Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Herman wading in doo-doo as usual

Last week presidential adviser and Party of Regions parliamentary deputy, Hanna Herman, declared from the parliamentary podium that boxer and presidential contender Vitaliy Klychko, by paying taxes in Germany [on earnings he makes in that country], is supporting the former Nazi invaders of Ukraine.

"He pays his taxes so that there can be high pensions for German pensioners, amongst whom are those who ripped our land apart during the Great Patriotic War", said Herman in the Verkhovna Rada.

Ukrainian dignitaries and political leaders are not shy when it come to purchasing German cars, rows of which can be seen outside parliament. The profits made by Mercedes, BMW etc. are also ploughed back into these companies' pension funds from which, no doubt, some ex-Nazis also benefit. These companies made major contributions to the Nazi war machine in the 1930's and 1940's too.

Ukrainians who were taken as slave labour against their will to Hitler's Germany, including some of your humble blogger's family, still regularly receive small German pensions, partly paid for by Klychko's taxes, more than 60 years after the end of the war.

Herman has many times spoken of Ukraine's deep-felt motivation to join the European family of nations.

The Second World War finished well over half a century ago. From the catastrophe emerged a new Europe, and a new European Union which Herman claims Ukraine should strive to join. I can only image what German Chancellor Angela Merkel and her advisers make of Herman's crazy utterances on this most touchy of subjects...

Successful signing of the EU-Ukraine AA and DCFTA deals in late November is hanging in the balance...with Merkel, arguably, having a decisive say on the matter. Herman's barmy remark may have been the last straw.

p.s. There are reports the EU are already considering a 'plan B' for Ukraine - kick the AA can down the road until next year?

Can Ukraine survive pressure from Putin without support from the West for that long? Do they want to?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Irony of Firtash's donation [updated]

Dmytro Firtash's donation of $2.5 Million to for the erection of a Holodomor Memorial in Washington D.C. has caused quite a stir.

Others commentators have discussed the appropriateness of this donation from such a questionable character.

I would like to direct readers to an excellent detailed journalistic investigation into Firtash and his gas business conducted by the authoritative, big-selling German 'Spiegel' magazine a couple of years ago [in English] entitled: "A Stockholm Conspiracy: The Underbelly of Ukrainian Gas Dealings"

The article concludes: "Viktor Yanukovich, the president of Ukraine, served the commercial interests of an oligarch [Dmytro Firtash] with whom he has close ties, at the expense of his own country. And, in doing so, he also did Moscow a favor....

Experts have calculated that the Ukrainian government [by not challenging Firtash's RosUkrEnergo in the Arbitration Institute of the Stockholm Chamber of Commerce] lost about $1 billion in this process of shifting 12.1 billion cubic meters of gas back and forth. Firtash, however, is raking in a huge profit at current prices. "

Yanukovych, Firtash, Boyko and the rest of the villains in this saga, have drained vast sums of money from the State of Ukraine's coffers, which the government could have spent for the benefit of its citizens.

How ironic - a monument to millions who perished in the Holodomor because their grain and food was stolen from them by the Soviet state, is now going to be erected by a man who many would say stole the money for this monument from the Holodomor victims' grandchildren.

p.s. When in Kyiv, Firtash is escorted by a team of bodyguards. His own vehicle, a swanky Merc.... has 'bent' and 'dirty' number plates.

The plates have an 'AA' prefix, indicating they has been assigned exclusively for the use of a parliamentary deputy, which Firtash is not.

As such, the driver of such a vehicle is absolutely 'untouchable' when it comes legal regulations on parking, and regulations concerning use of a vehicle on a public highway. [Is there any other civilised country where elected officials are granted such immunity from prosecution?]

Some people just cannot help it..

Update: Today's 'Ukrainska Pravda', in an investigative article, Tetyana Chornovol claims Firtash may have skimmed off over $2 Billion in various schemes over the years in what she calls the theft of the century..

