Friday, November 29, 2013

The spiv who did not come in from the cold [Update]

Good 5 minute video report from the UK's Channel 4 News
They call Yanukovych "the spiv who did not come in from the cold..."

p.s. Thousands of paid provocateurs [so called titushky] were seen loitering in parks in the centre of Kyiv today.

Were it not for warnings by the US ambassador about serious consequences if force were used against the participants of the EuroMaidan, there may well have been serious bloodshed.

These provocateurs, whose movements were not hindered by law enforcement agencies, were bussed from far and wide in dozens and dozens of buses. This was a well-organised and costly operation - it is inconceivable that the authorities were not in some way involved. Can there be a better illustration of the kind of regime that is currently in power in Ukraine? That would use such menacing thugs against students from the country's best universities, children of the elite - the flower of the nation.

Saturday morning update: Most regrettably, there now has been serious bloodshed, the process of Lukashenkisation has began. There are rumours of splits amongst Yanukovych's advisers..perhaps this will temper future events. The head of the president's administration may have submitted his resignation. Also last night's 'ShusterLive' was paused, then delayed for a while during behind the scenes wrangling...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Yanukovych's cock-eyed logic

Today Yanukovych, staged a television interview.

"The President emphasized that Ukraine would continue its European integration course.
“We will go our own way, we will do everything for Ukraine to become economically stronger,”

"As soon as we reach that level [when we are competitive] which will be comfortable for us and which meets our interests, when we will get agreement [with the EU] on normal terms, then we will conduct a discussion on signing [ the Association Agreement]. When will this be...time will tell." 

[My translation - The presidential website's official imo 'ropey' translation also at the link above].

So when Ukraine sorts out it problems with the oh so generous help of Russia, Yanukovych will sign the AA with the EU.

In other words, according to Yanukovych the Russians are going to assist Ukraine improve its economy. As soon at the economy gets better, it's good bye Russia, hello EU...  Are you kidding?

The Russian will do everything possible to trash the Ukrainian economy even further....

You have to jump now pal...

p.s. Yanukovych also stressed: "that not less than 20 billion EUR per year were necessary for Ukrainian economy to switch to the European standards. “Overall, about 160 billion EUR are necessary until 2017,” he said.

Just a minute....2014, 2015, 2016, 2017...that's four years.....times 20 billion....hmmm...doesn't that make 80 Billion? Forgot his calculator? Needs to take his shoes and socks off to count above 10?

No wonder the country is in such a mess...

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Putin will give nothing [update]

Putin has always behaved as a bully toward Ukraine. He has forced Ukraine, both under presidents Yushchenko and Yanukovych to allegedly pay the highest prices in Europe for gas. Since the summer Putin has conducted a trade war against Ukrainian importers..And as everyone knows, when a bully smells weakness the bullying inevitably increases...

Yanukovych has sat in the middle of the see saw playing off Russia on one end against the EU on the other. Now the president has pushed the EU off their end, Ukraine will be even more vulnerable to Putin's demands.

Russia has its own financial woes and capital is short. There are rumours that the Russian state pension fund will soon start raiding the country's private pension funds. Any loans from Russia will have to be paid for, as a former British PM once said, by Ukraine "selling off the family silver". There is no guarantee exports from Ukraine to Russia  will pick up either.

What of the Europeans? The chief negotiators of the European Union and Ukraine initialled the text of the Association Agreement, which included provisions on the establishment of a DCFTA about nine months ago. Everything was agreed and ready ...then last week's dramatic volte-face by the Ukrainian side..

Yanukovych is as a result can now be considered 'damaged goods' - an unreliable and unpredictable interlocutor. Next autumn Europarliamentary elections take place. The new boys will not be as friendly and understanding as the current lot.

There are reports that despite this mess, behind the scenes negotiations are still taking place between Ukraine and the EU.

