Andrey Gritsenko
03 June 2021 09: 35

Law against oligarchs: lawlessness will be approved in a special law

Now the laws of Ukraine have quite enough already existing norms and articles that allow quite successfully combating the abnormal influence of the oligarchs on the political system and society - if there is a political will to apply them. Do we need a new Zelensky law?

Andrey Gritsenko
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Law against oligarchs: lawlessness will be approved in a special law

Just officially published presidential bill on oligarchs, as is usual in our country, has long been roaming the net in various plums and interpretations. When reading the official version of this legislative masterpiece, I must say, I was haunted by only one thought: do we need it at all?

Nobody likes oligarchs

It's true. Even those who work in their inner circle, or simply feed on their generosity, often laugh at their benefactors behind their backs and do not at all have for them the reverence that they demonstrate in public.

What can we say about the rest of the citizens, who can only observe from afar the sparkling life of domestic moneybags behind the high fences of personal palaces! Few people are remembered with the same dislike over kitchen conversations and arguments in smoking rooms. To be frank, this is understandable: the wealth gap between Ukraine's richest and poorest citizens is staggering. While in general Ukraine is among the top poorest countries in Europe (and, according to some reports, he heads it), our oligarchs have long been accustomed to not denying themselves anything. Neither in the purchase of officials and judges, nor in the acquisition of parties and media resources, nor in spending on lobbying and legislative activities.

And, in fact, this is their main danger to the state: the largest business tycoons of Ukraine have long created for themselves more than comfortable conditions under which they actually run the country, having puppet deputies as a legal tool for the implementation of their tasks and civil servants. This role of the largest capital cannot be denied: suffice it to recall that the forceful displacement Viktor Yanukovych in the first place it was caused precisely by his conflict with the oligarchs.

All these circumstances quite unequivocally create an atmosphere of serious support by the society for practically any initiatives of the authorities aimed at changing the established order. I think that I will not sin against the truth if I say that it is based on the "nationwide consensus" President Volodymyr Zelensky and came up with his anti-oligarchic initiative.

Why do we need a law against the oligarchs

Well, let's start with the fact that this is not even a law at all, in the usual sense of the word. Document proposed by Mr. Zelensky, much more like a royal decree, in which the boyars must approve the autocrat's right to punish and pardon merchants at his discretion:

"The decision to recognize a person as having significant economic or political weight in public life (an oligarch) is made by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine on the basis of a proposal from the Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine, a member of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, the National Bank of Ukraine, the Security Service of Ukraine or the Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine" - this is the most important point of the bill. The manual Security Council of Zelensky has repeatedly demonstrated his best qualities in the implementation of very dubious, from the point of view of the Constitution, decisions, and personal devotion to the head of state. It is difficult to assume that with the adoption of the bill in this sense, at least something will change. This means that anyone who is pointed by an imperious finger can easily be recognized as an oligarch with all the ensuing consequences.

I am not a lawyer, but I do not even doubt that professional lawyers will present a lot of very well-founded claims to this bill, since its strangely dictatorial essence is obvious even to the touch. Well, take at least the provision on the "declaration of contacts" (yes, there is such a thing): all "public servants" who at least somehow met with the oligarch will be required to submit the appropriate document, and publicly repent in the square report to your management. At the same time, even those who tritely exchanged a few words, for example, with People's Deputy Novinsky, are at risk of falling under this rule, and if, for example, Minister of Culture Tkachenko according to old memory, Mr. Kolomoisky will call, then Alexander Vladislavovich is not a simple memorandum - a whole tragic story Prime Minister Shmyhal will have to write.

As usual, the law proposed by the president and his entourage is directed against everything bad and stands up for everything good. It is stated that hedefines the legal and organizational framework for the functioning of the system for preventing excessive exposure of persons with significant economic or political weight in public life (oligarchs)." Pretty controversial and streamlined wording, don't you think?

Even more interesting is said about the goals of this whole legislative masterpiece: "The purpose of this Law is to overcome the conflict of interest caused by the merger of politics, media and big business, to ensure the national security of Ukraine in the economic, political and information spheres, to protect democracy, to ensure state sovereignty and to avoid cases of manipulating the minds of citizens with deliberately distorted information to gain access to resources, owned by the Ukrainian people".

The passage about the "property right of the Ukrainian people" to various resources especially pleased me personally. I think that the people of Ukraine will also like it, who every month take out a lot of money from their wallets for these same resources. At the same time, it is crystal clear that nothing will change decisively in this sense with the adoption of the bill: no one is even going to "return national wealth" to people.

Rђ RІRѕS, sadder with prices for the population it just may well turn out: the essence of the bill unequivocally boils down to the redistribution of assets, and this is always fraught, you know.

Why this law is unnecessary, harmful and dangerous

I will answer point by point:

1. Not needed because in the laws of Ukraine already existing norms and articles are quite enoughwhich make it possible to quite successfully combat the abnormal influence of the oligarchs on the political system and society - if only there would be the political will to use them. Recall at least the same 20 (!) Criminal cases against ex-president Poroshenko, which have not moved in any way for the third year already.

2. Harmful because it's in the bill the role of the judiciary (one of the cornerstones of a civilized state) is reduced to a minimumif not to zero. And also because it makes it easy to manipulate those same oligarchs, because in the tradition of "his own - everything, enemies - the law" any oligarch understands how important it is to be and remain "one's own". Well, and contributions for this right, obviously, will seriously increase.
And, most importantly: with all the sophistication and regulations of the project, knowledgeable people are convinced that it will not be so difficult to bypass it with the help of long-known and understandable schemes - but society will once again be fed a beautiful tale of victory.

3. Zelensky’s bill is dangerous precisely because I started this article: by thus establishing the foundations personal dictatorship of Vladimir Alexandrovich. No one argues: it is necessary to fight against oligarchs, and against foreign influence, and against negative trends in the economy - but when this happens at the personal will of even the highest official in the country, this causes great concern. And attempts to blur the responsibility of the president with the help of the National Security and Defense Council may come across as rather comic: Stalin, for example, had a very similar Central Committee of the All-Union Communist Party of Bolsheviks, but who now, apart from historians, remembers this?
There is another important factor: if you follow the letter of the bill, then, being adopted, it prohibit domestic big capital from participating in privatization state enterprises. Guess who then will be able to buy them in bulk for next to nothing? That's right, the same oligarchs, only foreign ones. And by the way, good idea for domestic oligarchs: think about changing citizenship, is not it?

It has long been known that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Apparently, this simple truth has long been deliberately ignored in the presidential entourage, slipping “simple solutions” to Mr. Zelensky on a silver platter exactly where simple solutions will never work. So it was with Constitutional Courtand with the imposition of sanctions, and it is not yet clear how far this slippery slope will lead our president.

It's easy to start with a bill on oligarchs unloved by the people. Then continue with the law on, for example, almost equally unloved leaders of big business. Then take care of a special law about living-glot developers. Smoothly move on to the scoundrels - bankers and credit unions, and there will be no further barriers up to the law on janitors and market traders. The main thing is not to forget to repeat beautiful mantras about democracy and Euro-Atlantic aspirationswhatever these words mean in this context.

It is far from certain that the bill will get through to its adoption by the people's deputies. Given the understandable interest of some semi-marginal Golos, it is hard to imagine that the votes of the people's deputies, long controlled by those same oligarchs, will easily and freely pass in favor of the presidential initiative. However, the very fact of submitting such a document for consideration by the Parliament testifies to the very unsafe processes that are currently taking place at Bankovaya.


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