Roman in Ukraine

Searching for free market philosophies in Ukraine.

News headlines and excerpts

October 15th, 2011

Apr 8 – Agricultural tycoon explains why he is suing government

“Just last year, Oleksiy Vadatursky was the agrarian king, flying high as one of Ukraine’s 10 richest people, worth more than $1 billion and looking to invest to help keep his company, Nibulon, as one of Ukraine’s top grain traders.

But the government’s decision to ignore Nibulon when handing out quotas to export grain this year has caused huge losses to the company. Meanwhile, authorities granted a huge export quota to a previously unknown company that is partly owned by the state and partly by unknown private investors.

Now Vadatursky, a 67-year-old former Soviet collective farm worker, is fighting back, taking the state to court for what he and others say are opaque decisions about who is allowed to make huge profits through grain exports.

Through groups such as the American Chamber of Commerce and Ukrainian Grain Association, domestic and top international grain companies operating in Ukraine have threatened numerous times in the past months to sue the government for damages caused by protectionist and non-transparent policies.

But so far, Vadatursky’s company is the only one of Ukraine’s large grain market players to act on such a threat.

“We have sued in order to draw the attention of the country’s authorities to non-transparent allocation of quotas,” Vadatursky said in a telephone interview from the southern city of Mykolayiv, where Nibulon is based.”

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Azarov has created a Commission of the prices. Led Klyuev

INnumber of created a Commission with ensuring price stability for the basic social and meaningful products and services.

The Minister of economic development and trade Andrei Klyueva appointed Chairman of the Committee, said in a statement by the press-service of Mìnekonomtorgìvlì.

The main tasks of the Commission, the Government determined to promote the coordination and effectiveness of the Central and local executive bodies, aimed at achieving price stability in the country;

Determination ways, mechanisms and ways to deal with problematic issues regarding avoiding unreasonable price increases for basic social and meaningful products and services;

Improving the normative and legal base.

As reported, the Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said about the intention to create an Interdepartmental Commission to monitor prices on socially significant goods and services on April 7.

Inflation in March was the biggest for the last six months, prices rose 1.4% in a year and a half times higher than inflation.

More substantial growth in consumer prices last entire in September (+ 2.9%), and monthly inflation has not exceeded 1%, writes the Edition “Kommersant Ukraine”.

As a result of the March faster annual average inflation for the past 12 months, rebounded by 0.5 percentage points to 7.7%. This happened for the first time from September 2010, then the average inflation rate has declined from 10.5% to 7.2%.

It is noteworthy that the number of product groups, in which the marked price increase of more than 1%, small: hlìboprodukti (+ 2.7%), fish (+ 1.5%), vegetables (+ 9.5%) and fruit (+ 4, 6%).

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Russia’s Crime of the Century
How crooked officials pulled off a massive scam, spent millions on Dubai real estate, and killed my partner when he tried to expose them.

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Poll: Party of Regions of Ukraine losing support
Apr 28 at 10:09 | Interfax-Ukraine
If elections to the Verkhovna Rada were held in mid-April, five parties would have garnered enough votes to qualify for the parliament, i.e. the Party of Regions (13.9% of the vote), the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (10.6%), the Front for Change led by Arseniy Yatseniuk (7.1%), the Communist Party (3.2%), and the Udar (Strike) party led by Vitali Klitschko (3.1%), as can be seen from a nationwide public opinion poll of 1,020 respondents conducted by the Kyiv International Sociology Institute on April 8 to 18.

The Strong Ukraine party led by Sergiy Tigipko would have been supported by 2.8% of the voters, the all-Ukrainian association Freedom led by Oleh Tiahnybok by 2.7%, and Anatoliy Hrytsenko’s Bloc ‘Civil Position’ by 1.6%, which is below the 3% qualification threshold.

The number of voters ready to go to polling stations has dropped by 23 percentage points to 50% from 73% since June 2010, the institute said in a statement.

This decline is mainly attributed to Party of Regions supporters, as their number has dropped from 38% to 13.9% in this period of time, it said.

Read more: http://www.kyivpost.com/news/nation/detail/103085/#ixzz1YNX1MV4b

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As part of continuing complaints against the regime of Ukrainian President Yanukovych, Svoboda and other opposition groups protested in Kiev today about several issues they believe are detrimental to Ukrainian sovereignty.

