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Ukraine’s corrupt presidential team ejects competent outsiders

February 03, 2016, 17:08 UTC+3 Zamyatina Tamara
Ukraine's economic development and trade minister Aivaras Abromavicius and finance minister Natalie Jaresko (L-R front) look on at the first session of Ukraine's newly formed Cabinet of Minister in December 2014

Ukraine's economic development and trade minister Aivaras Abromavicius and finance minister Natalie Jaresko (L-R front) look on at the first session of Ukraine's newly formed Cabinet of Minister in December 2014

© Maxim Nikitin/TASS

MOSCOW, February 3. /TASS/. That Ukraine’s Economic Development and Trade Minister Aivars Abromavicius has decided he has had enough is a sure sign the Ukrainian president’s team literally ejects Western specialists, originally invited to take senior posts, as soon as they try to do something about the ill of corruption, polled experts have told TASS. Abromavicius declared he was stepping down on Wednesday.

The deputy dean of the world economy and world politics department at the Higher School of Economics, Andrey Suzdaltsev, believes that Abromavicius’s decision to bow out is a telling sign of the general havoc and also clear evidence the Ukrainian government is desperate to survive.

"Abromavicius is a man of purely Western mentality, a free market economy advocate and a good economist. He fitted in well with his duties and was doing a pretty good job as Ukraine’s economics minister. Such Western specialists in the government of Ukraine are expected to perform the function of overseers, closely monitoring the operation of the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers, because the degree of distrust towards Ukraine in the West is immense. Foreign experts in fact cover up these thieves of public assets," Suzdaltsev told TASS.

He believes that Abromavicius had the thought of resigning first and foremost because he wants to shun disgrace.

"That’s the economic aspect of the affair. But there is another, political side to it. Whenever a policy of reform is declared abortive, time is ripe to get ready for war. This resignation is an omen for one and all, including Russia, because they may dare stage some provocation in Donbass, God forbid!" Suzdaltsev warned.

The director of the Globalization Problems Institute, Mikhail Delyagin, believes that even anti-Russia-minded members of the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministers, such as the governor of the Odessa Region, Georgia’s former president, Mikheil Saakashvili and Lithuania’s Aivars Abromavicius cannot stand thriving corruption in Ukraine, where ostensibly democratic forces are at the helm of power.

"Abromavicius’s resignation means that Western type top managers by virtue of their background are reluctant to get involved in corruption, thus harming their own reputation. That the Ukrainian presidential team rejects such people is a sure sign it is fundamentally corrupt," Delyagin told TASS.

Abromavicius himself explained he had decided to leave office of his own accord due to an upsurge in resistance to reform in Ukraine. In particular, he recalled that his family and he were suddenly stripped of bodyguard protection and some shady personalities were appointed to various positions in his team. However, the key reason for the resignation was Abromavicius’s conflict with the deputy head of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc faction in parliament, Igor Kononenko, who is rumored to have lobbied his own business interests in various branches of the economy and initiated a motion in parliament in favor of the economic minister’s resignation. Moreover, Abromavicius accused the Poroshenko team of attempts to establish control of cash flows and declared that he refused to cover up corruption.

On the website of the Economic Development Ministry Abromavicius said that the presidential staff had been trying to dictate to him a candidate for the position of his deputy, who would be responsible for Naftogaz and other public companies. He refused and decided to quit.

Abromavicius had been appointed Ukraine’s Minister of Economic Development and Trade in December 2014. Upon graduation from Concordia International University, in Estonia, and Concordia University, Wisconsin, the US, with a master’s degree in international business he held positions at the Estonian division of Hansabank and the Swedish investment company East Capital.

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