Archive for May, 2009

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Opel Cars Brand Saved By Canada…….(And Russia – But Don’t Tell Anyone)

May 31, 2009

Well, dear readers, much has been said about GM and the saving of the Opel brand which falls under their banner……….well it did.

Opel 1

The media has Magna, the Canadian company as it’s saviour…….with a little short term help from the German government.

opel 6

What it doesn’t say is that, Magna have done this deal with partners………such as Sberbank…….which is Russia’s biggest bank……..and GAZ, one of Russia’s biggest car manufacturers.

opel 5

A closer look at the stake holders……in percentage of ownership…..tells who really holds the power in this deal.

Sberbank 35%………Magna 20% …….(Giving them 55% and therefore control)……35% retained by GM and 10% to Opel employees.

Eh?…….Yeh I know I mentioned Gaz. 

What?…….Yeh I know they don’t have a % holding in Opel.

So why mention them?………Because Gaz and Sberbank have close association and under the deal, Gaz now have the rights to build Opel cars in Russia for the Eastern European market.

opel 4

By the way, Vauxhall is what Opel is known as in the UK……just in case you are getting confused by the media reports.

opel 2

I can’t imagine why the US media cites Magna as the saviour?………Well maybe I can……It probably would not sit to well with quite a few Americans that yet another US entity has been sold to Russia either completely or by way of controlling stake.

Well, that’s capitalism folks!!

opel 3

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Last Day Of School In Odessa – It Was Like Walking Through A Britney Video

May 30, 2009

Well dear readers……as Alice Cooper would say, “Schools out for summer” here in Odessa.

School's Out!!

School's Out!!

3 solid months of the Lolipop Guild anywhere and everywhere you look, running amok……..and parents stressed to the point of cocktails of vodka, Prozac and vallium…….and Babooshka’s working overtime as stand in parents…….whilst the parents gratefully escape to work for the day!

Stress 1

For some, however, today was the last day of school. 

There is no more engraving the desks with messages like “Here I sit, bored as sh*t, listening to this f*cking tit”……or “Here I sit, bored as hell, waiting for the f*cking bell”………for many those days ended yesterday.

school's out 002

Therefore yesterday was a day for celebration, honours and awards……..and donning that school uniform for the very last time.

Britney

So, everywhere I went in the city centre………it was like walking through a Britney Spears video…….you know the one……Hit Me Baby One More Time……..or the Tatu video “Everything She Said”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPy_gPiC_5s

There were literally thousands of school leavers in the city centre yesterday from the hundreds of schools around Odessa.

 school's out 008

Strangely, when I left school……..I don’t remember the girls being so “developed”……..although, to be honest, we did not have to dress up like an “old man’s wet dream” to leave.  After the last exam, you were gone……and depending upon which subjects you took……depended upon which day you left school due to the exam time table.

Anyway……much happiness from the youth of Odessa yesterday, and particularly from those never to return to school.

school's out 009

Obviously Monday morning Mum and Dad will be saying “Don’t think you’re going to sit around here all day and do nothing…….if you’re not going to university, you’d better start looking for a job…….life isn’t free you know!”

Still that is not my “happiness bubble” to burst……..Enjoy it kids as it gets harder from here on in…….although y0u don’t realise that yet.

 school's out 018

Eh?

Ok – I’ll “hit you baby, one more time”

school's out 016

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Funny Advertisement from AutoTrader – Nothing To Do With Ukraine…….Everthing To Do With Life!!

May 29, 2009

Funny Ad

I think my wife must be related to his!!!!

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No Wonder Ukraine’s Economy Is Screwed – It’s Taking Advice From US Advisory Groups Which Have Advised GM, AIG And Made Huge Losses Themselves!!

May 28, 2009

Every once in a while dear readers, a “little person” in the RADA……the Ukrainian parliament……..says something which makes me think………Oooooo Errrrrrr!!

Little RADA Person

Little RADA Person

Normally it is due to their complete and utter detachment from not only the realities of Ukraine…..nor even the region……but the entire human race.

However, Vasyl Petyovka…….Who?…..Don’t worry, the vast majority of Ukraine would ask the same question…… has requested an investigation into the Ukrainian Government links with a company called The Blackstone Group International.

The Ukrainian Government state they have no formal relationship with the US based “investment and other services advisory” company.