Will $2.5 Million for a memorial in Washington and organising a few 'poncy' fashion shows and 'weirdo' art shows in London buy respectability? Hardly.

All this reminds me of a joke:

A character witness in a courtroom, when asked to describe a defendant's good ethical and moral qualities says: "He was a very, very good boy. Everything he ever stole he gave to his mother.."

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Yanukovych has the power to pardon Tymoshenko

A Presidential Ukaz [Edict], 902/2010,  "On the Regulation of Procedure for Realising [presidential] Pardons", passed by Yanukovych himself, gives details of who can and who cannot apply to a presidential commission for a pardon, and on what conditions a pardon may be granted. Applications are submitted to presidential commission who advise the president on any ultimate decision.

The president naturally has the power to amend any ukazes he has written, or his predecessors have written, if he so desires. This is the case with this current ukaz 902/2010, which annulled previous presidential ukazes on the granting of pardons passed both by Kuchma and Yushchenko.

Ukraine's Constitution is crystal clear:

Article 106 states: The president shall: .....23) grant pardons;
There are no exceptions, no qualifying phrases...nothing...

The president therefore could quite legitimately pardon Yulia Tymoshenko by ukaz. In the edict he could merely add that because of the extraordinary circumstances, on this occasion, the terms of ukaz 902/2010 do not apply. That's it. Job messing with parliament at all.

Yanukovych has often said that the Tymoshenko problem has to be resolved by legal means..The above solution would be quite could challenge it..

But we know Yanik is a bit of a coward...wants someone else to do the dirty work and clear up the mess he made..... does not want to look like a twat...

p.s. Check out this video of Catherine Ashton after today's EU Foreign Affairs Council, answering two questions on Ukraine. She makes the EU's position pretty clear....

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Opposition may not support bills to release Tymoshenko for treatment

On Monday draft bills will be submitted to parliament ammending the Criminal Codex to enable prisoners in Ukrainian jails, under certain circumstances, to be released for treatment abroad. The bills could even have their first reading on Tuesday.

Seasoned opposition politician and close associate of Yulia Tymoshenko, Oleksandra Kuzhel, in an interview on RadioSvoboda, says the opposition will not support any bill that contains terms considered humiliating to their leader. She says the opposition will not be making any fresh proposals; their own proposals on amnesties having been submitted over a year ago. Since then have remained untouched.

She says the opposition will only support bills that are in tune with European Commission declarations, as voiced in Kwasniewski and Cox's recent letter to Yanukovych.  [i.e. "Yulia Tymoshenko be released for medical treatment on health and humanitarian grounds by way of a pardon" see previous blog.]

K&C are back in Ukraine tomorrow, for a mind-boggling 23rd time, to try and bang a few heads together.....probably because they realise the draft bills are a 'load of bollocks' and nothing will come of them.

p.s. Readers of the authoritative independent website were asked whether they though Yanukovych would release Tymoshenko for the sake of successful signing of the Association Agreement.

61% of those who responded thought he would not.

16% thought he will release her only if she promises never to return back to Ukraine.

10% thought the AA would be signed in any case.

Only 10% thought that things are moving in the direction of her release.

So, in the eyes of readers, not looking too good at all..

'The Times' Reports : Hopes fade for leader of Ukraine revolution Yuliya Tymoshenko
The release of Yulia Tymoshenko is key to an EU trade deal
Ben Hoyle Kiev Published at 12:01AM, October 19 2013

The lawyer of the Ukrainian opposition leader Yuliya Tymoshenko is “very, very pessimistic” despite hints from President Yanukovych that she might soon be freed from jail.

Sergei Vlasenko said that he “will believe it only when I see Mrs Tymoshenko physically released”. With a presidential poll due in 2015, Mr Vlasenko said the President was “afraid of her because she is the only person who could beat him even in a falsified election”.

The European Union has made her release a condition of a free trade deal with Ukraine, which would draw the country out of the Russian sphere for...

