Tuesday, August 29, 2006

SCM steamroller

Almost a month has passed since Yushchenko proposed Yanukovych for PM, and his candidature was ratified by the VR. New Ministers, deputy ministers, and heads of state enterprises have all been appointed.

To an almost astonishing degree most of the 'new boys' are closely linked to PoR VR deputy Rinat Akhmetov's 'System Capital Management' business empire.

The new PM, and 3 of 4 deputy PM's hail from the Donetsk oblast, as do over 70% of ministers and their deputies. The energy and power complex is totally dominated by Akhmetov's people. Apart from ministers in charge of the fuel-and-energy-complex - Andriy Klyuyev, Yuriy Boyko, Vadym Chuprun and Oleksiy Scheberstov, 'Naftogaz Ukrainy' is headed by Volodymyr Sheludchenko [formerly of Donetskoblgaz], and state company 'Gaz Ukrainy' is now run by Sergiy Zubov [from Kramatorsk].

Electricity generators are also almost exclusively now run by guys from the same stable. E.g. state company 'Energy company of Ukraine' is run by Ihor Hlushchenko -[a director of 'Skhid-Energo - part of SCM], and the new head of the State electric power regulatory body is Oleksandr Rogozin, an old chum of Andriy Klyuyev.

Details are provided in an article in 'Obozrevatel.'

A quote: "All key positions in the field of gas and energy are now occupied by graduates from the SCM empire, or from the top management of structures controlled by this financial-industrial group."

In charge of Ukraine's state finances is Mykola Azarov, who has appointed his old cronies Anatoliy Brezvin to run the State Tax Administration, and Serhiy Kharchenko to run the State Treasury. Azarov systematically abused his position when he was in charge of the STA under Kuchma, as heard on the Melnychenko tapes. He allegedly also ran a tidy VAT fraud scheme depriving the state of huge sums of money.

The important state rail transportation system in now run by Volodymyr Kozak, from Lemtrans, part of SCM.

Former president Kuchma ensured that Yanukovych's placement of his own people to influential positions, when he was previously PM, was limited. President Yushchenko has failed to do this. Even former PM's and NSNU leaders Kinakh and Yekhanurov, who favoured formation of a grand coalition with PoR, are worried.

Sure, Ukraine's economy is growing nicely and impressive GDP figures are being prognosed, but with these guys in charge, will the man in the street feel this in his pocket? Or will Rinat Akmetov's wealth, which according to some, stands at $7Bn, get closer to Roman Abramovich's $17Bn in the next couple of years? The several hundred million that allegedly were paid in bribes to the Socialists and Communists, and possibly others, could turn out to be money really well spent.

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