Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category


Umbrella’s Gas Masks, Punch Bags & Smoke Bombs in Europe……

May 24, 2010

Ukraine to assume presidency of CoE Committee of Ministers next year
Ukraine will assume presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe during its 121st session in May 2011. Such a decision was taken at a meeting of the CoE Committee of Ministers in Strasbourg, the press service of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry reported.

While describing the priorities of the future presidency, Deputy Foreign Minister Oleksandr Kupchyshyn said that Ukraine would focus on the importance of implementing decisions of the Interlaken Conference on the Reform of the European Court of Human Rights, as well as prioritize the implementation of a memorandum of mutual understanding between the CoE and the European Union. Kupchyshyn said that joint efforts aimed at improving the effectiveness of the Council of Europe’s activity would have a positive effect on all the countries belonging to this association. The chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe has currently been handed over from Switzerland to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.

I do hope they know what they are letting themselves in for……….]BBC


A Crossroads…..or a path which splits but ends in the same destination?

January 18, 2010

Well the first round of voting is over dear readers……..

According to the Inter TV Channel’s exit poll, Yanukovych won 36.6% of votes, Tymoshenko 25.8%, Tigipko 13.5%, Yatseniuk 6.6%, Yuschenko 5.2%, Symonenko 3.2%, and Lytvyn 2%. A total of 1.6% of voters supported Oleh Tiahnybok and 1.3% Anatoliy Hrytsenko. A total of 15,000 people were polled with the margin of error being 0.7%

In the exit poll initiated by ICTV channel and conducted by GfK NO international company 35.06% said they voted for Yanukovych, 25.72% for Tymoshenko, 13.41% for Tigipko, 6.87% for Yatseniuk, 5.61% for Yuschenko, 3.17% for Symonenko and 2.32% for Lytvyn. A total of 1.98% of voters supported Oleh Tiahnybok and 1.30% Anatoliy Hrytsenko.

Yeh, I know, hardly a surprise now is it?

So what of 7th February when Ms Tymoshenko and Mr Yanukovych go head to head?

To take a line from a classic rock song…..”Yes, there are two paths you can go by, but in the long run, there’s still time to change the road you’re on.”………My thanks to Led Zeppelin and Stairway to Heaven.

How many voters who voted for the 16 failed candidates will vote differently this time?  Obviously not the hard core of either party.

So where do these 2 paths lead Ukraine and which will be most advantageous?

Both certainly lead to some form of agreement and intigration… it limited or full…….with the EU.  Neither currently would take it into NATO.  Warmer relations with Moscow are guarnateed.

A common starting point with both potential presidents…..and one that will be of but fleeting interest with the Ukrainian voting public in the scheme of things.

This election is all to do with internal matters and nothing to do with foreign affairs……no matter how much that will upset Baroness Ashton and the EU bureaucrats full of their own self importants…….or the Kremlin.

(They should ask themselves how many Ukrainians can name them.  Most will know or at least recognise the names of Ms Merkle, Mr Putin and Mr Sarkozy, a few Mr Brown……but the EU hierarchy?  Not likely)

So the question is which candidate will have the biggest effects on what Ukrainians care about?

The West of course, due to the rhetoric continually spewing forth from Ms Tymoshenko will see her as more democratic and eager to clean up the lawlessness and corruption in Ukraine.  After all she speak more frequently about the EU than Mr Yanukovych and therefore plays to their ego’s……..despite having had 2 terms as Prime Minister and failing to tackle either problem with the noticable exception of the gas intermediary RosUkrEnergo.

Of course this really had little to do with cleaning up gas intermediaries or fighting corruption……it had everything to do with RosUkrEnergo being strongly linked to the then President Yushenko and Mr Firtash, ally of Yushenko, billionaire and disliked in the extreme by Ms Tymoshenko.

An act of vengence and an act of insuring Mr Firtash knows who holds the power would be a more accurate description……even if veiled by the label of fighting corruption.

There has been many words and little by way of deeds from Ms Tymoshenko in the area of corruption and rule of law.

What of Mr Yanukovych then?  Seen…….wrongly I would add……by the West as Pro-Russian when really he should be seen as being not Anti-Russian or Anti-EU.  Well why would he be “anti” either, his oligarchy backers sell to both east and west after all. 

