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Thursday, July 26, 2007

Lutsenko the Lobbyist?

It all began with the media being curious about Lutsenko’s recent vacation on Crete, where he stayed at a luxury hotel.

Responding to inquiries, Lutsenko stated that his household income, to which, he said, his wife, Iryna, had contributed as much as $100,000 last year, allowed him to do so. Ukrayinska Pravda decided to dig a little deeper.

After probing Lutsenko on his wife’s employment in a rather tense and uncooperative phone conversation, Ukrayinska Pravda learned that the firm that employs her as CFO is Українські новітні телекомунікації (Ukrainian Novel Telecommunications).

UNT turned out to be a family business run by Lutsenko’s close relatives, Yuriy and Olena Voskoboinikov, who hail from Lutsennko’s home oblast of Rivne. But wait until you hear this. Further investigation revealed that UNT, an auxiliary wireless service provider, may have profited from its ties to Lutsenko during his term as Minister of the Interior.

Several documents suggest that, as Minister of the Interior, Lutsenko may have assisted UNT in securing a contract with the Ukrainian government. It remains unclear, though, whether they actually made a deal.

UNT was supposed to boost communication capacity for law enforcement and to lower its costs, operating as an extension of MTS (then UMC), Ukraine’s second largest wireless company. The savings strategy appears to have extreme proportions: UNT does not have a Web site, nor does it have a decent office.

Damn it, Yura, is that true? If so, then we have a raging conflict of interest on our hands. Lutsenko, who ranks second in the pro-presidential NU-NS bloc, denied the allegation Thursday and accused Ukrayinska Pravda of character assassination. UP, in turn, welcomed Lutsenko to settle the issue in court.


Anonymous said...

character assasination ...

Could be true based on the fact of who are the financial backers of Ukr. Pravda.

Taras said...

You mean Tymo’s behind this? Judging by the well balanced content, I’m not she’s sure she’s bankrolling it.

Anyway, I hope Lutsenko will prove his innocence regardless of who leaked the info. The sooner this Lutsenkogate is cleared up, the safer our voting choices will be. We can’t afford another nepotistic act in the Orange camp.

We must control the people we elect instead of electing to be controlled by them. We made the Orange Revolution happen based on this value proposition, didn't we?

Therefore, we the Oranges must lead by example. Otherwise, we will effectively degenerate into hypocrisy, as summed up in the old Roman proverb: “To my friends, everything; to my enemies, the law.”

Anonymous said...

Sadly, it is difficult to believe in any politician at all except for perhaps a handful and unfortunately not considered any of the major players.

Did you know that Lutsenko has a blog?


Taras said...

Of course, I haven’t missed the birth of Lutsenko’s blog. Still, it seems to me that Lutsenko is trying to sweep this scandal under the carpet, giving it the silent treatment.

Anonymous said...

Kuzio's take on the Lutsenko situation.


Taras said...

Thanks for the link, Luida:)

I totally agree with Kuzio’s take. If we point our finger at the Blue camp’s evildoers while turning a blind eye to the Orange camp’s missteps, then we are no different. No matter how less significant these missteps may be, at the end of the day it’s the kettle calling the pot black.

Unless we hold our Orange leaders to a higher standard, the code of corruption will never be erased.

We must let them know that being Orange does not qualify them for an ethical allowance.

Pawlina said...

I have to chuckle a bit at your exchange here, especially in light of the "disappointment" of many Ukrainians in the Orange politicos.

It illustrates to me that Ukraine is progressing exponentially as a democracy, but that its citizenry is probably too close up to see and appreciate that.

Speaking as someone who lives in a (supposedly)established democracy, political shenanigans in Ukraine are looking more and more like those in my own home and native land (Canada).

I think that perhaps in the days of the magical, mystical Maidan that Ukrainians did not realize (or want to) that democracy is not Nirvana but rather an organic, imperfect system that is constantly evolving.

It is not necessarily that democracy is the best form of government, just that the others are a lot worse. ;-)