KyivPost

On The Hot Seat

Print version
April 15, 2011, 1:40 a.m. | Ukraine — by Kyiv Post Staff

Agrarian Policy and Food Minister Mykola Prysyazhnyuk in his office on Kreshchatyk Street in Kyiv on April 12.
© (Joseph Sywenkyj)

Kyiv Post Staff

SEE ALSO

In Europe’s breadbasket, critics are talking about the ‘Great Grain Robbery.’ Agriculture Minister Mykola Prysyazhnyuk is under fire for state controls on grain exports that favor a controversial company, Khlib InvestBud. Speaking with the Kyiv Post, Prysyazhnyuk defended the actions.

Ukraine, a topworld grain producer, rattled fragile global markets last autumn when it followed Russia in imposing export restrictions amid forecasts for poor global harvests.

The government justified the move as necessary to protect domestic food security, including keeping prices affordable for consumers. However, the 2010 total grain harvest came in at about 40 million tons, off only 13 percent from the previous year -- making the export restrictions unjustified, according to some critics.

By placing curbs on Ukraine’s multibillion-dollar grain export business, the government hurt precious hard currency earnings. It also punished some of the nation’s largest investors – international grain traders and agribusinesses.


Ukraine’s Minister for Agrarian Policy and Food Mykola Prysyazhnyuk


Experts, however, said farmers were the most vulnerable and hardest hit. As in past years when export restrictions were introduced, farmers were prevented from selling their grain at world market prices. Now many wonder whether it’s worth their while to plant crops this season. Those who want to plant are struggling to get bank loans to finance what some see as an increasingly risky market.

The government’s new policies also included the granting of export quotas in an allegedly non-transparent way, triggering an international outcry.

About Mykola Prysyazhnyuk

Born: Jan. 3, 1960, Ksaveriv village, Zhytomyr Oblast.

Education: Graduated from Voronezh University, Donbas Mining and Metallurgical Institute, the National Academy of Public Administration under the Office of the President of Ukraine, economist, engineer, master of public administration.

Career: Worked as a diamond cutter at the Krystal factory, fitter, foreman, chief process engineer at Ordzhonikidzevugillya coal mine;
2002-2005, first deputy chairman of Zhytomyr Regional State Administration;
2005-2007, head of the National Association of Meat and Meat Products Producers; member of parliament from 2006-2010;
since 2010, minister of agrarian policy and food.


These debates are taking place against the backdrop of whether Ukraine’s agriculture sector will reach its potential as “the breadbasket of Europe” and an agricultural superpower.

Experts say protectionist policies, such as a moratorium on the buying and selling of land, stifle efforts to bring more investment.

Billions of dollars of fresh investment into agriculture could boost yields on what is regarded as some of the world’s richest farmland, the famous black earth or “chernozem.”

For insight into government policy, the Kyiv Post turned to Agrarian Policy and Food Minister Mykola Prysyazhnyuk. He is at the center of the ongoing conflict between international grain trading giants and Ukraine’s government.



Kyiv Post: It is far from a secret that many grain traders operating in Ukraine – foreign and domestic – have since last autumn protested the government’s grain export restrictions, calling them unjustified, as well as an export quota issuance process that they claim is non-transparent. They are also deeply disturbed by Ukraine’s grain market reform plans, including a law adopted last week by parliament which would force traders to pay money for grain export quotas, which, if signed into law by President Viktor Yanukovych, would use the funds raised for forward grain purchase contracts to help farmers that have been hit by the export restrictions. What is the root of this conflict?

Mykola Prysyazhnyuk:
Last year’s (harvest season) was a difficult one for the global grain market – one of panic. We saw one country after another downgrading their grain harvests, starting with Russia, then Ukraine, as well as Austria, Argentina, Brazil, the U.S. and European countries.

When Ukraine started harvesting, our pricing policy was Hr 800-900 ($100) per ton of wheat. Last June, we expected a harvest of 48 million tons. But within weeks, [harvest predictions fell due to bad weather and other factors] and prices started sharply rising. We saw we wouldn’t get the harvest expected. The panic started.


