Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Big beasts await Yanuk in the shadows

In my Monday blog I posted a photo from Party of Regions' swanky central Kyiv hotel press centre and said the party were in a state of shock immediately after polling stations closed and exit poll results declared.

The performances of their representatives on that evening's television programmes were far from those of a party who, as most western media reported: "were closing in on victory". In fact it was never in doubt that the ruling authorities would retain control in the new parliament because of the recent amendments to voting rules. Had the voting system remained "100% by party lists", PoR's deputies would be in opposition right now.

In Ukraine the power of the president is now almost absolute. He has a firm grip on the power structures such as the police and prosecutors' office, security services, constitutional court, the judiciary, customs and border control agencies, tax administration, state bank etc. etc. Only a parliament with 2/3 opposition constitutional majority can hurt him, and this is unlikely to ever be assembled.

Despite all of the money spent by PoR on advertising and bribes, despite control of vast portion of the media which churned out heavily biassed or 'purchased' reports, despite heavy pressure on minority independent media sources, despite locking away leaders of the opposition, despite fixing the composition of local election committees, despite suspect counting in dozens of simple-majority constituencies, despite widespread 'buying' of votes, despite pressure on workers in the public sector, despite a lacklustre and fractured opposition performance, despite generously funded and promoted 'planted' and now disgraced parties like those of Nataliya Korolevska, despite late generous social spending programmes, despite the afterglow and feel-good factor following the Euro 2012 soccer competition, despite all of this, Party of Regions have barely scraped together 30% of votes cast.

What awaits in the months to come is almost certainly a worsening economic situation.

Industrial production has declined around 7% this year. Gas and utility prices will increase soon, as will the price of foodstuffs resulting from poor global harvests. Unemployment on the up...pressure from Russia..pressure from the EU...

The so-called independents entering parliament by winning electoral constituencies will have much to ponder when they take up their seats and as the next presidential elections draws closer....they will still be parliament after the next presidential elections have taken place..

Yanukovych's big hope was the creation of a constitutional majority in the new parliament under his control - this has not happened.  In months to come Yanukovych will be facing a stark choice: become a Lukashenko clone, or face the electorate, and likely demise in the next presidential election... The handful of immensely powerful oligarchs in Ukraine will already be looking at the results of Sunday's voting...and weighing up their options for the future...

F.A.Z. reveals high-power EU mission will blast Ukraine

[google-translated] 'Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung' today reports :

"Selective Justice and inhuman treatment"

30.10.2012 · An EU mission to review the cases against Tymoshenko and two other opposition figures in Ukraine has come to a confidential report on a devastating assessment: The outcome of the process "could have been predicted."

After severe criticism, the Western observer missions have practiced at the presidential election in Ukraine, is now known that the mission of the European Parliament, which has examined the sentences against the opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko and some of her colleagues judgment, at a highly negative has come. The mission, led by the former Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski and former President of the European Parliament, Pat Cox, the Irishman comes in a 15-page classified report, the FAZ.NET and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung is present, to the conclusion that the output processes "could have been predicted," opposition leaders in Ukraine.
Also get the medical treatment of the defendants, all of whom were ill during the process, possibly an "inhuman treatment" as defined by the European Convention on Human Rights the same. Urged Ms. Tymoshenko, who as a leader of the democratic "Orange Revolution" the current President Viktor Yanukovych in 2004 temporarily out of power was and then until his return twice held the office of prime minister, was in October 2011, criticized by an international focus process has been convicted of the alleged abuse of office to seven years imprisonment. - there's more at the link..
[This story was surely held back until  Sunday's election was over and most results counted..LEvko]

Monday, October 29, 2012

PoR in shock....

From 'Ukrainska Pravda's continuously-updated election night special:

28.10.2012 23.45 [less than 4 hours after polling stations closed] - Mustafa Nayem [Report from PoR's glitzy press centre]

All activity in the Party of Regions' press centre has died. There is not one representative of the party in the hall. The last presentation to journalists was one and one half hours ago. No announcements or messages. Only the plasma screens showing the tele-marathon broadcasts [on various channels] are running. No sound."

