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23 March 2015

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Imagine

Kolomoisky is backed by Joe Biden. He is the second most successful mafia warlord in the Ukraine; outstanding at what he does; and a real survivor. He also controls the most enthusiastic army in the region, and has the money to fund it. He could take the government down by holding another Maiden, or asking his anarchists to physically remove the elected officials. The fact that he's able to get away with raiding a building in Kiev, without repercussions, shows that he is a force to be reckoned with.

If the IMF flakes out on their promise to deliver loans to Kiev, the people could rise up to overthrow Poroshenko. One possibility has Joe Biden installing Kolomoisky as President then. But he's a Godfather figure, used to getting his way, not used to politics. So I don't think he would make a good President. Ukraine is a mess, too.

Seriously, though, I predict Ukraine will sooner or later try to nationalize Kolomoisky's holdings, as there is nothing much else left to eat. Joe and Hunter Biden will not like this. Kolomoisky could try to nationalize Kiev. Life looks to get a lot more interesting in Ukraine.

OffGuardian

Thanks for referencing our work (http://offguardian.org/2015/03/20/ukraines-secret-weapon-fires-at-will-his-own)!
Here you can find our latest on the topic:
Kiev gives “Ukrnafta” back to Kolomoisky?
http://offguardian.org/2015/03/24/kiev-gives-ukrnafta-back-to-kolomoisky/

Good luck!

confusedponderer

The most persistent misconception about Ukraine in the West - and the US and UK before all others - is about the nature of the regime that came to power and rules there now.

There is the other wing of cleptocrats and then there are the ultra-nationalists. None of them shares western values. The ultra-nationalists do not share them AT ALL.

Here's as an illustration the video of Svoboda ***members of parliament*** beating up the head of the National Television Company of Ukraine to compel him to resign. Obviously, democratic values at work.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F5GeBpZ5VHY

The Maidan snipings took place during the negotiations between Yanukovych and Sikorski, Fabius and Steinmeier. It is relatively straightforward to assume the idea was to spoil the negotiations - how can the EU negotiate with a tyrrant who is 'killing his own people'?

The dynamics generated by the maidan snipings allowed radicals to storm the government and have Yanukovych run for his life and trash the unwanted 21 February agreement.

The US had stridently opposed the 21 February agreement because it would leave Yanukovych in power. They wanted him gone. The forces that they supported wanted him gone. Nuland in that fateful intercepted phonecall named well in advance, that 'Yats' was the chosen one. That he then came to power, very strongly suggests a US hand.

And that much for style:

In the olden days the US would have at least shown, to quote a romantic from days long gone, 'a decent respect for the opinions of mankind' by choosing another surrogate, lest US involvement becomes too obvious. Alas, today there is not even the pretense.

Another old romantic once called for the US to 'observe good faith and justice towards all nations'.

How silly. Why do that when you can fuck them and have it your way?

And now the oligarchs that chose to side with the US are fighting for the spoils amongst each other? Why am I not surprised? A thief is a thief, even when he is a pro-US thief.

And as for: "Ending the destructive power that billionaires exercised over Ukrainian politics was an important goal of last year's 'revolution of dignity' in Kiev" - Putin did that by doing in Chodorchovski. Far less messy. No bloodshed. And for good reason. And he didn't need a moronic brand name wither.

Ukrain would have needed some of such reigning in, ideally right after independence. Alas, the US inspired 'Wild East' privatisation created the very conditions that has bred grifters and thugs like Timoshenko, Yanukovich, Poroshenko, Kolomoisky, Taruta etc.

Given the dismal state of the country, in the absence of an ordering power, the oligarchs are to remain part of the problem as much as they are part of the solution, unless, they are being taken out of the picture, which in Ukraine means pushed into exile or being killed.

For the Oligarch's exile will mean a soft landing. Their accounts are offshore anyway, and the City of London, Monaco, Switzerland and Israel will probably welcome them.

William R. Cumming

Thanks for this excellent comment with which I agree!

