“Ukraine needs to be put on the map”
The words are those of former EU trade commisioner and UK business secretary Lord Mandelson:
As What’s On in Kyiv reported, “Britain most shady politician” seemed to be making a pitch for doing business while strenously denying payment from oligarch, Rinat Akhmetov:
“As a British and European politician, I have come to admire your country,” he declared. “Ukraine needs to be put on the map — where it is, its people, beauty and its landscape and coastline.”
Speaking in 2009 at the Social Enterprise Summit, wearing the hat of UK business secretary, Mandelson said his department were “helping firms to help others”
It could have been good news for a British social enterprise,operating in Ukraine. Since February 2007, a development proposal known as a ‘Marshall Plan’ for Ukraine had been in the hands of Ukraine’s government and was published in a web magazine.
Back in 2005, author Terry Hallman had raised the alarm when PM Tymoshenko became the target of what he described as economic hit men. ‘Really Betraying a Revolution’ was a response to Anders Aslund’s claim that Tymoshenko was betraying a revolution. It made a prescient warning:
‘Peppering his criticism are words like “populist”, “socialist”, and “state capitalism” — suggesting, again as articles of faith and nothing more, that these are necessarily bad things that can only contribute to economic problems. Increasing pensions and salaries, to move workers and retirees a little further out of poverty-level income, were condemned as budget busters that Ukraine’s new government cannot afford — despite the fact that not doing so essentially guarantees perpetuation of graft and corruption. Elimination of graft and corruption, and raising the overall standard of living for ALL Ukrainians rather than a few insanely greedy oligarch clans, was the main underlying and implied reason for the Orange Revolution — at least from hundreds of people, activists and otherwise, I talked with on the ground during and after the Revolution. Further, as director for any sort of peace institute, Mr. Aslund is obliged to review the connection between poverty and peace. Peace does not and cannot exist for people in poverty, unless they are harshly suppressed by government or other forces. Poverty is a horrible existence and lifestyle, and is bound to breed violence, not peace.’
It was the news that Akhmetov was hiring Western experts to develop a ‘Marshall Plan’ for Ukraine that prompted Hallman’s radical transparency:
‘As the 60th anniversary of the Marshall Plan came around in June 2007, noise was emerging within Ukraine of a certain political boss preparing a Marshall Plan for Ukraine. This person was a reputed mob boss — exactly the sort of entity that the original Marshall Plan meant to oppose. It seemed most likely that whatever he came up with would be self-serving, hijacking the label ‘Marshall Plan’ and turning the whole notion on its head. I reviewed the original Marshall Plan and realized that what I had written was, in fact, the definition and spirit of the original Marshall Plan. Thus, in June 2007, I appended the original title with “A Marshall Plan for Ukraine.” After some discussion among trusted colleagues over timing, I published an abbreviated version of the paper in two parts in August 2007 in the ‘analytics’ section of the Ukrainian news journal for-ua.com. The abbreviated version removed the rollout sequence over five years, which was more a technical matter and probably of little interest to general readership. It also removed the names of the organizations I had strongly recommended to manage various components, insofar as there was any organization to recommend. There were two, one for childcare reform for children in orphanages, one for childcare reform of children in Ukraine’s theretofore invisible gulag archipelago for disabled children. Both of those organizations had already been approved by ‘others’ by August 2007. Bringing them to light at that juncture might have been counterproductive to their efforts, particularly because of the extreme sensitivity surrounding the matter of disabled children. I opted to just let things proceed quietly, and was convinced beyond doubt for once that sincere and committed efforts to help these children were finally underway. There remain approximately 90,000 children in orphanages, 10,000 in the ‘gulags’. Another 200,000 children live on the streets because state-care options have been less tolerable than street life. Because street children are most visible and therefore obvious, other organizations notice them and are making at least token efforts to help them. Nevertheless, the overall problems are systemic. It is not enough to help these kids without dealing with the causes — primarily corruption and displacement of Ukraine’s cash and resources — that put children in such conditions to begin with. This systemic recognition is at least beginning to be understood. The ‘Marshall Plan’ details it, and provides comprehensive solutions with a financial net-cost to government over seven years of: zero.’
I analyze stage-by-stage implementation of “Marshall plan” from Akhmetov and become convinced that it was written, probably, by domestic specialists (“marshalls” or generals from SCM-group), because it will never occur to any average manafort to put a first issue of such plan a task to “steal “Dniproenergo” at a state”.
It was the Daily Mail who’d originally drawn attention to the relationship with Akhmetov. Nathan Rothschild had failed to win a libel case against the paper in 2012 over a meeting involving himself and Mandelson on Oleg Deripaska’s yacht. Rothschild had also been involved with Vanco Energy when they gained a contract to extract hydrocarbons from the Black Sea. See ‘Bearers of the Black Sea Shelf’.
In the end, It was an ill-conceived EU Access Agreement which put Ukraine on the map. President Yanukovitch opted for a $15 billion support packace from Russia in preference and it brought violence to the streets.
By this time, Terry Hallman was dead. The civic activists who found his body commended his commitment to Ukraine’s orphans.
By then appeals for a ‘Marshall Plan’ were multiple, I made what would be my final appeal to MEPs sharing the appeal from Maidan leaders for their support.
In 2015, we’d learn of another ‘Marshall Plan’, this time promoted by Dmitro Firtash and it was no great surprise to read in The Telegraph that Lords Mandelson, Macdonald and Risby were on board.
Sergeii Leschenko, who more recently revealed payments made to Manafort would describe it as ‘The Firtash Octopus’
“Dirty money from the East has become a resource for dozens of European structures and politicians. Sergii Leshchenko reports on some of those that are only too happy to open their doors to a Ukrainian oligarch willing to invest millions in cleaning up his image.”
In the end, Ukraine did get a token social enterprise initiative , under the management of USAID and The British Council.
It wasn’t surprising to see SCM, Akmetov’s corporation listed as partners, not that it failed to prevent Ukraine’s uprising.
The British Council were soliticing for partners, and I couldn’t get a reply from them directly when asking why our application was disregarded.
It took a letter from my MP to learn from Martin Davidson of the British Council that ‘partners are expected to make a financial contribution’.
I think that says it all.