Gone to massage figures in backrooms?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Will observers pull their punches to prevent Ukraine's eastward tilt?

European leaders have quite correctly declared Ukraine's further European integration to be dependent on how Sunday's parliamentary elections are conducted.

Some are worried that if observers deem Sunday's elections to be unsatisfactory, Ukraine may as a result turn eastward and enter into a customs union with three authoritarian countries - Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan.

In order to prevent this, they predict: "the official evaluation [of the elections] by EU observers, the OSCE and the Council of Europe will be very cautious."

This is bollocks. The job of official observers is to give neither cautious, nor harsh assessments, but to observe and scrutinise, report on what they see, and provide a conclusion. This is what they will hopefully do.

Western politicians should not respond to Yanukovych's playing of he Russia card: "Go easy on us, or we will turn east" - it is all bluff. Russia will not give Yanukovych anything...even for something. E.g. the Kharkiv Accords agreement has become a taboo subject during this election campaign. Ukraine gave away one of it's crown jewels - the best naval port in the Black sea, and still did not receive a fair gas price from Russia - Ukraine is still paying far more for Russian gas than other customers.

Whether or not Sunday's elections are declared satisfactory on not by independent observers will make little difference to Yanukovych's steamroller. His priority is to maximise the wealth of his family and maximise political power, by whatever means necessary, in order they remain 'on top of the muck-heap'.

Yanukovych said in Kharkiv today:  "The fewer prompters [commentators] who [try to] teach us how to live in our house there are, I have in mind from the outside, the better and more comfortable we will feel in our house, in Ukraine.." Is he suffering from pluralis maiestatis?

p.s. Vice Premier of Ukraine Serhiy Tihipko thinks their could be a national referendum on Ukraine joining either the Customs Union or the European Union. We will see in the weeks to come whether the country will have any choice, or whether there is any point in such a referendum.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ukraine’s Troubling Trends

Hillary Clinton and Catherine Ashton's op-ed in the 'NYT' provides a link to this recent report:  'The prospects for the EU-Ukraine free trade agreement'.

The report's conclusion?

"The future of the Association Agreement of the DCFTA will strongly depend on how the parliamentary elections in Ukraine, which are scheduled for 28 October, proceed; the EU will not take any strategic decisions before then. If the Ukrainian government continues to violate democratic standards, the European Union’s consent to the implementation of the DFCTA will be very unlikely." [my italics]

...continues to violate.....

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Slipping into isolation

Kostiantyn Yeliseyev, Ukrainian ambassador to the European Union, claims Sunday's parliamentary election "will be a good election".

He urges his EU colleagues: "Sign the Association Agreement! Not because we want it, but because we deserve it [?!]. Because it is the best possible guarantee of Ukraine’s way to European standards and its future as an independent and sovereign state." It all sounds rather desperate....

Ukraine lags miles behind normal European electoral standards. The list is large: widespread overt and cynical purchasing of votes by parties and candidates; systematic pressure applied to the already diminished independent information media such as TVi; persistent bias in favour of the ruling party's candidates in the mass media, particularly on television channels almost wholly owned by pro-Party of Regions' oligarchs; frequent appalling harassment and intimidation of independent candidates, e.g. as in this case, especially in simple majority consituencies;  use of dummy party candidates to gain maximum influence in local electoral commissions....the list goes on and on.

And all this is on top of a year's criticism as the result the elimination from public life by means of ludicrous show trials of the top two opposition leaders, Yulia Tymoshenko and Yuriy Lutsenko.

My view is next Sunday's elections will receive a negative assessment by foreign observers, and the likes of Yeliseyev know this already - it will not be a "good election." I wonder how much worse it would be if the systematic scrutiny by independent observers was not in place..

