Archive for the ‘BYuT’ Category

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Trickle down culpability – An Odessa case to watch

October 18, 2016

A reader may ponder quite rightly just how many letters Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko receives directly requesting him to do his part in upholding the law.

However many he receives, he can now add one more to the list – a letter from Invest Group in Odessa, part of which reads “In view of the above employees of the company Invest Group refer to you as the head of the Prosecutor General’s Office, which seeks to protect human rights, the interests of society and the state, with a request to protect our employees against threats and attacks on the part of Mr. Dubov AF.”  

In short a public and direct appeal to Yuri Lutsenko not to continue to turn a blind eye to raider attacks by Mr Dubov (and associates) – please do your job!

The problems for Yuri Lutsenko continue to mount, for his undoubted return to politics (and at a minimum with a Cabinet position) rest heavily upon actually being perceived as a Prosecutor General that actively went after the elite and put more than a few in jail.  That necessity will eventually bring him into conflict with President Poroshenko who thus far has presided by way of managing elite interests, striking grubby deals, and insuring that none of the elite actually go to jail – at worst to be found guilty in absentia.

Whilst “trickle down economics” may be a commonly known phrase to many, “trickle down culpability” is how anti-corruption is currently to be perceived in Ukraine.  Those at the bottom of the “trickle down culpability” pyramid however, are hardly set to benefit in either theory or practice.

This particular Invest Group case however, is somewhat interesting for it involves a man with no legitimate immunity, who is unambiguously connected to the very top of the Ukrainian elite yet politically toxic, and is nothing short of a professional “raider” of businesses.

Thus there are local complainants, a local structure that simply fails to control his well known nefarious deeds, a local infrastructure that acts on his behalf/defends his actions, and an elite connection that is undeniable yet intangible – whilst he is without any of the immunity complications associated with actually arresting him.

Before going any further, a few lines about Mr Alexander Dubov are perhaps in order – for most readers will have never heard of him (even if they live in Ukraine).

Mr Dubov hails from Odessa Oblast.  He finished medical school and also holds qualifications in law from Odessa National Academy.  Upon completion his mysteriously managed to land some highly placed positions in the southwest of the Oblast immediately.  For example he promptly became Deputy Director of Dombudkonstruktsiya near Ismail.  Time spent on the borders of Transnistria was not wasted and it is claimed/known that he became a major player in cigarette smuggling during the mid to late 1990’s.  He also became the Deputy Director (of General Affairs) for the Christian Charitable Foundation Trust until 2002/3.

“Foundations”, “trusts” and “charities” were/are a prerequisite for those with sullied reputations but who have political ambition – and political ambition Mr Dubov had (and still has).

He became a Deputy Director of an entity called the Ukrainian Investment Group which sometime around 2005/6 came into contact with an entity called International Investment Group.  International Investment Group was then led by Alexander Yanukovych, the eldest (and wanted) son of former-President Yanukovych.

A reader will therefore be able to predict the increased profitability and infamy of Mr Dubov within certain circles once a relationship with Alexander Yanukovych developed.

Indeed in 2007, when then President Yushenko was juggling Prime Ministers and minions of both Yanukovych and Tymoshenko sallied forth across the land offering MP mandates for $5 million for those interested and deemed appropriate/came with recommendation (with an expected return of quadrupling that investment during a parliamentary mandate – or such was the return offered to this blog when asked in 2007 if for $5 million a seat in the Verkhovna Rada would be of interest), Mr Dubov entered the Verkhovna Rada under the Batkivshchyna (Tymoshenko) Party label.

Whether or not he got a discount on the $5 million joining/mandate fee who knows – but assuredly it will have cost several $ millions for that mandate if offered the same deal that this blog was offered at that time.

Naturally, having now reached the Verkhovna Rada Mr Dubov also set up his own charity, “Foundation for Goodness and Love”.  It was the done thing and nothing unusual.  Such entities are particularly useful when it comes to voter bribery/coercion.

Once in the Verkhovna Rada Mr Dubov set about work in the font of all fonts of corruption and nefariousness – energy and nuclear power.  He became closely associated with Alexander Turchynov, the current Secretary of the National Security & Defence Council of Ukraine.  Mr Turchynov was at the time one of the staunchest of Tymoshenko loyalists.  Mr Turchynov appears to have ably assisted Mr Dubov’s parliamentary career – and with it access to numerous machinations and nefarious schemes.  Without listing them all, scams are alleged to have included the food budget for prisoners (presumably resulting in hungry prisoners), drug procurement, and (an on-going per the opening paragraphs) count of close to 100 corporate raids – mostly in Odessa, but not exclusively.

