Saturday, 01 March 2014 21:45

Ukraine: New Interim Government; Too Many Familiar Faces

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After a week of mystery as to his whereabouts, ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych surfaced on Friday, February 28 — in Russia. At a press conference in the city of Rostov-on-Don, in southwestern Russia, Yanukovych was defiant and still vainly hoping to be restored to power. The Russian state-run “news” agency, RT (Russia Today)  provided an account of his media appearance, which included these excerpts

Ousted Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich pledges to fight for Ukraine. He addressed a press conference in southern Russia, appearing in public for the first time since he fled Kiev amid bloody riots.

“No one has ousted me,” Yanukovich told reporters. “I had to leave Ukraine because of a direct threat to my life and the lives of my family.”

According to Yanukovich, “nationalist fascist-like fellows representing the absolute minority of Ukrainians” took over power in Ukraine.

He described the situation in Ukraine as “complete lawlessness,” “terror” and "chaos", saying that the politicians, including MPs [Members of Parliament], have been threatened and are working under threats.... The current Ukrainian parliament is “not legitimate,” and the people in power are spreading the propaganda of violence, Yanukovich asserted. 

RT’s Irina Galushko, who was covering the story, tweeted: 

#Yanukovich?: I'm an acting president; I haven't resigned, I haven't been impeached, and I'm still alive (3ways a pres could be ousted - IG)

Yanukovych vanished from the Ukrainian capital of Kiev on Sunday, February 23, as the protests, riots, and violence that had been building since November, along with mass defections by his former political allies, made it clear that his regime was no longer viable. According to various reports, the 63-year-old Yanukovych left Kiev in a limousine convoy with a handful of bodyguards and his 39-year-old girlfriend Lyubov Polezhay, leaving his wife behind.

The party fled by ground and then by helicopter, with speculation that it was headed either to Ukraine’s southern Crimea region (the Black Sea ports of Sevastopol or Balaklava being most mentioned as destinations) or eastward to the Donetsk region, where Yanukovych was born. Both of these areas have large Russian populations and provided much of his political base. His first language is Russian, and his lack of proficiency in the Ukrainian language did not help to endear him to the Ukrainian people, who have suffered under Russian and Soviet dominance for many generations.

Yanukovych, who was a member of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union when Ukraine was still part of the Soviet Union, is an ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and most of the political blocs that supported Yanukovych are composed of “former” communists who simply changed their labels and adopted Ukrainian nationalist rhetoric. Yanukovych got his big break into politics in 2002 when President Leonid Kuchma, a former member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine, appointed him prime minister.

But now Yanukovych is on the run, a hunted man. On Monday, February 24, the new interim government of Ukraine issued an arrest warrant for him and other former top officials, charging them with “mass killing of civilians.” Reportedly, at least 82 people, mostly demonstrators, were killed in clashes during the demonstrations in Kiev’s Maidan Square.

In scenes reminiscent of the fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq, many of the news stories out of Ukraine have focused on Yanukovych’s luxurious residence, known as the “bling palace,” and his extensive automobile collection. As in Putin’s Russia, the Ukraine under Yanukovych (as well as under his predecessors Kuchma and Kravchuk) has been rife with corruption and crony “capitalism,” with former communist officials transformed into billionaire oligarchs who have “privatized” former state resources and enjoy special privileges and government contracts.

“New” Government, Same Old Oligarchs

One of  Yanukovych’s most important supporters has been Rinat Akhmetov, reputedly a former mafia enforcer, now an energy and metals tycoon whom Forbes, in  2013, listed as #47 among the world’s richest billionaires, with a personal net worth of $15.4 billion. According to the Ukrainian edition of Forbes, the various businesses in Akhmetov's extensive empire obtained 31 percent of all state contracts in January 2014.

Yanukovych's son Oleksandr tops even this, says Forbes, having "won" 50 percent of state contracts in the same period. Akhmetov, who was a member of  the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine’s 450-member unicameral parliament, until stepping down in 2012, reportedly still controls a group of around 50 MPs (Members of Parliament), mostly in Yanukovych's Party of Regions.

Dmytro Firtash, an energy/chemicals/banking/real estate magnate allegedly controls another 30 MPs. Billionaire Vadim Novinsky, Ukraine’s third richest man, is an MP in the Party of Regions and also swings considerable political weight. Banking oligarch Serhiy Tihipko (alternately spelled Sergei Tigipko), a Party of Regions MP and former governor of Ukraine’s central bank, is one of the players frequently cited as a contender in the upcoming presidential elections, scheduled by Parliament for May 25 of this year.

Another power player who has remained largely under the media radar during the past few months of turmoil is metals and media mogul Victor Pinchuk, Ukraine’s second richest oligarch. He is a former MP and is married to the daughter of “former" communist President Leonid Kuchma. He not only retains influence in parliament, but through his media holdings influences public opinion. His Victor Pinchuk Foundation funds numerous NGOs and works closely with the George Soros-aligned Open Ukraine Foundation and the Arseniy Yatseniuk Foundation.

