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Thursday, May 21, 2009

Mother Knows Best

Labor Minister Lyudmyla Denysova, who hired her daughter out of college to run the price controls board in Sevastopol, carries a lot of weight in the family.

During a Cabinet meeting on Wednesday, a camera-armed reporter intercepted a text message on her cell phone's screen.

Lenochka: Mommy, dad got a call from the min of housing and utilities of ukraine with an offer of deputy ministership:) He’s asking should he go for it? They’re expecting an answer in the afternoon.

Note: Lenochka (diminutive for Olena in Ukrainian/Yelena in Russian) is obviously Denysova's daughter.

There she comes...

The Ukrainian government: connecting people:)

No judgment day
To be afraid
No heart-shaped check marks colored red to give away
No jobs in spring
No growth to sing
In fact, here’s just another profitable day
No moral pain
No powerless gloom
No getting fired for a debt that has ballooned
But what she is
Is nothing new
Made up of things that make this country poor and blue

I just called to say dad loves you
I just called to say how much he cares
I just called to say dad loves you
And I mean it from the bottom of my heart



Anonymous said...

Oh, but it gets better---

Interfax Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine, April 8, 2009

KYIV - The government has adopted the bill limiting access to the Ukrainian job market to foreigners, Minister of Labor and Social Policy Liudmyla Denisova has said.

"Yes, we have adopted this bill… we actually limited foreigners' access to our employment, thus defending our people's workplaces and providing them with career opportunities," she told the Interfax-Ukraine news agency in an interview at the end of a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.

As reported, during its meeting on Wednesday the Cabinet of Ministers discussed a bill on issuing, extending and cancelling the work permits of foreigners and people with no citizenship.

"Employers have the right to hire the foreigners if they are not subject to criminal investigation… [and] we have adopted several limitations to protect our people," Denisova said. The minister also said that the earlier bill existed but with no "stiff restrictions."

We can go into a whole debate about this -- how stiff the US requirements are, jobs for Ukrainians as opposed to expats, etc. -- the point is that Ukraine will see an exodus of know-how.

This includes native speakers teaching English to eager, entrepreneurial young Ukrainians. In my experience, teachers don't get paid much, more or less get any support from host agencies.

The problem is not the rules, but changing the rules at the last minute and leaving expats in the lurch. It is better to have to get a visa to enter, rather than find out you have to leave suddenly.

As for Lenochka. I was naively under the impression in 2004 that the new generation of leaders would be better than the previous one.

Gabriela said...

Here in Peru we have lots of cases like this one. And they are always disclosed by the press. Hos does it work in Ukraine?

Taras said...


An exodus of know-how? I don’t know.

As far as I can see, this law will not seriously affect expat jobs. It aims to protect blue-collar Ukrainian jobs from being occupied by illegal third-world labor migrants.

If the West is doing it, why can’t Ukraine? As a Ukrainian, I strongly support a symmetric approach.

By Western standards, Western companies doing business in my country pay blue-collar wages — or less-than-blue-collar wages — to most white-collar Ukrainian workers. (Except at the very top.)

Native English speakers who teach English in Ukraine will probably be affected to the extent that they will need to obtain work permits. Most of them, if not all, fall under the category of expat family members, tourists, missionaries, or Peace Corps volunteers. For them, it’s a situational (part-time) occupation rather than a professional (full-time) one.

No Westerner in their right mind would want to leave their country and take a low-paid job like that. (Unless driven by some sort of psychic income.)

While rallying during the Orange Revolution, I too believed that a new generation would come. I was wrong.

We’re still stuck with Generation ☭$. It's a small tightly knit elite that’s sitting on top of this country and is depopulating it at a rate of 21,000 people per month.

In any organization, be it government or business, people take cues from their leaders. In a semi-Westernized/semi-consumerist country like Ukraine, the cues they currently get will only ☠☦ the country.

Cronyism does not lift all boats. It lifts some boats and sinks the rest. Our leaders enjoy super-Western incomes by maintaining sub-Western institutions. That’s the essence of Generation ☭$.


Unfortunately, it doesn't quite work this way in Ukraine. Many cases escape public scrutiny.

All of which makes this case very special.

elmer said...

Lenochka looks like she has absolutely no idea what is going on - except, of course, for Daddy connecting with money - a government job.

Who is offering the job?


Lenochka has that vacant, far away look - like "I'd rather be shopping."

But let's get to what's important.

