Archive for November 10th, 2015

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Unexceptionally exceptional – Zlata Ohnevych quit the Rada

November 10, 2015

Just over a year ago when all the same, tired, corrupt, cronyist, self-interested political leaders and associated apparatchiks, oligarchs and grey cardinals were trying to re-brand their political parties with the mass recruitment drive amongst leading journalists, civil society members and cultural icons in a faux attempt to present a facade of radical changes within the political class and their motivations before a clearly angry and volatile Ukrainian constituency, amongst that number recruited was Zlata Ohnevych.

Zlata

To be blunt, unless a reader is one of those “Eurovision” devotees, the name Zlata Ohnevych means nothing.  (In 2013 she came 3rd in the competition.)  Even within Ukrainian politics, she is hardly a name that stands out for political accomplishments.

Ms Ohnevych entered the Verkhovna Rada on Oleh Lyashko’s Radical Party list – not that entering upon such a list should infer Ms Ohnevych holds the manic (and moronic) views of the party leader.  Like many such reform-minded individuals recruited, it was a matter of entering the Verkhovna Rada and then voting across – or perhaps in spite of – party lines with other reformers sprinkled across all parties.

Most reformers entered upon whatever party list wanted them as there was no time to create a party of reformers.  A case of supping with the devil with a long handled spoon for a perceived chance to do a greater good.

Upon entering the Verkhovna Rada, Ms Ohnevych stated – “I understand that people perceive parliamentarians as jowly, paunchy, old, sick and stupid people. I want the young, smart and beautiful in this Parliament.”  Her views were, and remain, those of a very large proportion of the Ukrainian constituency – particularly those under 40 years of age and who thus represent the future of Ukraine.

On 10th November 2015, after just over a year as an MP in the Verkhovna Rada, where it has to be said she has not been exceptional in her influence, Ms Ohnevych did the exceptional – she stood before her peers and voluntarily resigned from the parliament.

He reasons for resigning were clearly stated, quite honest and indeed accurate regarding the Verkhovna Rada of 2015 and its failure to meet the expectations of 2014.  “I ran for the parliament not to seek deputy powers or some privileges, I came here as a citizen, who saw a new way for Ukraine. But now I see that when there is no culture, and it is easier to govern and manipulate the people. That’s why under such circumstances I, as a cultural activist, see no benefit in this parliament, I just see the constant sharing of political power.

I regret that the present parliament doesn’t need culture as it won’t grant the big money to which the parliamentarians used to.   I agree, culture – is not money, it is much more.  This spiritual wealth is something without which there can be no nation, or the country itself .”

All of which is entirely accurate.  Parliament has thus far spectacularly failed to reform the political processes and machinery that supports and sabotages democracy and the Verkhovna Rada as an institution.  The machinery and processes continue to support the few big political players, grey cardinals and oligarchs.  The political machinery and processes require reform far more than simply changing the names that sit within the body.  Until those process and machinery are reformed, there is little likelihood of major, sustainable and consolidated reform elsewhere.

Thus it seems clear that Ms Ohnevych has resigned upon principle seeing no opportunities to change the odious and cancerous political culture that still remains unchanged within the Verkhovna Rada.  An admirable stance, however it is a stance that actually removes an MP from within the Verkhovna Rada that possessed principles, morality and hoped for a changed institutional ethic.

Equally, the reformers are now minus one in there number, the old feckless, self-serving crowd are therefore plus one by default.

Except it may actually be minus two for the reformers and plus two for the feckless, cronyist, self-serving corrupted establishment, for replacing Ms Ohnevych from The Radical Party list could very well be Tatyana Yuzkov.

