There is, at least, one thing present-day Ukraine can do perfectly – play different roles and believe what it is playing. Below are a few examples.
In a country struggling for European values, there is a marketplace called “Karavayevi Dachi.” Here, you can buy any counterfeit computer equipment, any gadget you like. Here, you can even find banned eavesdropping software.
In Ukraine, you can obtain counterfeit SIM-cards wherever you want. There is no control. There is absolute freedom. And this type of freedom is a real paradise for criminals and terrorists. We wonder what they in Brussels would say if they faced such “freedom” in Europe. This makes Ukraine quite attractive to extremists and terrorists from abroad.
But the most interesting thing here is how the Ukrainian authorities control financial flows. In Ukraine, there are lots of safe ways for you to take bribes, but, it is not safe to get money from Russia, even if it is send by your family.
The Ukrainians have found a simple solution to this problem. Recently Ihor Kolomoisky’s Privatbank appeared with a service enabling you to open a multi-currency account through an internet banking-based SIM-card. As a result, lots of students and poor people (and there are lots of them in Ukraine) have begun opening such accounts and giving them on lease. Privatbank’s dominance in Ukraine’s banking sector makes it immune to any control. As a result, some local officials hold SIM-cards registered to the name of other people and can safely get bribes and money transfers from abroad.
Wi-Fi is also uncontrolled. For ordinary user this is good, for those wishing to avoid state control this is simply perfect. So, should any terrorist organization open an office in the center of Kiev, the local police will not even notice it.
Guests may think that Kiev is a place where you are free from everyone and everything, except if you are Russian. But very soon they will notice that this is not freedom but anarchy. And those who know what the EU is will tell you that such anarchy will ruin the union once Ukraine is let into it.
One more impression is that Ukraine is absolutely dependent on foreign financing. The key sources are the Ukrainian communities of Canada the United States, gastarbeiters and foreign donors, like the IMF, the EU and the US Government. Even defense programs are based on foreign grants. And we all know what stands behind such “humanitarian grants.”
As we have already said, the Ukrainians have not only learned to play different roles, they believe them: those getting foreign grants for some projects believe that what they do is vital for Ukraine’s independence, the Ukrainian security service believes that its efficiency has risen to a new level even though it is still an easy job to find pirated software in Kiev. So, we can only guess what foreign guests actually think when they visit the Ukrainian capital.
Vitaly Ponomar, specially for EADaily