Newly appointed Ukrainian Prime Minister Oleksiy Honcharuk announced that, pending a reform, Ukraine will begin selling its land to foreign investors, who would be able to register a legal entity in the country and pay taxes.
Currently, there is a moratorium in Ukraine, which prohibits foreigners from registering legal entities in the country, but that is to change after the land reform in the country planned for summer 2020.
“We need to allow land transactions for everyone who has the opportunity to process it now, including for foreign citizens, but on condition that they register a legal entity in Ukraine and pay taxes here,” he said. According to him, de jure it will be possible to buy land by an Ukrainian individual and a Ukrainian legal entity.
According to Honcharuk, in cooperation with the World Bank, 25 scenarios for opening the land market are being considered, and one that will ensure maximum economic growth will be selected.
He added that tentatively the land reform will begin in the summer of 2020. Honcharuk also said that the land market will not be opened until a lower lending rate for Ukrainians who want to acquire a land plot is determined at the legislative level. This step is being taken so that Ukrainians can compete with foreign nationals, he claimed. However, this is barely a formal rhetoric. There are no real Ukrainian companies that can compete with transnational corporations.
In early August, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky announced plans to carry out land reform. The government should draft a bill on the agricultural land market by October 1st, and the Ukrainian Parliament is charged with adopting it and lifting the moratorium on the sale of land by December 1st.
A moratorium on the sale of agricultural land has been operating in Ukraine since 2001. Nevertheless, the former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko in February 2019 signed a law extending the moratorium until January 1st, 2020.
Zelensky’s government, with his puppet Prime Minister Honcharuk, is attempting to ensure that transnational corporations can “invest” in Ukrainian land. The fun fact is that among other things they jusify their actions by the European Court of Human Rights ruling claiming that the ban violates the human rights convention.
If the Zelensky administration pushes forward with this idea and open a door for a large-scale sale of Ukrainian land to transnational corporations, this would mean that the Ukrainian ‘Revolution of Dignity’ of 2014 really achieved a victory.
To reinforce that, Zelensky and his handpuppet Horanchuk announced that 500 enterprises are to be put on a “small-scale privatization” list that would put them under state control.
“At least 500 enterprises shall be transferred to the State Property Fund of Ukraine for small privatization through the auction system Prozorro.Sales,” Zelensky told a Cabinet meeting.
Zelensky also called for a list of strategic enterprises not subject to privatization.
“The government will create a list of strategic enterprises that are not subject to privatization, a specific list,” the president said.
In addition, the Ukrainian leader called for preparations for the sale of large state-owned companies and also for attracting investment advisers by December 1, 2019.
In some other notable assignments by Volodymyr Zelensky, he appointed the daughter of one of his teachers as a state-appointed member of the Anti-Monopoly Committee. Irina Kopaigoru is an associate professor at the Department of Legal Regulation of Economics at the Kryvyi Rih Economic Institute under the Hetman KNEU.
At this educational institution, President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelensky received his law degree. Irina Kopaygor’s father – Ivan Kopaygor – works at the same institute. He heads the Department of Law. Kopaigora taught Zelensky the theory of state and law.
The New Ukrainian Prosecutor General Ruslan Riaboshapka signed an order dismissing Anatoliy Matios from the post of chief military prosecutor.
The Office of Special Investigations of the Prosecutor General’s Office reported on Facebook that ex-PG Yuriy Lutsenko, right before he was dismissed from the post, on Aug 29, deprived the department’s investigators of the authority to probe 20 cases and appointed Matios to oversee the department’s work, which the report says could pose a conflict of interests in certain cases.
In the army, Zelensky dismissed former Chief of the General Staff and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of Ukraine Viktor Muzhenko from service.
Finally, Zelensky made an interesting threat – members of parliament who skip sessions and who partake in “piano voting” to be dismissed from their service. The bill proposes to enhance the list of grounds and certain elements of the mechanism for early termination of powers of people’s deputies of Ukraine.
It is proposed that the powers be terminated if a deputy is absent without good reason at one-third of the plenary meetings of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine and/or meetings of the Verkhovna Rada committee, of which they are a member, within regular session.
It is also proposed to establish that by the decision of the Supreme Court they, MPs will be deprived of their mandates for combining legislative work with other types of activities.
And if MPs think they can do something about it, on September 3rd, the Parliament voted to cancel parliamentary immunity, so a witch hunt may begin at any moment.
The developments of the Zelensky administration is a brilliant demonstration of that how populist ‘pro-people’ rhetoric could be used to promote interests of foreign powers and corporations.
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