By Walter Derzko and Dr.Andriy Zhalko-Tytarenko
Aug 4, 2011
August has an almost “mystical appeal" and "track record” in Russia. Since 1961, if “something big” happened, it happened in the month of August. And since 1986, “something big” has happened almost every August. The first on record was the erection of the Berlin Wall on the 13thof August 1961. Then there was the invasion of Czechoslovakia on August 21, 1968, the sinking of “Admiral Nakhimov” on August 31, 1986, and then we witnessed practically, non-stop, repeating August disasters that were capped off by the firestorms of August, 2010. Since 1986, there were 7 technology disasters (sinking ships, crashing airplanes, derailed trains, exploding turbines), five major terrorist acts (which many suspect were staged by the FSB), two military interventions (including the Russian Georgian war in 2008), which happened or "were staged" in the month of August. But the highlight is certainly the 1991 coup d'etat in Moscow, exactly 20 years ago this August.
The coup d'etat (also known as a putsch or over-throw) seemed to put an end to the Soviet empire, but in reality, it did not. The empire is still very much alive in the minds of many Russians. There is a long list of “patriotic” organizations, that wave the white-yellow-black imperial tricolor, and are eager to carry their imperial ideology elsewhere, inside and outside Russia. Some of these paramilitary groups are even invited to the training grounds of the Russian GRU in the North Caucasus, while Moscow’s government is busy chasing members of one such organization, the “Minin and Pozharski” militia, across the country. The latest arrest took place on the 21stof June of this year. The head of this militia, GRU (Retired) Colonel Kvachkov is now behind bars and awaiting court hearings on new charges against him. Notoriously, all these groups and militia formations are faithful to Russian Orthodox Christianity, and demonstrate a crusader's religious enthusiasm and even fanaticism.
The famous Russian writer Chekhov once wrote that if in the first act of a play there is the gun hanging on the wall, then it must be fired by the end of the play. Well, the conservative orthodox gun is certainly here, and sooner or later it will be fired. According to Russian “tradition”, it will likely be in August. Interestingly, some of the Russian army brigades of the new Russian South Defence Command are already planning huge field exercises, just as we witnessed in 2008, before the war in Georgia. The territory of this command borders with Georgia. But it also borders with Ukraine, and with that part of Ukraine, which has a population that was always the base for traditional communist ideology – with Donbass.
Donbass oligarchs rule Ukraine for now, and the former Governor of Donetsk Oblast, Victor Yanukovych, is “their” President. At least this is the common belief. Meanwhile, there are some irregularities that contradict this simple concept of the Presidency of Victor Yanukovych.
First of all, the oligarchs from Donbass, and across Ukraine, need European integration. Access to Russian markets is important, but European expansion for Ukrainian business is a top priority. Nevertheless, Yanukovych pursues Tymoshenko’s “show” trial, illegally meddling in the legal process and directing witnesses from the President's Administration. Since the hearings started, the damage to Ukraine's image is difficult to ignore and underestimate. Yanukovych has already lost an invitation to the USA, and Brussels is signaling that even if a free trade agreement with the EU will be eventually signed, its ratification will be “very difficult”. That’s diplomatic code for a more direct and blunt “forget it”. By pursuing the Tymoshenko trial the way they are doing, Yanukovych, or more precisely - the 1stDeputy State Prosecutor Kuzmin, is destroying Ukraine's European integration chances, and is acting against the best interests of Ukrainian’s influential oligarchs (that fund the Party of Regions).
Second, the Tymoshenko trial has destroyed Yanukovych's relations with Putin. Recently Medvedev also canceled his next visit to Ukraine, and quotas for imports of Ukrainian steel pipes are now revised-the start of a new trade war. There are rumors that Firtash had found a way to deal with Putin's friend, Rottenberg, but this does not guarantee better relations between Yanukovych and the notoriously vindictive Putin. Yanukovych may be adding unnecessary complications into the game.
The common denominator in these two developments is that Yanukovych is acting either “like there is no tomorrow”, or he knows that European integration will never happen anyway. In any case, he may suspect that if political realities suddenly shift in Russia, warming up relations with Moscow’s current duo won’t matter anymore.
