UNIAN reports the newly-apppointed PM Yanukovych is reintroducing the practice of halting traffic through the center of Kyiv to enable his cavalcade to pass unhindered between government buildings . This practice, which was abandoned by Tymoshenko and Yekhanurov when they were PMs, will in no way endear him to Kyivites.
UNIAN, which is normally quite a staid news agency website, has posted potted biogs of the 'new-boys' in the Cabinet, highlighting their disreputable backgrounds. I have already blogged briefly about vice-PM and minister of finances Azarov, vice PM Klyuyev, and fuel and energy minister Boiko.
#4 on the Unian list is Vasyl Dzarty, the new minister for protection of the environment and ecology [see photo.] The invariably snappily dressed Dzarty who reminds me of an extra from Paul Newman's and Robert Redford's 'The Sting', is an Akhmetov protege - he was 'pencilled in' for head of Donetsk oblast administration by Akhmetov, but the job went to Anatoliy Blyznyuk who was close to the then-PM, Yanukovych. Dzharty became Blyznyuk's deputy.
Dzharty has reputedly served 'time' in the past, either for fraud, or stealing fur hats - something that Yanukovych was also allegedly 'send down' for in his youth. Details are uncertain because the court where criminal records were stored, was conveniently burned down several years ago. Other sources say Dzharty was in charge of a gang that 'sorted out' political opponents.
In October 2003 he was probably involved in the wrecking of an 'Our Ukraine' congress in Donetsk, when its leader Viktor Yushchenko was run out of town.
Last summer three criminal cases were opened against him involving misuse of budget funds. He would have been 'invited' to help police with their investigations, but he fled abroad.
He himself claims to have been 'a flower trader, worked as a taxi-driver, and grew watermelons which he sold in street markets'. Maybe that's why he was appointed minister for the environment.
Ukr Pravda photo of PoR 'top bananas' including Dzharty, presenting flowers in the VR to newly-appointed PM Yanukovych.