Svoboda’s protest in Taras Shevchenko park today focused on the Kharkov (Kharkiv) Agreements of 2010, against the Kremlin talk of “improvements” Russian-Ukrainian relations, the continuation of the lease to Russia’s Black Sea fleet in Sevastopol, threats to Ukraine’s national-economic security, gas deals with Russia, and other issues. Svoboda believes President Yanukovych’s regime is systematically surrendering to the Kremlin’s appetite for gobbling up Ukraine’s national sovereignty.

More: http://www.demotix.com/news/671616/ukrainian-nationalists-protest-kiev

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When in trouble, Ukrainians turn to top foreign law firms
Apr 7 at 22:51 | Vlad Lavrov
In Ukraine’s extremely tough and non-transparent legal environment, more high-profile clients in the nation are hiring foreign lawyers with star power.

The hope is that these high-priced advocates will be able to generate favorable international publicity that somehow helps to win the case in Ukraine.

Read more: http://www.kyivpost.com/news/business/bus_focus/detail/101860/#ixzz1YNXjyy2o

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Azarov says, Ukraine keeps meat, bread and pasta prices down thanks to Kharkiv accords
May 4 at 10:43 | Interfax-Ukraine
Ukrainian Prime Minister Mykola Azarov has said that due to a discount in Russian gas price agreed in Kharkiv in 2010 they managed to curb the prices on popular food commodities, despite the global rise in oil and food prices.

Read more: http://www.kyivpost.com/news/business/bus_general/detail/103566/#ixzz1YNax5bZZ

[No mention of the true source of rising prices -- printing money.]

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Regions: Only citizens should be allowed to buy land
Apr 11

When a moratorium on the sale of agricultural land is cancelled, the right to purchase agricultural land should be given only to individuals, who are citizens of Ukraine, the leader of the parliamentary faction of the Party of Regions, Oleksandr Yefremov, has said.

Read more: http://www.kyivpost.com/news/nation/detail/102066/#ixzz1YNY0lByT

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Investors: Ukraine again losing chance for reform
May 16 at 19:05 | Interfax-Ukraine
London, May 16 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Reform has ground to a halt in Ukraine, which is losing its investment appeal, investors said during the seventh Adam Smith Conference summit in London.

The situation in Ukraine is disappointing, said Timothy Ash, director for emerging market research at Royal Bank of Scotland.

Prospects were good a year ago and its seemed that remarkable people in the administration will not only talk, but also promote reform, he said.

Read more: http://www.kievpost.net/news/business/bus_general/detail/104515/#ixzz1YNZ8POCI

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Israeli Agents abduct Palestinian man in Ukraine

Following the abduction of Dirar Abu Sisi, deputy director of operations of the Gaza’s only power plant, and his subsequent deportation to Israel for imprisonment, public confidence in the security services has been dramatically reduced. Mass media rumors, citing government sources, implicated the security services themselves in the abduction. At least this rumor suggests that the Ukrainian security services are in control of the activity of foreign agents on Ukrainian soil – for the alternative is quite disconcerting.

Read more: http://www.kyivpost.com/news/opinion/op_ed/detail/103820/#ixzz1YNZd2rpd

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Protests with the arrest of former PM Yulia Tymoshenko

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Ukrainians cut cars in half to reduce import tax at customs
“oday I received some tax saving wisdom from a taxi driver in Ukraine. He told me that people who import cars to Ukraine sometimes cut the car in two separate pieces and carry it through the customs this way. By doing this, they save a fortune on import tax. A car carried in two pieces is seen as spare parts and therefore is taxed at a much lower rate than a normal car.” (more)

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Profitability of grain production in Ukraine to almost halve in 2011
The Ukrainian Agribusiness Club’s analysts said that the reason for the fall in the profitability of grain production is the introduction of import duties on grain, the cancellation of VAT refunding to grain traders and a rise in expenses on grain production. They said that expenses on mineral fertilizers and fuel and lubricants grew by 50% this year, expenses on seeds by 60%, expenses on wages by 32% and expenses on rent rates by 20%.

Read more

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Ukrainian government introduces price regulations for oats, millet, beans
The Ukrainian government has expanded the list of state regulation of food prices for 2011-2012, adding oats, millet and beans to it. . . . As reported, the government draws up a list of foods for price regulation every year. Minimum and maximum intervention prices are set for the foodstuffs, which are indicators for the financial and commodity interventions carried out by the Agrarian fund.

