Europe

Storm as woman, 24, gets key Ukraine job

Anastasia Deyeva Image copyright Style Insider
Image caption Anastasia Deyeva is Ukraine's youngest ever deputy minister

Political storms are nothing new to Ukraine, but unusually the latest surrounds a young woman who has landed one of the country's top police and security jobs.

Anastasia Deyeva, 24, has been appointed a deputy interior minister, unprecedented for anyone of her age. And some Ukrainians think she is not qualified for the job.

"There's nothing wrong about a woman being an adviser, especially if she's pretty and smart," was one typical comment on Facebook. "But it's very wrong if she's that young and has no experience. Or the wrong kind of experience."

As debate swirled around Ms Deyeva's appointment, another young woman was selected for the highly charged job of running a campaign to purge the government of corrupt officials. Anna Kalynchuk, 23, studied law and was already part of the government's anti-corruption department.

Ms Deyeva had to deal with closer scrutiny than most public officials when nude photos of her were posted online.

More tasteful pictures have since appeared on Ukrainian lifestyle website Style Insider.

Image copyright Style Insider
Image caption Ms Deyeva's appointment unleashed a storm of criticism

Nothing to do with her work, insisted Ms Deyeva.

She defended her credentials, telling one interviewer (in Russian) she had exactly the right experience for the job. She was an aide to an MP, worked for a Swedish energy company and was considered suitably qualified enough to be offered an interior ministry job in 2015.

But her promotion to become Ukraine's youngest ever deputy minster unleashed a torrent of criticism.

"I knew that I'd end up in the limelight, that there would be criticism and biased commentary. But I never expected such vile attacks," she says.

Image copyright Style Insider
Image caption The new deputy interior minister has been given strong backing from her boss

Ms Deyeva's boss, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, is firmly behind her.

"The main thing people have against her is that she's young," he wrote on his Facebook page (in Russian), adding that the criticism was based on outdated attitudes. "In the Soviet tradition, this sort of job was for a monster, but we've hired a girl. Maybe so, only we do things differently in my ministry," he said.

He is not alone in thinking it is time for Ukraine to move on.

"I am extremely glad that you're one generation younger than me," wrote Denis Kazvan, formerly an interior ministry adviser. "People like you do not need to spend 40 years wandering through the desert to get rid of the Soviet gene of slavery. People like you are free inside."

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