Rinat Akmetov is allegedly suggesting to Yanukovych that if the EU provides 7-8 Bn Euro stabilisation money and improves quotas for Ukrainian metallurgical products, a deal could still theoretically be done in Vilnius later this week. His big-selling newspaper, 'Segodnya', unlike state broadcasters, seems to have been most objective when reporting recent events.

I watched portions of yesterday's anti-maidan. The PoR speakers....tired political geriatrics like Anatoliy Kinakh,  looked like yesterday's men. Half of the audience that had gathered had their backs to them as they spoke and stuttered...they all dispersed very quickly..

As for the true Euromaidans, these are student-dominated. A countrywide general students strike is currently being seriously discussed; if it comes to fruition, an significant new civic force will have been created.

The president's first official response to Thursday's Cabinet of Ministers' bombshell [poorly translated here] is vague and confusing waffle. The freezing of the AA is not mentioned at all.

He says: "The will of Ukrainian citizens have always been, is and will be decisive for every my decision." Well, we will see..

p.s. Petro Poroshenko has done a half hour interview on BBC 24's HARDtalk with the excellent Stephen Sackur, who was at the recent YES summit. It may be available here:

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Loss of hope drives demonstrators

Today, 24 November, was a watershed day. Had only 10 or 15 thousand turned out to support today's pro-EU demonstration Yanukovych and his goverment could sleep easy. The massive turnout was a surprise to the organisers, the authorities, and to those who went along.

Why did so many turn out? Thier hopes for a better tomorrow resulting from closer ties with wealthy and decent western neighbours were crushed by Thursday's cabinet of ministers' announcement that they were putting a freeze the Association Agreement deal with the EU planned to be signed in Vilnius later this week.

I watched Friday's ShusterLive during which an old and tired PM Azarov gave a weak and unconvincing explanation for the decision. There was a sense of resignation hanging in the air. A good politician would have offered some crumbs of comfort...some positive least one plus point for the decision. But there was none of this. It was all defeatist, the tone negative..He looked a loser....Someone sent out to take the flak for his boss Yanukovych.. [Who seems to have locked himself into his bathroom in Mezhyhirya last Thursday with his backside glued onto his gold toilet.]

In contrast, most of those present at today's events were young, under 30, students, young families etc.

If the pro-EU demos continue, Azarov has already hinted they will be scattered.

 But you cannot fight off the inevitable  – A Ukrainian-Russian divorce. And the young always win out in the end.

Those supporting today's actions in Kyiv and other cities have been revitalised and emboldened.

Re-elections are to take place on 15 December 2013 in seven constituencies were results in last autumn's parliamentary elections were suspect, so the political temperature in the country will remain hot.

Most significantly, the Ukrainian pull-out of the AA signing has created a huge expanse of clear blue water in the policies of the government parties and the opposition. It is generally accepted that a majority of Ukrainians are for closer ties with the EU...Yanukovych has therefore two options, 'Lukashenkisation', or lose the 2015 presidential elections..

The EU and the USA will be looking at lists containing the names of prominent Ukrainian pro-government supporters, their property and bank accounts in the west in case things get ugly, which they may well do...

A sense of dashed hopes, and a dread of a return to a new USSR will most likely fuel more protests.

p.s. Azarov hinted in an interview on Russian tv that today's demonstrations may have been 'financed'..what cheek! Thousands of youths of sporting appearance [so-called Titushky'] were seen congregating near the president's administration and in a central park today. When challenged, they turned away and refused to answer journalists' questions..Who is financing these meatheads?

He has also suggested that if western leaders care so much for Tymoshenko, they should pay her fine and make good the loses she allegedly caused the country by her bad decisions. What cheek! There is widespread belief that she was wrongfully imprisoned and her trial was a farce. They slap absurd politically motivated charges against her, then propose western countries pay the massive fine. Crude extortion or what? Only a dumb Donetsk gangster could make such a suggestion...

p.p.s. At time of writing it seems  the silovyky have started swinging their sticks...could get many brave, bright-eyed young people still on 'Evropeyska ploshcha'.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Will there be a Euro-Maidan?

