Friday, January 18, 2008

Troubles in both orange, and blue and white camps

An indication of possible conflict and splits inside PoR are provided by whispers that Yanukovych may have recently disposed of all of his shares in the companies owned by his party's financial sponsor, Rinat Akhmetov.

Raisa Bohatyryova [considered to be an Akhmetovite and recently appointed as secretary of the National Security and Defence Council by the president] agreed to this move "not simply for his beautiful eyes," according to a source of "Novyi Region", adding, "Yushchenko has given clear guarantees, that Akhmetov and his business will be given immunity from any possible reprivatisatsion tricks of Yulia Tymoshenko."

"In this situation what use is Yanukovych to Akhmetov? He has not been needed for a long while. The guarantees of the inviolability of Akhmetov's SCM empire are provided at the level of Yushchenko. Therefore Yanukovych and his group, together with Mykola Azarov, have, in essence, found themselves in very deep opposition," he noted. Some analysts conside a "complete divorce" between Viktor Yanukovych and Rinat Akhmetov may even take place in the near future.

Much of Yanukovych's wealth may have been acquired during the period of his governorship in Donetsk, when the privatization of numerous enterprises took place and Akhmetov's wealth burgeoned. Yanukovych's eldest son Aleksandr was deputy to the director-general of "DonbassNefteProdukt", connected with Akhmetov. His younger son works in the construction business, and has project managed several hotels owned by Akhmetov. It can be assumed therefore that Yanukovych and members of its family, one way or another, made big money via a number of firms and companies linked to Akhmetov.

Matters are not much better in the orange camp where storms are brewing up between PM and President.

Yushchenko is annoyed that Tymoshenko will be visiting Moscow on 23rd January, days before his own visit there planned for 12th February. A spokesman for the president's secretariat considers Tymoshenko's visit 'pointless', adding Tymoshenko can start talks on gas only after receiving corresponding directives from the president. Communist leader Petro Symonenko has hinted the Tymoshenko's negotiations on gas deals with Russia may interfere with Yushchenko's own "schemes" in this business.

Yushchenko is also proposing new laws to 'beef up' his own powers vis-a-vis the cabinet, and tighten personal control over internal armed forces, again causing disquiet in some parts of the new ruling coalition, but maybe more on this another time.

The former defence minister, Anatoliy Hrytsenko, who was recently replaced by Yuriy Yekhanurov, and who is now head of the parliamentary security defence committee, has suggested that criminal immunity should be stripped from the president, as well as from VR deputies, "because he is subjected to much greater temptation to break the law." [Sour grapes for not being reappointed to his former position by the pres.?]

Another presidential secretariat man has proposed six oblenergo's [power companies] be excluded from the list of enterprises to be privatised by the government, and Luhanskteplovoz be added to the list. [Possible string-pulling here?]

President and his secretariat are fighting with the PM and cabinet over whose hands are on the steering wheel...

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