The claim will be made that the final result generally reflects the wishes of the electorate - but how can anyone be sure about this in the light of the 'epidemic of pro-government PR, 'bought' television news reports, and the 'arm-twisting' of vulnerable voters.

Yanukovych has taken so much flak from western capitals I believe he does not care about this any more.

But Yanukovych's body language and stuttering delivery in this brief video clip during Monday's meeting with president Putin seems to indicate Ukraine will not be receiving any favours, especially on the gas front, from its northern neighbour either. The humiliation continues...

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The oligarchic democracy. The influence of business groups on Ukrainian politics

I can thoroughly recommend a superb, recently published piece of work entitled:  "The oligarchic democracy. The influence of business groups on Ukrainian politics", from the excellent Polish 'Centre for Eastern Studies' [OSW]

"A definite majority of papers concerning contemporary Ukrainian politics as a rule disregard or deal with this subject very superficially, while it is impossible to understand modern Ukraine without understanding a number of dependencies existing between the political and business elites there.."

Below is a summary:

The Ukrainian oligarchic system developed into its ultimate shape during Leonid Kuchma’s presidency (1994–2004). Although this system has undergone some form of evolution, it appears to be very durable. Oligarchic clans emerged in the mid 1990s and would gain a dominant influence on the country’s political life over the course of a few years. The Orange Revolution triggered a reshuffle among the oligarchs, but the system itself has remained unaltered. Representatives of big business still have a decisive impact on the politics and economy of Ukraine.

Big business not only controls entire sectors of the Ukrainian economy and the electronic mass media—it also has a vast influence within political parties. It is often the case that the overriding goal of a given grouping’s existence is to represent the oligarchs who sponsor it. A network of mutual connections exists between politicians and oligarchs. In some cases these connections are so durable that it is fair to say that oligarchic groups have been formed (consisting of businessmen, politicians and state officials who support each other). Representatives of big business are often much more important players on the Ukrainian political scene than the politicians themselves. One may risk stating that it is the interplay of the interests of the oligarchs that is the real mechanism which shapes Ukrainian politics. When giving their support for a given political grouping, representatives of big business are guided by nothing more than their own interests, and they do not identify themselves with the views of the political parties and politicians they are offering financial support to. If the political configuration changes, the oligarchs usually have no problems finding common ground with the new government.

Although the oligarchic system does have some positive elements (for example, it contributes to pluralism in political life and the media), it needs to be stated that the overall influence of Ukrainian big business is harmful and hinders the country’s development in both political and economic terms. The monopolisation of the key economic sectors has constrained competition and is one of the causes of the unfavourable investment climate in Ukraine. The dependence of most political forces on big business means that the government in many cases is guided by the interests of the oligarchs who are sponsoring it instead of the interests of their country; this often leads to multi-billion dollar losses in the Ukrainian state budget.

The influence of the oligarchs on Ukraine’s foreign policy is limited when compared to economic or internal policy. They do not seem to have a coherent strategy in external relations, but their actions resulting from their individual interests often have a significant impact on Ukraine’s behaviour on the international arena. Sometimes their influence serves the Ukrainian national interest. However, where the interests of big business come into conflict with the interests of the state, oligarchs lobby (often successfully) for their own benefit.

In some sectors (primarily metallurgy), representatives of big business are the main barrier to Russian capital expansion in Ukraine. Russian business is their key competitor on foreign markets. However, oligarchs are sometimes forced by the circumstances to sell their businesses, and Russian investors are often the only prospective buyers in such cases. Given the high degree of ownership concentration in the hands of relatively few oligarchs, it is very likely that Russia would take control of a number of Ukraine’s strategic companies should an emergency situation arise (for example, the second wave of the economic crisis).

When Viktor Yanukovych won the presidential election in 2010, representatives of one political grouping, the Party of Regions, gained strength to an extent unseen so far in Ukraine’s history, and completely monopolised political power in the country. The coalition partners of the Party of Regions and opposition groupings have been marginalised to a large extent. The network of the groups of influence which emerged after the Party of Regions took power has remained essentially unchanged over the past two years. The government and the presidential administration have been divided between the RUE Group and the ‘Donetsk clan’, currently the two strongest groups.

