Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
Oleg Anatolyevich. Can you give a short digest on Ukrainian political life, and a short exract about what is happening among the major political players in Ukraine.
Okay. Let’s be brief.
The leader of “Svoboda” Tyahnybok most likely didn’t place the correct bet. While Poroshenko has already determined Lutsenko as his successor and began to recite the address about his resignation for health reasons, Tyahnybok entered the service of Poroshenko. At his request, “Svoboda” took responsibility to “beat” Sadovyi. I think that because of this “Svoboda” will not have the chance to get into the Verkhovna Rada.
Tymoshenko’s rating is growing, and the number of sponsors willing to fund her political power is increasing also.
The Communists started to be provided for by the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc, not so privileged as Lyashko’s radicals, but for them it is an issue after the prohibition of the Communist party.
Nalyvaychenko is at a loss. Being in Tymoshenko’s office, receiving money from her enemy Firtash, systematically reporting about her to the US Embassy and pouring dirt on his former patron, last time he fell into depression and started to drink, his personality splitting every hour, not knowing who else he can betray, in order to earn the approval of at least the doorman of the US Embassy. The Attorney General Lutsenko increased the price for his services several times, after Poroshenko has determined him as his successor. Poroshenko, in turn, made Groisman very upset, because earlier he promised to make him the successor. As a result, Groisman rushed to offer himself to everyone, even to the first enemy of the President – Avakov.
Yatsenyuk, with pain, stopped to rob his second billion, under the guise of Biden and his son, with whom he robs Ukraine in tandem with, but this is not surprising, and the fact that he, like Nalyvaychenko, with a rating of only 1%, hopes to become President of Ukraine, blindly believing the US Embassy staff, which promise all traitors the position of President. Turchinov and Parubiy managed to convince the President of their loyalty, while preparing together with Avakov and volunteer battalions the takeover of power and clear a path during the night to Tymoshenko. At the same time they believe and trust that the President’s place is theirs, and all their actions are a combination of several moves to achieve their innermost aim.
It looks like spiders in the jar. Oleg Anatolyevich. How would you comment on the recent events surrounding the TV channel “Inter”?
The conflict around the TV channel Inter is just a bright episode in the clash between the two main opposition groups: the groups of Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk. Moreover, this is only the beginning. It will be much more fun later. The political season has just begun. All further events in Ukraine will happen in the triangle of contradictions between the three actors – the group of Poroshenko, the group of Yatsenyuk, and Tymoshenko’s team.
The group of Yatsenyuk, Avakov, and Kolomoisky. Arseniy Yatsenyuk, who had initially a special relationship with Victoria Nuland, is in contact with the suzerain USA. Avakov is responsible for the bloc of force. Arseniy manages and finances radicals. By the way, it is not difficult. For example, already only racketeering of one illegal gambling business brings more than a million dollars a month. (In order for the illegal slot machines to not have legal competition, under the cover of fighting Russian business, the work of legal operators of the lottery companies MSL and UNL was forbidden). Radicals are needed not only as a fighting unit. Avakov together with Biletsky is taking steps to transform the social organization of Azov into a political party. The resources are allocated for this too.
Since the time when Yatsenyuk headed the government, Kolomoisky resolved his own problems through him, they have a very close relationship. Kolomoisky dreams of not only returning to politics, but to regain his former influence. The owner of the financial and industrial group “Privat” links his hope with returning to politics not only with the People’s Front of Yatsenyuk. Kolomoisky get into the Verkhovna Rada by becoming the head of the party “UKROP”. And now he is considering such an option. Kolomoisky is ready to invest in a common deal, as well as with financial and media resources, including the channel “1+1”. By the way, Yatsenyuk also is urgently preparing for elections, and because of the low rating of Popular Front, he is ready to launch new projects. He assigned this task to the Deputy of the Verkhovna Rada from the People’s Front, Igor Guz.
Thus, we can say that Avakov, Yatsenyuk, Kolomoisky are obliged to form new political forces because of their low rating of the People’s Front, but, nevertheless, they form a team and are actively preparing for snap elections.
Parubiy is close to this group, and, when the circumstances are right, is ready to join Turchinov.
You’ve just described one group, and who represents the other?
The other group is represented by Poroshenko and the people who support him.
Who do you mean?
The Prosecutor General Lutsenko, Prime Minister Groysman, and Head of the SBU Hrytsak. My former party member Levochkin and his partner from the channel Inter Firtash, at the time was among those who helped Poroshenko to become President. At today they are also working in conjunction.
