Ukrainian Privatization: All That is Not Nailed Down Is Fair Game

Dear Readers:

In Russian folklore there is a tale about an old fisherman, his wife, and a golden fish.  Long story short:  the fisherman catches a magical golden fish, which speaks to him in a human voice and begs for his life.  In return for granting all his wishes, it goes without saying.  The good-hearted fisherman just releases the fish asking for nothing in return.  The villain of the tale, of course, is the fisherman’s wife.  She is a greedy old bitch who keeps sending hubby back to the sea.  In each case, he summons his piscine pal and requests something new on behalf of his wife.  The requests start off small — just more food, then some household items that she needs.  But eventually the woman becomes deranged, starts demanding more and better things.  She is made into a fine lady, living in a mansion.  Then a step further — she turns into a Queen and tyrannizes over hubby and everyone else in her kingdom.  Eventually she goes too far — she demands to be made Empress over all the Seas.  This is the point where the fish draws the line and takes away everything he previously gave the couple.  They return to being poor and humble, with their little rickety cottage and their crust of bread.

My Country Right or Wrong, But My Country For Sale!

Moving on seamlessly from that fable, I introduce people to a man named Igor Belous, about whom I read in this piece from PolitNavigator.  Belousov is the Head of the Ukrainian State Property Fund, and in truth his job resembles more that of auctioneer than a state functionary.  Here is their website, if you don’t believe me.

Igor Belous: Auctioneer of communal property

You know how it goes when a once-wealthy and prominent family goes bankrupt and falls into deep debt.  First they pawn off the small items, maybe the jewelry and watches.  Then they sell the furniture.   Then the car, the boat, the house, etc etc.

Well, in the Ukraine it has apparently gotten to the level of boats and houses.  Up on the auction block for this coming year:  The Odessa port factory (Одесский припортовый завод), with a starting price of 13,650 million hryvnas.  The auction will begin on July 20.  According to Belous:  “We are hoping that up to 5 strategic investors will take part in the auction.  Something around 30 global investors were sent “teasers” about the upcoming auction and invited to take part.

Also on the auction block in the coming months:  The Haivoronovsky Railway Car Repair Factory (in operation since 1897!), the “Orion” factory in Ternopol, which I think is this one; and the Transcarpathian “элкстроавтоматики” factory (and I honestly have no idea what that is).

In September, the State Property Fund intends to sell the electric grid (облэнерго).  Six packets of the grid are currently being prepared for the auction:  in Ternopol, Khmelnitsky, Kharkov, Nikolaev, Zaporozhie and Cherkassy.

After announcing these auctions, Belous went on to thank the governments of the United States and Great Britain:  “Thanks to [them] we received grant money, in order to hire consultants to prepare these objects [for sale].”

In conclusion, Dear Readers:

If any of you are interested in buying up Ukrainian State property, on pennies for the dollar, then be sure to visit this government website devoted to privatization.

But, returning briefly to our story about the Golden Fish, please remember how it ended:  With the fish swimming away, far out into the deep blue sea, as far away from humans as he can possibly get, and never to return.  Just tossing this parting shot back over his scaly shoulder:

You people are nuts!  You had it all, and then you got greedy!

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