Posts Tagged ‘rada’

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Civil Service reform – 12 months later, sabotage?

December 27, 2016

One year ago, the blog lauded the passing into statute of a new civil service law, a law that addressed two significant historical issues – “…..the Ukrainian civil service has frequently appeared as a source of disillusionment and frustration.  The reasons for this have been many, but primarily relate to two distinct causes – the first legislatively, and the second functionally (as has oft been stated here…..”.

That entry however contained a caveat – “It now falls to civil society and the diplomatic corps to defend this law from politically sabotaging “amendments”, but it also now falls of the Europeans that stated they would fund the civil service reform to do so effectively not only financially, but with no small amount of leadership and determination when it comes to making the law work as it is intended.”

So where are we at 1 year later?

This entry will not concentrate upon the usual failures associated with Ukrainian policy, be that policy good, bad, or counterproductive – the usual failures of implementation.

It is sufficient to say that implementation is at the very least problematic, and also that the processes employed to deliver results/civil service appointments have been far from transparent nor the standards consistent when carrying out the basic legislative requirements of civil service appointment.

(Let us not dare speak of the seamless functioning of an effective national nervous system – which any civil service actually is.)

Shoddy, less than transparent and inconsistent implementation and internal processes aside, that such really rather good legislation has survived 12 months without sabotage is in itself worthy of note.  Those hardened souls that have several times had to scramble to man the ramparts to beat back attempts at sabotaging this statute have managed to do so – thus far.

Those battlements will have to be robustly manned once again in 2017, for sabotage is once more at the gates.

MP Artur Gerasimov has submitted Draft Bill 4370-1 which would effectively destroy much of the right-minded text within the current statute.  His proposed amendments would critically undermine the a-political and professional civil service the current legislation provides statutory framework for.

Not good when institutional independence, structure and processes have to be robust enough to repel political shenanigans if Ukraine is to move forward with a fully functioning State nervous system.

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Who then (and perhaps what) is Artur Gerasimov, that would seek to undo one of the very few laws of real quality that the Verkhonvna Rada has managed to pass (and that came into effect from 1st May 2016)?

Mr Gerasimov is a parliamentarian from the presidential party.  Indeed he is a recognised “presidential representative” within the Verkhovna Rada.  Ergo that the President is unaware of Draft Law 4370-1 being submitted by his Verkhovna Rada envoy is somewhat unlikely.  The question is whether Mr Gerasimov submits it (deniably) on behalf of The Bankova and by extension President Poroshenko – or not.

If not, then who does he submit such a toxic Draft Bill for?

Without providing an unnecessary curriculum vitae and full personal history, a brief outline of the last few years is sufficient to paint a picture of this legislative assassin.

Skimming over his various scandals mostly contained within the Donbas, it is sufficient to state that he is closely associated with Sergei Shakhov a dubious “businessman” (read organised crime) from Luhansk.  Mr Shakhov in turn is closely associated with former Prosecutor General Viktor Pshonka, part of “The Family” that formed the elite of the former Yanukovych regime.

Indeed Mr Gerasimov stood for election to the Verkhovna Rada in a single mandate seat ably supported by the shadowy team of Sergei Shakhov.  Part of that team was Igor Bezler and his organised thuggery – yes the Igor Bezler of Donbas warlord and “separatist” infamy.  That is not to imply Mr Gerasimov has any (overt) separatist tendencies.  Mr Bezler’s participation in the election campaign of Artur Gerasimov clearly occurred long before the current events within the Donbas.  Nevertheless Mr Bezler and team were employed for the purposes of intimidation and voter bribery.

The outcome however was that Mr Gerasimov came second in the single mandate vote for his constituency and therefore did not reach the Verkhovna Rada (and lobby for/defend the interests of Mr Shakhov and others in his orbit).

During that failed 2012 election campaign, Mr Gerasimov did not hide the fact that he was in the orbit of Petro Poroshenko.

