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Thursday, March 13, 2008

Socialist 500L

Ukrayinska Pravda grills the transportation habits of Yosyp Vinsky, a former member of the Socialist Party and current Minister of Transport.

As shown in the picture, Mr. Vinsky was recently sighted exiting a Mercedes S500L 4Matic. Further investigation revealed that the car belongs to SMAP, a state-owned company controlled by the Ministry of Transport (MoT), and carries a price tag of 1,167,000 hryvnias ($231,090).

That’s a tad too bourgeois, considering the manifesto with which the Tymoshenko Cabinet graced the airwaves a month and a half ago:

As long as there are poor people in Ukraine, Cabinet members will not be buying such expensive cars. If you look at the French government, they don’t ride in S-Class there. Even in America you won’t see such things. And here it’s as if we’re the richest country.

The promise boiled down to a price cap of $100,000 on cars purchased for Cabinet members. Technically, the car was not procured for the MoT. Still, it does give the impression that some Cabinet folks are too cool to observe the $100,000 rule.

When questioned about the story, Vinsky casually replied: “I don’t know what car I ride in. I just use what they gave me.”

That’s no accident. In Ukraine, $ocialists and civil $erpents spend tons of money without noticing it.

Take Vinsky’s former colleague and MoT predecessor Mykola Rudkovsky, whose embezzlement case is pending investigation. And don’t forget former Naftogaz chairman Oleksiy Ivchenko, another S500 Mercedes lover bankrolled by taxpayers’ money, whose love of luxury sparked a scandal that cost him his job.

It remains to be seen whether the stink will sink the king this time.



Anonymous said...

From an article [] in last year's Toronto Star newspaper:

"In [Canadian] Prime Minister Stephen Harper's government, 26 cabinet ministers and six ministers of state (junior ministers) have a car and driver – a total of 32. The maximum price for a cabinet minister's car is $32,400; lesser officials' cars can cost up to $27,000.

The government also provides 54 deputy ministers with vehicles. Some, but not all, have chauffeurs.

The drivers are paid between $43,826 and $47,447 a year, not including overtime. Many drivers, however, have other duties as part of their job."

Anonymous said...

UA Moloda picked up the story.


Taras said...

Thank you for the link!

I wish we had those Canadian price caps. Maybe then Ukraine wouldn’t be such a poor country.

Luida, even though Vinsky has reverted to using his old S350, neither he nor PM Tymoshenko has apologized for breaking the self-extolled $100,000 rule. Talk about “spravedlyvist peregmogla.”

Anonymous said...

Unian has pics from the protest regarding the building site.

In regards to matters what would make a difference? protests don't, news stories don't (politicians don't seem to have any shame), so what in your opinion has worked or would work?


Anonymous said...

Regarding the demonstration - headlines

Police beat up demonstrators in Kyiv

Police: Demonstrators beat themselves up


Anonymous said...

And UNIAN translated the articles into english.

The pressure seems to be getting to people about having an "independent media".
Story about another journalist who ended up in the hospital.


and btw it is the media's fault that preparations for Euro 2012 are not going so smoothly (had me saying wtf?)
"UEFA officials have expressed worries Ukraine is moving too slowly to prepare for the event, in part because of sometimes hostile relations between Ukrainian football officials, and the independent media."

Taras said...

Thank you so much for all these links, Luida!

To be effective, the protests have to be massive. Unfortunately, most of the anti-construction protests here in Kyiv draw a few hundred people at most. Here’s a small video of that "anthrax house" protest.

The beating of a photographer by the stadium director sends another disturbing message about Ukraine’s Euro 2012 preparations — and about the "Donetsk dimension" specifically. (Watch both sides of the story.)

While most of the disturbing messages so far have related to lackadaisical event planning, this one gives a slice of Ukrainian democracy.

If things keep going this way, Ukraine risks losing her Euro 2012 hosting privileges.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the video link but honestly who is going to believe the stadium director esp. with all the "not allowed" that he kept repeating. Because in Ukraine when someone says that something is "not allowed" they expect to be obeyed. The chances of the 2012 being taken away from Ukraine or move of venue from Lviv to Odessa has more to do with the work/non-work of local and government officials (PoR should get the biggest blame for 9 months of nothing while in government)
than it has anything to do with media relations but I smell a convenient scapegoat in case events take a turn for the worse with UEFA.

Taras said...

Obviously, few people are going to believe the stadium director’s side of the story, now that Shakhtar’s chairman has already called the photographer twice, offering apologies and financial support.

If that’s not crisis management at work, then what is?

After all, had the story escalated, winding up in the EU media’s crosshairs, it would have resulted in a public relations disaster both for Shakhtar and for its IPO-bound chairman.

And in the event Ukraine loses the Euro 2012 hosting rights, the country’s investment outlook will be reduced to scrap.