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Thread: Ukraine Elections and Political Developments

  1. #391
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    There has been what can only be as a perfidious development today in PACE (The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe). First you have to understand what PACE and the Council of Europe (CoE) is so here's a brief refresher: The Council of Europe is not the EU. It started in 1949 and claims today still to promote "Human rights, democracy and the rule of law" as well as "freedom of expression and of the media, freedom of assembly, equality, and the protection of minorities." (https://www.coe.int/en/web/about-us/values). Under it's auspices the most important institution is the European Court of Human Rights - not to be confused with the International Court that sits in the Hague. PACE is this august bodies Parliamentary adjunct, it also has Commissioners etc which act as supposed 'executives' and board - cabinet type affair that proposes things to be to the Parliamentary Assembly. The Parliamentary Assembly - who meet in session about twice a year for a few days are essentially delegates from every European country who are already MPs in their home country. Thus while Nadyia Savchenko was elected to the Ukrainian Rada while she was in prison in Muscovy still she was named in 2014 as a Ukrainian delegate to PACE. So much for what it is. All EU members are members of PACE and the COE but 20 or so members of the COE are not EU or variants of members.

    Muscovy was deprived of it's voting right by this Council following it's illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014. Though nothing has changed in Crimea or in the Donbass (except more dead and injured troops and civilians) PACE yesterday voted by 118 to 62 to welcome Muscovy back into the COE.

    The debate - such that was permitted - you can view here: https://vodmanager.coe.int/coe/webca...019-06-24-2/en I note Roger Gale, who was once the MP of the neighbouring constituency in England from where I lived, giving a robust no speech.

    As you can imagine the Poles, Ukrainians, Romanians, Baltics, Fins and even Bulgarians rejected this proposal. Of the so called 'Western Europeans' only the British stood up for the values that the Council claims to promote. Both the French and the Germans vote in favour in re-admitting Muscovy.

    One of the reasons of this vote is that after Muscovy was deprived of it's voting rights in 2014 it withdrew from the CoE and has not been paying it's annual membership fee. The debt stands at around 33m euros today... inflation since the time of Christ and Judas.

    My personal feelings would be too explicit to pronounce in public and besides they do not really matter. This is had the immediate consequence though of Ukraine and Poland withdrawing their delegates and Ambassadors "for consultations". The longer term though may bode deeper implications. For example bearing in mind that both France and Germany voted in favour of this "surrender" (as the Ukrainian Ambassador called it) why on earth should Ukraine trust them any them further in the 'Normandy Format' talks regarding the non existent 'Minsk Agreements'? Zelensky says he was on the phone trying to persuade Macron and Merkel to say no... nevertheless they have surrendered. I cannot see any new Foreign Minister, or Zelensky, accepting 'Normandy format' talks again. How that breaks down if we reject this format is anyone's guess. One thing is for sure though; by 'surrendering' without a single concession PACE has encouraged further aggression.

    On the bright side it may serve as spur for greater Central European cooperation and alignment - despite the currently insane Polish Government intent on Dmovskian hyperbole and 'dwama'. The future of Europe lies not in the perfidious Western capitals of Paris, Berlin, Madrid and Rome but in those countries that understand from long experience the threat which menaces not only Europe but our friends and relatives across the Atlantic.

  2. #392
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  3. #393
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    Its funny how the strong statement from the Malaysian PM is not mentioned here. I applaud the courage of Mahathir for seeking the truth and unmasking the real perpetrators of this incident.


    Malaysia’s Leader Says ‘No Proof’ Russia to Blame for MH17 Downing

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/artic...r-mh17-downing

  4. #394
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    welcome pnoy as I neglected to welcome you in the introduction thread. We do not get alot of Malaysian news reported in Ukraine and I had not seen this. Your PM appears to differ from your representatives on the international investigation. I know nothing about Mr Mahathir but I am sure he has his reasons to deny facts.

  5. #395
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    So we finally have a new Cabinet of Ministers in Ukraine. After Zelensky's 'Servant of the People' (named after his TV comedy show in which he played an imaginary history teacher who becomes President) won a majority in the Rada back in July the new Rada has not been called until this week. The excuse given for this was the various legal disputes that were indeed taking place in the Courts regarding specific allegations of wrongdoing in the election process. Nobody actually believes that as the Parliamentary elections were forced through early (they were due in October) and if legal disputes alone prevent the convening of a Parliament it would in theory be possible for the aggressor to dispute aspects of the results ad infinitum to prevent an elected assembly ever sitting.

