Ukrainians «Shocked» At Vast Wealth Amassed By Their Corrupt Politicians
ZeroHedge, Oct 31, 2016
Ukraine is the latest country to discover that cronyism and corruption in politics pays — a lot — and is very unhappy about it.
As a result of an anti-corruption reform requiring senior Ukrainian officials to declare their wealth online, the local population has been been exposed to the vast difference between the fortunes of politicians and those they represent.
As Reuters reports, some declared millions of dollars in cash. Others said they owned fleets of luxury cars, expensive Swiss watches, diamond jewelry and large tracts of land — revelations that will crush public confidence in the authorities in Ukraine, where the average salary is just over $200 per month. Officials had until Sunday to upload details of their assets and income in 2015 to a publicly searchable database, part of an International Monetary Fund-backed drive to boost transparency and modernise Ukraine’s recession-hit economy.
As in the US, the corruption starts (and ends) at the top, and the value of Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko’s assets soared despite economic crisis and conflict. The 50-year-old Western-backed president‘s business empire ranges from chocolates to media holdings still under his control. Poroshenko retains control of a top TV channel and has failed to follow through on his promise to sell off his Roshen chocolate empire.
The Ukrainian leader, often criticised for failing to curb the political powers of fellow tycoons, ranks as the country’s sixth-richest man. His reported assets rose by 20% to $979 million, only just supporting his claim he is no longer a billionaire.
Poroshenko’s (wealth) rose thanks to the rise in value of his candy business that- even in the midst of the deepest of crises — is developing quickly, building new capacities and conquering new markets.
Many of Ukraine’s mega-rich scooped up their holdings at cut-price rates in pre-arranged privatisation deals in which which they rewarded the government by funding its parliamentary parties and campaigning for them in the media.
Poroshenko is not the only oligarch to take advantage of the «crony capitalist chaos» unleash in Ukraine with the US-backed 2014 presidential coup. Prime Minister Voldymyr Groysman, who last week likened the declarations process to jumping out of an airplane, revealed that he and his wife had a total of $1.2 million and 460,000 euros in cash and a collection of luxury watches.
The database also shows that Groysman, a former businessman and provincial mayor, is not alone in preferring to keep much of his money out of Ukraine’s banking system.
The declarations of two brothers in President Petro Poroshenko’s faction, Bohdan and Yaroslav Dubnevych, show holdings of over $26 million, in cash.
When the Economy Ministry says that in some areas around 60 percent of the economy is in the shadows, then this is accounted for by the volume of cash registered by civil servants, officials and lawmakers.
Justice Minister Pavlo Petrenko, who declared $1 million in a bank account and a further $500,000 in cash, said officials’ decision to hold cash pointed to a mistrust in the banks. It also points to a burning desire not to have one’s wealth easily confiscatable when another political regime emerges.
* * *
While the online declaration system has been intended to represent a show of good faith and to move away from a culture that tacitly allowed bureaucrats to amass wealth through cronyism and graft, the public reaction has been one of shocked dismay at the extravagant lifestyles conjured up by many of the disclosures.
Among the disclosures, it emerged that opposition bloc lawmaker Mikhail Dobkin’s declaration included 1,780 bottles of wine and an antique copy of Russian novel Anna Karenina worth at least $5,500. Roman Nasirov, the head of the State Fiscal Service, disclosed that he and his wife owned Swiss watches, diamond jewellery, fur coats, fine porcelain and crystal glassware, an assault rifle and cash in euros and dollars worth $2.2 million.
The declaration of Oleh Lyashko, the head of the populist Radical party who has styled himself as a representative of the common man, showed he rented a house and land in Kiev’s most exclusive district and his household had cash worth the equivalent of over $1 million.
* * *
Other forms give an insight into particular hobbies and interests of Ukraine’s elite. Ihor Hryniv, the head of Poroshenko’s faction, has a collection of icons dating from the 14th century and several works by Ukrainian impressionist masters. Lawmaker Ihor Mosiychuk declared an array of antique weapons, including a 16th century Turkish scimitar, an English broadsword and a Nazi SS dagger.
Actually, they should probably avoid any public contact for a while: the average Ukrainian citizen has been hit hard by the economic crisis that unfolded in the wake of the 2014 pro-European ‘Maidan’ uprising and subsequent pro-Russian separatist conflict. The national hryvnia currency has plummeted to 25 to the dollar from 8 in 2013 and energy tariffs have soared under the IMF-backed economic reform programme.
A September poll showed that only 12.6 percent would now vote for Poroshenko’s faction, down from 21.8 in the last election. Meanwhile support for populist and opposition parties has risen.
* * *
Ukraine’s economy is on track to shrink by about 12 percent this year.
It is a fitting end to yet another disastrous US intervention in a foreign state’s internal affairs.
Правительство США жестоко нарушило мои права человека при проведении кампании террора, которая заставила меня покинуть свою родину и получить политическое убежище в СССР. См. книгу «Безмолвный террор — История политических гонений на семью в США» — «Silent Terror: One family’s history of political persecution in the United States» — http://arnoldlockshin.wordpress.com
Правительство США еще нарушает мои права, в течении более 12 лет отказывается от выплаты причитающейся мне пенсии по старости. Властители США воруют пенсию!! Всё это — ещё доказательство, что настоящий действующий закон в США — Закон джунглей.
ФСБ — Федеральная служба «безопасности» России — вслед за позорным, предавшим страну предшественником КГБ, выполняет приказы секретного, кровавого хозяина (boss) — американского ЦРУ (CIA). Среди таких «задач» — мне запретить выступать в СМИ и не пропускать большинства отправленных мне комментариев. А это далеко не всё…
Арнольд Локшин, политэмигрант из США