Friday, October 18, 2013

Solution to Tymoshenko problem in VR is fraught with risks [update]

Everyone, including Yanukovych is I'm sure now aware that the EU will not co-sign any agreement in Vilnius in late November unless Tymoshenko is freed and allowed to travel abroad for medical treatment..

Kwas/Cox have publicly submitted a request to Yanukovych to pardon former Prime Minister of Ukraine, Yulia Tymoshenko, and release her for medical treatment. They, like most Europeans consider Tymoshenko to be the victim of politically motivated judicial persecution, but no-one is openly willing to point the finger at the instigator and perpetrator of this injustice that is responsible for the mess, and its unforseen consequences.

In order to save face Yanukovych on Thursday proposed parliament passes a law enabling the country's prisoners, under certain circumstances, to travel abroad for medical treatment, and promised to sign such a law promptly. Tymoshenko would then, presumably, have to apply to a court for permission to travel abroad for her spinal medical procedure if she truly wants this, a Ukrainian medical commission declare that such treatment is necessary, and a judge grant permission for this to take place, according to the new law. All in less than a month and a half..

[Ukrainian doctors treating Tymoshenko have quite reasonably maintained that facilities and expertise needed to cure her medical ailment already exist in Ukraine..they will have some explaining to do, adding another layer of absurdity to this charade, no?]

The chances of success of solving the Tymoshenko conundrum in the Verkhovna Rada are not great, because many potential barriers lie on this path. Counter proposals may be forthcoming from the Communist Party. Many PoR deputies who have been throwing dirt at Tymoshenko, calling her all the names under the sun, will find it difficult to support any such motion. The embittered opposition parties may say:  "All our proposals have been ignored for months, so why should we co-operate just to save Yanukovych's face?

Tymoshenko could refuse to co-operate if the conditions enabling her trip to Germany are in anyway considered by her to be humiliating. She is well aware of her political super-star status.The Germans could refuse to co-operate if, for example, Ukrainian security officials insist on controlling and overseeing Tymoshenko's every move in their country.

The opposition could refuse and stall in order to force Yanukovych to pardon her himself at one minute to midnight at a stroke of his pen.

The Verkhovna Rada is a notoriously undisciplined place, deputies who have frequently physically attacked one another and physically denied one another access to parliamentary sessions, will find it difficult to come to a concensus. And ultimately everyone knows that passing this law is merely for the sake of expediency...for the benefit of one person. It is a farce..

Yanukovych assures everyone he has no doubt that success will ultimately be achieved in Vilnius and the EU/Ukraine agreements signed. He 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'.

But if this is all merely a bluff, parliament fails to deliver, and he intends to cosy up to Putin again, [not a pleasant vision]  the blame can be laid at the doors of the Verkhovna Rada.

In the days to come I think more and more Europeans, just like this former Polish foreign minister, will question Yanukovych's avowed intent pursue a westward vector...[The normally pro-PoR 'Segodnya' also cover this story..]

Most Ukrainian commentators consider failure in Vilnius would be too much for Europeans to bear, they have invested too much into the Eastern Partership project and will not allow it to happen...hence the Ukraine authorities' cavalier attitude. They are wrong on this. The EU faces many big problems on many fronts, but decades of successes means confidence in its structures are unshakeable, with or without Ukraine.

As we witness the inevitable sight of the easily avoidable, pathetic squabbling between Ukraine's politicians in the month to come, I think politicians in Europe will ever more be thinking; Do we really need all this? Is Ukraine ever going to change for the better? Yanukovych, in common with almost all CIS leaders, will always systematically force a showdown on all subjects when dealing with the west.

The country's chances in Europe may already be receding..