Ships filling with grain in the Odesa port. Export restrictions since last August have roiled the agricultural industry, with grain traders crying foul over the allocation of a large share of the valuable export quotas to Khlib Investbud, a partly state-owned firm whose private owners are not clear. (UNIAN)


We had about 12-13 million [tons] of grain left over, which we could have exported.

Our government was clear: food security is priority number one. But we did not manage to jointly develop a strategy. Government was, therefore, forced to introduce quotas."

- Mykola Prysyazhnyuk, Ukraine’s minister for Agrarian Policy and Food.


But the general global panic forced the government to act. I understood that it would be better to have a civilized grain market regulator. But we saw that all countries were worried about their food security. And in this light, we had to take into consideration protection for a part of our society which does not live at a European level, and could not sustain European pricing.

Of course, the quota issue could have sparked complaints, as conditions were not worked out that could have given grain traders a chance to orient themselves. But the blame lies on both sides: our government and grain traders.

Last August and September, we routinely met with grain traders with the aim of working out a joint action plan. Our government was clear: food security is priority number one. But we did not manage to jointly develop a strategy. Government was, therefore, forced to introduce quotas.

By the way, this is not prohibited by the rules of the World Trade Organization [of which Ukraine is a member.] In taking this road, we were criticized, even as our neighbors completely banned export.


KP: Lobbyists representing multinational grain giants operating in Ukraine have described your government’s actions as the “Great Grain Robbery.” They say that export restrictions were not justified, given that the harvest was still big, about 40 million tons. They said that government actions glutted the market with inexpensive grain, creating a situation where there is not enough room to store the new harvest. And, they say, that traders and banks are not willing to finance grain purchases given the risk that they may not be able to export it. They also complain that the biggest grain export quota share was given to one previously little-known company, Khlib Investbud. They say this situation smacks of corruption. Foreign ambassadors to Ukraine are also expressing such concerns, that corruption could be at play.

MP:
First of all, I am far from this. If some actions are classified as corruption, they deserve to be investigated.
It is critically important for us to be a strong player on international grain markets."

- Mykola Prysyazhnyuk, Ukraine’s minister for Agrarian Policy and Food.

Secondly, with respect to the formation of state company Grain Ukraine, the state made the right decision here, which made it possible to preserve state assets which in previous years under state company Khlib Ukraine were constantly [at risk] of bankruptcy. Today, Grain Ukraine, [which is inheriting much of Khlib Ukraine’s assets, including grain silos] is an attractive company. It will be turned into a joint stock company soon. We will agree with financial companies of world class about this. Thus, the state will not be a monopolist. The government never aimed to have a state monopoly.

As for the quotas, to some degree, they may have been introduced not at the right time. We are jointly, along with the traders, to blame for this. We are working with the European Business Association, American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine, to develop a memorandum on how we will act next season. Because today, once again, nobody, including us, can say what the harvest will be like.

It is critically important for us to be a strong player on international grain markets. We understand that the market foremost wants our grain, not for now so much of our meat, chicken, vegetables. At this first stage, we are ready to fill this demand.


KP: Do you support, and do you think the president will sign the law adopted by parliament last week which would force traders to pay for quotas, with the funds in turn being used to support farmers? The Chamber of Commerce, EBA and traders say this law is not acceptable.

MP:
It was the idea of traders [late last year] themselves to introduce quotas. We will see if the president signs it or not. His administration is today analyzing it.


KP: Maybe it’s true that traders wanted the quotas instead of a complete export ban, but they complain that the quota issuance process was non-transparent. Traders, their lobbyists and Western diplomats say that Khlib Investbud received the lion's share of the quotas, despite the fact that it was little known, has unclear ownership and unclear grain stockpiles available for export. They say also that it looks as if the state and you are supporting this company.

MP:
The emergence of Khlib Investbud, in my view, is a consequence of Ukraine’s law on state procurements. In this law, it is written that a state structure, such as the Agrarian Fund [state grain reserve], is not eligible to fulfill the role of a single bidder.
The state has the right to buy at its own cost the amount of agriculture products which are needed to protect food security and prevent unstable prices."

