Over five years ago 'Kolya Rockero', the memorable nickname of crime boss Mykola Lozynskiy, figured briefly in one of my blogs when he was assassinated in a gangland killing in Lviv.
Recently the reputable expres.ua site ran an investigative story entitled "Tyahnybok's money-part 3. Boss of 'Svoboda'. It describes the shadowy financial arrangements of the 'Svoboda' opposition party, and its links to murky financial sponsors. Rockero's name also pops up there.
The article claims the party is bankrolled and thus controlled by a [former?] gangster nicknamed 'Vova Morda', but pressure is growing within the party to jettison Morda [which means snout] and his associates. One of these is a current 'Svoboda' parliamentary deputy, Ihor Kryvetskyi, [long known in criminal circles by the name 'Pups']. He was no 13 on their party list during last year's parliamentary elections.
Little is known about Pups, except that he drives around in either a Bentley, a Ferrari, or a Porsche...and flies a Cessna aeroplane.
Pups was a close associate of the late Rockero, but switched allegiance to the above-mentioned crime boss and rival Morda...he may have even figured in Rockero's 'downfall'.
In 2006 President Yushchenko publicly instructed the deputy interior minister of the day to rid the country of Morda. "How many divisions do you need in order for Morda to no longer exist?" the former president demanded.
Eventually Morda was charged and given a three year sentence....suspended, of course.
Morda allegedly has ties with several important figures in Ukraine, including oligarch Ihor Kolomoysky and Ihor Palytsya. The latter is CEO of UkrNafta, was a former Nasha Ukraina parliamentary deputy, and is now a non affiliated parliamentary deputy. [Hence the rumours 'Svoboda' are somehow funded by Kolomoysky. ]
Tyhanybok and Morda have a mutual hatred for Yushchenko. The former was kicked out of 'Nasha Ukraina' just before the 2004 presidential elections. Morda and Pups have used 'Svoboda' as their ticket into politics and respectability - a means to whitewash their reputations and provide cover for their 'business activities'.
Their generous funding of 'Svoboda' was also useful to their 'criminal partners in crime from Donetsk and their Party of Regions' friends because 'Svoboda' drained a significant number of votes from 'Batkivshchyna' in the last parliamentary elections.
Many local 'Svoboda' officials in Western Ukraine now happily collaborate with government-appointed judges and regional officials in a wide range of corrupt scams and money-making schemes.
'Expres' allege the multinational Chevron were denied the right to gain access to shale gas deposits in Western Ukraine because they refused to 'co-operate' and pay hundreds of millions of dollars into bank accounts in Cyprus, controlled by Pups and Co.
Last year Morda was lucky to survive an assassination attempt after being shot in the head....the driver of the shot-up SUV vehicle, a mobster known as 'Yozhyk', was killed. After this Pups and Morda seem to have fallen out...[hmm]
Pups is also now close to PoR rising star, parliamentary deputy, Vitaliy Khomutnnik, who his head of PoR's youth section and also deputy head of the parliamentary finance and banking activity committee.
Some Svoboda insiders say that matters cannot continue as they are much longer..the party could blow wide open....but right now Tyahnybok needs Pups.... and Pups needs Tyahnybok... and PoR need a puppet opposition party like 'Svoboda' to chip away support from other opposition parties...
All part of Ukraine's gangster state "virtual politics"....
Ready for Europe? I don't think so...
p.s. The Express newspaper, the biggest Ukrainian language newspaper in the country, has been continuously harassed by the authorities in recent months and years...