Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard
Well-known politician and head of the former parliament of Novorossiya Oleg Tsarev in an interview to “Russian Spring” spoke about the current situation in Ukraine.
Oleg, you talked about the extraordinary spring elections in Ukraine. Your forecast hasn’t changed? You still believe that Tymoshenko has chances to come to power in these elections?
“Of course, Yulia Tymoshenko still has a chance. Recently a stable increase of her rating as well as her political power has been observed. Utility rates are sky-high. People are unable to pay for them. They take out loans. According to a recent explanation of the Supreme Court of Ukraine, banks can take away apartments on credit without even going to court. The new Ukrainian legislation allows the municipalities to take away apartments for debts on utility bills. And it is impossible to argue, because, again, according to the new laws, now private companies in Ukraine will execute the court’s orders. Why operate a racket, if it’s possible to do the same being a bailiff. The bailiffs have slightly less power than a racket, but they are now perfectly legal.
There is no work in Ukraine. Thank God, there was enough brains to not adopt a visa regime with Russia, that’s why it’s working gastarbeiters that save Ukraine. According to the weather forecasts this winter will be the coldest in over 100 years. We’re seeing a steady deterioration of the socio-economic situation in the country. The worse it will be in the country, the better it’ll be for the opposition. The real opposition was destroyed, now in the quality of the opposition there is Yulia Tymoshenko. All the cream from the deterioration of the situation will go Yuila. Everybody understands this, that’s why she has no problems with sponsors and new supporters and allies. For example, Viktor Baloga had an agreedment with Yulia Tymoshenko on the coordination of their actions concerning criticism of the President, and it will be in the same way in extraordinary parliamentary and presidential elections. Baloga promised to support Yulia in presidential election.
It is important what position Kolomoisky will take. On the one hand, he agreed with Yulia Tymoshenko on joint action against Poroshenko. On the other hand, Igor all this time was in the negotiation process with Petro, in order to gradually cease the scandalous situation connected with PrivatBank. The fact is that Kolomoisky extorted PrivatBank as well as deposited money from the population and money from the National Bank as refinancing, and thereby brought PrivatBank to bankruptcy.
Of course he stole money, but he realizes that even if it’s possible to steal money from the state endlessly, but understands also that if he goes into the pocket of a quarter of the population, the consequences could be that neither in Switzerland or in Israel will it be possible to weather the storm. Stealing money is half the battle. It is important to keep them. If a scandal arrives on the controlled-by-USA territory, the United States will be involved in the process of finding the stolen money. Tens of billions of dollars can be hidden from US only in Russia and in China. It is not excluded that in an extreme case, Kolomoisky will appeal to Russia for help, but this is only in an extreme case. Services to save money are very expensive.
Now he is doing everything to avoid a scandal, that’s why in exchange for a half stake in TSN, Poroshenko carries out an operation of “saving the ordinary Beni” at the expense of IMF money. The state nationalised Bank Kolomoisky will pay to depositors money from the IMF. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of the numbers, but 50% of the shares of TSN for Poroshenko are estimated at $250 million, and the formalising of the transaction is ongoing, but the editorial policy of TSN is already agreed with the Poroshenko administration. Such alignment of events is not beneficial for Ms Tymoshenko. However, it is possible that Kolomoisky will lead, as usual, playing a double game.”
What will Tymoshenko so in order to increase her chances?
“Everything she needs, she has already done it. She weaponises the topic of utility tariffs. And now the more it is worse for Ukraine, the more it is better for Tymoshenko. She issued the command to her party members to disrupt at every opportunity the beginning of the heating season. To cause discontent among the population. Her team launched a campaign for the refund of overpaid utility bills last year. The fact is that the last winter was warm. And utilities companies are required by law to recalculate and return the overpaid funds. Of course, they are obliged, but they have no money for this. And here, again, it is another reason for the dissatisfaction of the people. In the process of Yulia’s rating growing, the defectors who earlier left her start to return to her. It is said that Turchynov came to ask her to permit his return. According to my friends, she was lecturing him for a long time, saying: you were my right-hand man, you betrayed me, and now who are you? But she didn’t expel him. She said: if you want me to accept you — publicly speak out against Poroshenko. Turchinov left and though it over. He betrayed Yulia — for Petro, now he needs to betray Petro to go to Yulia.