- Mykola Prysyazhnyuk, Ukraine’s minister for Agrarian Policy and Food.

It is written in the law that if a single company wins the contract for food security and formation of the reserve, then it must be a company in which no less than a 51 percent stake is private.

The government is now in talks with the World Bank to remove such nuances from our legislation. In my view, the state has the right to buy at its own cost the amount of agriculture products which are needed to protect food security and prevent unstable prices.


KP: Who are the private investors in Khlib Investbud?

MP:
I don’t know this and should not know this. But these are sufficiently transparent financial structures. Even the press has written that it is Russia’s VTB [Vneshtorgbank bank,] is this not the case? You need to look at the registration documents.


KP: It is hard for us as journalists, as well as for the international grain traders, to understand what is really going on when the agriculture minister and Prime Minister Mykola Azarov say, as he has said in the past, that they don’t know who the state’s partner is in this company which plays a huge role on the grain market.

MP:
If it is needed, we will provide [such information.] I can tomorrow give you registration [documents showing] the owners [Editor’s Note: The documents were not received by the time this edition of the Kyiv Post went to press on April 14]. It is, by the way, known in all circles who the owners are.


KP: So, you know who the owners of Khlib Investbud are?

MP:
Of course. I will give it to you tomorrow, today…



Questions have been raised about whether Party of Regions lawmaker Yuriy Ivaniushchenko is involved in the grain business, specifically with Khlib Investbud. He did not respond to Kyiv Post inquiries before this edition was published. He claims to have known President Viktor Yanukovych for a “long time.” Both are from Yenakieve in Donetsk Oblast. (Natalia Kravchuk/Korrespondent)


Robert Browdi is general director of Khlib Investbud. A representative of the company said the firm's ownership would be disclosed through the Agriculture Ministry. But when this edition of the Kyiv Post went to press on April 14, the information had not yet been received. (www.hlib-invest.com.ua)

KP: You must have heard that much of the grain market, and Western diplomats, are convinced that a certain [Party of Regions] lawmaker, Yuriy Ivaniushchenko, is the person who controls this company. And they say that you are close with him, and that the situation is not transparent. Maybe he is a de facto owner?

MP:
I know all 450 parliament deputies, each one. And it’s normal for a minister to know them all, including him.


KP: Does he have any relations to [Khlib Investbud]?

MP:
Everyone says what they want to say, isn’t it so? My job as a minister is to protect food security. I am obliged to have a certain amount of grain and to preserve the attractiveness of the country’s agriculture sector.
There is world experience – of Brazil and Argentina – where the harvest is financed one year in advance. This is our goal and the world market wants our grain."

- Mykola Prysyazhnyuk, Ukraine’s minister for Agrarian Policy and Food.

We are certainly doing this. Moreover, we are now holding talks with grain traders, and I am not satisfied that they only jump into work when harvesters collect grain. There is world experience – of Brazil and Argentina – where the harvest is financed one year in advance. This is our goal and the world market wants our grain.


KP: But banks and traders say that they can’t put money into such ventures given what they just experienced, in not being able to export the grain, and given their big questions about future reforms of Ukraine’s agriculture business.

MP:
What reforms do not appeal to grain traders today?


KP: For example, they say the market is being monopolized.

MP:
Why?


KP: They are pointing the finger at Khlib Investbud, that they received the lion’s share of quotas.

MP:
But we are now talking about cancelling quotas for next season. We hope we will have enough grain for the domestic market and export. Let’s work together. Today, the state is not capable, nor is the agriculture market, of independently investing the funds needed to increase the harvest. Where shall we get the funds?


KP: But grain traders say that if the state did not interfere so much in the grain market, if the market was more predictable, they and banks could provide the financing.

MP:
You are saying that the state interfered. But what did grain traders do for the past 19 years? Why did they not provide the financing?


KP: They say that what is happening now happened before, in 2007, for example. There were grain export restrictions imposed, and, in their words, an unfair quota issuance process. How much have international grain traders invested in Ukraine to develop the market?

