Maksym SYTNIKOV, Ukraine
PROJECT: Semi-automated System for Gathering Deficiencies in Police Investigations of Attacks on Civil Society

Skilled in Advocacy, Human Rights and Social Media Management, Maksym is a young professional from Ukraine.

In his capacity as an Advocacy Officer and Analyst for the Brussels-based Civic Organization – Open Dialogue Foundation, Maksym is writing analytical reports & official statements and supports social media and advocacy campaigns to ensure the protection of human rights, democracy and the rule of law in the post-Soviet region and the European Union. He has demonstrated professional experience in the media industry holding the position of TV Producer for the Ukrainian media outlet – Ukrainer.

Maksym holds a Master’s degree in Political Sciences from the University of Warsaw (Poland) and the University of Zagreb (Croatia). 

“The Eastern Partnership Civil Society Fellowship was an exciting journey in my career since I tried myself in leading the research, IT development, and legal teams. I am extremely proud of the research paper and recommendations developed within the project; most certainly it will be used in our advocacy efforts to push for the much-needed changes in the functioning of law enforcement in Ukraine. Also, the Chatbot “FightBack” serves now as a blueprint for proceeding in abuse cases, providing future victims with the knowledge on how to react in case of law enforcement inertia. To reach a larger audience in Ukraine, we plan to create a similar chatbot on Messenger or utilize it for creating a policy framework.” Maksym SYTNIKOV

Semi-automated System for Gathering Deficiencies in Police Investigations of Attacks on Civil Society

Maksym’s action aimed at defining the most problematic stages of police actions during the investigation of crimes against civil society in Ukraine, creating a tool gathering deficiencies in police investigations, and teaching activists how to deal with/respond to police inaction. To achieve the above objectives, Maksym established cooperation with the leading national human rights organization – Center for Civil Liberties and started data collection from the Ukrainian civil society activists, human rights defenders, and journalist persecuted for their professional activities between 2017-2019 and whose cases were either not investigated or not adequately investigated by the police. In the second stage of the project, Maksym engaged the legal experts and IT engineers to create a Telegram chatbot FightBack combining the function of a legal self-help instrument and a practical guide for those who face an attack or police inaction. Finally, the project team organized the online presentation of the bot at the premises of the Ukraine Crisis Media Center attended by the civil society representatives, lawyers, journalists, and other stakeholders.

The project raised the issue of police inaction and the necessity of reforming the law enforcement system in Ukraine. Applying the data from the first-hand sources, it delivered a bilingual publication on the deficiencies and malpractices of police investigations; the research document has been distributed among the authorities and will be used for future advocacy campaigns in Ukraine. Most importantly, the project team created a FightBack chatbot to raise awareness of the potential victims, i.e teaching them how to preserve evidence, or fill the complaints. Last but not least, the action has facilitated contacts between activists, lawyers, human rights defenders, and journalists from different regions of Ukraine that will accelerate the implementation of future nationwide human rights projects.

Telegram chatbot FightBack is accessible here.

Report “Shortcomings in the law enforcement system of Ukraine exemplified by the investigation of attacks on civil activists”

Report in Ukrainian: “Недоліки правоохоронної системи України на прикладі розслідування нападів на громадських активістів”

Project in media:

Presentation of the Chatbot in English 

Presentation of the Chatbot in Ukrainian

Fellowship Programs 2020
Country Ukraine
Areas of Interest Awareness raising
Topics Human rights
Judiciary & legal system
Project duration May 2020 - November 2020