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19 March, 2013 08:20   ▪  

European experts: instead of balancing among other oligarchs' interests Yanukovych and his family are trying to become oligarchs themselves

“The president Viktor Yanukovych Family seems to be following the principle of “more for me” in managing the state and economy,” write Jana Kobzova, policy fellow and programme coordinator at the European Council on Foreign Relations and Balazs Jarabik, an associate fellow at FRIDE and the Central European Policy Institute, on their article for ECFR The EU's relationship with Ukraine: fling or partnership?

“However, the current administration is neither interested in, nor capable of, meeting most of the EU's current political conditions. Today, just as before, the government is mostly a facade for various oligarchs to pursue their own goals,” claim Kobzova and Jarabik. “The trouble is that, instead of carefully balancing and navigating among other oligarchs' interests as his predecessors have done, President Yanukovych and his family are trying to become oligarchs themselves. Although Ukraine remains the worst European country to do business in (as shown in the World Bank Survey), the economic fortunes of the president and his circle have been skyrocketing. The president's son is now rumoured to be one of the country's richest people. According to numerous reports, the scale and the style of corporate raids of the “family's men” have been pushing already harsh business conditions to almost unbearable limits, even by local standards,” indicate experts.

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“Meanwhile, anecdotal evidence of rent seeking by government-related businesses seems to be exceeding even the usual stereotypes about Ukraine's notorious corruption. The country's most influential family is targeting several sectors: from construction and local services in Donetsk, it has expanded to customs, agriculture and even energy, whilst keeping close control over key government agencies (and increasing budgets of law enforcement agencies). While the EU keeps repeating the mantra of “more for more” to its eastern neighbours (i.e. more rewards will be provided to those who undertake more reform steps, the family seems to be following the principle of “more for me” in managing the state and economy,” add Kobzova and Jarabik.

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