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Shuffling behind the Bessarabian curtain?

May 29, 2017

Igor Kononenko.  That is a name that featured regularly in blog entries until January.

The last entry mentioning him related to his entering into battle, and apparently emerging victorious, with Alexander “Angel” Angert (Odessa’s Don of Dons) over the future ownership of Odessa CHP plant.

Subsequent to that apparent December 2016 victory over Mr Angert, in January 2017, Igor Kononenko, a man known to be President Proshenko’s parliamentary “leg breaker”, managed to mysteriously imbibe a very unhealthy quantity of mercury.  Coincidence perhaps.

Albeit behind the curtain Mr Kononenko did not disappear, a seemingly (and perhaps necessarily) slow recovery has resulted in a much lower media profile for Mr Kononenko thus far this year.

That however may be about to change if the current shuffling behind the curtain is any indication.

Going back to the last parliamentary elections, the political party Nash Krai was created – and to be blunt it was created with Bankova/Presidential Administration assistance.  It is a party of mainly ex-Party of Regions politicians then specifically designed to split the Opposition Block (remnant of Party of Regions) constituency vote.  A classic divide and conquer.  And it worked.

Despite this technical party requiring to appear independent, thus formally headed by Alexander Feldman, Yuri Granaturov, Anton Cisse/Kisse, Anatoli Mazarchuk and Sergei Kaltsev it was an authorities project.

Longstanding MP Anton Kisse/Cisse has oft appeared within the prose of this blog, being the unofficial Tsar of the southwest of Odessa Oblast and leader of the Bulgarian diaspora (since the mysterious and permanent disappearance of Theodore Karazhekov, the first Bulgarian diaspora leader in the 1990’s when Mr Kisse/Cisse decided he wanted to head the organisation).

The blog has regularly, and deliberately quite bluntly, strongly hinted at what can be described as his less than robust support for Ukraine in comparison to his attachment to a “Bessarabian” rebirth.  That his business (and “business”) would suffer from a detachment from Kyiv is perhaps the significant factor in his participation in a technical political party associated with the current occupants of the Bankova and Presidential Administration – and the reason his occasional stoking of ethnic fires is carefully managed.

Up until know it has been strongly rumoured that the Bankova/Presidential Administration liaison/point man/coercer responsible for “influencing” Nash Krai was Vitaly Kovalchuk (Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration).

That role at some point over the past week or two has seemingly been surrendered by Mr Kovalchuk and the new incumbent is Igor Kononenko.  (No doubt Mr Kolvalchuk’s “skills” will be employed elsewhere – a Radical Party gravitating toward Rinat Akhmetov perhaps.)

Having already stated in numerous historical entries that Mr Kononenko is viewed as the President’s “leg-breaker” within the Verkhovna Rada, a reader might expect his “influencing” within Nash Krai would be somewhat “aggressive” upon taking on this new role – particularly toward those within the Nash Krai ranks that are perhaps not quite as patriotic as they might and/or should be.

Thus it comes as no surprise that apparently a criminal case against Anton Kisse/Cisse has been opened, coincidentally (or probably not) shortly after Mr Kononenko assumed the role of Nash Krai curator.

The rumour mill seems undecided as to what, exactly, that criminal case is – only that there be a case opened.  On checking the NABU website at the time of writing there appears to be nothing – so perhaps it is not corruption related but rather purely criminal and thus is being investigated by more manipulable agencies than NABU.

Naturally Mr Kisse/Cisse holds parliamentary immunity (and impunity), but if Mr Kononenko is genuinely going after him then sufficient votes will be found to remove that immunity.  Clearly Mr Kononenko would seemingly prefer a more loyal, subordinate and patriotic MP.

Quite who could stand and beat Mr Kisse/Cisse in southwestern Odessa is unclear – so perhaps putting Mr Kisse/Cisse in a position where he cannot stand is a prerequisite.

If rumour be true, how his constituents and the ethnic Bulgar community would react will be interesting.  Will it become combustible (Mr Kisse/Cisse is no stranger to controlling “sporty young men with a tendency toward (paid for) violence) or will it be a case of the “Tsar is dead – Long live the Tsar” when he is replaced?

For the record, his rival BPP electoral candidate at the last election is widely believed to be an agricultural VAT corruptioneer – among other suggestions of nefariousness.  Thus, no differently than Mayor Trukhanov where BPP also had no good candidate to run, grubby deals had to be made considering the circumstances at the time and the strategic (and criminal) importance of Odessa.

Whatever the case, if Mr Kononenko is intent on ridding Nash Krai of its less loyal members and replacing them with “more suitable” candidates, Mr Kisse/Cisse will not be the last to see the attentions of Igor Kononenko.  The intended tighter leash over Nash Krai as a voting block both nationally and particularly locally will be forthcoming, particularly should “big names” fall asunder.

It is perhaps the local governance, where Nash Krai does very well in numerous locations across the country, that a reader should ultimately look – for in these days of decentralisation there is much to gain by controlling those that control local budgets and reap the rewards of regional inward investment.

Thus, whilst rumour would have eyes watching Anton Kisse/Cisse as a Nash Krai sacrificial lamb upon the alter of Mr Kononenko – as always follow the money!

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