Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rewarding a mafia state?

As I state in my previous blog, it is becoming ever-more apparent that since becoming president, Yanukovych and 'the family' of which he is head have gained a firm control over financial flows in Ukraine and are using it for their own and their associates' benefit.

E.g. in a recent radio interview, seasoned politician Oleksandra Kuzhel [a former head of the state committee for regulatory politics and business, a former National Bank of Ukraine advisor, and until recently deputy PM Serhiy Tigipko's no.2.] described how 'the system' is being utilised to 'screw' small and medium-sized businesses.

She claimed bogus criminal cases organised by the State Security Service, SBU, Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the prosecutor's office are making it impossible for many businesses to continue operating, frequently forcing them to sell-up. Even worse, 'the system' demands the business owners' personal savings be handed over to 'close the cases' against them.

Businessmen are made 'offers they cannot refuse'. If they fail to co-operate they are put in jail and their property confiscated. After half a year they are released, but their property has gone..."Such a system is now operating", says Kuzhel.

Another observer, writing in the respectable 'Dzerkalo Tyzhnya' says the civil servants and others who do the pressing at the lower, or 'business end' of the pyramid, previously transferred 60-70% upward. Under the new system, practically nothing is left for them at all...they are being squeezed too...

No wonder 200,000 businessmen are planning a general strike on December 1st, despite threats of criminal cases directed at their organisers if they 'kick up a fuss'..

Hardly a week goes by without ever more major fraudulent schemes being exposed. In the current edition of 'D.T' Serhiy Kuyun reveals how, over a period of just three months this year, about 300,000 tons of diesel and gasoline were imported into Ukraine via the Crimean port of Feodosia. Less than half of this was subjected to import duties, resulting in a huge loss to the state [and big profits for illegal retailers]. In the second half of 2010, according to customs records, not one tonne of gasoline was imported through the port, yet state railway company 'UkrZalznytsya's records show over 50 trainloads of fuel, 127,000 tons were delivered to various regional fuel depots. The impact on domestic refineries of all of this illicit importation is obviously enormous.

Such massive fraud schemes must surely be sanctioned by the biggest bananas in the land - exposing as nonsense the sincerity of their persecution of Yulia Tymoshenko on alleged tax evasion charges in the mid-nineties.

Ukrainian negotiators are insisting a clear perspective of eventual admission into the EU be provided in the soon-to-be initialled Association and Free Trade Agreements. How can this be given to a country well on the way to becoming a "mafia state"?

[p.s. The 'Unian' photo was taken during Saturday's Ukraine-Germany soccer match played in the newly renovated Olympiysky stadium. Pres. Yanuk is being kissed by PM Azarov [yuk..] in the traditional manner while Rinat Akhmetov [left] is not looking....[Whaaat?]

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