Alexandra Degtyareva
On September 6, 2012, the Law of Ukraine “On Administrative Services” was adopted, which launched the reform of the system for the provision of administrative services, in particular, providing for the creation and development of a network of administrative services centers (hereinafter – ASC) in Ukraine. In 2022, the reform celebrated its tenth anniversary, which means that there is reason to look back and evaluate how the ASC has developed over these 10 years.

It is impossible to ignore the fact that the system of providing administrative services developed in the context of the armed aggression of the Russian Federation and the occupation of part of the territories – the Autonomous Republic of Crimea, Sevastopol and partly Donetsk and Luhansk regions in 2014, as well as other territories as part of large-scale aggression since February 2022.

Let’s start with the good news – despite Russia’s military aggression over 10 years, more than a thousand ASCs and more than three thousand access points to administrative services have been formed in the controlled territory of Ukraine. The ASC network grew not only quantitatively, but also qualitatively. In particular, the list of services that can be obtained at the ASC was expanded, and the satisfaction of visitors with the services at the ASC was 93 % in 2021.

It should be noted that now in Ukraine the development of the ASC network is being carried out by the Ministry of Digital Transformation of Ukraine, which is actively developing a network of Dia Centers that have become a new generation ASC with even higher rates of accessibility and quality of service.
Since 2014, the system of providing administrative services in the temporarily occupied territories has been consistently destroyed by the aggressor. The approaches of the occupation “administration” can hardly be called human-oriented or open to citizens. This is the key difference between us and the occupiers, since the Ukrainian state acts for the people, and not vice versa.

It was not in vain that they said that the ASC created by Ukraine on the administrative line is the face of the country for the inhabitants of the occupied territories; in particular, these were the “Crimean” ASCs at the checkpoints “Chongar”, “Kalanchak”, as well as in Shchastya town in the Luhansk Region. Unfortunately, these ASCs were either destroyed or captured as a result of a full-scale invasion by the aggressor in 2022.

But few people know that until 2014 in the cities of Donetsk, Luhansk and Simferopol there were functioning ASC, however, this is true.

We even managed to find some interesting facts about these ASCs. In particular, the ASC of the Donetsk City Council was created before January 1, 2014 and already then had 26 administrators. The ASC in Luhansk actively collected feedback from visitors on the quality of service and had a satisfaction level of more than 88 %. Employees of the ASC of Simferopol were actively engaged in advanced training at the retraining center under the Council of Ministers of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea.

And although the Russian occupiers are trying to erase all references to normal relations between the authorities and the people in the Crimea, removing not only archival materials from the Internet, but also destroying paper archives and databases, the indicated information about the Simferopol ASC has been preserved. In particular, his work before the occupation was examined in the report “Provision of administrative services in Ukraine: a view of the regions”, prepared with the support of the European Union and published already in 2015.

Unfortunately, the buildings of the ASC of the aforementioned cities have long been criminally seized and used by the aggressor. The occupying state has a temporary significant influence on the organization and approaches to the so-called “providing public services”, in particular, this also applies to the occupied Crimea.

What is happening there now and what approaches to “providing services to the population” are used by the Russian invaders? What is happening in the occupied territory now can only be called a gross violation of the norms of international humanitarian law.

Of course, all “decisions” and “documents” issued by the occupation “administrations” have no legal force, do not create legal consequences and are not recognized by any civilized country in the world.
And the forced “passportization” of Crimean residents by the aggressor is a gross violation of Article 45 of the Hague Regulations on the Laws and Customs of War on Land regarding the prohibition to force residents of the occupied territory to swear allegiance to the occupying state.

With a fake “passport” issued in the Crimea or in occupied mainland Ukraine, you will not only not be able to travel to a third civilized country, but in Russia itself, these fictitious “documents” are determined, at least, by the “inferior” authorities of the aggressor themselves.

Consequently, the occupying “administrations” are only engaged in violating the norms of international law, creating worthless pieces of paper and composing “official statistics”.

By the way, it was rather difficult to analyze the real state of affairs with fake “administrative services” in the occupied territories, since in all the “official reports” of the aggressor there “everything is fine”, but what about freedom of speech and civil society, rather with their destruction, we and we know so well.
Corruption, constantly closed doors of offices, which you can’t enter without a godfather or a bribe, a look from under your brows from a fake “official”, queues and constant demands “to bring one more certificate of a certificate”.

These are typical associations with the receipt of fictitious “state services’ by an ordinary citizen living under the occupation of an aggressor. All these are the minuses of an authoritarian regime, in which the words “legality” and “law and order” can be heard in propaganda, but they do not mean anything.
But is everything so perfect in the controlled territory of Ukraine? Of course, we have something to strive for and something to improve, but even today there are reasons for pride in this area.

In particular, one of the first decisions of Volodymyr Zelenskyy as President of Ukraine was Decree No. 647/2019 dated September 4, 2019, which streamlined the provision of public services.

Since 2019, the Ministry of Digital Development of Ukraine has become the profile body for the development of administrative and electronic services, actively developing the network of ASC and Dia Centers. It is also important to support international technical assistance projects, in particular, such as the United Nations Development Program in Ukraine and the U-LEAD Europe Program.

And as a result, citizens have completely different associations – an open, inclusive space, a friendly administrator, a wide range of available services with clear information about them, and electronic services in two clicks.

It is important to continue to maintain this trend and a human-centric approach in the organization of public services, applying this approach as part of the de-occupation of territories, which is currently taking place in Balakliya, Volchansk, Kupyansk.

Consequently, both in the liberated Crimea and in the de-occupied regions of mainland Ukraine, convenient and comfortable ASCs will definitely be restored or created.