MP:
I can’t underestimate the role of grain traders. We understand we can’t develop this market without them. This is for sure. And I am confident that we will at this phase find the right joint plan on exports, food security and investments. You should understand that about 15 million people live in our villages. About 32 percent of our population is rural, compared to 2-3 percent in developed countries.

We understand we can’t develop the market without grain traders."


- Mykola Prysyazhnyuk, Ukraine’s minister for Agrarian Policy and Food.

A complete industrialization and globalization of our market is being proposed. We are not against it, but we need to take into consideration the realities and interests of our villagers and farmers.


KP: We heard that the state could soon sell its shareholding in Khlib Investbud.

MP:
We will auction it off, sell it, both the Grain Ukraine company and Khlib Investbud.


KP: Nibulon, one of the biggest domestic agribusinesses, has recently filed a lawsuit against Ukraine for hurting its business through non-market and non-transparent policies. Other grain firms say they could do the same. Will Ukraine win such lawsuits?

MP:
I don’t think that grain traders will be motivated to do so. We are in constant talks with graders to come up with transparent, normal and mutually beneficial conditions As for Nibulon, we will face them in court. Let the court decide who is right and wrong.


KP: Will Ukraine continue to restrict grain exports?

MP:
The restrictions are to be lifted July 1. We are today discussing ways to speed up this process. Nonetheless, despite the existing restrictions, about 10 million tons of grain was exported.

I do not lay all the blame [for saying grain traders were not allowed to export their grain] on grain traders, but I also do not want to take all the blame upon myself."


- Mykola Prysyazhnyuk, Ukraine’s minister for Agrarian Policy and Food.


KP: And who exported it? Can you give a breakdown?

MP:
All the companies. This is not secret information. We will provide it to you. [Editor’s Note: When the Kyiv Post went to press on April 14, the newspaper had not received the information.]


KP: Maybe its the case that traders are not telling the whole truth when they say they were not allowed to export their grain?

MP:
We would be wrong to blame the grain traders in saying that they are not telling the truth. I understand them.

They are a business. It’s another issue that we failed to find common ground. This is our mutual fault.

I do not lay all the blame on grain traders, but I also do not want to take all the blame upon myself.

The Kyiv Post is hosting comments to foster lively debate. Criticism is fine, but stick to the issues. Comments that include profanity or personal attacks will be removed from the site. If you think that a posted comment violates these standards, please flag it and alert us. We will take steps to block violators.
Anonymous April 15, 2011, 4:08 a.m.    

Experts, however, said farmers were the most vulnerable and hardest hit.

Read more: http://www.kyivpost.com/news/nation/detail/102436/#ixzz1JY8xdMSB

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 15, 2011, 5:26 a.m.    

These actions have caused huge losses and disruptions from the farming fields to family tables. Hundreds of millions of dollars of losses have been incurred by farmers, domestic and international agribusinesses, and other businesses in the food chain.

Experts estimate that the farmers’ direct losses due just to export restrictions for the 2010/2011 marketing year will be more than $2 billion through depressed local prices.

Read more:

http://www.kyivpost.com/news/business/business-sense/detail/102421/#ixzz1JXx0cQw4

Read more: http://www.kyivpost.com/news/opinion/editorial/detail/102432/#ixzz1JYS4ggo8

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 15, 2011, 4:48 p.m.    

Well, actually there should be some balance in this argument. Kleb IB is actually paying in advance to farmers who actually have their documents in order an excellent price for wheat, 1800 UAH/T for 4th class wheat, and higher prices for the higher classes. And they pay 50 % now in advance of the season. This in advance payment is pretty much unheard of in Ukraine, and it is currently functioning, with money passed already to farmers. This is very valuable interest free credit for farmers. Most traders in the season would only offer something around 850 - 1000 UAH/T. Unfortunately, most farmers cannot qualify for the programme as usually there is some aspect of their documents that is out of order, for example, not registering the land lease contracts, so as to get out of paying tax!

However, if it is shown that the company is connected to the decision making parties in Government, rather than pure financiers, then this is clearly a conflict of interest.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 15, 2011, 9:26 p.m.    