In 2012 his second term in the Verhovna Rada began (District 64, Odessa) in what must have been an extremely expensive voter bribery and/or coercion campaign.  At the time of “peak Yanukovych”, a Batkivshchyna MP from Odessa with a reputation as thoroughly sullied as his won fairly?  Clearly the previous Verhovna Rada “returns” during his first mandate, plus almost 100 corporate raids upon profitable companies provided for such expensive electoral funding.

What is perhaps somewhat unique about the corporate raiding conducted by Mr Dubov is that no entity seems to have survived once his eye (or the eyes of others for which he would ply his expertise) has been taken with them.  There is also a level of consistent brutality and brazenness about these corporate raids that set them apart from others.

Naturally not all spoils were (or are) retained by Mr Dubov.  He had (and has) patrons within the Verkhovna Rada to which tribute is necessarily paid.  Indeed rumour has it that he earned sufficient trust that during the immediate aftermath of the Yanukovych regime flight and the subsequent high positions of his patrons, that he became one of the “purses” for certain temporary highly placed political figures to re-route State funds through.

Dubrov, Yatseniuk, Tymoshenko Y, Tymoshenko E

Dubrov, Yatseniuk, Tymoshenko Y, Tymoshenko E

The “Revolution of Dignity” was not altogether rewarding for Mr Dubov however – even if you do get to stand next to Ms Tymoshenko upon her release before a less than enthusiastic crowd.

The subsequent Verkhovna Rada elections of October 2015 saw him lose his single mandate parliamentary seat and he was deemed simply to odious a figure to feature highly on any Batkivshchyna Party list in the post-revolutionary atmosphere.  Those with a public persona for thuggery, corporate raiding and extortion were swiftly distanced whilst new unsullied civil society and journalism people were actively sought – notwithstanding persistent and ugly inferences to his involvement in the preparations (and aftermath) resulting in the 2nd May tragedy in Odessa.

Mr Dubov is not man without political creativity, even if he is a brutal one.  Because political doors were/are closed due to the political climate (they may reopen), he toyed with the idea of heading the Chamber of Commerce instead.  After all, a degree of power is there to be had, and so are the invitations for drinkies and a canapes with ambassadors, economic and trade attaches, as well as foreign business leaders.  Unfortunately the Ukrainian leadership managed to grasp the prickly politics of placing a professional and notorious corporate raider as head of the Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce (although a reader will doubt they would otherwise have understood the irony).

Nevertheless, the core business of (professional) corporate raiding continues as Invest Group’s very recent letter to the Prosecutor General makes abundantly clear.  This despite Mr Dubov having been nudged into the shadows of political expediency and therefore can no longer hide behind parliamentary immunity.

With immunity gone, why then does he continue to act so brazenly and implied impunity?

As any occultist will say “As above, so below”.  If Ms Tymoshenko, Alexander Yanukovych and Mr Turchynov (among others) have all been (and perhaps still are) the “above” – then who and what constitutes the “below”?  Corporate raiding is a “dark art” in Ukraine after all.

If persistent and informed whispers are in any way accurate, then the exact construction of that local protection is divided between the political and the legal.  It would perhaps, if whispers be true, compromise politically of Messrs Krotyk, Kmyrenko, Shyvalov, Shamilov, Deide, Lutsenko (I), and Ms Syslova and Kuzel, whilst influencing the legal would be Mr Babenko, Mr Mazark with the SBU, the police and prosecutors by Mr Podolev, and Mrs Podoleva the courts.

It must therefore be clear to a reader why Invest Group have decided to circumvent the local system and appeal directly and publicly to the Prosecutor General when faced with yet another corporate raid by Mr Dubov (via a shell company called Naster registered in Lithuania if Mr Lutsenko needs a place to start and work back from).

A reader may question whether the Invest Group corporate raid is an act of Mr Dubov alone, or whether it done on behalf of others?  If so which others?  Alexander Yanukovych?  NSDC Secretary Turchynov?  Ms Tymoshenko?  Others from his Batkivshchyna history?   Perhaps the acts occur on behalf of yet others?  He is certainly skilled at what he does.  His reputation is earned.

