Ukrainian kingmakers cease imitating reforms and brazenly flout IMF and EU

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has now grow to be a weak puppet king whose strings are pulled by corrupt and highly effective kingmakers.

With a clueless and ineffective figurehead at its helm, the nation is run by Zelensky’s Chief of Staff Andriy Yermak, Interior Minister Arsen Avakov, oligarchs Igor Kolomoisky and Rinat Akhmetov and the Kremlin’s Trojan horse, Viktor Medvedchuk. All of them face critical accusations of corruption, which they certainly deny.

Last 12 months a few of Zelensky’s courtiers tried to mimic some restricted and half-baked reforms. All of that is over: all reformers and quasi-reformers have been fired, and all reforms have been killed.

It’s again to enterprise as typical in Europe’s poorest, least economically free and most corrupt nation. Corruption and lawlessness reign supreme and nobody is even making an attempt to mimic any reforms anymore.

Judicial pseudo-reform 

Zelensky’s touted judicial reform is now formally useless.

Zelensky’s first judicial reform invoice was signed into regulation in November 2019 and aimed to cleanse the judiciary’s governing our bodies. However, the High Council of Justice, a puppet of the President’s Office, killed the reform by depriving overseas specialists of any function, and it was not applied.

In June, Zelensky submitted a brand new judicial reform invoice that’s even worse. It blatantly violates a memorandum with the International Monetary Fund that Ukraine signed simply days earlier and appears like a concerted effort by Zelensky’s kingmakers to spurn, impede and mock the IMF.

According to the IMF memorandum, Ukraine was imagined to create a fee together with overseas specialists in an effort to hearth tainted members of the High Council of Justice. Zelensky’s invoice envisages nothing of the kind and can doubtless value Ukraine $5 billion in overseas loans.

The invoice provides the High Council of Justice, whose corruption and lawlessness led to the reform within the first place, full management over the firing of its members and the reform course of.

Zelensky’s new invoice additionally permits the High Council of Justice to choose faux overseas specialists at its beck and name to decide on one other judicial physique. The earlier invoice envisaged selecting genuinely impartial {and professional} overseas specialists.

Judicial impunity

One of probably the most outrageous instances of the judiciary’s corruption was that towards Pavlo Vovk, who has dominated the Kyiv Administrative District Court with an iron fist since 2011.

In July 2019, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau (NABU) printed recordings implicating Vovk. In these, individuals alleged to be Vovk and different judges are implicated in an unlimited variety of crimes, together with bribery, the association of faux lawsuits, the issuing of illegal rulings and illegal interference with different authorities our bodies. According to the recordings, judges get direct orders from Vovk to subject illegal rulings and perform different unlawful actions. All of them deny the accusations.

According to 4 sources on the NABU and the Prosecutor General’s Office, Andriy Bohdan, who was then Zelensky’s chief of workers, is talked about within the recordings. That might have been one of many explanation why the case has been blocked in each manner attainable.

Then-Prosecutor General Yuri Lutsenko went out of his manner final August to attempt to block the fees towards Vovk and different judges of his court docket earlier than lastly caving into public strain and authorizing them. In the identical month, the High Council of Justice refused to droop Vovk after the council’s head was seen visiting the President’s Office.

A puppet court docket of the President’s Office, in November of final 12 months, refused to increase the Vovk investigation and ordered prosecutors to both shut the case towards the judges or ship it to trial inside 5 days.

Prosecutors helped Vovk by refusing to ship the case to trial inside 5 days and successfully buried the case. This is no surprise: then Prosecutor General Ruslan Riaboshapka was a protégé of Bohdan and was doing his finest to dam the case.

On July 17, the NABU and Deputy Prosecutor General Andrey Lyubovych resurrected the case and introduced new costs towards Vovk and different judges of the court docket.

According to sources on the NABU and the Prosecutor General’s Office, incumbent Prosecutor General Irina Venediktova can also be making an attempt to dam the case. Lyubovych has been kicked out of the Vovk investigation group and disadvantaged of main powers.

And – guess what – the absentee king Zelensky, who has been banging on about battling corruption and judicial reform for over a 12 months, has not stated a phrase about this complete mess.

Yermakgate 

One of the primary litmus checks for Zelensky’s faux anti-corruption credentials got here when Geo Leros, a lawmaker from Zelensky’s personal celebration, printed a sequence of movies in March. They present Denis Yermak, the brother of Zelensky’s Chief of Staff, contemplating candidates for presidency jobs and discussing receiving cash from a few of them.

The movies additionally present Denis Yermak and his accomplices discussing cracking down on Danish logistics firm MAERSK to advance the pursuits of Turkish logistics firm Kinay in trade for bribes. The Yermak brothers deny the accusations of wrongdoing.

In April, Dmitry Shtanko and Sergey Shumsky, who claimed to be Denis Yermak’s accomplices, confirmed that each Yermak brothers had acquired cash as a part of the scheme. But quickly revenge was taken on the accomplices-turned-whistleblowers.

In May, Shumsky and Shtanko stated that unknown people had burned Shtanko’s motorbike and threw a hand grenade into Shumsky’s automobile. The Security Service of Ukraine (SBU) on July 14 additionally arrested Shtanko in an apparently unrelated fraud case.

The State Investigation Bureau has additionally began an investigation towards Leros to take revenge on him. To add insult to damage, in April Chief Anti-Corruption Prosecutor Nazar Kholodnytsky’s workplace buried the case towards the Yermak brothers by transferring it from the National Anti-Corruption Bureau to the corrupt and politicized police.

Reformers out

Almost all of the reformers and quasi-reformers have now been fired or resigned from the federal government.

These embrace Sergey Verlanov, former head of the State Tax Service; Maxim Nefyodov, ex-head of the State Customs Service; high investigator Sergey Gorbatuk, in addition to ex-Defense Minister Andrey Zagorodnyuk, ex-Economy Minister Timofy Milovanov and Oleksandr Danylyuk, the ex-secretary of the National Defense and Security Council.

Former Prosecutor General Ruslan Riaboshapka tried to mimic a prosecution reform, though it turned out to be a failure. His successor, Veneditkova, is just not even making an attempt to mimic something.

Yakov Smoly, head of the central financial institution, has been fired as a part of efforts to undermine the financial institution’s independence and in violation of Ukraine’s agreements with the IMF. Although Smoliy’s reformist credentials could also be questioned, the destruction of the central financial institution’s independence might result in hyperinflation and a monetary catastrophe.

Efforts are additionally underway to kill the National Anti-Corruption Bureau’s independence by firing its head Artem Sytnyk.

What is Zelensky providing as a substitute of the fired officers? Mostly individuals mired in corruption and lawlessness.

Those who’re at present in energy embrace Arsen Avakov, whose son and allies have been charged with corruption.

Avakov has sabotaged and blocked the case into the 2016 homicide of journalist Pavel Sheremet for a few years.

In December, suspects have been arrested within the Sheremet case. But Avakov has unlawfully saved them in jail for greater than half a 12 months on the grounds of such weak and flimsy proof that the case is for certain to break down in court docket.

Another official introduced by Zelensky to energy is ex-President Viktor Yanukovych’s former lawyer Alexander Babikov, who now co-heads a physique that investigates Yanukovych’s crimes.

Zelensky’s all-powerful viziers are additionally at present scheming to arrange faux competitions to nominate puppet heads of the State Investigation Bureau and the anti-corruption prosecutor’s workplace.

It’s enterprise as typical in Ukraine.

And the emperor has neither garments nor any clue on what’s occurring.