Continuing the saga of Alexander Semchenko, the nerdy political pundit who risked his life when he sat in a Kiev TV studio and told the truth about what has been going on in Ukraine the past 3 years: that President Poroshenko came to power via a coup, that the Maidanites have destroyed the country, and the people in Donbass are being attacked unfairly. Here again is the link of the original story and video, from PolitNavigator. Semchenko’s statements led to a heated 3-way argument involving himself, host Mykola Veresen, and one of the other guests, Sergei Poyarkov.
The following day there was a new development when the owner of the TV Channel (News One), man by the name of Evgeny Muraev, fired talk-show host Mykola Veresen for allowing such an egregious altercation to occur on his show. Muraev also decreed that guests Semchenko and Polarkov are temporarily banned from appearing on the show again, at least until they cool down.
Today I wanted to focus on Muraev himself. Muraev seems like a good enough egg, the problem actually is not with him. It’s with a political system that allows a man to be simultaneously the owner of a major media outlet and also a member of the government. Does anyone else see the problem with such a concurrence? That it might create, er.. a conflict of interest?
And truly, this problem with Ukrainian politics did not begin with the Maidan. Quite the contrary: Some of the more deluded Casserole-Headed Maidanites, I guess you could call them the “useful idiots”, actually believed that they were battling against the corrupt Oligarchical system. But instead of bringing down the Ukrainian Oligarchy they, in true Hegelian fashion, only strengthened it and gave it a new lease on life.
No, the Oligarchy actually was born in the early 1990s with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Every post-Soviet nation, including Russia, went through a phase of Oligarchy, and some, such as Ukraine, got stuck in it. By the laws of Nature, a nation which is stuck in Oligarchy for more than X years, will eventually die a horrific and spasmotic death.
The word Oligarchy comes from the Greek ὀλιγαρχία (oligarkhía); from ὀλίγος (olígos), meaning “the few”, and ἄρχω (arkho), meaning “to rule”. In other words, a political system where the few rule the many. Well, that could describe just about any political system, I reckon, including representative democracies. More precisely, in modern times, the term has come to be employed to characterize systems where the wealthy owners of major property assets also serve in the government. Which also characterizes most systems of government from time immemorial, I reckon; except that now, in modern times, people expect to see a separation of political functions versus major property ownership — we’re not talking about owning a house or car, but, like, oil wells and gas fields — and to avoid at least the appearance of a conflict of interest.
In the post-Soviet context, the Oligarchs were a group of men who rose to the top very rapidly — I guess you could also call them nouveau riche — and were able to buy up formerly state-owned assets for pennies to the dollar. These guys became millionaires or even billionaires overnight. These assets, by the way, included just about everything and represented a foundation of national wealth which was built up by generations upon generations of ordinary hard-working people. People who labored like ants and saw very little in return for their sweat, other than the satisfaction of knowing they lived a productive and honest life. Then the situation that arose, the era of national looting, was exactly as George Orwell had prophesied in the final chapter of his masterpiece Animal Farm. How did these oligarchs succeed in taking such a huge chunk of the national wealth and sliding into their own pockets? Well, that’s a complicated question, and too complicated to get into here, and I don’t want to start quoting Trotsky and upsetting a lot of people; suffice it to say that much of this drama involved simply knowing the right people. Or being a member of the existing nomenklatura, for example.
Jew-haters, by the way, see a hive-type conspiracy here, they love to point out how many oligarchs (quite a lot of them, in truth) are Jewish. I don’t know if anyone compiled a scientific statistic of this factor, so it may just be perception. Besides Jews, there seem to be a lot of Armenians and Central Asians. One could say that such ethnic types had a long history of being smart businessmen and good at money. In which case, it is surprising that there aren’t more Gruzian oligarchs, since Gruzians always had a reputation for being good at business.
Anyhow, in this random crapshoot that we call Life, whether or not one is able to create opportunities for oneself, or is able to take advantage of opportunities that pop up out of the blue — well, a lot of that depends sometimes on just Sheer Luck, but more often on Connections. Family connections, or somebody you knew as a child, somebody who belongs to the same club, the same Church (or Synagogue), a golfing partner, etc. That’s how these things really happen. Not because of some vast Zionist conspiracy, nor the purported instinctual drive of Jews to always further the interests of their own Chosen Tribe. I mention these ridiculous ideas, only because they are proposed seriously out there, in the blogosphere, by the usual Haters.
Be that as it may, without ignoring the factor of ethnic contacts, cliques, or whatever contributed to success, one still is left with the fact that these individuals were able to do what they did, under the geopolitical conditions which arose at the time. Why did such-and-such a man become an Oligarch? It’s the same answer to the same jokey question, as why a cat licks his own b***s, namely because he can.
Which brings us to Evgeny Vladimirovich Muraev, the owner of News One Channel. Muraev represents one of the Kharkov Districts in Parliament, and is also a Deputy of the Upper House. He serves on a parliamentary committee involved in questions of taxation and tariffs. I am sure that he is very competent and very good at analyzing these issues.
Muraev is not Jewish. (Saying this, I forgot to have his DNA tested for Slavic purity.)
In the past Muraev was a member of the Party of Regions (which has since been banned), now he belongs to a different party called “За життя” (“For Life”).
Evgeny was born in 1976, in a family of Soviet white-collar workers. His dad, Vladimir Kuzmich, was the General Director of a Kharkov factory called “Rapid” which produced machinery and metal widgets, along with wooden crates and a whole bunch of other things, probably including kitchen sinks. Evgeny’s mom, Olga Alexeevna, was the Dean of the Chemistry Faculty of the A.N. Beket Kharkov University of Urban Economy.
With such a pedigree and such parents, Evgeny, provided he keeps himself clean and doesn’t drink or gamble, is pre-destined for a successful career and a meaningful life, regardless of which political system he grows up in.
[to be continued]