Opinion: Banana republic Recent appointments and handling of investigations smack of third-world style country management.
How do you describe a country in which the president appoints a billionaire insider as deputy head of the nation's secret service, and this billionaire heads a crucial investigation, taking the side of another billionaire who is his business partner?
Imagine, in this country, that the billionaire-turned-law enforcer threatens to raid the government headquarters just days after the president appears as the main guest on his TV channel, the nation’s leading one, receiving fawning coverage.
Are we talking about Belarus, Pakistan or Venezuela? No, this is post-Orange Revolution Ukraine headed by former democratic hero, President Victor Yushchenko. Not only has Yushchenko failed to uphold his promise to remove conflicts of interest between business and government, he's added new layers to these conflicts.
Appointing billionaire Valery Khoroshkovsky as first deputy head of Ukraine’s State Security Service, or SBU, is terribly offensive. Since taking over, Khoroshkovsky has headed an investigation into the alleged “theft” of more than $2 billion worth of natural gas by state company Naftogaz from RosUkrEnergo. Khoroshkovsky, who has business interests with RosUkrEnergo’s 45 percent shareholder, Dmytro Firtash, has no moral right to be associated with this investigation in any way.
Khoroshkovsky and Firtash also have joint interests in the leading Inter channel, which aired the one-sided presidential talk show on March 6, during which all guests hammered away at Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko.
Yushchenko’s behavior supports Tymoshenko’s view that the president has lobbied the interests of RosUkrEnergo, the sham, shady and pointless intermediary in the lucrative Ukraine-Russia gas trade.
As the presidential election draws closer, Ukrainians should soundly reject these disgraceful arrangements and insist on being treated respectfully as citizens of a democracy. Ukrainians are entitled to full and fair information from government leaders. They deserve servants who are free from conflicts of interest. And they need media outlets run by independent journalists acting in the public’s interest – not as shills lobbying the business interests of their selfish owners.
(Érdeklődőknek: az újság logójára klikkelve megjelenik a Kyiv Post oldala)