Dmitry Astakhov, RTA:
According to media reports, the former President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko followed the example of his Moldovan partner, oligarch Vlad Plahotniuc and hastily left the country with his family. Journalists referring to own sources say that Poroshenko’s family ran from the country in several stages and took different flights, and Poroshenko – now already embattled – oligarch moved to the United Arab Emirates.
Several criminal cases have been opened against Poroshenko in Ukraine, and the ex-President, obviously, flees from them. Interestingly, in the case of Poroshenko, few people can think of calling what is happening ‘political lynching’. Abuses of power by the ex-President and his henchmen over the past five years have been obvious and even provocative, so hardly anyone sane would dare to argue that there is no crime for the former leader of Ukraine. In addition, Poroshenko has gained a dramatic unpopularity, which in the beginning overthrew him from the post of President, and now provokes in Ukrainian society the demand for a lynching of the ‘former’ and high-profile imprisonments. The militant mood of the people is fueled by the bitterness of unfulfilled promises about a bright European future, on the wave of which Poroshenko came to power, and the continuing death of people in the east of the country, which Petro Poroshenko promised to stop in 2014.
Portraying a victim will not work – knowing this, the oligarch has escaped. The Moldovan ‘colleague’ of Poroshenko, oligarch and former leader of the Democratic Party of Moldova Vlad Plahotniuc found himself in a similar situation a little earlier. It is difficult to judge who is more unpopular at home, but Plahotniuc chose not to wait and flew immediately after the surrender of the government offices to the legitimate government of Maia Sandu and Igor Dodon. By the time of Poroshenko’s flight Plahotniuc refused all posts and even resigned the MP’s mandate – rumor has it, the runaway oligarch settled somewhere in the USA.
Interestingly, the influence of Washington and other Western capitals on the change of power in Moldova and Ukraine, as a rule, is not discussed. Plahotniuc surrendered after a quarter-hour communication with the US Ambassador, and Poroshenko before the presidential election was ‘gently’ warned in Berlin and Paris that the power should be transferred to Zelensky without a fight and in the spirit of European democracy. It is believed that the key to the overthrow of the regimes of Poroshenko and Plahotniuc were Washington-given personal guarantees of their personal integrity, families and property. If the first is quite possible to believe, things with the property are not that simple.
It should be understood that the guarantee of personal security is a kind of signature style of Western policy and some payment for the promotion of US interests in the region. Poroshenko, purposefully destroying ties with Russia, and Plahotniuc, who made Chisinau and Moscow break up, have many reasons to claim the protection of the United States.
It is a little more complicated with the property. It should be understood that the West had to oust Poroshenko and Plahotniuc as absolutely toxic politicians, friendship with who harms more than benefits. Both were ‘replaced’ by promising democratically-minded leaders on the wave of common ‘deoligarchization’ demanded by the population and regional partners from the European Union. This story requires to be continued and peaceful old age without worries for the former usurpers of power is unlikely to be the logical end to this story. In this sense, rather tough and arrogant statements by the Prime Minister of Moldova, Maia Sandu, that Plahotniuc will be punished do not seem so bold.
If it is impossible to physically get Plahotniuc and Poroshenko, the new authorities of Moldova and Ukraine, obviously, will go the most reasonable way: fugitive politicians will be condemned, and their property – expropriated as compensation for damage to the interests of the country. At this point, it should not be excluded that the fugitive oligarchs put on the international wanted list will not be presented with such an amount of compensation that they will have to pay from the multibillion-dollar wealth. Which, obviously, is placed if not in the US banking system, then where its influence spreads.
One way or another, it cannot be ruled out that as a guarantee of personal security, Plahotniuc and Poroshenko, with the tacit and persistent consent of Washington, will lose a solid part of their wealth, acquired not always and not quite legally. This, to a certain extent humiliating ‘dispossession’ for the public can pass for an adequate replacement of physical imprisonment. Such a scenario is more likely the more important it is for the US to maintain its influence in the regional space of Ukraine and Moldova and to maintain the authority of the fighter against post-Soviet oligarchs. Here, the image of a country that provides a paradise for political and economic criminals is unlikely to be helpful for Washington.
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