And another thing....The Council of the European Union  on 10 December 2012 said:

"[it] reiterates its strong concern regarding the politically motivated convictions of members of the former Government after trials which did not respect international standards as regards fair, transparent and independent legal process and regrets that, as a consequence, opposition leaders were prevented from standing in the parliamentary elections...The Council expects the [Ukrainian] authorities to address the cases of politically motivated convictions without delay as well as to take further steps to reform the judiciary to prevent any recurrence," 

If the necessary legal stuff is done, if Tymoshenko requests such a step, if medical commission and a judge approve, and Tymoshenko is allowed to go to Germany for medical procedures but Ukrainian authorities insist that during her stay she remains 'incommunicado'; and immediately after these procedures are completed according to the proposed new law she must return to complete the remainder of her sentence in jail, will the CoE conditions be considered to have been satisfied? Well? Maybe this is why Kwas/Cox have officially requested Tymoshenko be pardoned..nothing else will do.

 The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe [PACE]  recently urged..the authorities of Ukraine.."to use legal means to release Yulia Tymoshenko given that the judicial procedure leading to her conviction has raised heavy criticism"....

p.s. Excellent analysis from Vadym Karasyov on this topic, in this video [in Ukrainian] here

Politicians of opposing political parties in the USA have in recent days resolved a major crisis and averted possible financial melt-down...can we assume Ukrainian politicians have the intelligence and wisdom to do the same in their own country, as Karasyov suggests? I wish I could be optimistic..

p.p.s. Despite all of the bullshit whether Yanuk can or cannot pardon Tymoshenko, Ukraine's Constitution is crystal clear:

Article 106 states: The president shall: .....23) grant pardons;
There are no exceptions, no qualifying phrases...nothing...

Kwas/Cox, in their letter to Yanukovych several days ago: laid out matters very clearly too: They,

"Request, with a view to fulfilling the above-mentioned conditions, that Yulia Tymoshenko be released for medical treatment on health and humanitarian grounds by way of a pardon*."

Is the pres. is too lazy to read his correspondence?

*Dictionary definition: Exemption a convicted person from the penalties of an offence or crime by the power of the executor of the laws.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

EU's patience nearly running out...

Sonya Koshkina,in her latest piece, entitled 'Strict regime holiday' makes some interesting points in the drawn out, 'will they, won't they release Tymoshenko' saga. Here are some of them:

There is ever-mounting evidence that Yanukovych is employing blatant stalling tactics in regard to her release, calling into question the sincerity of his desire to move Ukraine in a westward direction. [Constant raised hopes, 'false dawns' and repeated tales of imminent release may be part of these tactics.]

Other members of the Customs Union, Belarus and Kazakhstan are going distinctly 'wobbly' on the Russians. This may explain the desperate measures to which Putin and his people are resorting, in an attempt to bully, and lately possibly to woo Ukraine back into Russia's sphere of influence.

Koshkina outlines one scheme allegedly being prepared by Yanukovych's team:

Tymoshenko is due to appear in  UESU case hearings in a Kharkiv court in  on October 25th. The prosecutors or possibly the penitentiary service may appeal to the hearing judge with a request  to let Tymoshenko go abroad for treatment for a limited period, e.g. six months on the grounds of ill health, and then return to complete her sentence and face outstanding charges. The judge will naturally agree to this...But will Tymoshenko? If she does not, then it will be her who will be accused of having caused any possible failure to get the AA deal sealed in Vilnius in November. If no deal is concluded then, according to Koshkina it will be 'strict regime holidays' for the whole country [not just for YVT.]

Your bloggers view? It has long been apparent that Yanukovych has not been negotiating with the EU in good faith, despite appeals from every quarter of the globe, from many authorities, leading politicians etc.

Some European figures are already talking in terms of a pessimistic scenario. E.g.  Vice-President of the European People's Party, Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, says: "There is no time now, and Ukraine's chances of signing the Association Agreement in November at the Eastern Partnership  summit in Vilnius is decreasing rapidly. Ukraine must immediately demonstrate real progress. If it does not do this, then the EU will not sign an agreement solely on the basis of pure rhetoric."

