Monday, April 16, 2012

Gangland capos now control many Ukrainian oblasts

Independent observers consider Ukraine to be most corrupt country in Europe.

All over Europe, weeks before the EURO 2012 soccer tournament, big-selling media are complaining ever-more loudly about the country's 'bandits and swindlers' .

In a recent 'RadioSvoboda' interview the seasoned and colourful First Deputy of the Parliamentary Committee on Fighting Organized Crime and Corruption, Hennadiy Moskal, claims organized crime gangs currently operate much more freely than at the time of Leonid Kuchma's or Viktor Yushchenko's presidency.

"Some oblasts are fully controlled by crime bosses, criminal, it's a complete paradise for them and [they have] complete freedom.

[E.g.] in Sumy, 'zlodiy u zakoni' [crime boss] Lyera, actually controls, via his subordinates, the whole oblast - governors, mayors, heads of district administrations...Criminal authorities coordinate, manage, and guide their destinies. The President himself admitted this when after a trip to Zaporizhzhya, he ordered, the criminal situation to be dealt with, because a group of criminal authorities have seized power there. It's the same in Mykolayiv, in many other areas...this has never happened before in the 20 years of independence of Ukraine....

No other country has tackled corruption in the manner that Ukraine is fighting it today. First, they adopt laws, then the Constitutional Court soften them. Clearly the government has no wish to fight corruption. There is no political will amongst the higher leadership of the government."

On Saturday, a prominent local businessman, Hennadiy Akselrod was shot dead in Dnipropetrovsk. He had survived a previous assassination attempt two years earlier. Akselrod was a close business associate of two of Ukraine's wealthiest oligarchs.

Just a couple of weeks ago a top Ukraininan banker survived an assassination attempt in Kyiv.

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