Strangely, during Mr Yanukovych’s spell as Prime Minister……a short lived slot between the two Prime Ministerial terms of Ms Tymoshenko under the Presidency of Yushenko…….things were seemingly less corrupt……I know, I was here.  It has also been commented upon in many political articles recently both in Ukraine and from the “West”.

Of course it is a vaneer of sorts…….for he is leader of the political party backed by the majority of the oligarchy…….who all have business interests and monopolies which they will not allow to be interfered with, regardless of how opaque some transactions may be.

It is probable then that only corruption improved at the bottom end of the pecking order……namely the average voter thought it was getting better……which it possibly was for them, but not saving Ukraine as a nation being raped and pillaged of its assets at the top.

……Of course I know that big business and politics are intertwined in every nation and corruption is endemic in all governments and business to some degree or another.

The fact is people in every nation know this happens, but as long as their living conditions are good, personal opportunities exist and aspirations are achieveable and not something they can only dream of obtaining after seeing them on TV……..well most of the public in any nation are generally quite apathetic towards high level corruption, particularly in business.

………Well obviously they are……Russia, Ukraine and Nigeria could still learn a thing or two about corruption from the EU.

This is the first major dividing line between the candidates.  Ms Tymoshenko states she will go after corruption and the oligarchy like a wailing banshee…….and she probably will…….as long as she has no shared interests with those she goes after either in business or politics.

Mr Yanokovych is more likely to start below the higher echelons……simply because the majority of the higher echelons are financiers or members of his party.

The question is which will have more effect on every day life in Ukraine.  From previous observations and experience, it will be Mr Yanukovych’s approach.

Admittedly, Mr Yanukovych’s approach will not grab the headlines by taking on and persecuting the top people as Ms Tymoshenko’s will……but most people don’t get to deal with those at the top……..they deal with the middle and lower order “administrative fees” on a daily basis.  This is where Yanukovych will triumph without any headlines if he continues along the same lines as he did in his short period as Prime Minister.

What is undoubtedly true is both will only tackle it to some degree…….and not top to bottom!

Both are popularist politicians whether they like they label or not.  It does of course mean that they are both in tune with the muffled voices of the electorate though.  You cannot be a popularist politician if you are unaware of what is popular.

This raises the question as to whether either of them have the ability or inclination to make unpopular decisions.

It was Mr Yanukovych which forced through a popularist raise in social payments against the wishes of the IMF and Ms Tymoshenko.  It was of course gleefully backed by Mr Yushenko and his supporters in a parting shot to undermine Ms Tymoshenko…..regardless of the effects it would have with the IMF agreement with Ukraine.

It is Ms Tymoshenko though, which during her election campaigning has made the most of being Prime Minister and to be seen to be giving keys to new state owned apartments and settling land ownership battles and giving ownership documents to the electorate to the detriment of land owned by the State.

Neither Ms Tymoshenko or Mr Yanukovych have any economic sense whatsoever…….regardless of any qualifications or business accomplishments they have achieved previously.

In this regard, Sergiy Tigipko is a sound proposal for Prime Minister under either……being a multi-millionaire banker and having served in the Economy Ministry before.  It is, after all, also the responsibility of the Prime Minister to runs the books of Ukraine……and not the President.

The question is will he be allowed to get on with that role under a new President unhindered or unimpeded…….probably not with Ms Tymoshenko and although likely to escape personal interference from Mr Yanukovych, his backers will be a completely different proposition.

What would suit Ukraine best as a nation?  Mr Yanukovych as President, Mr Tigipko as Prime Minister and the zeal and energy of Ms Tymoshenko as leader of the opposition……quite possibly……..but the politicians of Ukraine are a strange and mostly immature breed.

What is more important to Ukraine is that the RADA is allowed to function at all and the childish games of blocking it, locking politicians in offices, fisty-cuffs and banners are removed from the political chambers completely.  This at least would give the appearance of professionalism to the outside world and Ukrainians alike……even if nothing else changed.

Neither candidate inspire the external investor much.  Raising capitol to finances much needed infrastructure improvements, salaries of doctors, teachers, police and other State employees will be hard to find……particularly as Ukraine needs the world to recover to reinvigerate it’s export driven economy.