Seasoned German Euro-deputy, Rebecca  Harms comments: "Stubbornness in this dispute is blocking [progress for] the whole of Ukraine. I frequently ask myself why such irrationality is present on this issue? I first encountered this in examples of political conflicts in Eastern Europe". Politicians in Berlin and Brussels say that the dragging matters out until the last moment is very risky for Kyiv. 28 EU member states and the European Parliament should vote in support of the Association Agreement . This process can take years. Therefore, according to Rebecca Harms, Ukrainian government should not be taking such risks. [Source]

Others are humiliatingly dreaming up ever-more convoluted and proposterous schemes to enable Yanukovych to save face. The latest - the president gives her a 'partial pardon', [like a partial pregnancy?] as long as she pays a $200million fine and accepts that she cannot stand for president for three years...

It has been generally accepted by western leaders that Tymoshenko's gas trial was a travesty of justice, and that she is a victim of selective why should she pay any fine? And what if the European Court of Human Rights rule in her favour again in the coming months and declares her human rights were abused during this trial? Will she get a refund?

Is Yanukovych stringing the Europeans along all these months in order to eventually get a better deal with Putin? This arrangement could eventually mean the end of messy elections with pesky observers, if it becomes a necessity. The overarching aim of this man is to copy other CIS leaders and remain in power; eventually enabling his son Oleksandr, whose business structures are already close to those of Putin's, to take over at the helm some point in the future...

The cat-and-mouse game over Tymoshenko, the bluffing and counter-bluffing, is a good indicator what EU - Ukraine relationship will look like in the future if the current Ukrainian leadership remain in place, irrespective whether theAA and DCFTA is signed or not. It's time to ditch the whole deal - not just kick the can down the road, but kick it into the long grass....[bad case of mixed metaphors..sorry]

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Another fine mess

Deadlines have now been set by the Europeans for Tymoshenko's release, which have to met by Ukraine if the EU/Ukraine Association Agreement and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements are to be successfully clinched.

However, it becoming clear that president Yanukovych will not pardon Yulia Tymoshenko under any circumstances; it would be too much of a climb-down for him to bear. Some other mechanism for her release to Germany needs to be found.

Yanukovych is pressing the Ukrainian parliament to pass a law enabling prisoners, like YVT, to obtain treatment abroad. But is this realistic? [I foresee weekly convoys of ambulances shuttling well-heeled Ukrainian prisoners to Germany and Austria for 'treatment abroad'...]

If  Tymoshenko does land up in Germany by means of some other political contortion, the following scenario is quite possible:

The European Court of Human Rights rules Tymoshenko's human rights were abused at her gas trial two years ago, and the verdict declared unsafe, i.e. the trial was fixed....

Armed with the ECHR ruling, showing no fear, she returns back to Ukraine to get the gas case verdict annulled and so clear her name, as she has vowed to do.

If the two further criminal cases involving fraud at UESU, and conspiracy to murder the Shcherban's proceed, she calls Yanukovych's bluff and faces these charges. Because Ukraine, by this time will have signed an Association Agreement, these trials have to be seen to be scrupulously conducted in the full glare of the world's press. Her defence will certainly use every opportunity to discredit Yanukovych and the prosecutors. Any Shcherban trial would be an opportunity to bring up lots of dirt on the 'Donetski'..And if these trials are improperly conducted she will, in any case, challenge any verdict back in the UCHR..

All this would be going on during the 2015 presidential election campaign..So not a happy scenario for Yanukovych to face, particularly bearing in mind his current low ratings in opinion polls.

It cannot be ruled out, therefore, that Yanukovych may be considering hanging onto Tymoshenko and just hoping the Europeans are bluffing when they say "no Tymoshenko - no AA"...And if it falls through...well, 'It will be all the fault of Tymoshenko, the opposition and the Germans'.

p.s. The 'heroes who 'cocked up' and made such a dreadful mess of the gas trial two years ago, instead of being bull-whipped, have all received career-enhancing promotions and awards...

p.p.s. In a straw poll the website's readers were asked: 'When will Yanukovych free Tymoshenko?

