Is the European Union assisting oligarchs in exploiting Ukraine’s wealth? This is the question that Brussels parliamentarians, the United Nations, and oversight organizations should be asking today. Underneath the subterfuge of American and European assistance for war torn Ukraine, a changing of the corrupt guard there is the real reason for today’s crises. The European Commission seems to have sunk to the level of mafia oligarchs in its dealings with this former Soviet republic.
News recently the Council of the European Union (EU) approved the increased volumes for imports of Ukrainian agricultural products and food goes far beyond humanitarian economic aid. While the European Council’s website shows a policy of quota increases for nutritious foodstuffs every European citizen is sure to love, what’s underneath is food for an oligarch faction changeover. The council has approved the following tasty quota increases for; honey by 2,500 tons, preserved tomatoes by 3,000 tons, grape juice by 500 tons, oats 4,000 by tons, wheat up 65,000 tons, maize by 625,000 tons, barley quota up by 325,000 tons, and groats and pellets of certain cereals increased by 7,800 tons. But what is really behind the boost to Ukraine output?
This new agricultural commodities exchange policy will indeed help Ukrainian farmers, but the addition of zero tariffs and increased business from Ukraine in fertilizers and metals could mean the European Union is adopting (or at least promoting) Eastern European corrupt practices like the ones we witnessed in Russia and the CIS after the fall of the Soviet Union. If Brussels is indeed empowering the faction of oligarchs (mafia) who’ve come to power since the ousting of Viktor Yanukovych, a closer look at these “quotas” may reveal the longer play for the globalists who some experts believe planned the destruction of Ukraine all along. Let’s look at this recent Brussels development to see if
In the official announcement on the European Council website pages, the section underneath the agricultural commodities frames the real deal the Brussels dealmakers are engaging in. The proposed improvement in access for Ukraine “exporters” to the EU market is loosely defined in section (2) of the document:
“Full removal of import duties on several industrial products, such as fertilisers, dyes, pigments and other colouring matters, footwear, copper, aluminum, as well as television and sound recording equipment.”
So, to better understand my point here, the reader must understand that Ukraine’s President Petro Poroshenko is not a politician, lawyer, or even a militarist. Petro Poroshenko is a mafia oligarch put in power by the EU and the United States administration under Barack Obama. Once this is established in the reader’s mind, discovering the real meaning underneath this most recent Brussels decree is simplified. Remember, it was Poroshenko who took the place of another Ukraine oligarch, Viktor Yanukovych, who was in turn head of the powerful“factions” (or mafia families) at work in Kiev. Now, in the case of Ukraine (or any country), when one faction (family) goes down, another takes its place. Now let’s get down to business.
Further timely news Ukraine oligarch Dmytro Firtash is headed to the United States to face US Department of Justice (DoJ) charges of orchestrating a conspiracy to pay bribes worth $18.5 million to secure mining permits in India, it comes at a convenient time. Firtash, a member of the “Yanukovych and Yuschenko factions” that controlled Ukraine, is about to be relieved of his billions in Ukraine assets so that the new faction can profit from “deals” like this new EU one. This story on The Wire frames the twists and turns in the Firtash case for you, but the crux of my argument rests on the commodities Firtash controlled in Ukraine, titanium and nitrogen to be more specific. Firtash’s wealth was initially all about natural gas deals via RosUkrEnergo, but today’s EU policy subterfuge is all about his agricultural and metals investments, rest assured.
