Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Bravo "Le Figaro"! Not so fast!

When a government official from any country gives an interview to an international publication one would expect that they maintain certain standards or normalcy. However, as I have mentioned before, the current regime in Ukraine are nothing but bandits who play by their own set of rules, because for them the only thing that is important is to win the game. How they win is not important to them. Fair play doesn't exist in their rule book. They have no qualms about paying off a referee, putting their opponents on the sidelines by physically injuring them, or bad mouthing them without substantiated facts. Team Donetsk now is putting their best striker forward in order to try to score some goals in the international media arena, where they are very well aware that the audience is the diplomatic corps and movers and shakers in the countries of the Francophone world.

When I read the interview with Prime Minister of Ukraine Mykola Azarov in Le Figaro I felt that not only was the normalcy lacking but that Azarov, was following in the footsteps of likes of Romanian footballer Adrian Mutu and former President Aziz Yildirim of the Fenerbahce Football Club and decided to play according to his own set of rules in dealing with Yulia Tymoshenko, the Ukrainian people and the international media. In short he told a number of lies with the intention of obfuscating the facts.

The first thing that struck me was the title of the interview drawn from the interview by the author or editor to catch their readers' attention – bravo Le Figaro you did your job; I'm certain you caught the attention of many! The title read: Azarov: “Tymoshenko is a woman of the past!”

If Ms. Tymoshenko is a woman of the past, then striker Azarov must be from somewhere in the middle ages, where lawlessness and the absolute power of those who were ruling was quite common.

Has the world forgotten how he, striker Azarov, as Ukraine's head tax man from 1996 through to 2002 used his position of power to curb press freedom in Ukraine? He may have very little influence over the foreign media to the level he did over media during his eight year reign as Ukraine's version of the Sheriff of Nottingham; though, what stops a man with not even an iota of moral fabric, from telling outright lies to the foreign media. Clearly, nothing at all!

His first lie to Le Figaro, destined to a foreign audience was that “In 2009, Yulia Tymoshenko signed a one on one agreement with Russian Prime Minister Valdimir Putin...and to do so she falsified do so she falsified documents. This agreement did not receive approval of the cabinet of the government nor of the national gas company Naftogaz.” While those at Le Figaro did a great job at catching their audience's attention, and got a “bravo” Monsieur Pierre Avril, and his editor score low, regarding maintaining integrity of their publication by not verifying facts presented to them by a man representing a government that has done nothing positive regarding press freedom.

On January 11, 2009 Naftogaz was given signatory powers regarding the purchasing of gas from Gazprom and on January 21, 2009 Ihor Didenko, Deputy Director of Naftogaz stated that he agreed with Prime Minister Tymoshenko regarding the price of gas and that he considered the agreement between Naftogaz and Gazprom “to be a victory for Ukraine and common sense thinking in Ukraine.”

Further in the interview, striker Azarov with great skill, once again using his head, deflects a second ball coming his way. That ball was in the form of the following statement by Monsieur Avril: “You yourself accuse Tymoshenko before she has finally been judged. You may be criticized for wanting to influence the course of justice ...” However, when someone of a ministerial level even utters an answer that starts with the phrase: “In this case, everyone has the right to violate laws.” I begin to think where this man is coming from.

I don't believe there is any civilized democracy where civil or human rights that allow one to violate laws. One may be a dissenter of laws, and have the right to gather and to protest things one may not be in agreement with, but we have all seen how the current regime deals with dissent.

If Mutu was ordered to pay €17,173,990 to his former club Chelsea by FIFA for breach of contract and Yildirim was arrested on charges of match fixing in the world of football, then it is high time that the world community start to issue suspensions aimed at the on pitch hooligans of Ukraine's fragile democracy.

Vasyl Pawlowsky
Independent Consultant

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