The emerging business of ‘the family’ – this term is used to refer to the people who are directly linked to President Viktor Yanukovych and his sons – is a new phenomenon. The political and economic expansion of ‘the family’ began shortly after Yanukovych took office as president of Ukraine, and gained momentum in 2011 and in early 2012. Although Yanukovych’s political power is stronger than that of any other president in Ukraine’s history, the financial strength of ‘the family’ is still limited.

A further strengthening of‘the family’s’ position in business atthe expense of other oligarchic groups is very likely to bring about a conflict between Yanukovych and most representatives of big business. The consequences of this are difficult to predict. The concentration of huge political power in the hands of Yanukovych has already given rise to concern among oligarchs, including those who have so far formed his political base.

It seems quite unlikely that a system resembling the Russian model, where big business is subordinate to the government, will be created. Yanukovych’s main weaknesses are the limited number of people who he can see as unconditionally loyal to him and the strength of the other oligarchic groups. It seems that the most likely scenario for the development of the situation in the next few years (at least until the presidential election in 2015) will be the development of a compromise between the oligarchs and President Yanukovych. If this is the case, ‘the family’ would gain an important but not dominant position in the model of power and business in Ukraine.

The political influence of those oligarchic groups which are not linked to the governing Party of Regions has lessened significantly since 2010. However, this has not led to any major ownership changes so far. Other groups have managed to keep their assets, although the government has taken some action aimed against their representatives. However, financial support from big business for opposition political parties has either ceased or been significantly reduced.

Proof of the influence of 'the family' was provided at the Donbas Imternational Investment Summit which was addressed by Yanukovych Sr. today.  His eldest son was constantly in the company of Ukraine's top bananas - photos here

Sunday, October 14, 2012

'Forbes' accuse Fuel and Energy minister Boyko of serial theft

Yuriy Boyko has been Minister of Energy and the Coal Industry of Ukraine for exactly 30 months.

In a recent article, 'Forbes.ua' allege that during this time, Boyko and companies linked to him, have won contracts from his ministry totalling more than $5.5 billion.

When the state gas company 'Naftohaz Ukrainy' requested tenders for two deep sea drilling platforms their final cost turned out to be $1.4Bn, even though shady 'middlemen' allegedly linked to Boyko paid the rigs' builders only $400m for each one. Much has been written about these 'vyshky Boyka' and the massive 'rake-offs', including by your humble blogger.

But apart from this scandal, Boyko is accused of involvement in four further resonant cases.

The first concerns the 'Yevrotrubplast' trading company. Regional gas companies have allegedly overpaid this company millions of Hryvnya for large diameter pipes. The managing director of the trading company is an old pal of Boyko's. Total loss to the 'oblgas' companies is estimated at 850 million Hryven.

The second concerns the 'Ukrenergomotazh' company which constructs electricity supply networks connecting nuclear and other power stations, and consumers. One of the company's directors runs a fuel trading company - with Boyko's wife. 'Forbes' estimates 'Ukrenergomontazh' have received 3.7 Bn. Hryven 'over the odds' in state contracts.

The third concerns the Cyprus-registered 'Benzol' company which supplies explosives to Ukraine's mines. Once Boyko became minister this company have won the lion's share of all contracts to supply either state coal mines or companies linked to Boyko. Overpayments are estimated at 200m. Hryven.

The fourth concerns payments to 'Truskavetskurort' health recuperation complex which is part-owned by an associate of Boyko's. Ukraine's national insurance agencies, whose management has ties to Boyko, have overpaid 'Truskavetskurort' over 100m Hryven for their services, claim 'Forbes'.

If the president's son can do it, why can't ministers? Yanuk jr. has been registering companies in Switzerland and Holland to minimize payment of taxes when his outfits [for which, according to his dad, he works so hard] export coal abroad.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

A bit of history..and Lazarenko - his rise and fall...