The Firtash case is turning into a winding and twisting drama that even involves former Donald Trump campaign boss Paul Manafort, who had business dealings with the Ukraine oligarch. But let’s stick with the resource related industries Firtash will lose control over. Some will remember that back in 2010 Firtash began consolidating his control of Ukraine’s fertilizer and chemical industry using his natural gas billons. With the acquisition of nitrates processors Severodonetsk Association Azot Association and Cherkassy Azot, the embattled billionaire became one of the world’s biggest agricultural men. So, Firtash’s case coming to the forefront at the same time the EU bosses lift tariffs and quotas on products Firtash companies stand to profit mightily from – it’s beyond coincidence in my view. OSTCHEM, part of Firtash’s Group DF, is the third largest producers of fertilizers in the world. Isn’t it obvious the EU Council is not simply thinking about poor fertilizer and farm workers in Ukraine? I’ve not space here for launching into a Ukraine mafia witch hunt to include Firtash foes like Ihor Kolomoisky, Poroshenko, and other famous names. The “fertilizer” news from Brussels, combined with Firstash’s headed to face charges now, it makes me think of Trump’s Justice Department about to lean on a Putin informant. Or either this American administration clearing Firtash so he’s free to share billions in flowing into Ukraine soon. Some commentators originally speculated that the case against Firtash was an attempt to set an example to other oligarchs, and an Obama move to pressure him into revealing insider information on the murky financial dealings of Putin’s inner circle.
The legal and financial “leverage” currently being applied against Firtash also includes alleged money laundering in cooperation with his longtime friend, Hares Youssef, the Syrian businessman who was an adviser to Yanukovych. Given the wide trail of interests underneath either of Ukraine’s oligarch factions, knowing fully the extent of European and American dealings would take years of research. But what is clear is that industries from Ukraine ports (see US-Ukraine billionaire Alex Rowton) to upstream production for companies from Germany and elsewhere, are reason enough for EU politicians to lift quotas and tariffs for Firtash’s (for now) OSTCHEM and others. It should be noted that this Firtash company just resumed production at plants which were on natural gas apportionment. So, the line for OSTCHEM is that Ukraine farmers’ increased production to the EU equals more revenue from fertilizers and other associated products and businesses. But there’s one more factor in this puzzle.
If we observe the civil war in Ukraine from the perspective of an economic transformative – then an assertion forced poverty and economic hardship has morphed Ukraine into Europe’s China-local bears looking at. Lower wages, the potential for predatory investing, and many positive factors point to the Euromaidan as a much more devious plan than anyone before me has suggested. Let’s face it, the moves of Vladimir Putin and Russia with NATO and the American interests moving next door had to have been calculated ahead. Taking this as a “given”, we have to look at this EU Council move as not just planned and divisive, but illegal if benefitting the Ukraine mafia is a goal.
Agriculture accounts for almost 8% of Ukraine’s GDP, which makes the country’s farming more important to Ukrainians than for any other country in Europe. But Agriculture has less to do with Ukraine becoming a cheap labor market like China, than for businesses like those of Firtash or even Petro Poroshenko. Firtash, for instance, pays wages to a least 100,000 people. He was also President of Ukraine’s Federation of Employers. Lower wages, lower costs of production, lower tariffs, expanded quotas – I think the globalists planned a business boom based on veritable slavery in Ukraine all along. But this is a subject for further study, along with a look into foreign investment in Ukraine’s various industries.
When I learned of Firtash’s extradition to the US to face charges I was concerned that American oligarchs and the new liberal deep state might force the billionaire to either “play ball” or relinquish billions in assets to the US and EU backed Poroshenko faction in power in Ukraine. One “for instance” is a situation where Ukraine’s natural gas entitity, Naftogaz might take over Firtash Bank accounts for his Odessa port plant (OPZ). If this happens, it would indicate a deal has already been struck for condemning or dealing a blow to Firtash assets. The fact the “leverage” against Firtash also includes alleged money laundering in cooperation with his longtime friend, Hares Youssef (former Yanukovych aid) weighs against him, it suggests the Poroshenko faction aims to obsorb all these industries for other “interests”. In a even worse case, Firtash could end up being aligned with the globalists against Putin. Then again he may just be thrown under the oligarch bus by Trump’s DOJ, left to eek out an existence on a few paltry millions. What’s clear no matter what is that the EU is playing the factions game. And unless I am misinformed, playing mafiosos against one another is not legal parliamentary practice. Firtash faces up to 50 years in prison and the seizure of all his assets in the US court case – the verdict may tell us of other crimes against the people of Ukraine and the world.
Phil Butler, is a policy investigator and analyst, a political scientist and expert on Eastern Europe, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.