What does you mean by “helped to become President”?
It’s no secret that the party “Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform” at the time of Yanukovych was accompanied and led by people from the presidential administration, and the Firtash group funded it since 2012. Many already wrote about the fact that the government supported new parties “Svoboda” and “Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform”. Everyone resolved their own task. “Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform” and “Svoboda” members came into the Parliament. Yanukovych was dividing the opposition. The oligarchs were receiving their factions in Parliament.
I have said that before and during Maidan, the main candidate to replace Yanukovych as President of Ukraine was Klitschko. Merkel supported him. Indirectly the Americans treated him well also. What caused him to fail was his inability to speak well and to speak without paper notes. In other words, Klitschko did not pass casting. And, Poroshenko in comparison looked very good. He thoroughly pleased the decision makers, and most importantly, Biden. When the foreign decision makers determined who will be the President of Ukraine, they had to solve the delicate issue of Klitschko in order to prevent him competing with Poroshenko. The issue of this competition, and given such a complex and little-driven factor as Yulia Tymoshenko, was impossible to predict. This delicate issue was solved at the meeting in Vienna on 22nd April, on the birthday of Klitschko. Klitschko and Poroshenko came to Firtash in Vienna at his invitation. To persuade Vitaly to support Poroshenko, at a time when he already saw himself as President, was not easy. The meeting lasted 28 hours. In the end, Klitschko agreed. Poroshenko and Klitschko finalised an agreement on political and economic aspects of cooperation after the elections. We must commend Poroshenko, he has fulfilled a significant part of his obligations.
I delved into the story in order to show the relationship between the groups of Firtash and Poroshenko. That is why the Inter TV channel criticizsing the government, criticizes the group of Yatsenyuk-Avakov, and doesn’t touch the President.
Firtash and Lyovochkin’s Inter and Kolomoisky’s 1+1 – the two main TV channels in Ukraine. As you understand, the deal is not just about the fight for advertising budgets. The deal in a global confrontation between the two groups. The forces of the two opposition groups are approximately equal, and if TV channel Inter is to be silenced, this will significantly reduce the capacity of Poroshenko’s group.
Oleg, it turns out, in Ukraine there is now real political competition. Perhaps a special one – with arson of TV channels, with the shooting and the involvement of militants – but what about the competition?
To some extent you are right. It’s true that what is happening is difficult to call normal political competition. But it’s not the most important. It’s important in what form the competition is occurring, but there is another thing that is even more important. The fact is, the political forces can compete with each solely under right-wing and Russophobic slogans. In this way, it is a choice without a choice. And most importantly – the main struggle and competition is for the attention of the American curators. Both groups direct their efforts towards the American front. In this case, it is much easier for Yatsenyuk. Right now he is the capital metropolis of New York, and there he is working seriously to return as quickly as possible to power in Ukraine.
You talked about a possible coup in Ukraine. What are the chances that Poroshenko will go, and will snap presidential and parliamentary elections be announced?
The fact that the elections will be extraordinary, probably no one doubts. Yulia Tymoshenko on June 10th at a meeting with his regional leaders called November a time when people will receive their first bills for utilities that have significantly increased incrementally since last year, as the start of the election campaign. According to her, presidential and parliamentary elections will happen this spring, in early March. It’s not for nothing that she said that simultaneously with the parliamentary elections there will be not only presidential, but also ,perhaps, the election of mayors. One of the scenarios foresees elections in Donbass in the spring. Thus, the spring in the Ukraine a big reboot can happen.
I don’t know all the details, but as a reason for an immediate reboot, the regime is preparing another offshore scandal involving the team of Poroshenko. This time the Prosecutor General Yury Lutsenko and his wife Irina who will be accused of corruption. The most exciting thing about the situation is that this attack on Lutsenko is prepared Igor Kolomoisky – the man with who Lutsenko right now works very closely and effectively with to resolve issues.
Resolve issues? Can you give an example?
They agreed to support each other on the appointments. I will give you as an example one of the regions, Volyn. The essence of the agreements: one of the substitutes of the regional Prosecutor of the Volyn is a creature of “Privat” Bank, but the team of the Bank, headed by the Chairman of the Regional Council Palitsa, will support the appointment as head of the Volyn regional administration the minion of Lutsenko -Viktor Bondar. With joint effort they agreed to remove the head of the Volyn Police chief GU National Police of Ukraine Petro Shpyga.