Agricultural investments in peril

Yesterday at 23:12 | Jorge Zukoski

Jorge Zukoski writes: Ukrainian farmers stand to lose up to an additional $2.6 billion if grain quotas stay in place.

http:

//www.kyivpost.com/news/business/business-sense/detail/102424/

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 15, 2011, 9:32 p.m.    

The legislation contradicts a number of Ukraine’s laws and international agreements. Furthermore, it is detrimental for the whole agricultural sector in general and Ukrainian farmers in particular. These export restrictions are dramatically driving down domestic prices of agricultural commodities.

Farmers are in need of cash at this time of the year – up to $9 billion – to prepare for the next sowing season. They could easily get it if domestic market prices were not depressed.

However, if the quotas stay in place – in accordance with recent government decisions they will be auctioned until July 1 – Ukrainian farmers may lose $1.9 billion to $2.6 billion due to export restrictions. This equals 1.3 percent to 2 percent of total Ukrainian gross domestic product.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 16, 2011, 10:19 p.m.    

The quota system is a problem yes. However, when have the Ukrainian farmers tried to work together to form grain cooperatives for the storage and selling of grain, as in most other countries of the world. Cooperatives alleviate the problem of traders. Traders if given the chance will buy for as little as possible. In this the Minister id correct in saying, what has the market done in the last 19 years to help the prices for the farmers. Why do farmers not work together...well, that is another story...vanity, cheating, jealousy, lack of good will, etc, etc. Unfortunateley, if the farmers cannot do it for themselves, then you are going to get mummy state to do it for you. And the farmers cannot blame the quotas, as there has been plenty of years in the last 19 where there was no quotas, for them to show the state they are capable to cooperate together and form large selling entities, to gain competitive world prices back for themselves, as in Canada, USA, Australia, etc

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 18, 2011, 9:57 a.m.    

??

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 15, 2011, 4:48 p.m.    

Revolution in Brussels, The Capital of Europe and Belgium?

http://www.camping16.be

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 15, 2011, 4:29 a.m.    

By placing curbs on Ukraine’s multibillion-dollar grain export business, the government hurt precious hard currency earnings.

Read more: http://www.kyivpost.com/news/nation/detail/102436/20/page/1/#comments#ixzz1JYE2dmnp

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 15, 2011, 5:07 a.m.    

March 11, 2011 Well dear readers, here is an interesting tale.

It seems HM Ambassador to Ukraine, the UK’s very own Leigh Turner, has thrown his diplomatic weight into the mix.

What the above link does not go on to disclose, is what has appeared in ‘Tyzhden’ magazine. This publication states it has documents revealing that the state no longer controls ‘KhIB’ – which is now Ukraine’s main grain trader. It seems ‘KhIB’ is in the hands of a company linked to business spheres close to the minister himself – ‘Kalasar Ltd’.

Tyzhden Magazine states that Kalasar’s joint owners are Oleksandr Kozyryev (connected to the Yenakiyiv business group), and also Genetechma Finance Limited, an offshore company registered in Cyprus.

The latter is a daughter company of the Luxembourg-registered Belevue Industries Sarl, who, in turn, are a daughter company of VEB-Leasing. They are a daughter company of the Russian VneshEkonomBank (VEB)….and the head of the supervisory council of VEB is none other than Vladimir Putin, the Russian Prime Minister.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 15, 2011, 4:46 p.m.    

http://tabloid.pravda.com.ua/brand/4da6f4662d578/

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 15, 2011, 3:54 p.m.    

The Kyiv Post editorial staff is protesting interference in its tradition of independent journalism through owner Mohahammad Zahoor’s decision to fire chief editor Brian Bonner today over the publication of an interview with Agriculture Minister Mykola Prysyazhnyuk (vol. 16, issue 15, April 15, 2011, http://www.kyivpost.com/news/nation/detail/102436/).

Hereinafter, the Kyiv Post editorial staff announces a strike, demanding to reinstate Brian Bonner as Chief Editor. We will continue writing and editing our articles, but will post no news or layout the paper for print.

Later today, we will send out comments from Zahoor given to editorial staff in a phone conversation, which took place on April 15 along with more detailed information.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 15, 2011, 3:54 p.m.    

