Diamond rings for wartime buyers may get cheaper this year.
All thanks to people’s deputies. In December, they made a second attempt canceled 10% fee for mandatory state pension insurance from jewelry sales transactions.
People’s deputy Motovylovets pushed this amendment after identical changes in 2020 failed to be carried out in particular by the “servant” Oleksandr Sova. The latter owns the fashion jewelry brand SOVA, whose advertising is hung in the center of Kyiv.
Thanks to this collection in 2023 retired arrived UAH 663 million. Due to the aforementioned law, this money will not be received by the pension fund, but will be pocketed by jewelers and their clients, including the “servant” people’s deputy.
This is not the only case when Motovylovets “feels sorry” for a wealthy business during the war. Currently, he is pushing bill No. 9573. If it is accepted, UAH 5 million should be from the budget paid out to a specific TIS company and some of its colleagues in the industry. How many drones are there for the front – Ukrainians can already calculate for sure themselves.
All this is definitely difficult to call “creating conditions for doing business”. Rather, it is the work of the people’s deputy on specific companies and names. More precisely, it is a typical example of shadow lobbying in action.
Examples of this phenomenon both at the level of the Parliament and the Office of the President can be enumerated endlessly. What is worth the numerous attempts due to legislative changes absolve from responsibility specific figures involved in corruption schemes on the instructions or under the leadership of the infamous deputy head of the OP Oleg Tatarov.
The new draft law No. 10337 on lobbying should make such “schemes” impossible. In January, the Rada already adopted it in the first reading. However, this is only a declarative goal. In fact, this draft law does not solve this problem – it creates new ones. About that already declared 65 public organizations.
We at the Anti-Corruption Center (CPC) received access to amendments to the draft law from representatives of various factions of the Council. Further, these amendments must be considered by the specialized committee on legal policy, after which the people’s deputies must vote for the draft law in the hall.
So, let’s explain what’s wrong with the draft law itself and introduce you to the most trashy proposals from elected officials.
Prohibition to destroy corruption schemes as with “17 eggs”
In general, to modest draft law on 22 pages more than 1,296 amendments were submitted. Most of them – in one way or another, are aimed at oppressing public organizations.
Most of the amendments boil down to the fact that the activities of public organizations aimed at promoting socially useful initiatives and reforms (advocacy) are equated with lobbying. If the public is not removed from the scope of this law, the People’s Deputies will actually put any (even informal – according to amendment No. 2 by Razumkov and company) public initiatives on a par with those who negotiate for Akhmetov and Zhevago.
In practice the entire public sector promoting important reforms will be registered, reported and audited. However, shadowy hidden lobbyists who advance their interests thanks to financial resources and even bribery will be able to trivially stay outside the rules.
With other amendments, some deputies want to simply make it impossible to expose corruption, such as the “17 eggs” case. More correctly, to prohibit the public from participating in solving problems in any field related to the army. This is correction No. 600 of the “servant” Pavlo Frolov and No. 601 of his party colleague Roman Babii.
We would like to remind you that after the already legendary article of Yuri Nikolov, we at the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Ukraine, together with our partners in the parliament, advocated for changes, thanks to which the prices of material support purchases for the Defense Forces are now published in Prozorro – publicly. As consequence – the prices of food for the military fell by a third.
There are many more changes that the army needs during the war. Everyone who serves today understands that without public involvement and pressure, they are unattainable. The authorities understand this well. But he still wants to keep everything as it is. How she wanted to keep Reznikova in office.
In addition, Antonina Slavytska, a member of the former OPZZH, known for her connections with the ex-chairman of OASK Vovko, in her amendments proposes to automatically classify as lobbyists those public organizations that are financed by international technical assistance projects (amendment No. 32).
And in her other amendment, together with her “servant” Tkachenko, she proposes to deprive the public of the right to participate in competition commissions, public councils or other collegial bodies (amendment No. 559). As a result, the adoption of such an amendment delegitimizes the Public Council of Integrity, which is currently elected in accordance with the law and prepares conclusions, including regarding Pavlo Vovka and his associates from OASK.
This question has absolutely nothing to do with lobbying. However, it definitely brings us back to the times of Yanukovych, when citizens did not know at all what was happening inside the authorities and who and how they choose candidates for any public positions.
Who will be responsible for violations?
With a separate amendment No. 1144 “servant” Roman Babii also proposes to introduce administrative liability, namely fines for violations of lobbying, or lobbying without registration. However, the fines themselves, which do not exceed 3,400 hryvnias, are ridiculous for big business or oligarchs and will certainly not deter illegal lobbying.
However, if the deputies recognize the public as lobbyists, they will open up new opportunities for the authorities to put pressure on activists. Without the SBU and its departments.
It is worth noting that, in addition to the amendments to this law regarding liability, the Council has registered a whole separate project regarding liability for violations related to lobbying – No. 10373. So far, it has not been considered either by the specialized law enforcement committee or by the parliament, even in the first reading. However, it can turn into a separate platform for creating punitive tools for government critics.
For example, NGOs will be held criminally responsible for minor reporting violations. As they have already extended the mandatory declaration for activists.
After the story with pressure on the BIHUS.info team, and besides, such a story certainly does not look like a fantasy.
So what’s up with Yermak’s advisers?
The draft law on lobbying does not regulate the activities of shadow lobbyists in any way. For example, numerous advisers of the President’s Office. And that’s why it’s a big problem.
As already wrote our colleagues from CHESNO, most of these advisors are freelancers. They do not receive an official salary from the budget and do not submit declarations. Simply put, we have no way of knowing who they work for and for what money. But how do they use their access to the building of the President’s Office and the “telephone right”.
At the same time, some of Yermak’s freelance advisers in real terms have the same or even greater powers than some of the ministers.
A striking example is the participation of freelance advisers Daria Zarivnaya and Vladyslav Vlasyuk in a meeting with US Secretary of State Blinken at the level of the ambassador, minister and deputy ministers.
Their “stay” in the USA during that period was confirmed to us and to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, although outside any official delegation. It is not known who paid for this trip for freelance advisers. Therefore, at whose expense Zarivna and Vlasyuk went to meet Blinken – remains a mystery.
Returning to the bill. It obliges so-called “lobbyists” to report on meetings held with government officials and clearly declare whose interests they represent. Unlike Yermak’s freelance advisers. And also any civil servant, on whom the draft law imposes the duty to inform the manager about violations by lobbyists.
Without declaring the income and interests of such “freelance advisers” with incomprehensible interests, the draft law, in our opinion, is no more than an imitation of solving the problem.
The worst thing here is that this imitation bill will be offered to the EU as a fulfillment of one of their requirements for further integration.
And this is not the first time that our Council has tried to “sell” a pacifier to the EU. In 2022, the deputies already voted on the draft law on the Constitutional Court, when in the first reading they tried to push through provisions that would ensure control over the KSU from the OP.
Therefore, the EU will definitely not miss such a “focus” a second time.
The Head of the European Union Representation in Ukraine, Katarina Maternova, is already direct stated – The EU will ensure that the draft law does not harm civil society.
One can only hope that the deputies will have the sense not to disgrace the country again.
Daria Kaleniukexecutive director of the Central Committee of the People’s Republic of China
The column is a material that reflects exclusively the point of view of the author. The text of the column does not claim objectivity and comprehensive coverage of the topic it raises. The editorial office of “Ukrainian Pravda” is not responsible for the reliability and interpretation of the given information and performs exclusively the role of a carrier. The point of view of the editorial office of UP may not coincide with the point of view of the author of the column.