1. Ukraine is accused of using chemical warfare agents
Russian military commanders have reported that Ukrainian troops deployed a type of chemical weapon against Russian units in Donbass by using drones. Such CW agents have caused coughing, lacrimination and weakness among a number of servicemen on the battlefield.
Speaking to Russian television on February 6, Denis Pushilin, the acting governor of the Donetsk People’s Republic, said his office has been receiving reports about chemical warfare for at least two weeks. Ukrainian troops have reportedly been deploying “chemical compounds that make our military service members ill,” he announced.
Chemical warfare is forbidden under the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC), an international treaty that took effect in 1997 and to which both Ukraine and Russia are signatories. Russia has already destroyed all its CW agents, while Ukraine and the USA have not.
There have been multiple cases of using in Donbass by Armed Forces of Ukraine cluster and phosphorus ammunition also banned by the international law.
The 31st anniversary of Chernobyl nuclear disaster this Wednesday has attracted considerable media attention in the West. Most of the publications focused on the event itself. Some talked about the recent “accomplishments” of the Poroshenko regime – erecting a steel containment structure over the old concrete one , plans to build a solar power plant at the site, and so on .
A few articles, like the Associated Press piece (reprinted by most Western outlets – Washington Post, ABC News, Fox, Daily Mail, etc etc) used to occasion to highlight “anti-nuclear protest in Belarus” .
Finally, one or two articles talked about cool projects in the exclusion zone – such as a few Polish “adventurers” moving a generator into Pripyat and turning lights on (source) – but without discussing e.g. the potential for electrical fires, which would spread radioactive smoke, or the fact that random people can freely roam Pripyat.
No one talked about the real problem – the fact that the “closed zone” around Chernobyl is no longer really “closed”, and that everything of value is being looted and sold to unsuspecting buyers . The interview below discusses this problem.
[pictured: school in the radioactive town of Polesskoe, mentioned in interview below, midway through being disassembled for construction materials. Photo credit to zametkiev LJ.]
Interestingly, the man presenting the evidence (Alexander Medinskiy) is actually a Ukrainian nationalist – or used to be, anyway. He even fought in Donbass, but since coming back from the war, he has seen the effects of “Western democracy” on Ukraine and has become a vocal critic of the new regime, calling it corrupt, dictatorial, and criminal (and was branded a “terrorist sympathizer” in return). So, we can hear a report for an “insider”, as it were.
(A) = Aleksandr Medinskiy
(K) = Konstantin Zazvonov
(A) Kostya, everyone in Ukraine understands that the industry is mostly dead, so all that’s left is scrapping the leftovers. Now they are getting into Chernobyl.
(K) Isn’t it supposed to be closed off?
(A) It used to be “restricted” before. And even then, not guarded well. And now, it’s not just lone looters. It goes all the way to the top, so restrictions no longer apply.
Moreover, most of the policemen that were guarding Chernobyl have been laid off now, so it’s standing wide open.
(K) Got it. What exactly is being looted? [Irradiated] vehicles from storage areas, or building materials and infrastructure?
(A) Anything and everything of value, Kostya.
First of all… Let’s show a photo here… On Google photos we can see that in 2002, this “vehicle cemetery” was completely full and by 2013, it was all taken. So first they looted the vehicles – those are the most valuable. Not every last one, but most.
Now they’ve moved on to houses – taking them apart for pipes, rebar, and so on.
Here we can see how the school in Polesskoe [ghost town about 20 mi downwind from the reactor – ed.] is being disassembled into concrete slabs.
No idea where those slabs will turn up, because it is very tricky to figure out the schemes being used there.
But… I can say that, some time ago, businessmen I know personally have bought a load of used metal pipes, supposedly originating from Dnepropetrovsk.
And when the load was delivered, they were smart enough to check it with a radiation counter – the levels were off the charts, pretty much lethal.
They weren’t able to find out where the pipes originated from, but it certainly wasn’t Dnepropetrovsk. Somewhere within the exclusion zone, apparently.
(K) So is it sold within Ukraine, or exported? Or you don’t have that sort of information?
