Yesterday, I talked to my former colleagues, members of the incumbent Supreme Rada. The President’s Administration recommended them to support the amendments to the Constitution of Ukraine. The amendments will return Poroshenko the increased presidential powers Yanukovych had during his last term. They say, Poroshenko is tired of negotiating with the factions for Nalyvaichenko’s dismissal. Meantime, he is still to agree upon Avakov’s resignation…
At the administration, an entire department is thinking of how to adopt a new Constitution that would grant more powers to the president than the one adopted in 1996 instead of adopting the announced decentralization-federalization. Poroshenko will be forcing Rada to vote for that Constitution threatening to dissolve the parliament, like Kuchma did once.
To recap: Yanukovych restored the Constitution of 1996 and expanded his powers, perhaps, violating the law. Afterwards, the Supreme Rada restored the Constitution of 2004 – with restricted powers of the president – actually, with violation of the procedure. How many presidents has the country had? All them without exception bent over backwards to increase their powers. Eventually, there is no legally adopted Constitution in Ukraine.
As people’s deputy, I drafted constitutional amendments together with my colleagues-parliamentarians. It was Yanukovych’s initiative. He was the Donetsk Governor then. The planned amendments looked to curb the powers of the president and turn Ukraine into federation. It was planned to establish executive committee with administrative powers at the local councils, including at the regional ones. It is a European practice. In addition, I drafted a bill reducing the income tax to 13%. It was successfully submitted to Rada and voted on. However, then-president Leonid Kuchma opposed the law curbing the president’s powers. It turns out that as governor Yanukovych advocated for decentralization. Later, coming to power he began to expand his power as his predecessors did.
During the Maidan, I could not understand why our oligarchs supported it? As a counter to the hysteria that was raised as a protest against dispersal of the “student” Maidan, we prepared a film. There was video footage on how the Maidan participants beat the militia and Berkut officers. All the private TV-channels, including the ones of Pinchuk and Akhmetov, refused to broadcast the video. Kolomoisky’s channel broadcasted it. That is the point! Talking to my colleague “in exile,” I understood why oligarchs reacted to the coup that way. The point is that their funds, the rights to assets are abroad.
The second factor: oligarchs who are in extreme need of loans had their Western credit lines frozen. It is true. However, there are also other reasons why oligarchs supported the Kiev coup. According to my colleagues, almost all oligarchs received “propositions” to share part of their media resources, such as Inter, 5 TV and others, as well as a significant part of their businesses in favor of the president’s family. Such specific “cooperation” was forced upon oligarchs even during the Maidan. After the “student” Maidan the nouveaux riches were invited to the Administration for talks. This is exactly why oligarchs greeted the idea to weaken or even dismiss the president with fervor.
Before I learned about it, it was not clear to me why the team that brought Yanukovych to power was actually “burying” him. I have been engaged in politics for long years and I am well aware how Yanukovych came to power. I remember Yanukovych telling in a very funny way about a situation when Kolomoisky occurred in a team that was to become a beneficiary of Yanukovych’s victory. Kolomoisky approached Yanukovych during a football match shortly before the presidential election. He was nervous as he was supporting Yulia Timoshenko then, while Yanukovych had more chances. He helped himself to vodka - his hands were shaking – and began to tell what a bad girl Yulia is. (I would like to avoid repeating the epithets he used to describe Timoshenko). He said he did so much for the Euro-2012 to be held in Dnipropetrovsk. He built an airport, a stadium, while she – born in Dnipropetrovsk – did everything for Dnipropetrovsk to be left out of the list of the host-cities. He said Yulia would not let him privatize the Odessa Portside Plant despite all his merits. He hinted that Yanukovych was due to gain victory in the elections thanks to him. If it were not for the votes of Kolomoisky’s team of MPs, Rada would not have elected Timoshenko as prime minister. Then she dismissed Yanukovych. Eventually her rating was damaged, while that of Yanukovych rose. Kolomoisky hinted that by voting against Yanukovych he allegedly did an inestimable service to him…
Keeping up the conversation, Kolomoisky asked Yanukovych to let him into his team. In response, Yanukovych said the issue should be discussed with “the boys,” the members of his team, as Kolomoisky owed money to many of them and did not want to pay. Kolomoisky promised to pay his debts and to make a list of creditors. Yanukovych was telling all that trying to ape Kolomoisky’s gestures and manner to speak in quite a funny way.
In turns out that the oligarchs who brought Yanukovych to power instead received nothing but a demand to share their businesses and money with him. It is interesting that Poroshenko follows Yanukovych even in it. According to my colleagues, Yanukovych’s demands were moderate comparing to the ones of Poroshenko. They say oligarchs have even developed a plan to fight such state racketing and combined efforts marginalizing all corporate wars against each other.
About six months have passed since the moment when Yanukovych made his demands to oligarchs before being dismissed. It is interesting how much time it will take Poroshenko to do it.
Oleg Tsaryov, a former member of the Ukrainian Supreme Rada, specially for EADaily