The sensitive issue of how well acquainted Mr Dubov is with the Attorney General who was also a Batkivshchyna loyalist renowned for grubby deals behind the curtain during Mr Dubov’s two terms as a Deputy from the same party also arises.

How does Attorney General Lutsenko now act upon receipt of this letter?  It is not a case that will get any diplomatic attention (unless the diplomats that read this blog now take it under observation).  It is a case that can be easily ignored should he chose to do so – or at least act so slowly as to be too late to prevent the successful conclusion of the Invest Group corporate raid.

If he has any conflicting interests, who does he pass this off to?

If he (or President Poroshenko) want a big scalp in Odessa, and one which is also well known within the national elite circles, does the currently politically toxic and immunity-less Mr Dubov provide for something approaching a significant anti-corruption/business friendly conviction whereby the current “trickle down culpability policy” does not necessarily have to trickle down very far?

Although this case will probably get little by way of attention, it is perhaps one that should be watched as something of a bellwether simply because it presents overt political opportunities unhindered by issues of immunity that can provide publicity regarding successful anti-corruption, criminal action and bettering the business environment- or not.

Attorney General Lutsenko’s response is awaited.

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Remember the Anti-Corruption Bureau?

March 25, 2015

The on-going, seemingly glacial effort at a functioning Anti-Corruption Bureau has not been mentioned at the blog since the end of 2014.

Time, perhaps, for an update, although there is sadly little to update as is the case with glacial movement.

The National Anti-Corruption Bureau was supposed to be already operating by now.  It’s legislative legitimacy for existence coming into effect in January 2015.  It is an entity that is supposed to employ approximately 700 staff, and yet it is still to fully recruit, or even be given its appointed “head”.  This due to a very long and highly convoluted process that surrounded the selection of the committee in charge of candidate selection, and thereafter (hopefully) thorough checks for nefariousness of the 3 candidates that will ultimately be put before the President to make a final appointment.

Indeed, whilst the President is stating he is not interfering in the process – he is making public statements that he would like the process to be somewhat more timely.

Of the initial 176 candidates that showed some interest, after several rounds of sifting, 4 candidates remain – Yakov Varychev, Mykola Siry, Artem Sytnik and Viktor Chumak.  One more to fall by the wayside prior to the final 3 reaching the President.  However, with 700 staff to employ, it would seem rather erroneous not to employ these 4 heavily vetted candidates somewhere within the hierarchy of the new NACB anyway.

Messrs Varychev and Sytnik are former investigators for the PGO in different  regions of Ukraine, Mr Siry is/was a lawyer for Ms Tymoshenko, and Mr Chumak is an MP within the President’s party.

Whilst it seems very likely that the selection committee – each member selected at extraordinary lengths for their moral and ethical fortitude – has not been “political” in its robustness in candidate selection, verification and investigation, it seems unlikely that there will be no absolute absence of political influence in the President’s decision.

Whilst the President may well be delighted to see all remaining candidates within the hierarchy of the new NACB, (at least one hopes that would be so), it is difficult to see him appointing anybody connected so closely to Ms Tymoshenko to the very top job, unfortunately for Mr Siry.

Perhaps a provincial former PGO investigator would be the most politically neutral decision.

However, only a fool would bet against the appointment of Viktor Chumak from the President’s party – and despite the numerous, labourious, and a-political checks and interviews he will have been through to get thus far, some will still smell nepotism if he is appointed.

Whatever the outcome, as things stand, there remains no fully functioning Anti-Corruption Bureau, nor “Head” thereof – 3 months after it was expected to begin its role.  As the days, weeks and months pass by, the pressure to get a few notable results for any new “Head” before the year end grows – particularly when the President, even if he already knows whom he will appoint from the remaining 4 candidates, will have to be seen to spend the appropriate amount of time “pondering” before making his appointment.

Questions therefore – April, May or June before a “Head” is appointed for the NACB?  2015 or 2016 before it is fully staffed? 2, 3 or 4 NACB successes before the end of 2015?

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Points make prizes – but is the prize worth having?

October 22, 2014

With the RADA elections now only 5 days away, some thought should perhaps be given regarding any new coalitions and cabinet of ministers that will follow.

Way back on 24th/25th July an entry was published that stated Volodymyr Groysman would become Prime Minister after the forthcoming RADA elections as long as he didn’t drop the ball – and he hasn’t.  President Poroshenko will naturally want one from his stable as PM – and one he trusts, despite Arseniy Yatseniuk doing a decent job in very difficult circumstances.

