Poroshenko’s first appointments: Russia’s friend, a conformist and “freaking donut” 

2014/06/11 • News

The appointments made by the President today elicited many questions. The most important one is whether he had forgotten Maidan’s demand regarding government lustration. 

DS analysed the first presidential appointments. We remind you that today the post of the head of the Administration of the President was given to a known media magnate Boris Lozhkin, his deputies are Zhitomir-born associate of Yatseniuk’s Hennadiy Zubko and the “servant of all Tsars” Oleg Rafalskiy. The head of the National State of Affairs henceforth will be a member of Leonid Chernovetskiy’s “young team” Sergiy Berezenko. 

Boris Lozhkin: Russia’s good friend

Petro Poroshenko signed the order to appoint Boris Lozhkin as head of his Administration. For the President himself, such a decision might seem completely innocent, taking into account that Lozhkin is his former business parter. Therefore, he can be trusted. But the former owner of the UMH group media holding regularly receives high ratings in Moscow. And they do not easily pay compliments to Ukrainian businessmen there.

The new head of the President’s Administration is 42 years old. He was born in Kharkiv, where he graduated high school and received higher education (he graduated the Kharkiv State Pedagogical Institute with a degree in Russian language and literature in 1994). He founded his first business in 1994, having launched the newspaper “Telenedelya” (in 2003 he takes the same product to the Russian market). In the end of the 90’s he made the several publications under his control all part of the media holding UMH group, the most famous printed media of which are newspapers “Komsomolskaya Pravda v Ukrayine,” “Argumenty i Fakty,” the magazines “Korrespondent” and Forbes. It is no secret that the Lozhkin-controlled media have numerous times been listed among the leading media that printed on-order articles. Especially during the electoral campaigns. In particular, “Komsomolka” did this quite frequently. Meanwhile all the publications of the holding were issued exclusively in Russian. And, taking the scale of the business into account, this directly influenced the general russification of the Ukrainian mass media market.

In 2013 the future head of the Presidential Administration decided to sell his holding. The buyer for UMH group was the de facto chairman of the business belonging to Viktor Yanukovych’s “Family” Sergiy Kurchenko. This scandalous deal allowed Yanukovych’s team to concentrate all main media assets in Ukraine in their hands and implement total censure in the information sphere.

But what is more interesting is the relationship between Mr. Lozhkin and the representatives of the Russian government. While other Ukrainian businessmen have come fact to fact with certain limitations at the markets of the neighbouring country for several years, our hero had it good all the time. What is more, recently Boris Lozhkin was complimented by the head of the RF Federation Council Valentina Matviyenko, who awarded the businessman with a diploma of the Council “for a big investment in the development of mass media in Ukraine and reinforcement of good neighbour relations between Russia and Ukraine.” “Boris Lozhkin is head of a publishing house which works with Russian media. I would like to say that in order to realise such a project, one has to be a good professional and a friend of Russia’s and understand what important mission they are carrying out. Because for us the relationship with our brotherly Ukrainian nation and exchange of opinion are of utmost importance… Boris Yevgeniyevich Lozhkin does it in a very skilled and professional manner,” noted Matviyenko.

This praise leads to certain suspicions. Because as practice has shown, famous Ukrainians which are loved by Kremlin representatives, turn out to be agents of influence in the end. One would want to believe that Mr. Lozhkin is not one of them. However will the russophile businessman be able to carry out pro-Ukrainian informational policies? 

Hennadiy Zubko: a moderate conformist

Former “front-liner,” Zhytomir-born Zubko curated Poroshenko’s headquarters in Zhytomir oblast. Petro Poroshenko’s results in this oblast (58.64%), just like in the majority of the regions, cannot be considered a success of the electoral headquarters. Much has been written about the “phenomenon” of Poroshenko’s victory in the first round, therefore we should not return to it.

Zubko’s political biography is not full of any particularly stark moments. In 2010 he ran for Mayor of Zhytomir and took third place. At the parliamentary elections of 2012 Hennadiy Mykhailovych ran under the brand of the United opposition “Batkivshchina” and became a member of the Parliament. In the Parliament he was part of the “Batkivshchina” fraction, though he did not support Yatseniuk’s initiative regarding the combination of the “Front of Change” with Yulia Timoshenko’s party. Zubko left the “Front of Change” and remained a non-party member. In April of the current year he became head of Poroshenko’s headquarters and only recently – in the end of May – assumed the post of the acting head of the National State of Affairs. From there, he came to work to the AP. Then this appointment was connected with the Zhytomir spirits factory, which belongs to the NSA. Essentially, Zubko wanted to retain the management loyal to him and Poroshenko asked Turchynov to appoint Zubko.

