Archive for the ‘Tigipko’ Category


Good business, bad politics. Tigipko

January 2, 2017

Having written about Viktor Pinchuk in the previous entry, this post concentrates on another Dnipro Clan oligarch and long time acquaintance, Sergei Tigipko, who has been spending money recently.


Mr Tigipko it has to be said is an interesting soul whose business activities are somewhat difficult to keep an all-seeing eye upon.

Perhaps he is fated to be that way, for ever since birth Mr Tigipko has not been what he appears to be.  Mr Tigipko was actually born on 13th February 1960 – officially, but in fact he was born in the early hours of 14th February.  Due to a bureaucratic mix up between medical night shift and morning shift workers the wrong date was officially recorded.  It is claimed, similar to Queen Elizabeth II, he therefore has two birthdays, an official one and a real one.

Fair enough – surely all oligarchs can afford to have two birthdays.

In the late 1970’s the family moved from Moldova to Odessa and Mr Tigipko then headed to Dnepropetrovsk and the Metallurgy Institute where (perhaps with the help of a well placed step-father) he became a member of the Komsomol Committee.  In true Marxist-Leninist adherence he busied himself with organising discos and supplying the evils of western decadence – Pepsi.  It appears that a disco-loving Ihor Kolomoisky was a regular and that they became good friends.

(As an aside Mr Tigipko, or more precisely Mrs Tigipko, retain their interest in Odessa in an act philanthropy annually organising and sponsoring the Odessa International Film Festival – which is actually a very good event.)

Indeed Mr Tigipko has had good fortune in meeting business acquaintances, whilst suffering an equally poor fortune in the world of politics.

A few years of questionable military service and teaching intervene before Mr Tigipko lands the role of chief of psyops/reflexive control when he became the Second Secretary of the (Communist) party and Komsomol committees in Dnipro.  Propaganda and agitation commonly being the role of the Second Secretary – a role he was destined to fail at with the date being 1989 and the implosion of the Soviet system only 2 years away.

Nevertheless, having already forged a friendship with Ihor Kolomoisky, it is within the regional Komsomol committee he also meets Olexandr Turchynov (the current head of the Ukrainian national security apparatus and once upon a time, an ardent Tymoshenko ally).

When the Soviet nonsense all eventually crashed, Mr Tigipko had become First Secretary and in charge of the regional Komsomol cash box.  He was also by then known to Gennady Tymoshenko who was head of ideological manipulation for the Kirov District.  Gennady is the father of Alexander Tymoshenko – the unfortunate husband of Yulia.  Indeed it is rumoured that Mr Tigipko played a role in funding Ms Tymoshenko’s video empire back in the day – presumably with Komsomol cash.  Controlling that cash, he also came to the attention of Dnepro Regional Council Chairman, the infamous Pavel Lazerenko.  He had also made direct acquaintance with (soon to be President) Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Pinchuk.

A reader can now literally see the Dnipro Clan forming.

As the Komsomol system was collapsing Mr Tigipko was swiftly given a senior position within Dnipro Bank – no doubt moving to the position along with the Komsomol regional cash.  (There is no reason to believe that events in Dnipro would be any different than those elsewhere in Ukraine at the time when it comes to moving regional Komsomol cash).

Within a year the bank owners were far from getting along well and Mr Tigipko set up PrivatBank with Ihor Kolomoisky, Gennady Bogolyubov, the late Leonid Miloslavsky and Alexie Martynov.  From 1992 – 97 Mr Tigipko was Chairman of the Board of PrivatBank – although what share holding he had will probably never been known.  What is known is that the initial shareholding was not equal.  How much Komsomol/Dnipro Bank cash was used in the creation of Privat is somewhat unclear – and will undoubtedly remain that way.

Meanwhile Mr Kuchma became President Kuchma and Pavel Lazarenko became Prime Minister – leading to a split within the Dnipro Clan and President Kuchma using Mr Tigipko to keep an eye on the out-sized and out of control criminal appetites of Pavel Lazarenko.  He becomes Vice Prime Minister for Economic Reforms in order to carry out that task.

(This move obviously ruffled feathers and PrivatBank came under scrutiny for laundering money via its Riga branch.  Some things don’t change.)

Whilst in post, Mr Tigipko acted as “roof” for the French cement company Lafarge who then had a few issues with assets in Ukraine.  As Bernadette Chirac (wife of Jacques) then sat on the Lafarge board it is perhaps no surprise that Mr Tigipko was awarded French honours personally by Mrs Chirac in 1997.