William R. Cumming

Any good history on the Ukraine fighting the Russians in WWI?

William R. Cumming

Thanks TTG for this excellent post!

LeaNder

Interesting TTG, OffGuardian, so now private financial interests and the state are facing each other with their armies. ... Equally interesting polemics, or rhetorical shifts according to respective audiences. ...

But how do these news fit into Ukrainian austerity politics with emphasis on privatization. See article from Dec. 2014.

http://tinyurl.com/Ukraine-austerity

I wouldn't be surprised if there was a much stronger financial interest undercurrent than the one that surfaces here. Unfortunately I am no expert in the field. ... But on a more literary level I wouldn't be surprised if Kolomoisky could be shown to be driven too - a servant, a cool-aider.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ukrnafta#Background

Is Burisma Holdings Ltd, the investment arm of Private Group? If so, to what extend are both Poroshenko and Kolomoisky servants of interests above them?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Privat_Group

http://burisma.com/en/

Economics - Ukrainian Finance Minister:

http://tinyurl.com/AivarasAbromavicius

****
yes I avoided the highly complex content ...

Cee

The Nulands: A Family Business of Perpetual War

Victoria Nuland and Robert Kagan have a great mom-and-pop business going. From the State Department, she generates wars and – from op-ed pages – he demands Congress buy more weapons
Robert Parry Subscribe to Robert Parry
(Consortium News)
http://russia-insider.com/en/2015/03/23/4831

Norbert M Salamon

a good write op on K and his oligarch buddies :
http://thesaker.is/kolomoisky-finishing-ukraine-up
enjoy

toto

The Saker? Oh, well, maybe this time it will make some kind of sense...

"and there are many who believe that he is the man who paid for the downing of MH17 (Kolomoiski admitted to this on a private video call by Skype)."

Never mind.

Charles I

Reporting on slightly to the East, The Globe and Mail has a remarkable article on similar political machinations in it today:

"The deadly chaos behind Putin’s mysterious acts

Eric Morse is co-chair of security studies at the Royal Canadian Military Institute in Toronto.

"Beneath the dramatic events in Russia recently – the disappearance of President Vladimir Putin for ten days, and the killing under murky circumstances of opposition politician Boris Namtsov – an even more dangerous narrative has emerged involving Mr. Putin’s use of Chechnya.

At heart is Mr. Putin’s personal and essentially feudal arrangement with Chechen despot Ramzan Kadyrov. There is said to be a tension between the Russian security hierarchies and Mr. Kadyrov, who personally controls some 15,000 to 20,000 armed men (an unprecedented number outside state countrol in Russian history outside of civil war) and has used them to support Mr. Putin’s Ukrainian aggressions. The British war-studies professor Sir Lawrence Freedman calls this relationship a Faustian bargain and it certainly looks like one; the two men have their hands on each others’ throats. Mr. Putin (or someone claiming to act for him) could have Mr. Kadyrov killed at any time (and, quite possibly, vice versa), but Mr. Putin still needs Mr. Kadyrov to control the North Caucasus from his base in Grozny."

The rest of the article goes on to discuss the inherent instability when an impenetrable regime of nuclear armed gangsters/warlords increasing aggressive bomber patrols in the Baltic tosses out a 38,000 man exercise in response to our recent 5,000 man exercise.

Norbert M Salamon

Toto:
While I admit that some statements of Saker are unsubstantiated opinions, the article I cited is not by him, but by Valentin Katanosov.

VietnamVet

TTG

Thanks for the latest update from Ukraine. Among the many things left unsaid by the media is that US taxpayers are the underwriters of the billions of dollars of IMF loans being sent to Kiev to prosecute the war. They will never be paid back as Ukraine collapses into anarchy together with Greece.

The world has been turned upside down. Decades ago Canada was refuge from the draft and war if one had the guts to leave home and not come back. Today’s Yahoo’s headline reads “Canada says it will bomb Islamic State 'safe havens' in Syria”. The West is marching in lockstep in a never ending Conflict of Civilizations. The only one’s benefiting from this are the Oligarchs and their Pretenders. It sure is not the untermenschen who are conscripted and killed or the volunteers for a one way trip to Paradise or the refugees fleeing for their lives.

