As you may know, the West’s firm belief is that Ukraine has broken with the past and is steadily moving towards democratic reforms. Of course, those “reforms” can hardly be called efficient given the problems the Ukrainians are currently facing – ruined economy, dropping living standards, almost completely destroyed social sector, sale of national property, not mentioning the armed conflict in the east. And what is most important here that all this is the result of the guidance by Kiev’s foreign partners.
The “golden boy” of Soros
Funny as it may seem, “friends from the Baltic states” enjoy special respect in Kiev. A year ago envoys from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia did their best to bring the current Ukrainian regime into power – they made ardent speeches at Maidan, they urged Brussels to put pressures on Viktor Yanukovych, they ranted and raved against the “Russian imperialism” for its attempts to prevent Ukraine from “making a democratic choice.” The Baltic governments are still benevolent towards their friends in Kiev but not only: today many Balts are holding high public offices in the Ukrainian governmental bodies.
Today, they in Kiev revere Balts and are readily giving them public offices. Just like Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia have broken away from the Soviet Union but unlike Ukraine, they have already done what most Euro-Ukrainians are dreaming of: they have joined the EU, the Schengen area and the Eurozone. It does not matter much for the Euro-Ukrainians what results this has had for the Balts – the legend about “Baltic miracle” and “Baltic economic tigers” is very popular in Kiev. And now in order to put this miracle into practice in Ukraine, they are hanging on the lips of Baltic mentors and are ready to do whatever they advise them to. Some pro-Baltic Ukrainians even suggest following the Balts’ example and introducing mass non-citizenship. This implies giving “nigger’s” passports to all those who do not share Kiev’s European orientation – first of all, to those living in the rebellious Donbass.
So, no surprise that when deciding who will instruct the new Kiev regime, the bosses from the West preferred people from the Baltic region. One of them is Lithuanian Aivaras Abromavicius, a striking example of Americanized Eastern European. 38-year-old Abromavicius was a basketball star in the Soviet times. In the 1990s, he graduated from the US Concordia University, where he was sponsored by the Soros Fund. Since then Abromavicius has worked as financier in Estonia, Sweden and Moscow. In 2008, he moved to Kiev, where he managed the local office of East Capital, the owner of most of Ukrainian banks. His glory hour came on Dec 2, 2014, when he was appointed as Ukraine’s Economic Development and Trade Minister. For the sake of formality, he immediately renounced his Lithuanian citizenship and obtained a Ukrainian passport.
The best thing is to sell!
Once given control over the economy of a huge but not native country, the new “Messiah” rushed to start “reforms.” The pattern he is using is also Baltic. For example, in 2008-2009, crisis-stricken Latvia borrowed lots of loans from IMF and was forced to “optimize” its social sector. Healthcare, education and social security received the biggest blows. And this all resulted in a wave of emigration. Similar processes can be observed in Abromavicius’s native country, Lithuania. Having found Ukraine’s economy in ruins, Abromavicius decided to use neo-liberal recipes. If something works poorly, what should we do? Yes, you are right, we should sell it!
It has become known that only 15 strategic companies will be left in the hands of the state, the other 3,500 (!) will be sold. Abromavicius has invited French experts to control this massive sale and has thanked Europe for helping him to get ready for it. The minister believes that trainings, lectures and workshops will help Ukrainian businessmen and companies to compete with EU producers (who will not now have to pay duties for supplying their goods to Ukraine). “We will have a program to train officials and managers at US universities. We will also invite western experts so they could teach them things like corporate management,” Abromavicius said.
He firmly believes that open duty-free trade relations with the EU will be good for Ukraine. “We have real figures from Moldova and Georgia: in Q1 2015, after the signing of the association agreements, exports from those countries grew by 20%,” Abromavicius said, not mentioning that those countries do not have big industries unlike Ukraine. Some experts believe that the Lithuanian is deliberately deindustrializing Ukraine so as to break its strong ties with Russia. The same was done in his native Baltic region in the 1990s, when lots of big companies with hundreds of thousands of workers were shut down just because they were once part of the Soviet industrial system. So, here we see the use of the same methods.
He first “bossed the show” in Lithuania and now has moved to Ukraine
The other Lithuanian “reformer” in Ukraine is former Lithuanian Prime Minister, the leader of the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats Party Andrius Kubilius. Unlike Abromavicius, he has no seat in the Cabinet but is just part of the team of Poroshenko’s foreign advisors. More specifically, Kubilius was invited by one more well-known “adept of progress,” former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili. “He called me and said they needed one more well-known European politician. I agreed,” Kubilius said.
Former Soviet Komsomol member, Kubilius made an impressive career in post-Soviet Lithuania: in 1999-2000 and 2008-2012, he was prime minister. The Lithuanian press calls him one of the strongest lobbyists of US interests in Lithuania. Consequently, he is one of the most ardent fighters against the “Russian imperialism” – this is one of the key prerequisites for Balts to get a post in their countries.
During his second term as prime minister, Kubilius faced an economic crisis and his recipe was the same as in all Baltic states: he improved economic figures by cutting social benefits. As a result, he was one of the most hated politicians in his country. The opposition even accused him of genocide of his own people. In order to cut budget deficit, he saved all he could save. During his second term, the losses of the Lithuanian economy made up 44% (!) of the pre-crisis GDP. Officially, unemployment jumped to 18% though some mass media and experts say that the real rate was much higher. Skyscraping prices put each fifth Lithuanian on the verge of extreme poverty.
The “reformation” of the health care sector resulted in the closure of all “unprofitable” hospitals in provinces. And nobody cared to count villagers who died just because there was no hospital in their villages. Under Kubilius Lithuania was the only EU nation that fought the crisis by cutting pensions. The country would blow up were it not for the open border: under Kubilius emigration from Lithuania grew by 288% (!).
And this politician has been invited to help Ukraine with reforms. “I will not be the first in Kiev. There are lots of Lithuanians working there – our former Deputy Economy Minister Adomas Audickas, former advisor of the President Nerius Udrenas, former European commissioner Algirdas Semeta. There are also lots of Georgians. Our work will not be the same as the work of locals but as former government officials we will be able to recommend our Ukrainian colleagues how to carry out the reforms,” Kubilius said.
And the icing on this cake is Abromavicius’s assistant, 30-year-old Estonian Jaanika Merilo. Initially, this sexy girl was a programmer. Then she decided to run business, to manage investments and to help start-ups. She loves posting her photos from parties, voyages and shoots, where she appears not only in party dresses but also in cloths with “patriotic symbols.”
Official mass media says she is very clever and talented but Merilo is best known for her pictures where she sports her plush lips in an attempt to copy Angelina Jolie. Apart from this, she appears in press with articles for “dummies” – in fact, a sequence of quotes from economic textbooks. New York Observer mentioned the Estonian in an article entitled “The New Ukraine Is Run by Rogues, Sexpots, Warlords, Lunatics and Oligarchs.”
This seems to be the best western characteristics of the new Kiev regime.
Vyacheslav Samoylov, EADaily Baltic observer