(A) I’ll put it this way. If you really look into what’s happening into exclusion zone, this is a large-scale, industrial effort. They are disassembling buildings using cranes. This isn’t merely a couple hobos trying to scavenge.
We can see heavy construction vehicles being moved in. We can see buildings being disassembled in a professional manner, with cranes.
We can see heavy vehicles being used to drag radioactive barges onto the shore, where they are cut for scrap. There are videos of that as well.
Where does all of this go is anybody’s guess. Some of it is bought by unwary people within Ukraine. Some of the metal is probably molten down, re-cast, and then exported.
Everybody knows that, [unfortunately], our government is among the world’s most corrupt ones. Thus, it is no problem to make real and proper documents verifying that these goods have “successfully passed” radiological inspection.
The real horror of the situation is that these materials can be anywhere in Ukraine now. Those radioactive pipes I told you about – they were brought to the capital!
And after those businessmen refused – where did they take those pipes? Maybe sold them to somebody else?
(K) I’d bet they didn’t take them back to Chernobyl! Yeah, probably resold.
You know, in one of my future videos, I plan to talk about contraband to Poland – how cigarettes and [medical] drugs are being smuggled across the border via drones.
And about Chernobyl – how is it all transported, do you think? How do they smuggle all those vehicles and building materials? Do they do it at night, do they camouflage it, or what?
(A) Let me explain how things work here. “Illegal” smuggling isn’t the main problem here, not really.
The problem is that the government officials are so corrupt, this wave of contraband is going “semi-legally” – through the checkpoints, with all the proper documentation, with knowledge of those in charge.
We’ll talk about that in more detail later. As for items from the exclusion zone, they can be split into several segments.
The most basic category are the hunters, poachers, the people who hunt for meat here. As you can guess, no one checks the meat with any sort of radiation counters.
And the exclusion zone is kind of interesting. There are some patches that are relatively clean, and there are patches that are extremely radioactive.
For example, aforementioned Polesie, [where the school was being taken apart for slabs] – that area is extremely “hot”.
There are people who gather mushrooms, berries, and so on – [Chernobyl] exclusion zone obviously has all of that. And then this food can go to the markets in Kiev, maybe even exported abroad, zero control for that.
Then there are the midlevel “harvesters”, who cut up pipes, rebar, the aforementioned barges, and so on. They pay off the officials and transport the loot semi-legally.
And there is an even higher level. [Irradiated] vehicles aren’t usually cut for scrap, unless they’re completely unserviceable. And if they can still work…
There was discussion of using the remaining helicopters [from the “radiation graveyard”], some tracked vehicles – to use them in the warzone. Can you imagine that?
(K) I thought it was actually done in the end?
(A) I can not claim that it was done. I know it was discussed, that’s all.
So, we can see that the “graveyards” are now empty. Where did the vehicles go…
Maybe they sold the armor to some warring African state. Or to South-East Asia somewhere – not everyone is smart enough to do their own radiological inspection of our country’s exports.
(K) So you suspect UkrSpetsExport (Ukraine’s arms export monopoly – ed.) could have made some money there?
(A) I don’t want to make any such statements. Because we want to be… [Ukrainian word] how do you say this in Russian… We want to be objective, evidence-based.
What I wanted to tell here is that the problem exists, and that its rapidly getting worse.
Right now they’re taking apart Polesskoe, then they’ll move on to Pripyat – the probably already started, then they’ll start taking apart the reactor building itself…
You see, that place can be looted for decades. There are construction materials, scrap metal, venison, mushrooms, and so on. It can be a serious source of income.
The problem is that the whole government system is corrupt. UkrSpetsExport is part of it, so we can not honestly conclude that it is not involved, either. Any part of the system could be.
(K) Thank you very much for your insights on [what’s currently going in] Chernobyl
(A) Yes, thank you too, for raising awareness about this problem. Its being swept under the rug, not talked about, but it’s actually huge. Radiation is an invisible killer.
There are many survivors of Chernobyl among the Ukrainian people, and they should know about this. Also, this problem needs to be discussed internationally. We will continue investigating this matter over here.
