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The Lyashko issue bubbling away on the back burner

August 5, 2015

Firstly apologies are due to regular readers.  Blog entries these past few days have been somewhat lightweight.  By extension, particular apologies to US readers, for the reason they have been lightweight is the amount of time your author has spent with journalists from the WSJ and WP etc., who are all in Odessa following a “Saakashvili line” and seeking “opinion” – other than Governor Saakashvili’s opinion.  The only variation for your author is whether “opinion” is sought before or after they have talked with Governor Saakashvili.

Clearly a metaphorical “death by Saakashvili linage/print space” awaits for those that read anything more than the sport pages, and unfortunately the perception of personality politics in Ukraine will be fortified rather than dismantled.

So be it.

Lyashko

Anyway, whilst otherwise engaged, an allegedly odious issue surrounding Oleh Lyashko continues to slowly gather momentum within the Prosecutor Generals Office.

The issue relates to the lifting of MP immunity by 287 votes of  Sergei Klyuev on 3rd June.

The allegations made against Oleh Lyashko MP (leader of the Radical Party) who also enjoys immunity (and impunity) are those of attempts to bribe fellow MPs (also with immunity and thus impunity) to abstain from the vote to remove the immunity of Mr Klyuev.

Politically it would have been incredibly stupid to try and bribe MPs to vote against the lifting of Mr Klyuev’s immunity.  Anybody who knows anything about the brothers Klyuev and their nefarious dealings with ex-President Yanukovych and “The Family” understands there are criminal questions to be asked and answered.  A dim societal view would have been taken toward MPs that voted against lifting the immunity in question – a disaster for a populist political hollow shell such as Mr Lyashko.

Thus the political solution in attempting to allow Mr Klyuev to retain his immunity was to persuade/bribe/coerce fellow MPs to simply not vote at all, and it is claimed that bribes were duly offered.  Mr Klyuev thereby retaining his immunity by way of abstentions.

It is no secret that oligarch Dmitry Firtash, currently marooned in Austria, is behind the Radical Party.  It is also no secret that brothers Klyuev and Mr Firtash have an amicable relationship.  Indeed Sergei Klyuev and Mr Firtash share some of the same legal team that successfully prevented Mr Firtash’s extradition to the US earlier this year.

As such, be there any substance to the allegations against Oleh Lyashko, then he was simply following his master’s orders issued from Vienna.

For almost 2 months the Prosecutor General’s Office has tried to question Oleh Lyashko over the allegations, the 2nd August being the latest request for him to attend the PGOs offices that he has ignored – and why not immunity equals impunity in Ukraine and that combination certainly trumps the lack of morality in any populist politician, or ethical void with regard to respect for the rule of law.

It is also an open secret that when the new Rada session begins in September, the PGO will be applying for several MPs to have their immunities lifted in order to arrest them (the majority on that list ex-Regionaires).  Whilst the names of those MPs are not (yet) in the public domain, Mr Lyashko is certainly not upon the list of names mentioned to your author (yet).

So will his name be added to that list?  After all, the allegation is a serious allegation.

The word from the PGOs office is that it will do everything possible to question Mr Lyashko – but is that everything short of asking for his immunity to be lifted, or including such a request?

How did Sergei Kivalov (another ex-Regionaire) heavily rumoured on 3rd June within the Rada corridors to also be up for such an immunity stripping vote not even feature that day?  Will he escape the “September list” the PGO intends to submit?

Would it be good or bad politics to go after such a bellicose (if intellectually challenged) populist like Mr Lyashko immediately prior to the local elections?  Should politics dictate the timing of the law being enforced, or should the law be enforced regardless of the political timing?  How will that timing be perceived politically by the Ukrainian voting constituency?

What are the ramifications for the coalition of which The Radical Party are members?

How severe the ripples when constitution changing 300+ vote majorities are required to finally deal with the “decentralisation” amendments, the first vote on constitutional amendments for severely restricting judicial immunity and reforming the PGO itself?

Would it return impetuous for the final vote to remove MPs immunity, or indeed present a further hurdle to that final vote ever taking place?

It is an issue currently simmering on the back-burner, but one that cannot be ignored.

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