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Leaving the club – or several actually (Odessa)

October 30, 2014

As regular readers will have noted, the blog has recently become rather “Odessa-centric” – for good reason.  There are those that read this blog in Kyiv, Brussels and several capitals specifically to get a “feel” for what is going on in Odessa at certain times – particularly at times of unexpected incident, elections or “interesting developments” upon which it is felt necessary comment is made.

This, once again, is one such entry – prior to returning to matters more national tomorrow – now that (with a few exceptions) the results from the elections in Odessa have been announced and accepted.

Of note today, Odessa City Council has several decisions to leave international associations it considers ineffective and unable to justify regarding cost.  Membership fees, administration costs etc.

With effect from today, decisions were made to leave the International Assembly of Capitals and Major Cities of the CIS (Confederation of Independent States), the European Coalition of Cities Against Racism, The International Black Sea Club, the International Coalition for Environmental Initiatives and the European Federation of Local Solidarity Association.

These decisions made in response to the Cabinet of Ministers Decree “On saving public money and avoiding loses to the budget” according to the City Council session today, after consultation with, and the deliberation of, the Department of International Relations of City Hall.

It appears, for the time being at least, all remaining official associations will be spared the administrative and budgetary axe.

What savings this will actually produce, who knows?  Perhaps a move to e-government rather than remaining on paper would save just as much if not more?

As to the historical benefits of any of these organisations and how the have manifested themselves in Odessa, that is perhaps subjective, although without doubt none have ever had much of a public profile.

Also of note is the apparent arrival of lustration in Odessa within both the prosecutors and tax administration departments first to be targeted – though clearly it currently seems to be superficial rather than confronting the deep and ingrained corrupt culture that runs within these institutions.

Whether serious inroads will be made remains to be seen.

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