This was written just after the Odessa massacre last year.
By Eric Zuesse
Op Ed News, May 18, 2014
The key person behind the May 2nd massacre inside Odessa’s Trade Unions Building appears to have been Ihor Kolomoyskyi [pictured here: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/36/Ihor_Kolomoyskyi2.jpg ], who was appointed to be the regional governor in that area by Yulia Tymoshenko, the Ukrainian Presidential candidate that the Obama Administration has apparently been hoping will win the May 25th election to take over the Ukrainian Government, from the junta that the Obama Administration imposed in Ukraine on February 22nd. Just weeks before this coup, on February 4th, the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Europe and Asia, Victoria Nuland, chose Tymoshenko’s ally Arseni Yatsenyuk to head the post-coup interim government, which appointed Kolomoyskyi. Only a few months before this coup, Nuland had asserted that U.S. taxpayers had already invested more than $5 billion, in order to bring “democracy” to Ukraine, by which she was referring to the U.S. effort to oust the Russian-oriented, democratically elected, leader of Ukraine, President Viktor Yanukovych, who had prosecuted and imprisoned Tymoshenko for embezzlement and abuse of governmental office. Tymoshenko was then on 11 October 2011 sentenced to seven years in prison, and was ordered to pay the government restitution of $188 million. She was released from prison less than three years later, two days after the coup, on 24 February 2014. The Ukrainian criminal code was immediately changed, in order to legalize the actions for which Tymoshenko had been imprisoned. This allowed Tymoshenko to run for the Ukrainian Presidency. She had been Prime Minister 2007-2010. Both she and her husband, Oleksandr Tymoshenko, and his father, all three of whom were on the board of United Energy Systems of Ukraine (and thus Ms. Tymoshenko was called “the gas princess”) have been legally prosecuted as embezzling state funds, but so have most of Ukraine’s oligarchs and political leaders (and there’s a lot of crossover between those two categories).
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:
“Ten days before the tragedy a secret meeting was held in Kiev, chaired by the incumbent president Olexander Turchinov [a long-time political ally and business-partner of Tymoshenko; he had destroyed crucial documents in the government’s case against Tymoshenko], to prepare a special operation in Odessa. Present were minister of internal affairs Arsen Avakov [a gangster who was placed on Interpol’s ‘Wanted’ list on 21 March 2012], the head of the Ukrainian Security Service Valentin Nalivaychenko [a long-time NATO agent], and the secretary of the National Security and Defense Council Andriy Parubiy [co-founder of Ukraine’s National Socialist, or Nazi, Party]. Ukrainian oligarch Ihor Kolomoiskiy, the Kiev-appointed head of regional administration of the Dnepropetrovsk region, was consulted in regard to the operation [he being well-experienced in violent operations].
“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.]