detention centre, I seem very naive to many. After all, the absence of corruption ties in our country is perceived as a weakness. And that is why people like me and my colleagues are chosen as the first victims of such daring and brazen attacks. Entrepreneurs who work and develop their businesses honestly are totally unprotected in our country.
Today, I already understand that it was not by chance that I and my colleagues were thrown behind bars, that a clear plan is being implemented. Under a contrived pretext, under the guise of fake expertise, loud slogans about the "fight against corruption" and the state's interests, a banal redistribution of property is being carried out. And it's not just about our cottage town. The recent surge in the number of criminal prosecutions, which are carbon copies of the case of Riviera Village, gives reason to believe that this great redistribution is being prepared on the scale of the entire country.
Everything that has been built and created in Ukraine since 1991 is now being called into question. Not only houses and enterprises but also the institution of private property itself, one of the fundamental foundations of any democratic state. Without respect for which neither the filling of the budget nor investments are possible, there can be no hope for the revival of the Ukrainian economy destroyed by the Russian invaders, and the success of economic and social reforms is not possible.
Someone's insatiable short-sightedness and greed with each such raiding attempt push Ukraine further away from Europe, no matter how much Ukrainian defenders shed their blood for the European choice of the Ukrainian people. Today, without exaggeration, a second front has been opened against Ukraine, and it is not North Korea or Iran. These are corruptioners who, under the guise of power, pressurize business and deal a devastating blow to the country's economy during the war.
Mr. President, I welcome your decision to create the Council for Entrepreneurship Support in the Conditions of Martial Law, which includes recognised leaders of Ukrainian business. Those who, like me, created their business from scratch, the romantics who believe in a successful, legal and investment-attractive Ukraine.
I, therefore, appeal to you as the guarantor of the Constitution of Ukraine, which protects the inviolability of private property, the rights and freedoms of a person and a citizen, with a call to stop legal arbitrariness against Riviera Village and protect Ukrainian business from illegal pressure and baseless accusations.
I remain confident in our joint victory.
Serhiy Slyusarenko. Co-owner of Riviera Village. Citizen.