By 2000 Mr Tigipko wisely quit as the conflict of interests of those around him in the Kuchma government were in all probability intractable at best and very bad for the health at worst.

By 2001 whatever shares in Privat he had were sold for a figure unknown, and he set up on his own with the TAS brand containing banking, insurance, and numerous other interests held under the usual Cypriot holding company  – which today is a beast of many tentacles – and is in fact the reason for this entry.  (Indeed Mr Tigipko sold one of his banks to Swedbank pre 2008 crisis for $735 million via TAS Overseas Investments (Cyprus)).

If business has been good, politics has not been.

Politically Mr Tigipko did not fare well under Viktor Yushenko and Yulia Tymoshenko.  Having chosen the Kuchma side of the Dnipro Clan split, thus backing Yanukovych in 2004/5 elections, that clearly did not sit well with the new “Orange” president, nor a Prime Minister that chose the Lazarenko side of the Dnipro Clan split.

Further when Yanukovych eventually became president in 2010, despite initially welcoming him into the fold, he very clearly and publicly shafted by Mr Tigipko politically.

Lo, tax avoidance aside, it clearly pays in a business sense to hold your assets offshore and in a different legal jurisdiction in a predatory political environment like Ukraine.  It is simply far easier to defend and retain your assets.

Under the current president Mr Tigipko has kept his head down making no discernible political moves and very few business moves.

However, in the past few months Mr Tigipko appears to be going on a spending spree domestically.  Having recently bought another insurance company and rolled it into his TAS insurance entities, it appears he is now entering the hotel business too.

Not only is he entering the hotel business his seems to be doing getting good deals.  For a mere $10 million Mr Tigipko has bought the Radisson Hotel in Kyiv from the Russian owners who for a long time have desperate to sell.

Now a reader may think that the hotel business in Ukraine is not one where returns will be swift – and they’d be right too.  There are no swift returns with anything to do with hotels in Ukraine.  That said, the price paid for this asset being so low, it is possible he will see a 7 year ROI.

However, it may also be that Mr Tigipko has some insider knowledge regarding the return of licensed gambling in Ukraine and any amended parameters regarding what premises can host casinos – and which can’t.   It may well be that the absolute nonsense proposed a year ago for the return of gambling has now had a more sensible eye cast upon it – or is about to have a more sensible eye take a look.

If so, then the Radisson in Kyiv would have additional potential – and a far swifter ROI.  As Mr Tigipko has a knack for good business and poor politics, then who would be surprised if that will ultimately prove to be the case?

More generally, does Mr Tigipko now think that the bottom has now been reached and that the small economic bounce is likely to continue in an upward trend, so now is the time to buy?


Local elections result predictions – Odessa

August 28, 2015

Following on from yesterday’s entry and the numerous questions raised regarding prickly agendas and subsequent local election political fallout, extremely unfairly a reader emailed and asked for predictions regarding Odessa and the local elections – this before any candidates and party lists have been formalised.  Solidarity meets later today to select candidates and form lists, and it is probably going to be the first to reach agreement and publish.

But, for what it’s worth and based upon nothing more than living in Odessa for more than a decade and having a passing interest in politics, here is a (probably wildly inaccurate come the vote count) prediction as of the time of writing – including a very naughty (though legal) possibility.

It is of course necessary to deal with the City and the Oblast separately.

The first issue regarding the city, is who the assimilation of UDAR, National Front and Solidarity will put forward to run against the current Mayor, Gennady Trukhanov.

We will know later today, but to be blunt there are no good candidates.

The previous Mayor, Eduard Gurvitz?  At 67 years old and a “colourful” history?

If not him, who?  Who else has any current traction or political history with the city electorate (discounting Governor Saakashvili who features later)?  Sasha Borovik?  It seems unlikely the Governor would allow his “project manager for Odessa” to run when he would clearly lose to the current incumbent.

Obviously all numbers stated in this entry are “educated guesswork” but Mayor Trukhanov will probably garner anywhere between 55 – 60% of any votes cast for Mayor – possibly more being able to misuse city resources, owning almost all “big board” advertising space, having his on-line media, printed media, and TV channels – notwithstanding being the current incumbent and regularly in the local media as Mayor anyway.

Can Solidarity come up with a candidate to beat him?  No.

Short of an act of God – or an act of the rule of law, it seems highly likely that Mayor Trukhanov will comfortably remain Mayor Trukhanov.  His political party by association, will possibly garner somewhere between 15 – 20% and be a large party in the City Rada – though clearly not a majority, thus a coalition partner will be required.

Igor Markov’s Party Rodina will be a wipe out, as will Ihor Kolomoisky’s Ukrop.

