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Russia Invades... => Ukrainian News => Topic started by: Reggie on 19:53 05-Dec-2017

Title: Poroshenko / NABU a Failure
Post by: Reggie on 19:53 05-Dec-2017

It's become increasingly clear that Obama-era U.S. politicians backed the wrong people in Ukraine. President Petro Poroshenko's moves to consolidate his power now include sidelining the anti-corruption institutions he was forced to set up by Ukraine's Western allies.

Poroshenko, who had briefly served as Ukraine's foreign minister, looked worldlier than his predecessor, the deposed Viktor Yanukovych, and spoke passable English. He and his first prime minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk, knew what the U.S. State Department and Vice President Joe Biden, who acted as the Obama administration's point man on Ukraine, wanted to hear. So, as Ukraine emerged from the revolutionary chaos of January and February, 2014  the U.S., andda with it the EU, backed Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk as Ukraine's next leaders. Armed with this support, not least with promises of major technical aid and International Monetary Fund loans, they won elections, posing as Westernizers who would lead Ukraine into Europe. But their agendas turned out to be more self-serving.

Standoff in Ukraine

While Ukraine was in existential need of Western money, Poroshenko and his political allies followed the conditions attached to the aid. Among other things, parliament voted to set up an independent National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) that was supposed to investigate graft, and a special anti-corruption prosecutor.

Gradually, however, it became clear that though the agency and the prosecutor could make loud noises and investigate hundreds of cases (about 400 so far), they found it hard to make charges stick because the largely unreformed court system pushed back. Ukraine's European and U.S. allies demanded that a special anti-corruption court be set up. Poroshenko, however, has been lukewarm about the idea, pointing out that few countries had such an institution. Despite repeated Western demands, backed by a group of young pro-Western legislators, Poroshenko still hasn't submitted a legislative proposal on the court -- even though the Venice Commission, which analyzes legislation for the EU, has provided detailed recommendations on what the bill should look like.

At the same time, Prosecutor General Yury Lutsenko, a close Poroshenko ally, began an open war against NABU. An agent of the Anti-Corruption Bureau was detained last week while trying to hand over a bribe to a migration service official, and the bureau's offices were searched. NABU chief Artem Sytnyk claimed in response that the bribe was part of a sting operation Lutsenko hadn't known about. That didn't stop Lutsenko from continuing to attack Sytnyk and his bureau, accusing them of illegal operations and unauthorized cooperation with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Poroshenko, while not officially taking Lutsenko's side, denounced the whole squabble: "There's so much noise and screaming, so many feathers flying that it's sometimes reminiscent of some Latin American carnival. It would seem funny if it weren't so sad."

The U.S., however, is openly siding with NABU in the conflict. On Monday, the State Department issued a statement condemning "the disruption of a high-level corruption investigation, the arrest of officials from the National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine, and the seizure of sensitive NABU files." It quoted Secretary Rex Tillerson as saying, ?It serves no purpose for Ukraine to fight for its body in Donbas if it loses its soul to corruption. Anti-corruption institutions must be supported, resourced, and defended.?

Poroshenko, however, appears to have other plans.

This year, Ukraine has paid $270 million more back to the IMF than it has received from it. Government finances have stabilized on the back of modest economic growth, which, according to the Bloomberg consensus forecast, should reach 2 percent this year. At the same time, the Western position on the conflict in eastern Ukraine has congealed. There is a greater chance than ever that the U.S. will supply Ukraine with lethal weapons. Poroshenko has clearly concluded that he won't lose Western political backing as long as he maintains an anti-Russian stance, and he no longer has a pressing need for financial backing on a firm schedule. As long as Western leaders see Ukraine as a bulwark against Russia, he can act domestically as any other old-school Ukrainian politician, for whom the borders between power, money and brutal force are blurred.

