First, I just wanted to mention that this has been a great month for us here at The Kremlin Stooge; passing through 500,000 and 600,000 hits has been neatly bookended by Aussies, as Jen’s post on the Caucasus took us through 500,000, and next up is another guest post, this time by Ken M, just after we passed 600,000. March 2014 towered over all previous months like that amazing hotel in Dubai (the graphic on WordPress is a bar graph); there’s still a few days left of March, but we have already beaten our previous best month by 8,386 hits. You know what draws a lot of people? Guest posts, which represent fresh thinking, and comments by interesting people. We are blessed with both.
Anyway, yeah – Ken M. has put a considerable amount of effort into unraveling the money trail in Kiev, past and present, and the lucky man in the barrel today is none other than the current unelected weasel-in-a-drainpipe Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatsenyuk – “Yats”, to those who know him well enough to choose his career path. Without further ado, Follow The Money, Part 1, by Ken M.
Ukraine – Follow the Money
While he tends to be overshadowed by his more colorful cohorts, the key figure in the group that have siezed power in Ukraine is Arseniy Yatsenyuk, first revealed to much of the world in Victoria Nuland’s now infamous ‘F*ck the EU’ tape as her man in Ukraine.
Operations such as what we have just seen in the overthrow of Ukraine’s government do not come from any one source these days – instead they come about when the vast array of western government linked NGO’s, think tanks, financial institutions, billionaire foundations & their various political action committees reach the necessary critical mass and an opportunity opens up for them to take advantage of (or is created).
The origin of the current seizing of power originally came from the attempt to salvage something from the ashes of the ‘Orange Revolution’ by some of its original backers. In 2007 Viktor Yushchenko, former IMF protege and hero of the Orange revolution, along with his government were in complete chaos, his popularity now in the single digits.
The core of the Yuschenko government’s policies were essentially the same as what the current unelected regime is attempting to push through – subordinate economic policy to the control of the IMF, mass privitazation of state assets; the outlawing of Russian language; the promotion of Ukraine’s entry into NATO; removal of the Russian fleet from Crimea & control handed over to NATO, etc.
However, with the complete chaos that came in the wake of the Orange Revolution very little of this program was achieved, despite the vast sums of money expended, intense political lobbying efforts and the enormous western style PR/media campaigns on its behalf (only some the privatization & IMF sponsored ‘reforms’ were successfully implemented).
A new champion for ‘Western Democracy’ had to be created, and so in 2007 the Arseniy Yatsenyuk Foundation was born, and with it the career of Arseniy Yatsenyuk as a major political player.
Despite its brief removal from the internet, a clear picture of just what Arseniy Yatsenyuk is about can still be gleaned from the list of partners found on the Arseniy Yatseninuk Foundation’s website. They are – the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation (A Project of the German Marshall Fund); – Chatham House; – NATO Information and Documentation Centre; – State Department of the United States of America; – NED National Endowment for Democracy; – Horizon Capital; – Swedbank; – & the Victor Pinchuk Foundation.
While the few writers that have written about this have justifiably focused on the blatant brass of NATO, the US State Department & it’s subsidiaries promoting a foreign leader into power of a major country on Russia’s border, much of the deeper story is to be found in the details.
Follow the Money
“Swedbank’s Financial Markets Department is the leader in attracting risk and debt capital in the Baltics.”
The main types of services provided by Swedbank Markets are:
Consultations on attracting risk capital; Consultations on company mergers, acquisitions and takeovers; Consultations in case of privatization; Consultations on restructuring of companies, restructuring and optimization of capital, investigation and evaluation.
Swedbank Markets are in ‘Strategic cooperation with JP Morgan’. Horizon Capital – an innocently named private equity fund formed in 2006, it is focused on profit potential in Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova.
This starts looking very odd when you take a look at its founder: Jeffrey C. Neal, Founding Partner and Chairman – prior to this, he was the Chairman of the Global Investment Banking Group of Merrill Lynch & Co.
So, what is a former Chairman in one of the world’s most powerful trading firms doing forming a company focused on two economies that can best be described as basket cases along with another essentially closed to western investors?
A look at the co-founder brings things into a little more perspective:
Natalie A. Jaresko, co-founder & Chief Executive Officer – the former Chief of the Economic Section of the U.S. Embassy in Ukraine, a member of President Yushchenko’s Foreign Investors Advisory Council, Jaresko still serves on the board of another company called the Western NIS Enterprise Fund, an equity fund that is in partnership with USAID in Ukraine & Moldova. Among WNISEF’s partners are Whitney MacMillan, multi-billionaire & the former CEO of Cargill, the world’s largest agricultural trading company; along with the former Chairman of Sippican, a subsidiary of defence contractor Lockheed Martin.
Power and its Rewards
When Yatsenyuk came into power, his first move was to make two appointments: the new Governor of the National Bank & the new Minister of Finance. Stepan Kubiv, one of the senior leaders of the Maiden protests got the National Bank job. Kubiv had another job until this – he was the head of Kredbank, essentially a wholly owned subsidiary of Poland’s largest bank, with 130 branches in Ukraine (he might have the distinction of being the only bank CEO in modern times who turned street protest leader and helped overthrow a sitting government – they genuinely lead from behind, not the front…)
Kubiv’s first order of business was to resume “negotiations with external creditors, the International Monetary Fund in the first place, right after the country’s new government is formed and elaboration of a strict new plan for economic and financial reforms. “
As Zero Hedge points out, Kubiv “knows everything there is to know about all assets held within the Ukrainian banking system by the local population.”
The new Minister of Finance Aleksandr Shlapak is probably even more interesting – a political crony of Viktor Yushchenko – a long-time protegé of the IMF…upon Yushchenko’s defeat, Aleksandr Shlapak joined a shadowy Bermuda based offshore financial outfit, IMG International Ltd (IMG), holding the position of Vice President. Based in Hamilton, Bermuda, IMG specializes in “captive insurance management”, reinsurance and “risk transfer.”
What we have here is the inside track – those players best positioned to take advantage of essentially the whole of Ukraine’s remaining assets along with its future earnings to pay off the vast debts – with the details being ‘negotiated’ between Arseniy Yatsenyuk (along with his team of former IMF & finance industry insiders) and the people who created his political career.
The information on Ukraine’s assets from Stepan Kubiv;
Swedbank Markets are positioned as the player to work out the terms of the deals to place most of Ukraine’s assets on the market;
Merril Lynch & JP Morgan are positioned to pick up the better parts of debt trade, with IMG International taking the lead for the vulture trade.
Other well positioned players are : Cargill for the management of Ukraine’s agricultural land & grain sales along with Lockheed Martin for still viable Defence Industries.
These players are looking to take Ukraine into a modern variation of the shock doctrine years of the early 90′s, with the countries rapidly rising debt (or the people of Ukraine’s future earnings) & remaining industries being traded away to vulture capitalists under the most dubious of legal circumstances, and full connivance of the major Western powers.
PART 2 Coming:
Victor Pinchuk, the vainglorious oligarch who midwifed the EuroMaidan.