Friday, October 29, 2010

Vote - then tea and biscuits, on the house

'U.P' and others report that today president Yanukovych, during a conference with oblast governors, urged local authorities to "create a festive mood," for citizens on Sunday, the day of national local elections.

"I would like for us think about the people on this day, organize, as always, a festive mood for people at each polling station," said the president.

"Where there is a possibility, at polling stations where such conditions have been prepared, to arrange catering facilities so that people see that the government is thinking about them."

He stressed that this was, "Not a means of pressurising people."

"Our responsibility is to create conditions for the [voting] commission members, and for those who did not have time for a drink of tea at home, to have such an opportunity at the polling station." What a nice chap he is...

p.s. My dad clearly remembers that in the days of Stalin, on "election day", tables were frequently laid out near voting stations. Everyone casting a vote would receive a crumby 'pryanik' or a small 'konfeta'...It would be the only day when sugar was available in shops..

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Azarov booed by entrepreneurs

'Segodnya' reports one thousand entrepreneurs in Vinnytsya confronted Prime Minister Mykola Azarov today to protest against the possible adoption of new Tax Code.

The rally took place near the administrative building of the Vinnytsya Regional State Administration [150 km. south-west of Kyiv] when the PM was attending a meeting on problematic issues surrounding the socio-economic development of the region.

The protesters were addressed by leaders of public organizations and political parties, as well as by businessmen. They held placards with slogans such as 'The country for the people', 'The authorities are killing small business', 'Privileges for olÑ–garchs - handcuffs for entrepreneurs', and others.

Azarov's response? - "We always listen to people, of course - even if only 100-200 people turn out into the square we always listen to them. I never dismiss the problems. We know who organized these rallies, but we need to listen - even to a 'paid' rally, [maybe] adjust decisions , but the main thrust of the government [policy] is reform and tax reform - one of global reforms."

p.s. 'Segodnya' also reports that 'dodgy' voting slips for next Sunday's local elections have been found by Yulia Tymoshenko's 'Bat'kivshchyna' party in a fourth oblast. "Voting slips are being illegally printed in the Odessa oblast", it says.

Just wait until the counting starts...

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Yanik's boys in dodgy land deals

Donetsk-based website 'Ostro' reports that on Friday the deputies of Donetsk City Council approved the sale of two plots of land to Viktor Yanukovych's sons, Alexander and Viktor.

Viktor Yanukovych, Jr. was sold a plot comprising 610 square meters in the Budennovsk area of Donetsk for 244,375 hryvnia, i.e. at about 151 hryvnia per sq.m.

At the same time, Alexander Yanukovych was sold 7,373 square meters for 1,800,184 hryvnia, i.e about 146 hryvnya per sq.m. It is not clear whether there was an open tender for these plots.

'Ostro's' enquiries indicate the true market value of similar land nearby is about 480 hryvnya per sq. m.

Friday's Donetsk City Council session was the last of this convocation. New city council members will be elected in next week's elections - on Oct. 31st 2010.

Meanwhile, their father, speaking in Kirovohrad today, was quoted as saying,"We are commencing a systemic fight with corruption in Ukraine. Corruption is the enemy of the Ukrainian nation..we need to accept this system and root out corruption with red hot iron...No one in the state will make business on the [state] budget. And we'll clip the pockets the've sewn down to their heels. How do surgeons say it?..We'll cut them off! - amputate them!"

LEvko says that by the standards of dodgy deals in Ukraine this is small potatoes. But why push through the land sale in Donetsk on the last sitting of the council before the elections?

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Yanik should see psychiatrist

Yanukovych's reaction following last Tuesday's dreadful accident in Marhanetsk in which over 40 people were killed when a commuter bus was struck by a train? - "Drivers who run red lights should see a psychiatrist."

Maybe he should see a psychiatrist himself and set a better example. Last April, the driver of a vehicle escorting the president killed the totally innocent driver and seriously injured passengers of another vehicle, during his cavalcade's regular mad dash through specially closed-off Kyiv roads.

While he's there, he should book in some of his pals and also some VR deputies..

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Pathetic parliament

Last Friday, the Ukrainian Constitutional Court decided to nullify the 2004 constitutional amendments which had been voted in at that time by over 400 Verkhovna Rada deputies. The CC judges also took it upon themselves to resurrect the 1996 version of the Constitution; whether they had the authority to do this is highly 'iffy', to say the least.

This Thursday, VR deputies meekly voted through a motion to reduce their own powers and to increase the powers of the HWMBO president.

The pathetic state of the current Ukrainian parliament, and the cynicism of its deputies, was well illustrated by the evening session when the decision was made.

It was attended by less than 100 deputies. Deputy parliamentary speaker Adam Martynyuk bitterly opened the session, no doubt through gritted teeth, declaring: "300 voting cards had been registered - the evening session can begin.." So less then a quarter of them had even bothered to turn up to carry out this self-castration.

"This is the way the world ends,
Not with a bang but a whimper". The Hollow Men - T. S. Eliot

Monday, October 04, 2010

Judges kept their fingers crossed

On 5th February 2008 the Constitutional Court of Ukraine [CCU] rejected an appeal by 102 parliamentary deputies to re-examine the constitutionality of law No 2222 of 8th December 2004 "On Amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine".

Law No2222, which diluted the authority of the president, was passed at the height of the Orange Revolution by over 400 votes in parliament. What is often overlooked is that discontent about excessive presidential powers had been growing rapidly in the early years of the first decade of this century, both in parliament and throughout the country.

In 2008 the CCU judges were entirely satisfied that the December 2004 changes were a valid part of the country's constitution. Their official ruling included this: "The position of the law on introduction of changes to the Constitution of Ukraine, [is that], on gaining validity, [it] becomes an integral component of the Constitution of Ukraine ...and the law's function is exhausted.. ". "The decision of the Constitutional Court is final", they concluded.

Last Friday, the CCU made a final, final decision, overturning the 2008 'final' decision and declared that law No 2222 unconstitutional after all, returning the country to the 1996 Constitution.

p.s. Among school children, a lie told with the fingers crossed 'doesn't count'.

p.p.s When the representative audience on last Friday's Savik Shuster show were asked what kind of government they would prefer, 72% chose parliamenary/presidential - 28% chose a presidential/parliamentary..