18:12, March 24, 2010
David Zhvaniya’s chat-conference on LIGABusinesInform website

Answering questions of the conference participants David Zhvaniya told about the NU-NS faction’s destiny, prospects of the pre-term elections and the challenges which Ukrainian economy faces.

– Congratulate you all on the spring! That was spring who removed the snow and ice in Kyiv, not Chernovetskyi. I wish you good mood, optimism and success!

– Do you consider yourself a moral and responsible deputy before Ukrainian electors?

– Yes, I consider myself a moral and responsible deputy before Ukrainian electors.

– Where is your family now? Your wife used to show on public, and she is not seen lately, as well as your children seen to be out of the state.

– My wife and younger children are on vacation in Switzerland at the moment. The elder girl is in Kyiv, she studies in Shevchenko University.

– When will the coalition and the opposition deputies fulfill their commitment and cancel such a heavy burden of deputy inviolability. People say that “orange” are liars so they haven’t canceled. The “regions” though, people say, answer for their words thus they will cancel. Is that true?

– When a certain chain of power is defined, and the inviolability is applicable to people’s deputies, the president and judges, then it will happen.

– Mister David! What are your relations with the People’s Self-Defence deputies, especially with the ones who entered the parliament on your personal quota. Who supports your intention to “consolidate the faction”? Are you ready to form a coalition with the Communists?

– My relations with the People’s Self-Defence deputies are good. There are no quotas. Support of the factions’ consolidation is of all NU-NS deputies’ interest. We are not ready to form a coalition with the Communists, and that is a matter of principle.

- Mr. Zhvaniya, in 2007 people voted for “NU-NS” as a part of a democratic forces’ coalition, and now you support “NU-NS’s” union with the “PoR”. Could you tell us what is it needed for?

- Speaking of a possible coalition of “NU-NS’ and “PoR” we should consider the situation we find ourselves in. Victor Yanukovych has been chosen the President of Ukraine for the five-year term. The major faction in the parliament is the “Party of Regions” that will do everything to form an effective and legal coalition. I believe that the country shouldn’t be in the situation of a “crooked” coalition, which exists now to my great regret. The coalition should be created on an ideological basis, so that the executive power worked permanently strictly controlled both by the coalition and the opposition. “BYuT” has defined itself not recognizing neither the president elected nor the possibility of the coalition with the “Party of Regions”. So “NU-NS” has also to make a decision: join “BYuT” in its radical opposition, go to a “moderate opposition,” or participate in the coalition without communists. We should only take the responsibility we can bear. We shouldn’t give anybody the possibility to cause irretrievable damage to the young state. It is also important to relieve the tension of political suitability in staff and everyday decisions.

-How do you assess the new coalition? Does it correspond to the Constitution?

- There is a Constitutional Court’s decision considering the coalition’s forming. There it is clearly stated that the coalition should be constituted by the factions and the quantity of the deputies, who are the faction’s members, should be 226. The factions to form the coalition, i.e. the “Party of Regions,” the “Communist Party,” and “Lytvyn’s Block,” do not possess the quantity needed. That is why it was decided to fill the remaining vacancies with the deputies from two other factions — “BYuT” and “Our Ukraine-Peoples’ Self-Defense.” The Constitutional Court has to give its response to the inquiry if such coalition is legal. I voted for the Cabinet of Ministers and not for the coalition, because I believe that the executive power should exist always, notwithstanding the political situation. And the factions’ or the deputies’ decision whether to join the coalition or not should be made by them only.

- You voted for Yulia Tymoshenko government’s resignation. What was the reason for this step? What is your general assessment of this government’s work?

- I voted for Yulia Tymoshenko government’s resignation because I consider that the executive power should work effectively and without any breaks. Political confrontation shouldn’t damage the state.

– You still have that idea of the NU-NS faction’s consolidation and forming a new political force on its basis. What argues are you going to use for deputies to support the idea?

– I still have that idea of the NU-NS faction’s consolidation because for all responsible deputies of the NU-NS faction (and they are majority there) that is the only opportunity not to betray their electors and stay in active political life – both themselves and the ideas generated by the block’s members. That is the only opportunity. Thus I think it’s not my thought, but the only right and honest position.

– Where do you see yourself during the parliamentary elections of 2012?

– I will do my best for the political force of new type to be formed till 2012, the one which will have a claim for full or partial forming of executive power. The movement will have not only understanding of the necessary actions for improving the economic situation in Ukraine, but also abilities, knowledge, and methods of achieving the aims, as well as personnel potential. In this political force I hope to take a worthy place.

Today we don’t have time to create personalized and populist political movements intended to get the people’s support only, having no certain declarations of their further actions, and taking refuge in personal qualities, myths and phobias.

– When is the real term of the local elections’ holding? Was their postponing legitimate? And what will be the system of the future elections – majority voted or open lists?