    In the meantime he appointed Andriy Bogdan as presidential chief of staff. This was controversial as Pan (Mr) Bogdan was Ihor Kolomoiskyi's lawyer a la Trump and Cohen. Kolomoyskyi is an oligarch on who's TV channel Zelensky's TV show appeared, he previously fell out with Poroshenko over the nationalisation of PrivatBank, the largest bank in Ukraine, which he basically owned and stole from to the extent that it's was threatened with bankruptcy so was bailed out and taken over by the Government. Kolomoiskyi then left the country but is back now. Furthermore the honourable Andriy Bogdan served in the Government of Mykola Azarov (2010 -14) under ex President Yanukovych as Government Commissioner for Anticorruption Policy. As such he is subject to a lustration order by the previous Rada. It is just stupid or perhaps a sign of worse to come. There must be someone who can do this job that does not have this man's record so why appoint him?

    I will continue later.

  6. #396
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    dble

  7. #397
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    To continue my narrative on the Zelensky (though apparently it is supposed to spelled Zelenskyy but this makes no sense to me) apart from the Andriy Bogdan appointment controversy and the delay in convening the new Rada - that after all he forced through early elections to get elected there have been others before the new Ministerial team could be ratified and sworn in - for which they must be approved by the Rada.

    So one of his early decisions was to move the site of the Presidential Administration (which is now also to be the 'Presidential Office') from it's current place on Bankova St, which actually is not a bad building, to Ukrainian House, at the lower (river) end of Khreshchatyk, the kind of Champs d' Elysee street of Kyiv. Why? "More office space" is murmered but Ukrainian House (which is circular) is more of a theatre than office space so it will cost a lot of money to remodel into office spaces and install computers, security, communications about three quarters of a mile down the road from where it is already functioning. How much? They decline to say. Who are the contractors? Surprise surprise the main contractor is a company owned by Brother Kolomoyskyi. Oh dear.

    Then the wonderful 'Ze' decided, apparently in the interests of saving money, that the military parade on Independence Day. On the basic calling off the military parade I am in general not in favour of such parades though I think it is important that at this time of war that the troops feel the public respect and honour their efforts. On the excuse for cancelling the parade - it's total hypocrisy when you spending needless millions to move the Presidential Administration already.

    So all this happened while the newly elected Rada was not convened - allegedly due to legal disputes which have changed not one jot of the result so this excuse rings hollow to me. In the meantime the comedian went 'on tour' as it were to meet with the EU and so on. He said his main objective is to "bring peace to Ukraine" which of course is commendable but mentions nothing about what price he may be willing to pay.

    So the new Rada, now finally convened, is apparently the youngest elected Chamber in Ukrainian history; the average age is apparently 41.

    So to explain the Cabinet - the new Ministers at any rate you have to understand what Kvartal 95 and Studio Kvartal 95 are; Kvartal 95 was the main producer of Zelensky's TV shows which owned/owns Studio Kvartal 95 which is a production studio which filmed the shows. You will find many appointments have contacts with Zelensky through these companies although it is not at first apparent.

    So the main Ministers are:

    PM - Oleksiy Honcharuk
    FM - Vadym Prystaiko
    Defense - Andriy Zahorodnyuk
    Interior - Arsen Avakov
    Finance - Oksana Markarova
    Health - Zoriana Skaletska
    Energy - Oleksiy Orzhel
    Eurointegration - Dmytro Kuleba
    Education - Hanna Novosad
    Defence - Andriy Zahorodniuk
    Interior - Arsen Avakov

    In addition;
    Oleksandr Danyliuk takes over as head of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC)
    Prosecutor General: Ruslan Riaboshapka
    SBU (Security Service): Ivan Bakanov
    Yakiv Smolii stays on as head of the National Bank of Ukraine.