Sergei Kivalov’s Morskaya Party will get somewhere between 5 – 7% (far less than the 10% he is aiming at).

Batkivshchyna and the Radical Party will probably both manage between 5 – 7% too.

Now for the difficult question of the Opposition Block.  As stated yesterday, “How toxic does it remain at a local level? It is important to draw a distinction between local and national politics. Perhaps it will do better than many think.”  In the city elections about 20 – 25% would be a realistic.  More in the Oblast, about which later.

Sergie Tigipko’s Strong Ukraine may get between 4 – 5% (and at 5% get over the line).

Samopomich, which will contest only the city and not the oblast elections, will possibly get between 10 – 15%.

Thus, for those doing the math, Solidarity may garner about 20 – 25%.

It follows then that City Hall will be messy – and a coalition of ex-Regionaires in Mayor Trukhanov, the Opposition Block and Kivalov’s Morskaya puts Solidarity in the opposition seats – and there are few if any remotely plausible coalitions that will put Solidarity into a majority.

And so to the Oblast.

This is far more difficult, as Samopomich will not contend the Oblast seats – probably because it would not do that well, so why spent the money and political energy?

Starting with the Opposition Block, a reasonable figure would be between 25 and 30% – possibly more.

Bativshchyna and the Radical Party about 5 – 7% each.

Solidarity about 20 – 25%.  Possibly more (but not much more) in the absence of Samopomich.

That leaves a massive 30% of unknown/undecided which is possibly more inclined to head toward the Opposition Block than Solidarity when it comes to a choice.


Now to Governor Saakashvili and his “pull” factor – which is probably about 30%.

The Governor is not a member of any political party, although he has been offered Number 1 spot on the UDAR list, which will become part of the Solidarity list after the announced assimilation.

Later today we will see if he accepts the nomination when the (combined) Solidarity list is thrashed out.

If so, he may very well be the difference between a Solidarity majority (or coalition with a minor party) or Solidarity finding itself in the minority in both City and Oblast Radas.  A minority in both would be something of a disaster for “the centre” in Kyiv.

Thus do not be surprised by the end of today, if Governor Saakashvili joins a political party and becomes their Number 1 name on the Odessa Oblast list.

If that be so, be further prepared for some legal, although not particularly ethical, political shenanigans.

The entire point will be to use Governor Saakashvili’s “pulling power” to try and get Solidarity as the majority (with or without minor coalition partner) in the Oblast Rada.

However Governor Saakashvili cannot be Governor – or Prefect following the “decentralisation amendments” on 31st August – and also an elected candidate for the Oblast Rada.  He would have to resign from one or the other positions after the vote count and results are known.

As Number 1 on somebody’s list, he will surely get elected, leaving him a choice of appointed and powerful “Prefect”, or elected, possibly in a minority, or majority coalition, subject to the whim of any appointed “Prefect” that replaces him.

Clearly he will decide to remain the appointed “Prefect” and assume the power that comes with the role.

Thus he would almost definitely resign from his newly elected role as Oblast Rada Deputy – after having used his “pull power” (or being used by “the centre”) to perhaps pull Solidarity over the Oblast “majority” line.  The voter however does not get an elected Misha Saakashvili, but continues with Governor/Prefect Saakashvili.  What they do (possibly) get is a Solidarity majority (with or without coalition partner) that otherwise would have been far less probable.

Perhaps a clue to the accuracy of the percentage guesstimates above will indeed be whether Solidarity (and UDAR plus the National Front) feel they need to use Governor Saakashvili in this way to be even remotely optimistic of an Oblast majority – knowing he will resign from the elected Oblast rada role to remain Governor/Prefect the entire time.

In short a legal, but rather underhand and ethically questionable politicking tactic.

Time will very soon tell just how accurate the political shenanigans and percentage guesstimates above actually prove to be.  The blog will either look rather well informed/insightful, or alternatively rather silly – however the caveat of being asked to make such predictions before candidates have even been selected is a rather useful “get out” clause!


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?


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.


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.


What rises from the domestic political ashes?

June 6, 2014

Tomorrow sees the inauguration of Petro Poroshenko as president of Ukraine.

It is in and of itself an event – and hopefully the start of a more democratic process leading Ukraine – politically at least – further away from The Kremlin yoke it would have the nation don once more.

Whether or not it will also lead to the shunning of the oligarchical yoke under which Ukrainian politics has suffered is an open question.  Time will tell.

What is sure to happen is the demise of Party of Regions – which has already imploded – and also of Batkivshchyna, which Ms Tymoshenko simply will not be able to hold together, as I have already commented upon.

