Law on Oligarchs: Polarity of Opinions of “Servants of the People” and “European Solidarity”
The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine has approved a plan to fight the oligarchs. The document envisages measures to promote the implementation of the law “On Prevention of Threats to National Security Related to Excessive Influence of Persons with Significant Economic and Political Importance in Public Life (Oligarchs)”, as well as the Strategy for Justice and Constitutional Justice.
In particular, the Antimonopoly Committee will be strengthened, and mandatory registration of oligarchs will be introduced. And the businessmen who got to it, are obliged to submit the electronic declaration along with officials. Control over the financial operations of the oligarchs will be strengthened.
Also among the main ways to fight – the creation of safeguards against the excessive influence of the oligarchs in the energy sector, economy, politics and other spheres of public life.
The law on oligarchs, signed by President Volodymyr Zelenskyн, was published on November 6, after which it will take effect six months later.
We are discussing the fight against the influence of big business on politics and the media with the guests of the “Ukraine in fact” program of the UA TV channel:
• Oleg Dunda, People’s Deputy of Ukraine (“Servant of the People” faction);
• Oleksiy Honcharenko, People’s Deputy of Ukraine (European Solidarity Faction);
• Oleksandr Antonyuk, political consultant.
Alyona Chornovol hosts the program.
Battle of politicians
– Thus, the law on oligarchs has been signed, published, and an action plan has been developed and approved for its implementation. Do you think it is realistic that the law will work in six months?
Honcharenko (EU): They say that oligarchs are a whole army. In fact, a whole army. There are the same artists. There is also “Quarter 95”, which worked for one oligarch for a long time, and then all together moved to power. And one oligarch did it – Ihor Kolomoisky.
He is fine. And now he continues to “milk” the state. Now he has a new story – “Ukrnafta”, which he also wants to successfully “share”. Let’s see how this plan works for him. But there is a suspicion that it will work, because his clients are all in power.
That’s why it’s really an army.
And this law, unfortunately, will not give anything. Because the law is aimed at something else. The law is aimed at influencing the media and doing something about oligarchs who are somehow “misbehaving.” And those who behave “correctly” – they will be fine.
In addition, we have new oligarchs before our eyes. This endless “Great Theft” does not go unnoticed. So young oligarchs are taking new places.
This is the purpose of this law, and it will be achieved by the current government. Of course, all this will end badly.
Dunda (Servant of the People): Oleksiy says it on other channels, word for word. These are wild fantasies to whiten Petro Poroshenko so that he would not be an oligarch.
In general, you can conduct an all-Ukrainian poll, indicate 15 names in it, and let people determine which of them is an oligarch. And let’s see if his leader of “European Solidarity” Poroshenko will be recognized by people as such an oligarch. And this will be the best procedure.
Regarding the law. I heard a lot about him, including the pressure on the media. And I tell all of them: show me at least one point in this law, which somehow regulates the media market. And none of them told me anything. Because he is not there.
But at the same time, everyone is shouting that the law is not enough, someone is shouting that an antitrust law is needed and something else. We answer them: wait, everything will be. There will be other bills, this is just the beginning. Now the Cabinet of Ministers has approved an action plan, and next year there will be many bills to eliminate such a factor as the oligarch from the information field of Ukraine by the next presidential election.
And, by the way, I advise “European Solidarity” to get rid of Petro Poroshenko so that he does not pull them down as a potential number one on this list.
Goncharenko (European Solidarity): I do not know what kind of dismissal Mr. Dunda is talking about.
But if we want to talk specifically about the law, I want to remind you that there is a clause in this law that defines everything. And the National Security and Defense Council is such an interesting body, the composition of which is completely formed by one person. His name today is Volodymyr Zelenskyy. In general, the President of Ukraine. That is, we understand that it is actually one person who will form and hang the label: oligarch or not oligarch.
And this is already wrong. It must be some body. For example, the NAPC (National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption), the court, any body, not just Zelensky, who has his own political interests, like any politician.
Now about how this will affect the media. It’s also pretty simple. Take the big TV channels in Ukraine, they belong to big groups – Pinchuk, Akhmetov, Kolomoisky.
But Kolomoisky doesn’t care. He may receive Western funding (no loans, nothing) because he is under investigation by the United States. Plus the lawsuits that PrivatBank is conducting with him both in Cyprus and in Great Britain. That is, this path is closed to him. Therefore, he sneezes at this law.