A reader will not be surprised therefore that Mr Gerasimov eventually made it to the Verkhovna Rada in 2014, not by winning a single mandate seat, but via the plain sailing of proportional representation and the party list of President Poroshenko’s party.

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Indeed it appears Mr Gerasimov and President Poroshenko go way back – although specifically how and why remains somewhat opaque.  Nevertheless as President Poroshenko puts loyalty ahead of ability, for him to tap Mr Gerasimov as the presidential representative within the Verkhovna Rada in May 2016, there is some form of personal bond and/or understanding.

Whatever the case, unsubstantiated rumour has it that Mr Gerasimov was selling candidacy for single mandate seats, as well as for local governance, for the presidential party during the elections having been given a party list spot and the Donetsk region to “administer” for the presidential party electioneering.  (Maxim Efimov is apparently one such successful buyer and two stories broke in local media in two locations by candidates allegedly wronged.)

Also closely associated with Mr Gerasimov is MP Oleg Nedavoy.  Mr Nedavoy is inextricably and undeniably linked to the wanted and much loathed Yuri Ivanyushchenko, a close ally of former President Viktor Yanukovych.

There is perhaps no need to continue and sufficient has been written for a read to draw their own conclusions about the character and morality of Mr Gerasimov.

From this glossary however, it is difficult to see who benefits (the most) from Mr Gerasimov’s Draft Bill 4370-1 if not The Bankova, or those most trusted by the President to (deniably) misuse the system the “right way” – Messrs Granovsky, Kononenko and Berezenko.

If this draft Bill passes through the Verkhovna Rada then toxic executive political interference will once again legitimately sully and/or mortally wound the internal workings of the civil service.  The President will then either sign it into law if the cacophony of shrieks and screams from European “friends” and Ukrainian civil society prove not to be loud and rude enough, or he can veto it and the issue can be internally spun as a false flag for external consumption and “proof” of an unwavering trudge toward European normative.

If the Europeans and Ukrainian civil society have any sense however, the maximum efforts will be made to have this Draft Bill withdrawn, or smothered by the relevant Verkhovna Rada committee before it ever gets as far as a vote.  A large diplomatic stick should be wielded now – proactively.

Still, regular readers all knew that quality legislation would sooner or later be subjected to attempts at sabotage – it always is in Ukraine.  That’s why 1 year ago the blog warned that would be the case.

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A Granovsky false flag in defence of Kononenko?

December 17, 2016

The name of Ihor Kononenko has appeared fairly frequently in the blog – usually annotated with “President Poroshenko’s leg breaker in the Verhovna Rada” or “the mere mention of his name has diplomats eyes rolling” or “to whom the presidential leash should be applied”.

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To be absolutely blunt, Mr Kononenko is an old and loyal friend of President Poroshenko and is being allowed to run amok with all the worst possible parallels to the Yanukovych regime approach to business and state owned enterprises, whilst also acting as parliamentary enforcer for the president.

Certain readers known to this blog have first hand experience of Mr Kononenko.  To be charitable he is a predator.  To be less so, he can go beyond “dubious” and “nefarious” when it comes to the boundaries of the law.

There is no doubt that President Poroshenko is aware of at least some of the deeds of his friend – even if he doesn’t read the media (and he is probably the most PR aware Ukrainian president ever) there is no way some deeds will not have been raised directly by the diplomatic community with the president on occasion.

Sooner or later, should the presidential leash not be placed upon Mr Kononenko and thus his appetites somewhat reduced, a reader may foresee a situation similar to that of Viktor Shokin whereby the international pressure from “friends of Ukraine” will continue to build surrounding him to the point of ultimatums.

Also occasionally mentioned by the blog is Alexander Granovsky usually annotated with “rising star in Kyiv” or “whose political star is in the ascendancy” (or similar).

Although from Uman originally, Mr Granovsky since his (Mechnikov) university days in Odessa, has been a permanent business/public persona in the city – perhaps best known for his activities with business partner from Boris Kaufman (also from Odessa).  That said both also have business interests that do not involve the other.