(K) Thank you Alex. Use your radiation counter, be safe. All the best!
 The project was funded by foreign countries, started in 2007 and slated for completion in 2014.
Of course, the Maidan “revolution” set the project back a few years and incurred mysterious additional costs that required further foreign funding. In the end, the new regime was able to claim credit for finishing a project they didn’t start, didn’t pay for, and actually delayed.
 An interesting contrast can be seen here: VOA propagandists claim that the Chernobyl solar plant will generate 2.5 Gw and the project will be complete by May (link), while the somewhat more reasonable BBC propagandists talk about 1 Gw, built by 2019 or so (link).
In reality, most likely, none of these output figures and deadlines will be met – no work has been done so far, and no contracts have been signed.
 There is almost no information on this anti-nuclear protest in Belorussian or Russian-language sources; even the Youtube videos put out by the organizers have a couple thousand views at most.
The number of Western journalists and bloggers discussing this tiny gathering of professional “opposition activists” might very well be greater than the number of actual Belorussians who support the protesters.
 The lack of attention to what’s going on in the exclusion zone is especially puzzling considering how much the Western mass media love scaring their audiences – fear is the most powerful of human emotions, after all, and scare stories bring the most ad profits.
I suppose that in this case, profits had to take a back seat to the political goal of supporting the Poroshenko regime.
Vladimir Putin took part in an annual expanded meeting of the Federal Security Service (FSB) Board to discuss the FSB’s results for 2016 and the priority tasks for ensuring Russia’s national security.
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon.
These annual FSB Board meetings give us a chance to meet and not only thoroughly analyse and review the results of the agency’s work over the period, but also to discuss at length all important national security issues in general and outline the priorities for the immediate future and the longer-term.
The FSB plays a key part in protecting our constitutional order and our country’s sovereignty, and in protecting our people from threats at home and abroad.
Let me say from the start that last year’s results were positive and show good development. This concerns your work to counter terrorism and extremism, a series of successful counterintelligence operations, your efforts to combat economic crime, and other areas.
You ensured a high standard of security for major public events, including the State Duma election and regional and local elections.
I would like to thank both the executives and staff for their conscientious attitude towards their work and their timely and efficient performance of their duties.
At the same time, demands on the quality and results of your work grow constantly. The global situation has not become any more stable or better over the past year. On the contrary, many existing threats and challenges have only become more acute.
Military-political and economic rivalry between global and regional policy makers and between individual countries has increased. We see bloody conflicts continue in a number of countries in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. International terrorist groups, essentially terrorist armies, receiving tacit and sometimes even open support from some countries, take active part in these conflicts.
At the NATO summit last July in Warsaw, Russia was declared the main threat to the alliance for the first time since 1989, and NATO officially proclaimed containing Russia its new mission. It is with this aim that NATO continues its expansion. This expansion was already underway earlier, but now they believe they have more serious reasons for doing so. They have stepped up the deployment of strategic and conventional arms beyond the national borders of the principal NATO member states.
They are provoking us constantly and are trying to draw us into confrontation. We see continued attempts to interfere in our internal affairs in a bid to destabilise the social and political situation in Russia itself.
We also see the recent serious flare-up in southeast Ukraine. This escalation pursues the clear aim of preventing the Minsk Agreements from going ahead. The current Ukrainian authorities are obviously not seeking a peaceful solution to this very complex problem and have decided to opt for the use of force instead. What is more, they speak openly about organising sabotage and terrorism, particularly in Russia. Obviously, this is a matter of great concern.
The events and circumstances I have mentioned require our security and intelligence services, especially the Federal Security Service, to concentrate their utmost attention and effort on the paramount task of fighting terrorism.
We have already seen that our intelligence services dealt some serious blows to terrorists and their accomplices. Last year’s results confirm this: the number of terrorism related crimes has decreased.
Preventive work has also brought results. The FSB and other security agencies, with the National Antiterrorist Committee acting as coordinator, prevented 45 terrorism related crimes, including 16 planned terrorist attacks. You deserve special gratitude for this.