Further changes to or fights with the IMF agreement will certainly not help matters.

None of that changes the fact the Ukraine is an excellent prospect if internal issues can be dealt with for an investor.  It is a little know fact that the Ukrainian stock market out performed most stock markets last year……despite the crisis.

Ukrainian arable land is the best in Europe for crops.  The exisiting monotorium preventing the sale of agricultural land to foreigners is not necessarily a stumbling block.  The standard lease to a foreigner or foreign company for agricultural land is 49 years with first rite to renew.  This is hardly a prohibitive timescale.

There is an absolute abundence of highly skilled and very technically savy young people in Ukraine and yet there is no “high-tech” manufacturing base, Ukrainian or foreign.

Much can be done to modernise the exisiting mines, mills and chemical plants here.

Which President will do more to either encourage through initiatives or through inward investment?

With initiatives it is hard to say.  Again easy to say and difficult to finance. 

With investment I anticipate either doing well in attracting it from Russia, China and the Middle East in hard assets. 

The EU will continue to wastefully throw money at ideological initiatives in attempts to change attitudes and psyche as they have previously done with the judiciary of course and the flow of incoming “western corporations” will slow as the flow from China, Asia in general and countries like Libya increases.

Could it be that the more neutral stance of both candidates will make Ukraine a melting pot of investment from all directions…..alternatively it may make all wary with no east/west path politically identifyable. 

Sadly the NGOs here both native and foreign are ineffective to say the least.  Given the amount of money thrown at them, I am sure that my mother could do a better job of promoting Ukraine……certainly most of the permanently resident expat community could.

Given an Honorary Consulship for Ukraine, I would be travelling the globe selling Ukraine to the world like a pimp does a prostitute.  Any serious company or person looking at Ukraine would have me knocking on their door……in person!

(Before you ask why I am not doing it now……it was offered not long ago……..with a cash price tag attached.  I am hardly going to pay to then spend my time saying how wonderful Ukraine is am I?…..Something is missing in that logic!).

Returning to the two candidates…….well both “have done a bit of bird” within the Ukrainian prison system. 

Ms Tymoshenko on fraud and embezzlement charges for which she cooled her heels for 2 months before being released without any convictions……..unsurprisingly, as very shortly afterwards she became Deputy Prime Minister under president Kuchma.

Mr Yanukovych for theft……8 months and assault……2 years.  Both crimes committed as a jouvenile and have since been expunged from his record.  To be fair though, not 1 of the 18 candidates were whiter than white and none could put hand on heart and say they have not profited from dodgey dealings or backhanders along the way.

The same can be said of all RADA members. 

Maybe a winning campaign pledge is to grant absolute immunity for previous misdoings (less murder or rape) to all parliamentary members and then remove the immunity completely which they currently hide behind.

If your past no longer can haunt you, then only your deeds for today and those of tomorrow will make you have need of any immunity after all.

Certainly a potential vote winner with those who suffer corruption daily and it would draw a line under personal criminal history, alledged or true, being used as an effective campaign weapon of the future.

A major issue is the style of leadership.  Ms Tymoshenko is a very capable politician………unfortunately surrounded by idiots.  Mr Yanukovych is not by any means, the sharpest tool in the tool box, but he is surrounded by some very clever people…….fortunately.

One will be a very autocratic, hands on style……the other, well nobody will really know who is pulling the strings.

Everything points towards two different paths to the same location.  The question is, which is the best and fastest route for the average Ukrainian to see the benefits?

Much has been said in the local press that nothing much will change.  I am starting to think that that is quite wrong and that things will change under either new President and the only question is how quickly and what.  That very much depends on the differing strategies and priorities of either candidate internally for Ukraine.

The end result will ultimately be the same……but different from now. 

5 years of foreign policy neutrality and a struggle to find the money to change things internally.  Of course tangable change will be expected immediately by the voters…….and of course such change will not be delivered immediately………because that is impossible to do for any President or government within 6 – 12 months of taking office.

Anyway, the warm up act is over and the real election starts now.


