RFE exposes an intangible web of corruption in Kiev that includes:
- state officials awarding themselves protected state land worth millions
- destruction of a UNESCO listed heritage site appropriated by Ukraine president
- a presidential cover up involving the abuse of power
It looks like RFE finally did some digging rather than regurgitating Kiev press releases. Previous Ukraine president Yanukovich has been reviled for his luxurious mansion which was held up as proof of his corruption – but it turns out Poroshenko is even worse.
Not only is Poroshenko in the process of building himself a huge mansion – the construction had damaged a UNESCO protected historic site dating to 18th century. When an investigation threatened to make this fact public Poroshenko used his powers to have it shut down. – Poroshenko's hunger for a mansion is such it actually damaged the country's cultural inheritence.
Of course the big question is why did Radio Free Europe, a propaganda arm of the US government, go after Poroshenko in this manner now? A few possibilites come to mind:
- Radio Free Europe's famous journalistic ethic precluded it from doing anything else
- US is becoming displeased with Poroshenko in some way and this was a shot across the bow
- The story was going to become public anyway, but if RFE went first it could win for itself some badly needed journalistic credibility
RFE/RL with the shady dealings:
KYIV -- An investigation by RFE/RL shows that Ukrainian leader Petro Poroshenko may have used his presidential influence to shut down investigations into a land deal aimed at building a private mansion on a historic site in the Ukrainian capital.
Two reports broadcast on RFE/RL's Ukrainian-language television program, Schemes, reveal that over the course of seven years, Poroshenko quietly appropriated more than a hectare of protected land in Kyiv's elite Pechera district and recently quashed an inquiry into the damage of an 18th-century structure caused by construction work on his plot.
The revelations come as Poroshenko, soon to mark his first year in office, faces growing criticism for failing to divest his billion-dollar business holdings and diminish the political influence of Ukrainian oligarchs like Dmytro Firtash, who last week claimed he personally orchestrated Poroshenko's rise to the presidency.
Supporters of Poroshenko -- still one of Ukraine's richest men, with an estimated fortune of $750 million -- defend him as a "president of de-oligarchization." But his failure to honor his campaign pledge to divest himself of his assets, as well as new findings about his property holdings, may add to questions about his commitment to separating politics from property and money.
Kononenko is a lawmaker who currently serves as deputy head of the Petro Poroshenko Bloc's faction in the Verkhovna Rada, Ukraine's parliament. Bald and solidly built, he is sometimes referred to as the bloc's "gray cardinal." But in 2009, he was a member of the Kyiv government and an ally of then-Mayor Leonid Chernovetskyy, who presided over a city vote handing the Radialna 5 plots to a company co-founded by Kononenko -- for free.
How does protected state land with a market value of more than $25 million get handed free of charge to a little-known company run by a city lawmaker?