Thursday, September 27, 2012

Victims of highly-placed raiders write to Obama

The 'ORD' website describes how V.R. deputy Artem Pshonka, son of current Prosecutor-General Viktor Pshonka, is trying to seize the Mykolayiv-based 'Agrofirma Kornatskykh' agro-company by the dirtiest of means. 'ORD' call Pshonka Jr. 'raider No.1 in Ukraine'. His dad Viktor  is an old pal of Yanukovych from the bad old days in Donetsk...

The workers of the company have written a letter written to the White House, taking advantage of a recent high-power visit to the USA by Ukrainian officials, and Yanukovych's current visit to the U.N. in  New York:

U.S. President Barack Obama
By Congress and the U.S. Senate
To U.S. Attorney General


Dear President Obama,
gentlemen congressmen, senators,
Mr. Attorney General of the United States!

By you are turning the Ukrainian peasants, driven to despair by the Ukrainian authorities, whose leaders are now in the U.S.., the Ukrainian peasants, driven to despair by the Ukrainian government , whose leaders are now in the U.S.. They tell you about their domestic and foreign policy, asking for credits, offering to invest in Ukraine.

Know: everything that they tell — a complete lie, they always say one thing and do quite another. All their policies are reduced to one — a steal as much as possible, to enrich themselves through corruption and capture another’s property. Democracy, justice , freedom of speech, rights and freedoms, human rights in Ukraine this power destroyed.

Yanukovych trampled all this by creating a so-called vertical of power, which is actually organized criminal groups of civil servants. Basically what they do — stealing everything that is possible, including loans to U.S. and international banks. So again the money that you give through “kickbacks” and other criminal schemes go into the pockets of top Ukrainian leaders, and close to

Think — you by U.S. taxpayers finance the Ukrainian mafia, promotes corruption in Ukraine! Immediately criminal cases, arrested and questioned by the Ukrainian authorities, who are in the U.S., for theft in Ukraine from international and U.S. banks, the IMF, the World Bank. Obtained loans from you if you give them will help the current government also distort the results of the parliamentary elections 28.10.12, because everything exclusively all she does is aimed at their

Approximate Yanukovych, including Ukraine’s Prosecutor General Pshonka and Minister of Interior Zaharchenko , with subordinate government officials engaged in massive racketeering business, taking away from the legitimate owners of the property, funds, companies, including foreign ones. A striking example is the process of taking power “Agrofirm Kornatsky” to which we all have relation both workers and landlords.

Over two years, without exception, heads of government, but rather, all the gangsters from public administrations, inspectorates, police, prosecutors, led by Prosecutor General of Ukraine Pshonka falsify against fair nor innocent heads LLC “Agro Kornatsky ‘criminal cases arbitrarily arrested and tortured in no way guilty CFO Lyudmila Nikitkinu, almost completely paralyzed the work of the

They rigged for 15 criminal and administrative dozens of cases not investigated and not submitted to the court, because it is unfounded. The method of falsifying one case followed by another, which involved against Yulia Tymoshenko, applied to business. All Ukrainian state system works to destroy honest business and honest people.

Behold — the real policy of Yanukovych and his gang!

Moreover, pay attention, in our case — in relation to a foreign company, which is a member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine and the American-Ukrainian Business Council! Destroying operating in Ukraine, Ukrainian absolutely law-abiding business, owned by foreigners, the highest Ukrainian authorities at the same time calling other foreigners to invest and lend — do not trust and do not give because steal and plunder!

Please help us fend off criminal attacks Ukrainian authorities to release prisoner Lyudmila Nikitkinu. She is arrested for personal instruction Prosecutor General of Ukraine Pshonka to obtain, through physical and mental abuse, admissions to non-existent crimes. Woman tortured, kept in transit prison in inhuman conditions, illegally sent to misuse the court to continue the illegal arrest.

The current Ukrainian authorities all polls commit crimes against individuals, against humanity, against the state and the people. These criminals for which you want to create a special international tribunal, the Ukrainian people have therefore sincerely grateful to the international community.

Workers and landlords «Agrofirm Kornatsky »
We are waiting for answers at: village Chausovo-2, Pervomaiskyi district , Mykolayiv region, zip code 55235.

The ORD piece also includes a recent detailed 'Ukraina Moloda' article describing the persecution and arrest of Mrs Nikitin and the alleged abuse of power by the Pshonkas...

Picture of Artem Pshonka, complete with  the usual 'death stare', courtesy of 'Kyiv Post'

p.s. Following the recently-adopted US Congress resolution which threatens political sanctions against members of Ukrainian authorities for the imprisonment of  former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, rumours are spreading that some of Ukraine's top oligarchs are now beating a path to the U.S. embassy in Kyiv, pleading they are in no-way involved with the politically-motivated persecution of members of the opposition...oh, no...nothing to do with us...absolutely not... all the work of that nasty man Yanukovych...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Yanuk in the Big Apple

'Segodnya' claims Yanukovych met U.S. President Obama "secretly" on Monday.