"[Yesterday]..around 8pm, the Ukraine Truth ['Ukrainska Pravda'] political journalist Mustafa Nayem [see photo] on both twitter and Facebook called for a spontaneous protest in support of the signing of the agreement.
Mustafa Nayem 1
The twitter hashtag of #Евромайдан (Euromaidan) was born and became the top ranking hashtag on the Ukrainian twitter rankings within an hour.
Numbers vary as to those who turned out in Kyiv, ranging from 500 to 1500 according to those present and tweeting.
An impressive number for a 2 hour lead-in time of such a spontaneous call – or considering that the call was made via social media alone, the place where millions of Ukrainian “20 – 30 somethings” who all undoubtedly “get it” when it comes to European integration, maybe not as impressive as you would expect?"
The authorities are taking 'the necessary measures already'.

p.s. If you have an hour to spare, listen to this most enlightening audio of a November 22 Brookings Institute session entitled "Progress on the European Union's Eastern Partnership Despite Ukraine's Backsliding", here:

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Boyko serving two masters

Deputy prime minister Yuriy Boyko today said: "We did not get a clear signal from our European partners that the losses that we have experienced over the past four months, [i.e. losses caused by the trade war commenced by Russia and other CIS states against Ukraine to 'persuade' them not to go westward] will be compensated. The country cannot afford this, hence today's resolution [to pull the plug on the AA deal in Vinius]."

He claimed since August this year, these losses have been of the order of $4-5 Bn.

What a nerve! He is a cabinet member considered to be very close to the Kremlin, a crooked member Firtash's pro-Moscow gas lobby,  and the main interlocutor between Kyiv and Moscow in recent months.

Instead of working hard to protect his country's interest from this trade assault, Boyko is saying Ukraine has halted its progress along its Euro-integrational path because the EU will not compensate Ukraine for Russia's hostile actions...What a cheap chiseller...

And if the Europeans did pay up, where would the money go? Into the pockets of the those who artificially created this trade war in the first place - Boyko and Putin?

They really do take the Europeans for naive mugs...

It is your blogger's view today's turn of events will be taken very badly by the Europeans in the days to come. Up until today statements from them, and from the US have been reasonably positive, admittedly through gritted teeth, and the deal was certainly far from dead. Yanukovych will attempt to push the blame on Russia for forcing his hand - "I had no choice", but my view is the EU will not buy this.

p.s. the first link includes a video of Boyko making his statement. He briefly rubs his nose... body language readers frequently equate this with duplicity and lying...

$20Bn and 'the bird' can fly

It is almost a week since my last blog.  Circumstantial evidence, unattributed reports, and the mood music of party media spokesmen all seem to confirm that a EU/Ukraine deal will, most likely, not be struck at the end of the month.

E.g. this recent 'Kyiv Post' report :  "Snatching defeat from the jaws of victory" by Katya Gorchinskaya, is very gloomy..

'RBK'  today report that according to their sources no deal will be struck.

I could go on...

In parliament, a committee of deputies attempting to formulate an agreeable law enabling prisoners [i..e Tymoshenko], to be released for medical treatment abroad, have been going round in never ending circles. Opposition deputies will not leave the table lest they be accused of scuppering the deal. However, this did not prevent about 70 - 80 PoR deputies from flying to Paris on expenses yesterday for the France - Ukraine World Cup qualifying soccer match.....

In their negotiations with the EU, Ukrainians are demanding and expecting the same kind of sums Poland receives from the EU....[ e.g.  over the next seven years 73 billion euros of European Union money has been allocated to that country.  Source]

'Kommentarii' claims, for the Ukrainian side: "$20Bn would be an acceptable price for signing of the Association Agreement"

So that's the bottom line: $20Bn and 'the bird' can fly out her cage...

For the EU this is unrealistic, considering Ukraine's status vis a vis the EU, and the level of internal corruption. Any money that is provided needs to be doled out piecemeal and closely monitored; it will also be linked to unpalatable reform.

