Ukrainian oligarchs had enough


August 5th, 2015

Pravoe Delo

Translated by Kristina Rus

On August 1 the most influential Ukrainian businessman met at Kiev Hyatt, where they discussed the situation in the country. This was stated on Tuesday, August 4,  by the MP from the Bloc of Petro Poroshenko, Sergey Leshchenko, on his blog on “Ukrainian Pravda,” citing informed sources. Leshchenko said that the meeting was informal and no documents have been signed.

“It was an informal gathering of current and former oligarchs and big business,” – wrote the MP. According to him, the meeting was attended by Rinat Akhmetov, Sergey Taruta, Victor Pinchuk, Vasily Khmelnytsky and Yuriy Kosyuk. Konstantin Zhevago did not have time to fly to Kiev, but has delegated his associate, and Valery Khoroshkovsky was on the phone with one of the initiators of the meeting.

“According to sources, all were unanimous in the assessment that “there is something wrong with the country”. The main discussion was about how to react to the current situation,” – said Leshchenko. Some of the participants of the meeting, according to the journalist, including Taruta, advocated the creation of a new party that would defend the interests of the gathered. Others, among whom were Pinchuk and Khmelnitsky, spoke about the ineffectiveness of this approach. According to them, it is impossible to achieve anything with parties, and the power must be influenced by a civil society. Instead, they suggested the establishment of “The Union of Industrialists” which would defend the interests of big business.

Leshchenko called this meeting a wake-up call for President Petro Poroshenko and Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk. “The worry of the oligarchs is based on the inability to maintain previous profits, and the emergence of the new  [oligarchs] who began to grow at twice the speed, leaving the “old oligarchs” on a “dry meal” and destroying the illusions of those who believed in “a new life,” – wrote Leshchenko. He noted that de-oligarchization, recently announced by the President, can result in the redistribution of property and neo-oligarchization”.

It is clear that everything is moving towards the “new (neo-) oligarchization” and re-privatization, and new privatization will accelerate this process.

The main conclusions about the informal meeting:

  • The “Old oligarchy” in Ukraine has no levers of influence on the new government (the junta), because to talk about buying a new party and some Union of Industrialists is ridiculous, especially in a situation when domestic policy is controlled by the State Department, and the “Right Sector” gangs are uncontrollable

  • The “Old oligarchy” has no new conceptual ideas, has nothing but ideological impotence

  • The “Old oligarchy” has no home front – not regional or in the face of Russia and the former patrons in the West (a possible calculation of Pinchuk) look at them as the last suckers

  • The “Old oligarchy” has a desire to take revenge, but has no resources and no other capabilities…

Actually, this is why they have such (obvious in Akhmetov) a feeling of “slipping away”… A new time has arrived, and whatever it will be, little will remain from the “Old oligarchy” (but half of them, including Pinchuk and Khmelnitsky will simply become “big business”)… However, this is not a matter of the near future, but of the next couple of years …

Kristina Rus:

I think this is a sign of the general mood in Ukraine. Only a small section of population, connected to the current establishment is content. The old Ukrainian elites, the ordinary citizens, and most business owners are struggling to make ends meet, going broke and are literally starving. The discontent is growing. Whether it will reach a critical mass and be sufficient to produce positive changes for Ukraine remains to be seen. Only if and when a critical mass of Ukrainian elites will realise that their meal can come only from the East will we see positive changes in Ukraine. If Ukraine follows the current path, even the new oligarchs will realize that sooner or later. No matter how much damage has been done, bringing Ukraine back under its influence is Russia #1 goal. Russia will try to rebuilt the relationships with anyone willing, as it has shown that can work even with Poroshenko. Ukraine’s destiny is Russia, and the only question is how long will it take for Ukraine to realize that. 

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