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.

But what of Party Regions?

Aside from its financier Rinat Akhmetov deliberately pointing it toward death at the hands of the electorate (rather than simply withdrawing his funding) by making Mikhail Dobkin its presidential candidate (rather than Sergie Tigipko), several groups are now appearing from the ashes – I mentioned one such groups at the end of yesterday’s entry – and also tweeted about in a little more depth:

Most content of those tweets confirmed today by Yuri Miroshenko – though Mr Mirsoshenko denies Sergei Liovochkin is behind his new entity, but states he would be more than welcome.  Why he denies this remains to be seen – unless Mr Liovochkin wants the ability to walk away or plausible deniability – when it is known within certain circles Mr Liovochkin is currently behind it – such awareness complete to the point of knowing there is a meeting of those committed to the new party on 17th June in Kyiv, prior to its public unveiling on 21st June – dates Mr Miroshenko is also coy about.  Time will soon prove this entry to be correct on all counts.

So aside from the groups forming under the sanctioned Sergei Kurchenko as mentioned yesterday, as well as that under Sergie Liovochkin to which the above tweets refer, there are also groups forming under ex-Speaker Volodyyr Rybak and Sergei Tigipko.

Much is smoldering amongst the Party Regions ashes – yet to become political factions of any note, a minimum of 32 MPs will be required.  Which of these will be successful and which will not remains to be seen.

If given the choice based upon the general directions any such groups would take, leaning toward those new entities that will form under Sergei Liovochkin and Sergei Tigipko would seem by far the preference to anything created by Sergei Kurchenko or Volodymr Rybak.

Of the inevitable Batkivshchyna split, there is really only Arseniy Yatseniuk, depending upon where he aligns himself – or not.



Odessa International Film Festival 2013

July 14, 2013

For those who thought yesterday’s post somewhat rushed – it was – as I said.

Why? – I had other places to be, namely the opening of this year’s Odessa International Film Festival as organised by Mrs Tigipko and team.  And organised very well I should add!

Tomorrow, perhaps something more thoughtful – and yes perhaps I can be criticised for attending the formal opening of an envelope in such company, but it’s always nice to be able to chat informally on such occasions.

tig 1tig 2tig 3tig 4


Transparency in political fortune – Bill 2837

May 15, 2013

It is and has never been a secret that Ukrainian politicians have always, and still do, see politics as a way not only of insuring the retention of their personal interests against others who may like the look of them, but also to use their position within the most elite business club in Ukraine to expand their interests, often across party lines – after all why let political party lines stand in the way of personal interest.

There has to be a reason to pay up to $5 million to get onto the “party list” and allocated a seat in the RADA after all – and $5 million is the price of a RADA seat offered to my good lady by BYuT in 2007, despite her absolute loathing and complete and utter disinterest in politics.

That $5 million, the sales pitch goes, will be quadrupled at least during a 5 year parliamentary term – an excellent return on investment.  A mere $100,000 would buy a seat in the regional legislature, which although not adding multiple millions in return for your investment, would certainly leave her a $ millionaire at the end of any term.

Naturally anything she did not want to declare could be assigned to my name and the usual annual income return for public officials farce would continue with all declaring an absolute pittance in comparison to the real incomes – something that still happens today due to hiding wealth, assets and income via family members amongst other shenanigans.

However, this may well be about to change.

Bill 2837 was submitted on 14th April 2013 which will go some considerable way to changing and limiting the ways of hiding real earnings and personal worth for politicians and state officials.

Granted it may not stop the shenanigans any more than tax avoidance laws gather in more tax – avoidance systems simply become more complex.

However, this bill is jointly drafted by Petrenko, Chumak, Tigipko and Mahnitski – 4 MPs form different parties amongst the 5 of relevance in the RADA.  Thus with cross-party authors there should be enough cross-party support to get this bill through its first reading which is due immanently.

It is quite a radical bill in terms of the transparency it may bring about in comparison to the current opaque methodology.

There is a citizens corruption  register (open to all citizens), big changes in the amount of, and reporting methods relating to, expenses paid for by the public purse, and perhaps most interestingly, the incomes and assets of public officials and their family members must be reported – including those family members who do not live with the public officials a favoured way of hiding personal worth of the officialdom.

Now it maybe that this bill will not change much in respect to actual transparency once ways to circumvent it have been discovered and organised – however it will be interesting to see if the bill will be adopted given the spirit in which it has obviously been drafted and the attempt at transparency it intends to install.

I expect it to pass, despite the fact it is not perfect having read it.

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