Yanukovych [like his predecessor Yushchenko] is a lazy politician who likes comfort, and making lots of money..not one for directing historical watershed political events. In the remote likelihood of AA being signed there will be piles and piles of stuff to do..years of hard work for the government..introducing unpalatable reforms, cutting out the insider deals, etc.

My guess is that EU leaders  are beginning to realise Yanuk, Azarov and the rest of this mob are not really up to this task. How much more humiliation are they going to take?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Bandits to the end

Yanukovych and his administration from the very beginning have not been negotiating in good faith with the EU on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement and Deep and the Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements which are set to be signed at the end of this month in Vilnius.

The deals were written up, on the table and 'ready to go' in December 2011.

Since then Yanukovych has strung the EU along by obfuscating any attempt to resolve the main stumbling block preventing success - the ending of  selective justice i.e. the politically motivated judicial persecution of political opponents, in particular Yulia Tymoshenko.

With just a few days to go, has still has not delivered.

Just a bad, laws on electoral practice and the functioning of prosecutor's office - key demands of the EU, have not been finalised in parliament despite constant assurances everything would be neatly tied up by now.

Two weeks ago, a most perceptible change in direction occurred - the compass needle indicating Ukraine's vector veered violently from a westward direction to the northern direction.

If Yanuk were determined to clinch the EU deal he would be saying: "Sorry folks, just cannot do anything on the Tymo situation... on everything..everything else, we will do all we can...we really, really want this to deal to fly...

But in the last two weeks there has been none of this. The tone from Yanuk's talking heads have been: "We are being pressurised by Moscow, by Europe, by the opposition. We will be financially squeezed whatever happens. Only our great leader, the wonderful and magnificent Yanukovych is capable of steering us through these hazards to the rosy sunlit future of which we are worthy... In other words, east and west - they are just as bad - out to screw us...the unspoken agenda being :We'll continue our balancing act...bridge between east and west etc.

Two weeks ago a fresh attempt to recover Tymoshenko's "stolen money" was suddenly pulled out of the hat by the ministry of revenues and their British lawyers.

This week it was Tymoshenko's principal defence lawyer Serhiy Vlasenko being harrassed by the prosecutor-general's office, no less, with criminal charges of a 'domestic' nature involving his former wife. [A sledgehammer to crack a nut..]

It is not unreasonable, considering the critical stage of negotiations, this is part of a planned strategy to piss off the EU leaders even more.

We have the sorry spectacle of parliamentary deputies still playing out cards of a long-lost game - that of trying to pass a law enabling sick prisoners to be treated abroad.

Now there are sudden stern demands being made to the EU for financial 'compensators' ..

From PoR's official site:'

"[the EU] mission mistakenly believe that the main problematic issue in the way the Association Agreement with the EU - issues of Yulia Tymoshenko. In Ukraine today, the main problem that we have to solve with our European partners - the question of finding ways of compensation of losses from Ukraine open market for EU goods and the possible actions of Russia ",

Kostiantyn Yelisieiev, Ambassador of Ukraine to the EU, in a letter to the FT today declares, "there is no room for the “wait-and-see” approach. The EU must act, offering concrete types of support to Ukraine. To name a few: full backing of the renewal of Ukraine-IMF co-operation; rendering ambitious macro-financial assistance; the immediate opening of EU markets for the Ukrainian products meeting the relevant standards; adapting EU assistance to the needs of proper implementation of further reforms under the association agreement; disbursing financial resources for modernisation of Ukrainian Gas Transmission System and preventing the politically motivated South Stream gas project; lifting the outdated anti-dumping measures against Ukrainian exports which remain in place since the end of the 20th century." [Pdf here]

Now not only will they not release Tymo...but they want big money too...Money earned by the hard work and toil of European workers.

Months and months of diligent work by hundreds of economists and lawyers went into the writing of the hugely detailed AA and DCFTA documents where all financial aspects were thoroughly dealt with to the satisfaction of all sides.