Mr Granovsky’s business history is as a reader would expect – he had owned more than a dozen companies between 1997 and 2006 (which could be, but won’t be listed here), almost all with “colourful” reputations or occasional scandals.  Some have since been sold, some have been retained, and new enterprises continue to appear.  Suffice to say those interests cover everything from port dredging, to banking, to fertilizer, to hotels, to airports, media, alcohol, tobacco, and more.

Mr Granovsky is also a man inclined to be generous with the synagogue in Odessa being a major beneficiary.

Regardless of interesting histories (worthy of entries of their own) both Mr Granovsky and Mr Kononenko are Block Poroshenko parliamentarians will significant gravitas within both the party, faction and the parliament itself – albeit with different and distinct roles in controlling events.

The past few days have seen some interesting entries on Mr Granovsky’s Facebook. – a photograph of a text conversation on Telegram was uploaded.

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A conversation prime facie appealing to Mr Granovsky for help to fend off the unwanted attentions of the predatory Ihor Kononenko.

“Хочу обратиться ко всем симпатикам моего коллеги по залу Игоря Кононенко, чтоб сообщить о том, что лично он, обращаясь ко мне в мессенджере телеграмм, пытается втянуть меня в преступный сговор с не до конца попятной для меня целью. Что-то мне подсказывает, что дело не чистое.
Доказательство ниже.

P.S.
Конечно же, какой-то “озорник” таким образом пытается выманить деньги. Половина фракции тоже получила подобные сообщения. Примитивно, но в каких-то случаях эффективно:(((“

Mr Granovsky accompanied that photograph with a statement appealing to his parliamentary colleagues to give Mr Kononenko a sympathetic audience, for he suspected intrigue of a nefarious kind, stating that half of the Poroshenko faction had received similar texts attempting to obtain money.  His post insinuated that some had indeed complied, paying off an unknown party.

It is without a shadow of a doubt that Mr Granovsky has the telephone number of Mr Kononenko and can authenticate (or not)  the demands for money.  Such faux intuition of intrigue and public (Facebook) disclosure is quite unnecessary for a man capable of getting immediate responses from Mr Kononenko.

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“Короткий апдейт на тему хулигана, который прикрывался именем Игоря Кононенко с целью выманить деньги у коллег по фракции и не только.

Следующие несколько лет, судя по всему, он будет шлифовать свои навыки в 4 стенах. Отдельное спасибо сотрудникам спецподразделения “Альфа” СБУ.”

On 17th December, a few days after setting the scene on Facebook, Mr Granovsky via Facebook once more, gave public thanks to a SBU Alfa Unit for arresting somebody – (as yet unidentified and as of the time of writing the detention has not been confirmed by the SBU) – using Ihor Kononenko’s name to extort money from his parliamentary colleagues.

Naturally questions arise.

Firstly just how subservient to and/or scared of Ihor Kononenko are his parliamentary colleagues to have simply paid this unknown offender acting under Mr Kononenko’s name apparently without his knowledge?

As always, the questions have to be asked as to who benefits, and why are things being done this way?

In publicly announcing this affair on Facebook, does Mr Granovsky do more or less harm to the “parliamentary leg breaker” and predatory image that Ihor Kononeko already has among his parliamentary colleagues and the business community?

Although probably not the case, if designed to do more damage, what motivates Mr Granovsky to make such a bold move?  Why now?

If designed to mitigate Mr Kononenko’s image, is this a false flag incident created to deflect some near horizon allegations against Mr Kononenko insofar as it will be held up as evidence that his name is misused and/or spuriously attacked over events he will claim he has no involvement in (whether he does or not)?

If it be the latter and this is a preparatory false flag, what scandal is upon the immediate Kononeko horizon that requires such theatre?