In the UEFA Cup, the Donetsk Coalminers beat the Werder Bremen Fritzes.

Or, rather, the Donetsk Brazilians beat the German Brazilians.

Well, to be fair, the Donetsk team had a Croatian (Srna), a Serb, 5 Brazilians, and some others.

They are owned by Rinat Akhmetov, a billionaire, and ally of Kuchma. Akhmetov stole his money fair and square.

President Yushchenko attended the game, which was held in Istanbul.

He sat in the same row (part of the time) as Akhmetov. Yushchenko was the one who, quite rightly, engineered the re-privatization of the Krivorizhstal steel mill, which had been stolen in a crooked privatization deal by Akhmetov, Kuchma, and Victor Pinchuk - yes, the same Victor Pinhchuk who has a mansion in Londongrad, right down the street from Maskva's mayor, and the same Pinchuk who displays hideous art of dead animals and such, and calls it "charity."

Anyway, all of this prompted Tymoshenko to "apologize" to the people of Ukraine for daring to take time out to watch the game.

She also claims that she laughed, she cried, she jumped, she screamed and she rejoiced when the Donetsk Brazilian Coal Miners beat the German Brazilian Fritzes.

Akhmetov gave each of the players a $650,000 bonus for winning the UEFA Cup.

Ain't life grand?

Don't it just make you feel peachy-keen and goose-pimple patriotic, when a billionaire like Akhmetov, who advertises that he grew up in poverty, can steal money fair and square, rob the nation blind, and pay Brazilians millions of dollars a year to chase a soccer ball?

Srna, a Croatian, wore the Croatian flag around his shoulders after the victory.

He's an excellent player.

Goose pimples all around.

I wonder if Lenochka was even aware that there was a game going on.

(The Brazilians play beautifully. So do their supporting cast).

Taras said...

Well, I’m not much of a mind reader:)

According to her mother, Lenochka does all the grocery shopping in the family.

To me, Lenochka looks quite businesslike and even inspirational. I almost felt like singing “Let the River Run” from Working Girl:)

Soccer clubs import players from many parts of the world. It’s normal practice, soccer being popular in Europe, Latin America and Africa. What does raise questions here is spending millions of dollars on soccer in a region where lack of safety is killing coal miners by the dozen.

As for the Akhmetov-Pinchuk Kryvorizhstal deal, I have video from the 2004 presidential debates where Yushchenko uses the word “крадеться” (“gets stolen”).

Strange things happened after the Orange Revolution, when Yushchenko became president. First, President Yushchenko never got sued. Second, the people to whom he had applied “крадеться” never went to jail. In fact, Yushchenko, Akhmetov and Pinchuk look like good friends, in and out of Davos and Donbas.

I wonder if President Yushchenko has privately apologized for his defamatory language.

The Orange Revolution appears to have expanded the Yushchenkos’ circle of friends. In 2007, First Lady Kateryna Yushchenko attended a Pinchuk-sponsored event in Crimea. Warmly received, she obviously mixed and mingled with
Leonid Kuchma, Bill Clinton, Viktor Chernomyrdin and Olena Franchuk (Pinchuk’s wife)

Bottom line, if you want to make friend$ in Ukraine, there’s no place like the Ukrainian government.

elmer said...

With the vacant stare, there doesn't appear to be much of a mind to read.:-)

Who's offering the job?

And why?

Taras said...

Vacant stares usually permeate organizations that fill their vacancies nepotistically. According to this widespread practice, it’s who you know, not what you know, that matters.

Lenochka may have her merits, but the manner in which she reportedly got her job already violates the idea of meritocracy.

The original article does not explore the details of the job being offered to Lenochka’s father. (I’d probably count job fairs, career sites and employment agencies out.)

What it does explore is her father’s background. It quotes an article in Criminal Ukraine that puts Oleksandr Denysov as a former military prosecutor who was assigned to Crimea from Russia by the KGB in 1989 and who currently chairs the Regional Conflicts and Special Forces Units Handicapped Fund.

The article alleges fraud, conflicts of interest, kickbacks and mafia connections on the part of Denysova, who, among other things, co-owns a profitable business in Crimea.

elmer said...

Ah, yes, the Ukrainian "Third Way".

Speaking of Poland, the Poles had, and have, a saying:

"The Third Way is the way to the Third World."

Do you think Lenochka's Daddy will take the job?

Taras said...

I don't know. Mother knows best. It takes another intercept to find out:)