And the rest of the big business – Pinchuk, Akhmetov, Zhevago and others – are credited abroad. They are credited for their enterprises, where tens of thousands of people work in Ukraine. And after they are called oligarchs, they will be blacklisted in their state. This means that the cost of resources will increase very significantly. After that, they will either not be able to get loans at all, or will receive them at a price for additional risks. Given their scale, there are tens of millions of dollars in losses.
And so, of course, they will have a choice: whether to suffer for their business, or maybe sell their media to someone. And to whom to sell media? That’s what we will decide. Because our National Council will determine the criteria – who is a decent buyer, who is not. And there is a suspicion that all sorts of Yermak, Tymoshenko and others will act as honest buyers. This is the idea of redistribution of the media market. This is just one of the mechanisms I have just described.
Dunda (Servant of the People): That is, Alexei does not want to hear the opinion of the people. I understand why. He knows that people will answer – that Poroshenko will be an oligarch. Therefore, he does not want to conduct a poll. An understandable solution.
Regarding the media. Again, Oleksiy did not name the point of the law that influences and regulates the media in the law on oligarchs, because it is not there.
I studied this law thoroughly, unlike my opponents. Because they do not know these points of the law. They have only a personal opinion.
– There are several claims from the opposition regarding the law on oligarchs. In particular, they allegedly violated the rules of procedure of the Verkhovna Rada during the voting, the document in some provisions differs from the Constitution. Oleg, as a representative of the majority who supports the law, what will you say?
Dunda (Servant of the People): All issues related to the observance of the Constitution, non-observance … I have seen many times certain points that this or that bill allegedly does not comply with the Constitution. And very rarely did I see the Constitutional Court agree. Very rarely.
We have a single body in Ukraine that interprets the Constitution. This is not me, not Oleksiy Honcharenko, not Poroshenko, not Zelenskyy. This is the Constitutional Court of Ukraine. Let him make that decision. Do not take away this right from them.
As for the oligarchs. Undoubtedly, the oligarchs influence the political system. Why should I, as a People’s Deputy, declare my income and be accountable to the state, and an oligarch who has influence over the state system does not do so? And this law removes this injustice.
We have repeatedly said that the law on oligarchs is only the first law. And the Cabinet of Ministers, having approved the action plan, thus said: there will be a lot of laws, including the bill on lobbying, which should regulate all the nuances. Please pay attention to this.
– And now, please, brief results.
Honcharenko (European Solidarity): I will give advice to colleagues on the majority. Colleagues, if you do not take money from the oligarchs, and the current authorities do not do it, the problem will be solved by itself. No oligarch can influence anything by himself. He can do this only through the officials and politicians he bought, government officials. Because the government decides something. The opposition does not decide anything. And the government decides.
And so, if you sew up your pockets and don’t take money for them, he won’t be able to influence anything at all, no matter how much he wants to. So here’s a simple piece of advice for you – do not engage in corruption, and then you do not need to pass strange laws in the country.
Dunda (Servant of the People): We have been circling the oligarchs with the same rhetoric for more than ten years. And we must act. And with this law we begin to act.
And we have an oligarchic consensus on how to share power. And they influence it. Look at other developed countries, in the same Germany I have not seen any leader of Mercedes-Benz at the head of a political party in the Bundestag, not a single leader of BMW. They are not there. Unlike Ukraine.
Resume of a political scientist
Oleksandr Antonyuk, political consultant:
– What is the real problem of this discussion. You are changing “political compliments”, let’s call it that, and in fact no one is considering this bill.
The main essence of the fight against the oligarchs. We must not fight the oligarchs as human beings. We have to fight the system.
I want to remind you that when Volodymyr Zelenskyy was a presidential candidate, he said that we should sit down with these people and agree on common rules of the game. We must find arguments for our national capitalist to be interested in the development of our state and for its capital to grow along with the state’s economy. And this really requires a law on lobbying.
And the adoption of the current law on oligarchs shows that the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine (established in 1993, ed.), The National Anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine (established in 2015, ed.) And other anti-corruption structures have not been established much earlier work. This is what this law says.
That is, the main point is to obey the law. Instead of transferring from one head to another. That is, if our anti-corruption bodies do not work, then let’s find out why they do not work.