Ergo, how effective that crystal ball gazing so many months ago will prove to be, is about to be seen in either illuminating and prophetic glory, or embarrassingly poor light.  That such an old entry has been resurrected so close to the elections may be rightfully inferred as that belief remaining – on the assumption that Volodymyr Groysman would want and accept the role of Prime Minister.  It remains something of a poisoned challis that demands an effect first 100 days when all is said and done.

However, Block Poroshenko is not likely to come anywhere close to a RADA majority – a coalition will be required to hold a robust majority.

The question is then not only with whom, but which party would accept a coalition in which the party leader does not become Prime Minister?

It is almost guaranteed that Ms Tymoshenko and Batkivshchyna will not be invited into any Block Poroshenko coalition.  You either work for Ms Tymoshenko, or against her – you do not work with her.  A more zero sum politician is hard to find, making her an extremely difficult partner.  Ergo any coalition involving Ms Tymoshenko could be expected to find her demanding to become Prime Minister and thus leading to a repeat performance of the feckless and wasted Yushenko/Tyoshenko years notable for in-fighting and squandered opportunities.

A coalition with the “Opposition Block” is simply out of the question for more reasons than it is necessary to list.

Gritsenko’s Civic Platform?  Probably not – even if he would be content to fill a Cabinet roll such as that of Defence Minister, which he has previously held.  Would he demand something more lofty?  Probably.

Would Arseniy Yatseniuk’s Popular Front form a coalition with Block Poroshenko, even when Yatseniuk himself would suffer a perceived demotion?  It is a possibility, but what position to offer Yatseniuk?  He is certainly a very clever man and capable of holding numerous positions.  A return as Speaker?  Deputy PM with a European integration port folio?  He is certainly well known and liked amongst those who will continue to financially and politically support Ukraine.

Tellingly, Yatseniuk refused the Block Poroshenko mandate, preferring the Popular Front run alone – a sign perhaps that a longer term view with future presidential elections are a consideration.  A case of being close, but not close enough to Block Poroshenko to be indistinguishable for future leadership contests.

What of Sergei Tigipko’s Strong Ukraine?  Such a coalition would certainly be perceived as reaching out to the eastern regions in a tangible way.  Tigipko is also a capable man.  Whether he would settle for a role other than Prime Minister is the question.  Deputy PM with a social policy port folio?  It would tick many boxes for him personally and instill a little more confidence in the east.

Ukraine’s version of Vladimir Zhirinovsky – the bellicose populist but otherwise empty shell that is Oleh Lyashko and the Radical Party?  He certainly believes that he will be King Maker – but will he?  Could a suitably airy and apparently important title be found for a man incapable of holding a serious and/or sensitive role?  Could a glorious title for a position of little influence be found?

The Self-Help party?  If it gets over the 5% threshold, it seems a realistic contender as a coalition partner.

Will a coalition of Block Poroshenko and one other party be enough to secure a robust majority – or will it require a trilateral coalition?  If it takes 3 parties for a sturdy majority, which 3 can work together effectively?

What of the shadow power building spanning party lines?  How much of a consideration will the generous – but not evenly applied – sprinkling of Sergei Liovochkin’s people throughout most parties effect which party is approached first by Block Poroshenko?  Will “shadow influence” be a factor in any decision making when it comes to accepting or mitigating Ukraine’s grey cardinal?  What of the chess games behind the political facade between Liovochkin, Poroshenko and Kolomoyski?

How easily will it all fit together if the prediction that Volodymyr Groysman will become the next Prime Minister is to be the non-negotiable starting point of any coalition building?  Points make prizes – but the prize has to be worth having for competitors when they are deliberating forming a coalition with Block Poroshenko – and coalition party leaders expect big hierarchical rewards for their allegiance.

Is this blog’s exceptionally fortunate legacy of success when peering into the Ukrainian political crystal ball about to get it wrong – and very soon?

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Election loyalties and tactical blunders – Odessa example

October 12, 2014

Not so very long ago, by and large the Ukrainian voting constituency could be divided into Orange and Blue – or Tymoshenko and Yanukovych.

Very much like other nations, many of those who voted Orange have never and would never vote Blue and vice versa.  No different to Americans who always vote Republican and never Democrat, or the British whom always vote Labour and never Conservative and vise versa.

Naturally onlookers may ponder such identity loyalty regardless of platform, policy or candidate – and many social and political scientists do.