Third, Yanukovych has canceled the military parade on the 20thAnniversary of Ukrainian Independence. There may be many different explanations for this. Maybe he’s read the biography of Anwar Sadat and is terrified of the same fate. Or maybe he doesn't want to give the opposition a chance to express its feelings directly to his face on parade day. The only theory that really “doesn’t hold any water” is the official version of the cancellation, that the “saved money” will be used for public good. The government had budgeted UAH 177 mln already for this event. It is a nice chunk of cash to grab, because it would have been highly irregular if none of this money would have been pocketed by each party that is involved in the preparations of the celebration. The idea of the Ukrainian bureaucracy and “Party of Regions” missing such a lucrative “money grab” opportunity like this for the sake of supporting public social programs is something strikingly rare in Ukrainian’s present day reality. Note that Yanukovych did not hesitate to spend UAH 100 mln for the “Formula-1” on water competition, which has no “public good” dimension what-so-ever. (Besides, what kind of President gives 100mln to support a sports event where no Ukrainian teams competed, and cancels the 20thAnniversary of National Independence parade for financial reasons?) In any case, money is not the issue here. It must surely be something different. Either Yanukovych is afraid of the parade, or the pro-Russian “talking head” of the “Party of Regions” Vadim Kolesnichenko is right when he says that “there is nothing to celebrate on August 24”. This statement even triggered outrage inside the “Party of Regions”, and one of its sponsors, Vasyl Gorbal (owner of UKR GAZ BANK), spoke out against Kolesnichenko’s statement saying, that “Party of Regions” does not support Kolesnichenko’s idea. The resulting knee-jerk reaction of the Ukrainian regime was an audit of Gorbal's business.
Fourth, the government canceled the 5Th International Forum f Ukrainains, which was scheduled to take place in Kyiv to mark the 20th Anniversary of Independence. Again, bureaucrats of all ranks have lost their “cut” from the budget that would have been allocated for this major event. This is very unusual.
Each of these developments may be explained on its own without bringing in the idea of a common “hub” or “single causal event” for them all. Yanukovych may be trying to suppress Tymoshenko, because of his own vindictive mentality, and because of his fear of the opposition. The parade may have been canceled due to Yanukovych's own safety concerns or because he wants to avoiding offering a staging ground for another mini-orange revolution. The 5th International Forum of Ukrainians may have been canceled because Ukraine failed to prepare it or because the President is mitigating the opportunity for a gathering of patriotic Ukrainians and diaspora supporters all in one city on the same date, or Kolesnichenko may have overstepped his limits, and so on.
However, everything becomes very logical and crystal-clear, if one assumes that plans are in the works to attempt to restore “something” like the USSR, and that Yanukovych is part of the plot. This is pure speculation and conjecture, a kind of intellectual exercise to derive a “common denominator” for seemingly unrelated, and difficult to explain events. It is not more than a “wild guess”. But such “wild guesses” explain many things, that otherwise seem illogical.
- According to Tymoshenko's own intelligence (her intelligence is certainly the best in Ukraine), the Ukrainian regime plans to sentence her before Ukrainian Independence Day, August 24th. Maybe they just want to get things all wrapped up before restarting work in Brussels, after vacations. But if there is a plot, it will be more successful if the opposition leader ends up behind bars. That’s what the Russian Security and Defence Council recommended in Dec 2008…neutralize the opposition in CIS countries up to and including arrest. (see http://bit.ly/q6fL6h and http://bit.ly/kcFZ7Z .)
- А group of very well informed bureaucrats from the education and science spheres have just signed а letter to Yanukovych, asking for more repressions against corruption. In today's Ukraine, alleged “corruption” is used as the reason to prosecute the opposition. Maybe these people were forced to sign the letter, but some of them are not really dependent on the regime. One of these is the writer Les' Taniuk (After all, don’t you find it odd that a former dissident and activist from the organization “Memorial” should be asking for more repressions and harsher repressions?) But alternatively maybe these very well informed people know that if there will be drastic and dramatic changes, then they are acting logically and rationally, adjusting the the new situation and simply warming up their "new" seats for the future.
- If there will be some massive surrender of Ukrainian independence before August 24, 2011, a military parade on this day would be exactly the wrong thing to hold. The same applies to the 5th International Forum of Ukrainians in Kyiv.
- If there will be some shake-up of some kind, Yanukovych's passivity and disconnect from his daily duties is natural. Why bother?
- Finally, if we speculate that there will be dramatic changes, Yanukovych will not depend on his Ukrainian oligarchs buddies anymore, because his source of power will come from Moscow and not Donbass. If so, he doesn't need to care any more about the oligarch’s Western aspirations, or about the whole “European Integration” agenda. (...they want IPO's in London or Frankfurt, not Moscow.)