During their "personal meeting" they allegedly talked about gas  production on the Black Sea shelf.

Seems rather odd....can the meeting be confirmed or denied?

If either Obama had agreed to meet Yanuk on a basis of strict secrecy - and the story leaked, or the story is bullsh*t, then P.o.t.U.S. will be 'pissed off' either way.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Big money pulls all the strings

Olha Rudenko, in her excellent 'KyivPost' article, highlights what everyone already knows - Ukraine's major political forces are to a large extent a sham - they are generously sponsored by a tiny number of country's mega-rich oligarchs for their own self-interest.

These oligarch's aim is to 'hedge their bets', Whatever the electorate decide, they can be reasonably sure their business empires will remain intact and their massive wealth unassailable.

Valeriy Portnikov points out in a recent article, any sanctions by Western countries against Ukrainian politicians and highly-placed officials in punishment for the roll-back of democracy in the country will not cause much distress for Yanukovych himself, his closest circle, or these oligarchs. Their assets and interests will remain largely untouched.

He concludes:
..Ukrainian society [is a]  a society of collaborators who lose their heads at the mere sight of the illegally enriched 'nouveaux-riches'.

While the opposition looks to the oligarchs for funding, while Ukrainian intellectuals run to them for funds for grants and other handouts, while Ukrainian universities take money from them, and even brag about this, while Ukrainian voters delight in observing giant objects constructed with money earned by unclear- or rather clear means, Yanukovych invincible!
..the people who love to talk about the democracy in the West then sell themselves for pennies, and even justify this all... deserve nothing better.

This is the question - are great swathes of Ukraine really ready for western-style democracy? Do they want this style of government at all?

p.s. So many candidates, particularly in the simple majority constituencies, are handing out food parcels, children's gifts and trinkets that this means of bribing electors is frequently not very productive. Votes simply forget who gave what and when..

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ukrainian television news in English....

If there is anyone out there is interested to see what many Ukrainian news broadcasts are like, and how crappy they are, check out these daily  1/2 hour English language news broadcasts 

Reminiscent of the stone-faced Communist bloc days?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

More pressure on independent media in Ukraine

By passing an anti-defamation bill in the Ukraine parliament today that envisages criminal liability for defamation and libel, Yanukovych and his PoR goons are mimicking Putin..

Note: "Criminal defamation has been abolished in the UK since 12 January 2010 when the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 came into force. Section 73 of this Act abolished the criminal defamation offences, which were the offences of sedition and seditious libel, the offence of defamatory libel, and the offence of obscene libel....

One of the main reasons for its abolition was the view that the UK's retention of the archaic criminal offence of defamation justified its use by foreign countries to prosecute and imprison journalists, and to restrict free speech....." Source

Farcical performances by Ukrainian officials at YES

The 9th Annual Yalta Economic Strategy summit ended over the weekend. It was streamed live on the the Euronews site and elsewhere, and made interesting, even compulsive viewing.

'Kommersant' have a good write-up of the event.

Their conclusions: The EU and Ukraine did not hear one another in Yalta...But the most talked about performance was that of the black-hearted deputy prosecutor-general, Renat Kuzmin, who seemed out of his depth during a session about Ukraine and the Tymoshenko case.

This is what 'Kommerant' said:

"After the discussion was concluded, Renat Kuzmin left the forum, leaving its members to exchange their opinions - they were all negative. "This performance was the best anti-propaganda for the Ukrainian authorities. He looked like a bandit, behaved like a bandit and spoke like a bandit," said indignant  Senior Fellow Peterson Institute for International Economics, Anders Aslund. "I have no idea for what purpose he was sent here. I did not find any person, who was convinced." said former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine, Steven Pifer."

Euronews described the session as "...almost farcical. Supporters of the jailed former Ukrainian prime minister railed loudly that the trial was unfair and political. The Ukrainian Foreign Minister and its Chief Prosecutor [sic] gave lengthy but completely irrelevant answers seemingly designed to play for time.."

Inna Bohoslovska, another member of the panel, countered criticisms of Tymoshenko's imprisonment with a vitriolic and totally irrelevant attack against the Germans. The Council of Europe's GRECO [Group of States against Corruption] "..has shown Germany a yellow card for a third time and are demanding criminal charges be brought against certain persons for exceeding their authority!" she trumpeted. [An unfortunate analogy - according to the rules of soccer, a second yellow card means a player is sent off the field of play.]