The RADA elections in 3 weeks time, this year has no Blue running.  What is left of the official Party Regions is not running.  There is no party list for the party stalwarts to insure their RADA entry.  They are faced with first past the post, head to head electioneering for specific seats.  The exception to that may see Sergei Tigipko’s Strong Ukraine party pass the 5% electoral threshold.  The “Opposition Block” may very well struggle to overcome this hurdle.

Nobody would be surprised to see any of the old Regionaires who win any first past the post seats to coalesce within the “Opposition Block” in any new RADA formation – whether they have any current declared affiliation toward it or not.  It is unclear as yet whether Tigipko’s Strong Ukraine who whilst will certainly be in opposition, may shun any formal connections with the “Opposition Block”.  Time will tell.

However, the Orange vote is no longer Batkivshchyna or Ms Tymoshenko’s to dominate.  It too has been decimated.  The demise of Party Regions and Batkivshchyna long since predicted here.

Though Batkivshchyna and Ms Tymoshenko will enter the RADA passing the 5% party threshold, it is likely to lose a vast amount of votes to Block Poroshenko, Lyashko’s The Radical Party,  Hrytsenko’s Civil Position Party and Yatseniuk’s “People’s Front”.  Very vibrant, multi-party, democratic, and undoubtedly requiring coalition building to form a stable majority – a coalition from which we can expect Ms Tymoshenko and Batkivshchyna to be excluded.

So much for the party lists and 5% threshold – but what of those Regionaries who may win the first past the post seats for which the run and yet were uncomfortably close to the former President and were actively part of his corrupt pyramid?  In Odessa for example, the likes of Sergei Kivalov, Mykola Skoryk, and Eduard Matviychuk to name but 3.

Herein lies a problem for the traditional Orange vote and now displaced Blue vote from Odessa.

The Orange vote has numerous options and candidates for each seat to choose from as listed above – together with several others such as Svoboda who are unlikely to pass the 5% threshold but theoretically can win first past the post seats.  In short, the historical Orange vote will be distributed across numerous candidates.  All candidates will get votes, but none will get sufficient to be sure of victory.

And what of the Blue voters?  None will vote Orange per Batkivshchyna as stated at the very start of this entry, but some will vote for the Poroshenko candidates and perhaps the Yatseniuk candidates due to both leaders having history with Odessa – and history with Odessa counts when it comes to gaining votes.  Parachuted in candidates with no connection or history need not apply.  Others will vote for Strong Ukraine candidates in the belief it will be the only genuine opposition party to pass the 5% threshold.

Many however, will vote for those who used to be Blue – Kivalov, Skoryk and Matviychuk – based upon old loyalties, name recognition, the usual bribery, gift offering and local media bias.  This despite general acknowledgement they were far too closely involved with Yanukovych not have have been large beneficiaries of the Yanukovych system.

Very noticeably, there are no well known old Blues running against each other for any seat.  For example the Markov brothers or Evgene Tsarkov are not running for any seats, and thus the old Blue vote will not be as thinly distributed or split over a particular seat as it could have been.

It follows that although there may be some split of the Blue vote away from the Yanukovych loyalists and beneficiaries, Kivalov, Skoryk and Matviychuk – sufficient will remain to see them quite possibly become MPs due to the many Orange candidates sapping each others votes for each seat and failing to provide a more focused opposition.

As and when these nefarious individuals – and others from other towns and cities – are returned to the RADA, aside from onlookers pondering and decrying the misplaced/blind loyalty issues of some voters once again, perhaps there should be some recognition that had the non-Blue parties been more tactically aware, regarding certain seats against certain well known and corrupt/nefarious candidates, they may have chosen to field a single candidate to focus their voting constituency upon.

Maybe there is still time for parties to negotiate a single candidate to run against these men – maybe not.

All of that said, there is a definite need for an effective opposition in the RADA.  It is, however, a case of returning an effective and constructive opposition rather than returning a corrupt and nefarious body of people that are a hangover of the very worst of Ukrainian politics historically.  An effectively coercive and nefarious opposition may be as bad as a non-existent opposition.

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Fun forecasting – RADA Elections

September 5, 2014

Long, long ago (thus it is dated regarding references to Crimea etc) an entry was written about the flaws and failings of public opinion polling surveys.

“The aim of this post is to put some perspective on polls and just how accurate they really are in the event they prima facie pass an academic litmus test – or not.

