“Poroshenko Sees Ukraine As His Business”: Why Kolomoisky’s TV Channel Started to Discuss Poroshenko’s Corruption

Translated by Ollie Richardson & Angelina Siard



The Ukrainian oligarch Igor Kolomoisky made a strong statement aimed at the President of Ukraine. According to him, a situation where Petro Poroshenko is re-elected for a second term is excluded. How the media controlled by a businessman who is now living in Geneva changes the tone of publicising the activity of Poroshenko, and how ordinary citizens of the country learn about corruption in the highest echelons of the Ukrainian government thanks to this is in the material of “Gazeta.ru”…

Igor Kolomoisky is sure that Poroshenko won’t be able to be re-elected for a second term.

It is characteristic that these words uttered by the fugitive oligarch were published by the “Svoboda” radio station financed by the US within the framework of the anti-corruption program “Schemes”. By the way, it is the journalists of this project who reported about Poroshenko’s scandalous holiday in the Maldives over Christmas.

This time the attention of “Schemes” was drawn by the visit to Geneva of the former head of Administration of the President of Ukraine Boris Lozhkin.

Kolomoisky explained that Lozhkin came to his partner Gennady Bogolyubov. “They are old friends. Besides this, they were partners. They had things to discuss and talk about. I joined them when they went for dinner. Of course, we spoke about the Ukrainian realities, politics, prospects, and about the fact that Poroshenko won’t be president anymore. Lozhkin spoke about how everyone flees from Poroshenko and already thinks about how to hide from him as soon as possible in order to not remain on this ship and to not crash into this iceberg,” willingly reported the oligarch.

Kolomoisky’s statement is very noteworthy.

Observers emphasise that several days before Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown in February, 2014, no leading Ukrainian businessmen expressed themselves so sharply about the head of State.

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On the one hand it can mean that Kolomoisky’s position is desperate (the majority of his money is blocked by claims made by Privatbank, which once belonged to him and is nowadays nationalised), and on the another hand it testifies to the unsteadiness of the position of Poroshenko at the top of the pyramid of Ukrainian authorities, which the latest sociological polls testify to in the very least.

Anyway, the media under the control of Kolomoisky (mainly one of the most popular TV channels in Ukraine “1+1”) some time ago started releasing material criticising Poroshenko.

Moreover, on the air of “1+1” an interview with the fluent Ukrainian deputy and businessman Aleksandr Onishchenko was shown.

The authorities insist that he is a swindler, that he stole 100 million euros from the treasury, and that he must now be extradited from Spain to Ukraine. But he says that he was aggrieved only because he refused to carry out the delicate errands of Poroshenko, including the “necessary” voting in the Rada concerning issues important for the President.

Onishchenko showed recordings featuring Poroshenko’s voice to journalists of Kolomoisky’s TV channel. According to the former parliamentarian, the President of Ukraine doesn’t want people to have a business. “His task is to confiscate business by all means so that nobody has no opportunity to finance (political competitors),” explained Onishchenko.

If to believe the fluent deputy — and by all accounts, there is no other choice, especially if he continues to publish audio recordings featuring Poroshenko’s voice — before the events of February, 2014, in Ukraine there nevertheless wasn’t such corruption as there is now.

“Yanukovych supported businessmen. I’m not saying good things about Yanukovych, but he had another scheme. He was interested in businessmen developing and earning more, in order for them to then hand over 50%. The more successful you are, the more you will hand over,” said Onishchenko.

“If Poroshenko was clever, he would allow business to develop,” continues the former deputy. “For example, he would create rules for businessmen – everyone works, everyone earns, but from whatever is earned – 50% is handed over. Not for my pocket, but for the State. Let’s construct roads, schools, and revive the economy… Poroshenko says that he fights against oligarchs. He confiscated some things from one, some other things from another one, and everything from the third one. But he doesn’t do anything for the country. He confiscated and thus destroyed. All factories are idle. And where did thousands of workers disappear to? If earlier the factories worked, there was export and profits… But now everything is at a standstill. There is nothing. The country continues to be impoverished. We live off the monetary fund [IMF – ed]. We receive only money in funds and credits. The country has 100 billion dollars worth of credits. Do you understand what percentage we have to pay back?!”.

Onishchenko considers that Poroshenko receives about $5 billion per year for ravaging competitors and the country.

“During the whole time no new businessmen appeared. We have only businessmen who went bankrupt, losing their assets. And nobody new appeared. No investor came to Ukraine. They (Poroshenko and his environment) see the country as their business. And they buy all assets for themselves, via front companies,” the former parliamentarian.

“Despite the growing corruption, Poroshenko is still convenient for the Americans because he remains on their hook”, states Onishchenko.

“But there will be a turning point in time and they will tell him: ‘Now you will lose all the money in your accounts if you don’t fulfil everything that is necessary for us’. After all, it’s not a coincidence that we buy gas at $1000 [per cubic meter – ed] through European companies… Or why do we have coal from America? There are certain financial agreements (between Poroshenko and the West),” noted the former deputy.

Why is such scandalous material broadcasted on the air of Kolomoisky’s TV channel?

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“The aim here is to cause a crisis inside the President’s team and to hint to other financial and industrial groups not to support Poroshenko in the new presidential campaign,” stated the political scientist Ruslan Bortnik. “Kolomoisky still considers that the President didn’t fulfil the agreements concluded at the time when he left the Dnepropetrovsk regional state administration”.

Kolomoisky and Onishchenko were never on friendly terms, notes political scientist Rostislav Ishchenko.

But, by all accounts, they decided to unite against Poroshenko. The hard-hitting assessment from both oligarchs aimed at the President, and also the corruption “kitchen” of the current authorities presented for the public’s judgement, apparently, once again will upset the healthy part of Ukrainian society that hoped for changes for the better.

Onishchenko’s publication – with the help of the media belonging to Kolomoisky – of revelations featuring “a voice similar to Poroshenko’s” for the ordinary citizens of the country most likely means further impoverishment and the total loss of belief in the future of the country. And Russia should prepare for the next destabilisation of Ukraine with predictably negative consequences, sums up Ishchenko.

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