Pinchuk also is well connected with the Wall Street globalists of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), the premier brain trust pushing for one-world government. His authorized biography on his foundation website informs us that Pinchuk is a member of the Board of the Peterson Institute for International Economics and the International Advisory Council of Brookings Institution, and the sponsor of the Davos Philanthropic Roundtable and the Davos Ukrainian Lunch organized annually at the World Economic Forum's Annual Meeting of global movers and shakers in Davos, Switzerland. It also says he supports the Clinton Global Initiative, the educational programs of the Tony Blair Faith Foundation and of the (Shimon) Peres Center for Peace. He is close to both Bill and Hillary Clinton and has worked closely with Bill Gates, Warren Buffett and ex-Beatle Paul McCartney.

Tymoshenko “Is Just Putin in a Skirt”

The outsized reach of the oligarchs was apparent to many as soon as Yanukovych was ousted and the “new” interim government began forming. The New York Times acknowledged this in an article by Andrew Higgins from Kiev on February 24, entitled “Ukrainian Protesters See Too Many Familiar Faces in Parliament After Revolution.”

Early in his piece, Higgins quotes “Irina Nikanchuk, a 25-year-old economist,” whom he interviewed on the street outside the Parliament building in Kiev, as expressing the disgust widely felt by many Ukranians at the makeup of the interim government: 

Waving a banner calling for early elections to a new Parliament, she [Nikanchuk] cursed members of Parliament and opposition politicians like Yulia V. Tymoshenko who have so far become the principal beneficiaries of a revolution driven by passions on the street and bubbled with disgust at Ukraine’s entire political elite.

Parliament has moved swiftly since Mr. Yanukovych’s flight on Saturday to restore a semblance of normal government, endorsing interim ministers and giving expanded powers to its new speaker, Oleksandr V. Turchynov, an ally of Ms. Tymoshenko, empowering him to carry out the duties of the president until a new presidential election is held in May....

“We need new people who can say no to the oligarchs, not just the old faces,” said Ms. Nikanchuk, referring to the wealthy billionaires who control blocks of votes in the Parliament but who, with a few exceptions, hedged their bets until the end about which side to support in a violent struggle that left more than 80 protesters dead between Mr. Yanukovych and his opponents.

“Tymoshenko is just Putin in a skirt,” she added, comparing the former prime minister and, until Saturday, jailed opposition leader with the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. 

Higgins writes that “the sight of luxury cars dropping off members of Parliament at the colonnaded legislature building … has stirred dismay and anger.”

“Again we see Mercedes and BMWs bringing deputies who are supposed to represent the people,” Vasily Kuak, a shipping broker, told the Times. “We don’t want to see these people again.”

However, everything seems to point to the same people — or others very much like them — holding onto power until the May election, and probably afterward as well. For the moment, former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko (herself a wealthy “oligarchess”) is being presented as the top contender, due to her name recognition, her movie star looks, her “martyr” cache as a just-released “political prisoner, and, perhaps most importantly, the fact that members of her Fatherland Party and other allies now occupy many top slots in the Parliament and the executive offices of the interim government. 

As mentioned above, Oleksandr V. Turchynov, an ally and member of her Fatherland Party, is now Speaker of the Parliament and the acting chief executive. Not mentioned in new stories about Turchynov's new leadership role is the fact that he is also an erstwhile head of the Security Service of Ukraine (SBU), which was a subsidiary of the KGB during the days of the USSR. Also rarely mentioned is that in his youth he was in charge of agitation and propaganda for the Komsomol (Communist Youth League) of Dnipropetrovsk, one of Ukraine’s largest and most important cities and military-industrial centers. During the Soviet era it was one of the secret “closed cities” that required special clearance to enter or leave. One of his comrades (and boss) in the Komsomol was Serhiy Tihipko, mentioned above, a fellow oligarch and political power broker. 

Another of Yulia Tymoshenko’s Fatherland Party members, Stepan Kubin, has been named as chairman of the central bank. She also may be able to count on support from oligarchs Arseniy Yatseniuk (an MP in her Fatherland Party) and Victor Pinchuk, whose connections to western Insiders could prove important. 

Another Tymoshenko government would signal that the reign of the oligarchs and  “former communists” (i.e., Kravchuk, Kuchma, Yanukovych) is continuing. Of course, the same would hold true for most of the other top contenders, with the exceptions, perhaps, being world heavyweight boxing champion (and Member of Parliament) Vitali Klitschko and “Chocolate King” billionaire Petro Poroshenko. We will have more on that, in our follow-up article, as well as an analysis of the key involvement of the Obama State Department, the CIA, Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), George Soros, the European Union, the IMF, the Brookings Institution, and other globalist Insiders in the current Ukrainian turmoil. We will also be assessing the Putin/Kremlin game plan in the unfolding situation as it pertains to the long-range strategy of conquest through “convergence,” particularly as that strategy has been detailed by top Soviet KGB defector Anatoliy Golitsyn.

Photo of Russian and Ukrainian flags flying next to statue of Lenin in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine: AP Images

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Red March to Global Tyranny (Part 3, Interview with Soviet Analyst editor/publisher Christopher Story re. Anatoliy Golitsyn)

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