The first and most obvious issue is that of using selective polling results both by the media supporting side A or B and also those from within parties A or B. Here we must firstly acknowledge that a professional polling company (or poll professionally compiled by any organisation) generates a veritable mountain of information the vast majority of which does not make the media or is highlighted by spokesman for party A or B.

They will naturally highlight the parts of the poll which support their declared position and normally ignore, or at best gloss over, parts that undermine their position.

No doubt a very frustrating thing for those who compile a poll to see snippets being passed off as the whole result. That said, we as the public who maybe influenced or have some form of belief in these snippets have to shoulder some blame. In the vast majority of cases if we are asked a question of a political nature in abstract, we may answer it quite differently as to how we will actually vote after a series of political questions that provide a picture of us as a whole. I may prefer party A on the issue of X, but in general my political leanings are towards party B over a much larger range of issues.

Therefore if a media outlet of a known certain bias towards any particular party is attempting to draw you attention to a specific poll result, it is because others are either contradictory or other parts of that same poll are not so flattering to its declared position.

The point, such as it is, is to look at any particular poll not only in comparison with others, but also in and of itself, as the whole rather than an abstracted and highlighted part.

This brings about another point. If a certain poll widely touted holds very little comparison to a number of others, then one has to consider it with a degree of caution. The exception is hardly ever the rule and therefore a poll that seems to be the exception may not be a true representation of opinion through either a faulty academic model or a deliberate manipulation of the model upon which it is based or simply a fluke set of results.

Such manipulation can be deliberately caused by polling in cities known to favour party A or B and despite the poll then stating it was conducted in numerous cities around the nation, it was in fact deliberately skewed. Another way is to include a disproportionate number of men or women, people of certain age ranges, a high number of employed verses unemployed etc.

Another reason a poll may seem beyond the normative results of all the others is the manner in which it was conducted. People may react differently to a telephone poll than to a poll in the street or via the Internet. It may also be down to the questions themselves. A slightly different wording or different emphasis on certain words when the question is asked can bring quite different results. The nuance of language can and does effect the objectivity of a poll and the statistics they produce. Something all too often overlooked.

Thus we can unwittingly be trying to compare apples with oranges, a fact normally hidden by party spokespeople or the media.

There is also the issue of the actual size and make-up of the poll. A poll of 1000 normally is interpreted to be plus or minus 3 points. What that actually means when comparing polls is that there could, at the extremes, be an academically sound 6 point gap between two entirely legitimate polls. Something not to be forgotten.

The composition of these polls also matters when claims are made relating to “every region”. As an example, polling company X carries out a poll across Ukraine of 1000 people. Of those 1000 people across the regions, only 30 were from Crimea. That immediately makes any results attributed to Crimea as a region a nonsense as the number of Crimeans polled is so small, the margin for error is so immense it holds no academic or statistical value whatsoever as an indicator to Crimean regional voting. It would become even more worthless if they all come from the same town or the same age group or the same age range or the same ethnic group.

In short, for a poll to have any legitimate standing, at a minimum there should be 1000 people involved and the model upon which the results are based must be correctly weighted. In its most fundamental form, it should have the right number of respondents relating to age, ethnicity, region, gender etc etc in proportion to the country to have a country wide relevance. The numbers involved though cannot be used as a realistic guide to regional results as I have explained above. Regional results would require a survey of 1000 people in that region, also weighted to take account of social composition.

None of this will be brought to the attention of the public by the spokespeople of party A or B and neither will it be explained or brought to the attention of the public by the media who will be too busy backing their horse and trying to hobble the other, to let a small matter of transparency or accuracy get in the way – even if they have to resort to quoting polls that simply have no real worth.”

However, just from curiosity, and due to the fact that this cited polling survey is one of the first that includes the split from Batkivshcyna of many of its leading public figures, it will be interesting to see where it leads us – as inaccurately as that may turn out to may be after due consideration of the above.

Under the current electoral legislation that prevents a party entering the RADA unless it reaches or surpasses the 5% electoral threshold, the following parties as predicted here many times, fail to enter the parliament:

The Communist Party – 4.6%.  Svoboda –  4.4%.  The Party of Regions – 3.8%.  Union Party – 2.9%.  Right Sector – 1.8%.

Thus the old Yanukovych coalition of Regions/Communists garner a collective 8.4% and both fail to enter parliament individually.

For those concerned about the far right, the much cited centers of fascism Svoboda and Right Sector garner a collective 6.2% and both fail to enter parliament individually.