Just over one half said 'never'.
About one quarter said October 14, on the feast of 'Pokrova'..

Note: Pokrova, Protecting Veil of the Virgin Mary, is celebrated on October 14; it is the Feast of the Patronage (Protection or Intercession) of the Most Holy Mother of God.

The Virgin Mary has always been regarded in Ukraine as a protectress, a mediator between man and God, and people turned to Her with their prayers, thanking Her for intercession or seeking her help.
Even at the time when soviet atheism was at its most virulent and any form of public manifestation of religious feeling was either suppressed or restricted, the feasts dedicated to the Virgin Mary were clandestinely celebrated, particularly in the countryside. A special, festive meal was a natural part of the celebrations.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Yanukovych marked for life

Lots of speculation in the German media that when their foreign minister, Guido Westerwelle returns home from his current visit to Kyiv on Friday, he may be taking back Yulia Tymoshenko with him , as passenger on his plane.

Other top Euro-deputies are 'cautiously optimistic' too.

But Ukrainian foreign minister Kozhara plays down hopes and keeps repeating the threadbare mantra - 'the Tymoshenko problem' can only be resolved within a constitutional and legal framework . [Kozhara claims that "millions of people in Ukraine believe Tymoshenko committed a crime". Well millions believe she was 'stitched up' too, most Ukrainians consider judges and police to be completely corrupt... and think Yanukovych and Kozhara are wankers what?]

But whatever happens, Yanukovych has already been branded forever for persecuting his greatest political rival. If the Vilnius summit ends in failure, he will get the blame.

Serhiy Vysotsky, in thinks Yanukovych may be being steered by the formula: Free Tymoshenko, sign Agreement, receive lots of foreign loans...

If Tymoshenko is released and the AA and DCFTA agreements are successfully signed, any loans will be drip-fed piecemeal, in stages. Pressure on Yanukovych to behave according to European standards will be maintained until the 2015 presidential elections and beyond.

Even from abroad, Tymoshenko will continue to be an active political player.

Vysotsky concludes: Some mistakes in politics are impossible to correct - they stick to you for the rest of your life. The chances of Yanukovych  cleansing his reputation in the West are slim. Trading political hostages, once the ransom has been received, can only work once. After this, such a politician will always be perceived as small-time wheeler-dealer, not as an equal partner. Tymoshenko is a problem that will remain with Yanukovych forever, regardless of the model of external integration eventually selected.

p.s. Several months after Viktor Yushchenko became president, Adrian Karatnycky published a large piece in the 'NYT' entitled: "Ukraine's Orange Revolution"

It contained the following passage:

"According to the telephone intercepts, the [2004 presidential election] fraud involved some of the country's highest officials. In addition to Medvedchuk and Kivalov, the conspiracy included Eduard Prutnik, a key aide to Yanukovich, Serhiy Lyovochkin, the president's first assistant, and Serhiy Klyuyev, a major fundraiser for the Yanukovich campaign whose brother was the deputy prime minister responsible for Ukraine's lucrative energy sector."

Transcripts of telephone conversations exposing the skulduggery between  the head of President Leonid Kuchma's staff, Viktor Medvedchuk, and Yuri Levenets, [a Yanukovich campaign director and notable spin doctor], were also included in the NYT article.

Well, several days ago Levenets, known as the "patriarch of Ukrainian polit-technologists", passed away.

He worked many times for Yanukovych during various election campaigns. However, in 2010 he assisted Yulia Tymoshenko's team. In recent years he was close to his alleged 'partner in crime', current head of the president's administration, Serhiy Lyovochkin, . And there had been rumours he was recently acting as a consultant to Vitaliy Klychko....

Some overblown Ukrainian political experts enter into a world of fantasy and claim Levenets was "a super-powerful intellect, who appear once every hundred - two hundred years." ..

