Carl Bildt: hovering between prison and the Ukrainian Premiership

After a year of counseling, financial and political assistance, the European Union decided to reconsider the ways of working methods with Ukraine. In fact, the first attempt to overcome Ukrainian countrywide corruption with the help of foreign experts definitely failed. Frustrated rescuers are fleeing from a sinking ship without concealing their disappointment.

Thus, on February 3, 2016, Minister of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine Aivaras Abromavicius announced his decision to resign because of impossibility to carry out all necessary reforms. Following him, four other ministers filed for resignation – these were Minister of Health, Minister of Agricultural Policy and Food, Minister of Information Policy, and Minister of Infrastructure. Now, European politicians who are displeased with corruption and impossibility to carry out reforms get replaced by other European politicians who use their best efforts to operate in the Ukrainian realities. This is evidenced by the correspondence between Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Swedish Moderate Party, ex-Ambassador of Sweden to Georgia Diana Janse and Administrative Officer of the Odessa Regional State Administration, Reformers Team-Member of ex-President of Georgia, David Chantladze.


From the correspondence it follows that the Ukrainian authorities have specific agreements with their European partners on appointment of Janse’s intimate friend, ex-premier and Foreign Minister of Sweden Carl Bildt to a post of the Prime Minister of Ukraine. But contrary to the terms of the agreement, details of which have already leaked to the media Ukrainian government delays a conclusive decision. And Bildt’s long-time partner Saakashvili is not in a position to lobby for his candidacy to President Poroshenko. It turns out that the haste on the part of the future Ukrainian Prime Minister stems from the fact that in Sweden they can soon go forward with his criminal case which also deals with illegal activity of ex-President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili.

During his work as head of the Board of Directors of PR agency Kreab, Bildt signed a contract with President Saakashvili to improve the Chief of State’s image, as well as, establish links with European politicians and media, amounting to $3 million plus $1 million - on ‘special projects’. According to investigators, the funds were distributed between Bildt and three or four of his colleagues. It stands to mention that acceptance of bribes from Saakashvili for lobbying was not limited to the ex-premier’s work period in Kreab. It is strongly exemplified in the information of Sweden’s former Ambassador to Georgia Hans Gunnar Aden about multiple facts of the 2008 presidential election fraud. In addition to protection of the outcome of so-called ‘fair elections’ and namely their winner Mikhail Saakashvili, Carl Buildt put the disloyal diplomat out of way, initiating Hans Aden’s recall and his subsequent resignation, replacing him by own close associate Diana Janse.

Now it is clear why Bildt fears that something can delay his departure to Ukraine, without mentioning problems with a heaven-sent opportunity to be appointed to the Premiership. Judging by the correspondence, even contacts with the CIA and the State Department (that were established during the leak of information on forming of government of Sweden in 1976 and working with such American global policy think tank like RAND Corporation), with the help of which information about the resumption of his case was apparently received, cannot guarantee absolute immunity to the former premier.

David Chantladze’s letter to the USAID Europe Regional Mission Director Jed Barton is an application for help which says that Bildt can also be brought to the case on illegal activities of Lundin Oil where he used to work in the Board of Directors. The company management is suspected of its implication in the death of 10,000 people as well as deportation of nearly 200,000 people in Sudan. It is not known for certain whether Saakashvili is associated with these events but it should be noted that oil business in Georgia was in the sphere of interests of Saakashvili and was supervised by his brother David. According to experts, the Saakashvili Clan is up to organizing something of the kind in Ukraine, though of a smaller scale.

The Swedish Liberal People’s Party Member, former European Commissioner for Home Affairs and current European Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom acts as some kind of a secret weapon for persons who lobby for Bildt’s appointment. She is one more client of Swedish ‘Creator of Kings’ that lobbies for her interests in the EU and helps her with PR. In her letter Janse openly threatens Chantladze by the loss of European Commissioner’s support in case of failure with Bildt’s appointment and states that the terms of trade agreements (between the EU and Ukraine – author’s note) may be revised, and the process of the EU Association may take a longer time. In this situation Ukrainian politicians risk at least to lose grants worth €100 ml and €1 bl in the form of new foreign investments within the framework of Cecilia Malmstrom’s agreements with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin. Certainly, such pressure is more like a clever trick as the very Cecilia is interested in working with Ukrainian business and markets. Malmstrom is an extremely effective lobbyist of the nonprofit organization (NPO) Kangoroo Group that specializes in ensuring free transactions of goods, persons and funds between EU countries. In reality, that’s the promotion of specific projects by means of exceptional position and relations of the NPO’s staff of former and current members of the European Parliament, the European Commission, other international and government agencies as well as representatives of trade, production and service industries.

In case Western politicians manage to push Bildt forward to the Ukrainian premiership, Kangoroo Group and other partners of the new ‘rescuer of Ukraine’ can gain almost unlimited control over the Ukrainian business. But the main thing is the possibility of redistributing shares of Ukrainian market as well as leverage over the agricultural segment of European market by means of Ukraine granting additional quotas on import of goods. By the way, on February 9, 2016, the Minister of Agrarian Policy and Food of Ukraine Oleksiy Pavlenko announced the intention of the EU and international partners to render assistance in realization of integrated strategy to develop agriculture and rural areas, which means the creation of Ukrainian overt market of agricultural lands. Furthermore, the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine prepared the 2016 plan on privatization of 25 large enterprises to the acquisition of which foreign investors had shown their interest. To all seeming, for the short-term Kangoroo Group and other foreign lobbying companies have very good perspectives in Ukraine, particularly, with such a loyal premier.

Kangoroo Group also includes the European Parliament’s Member, Vice Chair of the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection Anna Maria Corazza Bildt whose family is engaged in manufacture and sales of hams, cheeses and other Italian foods. It is worth mentioning that Corazza Bildt oversees issues related to Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) which aims at elimination of duties, restrictions on services and obtaining extensible access to markets of partner countries that certainly cannot bypass Ukraine either. It is even hard to imagine what profits one can achieve only in the Bildts’ business when one of this family’s members chairs the highest body of executive power in such country as Ukraine, which shows promise in state property privatization and redistribution of spheres of influence in business and markets. And that’s not even to mention often resolved, but not yet proved links of Bildt’s wife with Ukrainian President Poroshenko’s company Roshen.

As we can see, the attempt to reform Ukrainian macroeconomic system with the help of the anti-crisis management has ended in a fiasco. All such high-class professionals and vociferous opponents of corruption as Aivaras Abromavicius are hastily leaving (the ‘pest house’) governmental offices where the rustle of banknotes drowns whispered voice of reason. By contrast, in chase of profiteering the seasoned corrupt officials who are tightly linked with each other strive for coming to Ukraine from all over the world.

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