Yuskova

Sadly few would come as more representative of the feckless, self-serving and dyed-in-the-wool “corrupt establishment” than Ms Yuzkov.  She is the daughter of Leonid Yuzkov, the First President of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine.  The Yuzkov’s are very chummy with the entirely odious and much despised Viktor Medvedchuk, who is a close friend of President Putin, was responsible together with Sergei Kivalov for the rigged 2004/5 elections that brought about the “Orange Revolution”, and who to this day is hardly an individual identified with having the best interests of Ukraine at heart by an overwhelming number of the Ukrainian constituency.

The Yuzkov’s have also defended (or attempted to), Oleh Lyashko in court proceedings over the years past.  They may perhaps be defending him once more in the years to come too.

Tatyana Yuzkov currently, as well as being a lawyer, also sits on a temporary ad hoc committee that verifies judges, and is a Member of The Shevchenko Kyiv Bar Association.

Although she may represent many things if she becomes a Verkhovna Rada MP, representing reform is highly unlikely to be one of them.

For those wondering why “could” and “maybe” are being used with regard to Ms Yuzkov’s replacing Ms Ohnevych, there is an issue to be overcome.

Although clearly Oleh Lyashko would want her in the Verkhovna Rada immediately, it appears that after the parliamentary voting in 2014 left her one place away from becoming an MP, she then left the Radical Party.

Thus per the party list of October 2014 when the Verkhovna Rada elections were held she would indeed be the automatic replacement for Ms Ohnevych, but having left the political party, there must be some legal doubt as to whether that entitlement then passes to the person below her that remains a member of The Radical Party.

No doubt Oleh Lyashko (and the associated swivel-eyed) will be exerting immense pressure (and no doubt threats in his usual bellicose style) upon the CEC to accept Ms Yuzkov as the rightful successor to Ms Ohnevych.

How this will be resolved, time will tell.

However, returning to Ms Ohnevych, one is perhaps left to wonder that if she felt frustrated at the inability to reform the grotesque politics within the Verkhovna Rada whilst a member of the institution, does she expect more success from without?

Tis surely more fruitful to try and change things from within than from without.

If not, is she giving up and sending a message that the Verkhovna Rada is simply unable to reform?  What message does that project to the Ukrainian constituency and the external supporters of Ukraine?

Would she return on the list of a new party specifically orientated toward, and concentrated upon, reforming the political machinery and processes within the Verkovna Rada as its priority?  Should any political party actually manage such an incredibly difficult task, it has to be said that the other much needed reforms would suddenly become far easier to achieve and far more sustainable in their outcomes.

Whatever the case, whilst taking note of her admirably principled stance, one can’t help but see her resignation as a victory for the cancerous old guard that continues to fester within the walls of the Verkhovna Rada.

Whilst Ms Ohnevych may have been unexceptional in her influence within the Verkhovna Rada, yet exceptional in her departure from it, the probable arrival of Ms Yuzkov seems likely to be entirely unexceptional when it comes to progressing the vested interests, cronyism and feckless self-serving that continues unabashed in Kyiv.

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Crime & Predictable Outcomes

November 10, 2015

When the “Lustration Law” was passed last year an entry at the time raised the following issue (amongst several) – “There is also a question of what then to do with all the lustrated? It is one thing to raise sufficient doubt about lifestyles far beyond declared means ultimately resulting in a lustration from office – but perhaps quite another matter to provide evidence of specific crimes sufficient for trial and incarceration.

A well educated, affluent, corrupt, well connected, ethically bankrupt and embittered set of people in large enough numbers could become a shadow civil service administration, together with a shadow legal and law enforcement system, given the right encouragement and backing – and you don’t need to look far within the Ukrainian neighbourhood for those prepared to provide that encouragement and backing.

If the numbers to be lustrated are to be deliberately kept small enough to manage any such risk, then that calls into question the genuine purification process being purported and that society is expecting. Worse, any small number then becomes perceived as a political witch hunt where rule by law selects those who fall foul of the process.”

So far as can be seen, no answer has been found – if indeed an answer was ever sought.  Whilst the number of nefarious and criminal incidents involving those no longer holding official positions is unknown (and probably deliberately not being recorded somewhere within Government), reports of such incidents continue to appear in the media.