Norbert M Salamon

Charles:
Minor issue is that the NATO forces exercise was within 300 meters of the Estonian/RF border, while the RF military exercises where within the sovereign territory away from any close abutments of foreign borders. If NATO can have naval exercises in the Black Sea, then the RF is entitled to do the same in Crimea. If USAF can have exercises drones flying all over the Persian Gulf, no doubt RF has the same right to fly all over the Baltic Sea, as long as the flight doers not encroach on sovereign territory of the Baltic or Scandinavian States.

Imagine

Privat holds Burisma since ?2011, and is owned by Kolomoisky. Relevant parts:

"…Burisma changed owners last year [2011?]: instead of Zlochevsky and Lisin, the company was taken over by a Cypriot off-shore enterprise called Brociti Investments Ltd. Pari and Esko-Pivnich also changed their address: they moved from Kateryny Bilokur Street to 10a Rylyeyeva Street in Kyiv. A third company was already waiting for them in the same building – the above-mentioned Ukrnaftoburinnya...

The owners of Ukrnaftoburinnya, Pari, and Esko-Pivnich were finally confirmed through first-hand sources. Oleh Kanivets worked as CEO of Ukrnaftoburinnya for two years. He confirmed who actually controlled the above-mentioned companies to “Slidstvo.Info”.

”The Privat Group is the immediate owner. This company was founded by Mykola Zlochevsky some time ago, but he later sold his shares to the Privat Group”."

[from excellent and complex source
http://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2014/05/r-hunter-biden-declare-owns-new-ukrainian-employer-burisma-holdings.html ]. ...I am not seeing Poroshenko in this particular investment picture at all.

ToivoS

Seems you forgot to mention that Hunter Biden is on the board of directors for one of Kolomoisky's energy firms (Burisma Holdings). Must be a real dilemma for Joe -- should he support the American puppet Porshenko or should he support his son's boss?

Last spring when it was announced that Hunter had been offered that position I was aghast. Of course American politicians enter into agreements with large corporations but to do it so transparently? That is not just how pay-offs are done in the US.

ToivoS

.I am not seeing Poroshenko in this particular investment picture at all.

No directly, he is the counter-party. That is Kolomoisky's operation. This is a battle between two oligarchs -- Poroshenko, who controls the state right now, sees an opportunity to reduce his opposing oligarch Kolomoisky. I suspect that Poroshenko will win this one given that he controls the army. Kolomoisky's militias probably cannot compete at that level.

The Twisted Genius

ToivoS,

It's not just Hunter Biden. Kerry's stepson, Chris Heinz, his close friend, Devon Archer, along with Hunter are partners in a secretive private equity firm called Rosemont Seneca Partners. They're all in business with Burisma. Former Polish President Kwaśniewski is also on Burisma's board. IMHO the whole thing stinks worse than a broken sewer.

sglover

"Any good history on the Ukraine fighting the Russians in WWI?"

For that you'd probably want a history of the Austro-Hungarian army, since Galicia was then under the Hapsburgs.

If I remember right, large parts of what's now Ukraine were essentially a German satrapy for some months in 1918. I'd wouldn't be surprised -- though I don't know -- if the German military government threw together at least some paramilitary formations from local recruits. Some of those could have fought Russian troops, I suppose. But then by that point Russia was out of the Great War, and falling into civil war and chaos.

It's not exactly "Ukraine fighting the Russians", but if you do a search for "Nestor Makhno" you'll find out about a guy whose life begs for an epic movie treatment.

David Habakkuk

toto,

Presumably before dismissing 'the Saker' you took the trouble to track down and watch the Skype video to which he alludes?

There is what purports to be an accurate translation, and a link to the video, at http://tinyurl.com/qfn6k3p .

Taken at face value, the video would appear to suggest that Kolomoisky was behind the shootdown of MH17, and that the intention was to destroy Putin's plane.