– The date of the local elections’ holding is still being discussed. I believe that the decision to delay local elections was absolutely right. That will allow to make order in the electoral laws, leave local political verticals and to hold the elections on the region councils’ level in a mixed form – 50 % according to the party lists and 50 % according to the majority voted system. The local elections of lower level should be all by the majority voted system. The law on the capital should be prepared separately including the two-toured election of the mayor, dividing authorities of the head of Kyiv City State Administration and Kyiv mayor, as well as forming the KCSA by the mixed system (50 by 50).

-How do you asses the situation in Georgia? Is it possible that Saakashvili won’t be punished?

- I consider the situation in Georgia to be very bad. Saakashvili has lost people’s sympathies long ago. And now he threatens people with war in order to keep the power. For 20 years already the country has been living in a state of martial law, people are tired and confused. Economy is not working. Georgia has turned into a police state, people don’t have aspirations for any power, the situation is at the brink of chaos. The only way out is Saakashvili’s leaving politics and creation of a parliamentary republic without the president’s post in order to avoid the possibility that anyone repeats Saakashvili’s mistakes.

- Everybody is aware of your past in business. Could you reply as an economist? Is Ukraine threatened by a technical default now? And what threat does it constitute?

- At the present day external Ukrainian debt is not so big to talk about technical default. It is important to demonstrate stable and continuous executive power able to manage external debts, imply all the necessary measures in economic sector, show new possibilities of investment in economic sectors and particular projects for international community, reaffirm the safety of deposits and receiving dividends, stable hryvnia. There is a big number of underfinanced economic sectors in Ukraine, starting from the mechanical engineering, which becomes more and more demanded every day, agriculture, innovative technologies piled in a critical mass without being either patented or implemented.

-One more question, please. How do you asses the CabMin’s policy of using IMF tranches and how should these tranches be spent?

- I declared that today it is important to let the Cabinet of Ministers to hold talks with IMF understanding that the major part of IMF money will be spent to decrease this year’s budget deficit. In a longer perspective it is possible to determine the future possibilities of cooperation with IMF and the World Bank concerning long-term crediting of Ukrainian economy in order to let the state increase the income part of the budget and call in this and other credits, which were used up. It will also be necessary to discuss safer forms of money involvement into the banking sector in order to avoid the situation which occurred at the beginning of world economic crisis when the first IMF tranches were used to withdraw international capital involved by Ukrainian banks.

– Mister David, would you neglect your political “tastes” for the sake of our state and help the government to revive the SME and Ukrainian economy as a whole?

– I think, Ukraine will establish itself when more than 70% of its economy will be the small and medium businesses.

An economy is working people first of all , thus the state has to create proper conditions for them. As crediting and international support. We need that the people, who are ready to create their own business and new positions, feel maximum support allowing them to be efficient as much as possible.

– You staid recently about possible coalition reformatting. When could be expect the new majority? And how may  the government’s composition change? What will the NU-NS claim for?

– It is hard to predict accurate terms of the coalition reformatting at the moment. I wish it was earlier, but autumn is a more real term.

The People Self-Defense will claim for the part of the executive power where it will work with a maximum of efficiency.

– Since Kuchma’s office we have been talking  a lot of necessity of creating favourable conditions for foreign investors. Talking only. And we create the free economic zones only for Somebody International Groups to be able to return stolen money as investments with no problems. But Somebodies give neither innovations to the state, nor technology, production culture, nor they teach the personnel. Do you agree with the statement that the free economic zones are to be created only for foreign investors, and only for the world-known ones, as China does?

– For the foreign investor to appear we need to create several instruments: expand stock market, create an international bursa in Ukraine, for it to accept freely Ukrainian enterprises’ stocks and shares, for the funds’ owners – in Europe they are mostly Pension funds, private funds and commercial banks – to be able to invest in stocks and companies creating secure portfolios for themselves. For today Ukrainian economy is the most real and the most secure sector, and it needs to obtain an image of stability.

What concerns the free economic zones, they should be created according to sectors rather then territorially. Through them we will attract investors to the economic sectors in which the state is interested, for example for science development or for implementing science researches in real sectors. I mean medicine, education etc.

Also through them we need to create a system guarantee of payment of investment taxes and an easy form of funds returning.

-Lately the problem of dual citizenship has been widely discussed in our country. It is clear that the Crimean dwellers with Russian passports are associated for some of the authorities’ representatives with Abkhazia. But my case is totally different. I am Greek. I come from Mariupol. I’ve considered Greece my Motherland since I was a child. And, finally, last year Greece has accepted me to Attica community, I received a passport and an identity code of the citizen who lives outside of Greece, and I was also ascribed to the male population of the country. I don’t plan to leave Ukraine. My children and grandchildren live here. BUT! I have to resign as a city council deputy and leave the post of the public servant. I consider this nonsense. Even Russian tsars employed intelligent foreigners for the state service. So in Ukraine there is a brains’ excess? What do you think about double citizenship?