For the 2011-2012 marketing year the list includes hard and soft wheat, wheat and rye mixture, winter and spring rye, barley, wheat and rye flour, corn, beet sugar, buckwheat, powered milk and butter.Read more

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A Farewell to Russia
“Democracy may not be the stuff of Viktor Yanukovich’s dreams, but the Ukrainian president is quietly strengthening ties with the European Union.” (more)

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World Bank gives Ukreximbank $200 million loan for energy efficiency project
The Ukrainian bank said in a press release that the guarantee agreement between Ukraine and the World Bank and the loan agreement between Ukreximbank and the World Bank were signed on June 10.

“In accordance with the agreements, the World Bank will provide a $200 million loan to Ukreximbank against government guarantees for up to 30 years,” reads the statement.

http://www.kyivpost.com/news/business/bus_general/detail/106476/#ixzz1avFna6OI

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President signs law on introduction of 9-14% duties on grain exports (updated)

Ukraine will impose duties on the export of wheat (of 9%, or at least EUR 17 per tonne), corn (12%, or at least EUR 20 per tonne), and barley (14%, or at least EUR 23 per tonne) for the period until January 1, 2012.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych signed a relevant law on amendments to the Tax Code and imposing export duty on some types of grain crops on June 10, the presidential press service reported.

Read more: http://www.kyivpost.com/news/business/bus_general/detail/106506/#ixzz1avGHGBqk

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Chinese company ready to invest $400 million in coalmines in Lviv region

Lviv, June 15 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Chinese investors are ready to invest $400 million in the construction of several coal mines in Lviv region.

President of Kitpred enterprise Dan Saosyu made this announcement at a meeting with Lviv Governor Mykhailo Tsymbaliuk, Lviv Regional Administration’s press service reported.

http://www.kyivpost.com/news/business/bus_general/detail/106813/#ixzz1avGTfYrP

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Ukraine works to reduce consumption of Russian gas

Moscow, June 21 (Interfax-Ukraine) – Ukraine is working to reduce the amount of Russian gas consumed by Ukrainian businesses, Naftogaz Ukrainy chief Yevhen Bakulin said at the Petroleum and Gas Congress in Moscow on Tuesday.

“Our government is undertaking measures to reduce natural gas consumption. As a result, we have been able to reduce annual purchases. A priority for us is introduction of energy-saving technologies and development of alternative energy sources on a nationwide level,” he said at the congress, which is held alongside the MIOGE oil and gas exhibition.

Ukraine might reduce imports of Russian gas to 33 bcm a year, Valeriy Muntiyan, the Ukrainian government representative for cooperation with Russia and the CIS, said previously.

Read more: http://www.kyivpost.com/news/business/bus_general/detail/107184/#ixzz1avGe3aCd

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Land market should be introduced not earlier than 2013
Jun 21

The cancellation of a moratorium on land sales and the introduction of the agricultural land market from January 1, 2012 is not acceptable, the deputy chairman of the political council of the Our Ukraine party, MP Viktor Matchuk, considers.

According to the MP’s press service, the Our Ukraine party is “a staunch supporter of the land market.”

However, Matchuk believes that this must be postponed at least until 2013, as the state must give the people guidance before introducing the land market.

Read more: http://www.kyivpost.com/news/business/bus_general/detail/107172/#ixzz1avH1WmAJ

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Lowering of limit for long currency position aimed at supporting hryvnia exchange rate, reducing inflation pressure
Jun 29

The lowering of the limit of the general open long currency position for banks from 20% to 5% by the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) is aimed at supporting the hryvnia exchange rate and reducing inflation pressure, according to bankers polled by Interfax-Ukraine.

“The NBU reduced the limit of the general open long currency position, retaining the limit of the general short open currency position – this shows that the central bank is trying to support the hyrvnia exchange rate on the interbank market,” Deputy Board Chairman of Kyiv-based Finance and Credit Bank, Serhiy Borysov, said.

Read more: http://www.kyivpost.com/news/business/bus_general/detail/107673/#ixzz1avHLds00

My comment: Supporting the exchange rate and reducing inflation pressure are opposite dynamics. The NBU cannot do both.

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Yanukovych signs law creating equal conditions for starting business
May 23 at 13:33 | UNIAN
President of Ukraine Viktor Yanukovych has signed the Law “On Amendments to Certain Legislative Acts of Ukraine on the Simplification of Procedures for Starting Businesses”, which creates equal starting conditions for those willing to do business in Ukraine, according to the Press office of Yanukovych.