Now, all of a sudden, its give us the money or else....and don't even mention Tymoshenko.

Lately there have been rumours that the EU would do a deal on the AA even if she remains behind bars.
Yanukovych has, in all probability, already decided to scuttle the EU deal. Have these rumours triggered new demands set before the EU for 'money up front' so Yanukovych can say, even if the EU crumble on Tymoshenko: "You see, they won't give us any money either..they expect us to take an economic hit for their's all their fault"?

Yelisieiev in his FT letter mentions 'common values' These people have no values at all...only calculators [see previous blog]..

Bandits to the end..

Monday, November 11, 2013

Ukraine mentally still in Eurasia, not in Europe

I really liked this op-ed piece by Vitaliy Portnikov in ', entitled "Civilization of the calculator. The process of association with the EU looks pathetic"

Here's a loose translation:

Right from the start there have never been any aspirations in Ukraine to achieve EU values. This is why Ukraine has become a laughing stock, rather than any reluctance by Yanukovych to release Tymoshenko,

The sorry tale of the signing of the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement, from being an evolving political process has today become pure guesswork. To sign - not to sign, release - not to release, to vote - not to vote, to fly to Moscow - not to fly ... It looks pretty pathetic because it demonstrates to our European partners that there was no political process associated with the desire in Ukraine to aspire to the values a united Europe right from the very beginning.

And that is why Ukraine has been exposed to ridicule in front of the entire civilized world - not just because of the reluctance of Viktor Yanukovych to release Tymoshenko.

Actually, if Ukraine had really been interested in European values, the problem around the Tymoshenko case would not have arisen at all, because there would never have been a criminal case activated and co-ordinated by presidential administration in the first place. The crimes for which she was tried and sentenced simply do not exist in the European model of law.

But in Ukraine all issues are resolved with the help of a calculator, which amongst the political pseudo-elites in our society has successfully replaced the Bible, the Constitution.. and European values.

For nearly a year the government has been calculating, where is more profitable - in Europe or Eurasia. More precisely, who will it be easier to fool - the Europeans or the Russians. There in no understanding that value systems cannot be compared with the aid of a calculator. Even any decision on Tymoshenko will eventually be made on a pure many votes will be gained or lost by this in the 2015 presidential elections.

Because the average Ukrainian also merely weighs up the gains [or losses] of a possible association agreement with the EU using a calculator, there has been no mass demonstrations in support of it. Even in the event of the failure to sign the agreement supporters may gather at mass meetings and revitalise the political situation in the country, but it still will not be in support of a European vector, but rather a protest against Yanukovych.

If Europeans lived  in our country rallies in support of the AA would be taking place right now, irrespective of any opposition party.

Ukraine is separated today from the European Union by only the narrow strip of a state border. In fact it is separated from civilization by a ditch whose depth Ukraine's residents and politicians, armed with calculators, cannot even comprehend.

 And to the East there are lots of boundary markers - but no ditch. Everything is the same as in Ukraine, just with more oil and gas.

This is the tragedy of Ukrainian independence: to proclaim statehood was much easier than to fill it with a sense of civilisational choice. All attempts to do this continue to revolve around political rants, lies, mayhem... and a calculator.

Friday, November 08, 2013

Explanation for impasse on Tymoshenko lies in gangster mentality of Ukraine's leaders

An explanation for the war of nerves between the EU and Yanukovych which is taking place over the release of Yulia Tymoshenko can be found in Yanukovych's gangster mentality and world view. He spent his formative years as a street gang leader immersed in a full-blown criminal environment, and was sentenced twice for crimes of violence.

He observes the enormous efforts by the EU to get Tymoshenko released - a person he and many other misogynistic Ukrainian politicians consider to be just a cheap tart/swindler who achieved everything by smooth-talking and wiggling her arse.  For the Yanukovych's of this world women serve only one purpose...

