On the morning of 19 December Ukrainians got up to learn about a momentous economic decision: the biggest Ukrainian bank, PrivatBank, had just been nationalised after its two owners used depositors’ money to build a business empire and distributed the money among Jewish organisations in Europe. Why did it have to happen?
A look into the past. PrivatBank used to be Ukraine’s largest bank with 20% of the banking sector and $53bn assets.Its history is quite unusual for the country’s realities because it:
- was one of the first private banks (formed in 1992);
- was the first bank to introduce plastic cards and ATMs;
- was the first Ukrainian financial institution to receive an international rating (Thomson BankWatch International Rating Agency, Fitch IBCA);
- was the first Ukrainian bank to have opened its International Banking Unit in Cyprus in 1999;
- introduced electronic banking in 2001;
- received STP Excellence Award from Deutsche Bank in 2003.
61% of the Dutch voters rejected the Ukraine association treaty in a referendum this year. 31% of the population showed up, which is a far larger number than of those who turned up at Maidan to protest. For the second time the Dutch population cast its vote in a referendum, for the second time the outcome will be nullified in the name of European Democracy.
European leaders have celebrated the Maidan revolution as the attempt of Ukrainian people to join the family of liberal democracies of Western Europe. It couldn’t be further from the truth. In the official version presented in the West, Maidan protests were spontaneously sparked off when the pro-Russian Yanukovich government renounced to ratify an association agreement with the European Union.
Yet in November 2013, before the Maidan movement even started, Oleg Tsarov, member of the Ukrainian parliament, had reported in a parliamentary session on the recruitment of activists organized by the US embassy in Kiev for unknown purposes.
The US embassy in Kiev, via its representative Victoria Nuland, would later become a primary actor in pressuring for a regime change and the formation of a pro-West government in the first months of 2014. For clarity, Victoria Nuland is the third in charge of the US foreign policy, second only President Obama and John Kerry, who had been busy negotiating a nuclear deal with Iran. Continue reading
In April the Dutch people will vote on the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. In an interview with the NRC, a Dutch leading newspaper, Juncker warned the Dutch voters a “NO” would lead to a big continental crisis. “Russia and anti-European movements will profit from a Dutch No; the Dutch have to vote yes for reasons not related to the treaty, the Dutch should act like a European strategist” according to Mr Juncker.
Even the Dutch leader of the most pro-European party, Mr Pechtold, was shocked by the warning, fearing it would have an adverse affect on the Dutch voters. Continue reading
Ukraine does not plan any additional purchases of gas from Russia by the end of this year. The reversed flow from the EU and the falling consumption have allowed gas storage tanks to be filled up to 53 percent, from about 46 percent last year, according to Gas Infrastructure Europe data. Russia is losing its blackmailing-tool on Ukraine.
Source: Ukrtransgaz statictics
Vladimir Putin is resuming the play. A year ago he was spurned on the international political scene only to become a key player nowadays. As he had a face-to-face talk with Barack Obama during the G-20 Summit in Turkey, he must have been complacent about his plan coming to fruition. Making use of the terror victims, of whom 224 were his compatriots, the Russian president is slowly but surely re-establishing his position, gradually fulfilling his aims. Europe needs Putin in her struggle against Jihadists. It will, however, have its price: Europe will have to lift the sanctions imposed on Russia and give up on plans of integrating Ukraine within the Union.