It is of course possible that Mr Granovsky thinks it is simply a fun story that people should know about – but Mr Granovsky is a clever man and is simply not that oblivious to the perceptions and the questions that arise by making this affair public.

Something about this just doesn’t seem right.  Perhaps all will become clearer fairly soon.

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The official EU overview of Ukrainian progress 2016

December 13, 2016

A very short entry to bring a reader’s attention to the official EU overview of Ukrainian progress during 2016.

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Predictably the issues where Ukraine invariably fails (and highlighted by the blog) is left to the concluding paragraph.

“Reform in Ukraine is a long-term process looking to bring long-term results. As outlined in this report, many important reforms are ripe to move from the legislative and institutional phase to effective implementation, which will benefit Ukraine’s citizens and contribute further to its political association and economic integration with the EU. Ukrainian civil society and other stakeholders have suggested that the EU and Ukraine should do more to communicate publicly, both in Ukraine and abroad, and explain the rationale for, and benefits of, the reforms undertaken by the government.”

If only the blog had a Dollar for every time the phrase “effective policy” and “effective implementation” had been written during the many years it has been running!

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Savchenko in Minsk

December 12, 2016

As much as this blog was going to avoid comment upon Nadya Savhcenko’s meeting in Minsk with the leaders of the “DNR” Alexandr Zaharchenko, “LNR” Igor Plotnitsky, and Russian interlocutors on 7th December, too many emails, private messages and direct messages have arrived asking for comment that careful and limited comment there will be.

Firstly it has to be recognised that daily Ukrainian soldiers still die on the front lines in eastern Ukraine.  It may well be the case that those on the opposite side also suffer daily fatalities, though no figures are announced daily like those of the Ukrainian military.  Also Minsk, a framework document that has failed to deliver anything approaching a ceasefire (where the fire actually ceases) since its agreement more than 2 years ago and thus remains diplomatically alive only in the absence of any alternative – and indeed that alternative may actually be worse than continuing with the sham of Minsk.

However, at the very least, those freed following negotiations under Minsk will not consider the process a complete failure when their very freedom comes as a result.

Nevertheless it cannot be claimed that the process has been anything other than a failure in the eyes of many.

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Having met Nadya Savchenko a few times (the last time in June), with regard to her character of the many insights gleaned, and for the purposes of this entry, it is sufficient to note her strong willed personality – so strong that being an “institutional and/or team player” would clearly be secondary.  These character traits alone, as an entry from May made very clear, are not those particularly welcome within the Batkivshchyna Party.

Those personality traits and the fact that as a parliamentarian she has absolute immunity (and impunity) with regard the law, has the potential for some to be somewhat wary of unpredictable and or predictable but unstoppable acts.  (She can, as all other parliamentarians, do what she likes, when she likes, and without (immediate) legal repercussions until such time as parliamentary immunity is lifted by the Verkhovna Rada or her mandate expires.)

Ergo how and who could stop Nadya Savchenko from going to Minsk (other than Belarus)?

Nevertheless, there is such a thing as party discipline and Yulia Tymoshenko cannot afford to be seen as a weak leader of what is in effect nothing more than a Batkivshchyna Party that is political vehicle solely for promoting Yulia Tymoshenko.

Indeed, of Nadya Savchenko’s Minsk adventure, Batkivshchyna have stated they “consider unacceptable any negotiations with the leaders of “DNR” and “LC” and MP N.Savchenko did not coordinate her actions with the factions and parties, and has recently announced her participation in the new political project.”

That said, she is a member of Yulia Tymoshenko’s Batkivshchyna Party, and has unquestionably gone against the party line that is repeatedly and unambiguously on record.  The “distancing” in the above Batkivshchyna statement is not the same thing as party discipline, nor instigating disciplinary measures within the party for such a blatant departure from the party line.

However, to remove her from the party having been elected upon the party list (as No1 before Yulia Tymoshenko due to populist electioneering when Ms Savchenko was still incarcerated in Russia) opens the way for Ms Savchenko to lose her parliamentary status (as happened to former parliamentarians Mykola Tomenko and Igor Firsov per Article 81 of the Constitution).

