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Although The Presidential Campaign Has Not Started……….

August 1, 2009

Well dear readers, although I have been busy for the past few days, it has been worth it……..I think.  I will know for certain on Monday…….but negotiations regarding all things “Russian business style” have been held and verbally agreed……on top of the actual business in hand.  This is always a good sign that things will happen…….so I wait Monday.

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Now, having a few minutes to flick through the press here, although the official campaigning for President of Ukraine elections does not start for another month or so……I have noticed that one candidate has come up with a few policy statements.

Arseniy Yatseniuk……who probably won’t make it into the second stage of voting……but you never know……has stated 5 policy statements for his first term as President. 

Yeh, I know, nothing like confidence…….and despite the fact I like him…….this time will not be his time.

Anyway, what are his policies stated thus far?

Firstly, a national drive to upgrade Ukraine’s industry which he claims……and is probably correct in most cases……but certainly not all cases…….has not developed at all in the last 18 years.

Eh?…….Well the cement production industry has developed massively in the past 18 years…….because 94% of cement production companies are owned by foreign companies who have switched from wet to dry production at massive investment…..and environmental gains……..so his claims are not exactly accurate.  He is though a politician, and therefore allowing shards of truth to enter the dark political picture being painted would be…..inconvenient…….so it is far better to say……..as he has, there has been no development in the last 18 years.

Then you would have to ask just how this development would be forced to occur.  All the best industrial bits were sold……read conned/swindled/bought for a song/just plain stolen…..15 years ago by the now political elite.  All the shitty bits remained in State ownership.

I am not sure how he thinks he can force industrial development in the private sector…….tax breaks are not an option……as nobody pays tax.

I am not sure…….and like all politicians, he does not say……..how this would be financed…..when it comes to the State owned industrial sector either……unless what is left of the State owned industrial sector is privatised to foreigners with a caveat that serious investment is part of the deal.  Don’t you just hate it when politicians come out with (the obvious) plans…….but won’t say or cannot say (because they have no idea) how they will be paid for?

Secondly, Arseniy has stated he wants to remove the reliance on Russian energy……not by tapping into Ukraine’s enormous natural supplies……but by new nuclear reactors.  Fair enough, the costings for one system verses another I don’t know so cannot compare and analyse.  This is, however, a country, which still gets massive amounts of international aid to put a new concrete sarcophagus around Chernobyl. 

Whilst the expertise and skill set certainly exists for the nuclear program…..so it does for tapping Ukraine’s natural resources…….but where is the money going to come from?  This is a more expensive endeavour (natural or nuclear) than the industrial development.

Thirdly, Mr Yatseniuk proposes making Ukrainin agriculture a world leader.  Quite right…….Ukraine is the most fertile nation in Europe with the best quality soil in Europe too…….well at least in the South and West of Ukraine.  There will be no problem getting the foreign investment in this arena…….outside the fact that foreigners cannot own agricultural land and can only lease it for 49 year periods.  That is the law and that law will not change.  Here, however, regardless of the leasing issue, there is a definite and almost guaranteed area in which foreign investment will flood in……..assuming the tax, corporate and “administrative issues” can be reduced dramatically.

Unfortunately, it is not a policy either first stated by Mr Yatseniuk or one which has not been in the public domain for at least 4 years.

Fourthly he wants to improve the nations free health service and free education……..which currently exist……..and are free.  Unfortunately everyone involved in health provision and education are paid less than a labourer on a building site and any actual physical investment in equipment or even maintenance in or of buildings is carried out by parents or grateful patients as there is not enough State funds to provide the meagerest of pay rises or even a lick of paint on a building.

Actually, that may not be right…….there may be the funds…….on paper……..but it is simply stolen before it reaches the front line, by layers and layers of corrupt politicians and officials.

He doesn’t make corruption and fighting corruption something on this list…….so we have to assume he will need to raise the money………….somehow.

Lastly, the plan is to form a “strong army”.  Aside from the finances involved…….again not mentioned…….there is the recruitment issue.  Conscripts do not make good soldiers……I know having been on a few foray’s in the Falklands and Kuwait.  To make the military appealing in any shape, form or manner…….well, I take you back to the issues with health care and education.

It is a marvelous wish list……..to which one could add, independent judiciary, equal and fair law enforcement, the removal of MP’s immunity, the removal of corruption, revamped and understandible taxation, the removal of both administrative and “invisible” barriers to business and investment…….the wish list is endless.

Where is the how……..Where is the costing…….Where is the timescale?

These statements are as empty as those of Mr Yatseniuk’s political rivals……..hardly change Ukrainians can believe in!!

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