-I have always supported double citizenship. Firstly, it is an international standard which most of the European countries follow. It is about the freedom of movement and the place of living choice. In our country it goes as always: you have received education in this country, you were taught at school, and you were in the army, so you can’t have another citizenship. If we aspire for integration into Europe, being a part of a European space, we should understand it clearly that this norm humbles a Ukrainian citizen and the whole country.

As a law-abiding citizen I am the citizen of only one country. I have one Ukrainian passport. And I don’t need other ones. But I think that every person has the freedom of choice.

-What are the main reforms for the country now?

- The principal reforms needed to be introduced could be counted by the fingers of one arm. These are: a pension reform, an education reform, a healthcare reform, and a thinking reform. The last one supposes tens of thousands of laws in order to create a civil economically progressive society, with a high need to adapt our legislation to the European one. It is impossible to declare our belonging to Europe and do not fit it in the legislation system. This work could be done in a very short period. It will let the Ukrainian citizens as well as the whole European community to overcome the way to closer relations, understanding and realizing the fact that Ukraine is a European country which needs a reset much more than old Europe.

-What should be Ukraine’s vector in international relationships?

-Ukraine’s orientation to EU or to Russia will depend upon Russia and its decisions concerning the support of EU enlargement and its participation in this union or any other form of cooperation it chooses. This is not Ukraine’s position but EU’s. Talks and discussions are held concerning this matter. Ukraine should be an active participant of these talks and declare clearly that the only right way for it, just like for its neighboring Russia, is the creation of a single Eurasian space.

– What is your point of view, will the gas agreements with the RF be reviewed? What is to be done with the gas transport system of Ukraine? Form a consortium?

– Poor external policy of the last years led to the situation when the gas transport system is urgent. Today several round-Ukraine projects are approved and are being implemented. They threaten efficiency and filling of Ukraine’s gas transport system. If during the negotiations we manage to get guarantees of its current gas transport system filling with prospects of the system’s expansion – both from the supplier and the European consumers – then I consider as reasonable continuing the negotiations on creating the international consortium which will allow to renew the old system, make it as transparent as it can be in calculations of volumes and profitability for Ukraine. For de-facto the system still exists on Ukraine’s territory and will always be a 100% state’s property. The conflicts concerning creating the gas transport consortium are of political nature only. Still not so bad either for nobody to have an opportunity to play :)

– Mister David Zhvaniya! Why don’t we hear in your speeches about the main thing – the number of Ukrainians die nowadays? 1270 people dies of flu in short term, whereas in neighbouring countries only several dozens did. One Ukrainian dies of cardiovascular diseases every minute. And what about tuberculosis epidemic in Ukraine? Hospitals are closing! You are a people's deputy. How are you going to rescue Ukrainians?

– I often declare the necessity of creating a more accurate control system for epidemic situations in Ukraine. Several Ministries are responsible for the issue, but in fact nobody does. As for the real situation and a farfetched one regarding the flu. According to the statistics, 3-3.5 thousand people a year die of different forms of viral diseases in Ukraine. This year we witnessed the lowest level of mortality. Due to panic with the swine flu more people went to doctors in time, and the doctors were ready to help them. But unfortunately that is not the system allowing to control the situation, decreasing the level step by step. For that we should introduce an institute of a family doctor who would be able to consult and prevent all aftereffects of illness as efficient as possible.

There is no tuberculosis epidemic in Ukraine, though the sickness rate remains high. The reasons are – first of all – fear of the disease, and ignorance of the way to live a complete life with it not harming the others. All specialized ministries have to work on the problem. But I emphasize once more, there should be one responsible. Under the condition of early diagnostics of the illness one can heal completely, and we need to do our best for that.

– What is your point of view on Zatulin, his assessing of Ukraine as a state and his proposition: “low gas price for the Black Sea fleet in Ukraine after 2017”?

– Zatulin is an irritant. Thus I consider him as an irritant. Though he is not a bad person – I know him personally.

What concerns year 2017 and the Black Sea fleet, I want to say several things. The RF doesn’t need the Black Sea fleet today, nor it will need it in 2017. It is all about imperial tone, rather then presence in Sevastopol of scrap metal, rather expensive in maintenance. If there will be business relations, not absurd ones, emerging between our countries this question will become secondary and disappear in 2017. And it will enter the history as a post-soviet period.

– Batono David. Will there ever be peace between Georgia and South Ossetia?

– There have always been peace between Georgia and South Ossetia. And I hope that even sub-quality politicians who inflame the interethnic conflict, will not overcome the thousand-year neighbouring relations of respect and love. People are wise then war.