The Kyiv Post editorial staff is protesting interference in its tradition of independent journalism through owner Mohahammad Zahoor’s decision to fire chief editor Brian Bonner today over the publication of an interview with Agriculture Minister Mykola Prysyazhnyuk (vol. 16, issue 15, April 15, 2011, http://www.kyivpost.com/news/nation/detail/102436/).

Hereinafter, the Kyiv Post editorial staff announces a strike, demanding to reinstate Brian Bonner as Chief Editor. We will continue writing and editing our articles, but will post no news or layout the paper for print.

Later today, we will send out comments from Zahoor given to editorial staff in a phone conversation, which took place on April 15 along with more detailed information.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 15, 2011, 3:58 p.m.    

Ukrainian Pravda website reported today that owner Mohammed Zahoor has fired Kyiv Post editor Brian Bonner for refusing to stop the publication of the above interview, and that Kyiv Post's employees have gone on strike in response..

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 16, 2011, 1:33 p.m.    

Seems odd all this talk about censorship when in fact the article remains on the site.

Maybe the KP reporters have nothing better to do than piss and moan.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 15, 2011, 4:22 p.m.    

What a ridiculous ass does this interview make of the incumbent Minister of agriculture. He is blatantly lying thru his teeth. Not even his slick suits can hide the filth coming from this corruptioneer pimping for Monoco Yuri.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 15, 2011, 9:48 p.m.    

DESTROY UKRAINIAN KULAKS AGAIN !!

DESTROY UKRAINIAN KULAKS AGAIN !!

DESTROY UKRAINIAN KULAKS AGAIN !!

DESTROY UKRAINIAN KULAKS AGAIN !!

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 15, 2011, 9:49 p.m.    

DESTROY UKRAINIAN KULAKS AGAIN !!

DESTROY UKRAINIAN KULAKS AGAIN !!

DESTROY UKRAINIAN KULAKS AGAIN !!

DESTROY UKRAINIAN KULAKS AGAIN !!

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 16, 2011, 7:10 p.m.    

check into rehab, loser...

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 15, 2011, 10:42 p.m.    

What is so terrible about this article that Zahoor has fired the editor over. KP has done far more critical piece? Is it because of Enakievsky link and photo????

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 16, 2011, 7:07 a.m.    

Fire Zahoor!

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 16, 2011, 11:41 a.m.    

BRING BACK STEPHAN LADANAJ - THE ONLY REAL CHIEF EDITOR THAT THE POST HAS EVER KNOWN - will all due respect to Mr. Bonner, who also wasnt' bad.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 16, 2011, 1:09 p.m.    

There i no such thing as a free press. It is the prerogative of the publisher to appoint or dismiss any editor. The editor does not own the paper. They are not held accountable for any defamation action. Ky9v post has been known to be a soft touch - non hard hitting journal. It never looked into the issue behind the issues and stories that were reported. Again there is no such thing as a free press. It is a myth. Name one free media outlet other than the blogger sphere. Zilch. Newsltd is government by Murdock as is every other major media outlet.

Bonner was a noce giy but he lacked punch and action.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 16, 2011, 1:36 p.m.    

This whole scandal is being blown out of proportion and is now being taken up by Ukrainian political parties ala female dog that cried wolf Yulia Tymoshenko.

The interview exposes the Minister for the corrupt and opaque operator that he is. Where's the censorship?

If the publisher wanted to kill to story he would have taken it off the site by now.

Some hot headed reporters have certainly blown things out of proportion.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 16, 2011, 2:14 p.m.    

Minister did not want to look like an idiot in this interivew and that why he asked Zahoor to kill the story.

Zahoor asked Bonner to kill it but he refused, and was fired the next morning.

HERE is censorship

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 17, 2011, 8:32 p.m.    

Blown out of proportion wants to blame all this on Yulia?

Much like many of the other fools who want to blame everything on her.

Shows how little they know.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 16, 2011, 3:32 p.m.    

good for the journalists- it is their ultimate responsibility to STOP the closed censored dictatorship that is forming in Ukraine -

unite all the ukrainian media journalists, tv, against all the censorship and give the country back to the people and democracy -

the world is watching and we support you - go for it !!