Umpa 2

Blackstone is closely linked to George Soros……who actually does have private interests in Ukraine……and no doubt has shorts on Ukraine’s ability to survive as a sovereign state given the history of the man from Black Wednesday in 1992……….Actually that is a little unfair, Soros has been very active in the FSU and Warsaw Pact nations both by philanthropy and by financially sponsoring certain political initiatives……..such as the Georgian Rose Revolution…..another investment which is turning sour by the day. 

Anyway, dear readers, the fact Soros is closely linked to Blackstone and he has private interests in Ukraine is not necessarily conspiratorial……..yeh Ok, it probably is………but like all conspiracies they cannot be proved easily…..if at all.

Umpa 3

So going back to Petyovka and Ukraine’s governmental denial of any form of relationship with Blackstone…..why is there something to consider here……..other than any financial advice coming from the US in the last 2 or 3 years has been like the blind leading the blind and about as much use as tits on a fish!!!

Well according to an article by a journalist called Peter Lattman, published in The Wall Street Journal in February of this year……..it clearly indicates that Blackstone are indeed providing “consultative services” to the Government of Ukraine.

 http://www.gmjobs.net/article/SB123574362036894479.html

Now according to this………I quote ……

“A bright spot was the firm’s investment-banking business. Revenues at the firm’s restructuring advisory group, which is advising General Motors and the Ukraine government, were up 80% in 2008 from the prior year. Blackstone also is advising insurer American International Group, driving a 17% revenue gain in its corporate-advisory business.”

That seems fairly clear……..unless I don’t understand English……..which would be quite strange as it is my native tongue……..even if I do speak Russian more than English these days……..that Blackstone are indeed making money out of the Ukrainian Government for their “restructuring advisory services”.

Umpa 4

Now, it seems to me that Ukraine is getting “restructuring advisory services” as part of the IMF loan deals…….as the restructuring is part and parcel of the loan agreements.  The same can be said of the World Bank loans to Ukraine………and the EBRD loans to Ukraine…….all of which are not charging for this advice, just making the restructuring part of a loan deal…..which is fair enough.

It therefore begs the question as to why Blackstone……who advises so well on financial matters and restructuring, that Blackstone itself posted a year loss of $1.16 Billion……..almost 10% of the total value of the IMF loan to Ukraine…….and therefore by their own results would make anyone hesitant to take their advice about anything other than how to lose money………are doing advising the Ukrainian Government……even if the Government are denying it!!

umpa 5

Here is a clue to those at the top of the country I now call my home – DO NOT TAKE FINANCIAL ADVICE FROM A COMPANY WHICH MAKES AN ANNUAL LOSS WHICH EQUATES TO 10% OF THE LOANS YOU RECEIVED FROM INTERNATIONAL FUNDS TO KEEP YOUR ECONOMY FROM CRASHING……ESPECIALLY IF THE ARE FROM THE USA. 

YOU ARE NOT IN A POSITION TO JUST PRINT MONEY LIKE THE USA SEEMS TO THINK IT CAN!!!!!

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If It Wasn’t So Systemic of Ukrainian Government – You’d Laugh!!

May 27, 2009

Oh dear readers……..if this happened in your country, you’d expect civil collapse…….. rioting……anarchism…….your nation to implode.

What am I talking about?

The Government is taking the Government to court!!

LH1

Well actually, the Ministry of Defence is taking the Main Control and Auditing Chamber to court…….after they accused it of corruption in illegally selling of MoD land and overpaying for food and equipment for military personnel…….the inference being, that they actually paid market rates, obtained invoices for much higher amounts and certain people pocketed the difference.

Yeh, to be fair, not much different to what probably goes on elsewhere and in differing variations.

However, you should look at the current “Vacancy List” in the Ukrainian Government.

In the “Situations Vacant” section of the Ukrainian Government you have the following “empty seats”

LH2

Finance Minister, Foreign Minister, Interior Minister……well resignation submitted, not yet accepted, after allegedly getting thoroughly pissed at a German airport, fighting with police, throwing mobile phones about, calling the German police “Nazi’s” and then waving about his diplomatic immunity……..and now the Defence Minister accused of corruption and everybody after his head……..except the President Mr Yushenko.

In effect, there is nobody in charge of the finances, Ukraine internally, representing Ukraine externally or defending Ukraine………which would have most countries slightly worried………and countries like the USA would think the world had ended.

LH3

It is not as though these positions will be filled any time soon……and two have been vacant for more than a few months.