Interesting interview with Aleksandra Kuzhel in 'Ostro' recently.

Originally from Konstyantynivka in Donbass, she's been at the heart of Ukrainian politics for many years. She's worked for Kuchma, and Yanukovych in PoR,  as well as for the murdered Yevhen Shcherban.

 Aleksandra Kuzhel was until recently a close confidente of Serhiy Tihipko in his now-defunct 'Strong Ukraine' project, but is now a defender of Tymoshenko.

Tihipko is currently deputy PM, and deputy PoR chairman..

Kuzhel complains bitterly about the two years that 'Strong Ukraine's' leader in Donetsk, Vladislav Dreger, has now spend in jail with no prospect of trial. She claims Dreger probably 'crossed' Yanukovych's son, Aleksander, in a business deal and is now paying the price...
When asked whether Kuchma ordered the murder of Yevhen Shcherban, she replies:

- "Hardly. Kuchma is not capable of such a thing. When Gongadze was murdered, I was the first to confidently declare it was not Kuchma... Kuchma can yell at you and blow you out, but he is a man of the sixties. He could not even send anyone to prison. He did not imprison anyone all the time he was president. Gongadze's murder was blatant provocation. In the Scherban case, I'm sure it was not Kuchma. And it was not Yulia. Look where all his property ended up, and draw your own conclusions."

Kuzhel was asked: "You worked with Kuchma for quite a while you know this man well. Tell me why did he began to push Yanukovych [to head the cabinet, and to run in the 2004 presidential elections]?

Why did Kuchma go with the "Donetskiites?"

- "Kuchma never liked Yanukovych. Never trusted him. On this issue the decision was made more by his team - Litvin, and Liovochkin. They lobbied for Yanukovych. I myself asked Kuchma the question - why such a choice, why not Tihipko, who's from Dnepropetrovsk? Kuchma told me - your Tihipko has been frightened off... a comfortable place as the head of the National Bank suits him. Nobody at the time was ready to fund the authorities' election campaign, except Donetsk. At the same time, everyone knew that there would be a very serious fight put up by the "Oranges", and they needed something to oppose this. They understood the consequences of Yushchenko coming to power. Today Yushchenko says that he did not succeed, and puts all of the blame on Tymoshenko. You know, these are the complaints of an impotent man who blames a woman for his problems. He could never have been an effective president because he was never an effective prime minister."

- "Did you think that Yanukovych would be better?"

- "Do you know the difference between the campaign then and the campaign of 2010? They were built under different presidential powers. Yanukovych has usurped the powers Putin now has, but then Kuchma had it carefully all planned out. They were going to do what Putin and Medvedev did - place Yanukovych into the president's office, with Kuchma appointed as his powerful prime minister. In fact, it would have been a third term for Kuchma."

- "So why did a weak Yushchenko win, and Kuchma and Yanukovych lose?"

- "They lost not to Yushchenko. They lost to the people of Ukraine. He did not have the resources to disperse the huge number of people [who staged the orange revolution] to suppress such a protest. Kuchma would never do that....But Yushchenko was pushed all of his life by other people such as Tymoshenko. Poroshenko, Zinchenko. Without them, he would be a complete zero."


In a few weeks time, after serving a long prison sentence, former PM Pavlo Lazarenko will be released from jail in the USA.

'Forbes.ua' run an article about Lazarenko's business empire, the people who assisted in its construction, and what remains of it.

The article contains a small graphic with the following titles: In 1995-1997 Tymoshenko was president of UESU - "Lazarenko's milch-cow". Serhiy Tihipko ensured good cooperation between his PrivatBank, and Lazarenko and his structures.

Tihipko briefly served in Lazarenko's cabinet and also in Yushchenko's cabinet.

All these people became exceeding rich..some are now 'under the wagon, others are still riding on it..'

