Archive for June 12th, 2015

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Remember the Agency for the Modernisation of Ukraine?

June 12, 2015

Remember the Agency for the Modernisation of Ukraine?

It was launched by Dmirty Firtash in March 2015 whilst awaiting extradition proceedings instigated by the USA for corruption.

Mr Firtash was spared extradition to the USA by the Austrian courts, who tended to agree there was a political element in the US request.  The USA, however, has made it clear that despite the Austrian court ruling, it has not given up on bringing Mr Firtash before a US court.

In true diplomatic style, and to avoid any unnecessary angst, the US indictment for Mr Firtash was unsealed a few days after he left London and a stop off at the FCO, and also a chat with our “friends” from Vauxhall Bridge – both of which he is/was prone to doing fairly frequently.

Sighs all around amongst the UK establishment that it was not put in such an awkward position by the USA.  That said, the USA has something of an affinity with the UK establishment – whether you accept the “special relationship” rhetoric or not.  Unnecessarily dumping prickly issues on the UK simply wouldn’t do – better to wait until Mr Firtash was on Austrian soil and under the jurisdiction of a foreign government that is less useful.

Riding upon the coattails of the US determination to see Mr Firtash answer for his allegedly corrupt actions, the Ukrainian government has now also gone after Mr Firtash – why pick on Mr Kolomoisky alone after all?  It is at least a thin attempt to counter any allegations of “political persecution”, as Mr Kolomoisky’s politics are radically different to those of Mr Firtash.  Their only genuinely common interest is the survival of the oligarchy, albeit in truth they would happily see each other out of the frame given the chance.

Whilst Mr Kolomoisky is fighting his corner, both directly and indirectly from Ukraine, clearly Mr Firtash’s point-man in the country, Sergei Lyovochkin, and regional puppeteers such as Mykola Skoryk in Odessa, are failing him somewhat.

Thus, as with Mr Kolomoisky, not only are their media assets deployed to challenge the “deoligarchisation” of Ukraine, but financed “civil society” entities are appearing to indirectly champion their cause.

What may have originally been a tool to attempt to have the USA back off on the promise of raising significant funds for Ukrainian development, will now become a tool to pressure the current leadership of Ukraine instead.

Consistently Mr Firtash’s Inter media advertises the Agency for Modernisation of Ukraine, and also the Federal Employers of Ukraine, of which Mr Firtash also heads, promising a “new way” and investment into Ukraine and Ukrainian SMEs.

Some may question the benefits of that, when after months of daily advertising, nothing has happened.  Those foreign dignitaries that have formally associated themselves with the Agency for Modernisation of Ukraine, may or may not know the extent to which the organisation has been promoted, thus far without any results.  It currently appears nothing more than a hollow entity to most.

That said, perhaps those such as Lords Risby, Mandelson and Macdonald, and former prominent politicians Messrs F.W. Klerk, Parisot, Spindelegger and Steinbruk who aren’t paying for the constant advertising barrage -but may well be receiving a fee from Mr Firtash for their time, experience and transferable veneer of respectability – don’t really care.

amu

Yesterday, after months of silence other than consistent advertising, an announcement by Mr Spindelegger occurred – a few days after Ukraine went after some of Mr Firtash’s assets.  A coincidence of timing similar to that of the original project launch that followed the unsealing of the US indictment for corruption.

Mr Spindelegger stating yesterday, “We’ve started work in late March. We hope that by the middle or end of September the program on Ukraine’s modernization will be ready and we will be able to present it to the public.

Our plans after September are to create the Fund for the Modernization of Ukraine. The fund would invest in small and medium-sized companies and infrastructure development.

He went on to state that currently the Agency for the Modernization of Ukraine founded by Mr Firtash was indeed funded by Mr Firtash via his Group DF entity, and that the agency is currently expanding the platform of partners who will provide financial aid to the institution – without naming any.

He was at pains to state that the agency works independently of influence of Mr Firtash, and that “No director or section head feels pressure.”  Perhaps so – for now anyway.

Interestingly, or perhaps predictably, the envisaged programme will first be presented the agency’s partners – The Federation of Employers of Ukraine headed by Mr Firtash, and the Federation of Trade Unions headed by Grigory Osovoy, a long time acquaintance of Mr Firtash.  Naturally, we can expect Group DF owned by Mr Firtash will also receive a copy of what it is paying for at the same time as the other partners.

Thus we have a situation whereby a civil society agency founded by Mr Firtash, is submitting a programme by those venerable persons associated with it approached by Mr Firtash (and in all probability their time is remunerated for by Mr Firtash one way or another), for the approval and comment of partners headed by, or heavily influenced by, Mr Firtash.

The rhetorical question is whether Mr Firtash will agree with the content of the programme  presented to Mr Firtash, several times under several different hats, generated by those approached (and probably remunerated) by Mr Firtash, from an entity created and funded by Mr Firtash.

One may suspect Mr Firtash will agree with the programme contents.

Once this occurs a new round of advertising promoting these erudite comments of eminent (but prima facie unconnected) foreigners will occur on the Inter media channels owned by Mr Firtash in an anti-government way.

If not conspiratorial, then certainly controversial.

A cynical person may therefore see the  Agency for Modernisation of Ukraine as a vehicle which is nothing more than Mr Firtash going to great lengths, and as opaquely but respectably as possible, with the intent of rehabilitating Mr Firtash within the Ukrainian public psyche – and undermining the government and its development plans in what will deliberately or incidentally become another prong to the Kolomoisky civil front fork that aims to do nothing more than preserve the oligarchy and further their interests at the expense of the State and the electorate.

After such a build up, it has to be hoped that the programme presented is simply awesome to the point that the government simply has to adopt any recommendations and repent for its sins currently aimed at Mr Firtash.

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