Baroness Ashton (Again)…..The EU and Ukraine…….Basically “We don’t know”

January 13, 2010

Following on from yesterdays post about Baronnes Ashton……you remember now, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy……..I know if I write it enough you will eventually remember who she is and what she is supposed to representent………


Today at 10:56 | Interfax-Ukraine Brussels, January 12 (Interfax-Ukraine) – High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Baroness Catherine Ashton has said that there are issues raising concern in the EU about the results of the presidential election in Ukraine – the development of relations with Russia and relations with the EU in certain areas.

“There are real concerns that we’ve got to address immediately after the elections. One is, what will [Ukraine’s] relationship with Russia be [after the presidential election]. How do we support specifically the issues on which we’re already working – judicial issues, and the rule of law? Where are we going in terms of moving forward to a trade agreement? Work has begun, but there is a huge amount of work and a huge amount of expectation about what Ukraine needs to do. So it’s not that I don’t have clear ideas of the areas that we need to discuss and to be able to go and do so quickly, but I think we just have to wait until the elections are over before we can do that,” she said during public hearings in Brussels on Monday, regarding her appointment as high representative for foreign policy.

The question on Ukraine was put by MEP Marek Siwiec, who said that the baroness gave no concrete answers, but spoke in general.

He asked her: “Is there a plan for Ukraine after the presidential elections? Does the European Union have a plan for relations with Ukraine and its new president? Ukraine is in political chaos, which I think suits many people in the EU. Is the association agreement going to be completed? Are we going to be talking about things that matter to us?”

Ashton commented on the upcoming presidential election in Ukraine.

“We don’t know, and it’s interesting that we don’t know who is going to win. I think that it’s actually quite significant for this country that we don’t know. Perhaps, this is a really strong indication of democracy at work,” she said.

Well dear readers, where to start?

Are the Baroness and her advisors sitting in a parallel universe?

The relations with Russia will improve simply due to the lack of recurring anti-Russian rhetoric spewing forth from any new President of Ukraine.  If any new President completely fails to mention Russia during the next 5 years, relations will improve over exisiting relations.

Whomever wins between Yanukovych or Tymoshenko, I doubt a single tear will be cried into a single beer within the walls of the Kremlin.

I do not expect that either Yanukovych or Tymoshenko will bend over and take it from Russia unwillingly but I do expect a lot more consensual activity in areas of common interest……be it gas, oil, space, arms, military intelligence, crime and in particular an OPEC style grain monopoly within the next 5 years.

I expect many new joint ventures in business and infrastructure between Russia and Ukraine either bilaterally or trilaterally with the EU.  I do not expect the EU to do as well as the Russians in these areas though, as the Slavic playing field is always slanted in favour of the Slavs.

The relations with Russia are a forgone conclusion regarding improvement both personally between leaders and nationally, regardless of winner……….but not to the exclusion of the EU.

If the Baroness does not know this or has no incling of this, then she has surrounded herself with the wrong mandarins already!

Yesterday she mentioned only “energy”…… the “Free Trade Agreement” which I mentioned in yesterdays post. 

I can tell her right now, from what I know personally, there will be no significant steps by Ukraine to get their side “in order” anytime before September 2010 relating to the FTA with the EU regardless of the winner of the Presidency. 

I am so confident in that statement, I would advise you dear readers to write it in your diaries……”No significant movement at all on the FTA before September 2010 with the EU”.

As for the judicial issues and rule of law, for which the EU has pumped tens of millions of Euro into Ukraine over the past few years…….well I am sure the visiting judges from the EU have enjoyed their “jollys” here…… have the Ukrainian judges which have had reciprocal visits in the EU…….but that money has thus far been wasted.

Ukraine has not improved in the corruption rankings globally.  Nationally nothing has improved at all.  Of all the “Procratura”……..State Prosecutors in effect…….in Odessa Oblast there is only one man which does not take bribes………and he is equally feared by police, SBU, U-BOB and criminals alike for this reason. 

99% of Odessa don’t even know he is alive he has such a low profile outside the hard core criminal community and law enforcement agencies.  Unless you are introduced to him……as is always the way, to do this is through who you know…… would never be able to take your case to him.  I would recommend him to anyone in Odessa needing unbiased legal assistance in righting a wrong……but I will need to introduce you to him for you to have any chance of getting to meet him.