He thinks, hey, if they care so much for her, then she really must be a most valuable piece of merchandise. I can get  plenty for her in any trade-off, so I'm going to play it really tough. Hence the absurd and illogical demands that Tymoshenko [or allegedly Angela Merkel] pay a gigantic $200 million fine. This, despite Tymoshenko  never being accused of gaining personally for the 2009 gas deal she allegedly screwed up on, for which she was sentenced.

Problem is, now he may have gone too far, run out of track, and really pissed the Europeans off - the opportunity may have been missed.

It is now unlikely that a solution to the Tymoshenko problem will be found in parliament. Inna Bohoslovska, the most voxiferous of Tymoshenko's critics, whom  even chased the former PM around a television studio during a live broadcast, is one of the PoR members of an committee "trying to resolve [ho,ho]" the issue by cobbling together a new draft law.

Bohoslovska, in her blog, today says: "The great historic mission - Ukraine's rapprochement with the European family has been reduced to dirty political speculation surrounding the big political opportunist [spekulant] Tymoshenko." So we knows which way she will vote...

Other committee members say it's already too late anyhow.

As I have previously posted, Yanukovch "knows, that if he indeed wants to take the Euro-route, he can, in extremis, at the the last moment, pardon Tymoshenko or release her for treatment by signing an ukaz. It will then be 'job done'."

And if she remains in jail, he still possess a valuable package for possible use in any trade-off further down the line.

Yanukovych, and his pals resemble a gang of thugs who have kidnapped a woman hostage. Having 'served her purpose', they know they can always dump the her out of the back of the truck at the door of the victim's family...and have a good laugh about it on the drive home..

President showing astonishing lack of leadership

'Deputies in Ukraine's parliament squabbled on Thursday about the release of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko, but there were no signs of a breakthrough on an issue that is threatening landmark agreements with the European Union"  [From Reuters]

Watching the PoR 'talking heads' today, my impression was they were disorientated - no-one really knowing what was going on; and  comments from independent-minded political experts were ever more pessimistic.

It is your blogger's belief that the president. his advisers and many PoR deputies, have long been arrogantly convinced the association agreement with the EU could be clinched without releasing Tymoshenko. It is beginning to dawn in their thick skulls they were mistaken.

Yanukovych, showing a dreadful lack of leadership, handed over responsibility for solving the Tymoshenko problem to parliament. Without the support of the Communist party parliamentary deputies, [PoR's ruling coalition allies], he could not be certain of any outcome there.

The president's party in parliament are now trying to make, or pretending they are making concessions which will incur minimal losses for the president's image. They hope that their proposed laws will be supported by the opposition.

It could all be too late already. The Association Agreement paperwork has been 'ready to go', astonishingly, since December 2011. Now there we are just a few days left, and a massive hurdle still remains to  be overcome before Vilnius.

Looking back through my postings over the last two years it is clear the EU have made concession after concession to make life easier for Yanukovych and ensure the deal was done...but Yanukovych has repeated broken promises, and has not budged a millimetre on the key 'Tymoshenko issue'.

On November 18 EU foreign ministers meet to assess whether the Ukrainian side has done its homework and satisfied clearly defined criteria, including, most importantly, ending selective use of justice. Each of these foreign ministers will have to be briefed by their own ministries in the days before this.

It is a quite possible a consensus will not be reached on November 18, even if a 'fig-leaf' law on the treatment of prisoners abroad is passed in the Verkhovna Rada. [It has to be remembered that even if a law is passed, Tymoshenko wil have to submit a request to a judge for examination, medical evidence presented, approval sought from a recipient country etc.etc.]

The foreign ministers will be aware that failure will make virtually no difference to the EU's 500 million inhabitants, and may even be welcomed by those who consider that the EU has expanded eastward too quickly.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Fat lady prepares to sing...