The negotiations between the leaders of “Popular Front” Arseny Yatsenyuk, Arsen Avakov, and Yulia Tymoshenko are very intense. If you remember, in the last interview I announced the creation of Avakov and Biletsky’s new political force on the basis of “Azov”. Now such a party has been created, but it does not guarantee getting all the members of the Popular Front in the Rada. And in order to for the extraordinary election to start, it is necessary for “Popular Front” to come out on top. Deputies need to ensure that they will retain their mandates in the next Rada, and only then will they leave the coalition. As far as I know, there is already an agreement that the Bloc of Tymoshenko and the People’s Front will go to the polls together. How it will be – the Bloc of Tymoshenko will share the places on the list, or the bloc will be created, time will tell. Now the agreement is being formalized, there is a discussion about how the mandates and the places in the government will be distributed, and also how to start not only parliamentary but also presidential elections.
We can say for definite the political events in Ukraine will start to develop rapidly when all the deputies and leaders of the Popular Front will be put in place. Some will go to the party of Biletsky, others in the bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko, some members of “Popular Front” would very much like to get to the lists of the party “Za Zhizn” of Rabinovich and Muraev or “Ukrop” of Kolomoisky.”
Poroshenko knows that the chair is shaking under him? And what is his inner circle doing?
“Of course, Poroshenko knows. Moreover, he sees that his inner circle does not believe in him. In my last interview I stated why Klitschko had to cede to Poroshenko and abandon his presidential ambitions, and had to support Poroshenko in the elections. Now Klitschko said that Poroshenko did not fulfil the then obligations concerning an equal number of deputy mandates and places in the government, and gave orders to urgently revive the activists of his political force “Udar”.
That is to say, even if nurtured by Petro, Groisman teamed up with Katerenchuk, and started his game on the basis of his “Vinnytsia political strategy” and “European political party” of Katerenchuk.”
Oleg, earlier you said that Poroshenko announced to Lutsenko that he would be his successor, and also that Avakov was preparing a coup against Poroshenko. How do you explain a situation where Lutsenko at first announced that a criminal case against Avakov had been opened, and then made a speech saying that such a criminal case doesn’t exist?
“It’s very simple. The President does everything to keep his comrades beside him and at the same time to keep the coalition intact. And Lutsenko, realizing himself as a successor, Poroshenko, at first, set the task to his subordinates, sharply raising fees for services, and the Prosecutor’s office, to urgently form his electoral fund. Secondly, he decided to humble Avakov and began to restore order on his own, without coordinating his steps with the President, not realizing that a criminal case against Avakov could nudge Popular Front towards an exit from the coalition. Poroshenko put Lutsenko in his place, and in the evening Lutsenko announced that there is no criminal case against Avakov. I think that Poroshenko began his dialogue with the words — “Yuri [Lutsenko – ed], It’s me who is still the President of Ukraine”.”
Maidan started under the slogan of combating corruption, subsequently the Anti-corruption Bureau was created, but not only did no special achievements in this domain happen, but also the fighting between the National Anti-corruption Bureau of Ukraine (NABU) and the Prosecutor General is still observed. What is going on there in reality?
“You are right. Corruption did not become less. As for the conflict between NABU and the Prosecutor’s office, it initially appeared because their functions collide. There is, so to speak, a competition between them for who will grab corruptive money in the field of the fight against corruption. Now fortune has turned its face to Lutsenko. The fact is that the head of NABU Artem Sytnik made a huge mistake. When Poroshenko last visited the United States, at the request of the U.S. Embassy, Sytnik provided via his department a characteristic reference about Poroshenko. Poroshenko became aware of the provision of such information. There was nothing special in this reference. I would probably write a more interesting statement about Poroshenko, but Poroshenko was offended by the fact of presenting such a reference. A person who owes his appointment to the President, quietly, behind his back, badmouthing his master. As far as I know, after this, Poroshenko instructed Lutsenko to prepare and submit a draft law (filed on 01.10.2016 #5177), which called to restore control of the Prosecutor’s office over NABU.
In other words, there is no real fight against corruption in Ukraine. It is important to not confuse the fight against corruption with the fight with each other under the guise of fighting corruption. Here for example, Avakov sent his own unit “KORD” against the raiders of Groisman, who attempted to seize the Odessa Port plant. You think he did it to protect state property? Nothing of the sort. He did it in order to be able to seize the plant, but for himself. For this, Arsene [Avakov – ed] is finding an arrangement for joint action with Financial & Industrial Group “Faktor”. That’s the fight with corruption in the Ukrainian way.
To summarize, the war of all against all in Ukraine will continue. As a result, as usual, the two main opposing forces will crystallize, each of which will put a stake on their own candidate for the presidency. One candidate is already known – Yulia Tymoshenko. The second name we will learn in the near future. The United States understands it very well, which is why already a year ago Nalyvaychenko was delegated to the team of Tymoshenko, with the former exercising control and communication over Tymoshenko. The bad thing is that there is no chance that as a result of the elections in Ukraine a political force will come, which, at least in words, will oppose a confrontation with Russia.”
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