To understand why things are like they are…….you need to look at the key players and the absolute backstabbing which goes on……..on a second by second basis.

Not only do you have to look at the key players but their political histories as the next Presidential election comes closer.

Viktor Yushenko – Pleasant man, but completely f*cking useless…….an idiot surrounded by idiots……. failing to deliver on any promises which got him to power.  He has illegally dissolved parliament once, tried to do it again recently……..but the global financial crisis got in the way and interfered with the judiciary when it suited his aims.

President Viktor Yuskenko

President Viktor Yuskenko

In fact a very brief summary thus far would read, upon becoming President, he forced anyone who wanted power to sign a statement heading towards the EU and NATO membership, including PoR leader Yanukovych.  Yulia Tymoshenko did not sign the document…….and was the only leading politician who didn’t…..therefore not getting a powerful job to start with.

Yushenko then made Yanukovych Prime Minister……despite him being “Moscow’s favourite” and having campaigned against Yushenko as President on a Pro-Russia non NATO platform.  It did not take long for Yanukovych to turn his back on the pro-western policies he signed up to, after being given the Prime Minister’s job.

Now I may be stupid, but if somebody runs against you for the countries top job on a completely opposite political line……to offer them the countries second top job on the pre-requisite of giving up the political line they had fought against you with, is well, unlikely to happen at best……..and plain f*cking stupid at worst. 

LH4

Yukanovych also tried to remove certain powers from the President whilst Prime Minister and transfer them to the PM role……..well you would, wouldn’t you?

This meant he had to turn to a very clever political lady called Tymoshenko……and together they ousted Yukanovych as PM.

As soon as Tymoshenko was given the new Prime Minister role……Yushenko and the ousted Yukanovych were plotting against her…….as she needed a coalition dependent upon Yushenko’s party to survive.  This would keep her pliable to certain “sways of interest”.

This eventually caused another “snap” election…….which Tymoshenko did better than expected in…….and kept her job……much to the annoyance of both Yushenko and Yukanovych……leaving both rather impotent against her.

To keep her in check, Yushenko, assisted by Yukanovych, enforced the positioning of Arseniy Yatsenyuk as “Speaker of the House”……and he therefore controlled the legislative timetable.  Yatsenyuk was at the time a 100% loyal Yushenko tool…….although Yushenko has since sacked him and he is now also going to run against Yushenko for President…….More about Yatsenyuk later.

Tymoshenko though, now backed by public opinion, as well as high office and some exceptionally clever political maneuvering started kicking into the long grass some of Yushenko’s schemes…….to the point where it was easier to topple her cabinet ministers than her, together with the withdrawal of support of Yushenko’s party to force yet another “snap election”……..because nobody agreed with Yushenko and his policies……so a case of trying to continuously provide “snap” elections until the voters got it right…….Yeh, what a twat!!!

This last attempt was skittled completely by the global financial crisis……..as it is very hard to dismiss parliament in the interests of the country when your country is being royally f*cked in the arse by the global conditions.  It is at these times, even in Ukraine, people look for some form of political leadership.

Thus Yushenko has succeed in getting Ukraine WTO membership and some nice foreign shops on the main streets of Ukraine’s bigger towns and cities……..but that’s all he has done…….which is why his popularity rating is currently running at just below 3% with the Ukrainian electorate.

Yulia Tymoshenko is a poacher turned gamekeeper.  This lady is an exceptionally clever and politically capable woman……who is surrounded by idiots.  She, like all Ukrainian politicians is no angel and has clawed her way to power in many ways which would not ingratiate most politicians to the public……but this is Ukraine and not one of them did it any other way.

Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko

Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko

In her second stint as Prime Minister…….and almost her second stink as being ex-Prime Minister, if the global crisis had not prevented Yushenko and Yukanovych from yet again illegally dissolving parliament, she sits second in the opinion polls……which in Ukraine, with a 2 round voting system, makes her most likely to become President at the next election.

Eh?……..No, we will come to why that is as we go on!!

She is a “populist” politician there is no doubt…….but she is one which knows exactly what is going on in the country…….which is why she plays the populist card so well.  It is her Government which is missing the important positions as listed above at the start of this post……but as I say, she is a politically astute lady…….surrounded by complete idiots.