As with so much of what purports to be evidence about this murky affair, it is perfectly possible that, on closer examination, the video turns out to be questionable for one reason or another.

Obviously, you may be in a position to explain to me why you think it is worthless.

I would also be interested in the views of TTG and others on the matter.

Mark Logan

William R. Cumming,

Not specifically about that, but I found and old book "The Russians" by Hendrick Smith a wonderful insight into the collective Russian mind, and went a long way towards my own understanding how they feel about the current situation.

A very flimsy nutshell: They suffered the horrors of chaos long before Stalin and the modern Czars. They were invaded by everyone from Attila to Napoleon, including the Vikings (for crying out loud!) and have both developed an almost visceral fear of chaos and dependence and tolerance towards authoritarian structures that we westerners find disgusting. Unwisely and very unjustly so, IMO.

Nevertheless they retain deep cultural identity as proud Russians. Do not think they are "just like us", mess with them at your peril, and do not expect them to seamlessly transition into what we call democracy.

sufferin' succotash

In 1918 Germany and Austria-Hungary recognized an "independent" Ukraine and even went through the motions of negotiating a treaty with it simultaneously with the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Since the entire region was under German and Austrian military occupation Ukraine's independence was pretty nominal. The charade ended the following year after Austria-Hungary disintegrated and Germany was forced to evacuate Eastern Europe under the the terms of the November 1918 armistice.

The Twisted Genius

David,

I agree with your take on the Kolomoiskyi video. I haven't seen any attempts to dispute its authenticity yet. I find it damning that the investigation still won't say what hit MH17. I would think they would be screaming from the roof tops if definite forensic evidence of a Buk hit was available. With all the efforts at obfuscation, it will be difficult for us outsiders to ever know the truth.

LeaNder

Thanks, TTG,
Rosemont Seneca Partners. Interesting. That's realty, investment strategy, advisory expertise.

rosemontrealty.com

What do we know about Ukrainian gas? Already exploited fields versus assumed/known ones?

If you look at the Wikipedia article on the Ukrainian economy it tells you this about gas:

http://tinyurl.com/economy-gas

On the other hand there are CIA estimates:

http://tinyurl.com/gas-estimates

Shale gas the latest gold-rush:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shale_gas

If Burisma indeed is such a huge player in the Ukrainian gas market what exact fields does it control? Why is it so hard to find any information?

According to the German Wikipedia (or http://www.gtai.de/) they have exploration centers in all major fields. But the Burisma.com link is dead by now. I would assume that the PR firm representing Burisma took care that whatever they wrote does not leave traces on Archive.org.

http://tinyurl.com/Kyivpost

Notes to (?)the Editors:

Founded in 2002, Burisma Holdings is the largest independent gas producer in Ukraine. The Holding includes four operating companies engaged in E&P of hydrocarbons, and namely, Energy Service Company "Esko-Pivnich", "Paris", "First Ukrainian Oil & GasComp any" and "Aldea". In January-October, total gas production was 560 million cubic meters, which is 58% more compared to the same period in 2013. Burisma Holdings owns 20 licenses for hydrocarbon production in all major oil and gas basins of Ukraine. The entire volume of production is sold on the domestic market. #EnergySecurityUkraine www.burisma.com

Licenses in search of investors?

http://www.pecob.eu/shale-gas-pl-ua
Shale gas in Poland and Ukraine: a great potential and an uncertain future

Good luck if you start to dig into the longer Ukrainian history in this field. Quite a few even less public players then the respective American connections of Biden or Archer's https://www.diamondbacktactical.com/
(see who's who on the board membership) surface

Notes to self/admission: Of course here like anywhere else, I have no idea what I am babbling about. ;)

But I sure would like to know what drives the conflict below the visible.

LeaNder

I did not pay much attention at the time, but Ukraine surfaced in Kellog's study on the relationships between right-wing thought in Russia and Germany:

http://tinyurl.com/Kellog-Ukraine

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