The case of Lviv professor Vasyl Andriiv has every chance of becoming known internationally. He’s definitely not the first one and probably not the last who is making a career owing to forged diplomas and invented biography. However, Andriiv is also interesting because he became known not only in Ukraine, but in neighbouring Poland too. And even after he received suspicion of fraud, he continues working as a lawyer and defending his clients.
This is the story of how one can become an esteemed scholar without applying any special efforts.
Several minutes after the midnight of May 04 Vasyl Andriiv crossed the Ukrainian-Polish border in Krakowiec-Korczowa border crossing point. A youthful man with noble gray hair shower the border guards an ID of a person with a disability status, 3rd category, so there were zero limitations to leave the country under the martial law period. The border guards could hardly imagine this intelligent man is being investigated on a case about fraud and is not in prison only because of the bail he had paid.
Meanwhile, a serious scandal was unveiling in Ukraine. The day before the police informed about an undisclosed professor from one of the universities in Lviv who is suspected of faking the legal degrees. Until the end of the same day NashiGroshi. Lviv managed to establish his name – it was Vasyl Andriiv, 59, professor of S. Gzhytskyi National University of Veterinary Medicine and Biotechnologies in Lviv. Several hours after that he left for Poland.
However, Vasyl Andriiv wasn’t escaping from justice. His preventive measure established by court didn’t include prohibition to travel, and he returned to Lviv after two days. It turned out that Andriiv takes regular trips to Poland several times a month, where he fruitfully cooperated with a legal firm in Krakow, teaches in Kielce and is regarded as an honoured lawyer.
Who is Vasyl Andriiv?
Establishing Vasyl Andriiv’s real biography turned out to be not that simple. We know that he was born on 11 October 1963 in Myshyn village near Kolomyia and since the age of 16 he has been a worker at a plant in Kolomyia.
The reference in the website Who is who, where sanitized biographies are published says «he studied law on his own, while working at the plant, and later serving in the ranks of the Soviet army». In 1985 he enrolled in Taras Shevchenko National University in Kyiv majoring in «Legal studies» (following the disclosure about the fraud suspicion the article about Andriiv was deleted, but it was saved in the cache).
Vasyl Andriiv indeed was a student of law department at Kyiv National University, extramurally, and received his specialist’s diploma in 1991, confirmed to NGL Olena Dobrzhanska, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Research. She also assured Vasyl Andriiv never received any other diplomas at Taras Shevchenko National University in Kyiv.
Concurrently with his extramural studies, Vasyl Andriiv continued working in Kolomyia and after several years became a director of «Planet» complex and «Hutsulshchyna» trade center. During the following years he continued doing all kinds of business, from fireproof doors to wheelchairs, but jurisprudence never let him go.
At 45 he decided to take a job of a law professor in Lviv National Nature Management University where his Candidate of Science diploma didn’t raise any red flags. Three years later, in 2012, he brought in a Doctor of Legal Science diploma.
«The feedback from my colleagues were that he was an expert in his field. He was an interesting lecturer and a member», – told NGL Iryna Fediv, first vice-rector of Lviv National Nature Management University, where Vasyl Andriiv was working for six years.
In 2016 he took a position in the law department of the National University of Veterinary Medicine and Biotechnologies in Lviv, and in a year he became the chair of this department. In another year the university academic council supported the proposal to award Vasyl Andriiv a scientific rank of a professor and the Ministry of Education approved this decision.
«He was organizing workshops and inviting people from various law structures here. I mean, he conducted quite vigorous activity. He was working with students. For instance, he was a scientific advisor to master students», told NGL Ihor Turko, first vice-rector of veterinary university.
Vasyl Andriiv’s career was on the climb – in May 2021 president Zelenskyi even awarded him an honorary status of a Honorary Scientist and Technical Expert of Ukraine on the occasion of the Science Day.
Still, in August 2022 Lviv police started an investigation against Andriiv on suspicious of fraud. Having received the confirmation from the Ministry of Education about fake Candidate of Science and Doctor of Science diplomas, the police contacted the administration of the veterinary university where Andriiv was in charge of the legal department. The academic council in which Andriiv was officially member convened in several days. According to Ihor Turko, he never turned up at the meeting where he was deprived of the professor’s status and quit soon afterwards.
