Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Lytvyn in opposition+gas stink?

Former VR speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn's 'Narodna Partiya Ukrainy' party [NPU] is going into opposition.

During the March 2006 VR election 'Narodnyi Bloc Lytvyna', as it was then called, despite its leader's high profile, only obtained 2.44% of total votes cast, failing to reach the 3% threshold.

Many had predicted 'Narodnyi Bloc Lytvyna' would comfortably clear this barrier.

His party list included some pretty shady characters, including Ivan Fursin [Dmytro (the wallflower) Firtash's junior partner in dubious gas-trading middleman RosUkrEnergo], Serhyi Lyovochkin [involved in 2004 election frauds together with current PoR cabinet minister Andriy Kluyev, and others], and, head of Supreme court of Ukraine, (now-retired) Vasyl Malyarenko [a 'business partner' of deputy PM Mykola Azarov and discredited former Prosecutor-General and now PoR deputy Svyatoslav Piskun]. I have mentioned these guys before in previous blogs.

"The President [Yushchenko] has made secret deals with PoR - they are absolutely identical!" declared one of NPU's leaders, Oleg Zarubinskiy. "We will analyze what the authorities are doing, we will expose its shady transactions, and anti-national actions," he added, [Oh yes? Pots often call kettles black in Ukrainian politics] giving an example: In August the enterprises of Donetsk region received disproportionately large VAT reinbursement from central government, while other regions received far less.

Following defeat in the parliamentary selections, Volodymyr Lytvyn stated that he would be a candidate in the next Presidential elections.

Lytvyn has proved to be a very shrewd operator over the years in Ukrainian politics. Despite being close to former President Kuchma, during the Orange revolution, when he was ostensibly a neutral Parliamentary speaker, he helped broker the re-run of the 2nd round presidential election in December 2004.

Being in opposition is not really his style - maybe he knows something that others don't. Or maybe he is still ambitious and hungry for power, and there is nowhere else left for him to go.

A story that has not received much attention concerns a report from Parliament Investigative Commission on Gas, chaired by the Socialist Andriy Derkach, "which discovered that government’s slackening control over state company 'Naftohaz Ukrayiny' and its affiliated companies has aggravated the situation in Ukraine’s gas market."

The investigative commission received material from the Prosecutor-General's office that may indicate that Naftohaz's senior management violated the law, and that some of their actions may be interpreted as criminal.

E.g. in 2006 the State Budget suffered big losses following the double payment for gas supplied by Petro Gaz FZA Company (United Arab Emirates).

President Yushchenko's brother, now an NSNU deputy, has links with this highly suspicious company - something I have blogged about before.

Derkach’s report states that Naftohaz has breached various custom procedures when performing exports-imports operations - "Naftohaz also has practically lost control over Ukraine’s gas and oil producing subsidiaries." Amazing..but not in Ukraine..

No comments: