Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Bungs in Odessa Portside Plant pipework?

The [postponed] 'privatization' of the Odessa Portside Plant has been a running major source of conflict between PM Tymoshenko and President Yushchenko. Last Friday the National Security and Defence Council delivered a humiliating blow, forcing Tymoshenko to back down and delay the sale which was planned for today, until further notice.

Mustafa Nayem, in an excellent article in 'Ukrainska Pravda' provides background to the twists and turns of the entire saga.

Below is just a brief portion:

"Over the four years following the events that took place on the Maidan, both Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko have several times changed their views on the merits of selling off the Odessa Portside [chemical] Plant.

Yushchenko's position has swung according to the firmness of his relations with the government of the day. He has twice expressed his full support for selling the plant: first time in July 2005, before his relations with Tymoshenko drastically deteriorated, and then in January 2006 when his loyal ally Yuriy Yekhanurov was in charge of the government.

But Yushchenko has also categorically rejected the possibility of selling off of the plant, first after sacking Tymoshenko in 2005, then on the eve of the 2007 parliamentary elections, when the Yanukovych administration were trying to sell it off.

'Regionaly', who are now criticising the Tymoshenko government for attempting to replenish state coffers by privatizing the OPP, are in a state of amnesia and reluctant to mention that a year ago it was they that were trying to do the same.

Tymoshenko's path to her current position on the privatization of the OPP is equally tortuous. Having previously initiated submission of the OPP onto the list of objects to be privatized, in 2007 she appealed to Yushchenko in person demanding that he prevent Yanukovych from selling the plant. The leader of BYuT insisted that the plant cannot be split away from the portside trans-shipment facilities [perevalka], even though today her government itself is proposing sale of both the plant and the trans-shipment facilities together."

[Bung - a British slang term, used to refer to a bribe, inducement or incentive in business.]

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