However, the open criminal case under the suspicion of fraud doesn’t prevent Vasyl Andriiv from continuing to work as a lawyer – his license, issued in 2012, is still valid. According to Ukrainian courts’ online platform, he is defending clients in various cases: RTAs, draft dodging, compensations payment etc.
Career in Poland
Included among various certificates presented by Vasyl Andriiv to receive scientific knowledge is a statement that in 2007-2009 he was working as a lecturer of law in Higher School of Humanities and Natural Sciences in Sandomierz, Poland. We didn’t manage to confirm this fact, but he does have many connections with Poland.
According to Who is who, since 2015 he has been teaching at Legal Sciences Institute at Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce, Poland. Administration of this institution confirmed that Vasyl Andriiv is still working there – for instance, the university website says, he advices students twice a month.
In addition, Andriiv works at a law firm Paweł Weber i współpracownicy in Krakow. Pawel Weber, head of the company, confirmed the fact of cooperation with Andriiv to NGL; however, he refused to give any comments. Andriiv really receive a lawyer’s licence in Kielce in 2016; however, under the license provisions, he can only give advice.
In addition, his biography states, tha Vasyl Andriiv is an honorary professor (doktor honoris causa) of private Danylo Halytskyi University in Ivano-Frankivsk. Rector’s office denied any involvement of Andriiv with that university.
We also couldn’t confirm the authorship of more than 100 scientific works (Who is who), or even more than 120 (according to Weber). We found only five his works with the help of Web of Science platform, and the list of works at the Vernadsky National Library of Ukraine includes only three his works – dedicated to agriculture and economy.
Volunteering through Shliakh information system and useful acquaintances
As mentioned above, Vasyl Andriiv regularly travels abroad – this year alone he travelled to Poland 13 times. Usually, his visits last 3-4 days which can be explained by his business in Krakow and Kielce. Considering that Andriiv, 59, falls under the prohibition of going abroad because of the martial law, he needs documents allowing him to do that.
As of December last year Andriiv is using a certificate of a disabled person of 3rd category. We can’t confirm its authenticity, but even more interesting is that between August and November 2022, already under investigation, he was using permits to leave the country through Shliakh information system.
Requests to permit his leaving the country were sent to Lviv Regional Military Administration by a charity foundation «VIDDANI TA VIDVAZHNI». Anatolii Kozak, head of this foundation, assures that Vasyl Andriiv was a real volunteer who was helping with freights delivery.
«He cooperated with us and was very useful for our organization, so we applied to receive a permit for him to leave the country through Shliakh information system. We haven’t been working with him for some time», explained Anatolii Kozak without giving reasons for stopping their cooperation.
While searching for information about Vasyl Andriiv, we found a curious coincidence. In 2009 a very similar looking person (algorithms identify full resemblance with the possibility approaching 85%) ended up in one photo with Olena Zhyvko, a notorious activist from Lviv who in the day was suspected of large-scale machination with Polish visas. Sitting at the table next to him is Krzysztof Tsyganchuk, a former consul of Polish General Consulate in Lviv who lost his job as a result of that scam. By the way, Olena Zhyvko was also exposed when trying to forge a diploma of law department at T. Shevchenko National University in Kyiv.
We also know that Vasyl Andriiv was a freelance advisor to Andrii Sadovyi, Lviv mayor for six years, between 2007 and 2013.
We didn’t manage to reach Vasyl Andriiv either on his Ukrainian phone number or on his office number in Poland. Still, earlier he stated he was denying accusations of fraud. «Of course, I admit no guilt, I will apply for a formal review and everything will be solved in court. I don’t want any word of mine to be used to deteriorate my situation, for my name was dragged through mud», – he stated to TSN channel journalists.
Pretrial investigation is ongoing now, and Vasyl Andriiv is being officially charged with forgery of documents and fraud. The charges are punishable by prison time of up to eight years. Having paid over 107,000-hryvnia bail, he wasn’t particularly limited in his actions or movement for the time of investigation. He only has to inform the court or the investigator about his trip and refrain from communication from the witnesses.