From out of the shadows – Boris LozhkinMarch 21, 2016
In an entry of 26th October 2015, a few words relating Boris Lozhkin, a name to a few outside of Ukraine would know appeared – “Lozhkin has been making noticeable noises and shuffles behind the curtain to the point that his ambition to hold the role seems quite clear – and that would explain why somebody has already tried to cut that ambition down to size by having Austria now question funds held in that nation that are attributed to Lozhkin. (A smell has now deliberately been wafted around him that involves Austria and thus the EU to let him know his limitations.)”.
In order to complete that tale, at least that tale as known to this blog, there was no criminality involved although the desired effect and political damage was done. The funds concerned were channeled in such a way as to avoid tax – and are not profits from nefarious deals or criminal acts. Tax avoidance is a national sport in Ukraine, willfully participated in from the lowly shop keeper and hostelry owner to the oligarchy. The sums involved may be drastically different, but the mens rea is nonetheless the same. As a percentage of income, perhaps the lowly shop keeper and hostelry owner may even hide more of their earnings from the tax man than the oligarchy.
It is actually quite difficult to tie Mr Lozkhin to any specific nefariousness. It requires traveling some way back in time to even tenuously link him with people such Ahat Bragin and Evgen Shcherban. He probably rubs shoulders with more odious and nefarious people now than at any other time in his life.
Early this month, his name appeared once more – “It is rumoured that Boris Lozhkin, and Dmitry Shymkiv, both currently Head and Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration respectively, will become Deputy Prime Ministers,”.
Mr Lozkhin is probably best known in Kharkiv and remains relatively unknown throughout Ukraine – despite being the current Head of the Presidential Administration and building a media/publishing empire beginning in 1994. He is a media man, but not a media personality.
He is without doubt a “doer”/”fixer” that deals with the mechanics. Substance over form. Content rather than the cover, is king.
It is Mr Lozhkin that reached out to Misha Saakashvili (and team) as well as other foreigners that came to aid Ukraine in 2014.
Both he and this blog see Governor Saakashvili as a necessary somewhat destabilising/irksome itch required to create an internal reaction if the existing model and status quo is to be challenged. The unanswered question is how to direct/manage the internal irritation that Governor Saakashvili causes to achieve best possible outcomes whilst preventing him simply becoming a force of /agent of chaos? Fortunately an issue for Mr Lozhkin to resolve and not this blog.
For the chief engineer and discreet/secretive high chamberlain of the Presidential Administration’s boiler room policy, strategy and problem solving, and somebody that is clearly highly intelligent, politically savvy, to be noticeably edging out from behind the curtain, a question presents itself – Why would such an individual want to take on a clearly public political role (as evidenced by his previous (and perhaps still current but in abeyance) moves to become PM and now touted position as Deputy PM) in any reshuffle?
For a media man, and not a man in the media, why now to step from behind the curtain?
Indeed, whilst still holding the post of Head of the Presidential Administration (and a High Chamberlain of the innermost circle of government behind the government), Mr Lozkhin has just released (a few days ago) a book called the “Fourth Republic” which by its title implies at the very least commentary on his time in office over the past 19 months. – its release timed, some may observe, at the crescendo of coalition/reshuffle negotiations in which he is rumoured to emerge with high office within the Verkhovna Rada.
It appears, that for whatever reason, (and it is no bad thing for his reputation as a reform orientated implementer seems to stand up fairly well under the scrutiny of numerous diplomats) Mr Lozkhin now desires to take a prominent role upon the very public stage.
Is it a preparatory act prior to inevitable early Verkhovna Rada elections probably before Spring 2017? Is it an act to bring a bright and systemic mind to a Verkhovna Rada that is dysfunctional with immediate effect? Either way, to what end? He is not a man to act on a whim. He is a man privy to confidential planning and confidential timing in the highest echelons. Ergo any move into the very public political realm – and when – is significant.
The birth of the overtly political and parliamentary Boris Lozkhin will have repercussions both short, and probably medium term – but what those will be, and the intent behind this new persona remain unclear.