You need to continue your active efforts to identify and block terrorist groups’ activity, eliminate their financial base, prevent the activities of their emissaries from abroad and their dangerous activity on the internet, and take into account in this work Russian and international experience in this area.
The murder of our ambassador to Turkey was a terrible crime that particularly highlighted the need to protect our citizens and missions abroad. I ask you to work together with the Foreign Ministry and the Foreign Intelligence Service to take additional measures to ensure their safety.
You must also work to take our counterterrorism cooperation with partners abroad to a new level, despite the difficulties that we see in various areas of international life. It is a priority, of course, to intensify work with our partners in organisations such as the UN, the CSTO, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
It is in our common interests to restore dialogue with the US intelligence services and with other NATO member countries. It is not our fault that these ties were broken off and are not developing. It is very clear that all responsible countries and international groups should work together on counterterrorism, because even simply exchanging information on terrorists’ financing channels and sources and on people involved in or suspected of links with terrorism can substantially improve the results of our common efforts.
Our priorities include firmly suppressing extremism. Security methods must go hand-in-hand with constant prevention work. It is essential to prevent extremism from drawing young people into its criminal networks, and to form an overall firm rejection of nationalism, xenophobia, and aggressive radicalism. In this context, of great importance is open dialogue with civil society institutions and representatives of Russia’s traditional religions.
Counterintelligence services also face greater demands today. Operational data show that foreign intelligence services’ activity in Russia has not decreased. Last year, our counterintelligence services put a stop to the work of 53 foreign intelligence officers and 386 agents.
It is important to neutralise foreign intelligence services’ efforts to gain access to confidential information, particularly information concerning our military-technical capabilities.
This makes it a priority to improve our system for protecting classified information comprising state secrets, particularly with agencies going over to an electronic document circulation system.
I would like to note that the number of cyberattacks on official information resources tripled in 2016 compared to 2015. In this context, each agency must develop its segment of the state system for detecting and preventing cyberattacks on information resources and eliminating their consequences.
The public expects greater results in such key areas as economic security and the fight against corruption. I ask you to be particularly thorough in monitoring the funds allocated for state defence procurement (a subject I have spoken about before), major infrastructure projects, preparation of big international events, and implementing federal targeted and socially important programmes. Regrettably, we still see many cases of state funds being embezzled or misappropriated.
Reliable protection of our state borders plays a big part in ensuring our country’s comprehensive security. The priority here is to close off channels through which members of international terrorist and extremist groups enter Russia, and put a firm stop to all forms of smuggling, from weapons to drugs and various bio-resources.
Of course, we must continue the work to develop border infrastructure where it is not yet sufficiently developed, particularly in the Far East and in the Arctic.
Colleagues, let me stress that we will continue to bolster the FSB’s central and regional branches and ensure you have the most advanced arms and equipment. We will also continue to give attention to social provisions for FSB personnel and their family members.
I wish you success in protecting our national interests and the security of our country and our people. I am confident that you will continue working towards your targets with dignity.
Fraud on voters? S. Dakota lawmakers repeal lobbying, financing reforms passed by residents
January 26, 2017
The South Dakota Legislature has wasted little time in attacking an ethics reform package approved by state voters in November that limits lobbyist gifts, lowers campaign contribution limits and creates public funding for campaigns.
Beginning Monday, the Republican-led Legislature in Pierre has sought to pass a repeal bill that would void the ethics provisions passed via a ballot initiative two months ago. The measure, passed by more than 51 percent of voters, is known as Initiated Measure 22 (IM 22).
IM 22’s provisions also include the formation of a state ethics commission, more frequent campaign contribution reporting and limits on when former lawmakers can become lobbyists.
The repeal bill was scheduled for a full state Senate vote on Thursday after passing through a Senate committee on Wednesday and a full House of Representatives vote on Tuesday. However, further debate on the legislation was postponed in the afternoon. The Senate will pick up debate next week, according to AP.
Like his fellow state Republicans, Governor Dennis Daugaard, who is supportive of the repeal effort, has argued that IM 22 was poorly written, overly broad, possibly unconstitutional and pushed by influences outside of South Dakota.
