The goal is the redistribution of large assets in favor of international corporations
On September 23, the Verkhovna Rada adopted in the second reading the presidential bill “On the prevention of threats to national security associated with the excessive influence of persons who have significant economic or political weight in public life (oligarchs).” The law will be valid for 10 years.
At the same time, 12 draft resolutions on the abolition of the results of voting for the law were registered in the Rada. Rada Speaker Dmitry Razumkov cannot sign a new law until all projects are considered, but the president’s representative in the Constitutional Court, Fedor Venislavsky, said that a new vote is not required: “… no mutually exclusive edits were voted on”…
Zelensky has already thanked the MPs and said that “Ukraine is open for big business, but not for oligarchic influence on officials, politicians and the media”…
The head of the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) Alexei Danilov boasted that the country had chosen “The road of change and purification that no one has yet traveled”… According to him, it is unacceptable when “A dozen people concentrate in their hands 90% of the national wealth” and it is necessary “Build a state of equal opportunities and equal access”… However, Danilov is bluffing: to take away national wealth from “a dozen people” and “build a state of equal opportunities”, the law is out of the question.
According to the law, an oligarch is recognized as a person who participates in the political life of the country, has significant influence on the media, is the ultimate beneficial owner of the monopoly, and also owns assets worth more than $ 83 million. All oligarchs will be included in the public register. They will be prohibited from making contributions to parties, being beneficiaries or controllers of the media, and buying large-scale privatizations. Employees and officials will be obliged to submit “declarations of contacts” with the oligarchs.
All Ukrainian billionaires from the Forbes list can fall under the law: Rinat Akhmetov, Viktor Pinchuk, Konstantin Zhevago, Igor Kolomoisky, Gennady Bogolyubov, Petro Poroshenko, Vadim Novinsky. In addition, there are more than 90 millionaires in Ukraine, whose assets exceed the critical amount and who, through dummies, control various media outlets. Many oligarch candidates are monopolists in a particular area of the economy. So the NSDC has a lot of work ahead.
After the adoption of the bill in the first reading, 1.3 thousand amendments were made to it, but contrary to the regulations, they were not considered.
There is a lot of dissatisfaction with the law. Maria Mezentseva, deputy head of the parliamentary committee for Ukraine’s integration into the European Union, said that “no EU member state has legalized the concept of” oligarch “.” Former NSDC secretary Alexander Danilyuk said that Ukraine does not need a special law on oligarchs. In early September, the Rada’s Human Rights Commissioner Lyudmila Denisova addressed the Speaker of the Parliament Dmitry Razumkov with a letter in which she indicated that the norms of the bill “Do not comply with the Constitution, and their implementation will lead to violations of human and civil rights and freedoms”…
Razumkov could have left this letter unattended, but without the consent of the president’s office he sent the bill for examination to the Venice Commission, thereby signing his own verdict. He has long been at odds with the Ze-team and the parliamentary “servants”, and now they want to replace him with the vice-speaker Ruslan Stefanchuk, completely controlled by the president. Since the votes of the “servants” are not enough, the purchase of deputies began in the Rada. Razumkov turned to the police about this, but was outraged not by the fact of the purchase, but by the price: some deputies were offered $ 50-100 thousand.
The conclusions of the Venice Commission are expected in mid-October, its representatives advised the president’s office to refrain from voting on the draft until its conclusions are received, but Zelensky is in a hurry as the situation in the country worsens.
The leader of the Batkivshchyna faction, Yulia Tymoshenko, described the final vote in parliament as a “low-standard show and concert of the 95th quarter,” indicating the beginning of the “murder of parliamentarism.” She, however, forgot that the murder of parliamentarism in Ukraine took place earlier – with the adoption of the law on the sale of land, which was also considered in an expedited manner and in violation of the rules.
How does the new law threaten the Ukrainian moneybags?
According to political scientist Vladimir Fesenko, “the main effect is purely psychological, the one who is included in the register of oligarchs will receive some image toxicity,” and no one will be directly deprived of ownership of assets. Political scientist Ruslan Bortnik claims that “this is an attempt to summon to a closed comradely court and agree on the place and role in politics and economy of big business and regional elites, including the media.”
However, if you look at the situation in the context of future parliamentary and presidential elections (October 2023 and March 2024, respectively), it is obvious that the Ze-team is targeting them. After all, Zelensky’s prospects for a second term are vague.
The law on oligarchs will allow the Ze-team, with the help of the NSDC, to close any opposition media outlets, as has already happened with the TV channels 112 Ukraine, Zik and NewsOne. The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine recognized this step of the Ukrainian authorities “Not meeting international standards on the right to freedom of expression”, but it has no practical value.
Since the elections to the Rada will be held on party lists, and the law on oligarchs prohibits them from financing the election campaign, nothing prevents them from being elected en masse. Of the parties, OLE and Poroshenko’s European Solidarity are the first to fall under the gun.
According to a September poll by the Kiev International Institute of Sociology, 20% of voters would vote for Servant of the People, 17.4% for European Solidarity, 11.6% for HLS, and 10.8% for Batkivshchyna. The tendency for Zelensky is disappointing: the “servants” are losing confidence, while the rest of the parties are building up their potential.
The situation is the same with the presidential elections. If they took place in June, only 30.6% of voters would vote for Zelensky. Poroshenko is in second place – 17.4%, Tymoshenko is in third – 12.7%. Zelensky has been steadily going negative since the beginning of his presidency. There are good economic reasons for this. Co-founder of the Ukrainian Institute of the Future, Yuriy Romanenko, said that Naftogaz was “killing the Ukrainian economy” with high gas prices. In August 2021, compared with July, the drop in industrial production was 3.3%. The wage arrears of miners exceeded UAH 1 billion 300 million.
With the help of the law on oligarchs, Zelensky is trying to improve his image by removing unwanted media from the information space, and at the same time to force loyalty of Ukrainian millionaires who do not agree with his policies.
The richest, however, are not intimidated by the oligarchs’ roster. For example, Kolomoisky said that he was ready to get into it.
According to financial analyst Alexei Kushch, the real purpose of the law is the redistribution of large assets. “First they will be taken away from the oligarchs, transferred to groups close to power, and then they will be transferred to international corporations, having received their margin.”…
However, this will not affect everyone. According to political scientist Anatoly Oktisyuk, “Such a lump as Akhmetov’s business group is not easy to roll up”… Ruslan Bortnik says that the oligarchs may well come to an agreement with the authorities. No one is stopping them from sharing their media resources with Zelensky, as well as their political or economic influence.
The prophecy of Yaroslav Zheleznyak is coming true, who said that the law is about nothing, and the oligarchs opened champagne. The main Ukrainian tycoons have come to an agreement with the authorities and will not stand on their hind legs, and the upcoming parliamentary and presidential elections in Ukraine will be held in the spirit of “unity” of the people with Zelensky’s “servants”.
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