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 16, 2011, 7:12 p.m.    

If Bonner was indeed fired over his refusal to scrap an interview that the Post was about to print, the man should be lauded for his journalistic integrity. Newspaper owners have the right to pick and choose editors, but they don't have the right to interfere in editorial policy. Ironically, both Bonner and Zahoor showed integrity by standing up to the recent lawsuit filed by oligarch Dmitry Firtash against the Post. And they won!

The only problem that I have with this interview is that it isn't signed by anyone. I think that the Post has too often used the essentially anonymous &quot;staff writers&quot; for pieces that should have a name behind them.

Unfortunately, anonymity seems to be the trend for comments on this site as well.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 18, 2011, 3:11 p.m.    

Unfortunately anonymity is often necessary when exposing an authoritarian anti-democratic repressive regeime. Other Yanukovych = Gadhafi. Furthermore you seem to be pontificating about how the newspaper should be run rather than allowing the newspaper to run as it itself sees fit.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 16, 2011, 9:24 p.m.    

John It does not matter who wrote it just what is said. And as much as you wish to pretend that there is &quot;editorial integrity, that is a myth. An editor no matter what they decide to publish or not publish is never the less expressing their own bias in the filling the &quot;job&quot;. An editor's job is much more then just selecting what to print and what not to print. The editor provides leadership, mentoring and professional guidance. I am not sure if Bonner is what I would call a professional editor. What was his previous jo0b experience? Working for a local paper in the US. Somehow I get the feeling this was not just about this article. I suspect there was a lot more. Bonner was the editor of the past regime. the new own er has a right to take the newspaper in what ever direction they feel is appropriate. There is no doubt that the new publisher has extended the reach of Kyiv Post as well as its content. built there is a long way for it to go before it is considered a serious professional newspaper. New York times or Washington post it is not. It is a paper that Murdock might be interested in. Maybe a Britsh tabloid company.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 16, 2011, 9:28 p.m.    

The editor and staff do not own Kyiv Post. It is the prerogative of they wonder to hire and fire the editor. The editor is not the one that is held liable for any defamation action. If the publisher no longer has confidence in the editor that that is his/their choice. Staff must demonstrate a degree of professionalism. If they do not like the direction and policies of the company then they should resign and seek employment elsewhere. Its not a socialist workers cooperative where the workers call the shots.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 17, 2011, 9:14 a.m.    

Your contention is that publishing a voluntary interview is defamation??

Useful idiots always stick their foot in their mouth when they open it!!

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 18, 2011, 3:05 p.m.    

NY Times is pure editorial opinion vs. news and is not an example of good journalism.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 17, 2011, 9:23 a.m.    

I'd like to thank the staff of the Kyiv Post for keeping this story on the top of the page. It's an important story, illustrative of the deceit and corruption of the Yanukovich team.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 17, 2011, 11:26 a.m.    

And gutless losers write nasty remarks in the comments sections of newspaper web sites without signing their names to them.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 17, 2011, 5:35 p.m.    

Sir, you seem to be the only one who is making nasty remarks about the people commenting here. The minister of agriculture is a public figure and would be fair game, especially as it does not seem to have been very intelligent of him to agree to this interview.

And I can understand people being cautious about using their full name if they happen to live in Ukraine.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 17, 2011, 8:30 p.m.    

I also have thought many to be gutless not to use their names.

If you can't put your name to something, perhaps you shouldn't write a comment.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 17, 2011, 5:58 p.m.    

Harley, if you think that I am the only one who is making nasty remarks on this site, you either have something wrong with your eyes, or didn't read any further down than my comment.

In this case, my remark was directed at LES, who I think was calling me an idiot for questioning why the Kyiv Post doesn't sign many of its articles. This practice, in my opinion, isn't right.

Regarding your comments about fear of using one's name, I think you again have your head up your a@#.

Most of the people that comment on this site are not Ukrainians, and even if they were, I think it is the utmost in exaggeration to suggest that people get beaten up or worse in Ukraine for commenting on web sites. There is censurship here, but it isn't Stalinist Russia yet.

