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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

No Dough for ChernoCo
Kyiv Mayor Gets the Finger

Last year, the crackpot hit the jackpot. This year, he’ll probably hit the road.

According to a report quoted on Pravda, there hasn’t been a rush by Kyivites to pay those triple bills. It means that Mayor Chernovetsky’s fundraiser has met with limited success. (Independent experts believe Chernovetsky’s rates to be twice as high as the current costs would justify.)

The report takes a peek at Kyiv’s municipal-owned utility outlets, known as ЖЕКs (zheks). An accountant at one of the zheks confesses that, so far, only 15 to 20 percent of households in their area have made payments. (She does not specify the percentage of households that have paid the full amount, as opposed to those that have managed to apply for subsidies, despite bureaucratic hurdles.)

Using that figure as a sample, we can see that Kyivites are not particularly enthusiastic about coughing up those hard-earned hryvnias for ChernoCo. Despite the City Hall being a marketing extension of the utility sector, your local zhek the ripper still ends up undercapitalized. That’s where the food chain short-circuited. Not only did ChernoCo miscalculate the rates, but it also miscalculated its ability to impose them.

Widespread refusal to pay the overblown rates as well as the accelerating movement to impeach Chernovetsky in a referendum have prompted the City Hall to hold its horses. (But the train has left the station, hasn't it?)

There is talk of confidential instructions allowing zheks to accept payments based on the old rates. BYuT members of the City Council have confirmed this information. Zheks have denied it. Certainly, one should not expect the latter to be at liberty to comment.

Chernovetsky, aka Lyonya Kosmos (which can be loosely translated as Leo the Creepo, or Leo the Loony), has been an object of ridicule on the Web and has spawned countless Photoshop collages.

If handouts suit your taste, knock yourself out. But if you have a taste for democracy, how about sending this guy back to his bank? Let’s get him out of our pockets.

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