Ukraine was in an uproar Monday over the appointment as deputy interior minister of a 24-year-old woman who made her name by posing nude and working for a Russian-backed party.
The surprise pick was quietly revealed last Thursday and went largely unnoticed until bloggers and politicians found it on the ministry’s official website.
Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov is known as a somewhat controversial figure who often uses Facebook to critique his political rivals and disperse information that does not always correlate with facts.
The new Deputy Interior Minister Anastasia Deyeva had previously served as one of Avakov’s advisers.
She also posted naked pictures of herself on social media sites and later worked as an assistant in the Party of Regions of the deposed Moscow-backed president Viktor Yanukovych.
That group has been disbanded but Deyeva’s star has only soared.
“The issue is not her nude photos,” parliament’s deputy speaker Iryna Gerashchenko wrote on Facebook.
Gerashchenko said the main problem was that Deyeva was picked without a public competition or government discussions over the assignment.
Deyeva will be now charged with issues concerning the pro-Western former Soviet republic’s integration with Europe.
“She definitely knows nothing about European integration or the inner workings of the government,” the deputy parliament speaker fumed.
Mustafa Nayem — co-leader of Ukraine’s February 2014 pro-EU revolution — said the problem was not Deyeva’s age but the corruption and insider dealings permeating the country nearly three years after street protests appeared to herald change.
Nayem currently serves in parliament and is widely viewed as one of the few Ukrainian politicians willing to fight and expose state graft.
“Hundreds of truly corrupt appointments go unnoticed,” he wrote on Facebook.
“I wish Anastasia success,” Nayem wrote. “But it is (the corruption) that bothers me a lot more than her age.”
The interior minister himself appeared dismissive and almost shocked by the furore.
“I am looking at the debate and see that the main point that bothers everyone is that she is young,” Avakov wrote on Facebook.
He added that many “24 and 30-year-olds have more experience than a 50-year-old like me.”
The interior ministry is especially sensitive because it oversees a portion of the troops waging a 30-month war against pro-Russian eastern insurgents that has claimed nearly 10,000 lives.