The expected and inevitable dilemma for Ms Tymoshenko (foreseen in the May entry linked above) as to just how much she will allow herself (and Batkivshchyna) to be tarred with the undisciplined Ms Savchenko brush once again presents itself.

Dilemma!  What political cost to dealing with Ms Savchenko’s disregard for the party line by disciplinary measures, vis a vis looking weak for not doing so?

Further the SBU is now playing catch up – Yuri Tandit of the SBU making clear that they are now collecting and collating information regarding the Minsk meetings of Nadya Savchenko after the fact.

Nevertheless what’s done is done – and may well happen again (and again).

Ms Savchenko justifies her trip by stating “We must do our best, each of us, to take our heroes home even if we will have to pay those who shoot at us”, saying of President Poroshenko “He, like all of us, wants to pick up our children from captivity and the political prisoners from of Russia.  I am confident that the president on his level of doing everything possible to make this happen as quickly as possible.”

Well fair enough – or is it?

Why shouldn’t she do what she thinks she can?

Putting aside the issue of ugly optics and being seen to be negotiating with the public faces and “leaders” of the “Republics” directly (rather than indirectly and through “channels” as is standard fare, and for good reason of “legitimising” the other parties) there are issues of both her legitimacy and also wider coordination.  (That she has done this at the very least may now make her a “useful idiot” in a wider Kremlin secret service operation.)

And it is perhaps coordination that matters the most.

Ms Savchenko states that she traveled to Minsk on her personal Ukrainian passport and not her diplomatic passport.  Whether or not this is meant to infer a personal and not “official Nadya Savchenko MP” dialogue with the “leaders” of the “Republics” is a matter of perception.  As such, when it comes to framing, were any “negotiations” unofficially official (though they appear unsanctioned officially or tacitly), or were they officially unofficial to which any “negotiation” (whether it may or may not reap results) raises the question of what was “given” and “taken” in that negotiation and the ability, particularly by Ms Savchenko, to deliver thereafter.

Perhaps yet more problematic is that it may well be that this becomes a channel or negotiating format of choice for one side but not the other – thus undermining the negotiating formats that are already accepted and working.  Differences between official and unofficial channels may very well complicate matters further and also be deliberately used to frustrate progress by any party concerned in negotiations when those differences are exploited.  The potential nightmare scenario may arise where with insufficient care and coordination there is a real possibility that due to deliberate, or unintentional, mishandling of negotiations, those detained could be held for far longer than would otherwise have been the case.

If this was indeed a personal pilgrimage (well meaning as it may have been) there are real risks as well as potential rewards as a result.

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Whatever was negotiated and/or agreed may actually be counterproductive to any (or all recent progress) by the officially nominated trilateral groups.  Indeed it may be that an individual uncoordinated effort with such a focus on a specific issue distorts or blinds to the wider negotiating policy repercussions both in the immediate and longer term.

Further, even if Ms Savchenko’s personal and seemingly unofficial interjection delivers any much welcomed prisoner releases, that does not necessarily mean political gains for Ms Savchenko in the long term.  Many of her actions and statements have already raised red flags in some quarters in Ukraine – for her to succeed swiftly where 2 years of negotiations where heavyweights the like the OSCE, Messrs Kuchma and Gryzlov et al have delivered little, may raise as many (if not more) red flags as it would potential voters.

Time will tell how this plays out for Ms Savchenko, how Batkicshchyna (Ms Tymoshenko) deal with this, how much the SBU and the official negotiators will learn of the “negotiations” (and as importantly the resulting interpretations of all those present), and perhaps most critically for those already working so hard to release, whether there will be results within the parameters they have been asked to remain within.

Perhaps, considering the high profile Ms Savchenko has, what a reader may ponder most is that if Ukraine felt she was the most suitable of people to be directly involved in such negotiations then she most certainly would be – and that she isn’t may well say all that needs to be said.

