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Personnel clashes within the Ministry of Infrastructure – Ukraine

December 5, 2016

All is currently not well within the Ministry of Infrastructure.  The Minister, Vladimir Omeljan on a matter of principle point blank refuses to work with the winner of the “competition” to become the State Secretary of the Ministry, Andrei Galushchak.

Regular readers will be aware, there are Ukrainian competitions and there are “Ukrainian competitions” when it comes to filling political and civil service positions.  With “Ukrainian competitions” a reader armed with a little knowledge of loyalties, and/or personal understandings with “the power”, and/or history with those at the top, can normally be successfully tipped to emerge the winner of a “competition”.

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With regard to the “competition” for State Secretary of the Infrastructure Ministry, the results were as follows:  The successful Andrei Galushchak 12.14 points.  In second place with 11.18 points was (former acting Deputy Minister, Chief of Staff Dmitry Romensky, with third place occupied by Oleh Mironenko with 9.46 points.  The “competition” based upon examinations, situational taskings and interviews.

Why would a Minister state “We will not work with him” when the winning candidate came first in the “competition”?  Upon what grounds would he publicly voice such an objection?

Mr Galushchak previously has held positions as Deputy Chief of Lviv Railways and Director of Air Express (a SOE).  Does experience in rail and air management not lend itself toward the Infrastructure Ministry?

The matter of any (proven or unproven) nefariousness and graft synonymous with holding lofty positions within Ukrainian SOEs is perhaps not the issue at hand – rather it is the very close association Mr Galushchak has with Vladislav Kaskiv – who is currently seeking to prevent his extradition from Panama to Ukraine, being wanted for the theft and embezzlement of $ hundreds of millions during the time of the Yanukovych regime.

As an aside,it is perhaps perverse that Yuri Lutsenko as Prosecutor General now seeks to extradite Mr Kaskiv, when historically he could have insured his prosecution as Interior Minister in 2005 following the “Orange Revolution” – prison time for which Mr Kaskiv could still have been serving instead of stealing far greater sums under the Yanukovych system.

For those readers interested, Criminal Case Number 1-337/05 relates to Mr Kaskiv’s involvement in kidnapping, assault, protection rackets and conning UAH millions from the 2004/5 “Orange” protesters when heading a “civil organisation” called “Time” and the “Wild Division of the UNA-UNSO” – whose fund he (with others) also stole.  Despite testimony of victims etc.,  then Interior Minister Lutsenko officially suspended the turning of the wheels of justice for the case.  As there is no record the the case ever being heard or closed, presumably in a dusty box long forgotten in a court or prosecutor’s basement sits this case in suspended animation.  No doubt now Prosecutor General Lutsenko would prefer the decision of then Interior Minister Lutsenko to be long forgotten – for if he had done his job the first time instead of striking whatever grubby little deal he struck, the vastly greater criminal activities of Mr Kaskiv may never have occurred.

Whatever the case, prima facie it seems not a matter of what Mr Galushchak may or may not have historically stolen when in various senior SOE positions, but a case of (probable) guilt by (very close) association with the internationally wanted Vladislav Kaskiv (who is closely associated with MP/oligarchSergei Liovochkin) that is the cause of ministerial angst.

It remains to be seen whether the Cabinet of Ministers will heed the cry of one of their number and refuse to nominate Mr Galushchak for President Poroshenko to ultimately appoint – or indeed whether President Poroshenko would appoint Mr Galushchak upon the Cabinet’s nomination.

Should Mr Galushchak not be given the position having “won” the “competition”, then a reader may expect some form of court proceedings ahead.  In the meantime if Dmitry Romensky is not otherwise committed, as he would have been where “the smart money” placed their bets in this “competition”, it may well be that he will fill the appointment (as many expected).

A cynical reader may therefore consider there to be more than an element of stage managed political theatre to the entire event should it unfold with Mr Galushchak ultimately being unsuccessful.  The question of course – to whose benefit (if beyond a PR stunt) would it have been staged this way?

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