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Ukraine after Maidan: Timeline of lies and mystifications

Yulia Marushevska, chief of Odessa Customs (in the foreground). Photo: bolshoyvopros.ru

“One day the death-pale Finance Minister said on TV, ‘The financial crisis will bypass us because... I am sure.’ And the people who knew what such statements meant swore calmly and went to buy salt, matches and sugar...” Mikhail Zhvanetsky, Russian satisist.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that Ukraine would not buy Russian gas for $212 because European gas was cheaper. A bit later CEO of Naftogaz of Ukraine Andriy Kobolev admitted that if the colds stayed, they would be forced to buy gas from Russia. This is not the first time that the Ukrainian leaders may break their promise. Today, populism in Ukraine is keeping pace with economic decline.

Last autumn, Yatsenyuk promised that if the country continued developing according to his program, in 25 years the average salary in Ukraine would grow to $1,960. For the moment, it is just $181.

EADaily is giving below some other promises made by the Ukrainian leaders after Maidan.

1. Visa-free entry into the EU

May 2014.

“The Ukrainians have a real chance to freely go to the EU starting from Jan 1 2015. And we will do our best to complete this second stage in just three-four months,” then presidential hopeful Petro Poroshenko said.

December 2014.

While speaking at the Supreme Rada, Poroshenko said that Ukraine hoped to get a visa-free regime with the EU in May 2015. “And if we promised something, we must do it,” the president said.

April 2015.

During the Riga Summit, Ukraine hopes to get free access to Europe on Jan 1 2016, Poroshenko said.

December 2015.

While addressing his people, Poroshenko said that they would be able to freely go to Europe in 2016. “Together we have won the right to visa-free trips to the EU for our citizens. This will become a reality next year,” the president said.

2. USD rate

November 2014.

Head of the National Bank of Ukraine Valeriya Hontareva is sure that in 2015 the rate will not exceed 13 UAH. “Any higher figure is a just speculation,” she said.

February 2015.

Hontareva believes that 20 UAH/1 USD rate was normal. She said that during a meeting with top managers of companies that are members of the US Chamber of Commerce.

January 2016.

The rate was 24.79 UAH/1 USD. At the economic forum in Davos, Hontareva said that there were no grounds for concern. “This year we will keep the rate within planned 24 UAH per 1 USD,” she said.

3. “Liberating” Donbass in two days

April 2014.

Ukraine’s Interior Minister Arsen Avakov promised to make short work of the “separatists” in Donbass in just two days. “We will solve this crisis in the next 48 hours. Our anti-terrorist operation has not been cancelled and we may act at any moment,” the minister said.

4. Imprisoning three friends

July 2014.

Poroshenko recommended the newly appointed Prosecutor General Vitaly Yarema to fight corruption the way they in Singapore do and quoted the author of the “Singaporean economic miracle” Lee Kuan Yew: “Begin with sending to jail three of your friends. You know and they know what for and people will believe you.”

January 2016.

Ukraine already has a different Prosecutor General but no single top government official has been imprisoned for corruption so far.

5. 1,000 a day

May 2014.

Then presidential hopeful Petro Poroshenko said that only volunteers would fight in Donbass and their salary would be 1,000 UAH a day. “Their life and health will be insured for 1,000,000 UAH.” One of the journalists asked, “When will this happen?” Poroshenko said, “Write down, on May 26.”

January 2015.

“On Feb 1, each Ukrainian soldier serving in the ATO zone will get 1,000 UAH a day,” President Poroshenko said.

January 2016.

Ukraine’s Defense Minister announced raises in soldiers’ salaries. “A sniper gets 2,341 UAH and will get 7,000 UAH,” the DM said. The President’s advisor Yuriy Biryukov said that for those service in Donbass the raise would be 1,200 UAH for the ATO zone and 4,200 UAH for the first defense line.

6. The president will sell his Roshen Concern

April 2014.

Then presidential hopeful Petro Poroshenko told Bild that he would sell his Roshen Concern if he was elected president.

June 2015.

“I will do all I can to do this but I will not run around the  world in search for buyers instead of doing my job as president,” Poroshenko said.

January 2016.

Poroshenko said that he had signed a contract, according to which he had transferred his stake in Roshen Corporation to an independent "blind" trust. “A respectable foreign bank of the first category will manage the trust, it will own, control and manage the assets. The bank also has power of attorney for four years to negotiate on the sale of assets," he told reporters at a press conference.

7. “Walling off” from Russia

September 2014.

Yatsenyuk said that the first stage of the project to build a wall on the border with Russia would be completed by the end of the month.

February 2015.

Yatsenyuk said that the Ukrainian government had approved a new project to build a European wall on the border with Russia.

December 2015.

Chief of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine Viktor Nazarenko told journalists that the “European Wall” project would be transformed. “It will be no just an earth wall but an intellectual border,” Nazarenko said.

8. Sale of state villas

April 2014.

Ukraine’s Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said that all state villas would be sold.

November 2014.

Head of the State Affairs Department Serhiy Berezenko said that two state villas alone – Koncha Zaspa and Pushcha Vodicia – received 4mn UAH in 2015. “We need to sell the villas but we also need time for this,” Berezenko said.

9. Live elections of heads of state-owned companies

January 2015.

Agrarian Policy and Food Minister Olexiy Pavlenko said that heads of state-owned companies would be elected live. “Publicity will prevent any corruption,” he said.

November 2015.

The contest committee of the Ministry of Agrarian Policy and Food elected the CEOs of 10 state-owned companies but none of the contests was telecast.

10. Saakashvili’s Odessa promises

June 2015.

Governor of Odessa Oblast Mikheil Saakashvili promised to organize an open contest for the post of Chief of the Odessa Customs Office.

October 2015.

During the contest, Poroshenko visited Odessa and said that the chief of the local customs office would be Yulia Marushevska. “A beautiful, very active and efficient woman. She is very well known. Even though she has no appropriate education but she is an excellent manager,” Poroshenko said. Before the appointment, 26-year-old Marushevska was deputy of Saakashvili.

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