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Onishchenko – It’ll get messy

December 9, 2016

Back in July an entry appeared relating to the politics surrounding the removal of parliamentary immunity from Alexandr Onishchenko.  It outlined the grubby and disingenuous position of Yulia Tymoshenko and Batkivshchyna in particular due to Mr Onishchenko being a financier of Batkivshchyna – despite his membership of a different parliamentary faction, Will of the People.

That he would be in one parliamentary faction and finance a different party is no surprise to regular readers of course.  In a political space without much in the way of discernible ideology or party loyalty, the parliamentary party a parliamentarian my be part of generally by definition means very little.

The shenanigans, dishonesty and lack of loyalty displayed within the above-linked entry were perhaps an obvious harbinger for what was to come in a far more public and international environment when “payback” was deemed to be politically expedient.

And so it comes to pass that as Ms Tymoshenko appears to have gone “all in” in an attempt to force early Verkhovna Rada elections, remove the National Bank head, and discredit President Poroshenko in a populist broadside as utility price hikes bite the electorate – and in perfect synchronicity her party financier, the now wanted Alexander Onishchsnko raises allegations of corruption and parliamentary vote buying by President Poroshenko in the UK (where Mr Onishchenko currently sits) and Ukrainian press.

There are many ways to view the motivations, legitimacy and/or accuracy and timing of Mr Onishchenko’s allegations – but what is true is that he is/was a political and business insider among the Ukrainian elite.  He is also an odious, self-serving, deceitful and nefarious individual against whom the Ukrainian State (read Ukrainian people) no doubt have cause for redress and restitution – as they do so many of the political class for exactly the same reasons (will somebody please take on Pashinsky?).

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Further the substance of the Onishchenko allegations are hardly of a nature alien to Ukrainian politics historically.  They are therefore deemed plausible by many both within and without Ukraine.

(If true however, it would be interesting to know when votes were bought and which laws they were bought in order to pass – those serving vested interests, or the Ukrainian State in order to meet its obligations?)

This entry will (try to) stick only to what is already in the public domain and seeks not to act as judge or jury, nor test the allegations.

The upshot of the allegations reaching the UK press and their publication has resulted in lawyerly letters pinging their way around some parts of the UK media with the issue of libel the heart of the prose.  The lawyerly letters coming from the Aktins Thomson – a particularly effective legal firm with regard to media.  Journalists thus forewarned.

Akins Thomson have apparently been engaged to protect the image of Ukraine – not President Poroshenko (or any others that will continue to be named in the days and weeks ahead) – and yet a reader would perhaps ponder why such an eminent media law firm are hired over corruption allegations against President Poroshenko (not Ukraine) and yet so little money and effort appears to be spent finding a top drawer, top Dollar (and well connected Republican biased) US lobbying group for Ukraine for the Trump presidency.  (Indeed such a top drawer US lobbying firm should already be engaged and working 24/7 for the benefit of Ukraine.)

Mr Onishchenko has broadened his allegation net with regard to just who facilitates the allegedly corrupt dictates of President Poroshenko, naming Igor Kononenko (who bares an uncanny likeness to Dr Evil) as facilitator-in-chief.

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Mr Kononenko, this blog has previously labeled President Poroshenko’s “parliamentary leg-breaker” on many occasions.

Mr Kononenko is in no way different from Mr Onishchenko by way of odiousness, nefariousness, ruthlessness or political and business insider knowledge.  Indeed in private conversation with the diplomatic community or international institutions, regardless of the diplomatic home nation or which international institution, the mere mention of Igor Kononenko’s name brings about the immediate rolling of eyes, sighs, and acknowledgments of problematic influence.

Unfortunately President Poroshenko seems unwilling to tighten Mr Kononenko’s leash and thus he will continue to do far more damage to Ukraine’s reputation in diplomatic and political circles than Mr Onishechnko’s article in the UK and Ukrainian media.