During his presentation from at Atlantic Council in Washington - "EU's Eastern Partnership: the Vilnius Summit and Beyond"  Slovak Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs Miroslav Lajčák, said:

"I see no consensus on the part of the EU member states to vote for the Association Agreement with Ukraine unless she [Tymoshenko] is out of prison"  [38 minutes into the video at the link above.]

Taras Chornovil, someone always worth listening to, reckons the chance of success for Ukraine's successful signing of the AA in Vilnius is currently less than 25%..this would naturally drop if no clear resolution is found in parliament on Thursday to the problem of formulating a law allowing Tymoshenko to be released for treatment to Germany.

The tone and body language of the political 'talking heads' in the media tend to give the impression that they just hope, rather more than expect the EU will give way on the Tymo issue..

If they watched the presentation above by the impressive speaker, they would see the EU has many other serious problems to sort out apart from Ukraine..Failure to sign up Ukraine would not be such a big deal...

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Yanukovych will not release Tymoshenko anytime soon

Party of Regions' official site carries this:

"Volodymyr Oliynyk: Yulia Tymoshenko can not be let out abroad to her money

Due to revealed new circumstances which indicate that former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko has a big amount of money of doubtful provenance abroad, it is not reasonable to let her out of Ukraine now, stressed MP, member of the PARTY OF REGIONS parliamentary faction Volodymyr Oliynyk...."

Smart-arse Oliynyk also added: "It would be very strange to release Yulia Tymoshenko to her illegally acquired and hidden abroad funds,"

Tymoshenko has never been tried or sentenced anywhere for illegally acquiring and/or hiding funds.

'Oleaginous' Oliynyk [his name suits his nature] never tires of claiming he always adheres strictly to high legal standards, whenever he appears on television. He therefore is well aware his statement was highly prejudicial, and this hastily arranged ploy to recover these 'funds' in Switzerland and the USA merely a cynical stalling tactic.

From the moment of Tymoshenko's imprisonment demands for her release from western politician have been met by one such stalling tactic after another.

PoR and their Commie mates also brazenly boycotted today's parliamentary committee meeting which was to discuss proposals for treatment of prisoners abroad.

Judging by the body language and tone of PoR party spokesmen in the media these last few days, and the response of opposition members [who now have no more cards left to play], the chances of any parliamentary bill concerning the release of prisoners for treatment abroad being passed this week are now slim.

Rumours about Yanukovych's secret recent meeting with Putin in Sochi tend to confirm that Yanukovych has burned his bridges with his host. The problem is he is not yet willing to pay the price demanded by the EU, i.e. the release of Tymoshenko, for a successful signing of the AA in Vilnius.

Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland met Yanukovych today - their meeting lasted twice longer than scheduled. The recent furore about the US eavesdropping and phone tapping operations, involving even the likes of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, tends to suggest that the US security services "have plenty" on Yanukovych and his pals too.. Some commentators wonder whether this was brought up at today's meeting to help convince Yanukovych to 'do the right thing'...

If the Europeans want a successful conclusion to theVilnius summit they will need to resort this kind of selective behind-the-scenes bullying and blackmailing too...nothing else remains.

Monday, November 04, 2013

Yanukovych only trusts those with criminal past

Halya Coynash, in her 'KyivPost piece', "Yanukovych's poor choice in Lviv", is critical of: "The president’s latest appointment [of Oleh Salo] as Lviv regional governor [which] has elicited outrage in the region.." [Also here ]

Coynash is being charitable. Others are more blunt and to the point - the man has a dreadful track record going back many years that is as long as your arm. Salo is a black character indeed.

Typically, on being appointed head of the Lviv oblast Ministry of Internal Affairs Administration he had diamonds stitched into the stars on his new general's uniform and drove around in a special custom-built $100k Volkswagen limo with an interior lined with fancy veneers, bar, television etc.

Halya Coynash states:  " 2003 the parliamentary committee on fighting organized crime and corruption asked Viktor Yanukovych, then Prime Minister, to dismiss Oleh Salo for abuse of official position."

The parliamentary committee report actually ran to 11 closely typewritten pages.

