Friday, March 28, 2008

No free lunches

On 18th March in the Supreme Rada [VR] 246 deputies of 441 registerd voted in favour of extraordinary elections mayoral and city council for Kyiv.

That fact that 26 Communist Party of Ukraine deputies supported the motion caused raising of eyebrows because the CPU had been allies of the PoR opposition - without these 26 votes, the orange parties' proposals on early election in Kyiv would have ended in failure.

An article in 'Obozrevatel' entitled: "How the Communists helped in the ousting of [Kyiv mayor] Chernovetsky" provides a possible explanation why the Communists voted as they did.

It so happens that one of CPU's main sponsors is Russian oligarch Konstantin Ivanovich Grigorishin, who already possesses significant large-scale Ukrainian assets and enterprises. He would very much like to supplement these with other Ukrainian assets which could soon become available, e.g. a controlling block of shares of "Turboatom", oblenergos, [regional power generators] "Ukrrechflot" [inland waterways fleet], and "Zarya-Mashproyekt".

"Zarya-Mashproyekt", which one of the largest manufacturers of gas-turbine equipment used in ships, military vessels, gas-pumping stations etc. in the former Soviet Union became the focus of attention on 18th March.

Grigorishin, had already increased his involvement with other companies linked to "Zarya-Mashproyekt" but although its privatisation had been frequently considered, it had been rejected on account of its strategic importance to the country. Two years ago president Yushchenko's vetoed attempts to sell it off, but for Grigorishin, control of the enterprise would tie in very well with his current assets.

Before any possible sale can take place, changes in status of enterprise will have to be made by a legislative act in the VR - in 2005 alleged bribe-taking by BYuT officials in this matter was investigated.

In February this year President Yushchenko, in a TV interview, hinted that BYuT were buying votes in the VR with preferential oblenerho privatisations, and later in the month some observers suspected a possible informal BYuT/CPU alliance was cobbled together with this in mind.

Obozrevatel, by no means an anti-ByuT newspaper, concludes: We have on one side, the authorities who are prepared to pay for acceptance of convenient political decisions with strategic enterprises currently not subject to privatization; and on the other side the secretive Communist Party of Ukraine, which now votes in the interests of the representatives of large, particularly foreign business.

One thing is for sure, there are no free lunches in Ukrainian politics.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...


Asking for your help - would like to locate the legislation spoken about in reference to land sales (time 9:59)but have not been successful locating it. Do u know what the journalist is referring to or could u point me in the rt direction?

Thanks a bunch,