On one of the last days of 2011, 'Den' reported: "... Roman Zabzaliuk quit the [BYuT] fraction. ...This news was a shock both for his colleagues in the party and many journalists. Unlike a lot of his colleagues, Zabzaliuk honestly spent the whole summer near the Pechersk Court [where Yulia Tymoshenko was being tried]. In the parliament he was thought to be close to Turchynov and Kozhemiakin. In the political environment they thought that if his friend headed the fraction, Zabzaliuk would quickly come out on top. Some even predicted that he could become the deputy head of the fraction.
“Roman Zabzaliuk has been on the sick leave for two weeks. When he recovers he will give commentaries. He personally asked me about it,” leader of the [BYuT] fraction Andrii Kozhemiakin said. Zabzaliuk did not pick up the phone those days. When this article was edited the motifs [sic] of his leave were still unclear."
Last Wednesday Zabzaliuk's motives did become clear when, at a press conference, he revealed his 'defection' was in fact part of 'sting' operation. He produced recordings of conversations between himself and Ihor Rybakov, head of ‘Reforms for the Future’ parliamentary group, and alleged Rybakov bribed him to work 'for the other side'. The cynicism of Rybakov is astounding even though rumours of systematic bribing of of opposition deputies had been widespread.
'KyivPost' has posted several articles on this scandal.
Most Ukrainian TV channels and newspapers have downplayed the story, and the ruling authorities' line seems to be: 'both parties are discrediting parliament - Zabzaliuk may be guilty of soliciting a bribe or entrapment. PoR spokesmen say Zabzaliuk should give the money back..thus confirming money had changed hands, and even hinted that he may be charged for taking a bribe..
The two biggest political discussion shows last Friday ignored the topic - almost certainly as a result of pressure from 'vlasti' - a clear example of censorship of what should be the biggest story of the year so far.
Nevertheless transcripts and the audiofiles are readily available. Zabzaliuk has been interviewed on RadioSvoboda, on the minor independent TVi channel, and elsewhere. The recordings are clear, and excerpts can be widely heard on 'the net.'
Rybakov has not claimed the recordings to be faked; rather oddly, he claims he was merely helping a friend who needed the money for a medical operation..
But the most damning conclusion that can be drawn from these excerpts is that it appears the president himself and as well as his administration approved the bribing of opposition politicians and the organisation of opposition 'sleepers', in preparation for massive election fraud during Autumn's parliamentary elections.
LEvko suggests although some/all? of the recordings have been handed over to law enforcement agencies for further investigation, no charges will be brought because the president is so badly implicated.
Even though there may be more recordings that will be 'drip-fed' out in weeks to come, a story that in any 'normal' country would shake the government and administration to its roots will peter out. Sadly, the jaundiced electorate have long ago made up their minds about how diabolically corrupt their elected leaders are..
p.s. TVi report, with interviews in Ukrainian here