As to Zubko’s political interests in Zhytomir oblast, his main dream is to use his own people to govern the city. We remind you that right after the end of Maidan, the mayor of Zhytomir, former “regional” Volodymyr Deboy decided to leave the post. His first deputy Halyna Semenets followed him. The local members of the council quickly appointed her heir – member of the council and businessman Sergiy Sukhomlyn, who has ties to Zubko. Essentially this was Zubko’s only significant victory on the Zhytomir front. He could not appoint his secretary of the city council. What is more, the situation in the city executive council is absurd – currently there are 62 (!) members there.

There is another problem nobody mentioned yet. Hennadiy Zubko is not familiar with the regional elites, he is a strictly Zhytomir politician, who always took an overly cautious and weighed position. He never resorted to any conflicts and it is more than difficult to call him a brave reformer. Does Poroshenko know this? Of course. Why did he appoint Zubko then? There may be two answers here. It is either necessary to have a chairman who knows how to talk well, or Poroshenko doesn’t want to break regional elites.

Oleg Rafalskiy: a governor of Kuchma and Yanukovych’s time

The biography of Zhytomir oblast-born Oleg Rafalskiy is constant chancellery and apparatus routing. There are people that are considered irreplaceable specialists in preparing papers, organising banquets and laying tables etc. Overall, our hero is one of this cohort of eternal officials. He served in the Administration of the President Kuchma during Viktor Medvedchuk’s time. He was delegated there by the former “director of the Parliament,” currently member of the Parliament Olexandr Volkov, famous for his expression about “freaking donuts.” In Kuchma’s AP Rafalskiy was in charge of internal policy issues.

During Viktor Yanukovych’s tenure as Prime Minister our hero was Levochkin’s deputy in the Prime Minister’s apparatus. Together with Levochkin he came to work in the Administration of the now-President Yanukovych. He worked there until the flight of his patron. The government changed, but Rafalskiy turned out to be useful to the acting President Olexandr Turchynov as well. First he was appointed acting head of the Administration, and after Sergiy Pashinskiy assumed this post, he became the deputy. Now he will serve Poroshenko.

The merited official of all time has a brother – Igor Rafalskiy. In April 2010 he was appointed chairman of the Obukhiv District Administration. A very breadwinning post. In this district the land is expensive, here many Ukrainian politicians have made their nests. During the parliamentary elections of 2012 the Obukhiv district was represented by “Batkivshchina” candidate Viktor Romaniuk, and he was countered by regional Tetiana Zasukha. In the end Romaniuk came in first but the court decided that Zasukha had won. In the very end, the elections in this district were deemed to have not taken place. The opposition then blamed not only Zasukha and the sells judges but also the brother of the deputy head of the AP, who, as they say, provided administrative resources for the “regional.” The falsifications at those elections remained without investigation, the culprits have not been punished. Taking into account that Oleg Rafalskiy is once more respected, Poroshenko has taken the lustration of government off the agenda, the realisation of which was demanded by Maidan.

Sergiy Berezenko: a member of Chernovetskiy’s “young team” 

Berezenko has already managed to show himself in politics, having worked as a member of the Kyiv City Council between 2006 and 2014. He worked as advisor to the mayor Leonid Chernovetskiy, he was the head of the Head Committee in issues of family and youth of the Kyiv City State Administration. Therefore, in any case, he is responsible for everything that happened in the city in Chernovetskiy’s time. Nonetheless, this young person not only managed to escape the office of the Prosecutor, but also made a nice place for himself. To be in charge of state affairs is, as a famous movie character had said, “not stealing change into one’s pockets.” Don’t think that DS doubts the integrity and honesty of this man. Another movie hero – the famous Dr. House – claimed that people do not change. Let us think he was mistaken.

Berezenko did not come into politics from the street. He is the nephew of the former governor of Vinnytsya oblast, MP of many years and Petro Poroshenko’s old friend Anatoliy Matviyenko. That this friendship is strong is confirmed by the fact that Matviyenko headed the Ivano-Frankivsk headquarters at the elections. Berezenko himself during the electoral campaign coordinated the patronage service of the future President. They say that Petro Olexiyovich was satisfied. And thank God. But just in case we remind you of several numbers so that the citizens are able to control where the taxpayers’ money is going in the end of the year. In 2014 the NSA was to receive 1 billion 65 million UAH from the state budget. The biggest expenses are 380,55 mn UAH for the provision of medical services by the famous “Feofania” and other medical institutions for the VIP’s, as well as 297,83 million UAH for the provision of the activities of the President of Ukraine and his chancellery. Another thing: the government has announced the sale of unneeded government property. And this is impossible without civil control.

Source: DSNews

Translated by Mariya Shcherbinina

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