“[Voters] were hoodwinked by scam artists who grossly misrepresented these proposed measures,” Daugaard said, according to the New York Times.
Republicans and others have filed a lawsuit against the state that challenges IM 22, prompting a judge to grant a preliminary injunction on the reform effort while the legal process unfolds.
Supporters of ethics reform are calling on lawmakers to heed the voters’ wishes and follow IM 22’s demands. On Monday, at a legislative committee hearing on the repeal bill, supporters said voiding IM 22 would send a dangerous precedent.
“The problem with repeal and replace is, what we’ve said from the beginning, that it repeals what the voters asked for and replaces it with something we didn’t have a direct say in,”said Doug Kronaizi, spokesman for Represent South Dakota.
Speaking of the numerous scandals that have occurred within state government in recent years, the Capital Journal editorial board wrote that IM 22 came about because voters “were fed up” and chose to back IM 22, despite its flaws.
“We say South Dakotans voted for more transparency and better accountability from their elected officials when they passed IM 22 last year,” the board wrote this week. “The legislature owes it to their constituents to give them what they asked for.”
On Monday, the same day the state House debated the repeal bill, a legislative committee met to discuss disciplinary action regarding Rep. Matthew Wollman, a Republican, who admitted last week to having consensual sex with multiple legislative interns. Wollman resigned Monday.
In its 2015 report on each state’s government transparency and accountability, the Center for Public Integrity gave South Dakota the second-worst score out of all 50 states.
“Across the board, the state lacks robust laws to prevent corruption, apparently the result of a sense, at least among South Dakota’s ruling class, that burdensome controls are not needed in a rural state with a supposedly high degree of familiarity, trust and cordiality,” the nonprofit said.
Have you ever felt like the government doesn’t really care what you think?
Professors Martin Gilens (Princeton University) and Benjamin I. Page (Northwestern University) looked at more than 20 years worth of data to answer a simple question: Does the government represent the people?
Their study took data from nearly 2000 public opinion surveys and compared it to the policies that ended up becoming law. In other words, they compared what the public wanted to what the government actually did. What they found was extremely unsettling: The opinions of 90% of Americans have essentially no impact at all.
This video gives a quick rundown of their findings — it all boils down to one simple graph:
Note: All sources linked at the bottom of this page
Princeton University study: Public opinion has “near-zero” impact on U.S. law.
Gilens & Page found that the number of Americans for or against any idea has no impact on the likelihood that Congress will make it law.
“The preferences of the average American appear to have only a miniscule, near-zero, statistically non-significant impact upon public policy.”
One thing that does have an influence? Money. While the opinions of the bottom 90% of income earners in America have a “statistically non-significant impact,” Economic elites, business interests, and people who can afford lobbyists still carry major influence.
Nearly every issue we face as a nation is caught in the grip of corruption.
From taxation to national debt, education to the economy, America is struggling to address our most serious issues.Moneyed interests get what they want, and the rest of us pay the price.
They spend billions influencing America’s government. We give them trillions in return.
In the last 5 years alone, the 200 most politically active companies in the US spent$5.8 billion influencing our government with lobbying and campaign contributions.
Those same companies got $4.4 trillion in taxpayer support — earning a return of 750 times their investment.
It’s a vicious cycle of legalized corruption.
As the cost of winning elections explodes, politicians of both political parties become ever more dependent on the tiny slice of the population who can bankroll their campaigns.
To win a Senate seat in 2014, candidates had to raise $14,351 every single day. Just .05% of Americans donate more than $10,000 in any election, so it’s perfectly clear who candidates will turn to first, and who they’re indebted to when they win.
In return for campaign donations, elected officials pass laws that are good for their mega-donors, and bad for the rest of us.
Our elected officials spend 30-70% of their time in office fundraising for the next election. When they’re not fundraising, they have no choice but to make sure the laws they pass keep their major donors happy — or they won’t be able to run in the next election.
McCain and Saakashvili may cause a radical redefinition of the word “reform”.