And of course nobody cancelled the cooperation between Privat Group and the General Prosecutor’s office to solve their money issues.
Who else supports Tymoshenko in their desire to expel this government?
Tymoshenko has an agreement with Sadovy (Self Help party), Lyashko (Radical party), Kolomoisky (UKROP and Rebirth), and Nalyvaychenko (the anti-corruption movement of Nalyvaychenko) on the joint initiation of early elections. At the same time, the Opposition bloc is interested in the election too. The ratings of “People’s Front” of Yatsenyuk and Avakov, and “Solidarity” of Poroshenko are extremely low. The coalition – the majority in Parliament – are behind these powers, and they are not interested yet in the snap elections, because there is little chance of being re-elected as MPs. In order for the group Avakov and Yatsenyuk to withdraw from the coalition, and launch re-elections, this group quickly launches new projects that will enable them to get back into power.
By the way, and representatives of the group of Poroshenko also don’t want to risk and launch their projects. Thus, the Prime Minister Groisman signed with grant organization “AIDOS” the contract for 700-800 thousand dollars a month for Viktor Taran to carry out preparatory work for the creation of a new party as a rebranding of the old parties “Vinnitsa European Strategy”. There are many new projects that are starting now in Ukraine. Even the Minister of Justice Petrenko launches his new project “Concrete affairs.”
Based on what you said the affairs of Ukrainian power aren’t doing so well. What in this situation is Poroshenko’s mood?
In this situation, Poroshenko, to put it bluntly, has a departure mood. The economic situation is deteriorating. He has no support from Europe and America. He could lean on the people in Ukraine, like Erdogan did in the same situation, but the people do not support him. Understanding the situation, Poroshenko himself is considering the possibility of an early departure. In that case, if there will be early elections, for him the ideal situation will be if someone from his team replaces him. Earlier, he promised the place of his successor to Groisman. Now he says he’s going to bet on Lutsenko. There is a Ukrainian proverb – promise is not a toy. Its meaning is that a promise is not a toy that has no value. Poroshenko tries to consolidate his assistants with such promises.
But his assistants understand everything, and therefore behind the scenes they negotiate to arrange their own destinies. Groisman begins his political project, and at the same time secretly meets Avakov. Lutsenko talks with Kolomoisky. No one trusts anyone.
It came to the point that Poroshenko was almost left without a head of administration after the departure of Lozhkin. Before appointing as head of the administration Rainin, he suggested for this place Chalyi, Gritsak, and Gerashchenko. They all refused. I can’t imagine anyone refusing to lead the administration of any President before Poroshenko.
Judging by what you say, Ukraine is awaiting shocks. Do people understand it? Do politicians understand what they have done with the country?
Yes, of course. People understand that now it is complicated, and tomorrow it will likely be worse. People are leaving the country en masse. Enterprises continue to closedown in Ukraine. Cheap labour leaves the country looking for work. Knowing that it will only get worse, the representatives of the middle class – the ones who supported Maidan – leave the country searching for a better life. In anticipation of the shocks, deputies of the opposition bloc leave the country also. After the arrest of Medianik and Efremov, many people left Ukraine, but people started to leave and take their family, especially as of late. Most go to Russia, many abroad. Even those I definitely didn’t expect to meet in Moscow, also left. I was surprised recently when I met Deputy Smityukh, my former colleague who voted when there was only one vote needed to lift my immunity, and for my arrest in Verkhovna Rada.
The representatives of authorities take away their families too. Yatsenyuk said that his family is in Kiev, but actually, he brought them to Canada. MP Andriy Ivanchuk, Yatsenyuk’s treasurer, brought his family to Spain.
Avakov now withdraws financial resources and his circle abroad, in particular, a significant part in Italy, the United Kingdom, and the United States. There are rumours that Avakov prepares a Lithuanian passport.
Poroshenko with his family is still in Kiev, but he is continuing his acclimatisation of his house in Spain.
Hard times are coming, and everyone prepares for themselves an alternate platforms.
By the way, this situation is not new for Ukraine. During Maidan, a chartered flight for Klitschko was ready for takeoff in Borispol. The chartered flight costs very much, and the permanent freight of charter aircraft cost cosmical sums. But it became an extremely dangerous political game in Ukraine, it is prescribed to ensure life, and the welfare of families. It is just a pity that here ordinary people can’t get on a plane and fly somewhere out of this Ukraine, which Poroshenko, Yatsenyuk, and the like transformed over the past few years.
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