Interestingly, all the prosecutions, that are so damaging for Ukraine's international standing, are handled by one person: 1stDeputy State Prosecutor Rinat Kuzmin. Kuzmin's career has always gone hand in hand with the career of the former State Prosecutor Mikhail Vasil'jev. Vasil'jev, Nusenkis, and Baisarov (“ENERGO” Group) are the most outspoken and wealthiest promoters of the Russian Orthodox Church in Ukraine, and also the people who are behind the recent attempted coup inside the Ukrainian Orthodox Church (Moscow Patriarchy), which has attempted to eliminate its autonomy from Moscow. This “closes the loop”.
All of this of course is just a speculative hypothesis, a “wild card”, a “what-if” exercise -nothing more. In Canada, we have no access to any documents that are not in the public domain, and in the end, our “scenario” may prove to be wrong and you can simply discard these speculations. As we have mentioned, all these developments may be coincidental and unrelated. Finally, there may exist an alternative explanation for these events, which we missed. But this hypothesis does explain all the known irregularities, contradictions and anomalies in the actions of the Ukrainian regime.
So the lesson here is--watch out for and anticipate surprise events in the month of August. It's not too early for the West to be planning a response to the possible, eventual arrest of Tymoshenko or other surprises.
UPDATE: Aug 5, 2011 am
[ironically, Ukrainians have the Communists to thank for Independence, who all voted "YES" with everybody else in the 1991 referendum, because they were terrified of the alternative--persecution and lustration by Yeltsyn for the 70 years of communist crimes, corruption and all the other sins of the USSR. Similarly today, key Ukrainian oligarchs (who are not stupid) may turn against Yanukowych and stage an internal coup...or many may just flee the country, like the former Kyiv mayor-Chernovetsky, who is now in Israel with his stolen billions from land fraud and bribes. Rumors are that over 200 deputies in the Ukrainian parliament (out of 450 in Verhovna Rada) -that's almost 1/2, have multiple passports (mostly to Israel or Russia), a safety valve or escape route, in case things get nasty in Ukraine. Dual citizenship is illegal under the Ukrainian constitution.--Walter Derzko
UPDATE: Aug 5, 2011 pm
[..."something Big Event" in Ukraine....Aug 5, 2011... Arrest of opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko...]
Tymoshenko taken away from Kyiv court by police; brawl erupts on street
Today at 16:04 | Kyiv Post
Yulia Tymoshenko, on trial for abusing her authority in reaching a 2009 gas deal with Russia when she was Ukraine's prime minister, was arrested today for disobeying court procedures. One of her assistants told a Kyiv Post reporter she was taken to the Lukyanivska pre-trial detention center in Kyiv.
A brawl erupted outside the courtroom as Tymoshenko supporters attempted to block police from leaving the court with the arrested Tymoshenko. A Kyiv Post reporter witnessed police driving from the court at 4:42 p.m. in a van that witnesses said was carrying Tymoshenko. The vehicle was surrounded by dozens of police officers from several agencies -- court, plainclothes, patrol officers and Berkut -- who broke through a human blockade of Tymoshenko supporters.
Read more: http://www.kyivpost.com/news/politics/detail/110197/#ixzz1UAKRMQOm
Reaction swift to Tymoshenko's arrest
Today at 19:40 | Vlad Lavrov Editor’s Note: The following statements came in response to the Aug. 5 arrest and jailing of ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko on contempt-of-court charges in her trial. Tymoshenko is charged with exceeding her authority as prime minister in reaching a 2009 gas deal with Russia to end a three-week shutoff in January. Tymoshenko, in a view shared by many Ukrainians and many in the West, calls the charges politically motivated to win a conviction that makes her ineligible to run against Yanukovych in the 2015 presidential election or stand in the 2012 parliamentary eletion. Yanukovych denies he has anything to do with the charges.
Darya Chepak, President Viktor Yanukovych's press secretary:
"The president has said many times that his administration has nothing to do with [the court process against Tymoshenko], and cannot intervene in the activity of the judiciary according to the constitution."
Carl Bildt, foreign minister of Sweden:
"The trial against Yulia Tymoshenko in Ukraine an embarrassing spectacle. Does great damage to a great country."
