Wednesday, June 08, 2011

The rotten core of Ukrainian politics

This, from an article about Ukraine in the current Polish 'Newsweek' magazine:

"The relentless attack on the [Ukrainian] opposition is gaining strength. The case against Yulia Tymoshenko, at best, will prevent her actively participating in the running of the opposition during the parliamentary election campaign at the end of 2012. At worst, the former PM will be under arrest together with [some of] her party political colleagues.

It's not about political revenge, or a crackdown against the opposition. Since the beginning of his presidency, Yanukovych has been in the clutches of a powerful gas lobby associated with the intermediary gas trader, RosUkrEnergo. The group comprises oligarchs and senior officials from the president's close environment, e.g. the head of presidential administration Serhyi Lyovochkin, and head of the Security Service of Ukraine, Valery Khoroshkovsky. It is linked by such a complicated web of companies scattered around the world , that it is difficult to determine who actually controls the corporation.

We know one thing: this network of gas interests is effectively the bulwark of the Ukrainian political elite, and the defence of its interests is a priority for Viktor Yanukovych's team. The gas lobby in Ukraine fear nothing more than the return of Tymoshenko to power. Already, once in early 2009, she came to an agreement with Russia's Gazprom to eliminate intermediaries from the gas market. Now her ratings are growing again. In the May polls, 'Batkivshchyna', for the first time, was ahead of the Party of Regions, with a support of more than 15 percent."

Energy minister Yuriy Boyko, hero of my last few blogs who overpaid $150 million via a sham tender for a drilling platform at a time when Naftohaz Ukrainy and its ChornomoroNaftohaz subsidiary are tottering on the verge of bankruptcy, is of course one of RUE's 'godfathers'.

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