Salo and an associate where accused of involvement in the alleged re-registering a Mercedes whose owner had been murdered three days previously. The prime suspect, who has never been caught, was also involved in the murderous scheme to re-register the vehicle.

In 2000, dozens of vehicles on which customs duty had not been paid were registered by Salo and his associates.

That same year, Salo illegally registered a stolen Mercedes 2001 he was involved in the purchase of vehicles on which customs duty had not been paid, i.e. smuggled from abroad,  for the use of ministry of the interior personnel in Lviv oblast.

Salo worked with criminal gangs by providing them with passes to help them bring stolen vehicles into the country.

In 2002 he falsified documents from the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs to elevate his already lofty rank, and falsified merit awards 'bestowed' on his best mate.

In 2003 a group of parliamentary deputies requested the minister of internal affairs sack Salo for unauthorised possession of a cache of ammunition, and for numerous other alleged crimes, particularly at Western Ukrainian customs posts.

There is creditable evidence that he was involved in serious election fraud in Pervomaysk and theft of large quantities of ballot papers in 2004.

In 2005, during police searches conducted in the apartment of Salo and head of the Western region customs head, over $200,000 of cash, and weaponry were found.  At the time they were being investigated for alleged involvement in the assassination attempt on a parliamentary deputy, Petro Pysarchuk.

The list goes on and on...

Salo is exactly the sort of guy Yanukovych trusts and likes to use because there is a ton of kompromat on him to guarantee his loyalty.

His appointment is a slap in the face of those who want to make Ukraine a more decent, European country. Under Yanukovych the country will continue to be a gangster state.

p.s. Anecdotal reports provided to your blogger confirm corruption and extortion at  Ukraine's western border posts is as bad as it ever has been.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

Has Yanukovych had enough of this democracy bollocks?

"The members of the European Parliament's observation mission - former Polish President Alexander Kwasniewski and former European Parliament President Pat Cox – have said that the bill on treatment of convicts abroad submitted by independent parliamentarian Anzhelika Labunska is the optimum for reaching a consensus in the issue of treatment convicts [i.e. Yulia Tymoshenko] abroad.. The proposed bill, [one of four], is to be voted on in parliament next week."

Several weeks ago K&K appealed to president Yanukovych to release Tymoshenko for treatment abroad 'by way of a pardon'. but their request was ignored.

Now several PoR deputies have already declared that they will not support Labunska's bill, so it is unlikely it will 'get off the launch pad' either.

There are several reasons to suspect Yanukovych may be stalling to deliver on the EU's conditions which need to be satisfied for a successful Association Agreement signing in Vilnius in late November.

If Tymoshenko were to be released there would be immediate, massive interest in her in the western political circles and media which would naturally taper off in the days and weeks after this. Yanukovych wants to avoid this period of greatest interest in Tymoshenko coinciding with any possible signing...And her presence in Western European capitals will be an even greater thorn in his side whenever Ukraine's relationship with Europe is discussed in the future.

At the moment PoR can only command a majority in parliament with the help of  32 Communist deputies. In the event of a successful Vilnius, the Communist deputies will denounce their ruling coalition partners, go their own way and operate independently. The loss of guaranteed control of parliament would be a substantial blow to the president.

A third 'gas war' with Russia looks likely; even though Russian PM Medvedev insists that: "for now everything is okay". It is a war that Ukraine cannot win, whatever the outcome in Vilnius. Those sitting in freezing apartments in Ukrainian cities will blame Yanukovch, He will inevitably have to crawl back to Putin..  

Major economic problems await in the New Year. The country needs a quick financial fix, not drip feed of financial support from Europe linked to further progress on economic reform....Yet Medvedev has already said: No more loans from Russia...

'Kyiv Post' have got it right: "it looks more likely that the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, Lithuania at the end of the month will be a dud.

Yanukovych may be thinking: Putin and Lukashenko have got it right..this democracy nonsense is a load of bollocks.