Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Uncertain future for Kharkiv after Kushnaryov's death

Journalists in Ukraine are speculating on the significance of the sudden death of Yevhen Petrovych Kushnaryov [YPK] in a shooting accident two weeks ago. I've translated a portion from an article in the current 'Bez Tsenzury':

"Never before was any Ukrainian politician buried with such pomp. The funeral was attended by practically the entire Cabinet of Ministers, the prime minister, the VR speaker, many VR deputies, oligarchs, Rinat Akhmetov, foreign delegations, kriminalni avtoritety [!], persona non grata Zatulin from Russia, and the maestro of them all – Kuchma. [in descending order of notoriety?..LEvko]

The shock disappearance from the political chess board of the chess queen [Kuchnaryov] has caused a stalemate position. Everyone understands, that after his death, Kharkiv has lost its greatest champion in Kyiv.

For the city [which is Ukraine's second largest] it means redistribution of spheres of influence of various clans both inside of the Party of Regions, and among local business-elites. YPK was the only person with the indisputable authority to prevent matters getting out of hand. The epoch of YPK in Kharkiv was such that key players preferred to agree without using weapons.

YPK was the buffer between the capital [Kyiv] and the "Donetskiites", and that allowed problems at issue to be amicably resolved. The oblast will now be supervised from outside, and a possible war between local clans for redistribution of property could lead to long-awaited arrival to region of the 'Dons'.

The possibility that Kharkiv will finally turn from an intellectual capital to a criminal capital cannot be excluded. Recent events, in which city authorities openly participated, forced law enforcement agencies, for only the second time in the history of Ukraine, to raise criminal cases under the 'mass disorder' clause. These led to the open confrontation between the police authorities and the mayor's office. YPK, understanding where this all could lead to, unexpectedly supported militia in this conflict instead of his fellow party members, Kharkiv mayor Mykhailo Dobkin and city council secretary Hennadiy Kernes. His word has served as a guarantee of that no policeman would not be forced to leave his chair, and he instigated the creation of court of inquiry in the VR.

[There's much more on theses mass disturbances last month on the 'Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group' site, in English, here ]

It is necessary not to forget also, that the Kharkiv politician was the intermediary between Yanukovych and Akhmetov, who are slipping away from one another more and more.

After the tragic death of the political grand master in the region, a new game will now be played."

Other news websites predict possible turf-wars too between clans supported by Akhmetov, the president, and the PM. One of the victims could be local oligarchic businessman and BYuT VR deputy Oleksandr Feldman.

Some valuable assets could be privatized in the future in the Kharkiv oblast. These include the Antonov aircraft factory, Malyshev armaments [tank] factory as well as local power utility companies. There are very few Ukrainian Financial Industrial Groups who could bid seriously for such prestigious objects..And everyone knows where the money is..

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