Besides their open encouragement of and support for the far-right radical leaders of Ukraine, their war crimes, and the gutting of due process and civil rights, these two will, no doubt, have additional schemes for privatization (i.e. stripping Ukraine of its assets and handing them over to banks and investors), and further austerity measures which target the public.
More bad news for Ukraine.
Posted on Global Research, May 15, 2015
Georgia’s fugitive ex-president Mikhail Saakashvili and hawkish US Senator John McCain have been approved as members of the newly-formed International Advisory Group that will help Ukraine’s president in “conducting reforms.”
Saakashvili has been appointed as head of the new advisory group, says the statement on Ukraine’s presidential website.
The list of members included in the advisory group mostly includes current and former European politicians. Among them are the German member of the European Parliament and the current Chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs Elmar Brok, Sweden’s former Prime and Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, former Prime Minister of Slovakia Mikulas Dzurinda, and Lithuania’s former Prime Minister Andrius Kubilius.
Back in February Saakashvili was appointed as a non-staff adviser to Poroshenko. The ex-Georgian president, who was in power from 2004 to 2013, faces numerous charges at home, including embezzlement of over $5 million, corruption and brutality against protesters during demonstrations in 2007. Georgia’s Chief Prosecutor’s Office launched proceedings to indict Saakashvili and place him on the international most wanted list, but Kiev refused to hand over the fugitive president, despite an existing extradition agreement between Ukraine and Georgia.
Saakashvili is known for his strong anti-Russian stance, which garnered heavy US support. In August 2008 during his term in office Georgia launched an offensive against South Ossetia, killing dozens of civilians and Russian peacekeepers stationed in the republic. Georgia’s shelling of Tskhinval prompted Russia to conduct a military operation to fend off the offensive. Despite Saakashvili’s claims that the conflict was “Russian aggression,” the 2010 EU Independent Fact Finding Mission Report ruled that Tbilisi was responsible for the attack.
Image from Facebook (Mikheil Saakashvili’s Page)
Meanwhile Senator John McCain, for years spearheading the anti-Russian and particularly anti-Putin crusade, said that while he “would love to do anything” to help Ukraine, he has not yet cleared his new appointment under the US Senate rules.
“I was asked to do it both by Ukraine and Saakashvili and I said I would be inclined to do it but I said I needed to look at all the nuances of it, whether it’s legal under our ethics and all that kind of stuff,” McCain told BuzzFeed.
At the onset of the Ukraine’s Maidan protests against former president Viktor Yanukovich, McCain appeared in Kiev to support the uprising that months later culminated in a coup.
“We … want to make it clear to Russia and Vladimir Putin that interference in the affairs of Ukraine is not acceptable to the United States,” the US Senator told a crowd of some 200,000 anti-government protesters in the central square of Ukraine’s capital.
Image from Facebook (Mikheil Saakashvili’s Page)
Following the new Kiev authorities’ attempt to suppress dissent in the east of the country and Crimea’s ascension into the Russian Federation, McCain became the main engine of lobbying for lethal arms supplies to Ukrainian forces to “defend themselves” and Europe from “Russian aggression.”
“The Ukrainian people don’t want US or Western troops to fight for them; they are simply asking for the right tools to defend themselves and their country,” he said late last month at a hearing on US security policy in Europe. “Russia’s invasion and dismemberment of Ukraine should remind everyone of the true nature of Putin’s ambitions and the fragility of peace in Europe.”
McCain’s statements following the Minsk II ceasefire agreement make it clear that peace in Ukraine is not something the hawkish politician supports. Despite the general agreement that Minsk Accords is the only way forward for a political resolution to the crisis, McCain rejected the agreement as “solidifying the gains of Russian aggression.”
In addition, the Senator is a strong supporter of the NATO buildup on Russian borders. McCain insisted recently that the Baltic allies should help secure eastern borders of the alliance as they cannot “continue with business as usual” claiming that Russia poses a “geopolitical challenge… to our entire vision of Europe.”
McCain has also been hinting at starting a new nuclear arms race with Russia. “Negotiating further strategic nuclear reductions with Russia would be a dangerously naive non-starter with the US Senate. It simply defies common sense to negotiate nuclear reductions with Vladimir Putin,” he said last month following US administration’s call for further strategic nuclear reductions.