[Had he been charged and sentenced for organising a massive election fraud almost a decade ago this intellect may have useful when trying to escape from jail...]

p.p.s. They all 'piss into the same pot', as they say in my home town....

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

One week before make-your-mind-up time?

According to Polish Radio:

"The fate of the Ukraine/EU Association Agreement is dependent on the release of Yulia Tymoshenko. An OSW expert believes that Viktor Yanukovych has still not decided whether to release her or not, because Tymoshenko is his most dangerous political opponent."

Deutsche Welle reports the German President, Joachim Gauck, who also attended a meeting in Krakow between the presidents of Ukraine, Italy, Germany and Poland today, called for Tymoshenko to be released. "The central question in the negotiations between the presidents of Ukraine and Germany in Krakow was the release of Yulia Tymoshenko. [Authorities in] Berlin urged Yanukovych not to drag matters out."

A spokesman said for president Gauck the solution of this problem is a barometer of how serious and credible are the efforts of Yanukovych administration in the development of democracy and the rule of law.

Yet at their press briefing following their meeting, neither Yanukovych nor Polish president Komorowski made any reference to the Tymoshenko business at all, to the astonishment of journalists; which seems to confirm the validity of the OSW expert's opinion - Yanukovych has not yet made up his mind.

He must feel these guys are asking him to sign his own political suicide note....

p.s. Yanukovych has a penchant for making big-hearted pronouncements on important days of the Orthodox calendar. E.g. Yuriy Lutsenko was pardoned on the feast of the Annunciation of the Lord [Blahovishchennya].

One Tymoshenko ally predicts that a decision could be announced on October 14. This date is a "two in one": the feast of the Protection of the Blessed Mother of God, [Pokrova] one of the bigger days in the Orthodox calendar, and the eve of the fateful day when Cox and Kwasniewski have to report back to the European parliament's president.

Maybe Yanuk will have a word 'with the Man upstairs' on that day to ask for advice..He cannot complain that the Lord has not been kind to him. Yanukovych's son Aleksandr is now the most successful businessman in the country. His MAKO Holdings has seen a meteoric rise in earnings in 2012 to well over $5Bn. It is now 56th biggest business corporation in Ukraine. Surprised?

Sunday, October 06, 2013

Tymoshenko still in the game

So "Jailed Ukrainian opposition leader seeks treatment in Germany; EU mission calls for presidential pardon for her...Yulia Tymoshenko, a former prime minister of Ukraine, today accepted a proposal by a team of European Union mediators seeking to resolve a political deadlock caused by her imprisonment. "[From this report ]

Despite being imprisoned, Yulia Tymoshenko has constantly maintained leverage on how the EU/Ukraine Association and Free Trade Agreements pan out. Whatever the critics say, the agenda has revolved around her current predicament.

Meanwhile Yanukovych at the Yalta Economic Summit last month declared:

"We still have time and we will work according to the plan that we have. We have not said yes or no yet....The answer to this question lies in the domain of finding a compromise with Tymoshenko. The court and Tymoshenko can answer this question.”

Yanukovych was implying that it was Tymoshenko herself that was holding up the process of her release from detention by not co-operating..not admitting her guilt...not requesting a pardon...or not willing to "pay back the money"...whatever.

Now, by requesting for treatment in Germany, [despite all of the other hedges in her statement], she has made the first step. Critically, Cox and Kwasniewki, whose report in a few days time will carry great weight before the Vilnius summit, have personally appealed to Yanukoych to release her for treatment. It Yanukovych rebuffs them the chances of success in Vilnius will be much diminished. Tymoshenko, with Cox and Kwasniewski, have laid out a reasonable algorithm for progress to be made. Tymoshenko has been seen to make a first step sideward, if not backward for the benefit of the country.

But Yanukovych rightly fears that if he lets her go, she will be right back in the game. Now, if he does not budge, it will be he who will receive the brickbats, and will have to shoulder the blame for failure in Vilnius.