An agitated Ukr Foreign minister Hryshchenko, when accused by Tymoshenko ally Hryhoriy Nemyria of prejudicially declaring Tymoshenko  to be guilty before any verdict had been passed by court, pleaded: "I never travelled around the world saying Yulia is guilty or not. I defended our national interests which you you tried to sully...this is my job...and I will do this even if if it applies to my neighbour, my close friend, of even personally to you Viktor [Pinchuk, who was sitting next to Hryshchenko in the front row], I would do the same, if the court found him guilty..."

Former president Kuchma, sitting in the next seat along from his son in law, Viktor Pinchuk,  wittily retorted: "Thank God he didn't get to me...", to wry amusement of the audience...Renat Kuzmin, who was sitting directly opposite Kuchma on the podium, and who had, in previous years tried to 'nail' Kuchma for the Gongadze murder, sat stone-faced through this exchange.

Seriously, 'Kommersant' also claim: 'the Russian vector was strengthened - a significant delegation from Moscow was in attendance..."at the Y.E.S. president Viktor Yanukovych increasingly gravitated not to the West, but to the East".

Friday, September 14, 2012

Why did Yanukovych humiliate two ministers in such an overt manner?

Following on from my previous blog on Yanukovych's humiliation, (perhaps reminiscent of Stalin's Politburo?), of First Deputy Prime Minister Valeriy Khoroshkovsky and Economics Minister Petro Poroshenko ...

In his 'Politclub' programme broadcast on Wednesday on TVi, (Ukraine's last remaining independent television station, which is currently under serious assault by the authorities), Valeriy Portnikov gave a reply to the  question above.

He considers Yanukovych was sending out a blunt message: no-one is untouchable, not even the richest and most powerful.

 Journalists, against whom the authorities are now conducting an all-out war, do not have financial assets that can be squeezed or extracted. "But the people, on whom boots are being wiped today, in actual fact in preparation for criminal cases against them, they have the money...and they have to ponder over this...The example of Mykhail Khodorkovsky in Russia, who at first co-operated in the construction of the system that was created there, then became its first victim, should tell them - think about are next in line..." says Portnikov.

"First they wiped their feet on us when they were destroying the broadcasting of TVi, then on Yuriy Lutsenko, then on Yulia Tymoshenko. Now they are destroying the last possibilities of dialogue between those who are not indifferent, and society. After this the turn will come for you, dear vice-premiers, ministers, and members of the Party of Regions.."

p.s. A couple of years ago, as head of the State Security Service (SBU),  Koroshkovsky was one of TVi's greatest enemies, actively restricting the television channel's access to the airwaves.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Yanukovych humiliates political heavyweights

Yesterday president Yanukovych publicly humiliated two of Ukraine's most experienced senior cabinet ministers: First Deputy Prime Minister Valeriy Khoroshkovsky, and Economics Minister Petro Poroshenko, treating them as errant schoolboys... or much worse.
[Story here ]

Both of these immensely wealthy ministers have built up, and now run, successful multifacetted business empires - they are also both active advocates of Euro-integration.

To take them down in such a course manner was highly stupid - a time will come when he will need their support. This is the time when the two ministers wil take their revenge..

Earlier today [Wednesday] Ukraine's one remaining independent tv channel, TVi, had its foreign currency accounts frozen by the Economy Ministry.

A few hours later Poroshenko ordered then to be unblocked...

Sunday, September 09, 2012

Can Yanukovych depend on the MIA?

Opposition deputy Hennadiy Moskal, a wily old hand who knows the internal workings of the Ukrainian Ministry of Internal Affairs well was recently interviewed by the 'ORD' website and asked about the current situation inside this ministry.

Below is a summary of his views:

The current minister, Vitaliy Zakharchenko, [a 100% Yanukovych loyalist]  has gone AWOL, and the situation inside his ministry is 'very unhealthy'. Almost all of the 'top brass' are now 'Donetski'.

The MIA is beefing up its forces, buying in more equipment etc. to deal with any possible public unrest
situations in the near future. A likely economic crash and/or election falsifications could produce such incidents.

Morale is low amongst the MIA forces, experienced career officers are rather poorly paid, and are frequently leapfrogged in promotion stakes by less-compentent and more corrupt 'Donetski'. If serious disorder broke out, the police could well 'go with the people', as they did in 2004.

The SBU [security services] leak constantly information to whoever is willing to pay for it, including the opposition. The SBU have many stooges amongst the ranks of the opposition, but they are known...and ignored.

Parliamentary election candidates are not vetted either by the SBU or the MIA which will permit many with highly dubious or even criminal backgrounds to enter parliament. E.g. the 'boyfriend' of prominent PoR deputy Inna Bohoslovska was alleged to be well-known crime gang boss in the mid '90's  linked to several killings. But now he is standing for election to the Verkhovna Rada elections under the undeclared patronage of Bohoslovska.