Instead, with all do respect to some of the more insightful and inspiring comments here, I believe that most of the anonymous garbage that anyone with 20/20 vision can see below is simply cheap shots from the safety of a pen name.

AND AGAIN IF YOU WOULD ONLY READ WHAT I WROTE - I NEVER QUESTIONED THE KYIV POST'S RIGHT TO GO AFTER THE MINISTRY AND EVEN LAUDED BONNER FOR STANDING UP FOR HIS JOURNALISTIC BELIEFS.

LASTLY: if you want to criticize me or anyone else, try and muster the courage to say who you are!!

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 17, 2011, 8:40 p.m.    

My eyes are still quite good and my reading comprehension even better. I believe that not only is Les's entire post not directed to you but I think the idiot he is referring to is Prysyazhnyuk.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 17, 2011, 8:37 p.m.    

I have to say that I find it difficult to understand why KP would fire their editor over this story.

This is the purpose of the free press...to expose what far too many in govt doesn't want exposed.

How else to you obtain the courage to correct certain actions if they're allowed to hide them.

The issue here was not about friendship but about censorship.

We need more exposure of the sins of this illegal and corrupt govt in Ukraine and I thought the KP was going to lead the way. Evidently not.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 17, 2011, 8:57 p.m.    

My KGB comrades finally found a way to put pressure on Mohammed Zahoor !! HA !! HA !!

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 18, 2011, 3:40 a.m.    

Don't believe the spin. There is much more to this than this article. if the ex-editor and staff want &quot;freedom to publish&quot; their own point of view then they can and should set up their own newspaper. This is not about &quot;Free Speech&quot; (which does not really exist). Bonner wants to continue on as editor than nothing is stopping him. KP is a good source but the quality of hard hitting article is rather suburban and amateurish, Certainly not the Times or the Washington post. Hopefully a new editor will provide a real serious professional newsource on Ukraine. This can and should get better.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 19, 2011, 3:14 p.m.    

PS

#13 The people that read the Kyiv Post are English speaking persons that want to learn about the continuing historically systemic RAPE of UKRAINE and the UKRAINIAN people, language, culture, traditions, etc; and, to learn about the geopolitical outcome of the blessed destruction of the USSR.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 18, 2011, 11:13 a.m.    

Welcome to 3rd World Country Ukraine. Corruption is the order of the day. It always has been and it always will be. You want freedom and democracy = LEAVE UKRAINE. The Oligarch Pigs are only interested in stealing all of the money and assets they can from the Ukrainian people and could care less what is left over.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 19, 2011, 11:22 a.m.    

I love this:

KP: But grain traders say that if the state did not interfere so much in the grain market, if the market was more predictable, they and banks could provide the financing.

MP: You are saying that the state interfered. But what did grain traders do for the past 19 years? Why did they not provide the financing?

If I'm not mistaken, the Ukrainian government has been running interference for 19 years also, and they have to borrow money all the time in the form of government bonds. What are they doing to provide their own financing? Collecting taxes and selling bonds are the result of trust in the government, yet they can't understand that they are undermining the trust of banks in the agricultural sector.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 20, 2011, 2:04 p.m.    

If the bank sector would be nationalised, its profits could be used for national interests. There is no free market in banking anyway. As long as you use the currency you support all creditors/banks who operate with it. There is no way to support only one.

And urbanisation is national death.

{# <-- parent id goes here
Anonymous April 20, 2011, 9:32 p.m.    

In America these people would be in jail. In Ukraine (or Russia) they win &quot;elections&quot;. Sad, I don't hold much hope for this country (btw I'm living in Ukraine currently).

{# <-- parent id goes here

KyivPost

© 1995–2014 Public Media

Web links to Kyiv Post material are allowed provided that they contain a URL hyperlink to the www.kyivpost.com material and a maximum 500-character extract of the story. Otherwise, all materials contained on this site are protected by copyright law and may not be reproduced without the prior written permission of Public Media at news@kyivpost.com
All information of the Interfax-Ukraine news agency placed on this web site is designed for internal use only. Its reproduction or distribution in any form is prohibited without a written permission of Interfax-Ukraine.