The latest incident in Odessa involving a criminal gang of six that comprised of a serving State Migration Officer and an ex-police officer in an armed robbery – one of many they are suspected of committing.

The after effect of “lustration” whereby simply sacking or accepting (encouraged) resignations of those that have clearly been involved in crimes that provide for a far better lifestyle than official salaries provide for, is that their “networks” and nefarious criminal associations continue as they remain free to roam the streets.  For a percentage of the “lustrated” who perhaps have not accumulated sufficient illicit funds, or that want more, or that were simply criminals in State uniforms their entire careers, they know that crime certainly pays far better than any other job they are likely to get – and with their connections they are unlikely to face any consequences unless lieterally caught in the act.

With the new Patrol Police now up and running, but dealing with traffic accidents, drunks, dog bites and street brawls – the most basic (albeit most public facing) of policing, as has been written about at length previously at the blog, the issue of the specialised police officers, (criminal investigation, drugs, sexual offences, human trafficking, serious and organised crime etc) being sacked en masse and installation of brand new but inexperienced replacements would be prohibited due to experience within the specific disciplines.

(The same issues will be presented with new prosecutors and judges – they cannot all simply be sacked or lustrated less the experienced if slightly grubby baby be thrown out with the very dirty water – particularly so when the the bureaucracy to accomplish a changing of (most of) the guard is simply so slow.)

Thus all such officers have been made redundant and those that wanted to remain have been rehired under a new (temporary) contract whilst they are “reassessed” for their suitability.  Those with experience but less mired in corruption will stay whilst those up to their necks in corruption will go – hopefully.

The next wave of “reassessment” for those officers now entering the “new police” is likely to lead to more being required to resign/sacked due to their level of criminality and suspected nefariousness being too great to justify their retention – and these will be smarter and better connected within unreformed institutions and the organised and local criminal networks than those already ejected from the police that were replaced by the “Patrol Police”.

They will be followed by a large number of lustrated/sacked/resigned prosecutors and (hopefully) numerous judges all with equally “useful” networks ranging from the politicians, institutional bosses, and organised crime, to the street dealer, smuggler and pimp.  None seem likely to see the inside of a jail or be subject to a meaningful criminal investigation at the time of dismissal – perhaps the numbers are so great the legal system couldn’t cope – though as the legal stands (entirely unreformed where it counts) few would be incarcerated anyway.

At its core the issue is not one of simply changing corrupt personnel – it is one of changing institutional (canteen) culture.  The institution being “reformed” changed to that where public service is the ethos of the institution, rather than one of public subjugation under the institution.

crime

However, questions remain about what to do with the thousands of sacked/lustrated (and lustration has not even begun amongst the judiciary) when jailing people seems to be something that simply doesn’t happen to those removed from public institutions.  Such people only seem to be arrested and see the inside of a cell if caught red-handed – whether in, or after, holding office.

As such local criminal networks of the sacked/lustrated are appearing and will continue to do so – as predicted in the 5th October 2014 entry – often involving those that remain in office and missed the lustration guillotine.  A half-arsed “lustration” is undoubtedly what Ukraine has conducted, leading to half-arsed outcomes – due to what is seemingly either a half-arsed or entirely absent strategy regarding the nefarious and criminal that are dismissed rather than properly investigated and subjected to due process.

The longer these local recently institutionally defrocked networks exit, the more they will grow and the more they will become consolidated.  The harder then, to uproot them later.

It is perhaps time to start consolidating the number and type of criminal incidents involving ex/lustrated/former uniform wearing personnel – if in the apparent absence of any idea of what to do with them (such as subject them to meaningful investigation – and subsequently jail), then for no other reason than academic purposes.

Perhaps something to keep an eye on considering the possibilities of cooperation or co-opting some well armed volunteers also roaming around unchallenged by the authorities too.

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