More to the point, for many locals, what is the point of a Prosecuter they cannot pay/pay off to insure they are victorious?  Public opinion polls here condemn the corrupt legal system regularly but when the sh*t hits the fan for the people who decry the system, the first reaction is “How much to win/make it go away”.

Notes for the Baroness: 

What people say in opinion polls and what they do in real life are not the same thing.

The judicary will never be independent until they are not appointed by politicians, are paid well by the State and then summarily jailed if caught being corrupt…….rather than being suspended then reinstated under whatever political master got them out of the respective hole they found themselves in.

The Constitution of Ukraine does not allow for an independent judiciary effectively…….regardless of what it says.

There is no willingness amongst the politicians to have an independent judiciary they cannot control.

There is no reason for the judiciary not to take bribes when they will not be punished and are paid so badly anyway.

When push comes to shove…….the public here are used to and expect to be able to buy the result of many things which actually get to court and are not sorted by “fees and agreements” prior to getting there.

Everyone wants a free and independent judiciary until they are on the recieveing end of a system they used to be able to buy their way out of.

You cannot have an independent judiciary when they are appointed by politicians which have immunity from prosecution.  If your job as a judge depends on the political and business goodwill of your appointee……and they are someone you can never prosecute for any wrong-doing……how can a judge be independent with the obvious master and servant strings attached?

The entire infrastruture of Ukraine, both physical and social is based upon and still works on old Soviet style administrations, all of which are rotting from the top downwards…..and this election does not change the rotting head regardless of winner.

There has never been a strategic plan from any politician for post Soviet Ukraine.

If there is no such plan, how are you going to identify a strategy which will encourage/deter, work symbiotically with or oppossed to, what does not exist?

The existing power struggles here are similar to mafia clan wars and power relates to who owns who and what.  All the serious players are immune from prosection as per the Constitution of Ukraine.

The EU will never dictate to Ukraine what the Constitution will say, for it is a sovereign document………and created and ratified by those which currently enjoy the immunity it provides them.

The Constitution will most certainly be revised/re-written after the Presidential election, regardless of who wins, but do not expect the elite that have prospered so well under the existing rules to give up their immunity.  Expect only the smudged lines of who is responsible for what, presidential and parliamentary, to be less blurred than before…….in favour of the new President obviously!

My dear woman, if you and the EU wish to get involved in Ukraine, you have to know what Ukraine has as a national strategy……..not just a few people sat in the RADA and Presidential Secretariate who have problems agreeing with themselves in a mirror.

There is no plan.  There is not even any joined up planning between neighbouring oblasts at regional levels for mutually beneficial issues……..such is the level of rivalry, in-fighting and political differences…… fact nothing in Ukraine is “joined up”.

After the Presidential election……..there will be serious seat swapping in the RADA and a new Prime Minister……….then in April the majority of Regional Oblast and Mayor positions are also up for election.  These local elections will be as fearsome in their politics as the Presidential elections…….because if the new President finds the RADA as ineffective as the past 5 years, you can expect strong alliences to be formed by President and regional administrations almost bypassing the RADA to get things done…….or at the very least forcing the RADA to act as the President wishes by pressure from above and below.  All of this will put pay to the Baroness’ “immediate plans to address concerns”…….as there will be nobody sure of their position (other than the President) until May at the earliest…….closely followed by the RADA closing for the summer holidays.

Do not expect “foreign policy” to appear to highly on the list of issues for either Tymoshenko or Yanukovych.  If the EU state “we don’t know” to Ukraine then don’t expect Ukraine to take anything the EU has to say very seriously as you already start from a position of weakness in Slavic mentality.

Surely EU policy will be the same regardless of President…..or will it change because Tymoshenko like Gucci or Yanukovych likes the colour blue?

It implies there is no EU policy if it is to be set after the elections.  The EU has different policies for different Presidents?

Another tip for the Baroness – Do not come here without a clearly defined goal and the instruments, carrot or stick, to inforce them.  You will get nowhere.   

Even with a clearly defined goal and strategy to achieve it………and a diplomatic bag full of carrots and sticks…… had better be prepared to fight long and hard, tooth and nail, to get anywhere close to achieving them.