His harsh actions against his most vocal opponent, former Georgian president and former Odessa governor Mikheil Saakashvili, show Poroshenko can be as ruthless as Yanukovych. After a failed attempt to kick Saakashvili, an anti-corruption firebrand, out of Ukraine for allegedly obtaining its citizenship under false pretences, Poroshenko's law enforcement apparatus has harassed and deported the Georgian-born politician's allies. Finance Minister Oleksandr Danilyuk, who helped Saakashvili set up a think tank in Kiev -- which is now under investigation for suspected financial violations -- has accused law-enforcement agencies of "putting pressure on business, on those who want to change the country." Danilyuk himself is being investigated for tax evasion.

On Tuesday, investigators arrived to search Saakashvili's Kiev apartment, and, for a few minutes, the former governor was on the roof of his eight-story building threatening to jump unless left alone. He was then held for hours in an unmarked police van next to his building as hundreds of his supporters prevented the vehicle from driving off. At the time of this writing, Saakashvili, freed by his captors, was holding a rally in front of the Ukrainian parliament.

At this point, even the most vocal Western supporters of the post-revolutionary Ukrainian government have realized that something is wrong with Poroshenko. "President Poroshenko appears to have abandoned the fight against corruption, any ambition for economic growth, EU or IMF funding," economist Anders Aslund, who has long been optimistic about Ukrainian reforms, tweeted recently.

Poroshenko, however, would have gotten nowhere -- and wouldn't be defending Ukraine's opaque, corrupt, backward political system today -- without Western support. No amount of friendly pressure is going to change him. If Ukrainians shake up their apathy to do to him what they did to Yanukovych -- or when he comes up for reelection in 2019 -- this mistake shouldn't be repeated. It's not easy to find younger, more principled, genuinely European-oriented politicians in Ukraine, but they exist. Otherwise, Western politicians and analysts will have to keep acting shocked that another representative of the old elite is suddenly looking a lot like Yanukovych.

(Corrects the Ukrainian finance minister's first name in the 10th paragraph.)
This column does not necessarily reflect the opinion of the editorial board or Bloomberg LP and its owners.

To contact the author of this story:
Leonid Bershidsky at lbershidsky@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Therese Raphael at traphael4@bloomberg.net
Title: Re: Poroshenko / NABU a Failure
Post by: sosednik on 20:30 05-Dec-2017
This story (it's Bershidsky's opinion, not Reggie's) buys into the Kremlin lie that the US (or any other Western country) chose Ukraine's leadership.

As a matter of historical fact, Poroshenko was chosen by Ukraine's voters, from a large field of candidates.  I am aware of no evidence that the US, or any of its allies, influenced that election other than by public expressions of support for the Ukrainian moves in the direction of reform and democracy.

I don't understand why, but many people seem to think that Ukraine is a country of ignorant savages, who are not capable of forming their own ideas and judgments, or making their own choices.

When Ukraine (or any other country) chooses its own leadership, the US must do its best to work with and/or oppose (as the situation demands) that leadership.

When people take charge in Ukraine who might well be corrupt (Ukraine has not yet had a straight leader), what should the United States do?

Is it better to try to support reform efforts, however much those in power might try to sabotage them?

Or is it better to say, "these guys are imperfect, so their millions of innocent countrymen can go to hell?"
Title: Re: Poroshenko / NABU a Failure
Post by: kyivkpic on 20:35 05-Dec-2017
I think a few points are missing.

1. Fighting corruption in Ukraine is war with Russia. Prosecutions and changes are few because it's quite literally a war on several levels; in Donbass, cultural, economic, etc. Wars are won with superior force. The little NABU is a small unit of highly trained agents with good guns but still just a handful of them.

2. Prosecuting some piece of poop like a corrupt judge or politician or oligarch entails serious repercussions with Russian thugs to help with car bombs, assassinations, etc. The Fraking police can't even function because when they stop some Fraking Vasya or Vanya in the Mercedes, they get out screaming and refusing to obey the police. These people can't even form queues in the goddamn metro. Enforcing order here is like herding angry pigs and bears. The behavior of the average Ukrainian in public would result in them being tazed, shot or put in a cage in western countries.