Vote For Me.....I'm Pretty

Vote For Me.....I'm Pretty

Ukraine will not be leading the charge into NATO under Yulia…….which is a good thing for many more reasons than it is a bad thing.  She will also not be leading the charge back into the arms of Moscow either…..which is obviously a good thing too.

She will undoubtedly make it to the second round of voting in the Presidential elections……at which point many who didn’t vote for her in the first round will vote for her in the second rather than the alternative of the other remaining candidate…….thus making her win.

Vitkor Yukanvych – Ex Prime Minster, current leader of the main opposition party, Party of Regions.  An idiot surrounded by clever people.  Always quick to state the problems and never provides a solution.  Backed by some serious businessmen……however they are losing faith in him and looking at others within the party to succeed him.

Ex-Prime Minister

Ex-Prime Minister

A very “interesting” history including alleged terms of imprisonment for offences in which some countries would be expected to sign certain “registers”.

Always scheming and is responsible for his party stopping many necessary legislative changes by locking other politicians in rooms, barricading the parliament assembly and other adult political practices.  Just what you want from your politicians eh?

Leading in the opinion polls and will probably make it to the second round of voting in the next Presidential elections……but will then lose to Tymoshenko.  Ukraine will never join NATO under his tenure.  Fairly good chance of becoming the next Prime Minister if Tymoshenko becomes President. 

This will put Ukraine in the position of a politically astute President, idiot for a Prime Minister, but a clever Cabinet……and about the best it can hope for.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk – was a loyal Yushenko man and was rewarded with the “Speaker’s” position…….until Yushenko sacked him.  His background is in banking and he is probably the poorest politician which will run for the Presidency……being only a multi-millionaire at 35 years old.

Arseniy Yatsenyuk

Arseniy Yatsenyuk

Seen by many as a “clean politician”…….until you remember he was a loyal Yushenko man and given a position of great power……..and is a multi-millionaire.  Exactly – so he isn’t clean at all……he just didn’t make as much money through dubious business deals as the others……..but then he is the youngest and therefore had the least time!!

He is likely to take a large section of voters who previously supported Yushenko……explaining Yushenko’s less than 3% popularity rating……..but not enough to catch Tymoshenko or Yanukovych and therefore will not make it past the first round of voting.  Expect the majority of his support to drop behind Tymoshenko rather than Yanukovych in the second round.

So, you see dear readers, it is not anything spectacular or even worrying in Ukraine to have one government department suing another…….It is not the end of the world to have 4 of the top 5 parliamentary positions vacant and likely to remain so until the next election…….It is simply a game of musical chairs with more stabs in the back than a game of Cludo with Freddy Kruger!

LH7

The upside to all of this is that whilst the elite are fighting amongst themselves, the normal folk can get on unnoticed and business is not interfered with from upon high……a situation many business people from all over the world would actually envy!!

LH8

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Russian Pole Dancing & Fitness Championships

May 26, 2009

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2sPbwzWB_mw

The Russian Pole Dancing & Fitness Championships have recently taken place.  The winner – the lady above, Miss Varndush.

Now, I did chuckle to myself about the inclusion of the word “Fitness” in the title of the championships………until I watched her………the girl is “fit” in more ways than one!!!

Here’s a link to Russia Today…….. http://www.russiatoday.ru/Art_and_Fun/2009-04-20/Pole_dancing_championship___watch_on_RT.html

Personally, I’m all for it being included in the Winter Olympics at Sochi (Russia)…….but maybe the Winter Olympics is not the best one………these girls could have someones eye out if it is too cold!!!

eye out 1

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Big Business Ukraine Style………To Be Fair, No Different from US Gov & Haliburton/KBR

May 25, 2009

http://pravda.com.ua/news/2009/5/14/94667.htm

The above link is to an article in the Ukrainian Pravda newspaper.

To cut a very long story short, it relates to a contract to sort out Lviv airport for the Euro 2012 tournament.

The documents shown in the article relate to tenders, awards………cancelations of tenders…….and subsequent awards.

The story goes like this…….the tender was sent out and awarded…….but to someone with the wrong political leaning and was thus cancelled by those at the very top of the pile and it was subsequently resubmitted for tender……….when those with the right political leanings…….unsurprisingly…….won.

What is the contract worth? – $118 Million………Donations to the campaign fund for the next election after getting this award?……..Who knows.

You see………..Ukraine is no different from doing business in the USA, UK or anywhere else.

Who says Ukraine does not have a transparent process?

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