Anyhow, here's a brief resume of the 'Forbes' item:

When U.S. authorities froze the accounts of the former prime minister and his structures they were officially valued around $ 280 million. Right now this would place Lazarenko in 29th place in the list of richest Ukrainians. Some however, estimate Lazarenko's weath as exceeding $2bn. 'Forbes' say, "Judging from what we know today, it is no exaggeration."

Before the collapse of the Soviet Union, Lazarenko was chairman of a collective farm, in charge of the Department of Agriculture and Food Industry of the Dnepropetrovsk regional committee of the Communist Party.

At that time the heavily industrialised Dnepropetrovsk region was full of armament factories and steel plants; it was the preserve of "red directors" who were all-powerful. However, Ukraine's first president, Leonid Kravchuk got on badly with this Dnipropetrovsk clan, and in their turn the bosses of the defence, chemical and metallurgical enterprises of region hated Kravchuk, who they considered to be a traitor to the Soviet Union and a nationalist.

In March 1992, under strong pressure from the "red directors", Kravchuk agreed to appoint Valery Pustovoitenko, the Dnipropetrovsk City Council Chairman, as his governor in the region. But when the president issued his decree he dumped Pustovoitenko and surprisingly named the 'agrarian' Lazarenko as governor.

Lazarenko improved the local economy but also immediately intensively started 'growing' his own business empire which included, agrobusinesses, petrochemicals, retail outlets, gas stations, restaurants, pharaceuticals, etc. His companies were frequently engaged in barter chains between energy companies, farmers and exporters. He was active in accumulation of property assets via various privatisation schemes.

In September 1995, with the country facing serious economic problems, Kuchma transferred the energetic governor of Dnipropetrovsk to Kyiv, making him first deputy prime minister, in charge of fuel and energy.

As a member of the cabinet, he immediately undertook the redistribution of the most profitable branch of the Ukrainian economy - the domestic gas trade, which was in chaos. The Russian "Gazprom" were receiving little, if no payment for gas, and were demanding order be restored  At the end of 1995, all the regions had been divided between the three Ukrainian mediators who would supply gas to industrial consumers. Two of the most wealthy areas - Dnepropetrovsk and Donetsk - were assigned to "United Energy Systems of Ukraine" (UESU),  run at that time by Yulia Tymoshenko. She had worked under Lazarenko previously in the petroleum market in Dnipropetrovsk.

At its peak, UESU was served by 2,000 companies which formed long, interconnected barter chains. "Gazprom" was also paid by barter schemes. In 1996 UESU was turning over around about $10Bn.

Subjugation of the Donetsk region was much more difficult for Lazarenko. It was the only region where UESU had to work through a local broker - Industrial Union of Donbas [ISD]. The local elite rebuffed Lazarenko's appointee, Sergei Polyakov, and in August 1996, the Donetskiites insisted their nominee, Viktor Yanukovych, be appointed Polyakov's deputy.

The fall of Lazarenko was as rapid as his ascent. He had made enemies not only in Donetsk. Kuchma's inner circle, including secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Volodymyr Horbulin and head of the president's office Dmytro Tabachnyk [who is in PM Azarov' current cabinet], where whispering in in ear that Lazarenko was plotting to replace him.

Kuchma was annoyed by the-then Prime Minister's ambitious aims The president sacked the State Property Fund Secretary, Yuriy Yekhanurov, because he had begun to carry out Lazarenko's orders.  [No doubt for a piece of the action.  Yekhanurov claims that at the time he did not know about Lararenko's corrupt schemes...ho,ho,ho...Yekhanurov, of course, replaced PM Tymoshenko when she was sacked by Yushchenko and, as acting PM, arranged shady gas deals himself during the 2005-06 gas war...LEvko]

In the summer of 1997 Lazarenko was sacked, and in September 1998 prosecutors opened a criminal case against him. In December, the former prime minister was arrested in Switzerland. Released from prison on bail after a short stay in the country, he fled to America, where he remains to this day, serving 'time'.