Jerzy Buzek, president of the European Parliament:
"I am disturbed by the news about court's decision to detain former PrimeMinister Tymoshenko. Thecontext and conditions raise concern about the politically motivated nature of this decision, and about the application of the rule of law in Ukraine. I urgeUkraine to uphold the principles and common values that define our relationship and that form the core of the Eastern partnership."
Hryhoriy Nemyria, former vice prime minister of Ukraine in Yulia Tymoshenko government:
“Yulia Tymoshenko was detained for her attempts to implement her rights in a politically-motivated case. If, beforel today, somebody doubted that this process is not politically motivated, the last doubts must have vanished today. In the nearest time, we expect very clear and concrete reaction from European countries and US. Yanukovych and everyone else behind the current escalation have made a big mistake. They have the time to fix it. If this is not done, the biggest political victim will be not Tymoshenko, but [President Viktor] Yanukovych."
Russian Foreign Ministry:
“Former Ukraine [Prime Minister] Tymoshenko’s trial should be impartial, with proper defense guaranteed and basic humanitarian standards observed."
Svoboda All-Ukrainian Union:
"We see what happened today in the following way: the authorities are simply bored with the formal demonstration of justice. They simply applied stricter and more repressive actions. This case reduces the [public's] trust in the authorities, reduces the rating of support of society for the authorities, and increases the level of distrust in the authorities."
Mykola Martynenko, member of parliament, leader of the Our-Ukraine – People's Self-Defense faction:
“The authorities have started following a Belarus-style scenario. It's obvious that the criminal cases against opposition figures are too thin and are falling to pieces. The authorities have thrown aside the last formal procedures in the political trial of the opposition. As a result, Ukraine is facing the threat of complete suspension of any rapprochement with Europe and international isolation from the civilized world."
Oles Doniy, member of parliament, Our-Ukraine – People's Self-Defense faction: "If someone did not understand after the unjustified arrest of Yuriy Lutsenko that it was only the beginning of the dismantling of freedom and democracy and the launch of political reprisals, now they should look the truth in the eyes. And the truth is that this government will not settle before the entire political opposition is either behind the bars or in exile."
Former Verkhovna Rada speaker Arseniy Yatsenyuk:
"Democracy is over. There is not one regime that has won a war against its own people."
UPDATE: Aug 5, 2011 late
Tymoshenko: 'I will never commit suicide' [....unfortunately Ukraine is known for its staged suicides--Walter Derzko]
Ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s lawyer, parliamentarian Serhiy Vlasenko, has shown reporters a statement written by the ex-premier prior to her arrest, according to the Tymoshenko website.
"I want to make a statement regarding the plan to arrest me. Clearly this is an act of revenge against a political opponent, but that’s not my point. I want to state that I have no intention of committing suicide. They don’t need to repeat the tricks they did with Kirpa and Kravchenko. I will never end my life with suicide. Everything I do is my battle against this criminal regime for Ukraine’s rightful place in the world. Glory to Ukraine. Yulia Tymoshenko."
Tymoshenko was referring to Heorhiy Kirpa, the transport and telecommunications minister in 2002-2004 who was rumored to be involved in deep financial corruption, including unlawful financing of President Victor Yanukovych’s unsuccessful 2004 presidential election campaign. Kirpa was found shot in the head on Dec. 27, 2004, at his dacha outside of Kyiv. His death was ruled a suicide.
Tymoshenko was also talking about Yuriy Kravchenko, the former interior minister who died from two gunshot wounds to the head on March 4, 2005. That death was also ruled a suicide. He died on the same day he was supposed to give testimony involving the Sept. 16, 2000, murder of journalist Georgiy Gongadze. Some suspect Kravchenko of acting on ex-President Leonid Kuchma’s orders to silence the muckraking journalist. Kuchma denies involvement, but is charged with abusing his presidential authority in giving an order that led to Gongadze’s death.
Vlasenko said that Tymoshenko “wrote this statement and gave it to me a week ago when we learned that she might be arrested."
This afternoon Judge Rodion Kireyev granted the prosecution’s request to arrest Tymoshenko and jail her for violating court order.
UPDATE: AUG 13
KIEV, August 13 (RIA Novosti)
Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, detained on August 5 following a motion by prosecutors, is afraid of being killed while in prison, Tymoshenko told EUobserver in an interview, published late on Friday.
Tymoshenko is accused of damaging Ukraine's national interests by signing "unfair" gas supply deals with Russia as prime minister in 2009 and faces up to 10 years in jail.
