Monday, March 06, 2006

Sweet words butter no parsnips..

In his regular radio address last Saturday Pres. Yushchenko stated categorically that there will be no further reprivatisations, and promised to improve the investment climate further. "My team will make every effort to renew dialogue between the government and businesses, which was complicated by rash statements made by the former government on reprivatisation. Ukraine has an attractive investment climate, but needs a lot of work to improve it even more."

Investment in the Ukrainian economy in 2005 was a record $7.8Bn, he claimed. The greatest achievement over this period was "stability," and the first results of the reforms which have been started will be felt in a year's time.

Meanwhile Minister of Internal Affairs, Yuriy Lutsenko, admitted recently that the task of distancing oligarchic clans from the state administration has not yet been achieved. He stated that business groups operating under the 'krysha' of the previous government stole over $4Bn from Ukraine, and that the previous Prosecutor General Svyatoslav Piskun consciously hindered criminal investigations into these matters. [Odd then that Piskun was only fired by Yushchenko in October last year].

According to Lutsenko most serious were the activities of the Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, and Kyiv clans - he is convinced that they all employed groups of 'warriors' and hit-men. He says he has met with the leaders of these clans - Akhmetov, Surkis, Pinchuk, and representatives of Kolomoyskyi, and told them, "they must renounce criminal links, cease their machinations, and keep away from politics." [That really must have got them worried...] But after decisive actions [of his people], "untouchable organized criminal groups no longer exist in Ukraine."

In just over three week's time, after the VR elections, Piskun, Akhmetov together with a coterie of supporters, and others will be elected to parliament - the grip on power of Donetsk clan in particular will be strengthened. Yet neither Yushchenko nor Lutsenko are warning the electorate of the dangers these men pose. Why?

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