[More on the this topic later]

An, IMO brilliant recent Chatham House briefing Paper entitled: "A Ghost in the Mirror: Russian Soft Power in Ukraine" is summarised thus:

"For Russia, maintaining influence over Ukraine is more than a foreign policy priority; it is an existential imperative. Many in Russia's political elite perceive Ukraine as part of their country's own identity.

Russia's socio-economic model limits its capacity to act as a pole of attraction for Ukraine. As a result, Russia relies on its national myths to devise narratives and projects intended to bind Ukraine in a 'common future' with Russia and other post-Soviet states.

These narratives are translated into influence in Ukraine through channels such as the Russian Orthodox Church, the mass media, formal and informal business networks, and non-governmental organizations.

Russia also achieves influence in Ukraine by mobilizing constituencies around politically sensitive issues such as language policy and shared cultural and historical legacies. This depends heavily on symbolic resources and a deep but often clumsy engagement in local identity politics.

Russia's soft power project with regard to Ukraine emphasizes cultural and linguistic boundaries over civic identities, which is ultimately a burden for both countries."

Now Russia is applying ever-increasing pressure on Ukraine to join its Customs Union, which already includes Belarus and Kazakhstan...

Even Saturday's pro-PoR 'Segodnya' quotes an article from the influential 'Dzerkalo Tyzhnya', which claims Putin gave Yanukovych a ultimatum at their last meeting...if you don't join the Customs Union in two months, trade relations go into the freezer...

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Yanukovych incapable of dealing even with silent protest by several journos

"A dozen Ukrainian journalists stood up and raised anti-censorship banners when President Viktor Yanukovich hailed his country's march to media freedom at the World Newspaper Congress in Kyiv on Monday, Sept. 3. "Ukraine has made its way, without exaggeration, from total censorship to an open society," Yanukovich told the conference as his security guards ripped banners saying "Stop censorship" from protesters' hands. Yanukovich did not react to the silent protest." [Source]

Most western politician do not mind the hecklers and protesters which they frequently encounter. Politicians before a microphone should be smart enough to think quickly on their feet and 'turn the tables' on those interrupting them, particularly if they know what is coming beforehand. It gives them an opportunity to show they care, and are passionate about the subject of which they are addressing the public.

At Monday's conference Yanukovych could have deviated from his 'bit of paper' and said: "You see, those journalists up there, they are free to express their opinions even right is stopping them. I know them all well and I often discuss these matters with them. Is this not  proof that no-one is preventing  them expressing their views in Ukraine?"

He missed his chance, and continued his robotic droning.

His PR team deserve a kick in the a** because they certainly knew beforehand of the  journalists'  "Stop Censorship" protest . Yanukovych's PR guys  should definitely have had  a riposte prepared  for the president.

But this dumb bunch of bozos allowed a modest silent protest by a few journalists to turn into an embarrassment picked up by the world's press,  e.g. as by the Washington Post.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

Election fraud becoming ever-more likely

Sonia Koshkina, in an article, draws many parallels between the up-coming Ukrainian parliamentary elections, and those which took place in 2002, including the introduction of hollow-shell 'pseudo-parties' controlled by top oligarchs.

She notes that the current ruling party will not gain political momentum for several reasons: drought, particularly in the densely populated southern and eastern regions has hit agricultural yields hard, resulting in severe financial hardship for farmers. Prices of staple foods will soon inevitably rise steeply and food shortages may even occur, despite national broadcasters continuing to talk blindly only of 'economic improvements'. There are major doubts whether the current authorities can prevent further major slippage in the value of the hryvnya. Some experts say devaluation is unavoidable.

Faced with such uncertainty major electoral fraud by the authorities is becoming ever-more likely.

The last independent television station in Ukraine, TVi has been dropped by major cable tv providers from their base packages. All other stations are already controlled by the government, or are connected to those within the government.

TVi's editor in chief Vitaliy Portnikov claims this indicates the authorities are preparing for massive fraud , hence the decision made at highest level to destroy his channel before the parliamentary elections. Independent news media websites may also be targeted, he claims.

"I'm quite sure we are talking of a rebellious group headed by Yanukovych, which today has seized power. Its aim is to try to falsify all information, particulary about the progress, and the results of the parliamentary elections. This is in preparation by the Party of Regions and the government to systematically falsify the elections and subsequently seize total power in the country with a complete restriction of civil rights and liberties immediately after October 29 [election day].

An ominous prediction from a normally level-headed, experienced journalist....

Some say the greatest electoral frauds will be seen in the single-majority constituencies.There will be great competition there because the interests of many local candidates will be at stake. Leaders of local elites or their representatives wil be fighting for parliamentary seats from which they can lobby their own causes in central government. As a result their vote in the parliament will be easily bought. Candidates offering voters presents, food parcels etc. are already being regularly documented.