If you want to appear like a “limp dick” then continue on the lines which you are currently on.  Slavic mentality is a testosterone based mentality.  It is short on flowery propositions and uncomitted sentiment.  The EU will be handed its ar*e by Ukraine if it does not give the impression of being bluntly resolute in what it wants and expects.

In short, dear Baroness, stop speaking about Ukraine until you have something to say forcefully, resolutely and specifically.  It is far better to say nothing in these parts until you have something worth listening too when it comes to business.

Maybe this should be the next oratory from the Baroness……..

Ladles and Jellyspoons

I come before you
to stand behind you
And tell you something
I know nothing about

Next Thursday,
which is Good Friday,
there will be a Mothers meeting,
for Fathers only.

Wear your best clothes
if you haven’t any,
and if you can come,
please stay at home.

Admission’s free
pay at the door.
Take a seat
and sit on the floor.

It makes no difference
where you sit
The man in the gallery’s
sure to spit.

Making grandious statements based on “We don’t know” makes you and the EU look incredibly weak…… shut up until you have something worth saying.

(By the way the MEP Marek Siwiec who asked the questions…….he’s Polish)


The East/West Divide is as big as it ever was……except it is all in Ukraine!

November 3, 2009

Around 66% of Ukrainians are ready to vote in the presidential elections in Ukraine, according to a survey carried out by the Kyiv International Institute of Sociology on October 6-23, 2009.

A total of 3,999 respondents from all Ukrainian regions, Crimea and Kyiv, participated in the study. The poll’s margin of error is 2.3%.

According to the poll, Regions Party leader Viktor Yuschenko and Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko would receive 41% and 25% of the vote respectively and win through to the second round.

A total of 55% of voters said they would support Yanukovych in the run-off, and around 41% said they would vote for Tymoshenko.

If Yanukovych and Front for Change leader Arseniy Yatseniuk participated in the second round of presidential elections, they would receive 60% and 36% of the vote respectively.

Yanukovych enjoys greatest support in Ukraine’s eastern (47%) and southern (37%) regions. Some 16% from the country’s center and 9% of Ukraine’s western regions are also ready to support Yanukovych.

Tymoshenko is mostly supported in the west (27%) and the center (24%), and has the least support in the south (9%), and the east (5%).

Yatseniuk is mostly supported in the west (11%). Some 6% of respondents from the country’s center, 4% from the east and 4% from the south are also ready to vote for Yatseniuk.

The voter turnout during the last presidential elections in 2004 was 77.32%, compared to 73.8% in 1999. – Interfax – Ukraine


I Thought I Was Supposed To Be Retired!!!

August 4, 2009

Well dear readers, it seems I will be busy for a few more days yet…… much for retirement!!

With one deal all but closed……the usual “personal interests” signed off yesterday…….so the formal contracts issued today…….I get a call from a major competitor of one of the parties involved in the deal which will should close in the next 48 hours trying to get a piece of the action……

There is a Slavic saying in business which is “everyone has to eat”.  That does not necessarily mean deal with more than one supplier……but it also means another supplier will meet the terms…….as long as the “personal interests” are the same too.

I have to say though, the “personal interest” fees are probably more over the period of the contracts than some small nations GDP!!!

So…….what the hell……will now be busy this week closing 2 deals instead of one.  Hopefully though, by Saturday, both will be done and normal service will be resumed.


Although The Presidential Campaign Has Not Started……….

August 1, 2009

Well dear readers, although I have been busy for the past few days, it has been worth it……..I think.  I will know for certain on Monday…….but negotiations regarding all things “Russian business style” have been held and verbally agreed……on top of the actual business in hand.  This is always a good sign that things will happen…….so I wait Monday.

FC 1

Now, having a few minutes to flick through the press here, although the official campaigning for President of Ukraine elections does not start for another month or so……I have noticed that one candidate has come up with a few policy statements.

Arseniy Yatseniuk……who probably won’t make it into the second stage of voting……but you never know……has stated 5 policy statements for his first term as President. 

Yeh, I know, nothing like confidence…….and despite the fact I like him…….this time will not be his time.

Anyway, what are his policies stated thus far?

Firstly, a national drive to upgrade Ukraine’s industry which he claims……and is probably correct in most cases……but certainly not all cases…….has not developed at all in the last 18 years.