Both the political extremes and lingering representations of the systemic looting of Ukraine, falling foul of public opinion via the ballot – lustration at the alter of public will, as it should be in a democracy.

And what of the long predicted Batkivshchyna implosion mentioned again 2 weeks ago?  – 6.1%

Those that have left the Batkivshchyna fold?

Anatoliy Hrytsenko, Citizenship Party – 9.7%

Yatseniuk/Turchynov, Patriots of Ukraine Party – 6.4%

A total of 16.1% of Batkivshchyna vote has walked out of the door since 28th August due to being unable to reconcile with Mrs Tymoshenko.  Indeed if this poll were to actually be proven accurate, Batkivshchyna will be the smallest party represented in the next RADA.

Of those associated previously with Party Regions, only Sergei Tigipko’s Strong Ukraine would make it into the RADA with 7.8% of the vote.

The Lutsenko/Klitschko/ Bohomets/Solidarity quartet loyal to President Poroshenko (Block Poroshenko) is projected to gain 37.1% of the vote.  By far the single largest entity in any new RADA.

There is then the second largest single representation in any new RADA – The  Radical Party of Oleh Lyasko, polling at 13.1%.  Perhaps unsurprising that an out and out populist would do so well in such troubled times – yet this is the percentage most likely to either garner significant gains or notable losses over the coming weeks, as populists need a populist platform, and forthcoming events will have a significant impact on Lyashko.

Depending upon the conditions of any cessation of fighting in the east of Ukraine – will that either eat away President Poroshenko’s political capital if seen as appeasing President Putin – or will it add to it by being seen as “the peacemaker”?

Without posting odious YouTube videos in camouflage, interrogating people, a gun-toting Lyashko may struggle with no war.  The nature of Ukrainian NATO and EU trajectory will already be defined via the AA/DCFTA ratification this month and the NATO Summit these next two days outlining what relationship Ukraine and NATO will have.  The Communists and Party of Regions appear set to be ejected from the RADA via the public vote -as it should be – and not via any lustration law.  The Lyashko platform begins to shrink – depending upon how President Poroshenko is viewed by way of reaching a cessation of violence.

As events conspire to deprive Lyashko of (at least part) of a populist platform, he is no match for even the most average of Ukrainian politicians when talking serious policy issues in any depth – and challenged he will be, for the Ukrainian political class have recognised a dangerous (and some claim unhinged) populist amongst their midst.  A public and orchestrated cutting down to size of Mr Lyashko seems probable.

But what if all holds true to polling day as per the cited poll?

RADA seats have been reduced from 450 to 438.  The 12 Crimean seats will remain vacant.  As such a parliamentary majority slips from 226 MPs to 220.

Thus a President Poroshenko favouring majority is easily constructed between his block, together with Yakseniuk and Turchynov’s Patriots, plus Hrytsenko’s Citizenship, all of who point in the same direction without any major friction.  A construct required for every day parliamentary work  that need not pander either the ego of Lyashko nor that of  Tymoshenko appears.

A Constitution changing majority, however, is a completely different matter, relying on the egos of at least one leader.  That may become two leaders if the electoral law is changed in the very near future.

The biggest concern however, is the apparent lack of an opposition.  Sergei Tigipko and Strong Ukraine are unlikely to be able to put up any kind of effective opposition with 7.8% alone.  Opposition coalition partners seem non-existent.  It will be tremendously important that there is both an effective opposition and also that it is actually seen to be heard on occasion.

There is also the issue for the vast majority, of how it will deal with the anchors dropped by the Kremlin in a small part of the east of the nation, when the rest of the nation will be expecting such a vast majority to deliver – and deliver with both relative ease and timeliness.

Whatever the case, it is only one poll, and as stated at the start, it means very little on its own.  Something to ponder though nonetheless.

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A Batkivshchyna implosion?

August 28, 2014

What seems long ago, on 6th June, an entry appeared here predicting the implosion of Yulia Tymoshenko’s political party, Batkivshchyna. – “With regard to Batkivshchyna, the only question is whether it splits into two or three parts – Ms Tymoshenko and loyalists to her, those who will stick with Arseniy Yatseniuk, and those who will head directly to the Poroshenko camp either via Solidarity or UDAR.

Regardless the integrity of Batkivshchyna is ruptured. The party ranking at least twice as high as its leader in every Ukrainian Olbast. The end is upon it, and implosion similar to that of Party Regions assured.”