Naturally President Poroshenko dismisses the accusations made – as will Igor Kononenko (and Ihor Granovsky and Sergei Berezenko who will inevitably also feature).

So the question is whether in going after Yulia Tymoshenko’s financier, was this payback was inevitable, or was some form of “universal code of silence” among the elite expected?  After all, Mykola Martynenko, financier of Arseny Yatseniuk has kept quiet since his political forced fall from grace.

It seems unlikely that the expectation of such silence would be the case, as Mr Martynenko’s party remain part of the majority coalition and he is thus not without influence even if without position.  With Will of the People seemingly set to finally implode and the jury definitely still out as to whether Ms Tymoshenko can manage to force early elections (with several other parties seeking to do the same thing) then Mr Onishchenko is in perhaps a more precarious position – particularly as claims he has taken a Russian passport have now been publicly made by the SBU.

The truthfulness of their statement is left to a reader, and one may ponder if taking the view it is true, whether it is a Plan B should Ukraine actually bother asking the UK to extradite Mr Onishchenko at some point.

Whatever the case, the SBU inference for public digestion is that Mr Onishchenko agreed to act at the very least as an agent of influence for The Kremlin in exchange for a passport and safe haven if necessary.

Perhaps.

Nevertheless, PR damage limitation is going to be difficult if Mr Onishchenko is prepared to continue to drip plausible (albeit not necessarily true/accurate) allegations within the media.

It seems unlikely that NABU (which is prepared to meet Mr Onishchenko on neutral turf (presumably London)) will be able to convince him that after giving all the evidence he has (and copies of what he is supposed to have already handed to the US) that staying quiet in order not to prejudice any investigation will gather much traction.

Thus it appears that this will get far more messy – and publicly.

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“Will of the People” set to finally implode – Ukraine

December 8, 2016

Just over one month ago an entry appeared regarding the imminent implosion of “Will of the People” – the smallest political faction within the Verkhovna Rada.

Over this past week, two members of the faction have announced their departure – MPs Victor Razvadovskyy and Sergei Melnychuk on 6th and 8th December respectively.

Ergo, once again Articles 59 and 60 of The Rules of The Verkhovna Rada came into force upon 6th December.  Those Articles dictate that any and all factions within the current Verkhovna Rada must compose of a minimum number of the smallest faction created during the first parliamentary session.

The smallest faction was Will of the People, who have managed to plug (with some behind the curtain assistance) previous singular departures within the 15 days that are provided for to achieve this.

To manage to find another two parliamentarians who will join Will of the People within by 21st December may prove to be a little more difficult.  Perhaps a bridge too far in fact.

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Lo, it may be that on 13th December that the moral and ethic-less “votes for rent” faction of the Will of the People will cease to exist.  If so, can these newly released parliamentarians be permitted to bounce around the Verkhovna Rada chamber chaotically before each embeds with a different faction and/or group?

Where will they each individually embed, and how will that effect the existing status quo within the Verkhovna Rada upon which The Bankova is keen to maintain?

How many can be drawn into the (slim) majority coalition thus directly increasing its number, or into pro-presidential technical parties such as Nash Krai – and how many will enter the numbers of opposition and/or populist parties – and at what cost?

Something to watch during the next fortnight as the Grey Cardinals and “vested interests” behind the curtain attempt to move the parliamentary pieces to their advantage and/or avoid a Trojan horse simply too toxic to accept.

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Radicals submit a draft Bill to leave the NPT – Ukraine

December 7, 2016

With the passing of the anniversary of the signing of the Budapest Memorandum a few days ago (the only signatory to which that can claim to have unambiguously fulfilled its obligations being Ukraine) it is perhaps unsurprising that the populist Radical Party has simultaneously submitted a draft Bill to the Verkhovna Rada to facilitate Ukrainian departure from the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons Treaty (NPT) 1968.