The Law was introduced under the Program of Economic Reforms for 2010-2014. Its implementation will allow simplifying and optimizing the procedure of legal entities registration, which in turn will encourage entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and improve Ukraine’s rating in The Doing Business Project by the “Starting a Business”.

Read more: http://www.kyivpost.com/news/business/bus_general/detail/105060/#ixzz1avIomsTB

Pro tip: don’t get your hopes up.

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Ukraine’s largest perfume seller goes under Russian control
May 22 at 15:05 | Mark Rachkevych
A Russian company has successfully completed anti-trust clearance in Ukraine to take control of Brocard, Ukraine’s largest perfume seller with 63 outlets throughout the country.

Alcor was officially permitted to acquire more than 50 percent share of stock in two offshore companies that control the perfume vendor, Ukraine’s Anti-Monopoly Committee’s decision stated.

Read more: http://www.kyivpost.com/news/business/bus_general/detail/105007/#ixzz1avJINWnz

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Painfully intimate photos of Ukrainian prisoners.

As Donald puts it: “Without confessions and guilty pleas, courts everywhere would grind to a halt in an instant; more than 90 percent of all charges in the Russian and Ukrainian judicial systems end in guilty pleas, and only experienced criminals and highly educated defendants stand a chance. This is what the cops are doing behind their closed doors—the feudal system’s trial by ordeal is still much with us.”

The following pages feature selected photos from the Interrogations book, which will be released by Schilt Publishing this fall.

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Ukraine farmland privatization ‘only for Ukrainians’ – minister
31/05/2011

Foreigners will be barred from buying Ukraine’s farmland when Kiev launches a massive privatization program next year, the country’s agricultural policy minister said on Tuesday.

Ukraine’s parliament voted to liberalize its land market in a tight vote in March.

“At the first stage, we will only be introducing the land market for Ukrainian nationals,” Mykola Prysyazhnyuk told RIA Novosti.

“We understand that if we make the market free, then $30 billion will be enough – and that’s not a lot for world financial corporations – to buy up all of our land,” he said.

Prysyazhnyuk said Ukraine would export about 1 million tons of maize, wheat and barley before this year’s harvest is gathered in.

More: http://en.rian.ru/world/20110531/164336574.html

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Next wave of changes in Ukraine’s tax system could start in autumn, says vice premier
Jun 3

“In almost all countries the same principle is operating: earn more – pay more. And in terms of percentage ratios people pay more. Our practically level scale of taxation differs [from the widely spread international practice],” Tigipko said.

In addition, according to him, imperfect legislation leaves significant parts of the economy untaxed.

Tigipko also criticized the current system of tax benefits because of its disorder and lack of efficiency, and called the penal system “burdensome and not always adequate.” The ineffective judicial system worsens the situation, as does corruption and the low level of training of employees of the tax service regarding some issues, the vice premier added.

Read more: http://www.kyivpost.com/news/business/bus_general/detail/105946/#ixzz1avKrJUpD

Lord help us. Let’s hope Ukraine’s tax system stays inefficient.

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Yanukovych signs laws writing off heat supply companies’ debts
June 3

Draft law No. 8351 writes off the debts of fuel and energy companies, Naftogaz Ukrainy and its subsidiaries Ukrgazvydobuvannia, Ukrtransgaz, Chornomornaftogaz for natural gas as of January 1, 2010.

The document also writes off the debts of Gaz Ukrainy to Naftogaz Ukrainy, those of fuel and energy enterprises, including penalties and fines for 1997-2011.

Other points of the document write off the debts of regional energy companies to Energomarket, as well as Energomarket’s debts to energy generating companies and Ukrenergo for electricity as of January 1, 2010.

In addition, the parliament wrote off Ukrenergo’s obligations on funds that were to be allocated to develop the wind power sector in Ukraine.

Draft law No. 8352 writes off the tax debts of Naftogaz Ukrainy (except for VAT debts run up during the customs clearance of imported gas), Ukrtransgaz, Ukrgazvydobuvannia, Chornomornaftogaz and regional and city gas companies as of January 1, 2011.

Read more: http://www.kyivpost.com/news/business/bus_general/detail/105962/#ixzz1avLGfcN2

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