So, when we left off the day before yesterday, we saw that EnergoAtom is being prepared, like a lamb for the ritual slaughter, for a planned and probably artificially-induced “bankruptcy”. Why? Because bankruptcy is the preferred means whereby publicly owned property is passed into private hands and then becomes the property of private families and their descendants. Duh.
Rada Lays the Basis
The piece goes on to say, that the Supreme Rada is preparing now, even as we speak, the legislation and legal basis for the privatization of EnergoAtom.
According to Trade Union leader Alexei Lych, whom we met in Part II of this series, lawmakers are meeting with EnergoAtom managers behind closed doors to draft the necessary legislation. A rape is still a rape, but a corporate raping must be done by the books and uphold to certain rules of the game.
Lych claims that the Minister of Energetics and Coal — Igor Nasalik, whom we also met in Part II, he the body-building guy, has been preparing a top-secret piece of legislation, aim of which is to sell EnergoAtom; and that Igor has not even bothered to consult with the atomic guys (с атомщиками). In other words, according to Lych, Igor is treating nuclear as just another (yawn) routine energy sector, just like (ho-hum) coal or gas; and not even coming to grips with the fact that nuclear energy is kind of its own special animal.
As the trade union leader, Lych’s concern is that Nasalik’s actions will lead to the dismissal of highly-qualified technical personnel from the nuclear power plants. In the end, the Ukrainian government will lose all semblance of control over EnergoAtom. This would obviously be a bad thing, both for the Ukrainian government, and for the trade union. Lych warns about the incompetence of the personnel who do not understand how to handle nuclear material, and he sounds the alarm about a possible second Chernobyl.
From what Lych can tell, all the current signs and portents point to the fact that this shadowy intermediate entity called UkrElektroVat” (Укрэлектроват) will become the majority shareholder of EnergoAtom and will soon have full control over the entire nuclear energy sector of the nation of Ukraine. Recall that we introduced “UkrElektroVat” in Part I of this series, and decoded that ЗАО–СП means “Closed (non-public) Auction Society For Direct Purchase”. So, all of this maneuvering is going on in smoke-filled rooms which are deliberately closed off to public scrutiny. And this is not like secretly selling some bankrupt ice cream company to your uncle — this is ATOMIC energy! As in BOOM!
A Shady History and a “Dubious” Debt
The VZGLIAD piece goes on to question the so-called “debt” of EnergoAtom, and whether this “bankruptcy” is not just some conspiracy to privatize Ukraine’s atomic energy sector for the benefit of some third party. Which third party, inquiring minds want to know?
Back in 1996 EnergoAtom signed a contract with the American offshore company called “AC Energy Holdings”. AC was to deliver nuclear fuel to EnergoAtom, but EnergoAtom (as per its wont) did not fully pay off its bill. This fact gave AC the right, in 2000, to sell its IOU‘s to the shell company UkrElektroVat. The amount owed was 2.5 million hryvnas.
UkrElektroVat, in turn, took EnergoAtom to court to try to recoup the IOU. Many many court sessions later, many many judges rulings, and Lordy Lordy! EnergoAtom’s debt rose from 2.5 million to 127.3 million hryvnas!
Fast forward to 2012, still another court ruled that EnergoAtom must pay up or shut up. But EnergoAtom was (briefly) reprieved due to a legal moratorium on bankruptcies affecting electrical energy companies. In January of this year (=2016), the Supreme Rada extended the moratorium to the end of the year; but then President Poroshenko vetoed this law. And it was precisely after this veto, that UkrElektroVat was finally able to achieve its goal by freezing the assets of EnergoAtom.
According to expert Alexei Anpilogov, whom we also met in Part I of this series:
“This is a criminal scheme, which has pushed EnergoAtom to the verge of extinction. Because of the claims of a private company to 127 million hryvnas — a ridiculous sum — the accounts of EnergoAtom have been frozen, and this is a company which commands assets to the tune of several billion dollars.” What is highly dubious is not just this so-called “debt” which grew 50 times, but also the very comany itself, “UkrElektroVat”, with its highly dubious and also secret beneficiaries.
The piece then goes to list a few of the juicy conspiracy theories which are circulating around the Ukraine, as to which shady individuals stand behind this curtain of puppet theater. If UkrElektroVat is the puppet, then who is pulling its strings?
Theory #1: Nikolai Martynenko. Nikolai is an oligarch known as the right-hand man (aka “The Grey Cardinal”) of former Arseny Yatsenuk, and also the main sponsor of Yats political party. Buzzfeed called him a “corrupt crony” of the former Prime Minister. During Yats tenure in office, Martynenko headed the committee in the Supreme Rada on the Fuel and Energy Complex and Nuclear Policies; and he was the “silent curator” of the EnergoAtom company.
Theory #2: Oleg Tsarev. Tsarev is of course a former Rada Deputy, representing the Donetsk filial of “Party of Regions”. Those days seem so long ago – remember when Ukraine had a basic two-party system, with “Orange” parties representing the West and Center, and “Party of Regions” representing the Eastern regions of the country? And when the two parties basically took turns winning Presidential and Parliamentary elections? Except that, whenever “Team Regions” won the elections, then “Team Orange” would bring in their American and European friends to overturn the result? Getting nostalgic just remembering those halcyon times. That was before the 2014 coup which banned “Regions” and ensured eternal power only to Team Orange. Anyhow, Tsarev, who used to be a respected member of the Ukrainian political establishment, went over (sort of) to the side of the Separatists when the country split. And Tsarev is said to be close to two men known as the Brothers Kljuev. Sergei and Andrei Kljuev. Andrei used to be a big muckety-muck also in Ukrainian politics: From 2003-2004 he occupied the post of Deputy Prime Minister and curated the Electrical Energy sector. During the Presidential election of 2004 Kljuev headed Viktor Yanukovych’s campaign. Kljuev was an effective campaign strategist: Yanukovych won the election. It wasn’t Kljuev’s fault that the Americans and Europeans subsequently marched in, and overturned the results.
What, if anything, links Tsarev and/or the Brothers Kljuev to the Phantom Firm UkrElektroVat? Well, according to Ukrainian muckracking journalist Denis Bigus (and please, no Monty Python type jokes about his name will be allowed), the phantom firm was registered in a private flat in the town of Dnipropetrovsk. The owner of the flat is a man named Nikolai Nikolaevich Frolov. And a man with exactly the same name (coincidentally or not) just happened to be working as an assistant to Oleg Tsarev, during the exact same time frame as the successful UkrElektroVat court cases against EnergoAtom. And still more circumstantial evidence: Several UkrElektroVat employees around that same time also happened to be moonlighting in the Dnipropetrovsk Paper Factory owned by Oleg Tsarev! This version of the conspiracy theory is known as the “anti-Russian” version, because of Tsarev’s ties with pro-Russian Separatists. In addition, Tsarev was forced to flee from the Ukraine and is said to live, currently, in Russia. Hence, it would be highly convenient for Ukrainian “anti-corruptionist crusaders” to blame Russia for their atomic energy woes, along with everything else that goes wrong there.
Theory #?: However, both conspiracy theories #1 (the anti-Ukrainian oligarch theory) and #2 (the anti-Russian theory) fall flat on their faces, according to the VZGLIAD writer, when one takes into account the simple fact that it was none other than Petro Poroshenko who personally signed the decree arresting the assets of EnergoAtom.
A much better theory, according to them, is that the new owner of EnergoAtom will be either a local oligarch, or, better still, Amuricans. So, what if any, is the evidence pointing the finger at U.S. conniving?
[to be continued]