Kolomoyskyi, who lives in Geneva Switzerland, is generally regarded as the second-richest man in Ukraine, with a fortune estimated at about $6 billion. Tymoshenko used to be called “the Eleven Billion Dollar Woman,” but, like all of Ukraine’s oligarchs (including Kolomoyskyi), nobody really knows precisely how wealthy she is, nor even whether she is more, or perhaps less, wealthy than Kolomoyskyi. Almost all of the oligarchs’ money is hidden offshore; so, is invisible.
Most of Ukraine’s oligarchs live in Geneva (like Kolomoyskyi), London (like the Tymoshenkos’ daughter, Yevhenia), NYC, Rome, and other Western cities, and they tend to stash their money in secret bank accounts in tax-haven countries, not only in order to avoid paying taxes, but also in order to make more difficult their being successfully sued by each other, for violating handshake business deals that had helped them to become so rich. After all, illegal contracts cannot be enforced by any legal government (since they’re illegal, and have secret illegal terms). Thus, other means than written contracts — handshake deals — are resorted to between these aristocrats.
For example, in one such case, a Ukrainian oligarch who lives in London, Victor Pinchuk (whose fortune is around $4 billion), is suing Kolomoyskyi by alleging him to have sold him a company, “KZhRK,” for $143 million, and then to have re-seized it from him by force of arms. As is usual (since virtually all of Ukraine’s oligarchs had become oligarchs from the privatizations, or sell-offs of government assets, which accompanied Ukraine’s abandonment of communism), this case hinges on verbal testimony, and the various parties to the case contradict each other. Kolomoyskyi is well known for taking over corporations through his team entering with guns drawn. Pinchuk claims that when Kolomoyskyi did that here, Pinchuk nonetheless, somehow, managed to get Kolomoyskyi to restore Pinchuk to control, but that Pinchuk later discovered “it appears that they may have sold approximately 50% of KZhRK to a third party in 2007”; so, Pinchuk filed suit against Kolomoyskyi, in London, on this murky case.
According to a summary by wikipedia of several news reports: “Kolomyski has used [his banking company] Privat’s ‘quasi-military forces’ to enforce hostile takeovers of companies, sending a team of ‘hired rowdies armed with baseball bats, iron bars, gas and rubber bullet pistols and chainsaws’ to forcibly take over a Kremenchuk steel plant in 2006, and has used ‘a mix of phony court orders (often involving corrupt judges and/or registrars) and strong-arm tactics’ to replace directors on the boards of companies he purchases stakes in. Kolomyski was criticized by Mr Justice Mann in a court case in London involving an attempted hostile takeover of an oil company, with the judge stating that Kolomyski had ‘a reputation of having sought to take control of a company at gunpoint in Ukraine’.”
Consequently, the reports of Kolomoyskyi’s tactics against the Ukrainians who refuse to be ruled by the Obama-installed government in Kiev seem to be consistent with this oligarch’s violent norm. Oriental Review headlined on 14 May 2014, “Bloodbath in Odessa guided by interim rulers of Ukraine,” and reported that, “The information provided below was obtained from an insider in one of Ukraine’s law-enforcement agencies, who wished to remain anonymous for obvious reasons.” The account there is a more detailed one than has ever before appeared, and it’s consistent with those others (such as this and this). It alleges that:
“During that meeting Arsen Avakov … reportedly came up with the idea of using football [soccer] hooligans, known as ‘ultras,’ in the operation. Ever since his time as the head of the Kharkov regional administration he [Avakov] has worked closely with the fans’ leaders, whom he continued to sponsor even from his new home in Italy.
“Kolomoisky temporarily delivered his private ‘Dnieper-1’ Battalion under the command of law-enforcement officials in Odessa and also authorized a cash payment of $5,000 for ‘each pro-Russian separatist’ killed during the special operation. [That would be over $500,000, lent by his bank to the Ukrainian Government, to pay for the estimated 116 corpses thus produced.]