Eh?…….Well the cement production industry has developed massively in the past 18 years…….because 94% of cement production companies are owned by foreign companies who have switched from wet to dry production at massive investment…..and environmental gains…… his claims are not exactly accurate.  He is though a politician, and therefore allowing shards of truth to enter the dark political picture being painted would be…..inconvenient…….so it is far better to say…… he has, there has been no development in the last 18 years.

Then you would have to ask just how this development would be forced to occur.  All the best industrial bits were sold……read conned/swindled/bought for a song/just plain stolen…..15 years ago by the now political elite.  All the shitty bits remained in State ownership.

I am not sure how he thinks he can force industrial development in the private sector…….tax breaks are not an option……as nobody pays tax.

I am not sure…….and like all politicians, he does not say…… this would be financed…..when it comes to the State owned industrial sector either……unless what is left of the State owned industrial sector is privatised to foreigners with a caveat that serious investment is part of the deal.  Don’t you just hate it when politicians come out with (the obvious) plans…….but won’t say or cannot say (because they have no idea) how they will be paid for?

Secondly, Arseniy has stated he wants to remove the reliance on Russian energy……not by tapping into Ukraine’s enormous natural supplies……but by new nuclear reactors.  Fair enough, the costings for one system verses another I don’t know so cannot compare and analyse.  This is, however, a country, which still gets massive amounts of international aid to put a new concrete sarcophagus around Chernobyl. 

Whilst the expertise and skill set certainly exists for the nuclear program… it does for tapping Ukraine’s natural resources…….but where is the money going to come from?  This is a more expensive endeavour (natural or nuclear) than the industrial development.

Thirdly, Mr Yatseniuk proposes making Ukrainin agriculture a world leader.  Quite right…….Ukraine is the most fertile nation in Europe with the best quality soil in Europe too…….well at least in the South and West of Ukraine.  There will be no problem getting the foreign investment in this arena…….outside the fact that foreigners cannot own agricultural land and can only lease it for 49 year periods.  That is the law and that law will not change.  Here, however, regardless of the leasing issue, there is a definite and almost guaranteed area in which foreign investment will flood in……..assuming the tax, corporate and “administrative issues” can be reduced dramatically.

Unfortunately, it is not a policy either first stated by Mr Yatseniuk or one which has not been in the public domain for at least 4 years.

Fourthly he wants to improve the nations free health service and free education……..which currently exist……..and are free.  Unfortunately everyone involved in health provision and education are paid less than a labourer on a building site and any actual physical investment in equipment or even maintenance in or of buildings is carried out by parents or grateful patients as there is not enough State funds to provide the meagerest of pay rises or even a lick of paint on a building.

Actually, that may not be right…….there may be the funds…….on paper……..but it is simply stolen before it reaches the front line, by layers and layers of corrupt politicians and officials.

He doesn’t make corruption and fighting corruption something on this list…….so we have to assume he will need to raise the money………….somehow.

Lastly, the plan is to form a “strong army”.  Aside from the finances involved…….again not mentioned…….there is the recruitment issue.  Conscripts do not make good soldiers……I know having been on a few foray’s in the Falklands and Kuwait.  To make the military appealing in any shape, form or manner…….well, I take you back to the issues with health care and education.

It is a marvelous wish list…… which one could add, independent judiciary, equal and fair law enforcement, the removal of MP’s immunity, the removal of corruption, revamped and understandible taxation, the removal of both administrative and “invisible” barriers to business and investment…….the wish list is endless.

Where is the how……..Where is the costing…….Where is the timescale?

These statements are as empty as those of Mr Yatseniuk’s political rivals……..hardly change Ukrainians can believe in!!


Gas Prices To Increase By 20% From 1st September in Ukraine

July 25, 2009

Well dear readers, it appears that the officials in Ukraine have succumbed to the requests of the IMF and will increase the cost of gas to both corporations and the public from 1st September 2009.

GU 1

The National Electricity Regulation Commission……yeh I know, where does it say in their title they are responsible for gas pricing…….has stated.  This is, of course on top of the 35% rise in gas prices announced in October 2008 which came into effect in December 2008…… a 55% rise in gas prices within 10 months.

