How Poroshenko Robs Veterans of the “ATO”

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard


Veterans of the ATO – people who, of course, are not very pleasant for those who suffered from their actions in Donbass – sounded the alarm. The agricultural holding of Petro Poroshenko, which he, it seems, promised to get rid of after becoming President of Ukraine, coveted their lands. Thus, in his aspiration to squeeze out the last juice from the country that became impoverished during his governance, he went against those who prop up his regime.

Veterans of the ATO (anti-terrorist operation), which the authorities of Ukraine have carried out for already several years in the southeast of the country, are unlikely to evoke sympathy in people. Especially in Donbass, which continues to suffer from the actions of the Kiev Armed Forces.

Nevertheless, official Ukrainian propaganda presents them as heroes.

It would seem that honor and relative prosperity should await them when they return from the frontline. But far from it. Now they complain that they became victims of lawlessness, and not because of ordinary bureaucrats, but directly because of the President of Ukraine.

On February 8th “Ukrainskaya Pravda” reported that the union of participants of military operations of the Gaisyn district of the Vinnytsia region urged Petro Poroshenko’s company “Zorya Podolya” to give back the land that, according to veterans of the ATO, belongs to them under law.

The text and video of the corresponding appeal was uploaded to their page on Facebook.

The former military servicemen unambiguously hint that they became victims of banal swindling because of Poroshenko’s company.

“The enterprise of the president ‘LLC Zorya Podolye’ on his own initiative assumed obligations to help participants of the ATO with receiving and registering land plots of two hectares for maintaining personal agriculture on the condition of transferring these sites of the company for rent,” it is said in the message.

“About 300 participants of the ATO agreed and provided the relevant documents and instructions, which was paid for with their own means. Over 1.5 years, despite numerous meetings at different levels, the management of the company in every possible way postponed making a decision on this issue,” declared the chairman of the ATO local union Nikolay Danilyuk.

It is noted that this concerns lands that veterans of the ATO have a legitimate right to receive as their property.

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However, now, despite the promises, the President’s company purposefully hinders this. As it became known, this is not the first instance of the scandalous activity of “Zorya Podolye”.

At the end of 2017 “Hromadske Project” described how Poroshenko’s agricultural holding company illegally seizes the land of other agrarian enterprises. They, by the way, have no connection to veterans of the ATO.

The agrarians who became the victims of the business appetites of Poroshenko and his accomplices say that the raiders take advantage of the fact that now in Ukraine there are two registers working simultaneously: old paper (State land registry) and new electronic (Register of material rights).

And old paper lease contracts haven’t yet been transferred into an electronic format.

The Vinnytsia farmer Konstantin Dudar told journalists that in the summer the conflict between two agricultural enterprises — his and one belonging to the President — reached its culmination. It reached even physical clashes in the fields.

According to Dudar, at first unknown persons stole some of his crops, then blocked the combine harvester, and when the police arrived there, it appeared that some of the land that he was renting and processes was according to documentation already belonged to the presidential “Zorya Podolye”.

Of course, as the farmer says, it would be possible to assume that Poroshenko’s agricultural holding company itself appeared to be the victim of legislative confusion if it wasn’t for the fact that there are more than 100 of such “disputable” sites.

In response to the judicial claim, Poroshenko’s company suggested to Dudar to sell his business to him. Of course, together with the land.

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When Dudar refused, the “heavy artillery” went into action – namely the local management of the SBU, which suggested to the farmer to sell his company to Petro Poroshenko’s agricultural holding company in an amicable way.

Now the agricultural holding of the President of Ukraine claims second place in the country for sugar production. And to claim first place, as Dudar argues, soon he can need even more land.

The main problem, according to observers, hides in the fact that Poroshenko, having become the head of State, violated his promise and didn’t dispose of all the assets that belong to him.

As a reminder, the President of Ukraine promised to keep only “Channel 5”, which, according to him, had to guarantee the preservation of informational pluralism and freedom of speech in the country. However, since then this TV company became an instrument of propaganda and evening scores with political opponents of the President. This, by the way, is expressed in its collapsed ratings — now Ukrainians prefer to learn about the news from other media agencies.

And if, concerning the confectionery producer Roshen, the President of Ukraine still considered it to be necessary to observe some proprieties (Poroshenko claims that he transferred Roshen to a blind trust), then concerning a number of others, including the “Zorya Podolya” agricultural holding company, a similar question isn’t even raised.

Also noteworthy is the fact that not so long ago the company of the President of Ukraine didn’t hesitate to take away land from ordinary farmers, but now his hands, seemingly, have reached the land of veterans of the ATO, on the bayonets of who Poroshenko’s regime now keeps afloat.

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