    So apart from the Governor of the Bank of Ukraine two Ministers retain their positions. The first being the Finance Minister Oksana Markarova who I do not think any complains about, she was deputy Minister under Natalie Jaresko and Oleksandr Danylyuk (now heading the NSDC) when they were the Ministers. Has a Masters in Public Finance from Indianna; should be ok. The second to keep their position is contraversial as that is Arsen Avakov, the Minister of the Interior since 2014. Avakov has had a colourful life - he is Armenian for starters and served as Governor of Kharkiv during the Yushchenko Presidency (2004 -2010). His re-appointment was opposed by 24 NGOs on the basis that "Avakov is responsible for failing to reform the police, sabotaging the vetting of police officers, keeping tainted police officials and suspects in EuroMaidan cases in key jobs, failing to investigate attacks on civic activists and numerous corruption scandals linked to him and his inner circle." He has also been accused of having links to the far right (https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blog...ne-s-elections) and in 2017 his son (Oleksandr Avakov) was arrested by the National Anticorruption Bureau (NABU) for involvement of the alleged embezzlement of 14 million hryvnyas ($520,000) of state budget funds allocated to the Interior Ministry to buy backpacks in 2014-2015. The son was then without explanation released but still faces charges. One theory I have heard regarding why Avakov was kept in place is that Zelensky wants the National Guard, which currently receives orders from the Interior Ministry, transferred to the authority of the Presidential Administration (or Office). However the standard excuses regarding 'experience' are what they are saying is the official reason.

    I shall go into the other appointments and where they come from later.
    Last edited by snapper; 01 Sep 19, at 13:50.

  8. #398
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    Couple of things happened this last week in the political field. First on Tuesday the new Rada (Parliament) voted to remove the criminal indemnity of it's own members (Deputies/MPs). This in effect is a change to the Constitution so required a 2/3rds majority of the Deputies/MPs to agree to this. This has long been a demand of the public as the criminal immunity effectively allowed the elected representatives to swan around as some diplomats do when posted outside their country; speeding tickets, parking tickets? So what? Immunity. It is not that large a reform in real terms though as previously when serious accusations were raised concerning the conduct of a Deputy the Rada would vote to lift that Deputies criminal immunity opening the way for a prosecution. This happened at least twice in the previous Rada. Naturally Zelensky wishes to claim all the credit though the reality is took more than just his Party's Deputies to get this measure passed.

    Yesterday there was a 'prisoner exchange', which everyone was expecting first as the new Prosecutor General (Ruslan Riaboshapka) had apparently falsely posted on his Facebook page a couple of weeks ago that it was happening then. The second thing that happened was that a court in Dnipro ordered the release of Vladimir Tsemakh, a former 'DNR Officer' who is alleged to have had direct contact with the Muscovite BUK unit that shot down MH17. The SBU actually launched an undercover mission to go into the occupied territory in Donbass and bring this guy out. He is wanted for questioning by the multinational JIT investigation team. To be fair the Prosecutor at the hearing did argue against his release arguing that his life could be at risk if released. The speculation, which turned out to be correct, was that Tsemakh was part of the 'exchange deal' and this was why the Court ordered his release.

    So yesterday the exchange took place - 35 Ukrainian hostages including Oleh Sentsov, the 24 Ukrainian sailors, one Tatar, Pavlo Hryb, illegally kidnapped from Belarus while meeting some girl there for 35 Muscovites including a 'reporter' and this Tsemakh guy. Zelensky and the families were gathered at Boryspil military airport to welcome home the hostages.

    Of course everyone is happy that Sentsov (who has been 5yrs in captivity) and the others are home but I question the price that was payed for this and what it might suggest about Zelensky future attempts to achieve 'peace in our time'. None of our hostages had ever committed a crime in Muscovy whereas Tsemakh was at least an accomplice in an international crime. The fact that the court chose to release him for this exchange that clearly benefits Zelensky suggests that there was political interference in the proceedings of the court which stinks to high heaven. Nor do I consider it fitting to swap a criminal for an innocent hostage. What is worse is that Tsemakh is (or was in 2014 at least) a Ukrainian citizen so by what right or law of man or God do we exchange one criminal Ukrainian for another innocent one? Moreover there are some 75 remaining Ukrainian hostages in Muscovite captivity - most of them Crimean Tatars and this 'exchange' merely encourages more hostage taking.

    Zelensky shook hands and embraced each one as they got off the plane in front of chosen TV cameras - Kolomoisky's TV channel naturally, so it seems some press in Ukraine now have a sort of favoured status. He then talked about this 'exhange' being the "first step to peace" (he did not actually say 'in our time'). Well considering this 'first step' warrants an inquiry regarding undue influence on the court that released a person facing trial and wanted for questioning by a multinational investigation team, I am not too sure I will like what else Zelensky may be willing to compromise.

    For other reactions of former US Officials to this 'exchange' see: https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blog...sian-relations
    Last edited by snapper; 08 Sep 19, at 18:49.

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