There seems to be some for of system…….which as usual is not clearly stated or defined……which states that is usage is less than 2500 cubic meters then the price will be in the region of 0.58 UAH per cubic meter.  Useage between 2500 and 6000 cubic meters the price will be about 0.878 UAH per cubic meter…..with a meter…..and 0.966 UAH without a meter.

GU 2

………Quite how it can be ascertained what an individuals use is without a meter is beyond me……so if you are meter-less and use less than 2500 cubic meters per year……..who knows what “estimated” bill you will get at the highest rate of 0.966 UAH per cubic meter…….because you don’t have a meter.

Now, my annual useage……which is metered is above 2500 cubic meters…….in fact to get it to 2500 cubic meters or less would mean I didn’t have a gas appliance used regularly throughout the year……..and my hot water system and oven and hob are all gas…….so I’m screwed.

If you are unlucky enough to have old systems which are not particularly efficient…… most heating systems in older Soviet style buildings…….and even some modern buildings…….due to “tradesmen”…….I use the word in the loosest possible terms……..doing things “the way they have always been done” rather than using systems much more economical which have been in use in the UK for at least 25 years…….then the fact your building may be only 3 months old does not necessarily mean that there will be significant savings on utility bills compares to a Soviet style building……….

GU 3

Anyway, if you use more than 6000 cubic meters of gas per year but less than 12000 cubic meters…….the cost is going to be about 1.798 UAH per cubic meter……….with a meter……..without a meter it will be around 1.977 UAH.

Errrrm…….Yes I am aware there is nothing stopping the authorities saying an unmetered user……who actually used less than 2500 cubic meters a year…….used 11987 cubic meters……..because who can prove otherwise…….and charging 1.977 UAH per cubic meter.

But wait…….what if you use more than 12000 cubic meters……..well without a meter you know what is going to happen…… do…….don’t you!!

If you use over 12000 cubic meters of gas per year…..if you have a meter… will pay in the region of 2.148 UAH per cubic meter……….without a meter you will pay 2.362 UAH per cubic meter.

Obviously without your own meter…… can expect the exceptionally transparent energy business sector of Ukraine to miraculously calculate that you one ring gas burner has racked up an astronomic gas usage meaning you pay 2.362 UAH per cubic meter…… estimated by someone……..somewhere………who cannot really be identified or questioned over their calculations……..because nobody really knows how the figure was arrived at…….or who calculated it……..but it is on the bill so you have to pay it or be cut off!!

GU 4

This is, however, an effective way to stimulate the economy by sales of gas meters and reinvigorate the gas meter fitting industry inside Ukraine……whilst also pleasing the IMF……and thus allowing Ukraine to borrow more money it doesn’t have.

It is far easier to pass the costs on to corporations and the individual members of the public than it is to come to agreement with the EU and Russia on upgrading the existing gas pipe infrastructure which leaks quite a bit more than 12000 cubic meters of gas per year.  In fact some uncorroborated sources state 8% of gas going through Ukraine’s gas pipeline escapes.

With just over 120 billion cubic meters of gas going through Ukraine in 2009……according to BBC figures I found…….that means around 9.6 billion cubic meters escapes into nothingness.

If it was not metered that would be almost 22.7 billion UAH at the highest rate in revenue lost on unconsumed gas!!

Still, as the politics of Ukrainian gas is difficult and putting up prices is easier……..

GU 5


Ukrainian Government Passes Law On Public Morals

June 12, 2009

Well, dear readers………what can I say?

Have a look at this……..

Rada passes bill to protect public morals
The Verkhovna Rada (Parliament) of Ukraine adopted in first reading the bill on amendments and addenda to the Criminal Code of Ukraine concerning protection of public morals.


 The bill proposes amendments to the Criminal Code and introduction of criminal responsibility for violation of laws on protection of public moral through circulation of products of erotic or sexual character; violation of laws on protection of public moral through organization and (or) holding of shows of erotic or sexual character; circulation of products causing damage on public moral and created with involvement of children; organization and (or) holding with participation of children of shows damaging public moral.



Does this mean a ban on Playboy, or strippers……..Will half the TV programming have to be changed because it contains naked women?  Will Russian and Ukrainian music videos be banned because of the raunchiness of their content?

Just in case we are seeing the introduction of a ban on all things “titillating” which come from Ukraine……

naked Ukrainian woman

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