Well that moment appears to now be upon the party – unsurprisingly within 48 hours of President Poroshenko dissolving the current RADA, thus commencing the statutory 60 days of campaigning prior to the 26th October elections.

Within 24 hours of the elections being caused, gapping chasms began to appear between Mrs Tymoshenko and Olexandr Tyrchunov.

Withing 48 hours, that split now appears to have become terminal – as predicted back in June..

The fault, undoubtedly that of Mrs Tymoshenko and her firm personal belief that Batkivshchyna, just as Block Tymoshenko previously, are nothing more than a vehicle for the ego and policies of Yulia Tymoshenko.  As has been written here in many an entry over many years – and as is the case with all populist politicians – the party need control the leader, not the leader the party.

It appears that quoting, reading and plagiarising Vaclav Havel (and others) in statements to the world during the years of her incarceration, have taught her little.  It seems that the reception she received upon her release and very subdued reception by the crowds of Maidan have taught her little.  The fact the Batkivshchyna Party actually coalesced as a party with something resembling an ideology and cause during her absence for several years, seemingly went oblivious to her.   Her 12% polling at the presidential elections in May, instilled no clear-eyed appreciation of her political future.

Her early maneuvering prior to the electoral starters gun, naturally all form and little substance, in “New Batkivshchyna, Old Heart” is very likely in need of a by-pass, if not necessarily resuscitation – yet.

All of this entirely predictable for anybody who has met and/or worked with Mrs Tymoshenko.  You either work for Mrs Tymsoshenko – or you work against Mrs Tymoshenko.  You do not work with Mrs Tymoshenko – and within hours of being given the chance to prove that once again due to the elections – she has split her party, with a number of senior, currently governmental and ministerial members, leaving.

Presumably, though it is not yet clear,  Turchynov, Yatsenyuk, Avakov, Denisov, Golovko, Mateychenko, Pashinsky, Paruby, Emets, Lynchenko, Burbak, Pishni, Hmil and Apostol etc., will head to President Poroshenko’s Solidarity party, or that of UDAR – those parties signing a pact prior to the presidential elections of mutual support.

If so, a disaster for Batkivshchyna when it comes to polling day on 26th October.  These politicians will take with them a considerable part of Batkivshchyna voters – discounting those already lost to other populist politicians like Oleh Lyashko.

That Mrs Tymoshenko will return to the RADA as leader of Batkivshcyna Party is certainly assured.  The cost to what was becoming something of a genuine political party with identifiable ideology and cause – immense – though many will doubt that actually matters to her much.

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“New Batkivshchyna, Old Heart”

August 17, 2014

With the current RADA almost guaranteed to be dissolved sometime between 24th and 26th August, it seems that the Batkivshchyna Party are already getting into campaign strategy mode.

The most likely new slogan for Ms Tymoshenko’s party is going to be “New Batkivshchyna – Old Heart” – at least at the time of writing, those within Batkivshchyna believe that will be the slogan ultimately chosen.

The “new Batkivshchyna” will naturally be led by Yulia Tymoshenko, with Alexandr Turchynov,  Arseniy Yatseniuk, Arsen Avakov, Sergiy Pashynski  and Sergei Sobolev, as the heart around which it will build – thus the “new Batkivshchyna” will be created around an old – and easily perceived as less than entirely healthy – heart.

Indeed, in the event that the elections occur under existing electoral laws, it is likely that at a very minimum, 80 – 85% of the current RADA will be returned to the legislature once again.

Ergo whatever “new Batkivshchyna” is supposed to grow around this “old heart”, it is likely to come almost entirely from any electoral gains (and retirement replacements), rather than a much needed internally driven lustration process within the Batkivshchyna ranks.

That said, it would be quite wrong to ignore the fact that if 80 – 85% (minimum) of the current RADA will probably be returned (not necessarily under the same party banners as they currently sit), there is a chance of 15 – 20% (maximum) of new blood to enter the pantomime in the RADA.  That would be about 90 new faces in the RADA – albeit many will come from the regional minor leagues, pre-stained and pre-corrupted.

Any “new Batkivshchyna” that may emerge after the RADA elections on 26th October is therefore much more likely to appear “new” via electoral gains – the more substantial the gains, the “newer” the appearance – than via any much needed clear out of the currently feckless within the party ranks that would produce something approaching a genuinely “new Batkivshchyna”.

Let us be blunt – a “new Batkivshchyna”, to be anything other than a misnomer, requires extensive surgery on its “old heart” to be far more believable.

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