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MP, media: Police open investigation against Arestovych

by Nate Ostiller and The Kyiv Independent news desk November 16, 2023 7:35 PM 2 min read
Former presidential advisor Oleksii Arestovych at a forum in Kyiv on Dec. 11, 2020. (Evgen Kotenko/ Ukrinform/Future Publishing via Getty Images)
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Ukraine's National Police allegedly opened an investigation against controversial former presidential advisor Oleksii Arestovych, Ukrainian MP Nataliia Pipa said on Nov. 16.

Although Pipa did not add any further details, Ukraine's National Police reported soon after that it had started an investigation into an alleged charge of "knowingly filing a false criminal report." The report did not mention Arestovych or Pipa by name, it did say that the police had been notified of the case by a group of MPs.

The news agency Unian and others said that the police had confirmed the case involved Arestovych and Pipa.

Earlier, Pipa had publicly reprimanded a teenage street performer in Lviv for singing a song in Russian by the Soviet-era band Kino, who insulted her in response. The boy was later charged with an administrative offense and issued a video apology to Pipa.

Arestovych, who typically writes to his hundreds of thousands of followers in Russian, accused Pipa of "inciting ethnic hatred" and filed a complaint with Ukraine's State Bureau of Investigation, understood to be the "false criminal report" referred to by the National Police.

At the time of this publication, it is unknown if the alleged investigation refers to this accusation.

A popular voice in the early days of the full-scale invasion, Arestovych resigned from his position as presidential advisor in January 2023 after he falsely claimed that a deadly strike against an apartment building in Dnipro that killed 46 people could have been caused by a Ukrainian anti-air missile.

He has remained vocal since his departure and has floated the idea that he might run for president, among other criticisms of President Volodymyr Zelensky and the current Ukrainian government.

The Carnegie Endowment for Global Peace said on Nov. 1 that Arestovych and his political associates are "targeting Russophone voters with an inclusive vision of the nation that could also be described as Russophone patriotism."

During his tenure as presidential advisor, Arestovych made many claims that were false or misleading, as well as controversial statements about Ukrainian culture, LGBT people, Ukrainian servicewomen, and other topics before and after the invasion, quickly damaging his reputation among the Ukrainian public.

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