Lazarenko's business empire began to fall apart soon after his departure. Kuchma immediately kicked UESU out of the gas business. Lazarenko later accused Kuchma's son-in-law Viktor Pinchuk of misappropriated nearly everything that owned, including the Nikopol Ferroalloy Plant.

Property, hotels and factories in Dnepropetrovsk, passed under the control of former colleagues and allies, especially those in the "Privat" group.

The new owner of one of the hotels, Hennadiy Axelrod was killed in the city several months ago, an event I wrote about in previous blog.

Friday, October 05, 2012

Kuzmin exposes himself as laughing stock [updated]

Ukrainian deputy prosecutor Renat Kuzmin's scandalous letter to Senators? Congressmen? [who cares?] is a joke.

It is so poorly argumented, so poorly translated,  it makes "doctor of law, professor, National Academy of Public Prosecutor of Ukraine, deputy prosecutor general of Ukraine", Kuzmin a laughing stock.

Kuzmin's blind arrogance and incompetence is totally exposed. His unprofessionalism, and that of the Ukrainian authorities, is truly frightening.

Party of Regions and Ukrainian authorities pay U.S. lobbyists and PR advisers hundreds of thousands of dollars which they gladly take..Could not any of them spend a few minutes proof-reading this crap?

Many serious commentators say Kuzmin is blacklisted already in the USA. This letter further reduces any likelihood of him receiving a visa.

But it wasn't written for US politicians really; the true target was anti-western PoR regions voters...

p.s. One commentator described Kuzmin at the recent YES conference, thus:  "He looked like a bandit, behaved like a bandit and spoke like a bandit." We now know he also writes like a bandit...

Update: 'Kyiv Post' have now reposted a upgraded, totally official version of the the letter mentioned above. It is still an embarrassing joke...they have nothing to apologise for...


Thursday, October 04, 2012

Yanukovych Jr's. incredible rise

My previous blog reveals that president Yanukovych's older son, Alexandr, is now the most successful businessman in Ukraine when it comes to winning state tenders.

'Forbes.ua 'recently ran a story explaining how his business operates.

Here is a summary:

In the past year Yanukovych Jr.'s wealth almost doubled. In April this year he entered the list of Ukraine's top 100 wealthiest businessmen.

His Ukrainian Development Bank is one of the three most dynamic banks in the country [It's CEO, Valentyna Arbuzova, just happens to be the mum of the chairman of the National Bank of Ukraine].

Companies set up by Yanukovych Jr.'s top managers, or registered at the address where his companies are located, this year won more than  5 billion hryvnias worth of public tenders for the supply of mining equipment and coal.

A significant portion of the companies controlled by Yanukovych, Jr have no website so it was difficult for 'Forbes' to find out the names of the 'brilliant' managers who he claims have made his companies so successful, but 'Forbes's journalists knocked together the graphic above. When it comes to answering questions about the the president's son's businesses, Donetsk businessmen become paranoid. Most refuses even informal communication.

Alexandr Yanuk business empire is run from the top six floors of this Donetsk business centre. [Photos and graphics from 'Forbes']

Monday, October 01, 2012

PoR completely dominate state tendering competitions

'Forbes.ua' are systematically gathering information on the persons whose companies have been winning state tender competitions, in terms of value, since the beginning of 2012. Graphs and lots of other information here

Leading the pack is Yanukovych's son Oleksandr; second is Rinat Akhmetov.

Oleksandr Tislenko, Chairman of 'Altkom', linked to lots of Euro2012 machinations, is in third position.

Firtash is in fourth position, then Yefremov, Yanukovych's fixer Ivanyushchenko....and so on.

[More on the shady Altkom outfit, and other names on this list, from the 'Independent' here .]

How can such a bunch of people yield power to political opponents in elections?

Mezhyhirya video

The website of 'Segodnya' newspaper, owned by Rinat Akhmetov, has posted an article and video trailer about president Yanukovych's infamous kitch 'Mezhyhirya' residence...interesting..