The Budapest Memorandum whilst a stand alone text was the result of Ukraine acceding to the NFP, albeit acceding with notable “Reservations” to the treaty.

(A “Reservation” is a unilateral statement made by a State when ratifying a treaty whereby it purports to exclude or to modify the legal effect of certain provisions of the treaty and their application to that State.  In effect a “Reservation” can veto a clause or certain clauses of a treaty from having any legal obligation whilst the rest of the treaty is legally binding.  “Reservations” are in fact common with regard to international treaties.)

Almost all Ukrainian “Reservations” to the NPT related to security – hence the Budapest Memorandum.

In short the proposed Radical Party draft Bill seeks to abolish the law “On the Accession of Ukraine to the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons 1st July 1968”.

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Well fair enough, but that alone would not free Ukraine from its NPT obligations.

For Ukraine to free itself from its NPT obligations it would have to provide notice to the UN and all other ratified signatories to the treaty of its intention to do so by activating Article X(1) – “Each Party shall in exercising its national sovereignty have the right to withdraw from the Treaty if it decides that extraordinary events, related to the subject matter of this Treaty, have jeopardized the supreme interests of its country. It shall give notice of such withdrawal to all other Parties to the Treaty and to the United Nations Security Council three months in advance. Such notice shall include a statement of the extraordinary events it regards as having jeopardized its supreme interests.”

Lo, 3 months thereafter any notification Ukraine would be free to legally pursue nuclear weapon capabilities of which it is certainly technically capable – albeit entirely lacking the domestic infrastructure required to produce the nuclear material.  Ukraine has no enrichment facilities even though it is more than capable of producing delivery systems as evidenced by its reputation for reliable engine production with regard to space missions etc.

Ukraine would not be the first nation to leave the NPT, nor cause its robustness into question.  For example both India and Pakistan were declared nuclear powers in 1998 with no serious penalties, North Korea officially withdrew in 2003, notwithstanding both Iraq and Iran pursuing nuclear power status “covertly”.  There is then the historically “ambiguous” Israeli position – though in the modern day the only “ambiguity” relates to an exact number of nuclear warheads Israel possesses.

This illicit pursuit (less North Korea who exited the treaty per treaty text) is perhaps the result of a 1968 Treaty being signed and ratified when few nations had the expertise or desire to hold such weaponry.  We are no longer in 1968 and Ukraine is no longer in 1994 when it ratified the NPT and agreed to rid itself of the 3rd largest nuclear weapon arsenal on earth (at the time).

As unlikely as it is that the Radical Party draft Bill will get anywhere near gaining the required parliamentary votes to set into motion events that would allow Ukraine to become a “nuclear power” once again, if hypothetically it were to occur then the NPT cannot be dealt with in isolation by Ukraine when it comes to international treaties – for nuclear warheads aside, there are treaties relating to methods of delivery to which Ukraine is also a ratified signatory.

Ukraine may also have to consider other international obligations to which it is a ratified signatory, for example the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT), Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR) and the Hague Code of Conduct Against Ballistic Missiles (HCOC).

(Further, without checking the treaty texts of  the Biological & Toxin Weapon Convention (BTWC), Chemical Weapon Convention (CWC), Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Zangger Committee and Australia Group (AG), within these international instruments there may be clauses that would also require an official shift in Ukrainian participation and/or Reservations.)

Political populism aside, naturally the Radical Party draft Bill as currently written makes no mention of any of these potential legal repercussions as far as international obligations are concerned.  This is perhaps in part due to the fact they do not expect the draft Bill to garner sufficient parliamentary traction, and certainly in part due to the fact they simply are unable to craft domestic legislation of any quality regardless of legislative sphere – let alone that with international obligation appendages.

Nevertheless in a time where unpredictable and/or unexpected political outcomes are becoming more and more commonplace, it is perhaps a piece of draft legislation that a watchful eye will gaze upon now and again regarding any legislative progress.

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