Currently Ukraine's leading opposition figure, Tymoshenko has denied all the charges against her, saying they are politically motivated.
"Of course I do," Tymoshenko answered EUobserver's question whether she had any fears about her personal safety while in detention.
"I am aware of the Stalinist saying that you get rid of the man, you get rid of the problem. There have been too many 'accidents' in the past like the supposed suicide of former Interior Minister Yuri Kravchenko who somehow seemed to have shot himself in the head twice," she added.
Kravchenko was found dead in March, 2005 one hour before he was to testify about the 10-year-old unsolved murder of opposition journalist Georgiy Gongadze. In March 2011, Ukrainian former president Leonid Kuchma was officially charged over the killing of Gongadze.
UPDATE: AUG 18...Tymoshenko fainted in court, symptoms don't match any known illness. Naturally, court refused her the right to have a doctor. Voctim of Poisoning like Yushchenko?
Tymoshenko Denied Consulting Doctor's Visit (Part 2) Interfax Thursday, August 18, 2011
KYIV. Aug 18 (Interfax) - Ukraine's ex-Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who remains under arrest, has been denied an examination by her consulting doctor, Tymoshenko's press secretary Maryna Soroka has announced.
"Yulia Tymoshenko has not seen her doctor to this moment," Soroka told the press on Thursday.
A paddy wagon has taken Tymoshenko from the Prechersky Court in Kyiv, which is hearing the gas case against her, to a detention facility.
Earlier reports quoted Tymoshenko's defense lawyer Yuriy Sukhov as saying that his client was feeling unwell and wanted her consulting doctor to take her blood tests.
Earlier on Thursday, the Pechersky Court again refused to free Tymoshenko from custody.
Tymoshenko's Health Rapidly Deteriorating - Party Colleague (Part 2)
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Tymoshenko's health rapidly deteriorating - party colleague (Part 2)
KYIV. Aug 18 (Interfax) - The health of Batkivshchyna party leader and former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who is being held at the Lukyanivsky detention center, has significantly deteriorated, Oleksandr Turchynov, a deputy party leader, said.
"Her health started rapidly deteriorating just yesterday. Bruises looking like broken vessels have appeared all over her body for unknown reasons," Turchynov told journalists near the Pechersky District Court on Thursday.
Tymoshenko asked the Pechersky Court to allow a doctor she trusts to visit her at the detention facility.
Turchynov said Tymoshenko did not want this information to be given to the press, "but the lawyers urged Kyreyev (Justice Rodion Kyreyev presiding at the trial) yesterday to immediately arrange Tymoshenko's medical examination and allow her to undergo tests, primarily blood tests."
The judge "did not respond to this motion," he said.
Tymoshenko's lawyers again filed this motion on Thursday morning, but no answer was given, Turchynov said.
"We are really alarmed by the situation surrounding Yulia Volodymyrivna's health deterioration. Yulia Volodymyrivna herself has never had the problems she has experienced since yesterday. Her health has worsened so much that she cannot even make short walks she is entitled to in line with the law," he said.
If Justice Kyreyev and those "who are orchestrating these proceedings" do not allow Tymoshenko's immediate medical examination, her supporters will address all democratic countries in the world and all diplomatic offices to inform them of what is happening in the jail, he said.
The Batkivshchyna leader's health is in danger, Turchynov said.
Tymoshenko's lawyer Yury Sukhov said at the court hearings on Thursday that he had earlier filed a motion on allowing Tymoshenko's medical examination and tests. "Alarming symptoms have appeared, which cannot be described as symptoms of known illnesses," he said.
Tymoshenko asked the court to issue such permission. However, Justice Kyreyev replied that Tymoshenko had earlier been offered aid from the jail medics but declined it.
Tymoshenko said she would not entrust her health to these medics. "I am insisting on admitting a doctor whom I trust," she said.
UPDATE: Aug 31, 2011 Lyovochkin announces dismissal of Tabachnyk
Profound structural changes are expected in the structure of the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine.
According to an UNIAN correspondent, Chief of Staff of the Presidential Administration Serhiy Lyovochkin said this at the meeting with mass media representatives.
“There will be many changes in the structure of the Cabinet of Ministers”, he said. According to his words, staffing changes in key ministries are expected.
Answering a question whether Education Minister of Ukraine Dmytro Tabachnyk to be dismissed, S. Lyovochkin said: “Undoubtedly, yes”.