3. While the last point is harsh, I blame the west, particularly the EU. Europe was rebuilt by the US after WWII by the Marshall plan and soldiers to enforce order and I don't think any thing less will suffice in Ukraine. Russian speaking soviet and now post-soviet culture(the heart of the issue) is just as disgusting and vile as NAZI culture and it goes much deeper in history with a much larger record of destruction than Hitler's regime. The Germans were reformed and Ukraine deserves the same and nothing less than radical intervention will change anything and it should have been done much earlier.   

Title: Re: Poroshenko / NABU a Failure
Post by: David Rochlin on 23:05 05-Dec-2017
Poroshenko is an Oligarch and genuinely believes the rules or rule of law are for little people.  It is inherent in his outlook.  And regardless of his ideals, which may still be similar to Saakashvili's, Poroshenko is blind to see that anything he covets can be in conflict with those ideals.   The problem is that Ukrainians are willing to continue to elect Oligarchs, and that Oligarchs still have the political influence to continue getting elected. 
This issue was resolved in Russia by assassinations.   After Putin killed some of them, most of them only got in politics if they had permission.  I believe Poroshenko had good intentions, and he may even still have good intentions, but a wolf in sheep's clothing is still a wolf after all.  This divide resembles the inherent division between communists and capitalists of a century ago.  Poroshenko can have good intentions, but simply be unable to see outside of the box.  When people like Savchenko eventually rule Ukraine, they will probably bring their own tunnelvision to high offices. 
Title: Re: Poroshenko / NABU a Failure
Post by: Дідусь on 09:48 06-Dec-2017
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 I believe Poroshenko had good intentions, and he may even still have good intentions,

Great David! You're up for the joke of the year.

Title: Re: Poroshenko / NABU a Failure
Post by: Reggie on 10:21 06-Dec-2017
Quick Fact Check:

Does the article say the 'US (or any other Western country) chose Ukraine's leadership'?


The Article says (notice the use of quotation marks):

"they won elections, posing as Westernizers."

How did they pose as Westernizers? 

The article says the support they received from the West (US/EU) was in the form of "promises of major technical aid and International Monetary Fund loans."

Before jumping into the 'it follows the Kremlin lie' -- read the article carefully.   

Title: Re: Poroshenko / NABU a Failure
Post by: Reggie on 12:01 06-Dec-2017
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I don't understand why, but many people seem to think that Ukraine is a country of ignorant savages, who are not capable of forming their own ideas and judgments, or making their own choices.

For the 2014 Presidential Election here are the three main winners, in reverse order:

We have the party that advocates a soft form of communism -- I call them the "let's stab people with pitchforks" party (their own characterization, not mine.  Hey, at least it's not a hammer and sickle, right?  ;) ).   They came in at #3 of the Popular vote, with about 1.5 mil. votes.


In the number two position, we have the Golden Dildo Queen, responsible for a vast amount insider corruption, including backdoor deals with Putin when it suited her.  For the past 20 years, she has been doing everything possible to destroy Ukraine, so she can have silk bed sheets and crystal chandeliers. She comes in at #2 with 2.3 mil. votes.  * I love the pink wheelchair, it's a nice touch.


In the #1 position, we have PP - a white-shoe oligarch who made a fortune from a brand of chocolates we all had never heard about until we came to Ukraine.  He tops off the list with 9.8 mil. votes and is also popular among abandoned dogs because of his aftershave "Old Salo Spice No. 5."


* This is excluding all fringe candidates, lunatics, communists, nutbags, and other whatnots that didn't get at least 1 mil. votes.

These were the choices.

Why were these the choices?   

The people of Ukraine allowed these to be the choices.  You deserve whatever the f-k you're willing to tolerate. 

Like a friend of mine said here:

Digging for potatoes, yes
Making responsible decisions, no    (All credit to him for the quote, and a great one it is.)
Title: Re: Poroshenko / NABU a Failure
Post by: Fillou on 00:02 07-Dec-2017
Iatsenouk will make a come back, providential man, so "charismatic"  :D from all the money he made during his short mandate as prime minister, he's retired and his family is taken care of.
Title: Re: Poroshenko / NABU a Failure
Post by: sosednik on 02:23 09-Dec-2017

You seem to have made my case for me.

Who else, could the US have supported in 2014?  What were the viable alternatives?