Latest opinion polls do not make pleasant reading for the president...Success on the path to Euro-integration would give him a boost, no question...

Below is the prognosis for possible head-to-head second round presidential election clashes:

P.s. On Monday Yanukovych will be Krakow, Poland meeting the presidents of Poland, Germany and Italy. No prize for guessing what the main topic of conversation will be...

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

Quiet words should not be dismissed...

Just watched a video of an interview with Catherine Ashton, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, which took place several days ago at the Wilson Center, Washington,

An impressive and thoughtful performance...

On application of selective justice and the Tymoshenko issue she said: "We are very concerned about is something Ukraine has to sort out, and we hope it will..." [About 42 minutes into the video]

Sometimes the most significant statements are spoken quietly..almost as a passing remark..

Adviser to president Yanukovych, Hanna Herman, a walking advert for the miracles of cosmetic surgery, [see previous blog] may have revealed Yanukovych's pitch to the EU. Sign the deal in Vilnius in return for a promise to sort out the Tymo prob at a later date... Like many of Ukraine's politicians, her champagne and diamonds lifestyle, I fear has caused her to lose touch with reality years ago..

The contrast between the eloquent, understated Ashton and  'mutton dressed as lamb' Herman is stark...

p.s. Meanwhile, according to some....'90% Chance Ukraine Signs EU Association at November Summit' ? But it will be a 'last minute deal'....More on this, in Russian, here

p.p.s. If Yanukovych is finally cornered and has to release Tymoshenko, it may be Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka and his No.2 Renat Kuzmin who pay the price...[This organisation does not tolerate failure....

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

More drivel from Herman

PoR deputy and presidential advisor Hanna Herman, appeared on the 'Svoboda Slova' show yesterday.

In her opinion,"..the Tymoshenko card will be played by opponents of Ukraine to prevent Ukraine's progress forward. Yulia Volodymyrivna, who herself did not wish this, has unwittingly become a mechanism which is being used by enemies of Ukraine in order to prevent Ukraine entering the path of Western development...I believe that having signed the Association [agreement] and having stood firmly on his feet, the Ukrainian president, who is seeking a way out of this situation, will find a way out to alleviate the lot of his opponent. But not under pressure from foreign countries and leaders, not under threat ... no, he will do it from the heights of his mercy, his Christian beliefs and his decency... "

[Herman frequently makes such vaseline-laden statements...E.g. "Yanukovych will become a legend for generations to come, because even in the next hundred years it is hardly likely anyone will be able to repeat what he has managed to do in his life. ]

Herman crazily implied that Ukraine's enemies, knowing what kind of person Tymoshenko was, had somehow engineered the whole scandal in a calculated manner to reduce the country's chances of Euro-integration; Tymoshenko had merely been an 'unwitting tool' in their hands.  [23 minutes into the 'Svoboda Slova' video]

According to Herman all of those at the European Court of Human Rights, the world leaders, European parliament etc. who consider Tymoshenko a victim of crude political persecution by Yanukovych, and are demanding her release are, apparently, enemies playing the 'Tymoshenko card'...

It is as if Tymoshenko herself were merely a bargaining chip. or what Herman herself called a card.. perhaps a deal clincher to be tossed into any EU-Ukraine deal if/when  this becomes an unavoidable requirement.

Even today, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has passed another resolution demanding Tymoshenko's release. [See document here]

p.s. Was Yanukovych acting from the 'heights of mercy' and in tune with his Christian beliefs and decency when, as a youth he was mugging victims and stealing their earrings and fur hats - crimes for which he spent three and a half years in jail....
or when he threatened to 'steamroll under asphalt' his political opponents..
Or when he is stealing millions for his dreadful, grotesque OTT palaces, barges, hunting lodges, dachas on the Black sea etc.  In a normal country someone with Yanukovych's record would not even get a job as a school janitor..

What drivel from Herman..