16:52, July 1, 2010
David Zhvaniya: The case on Yuschenko’s poisoning is closed

In the interview to Ukrainska Pravda David Zhvaniya told about the motives of his conversion to the coalition, the causes of the Right of Choice parliamentary group's establishment, the group's goals and ideology.

-Can you call your group a political force in power?

-Yes, the Right of Choice parliamentary group has become a political force and we have become the coalition’s member as a united force. There are only three weeks left in this session, still in autumn we hope to show our effectiveness.

-You met with the President. What were you talking about with him?

-It was an official meeting initiated by our group. As long as the majority in the parliament was formed under the President’s initiative we passed all the rounds of talks. Our parliamentary group expressed its positions in memorandum and discussed them with both Yanukovych and coalition’s representatives.
Moreover, during our meeting I said that I didn’t believe that the head of the state could be pro-Russian, pro-European or pro-American. He assured me that the President had always been and would stay pro-Ukrainian.

-Do you understand that with your hands the Party of Regions tries to decrease the communists’ influence?

-I’m not the member of the “Party of Regions”, so I can’t comment on its relationships with the Communist Party of Ukraine. But I consider the communists’ participation in a coalition, which is liberal according to its spirit and ideology, negative. Presently it is necessary to do whatever it takes to minimize their influence in the parliamentary majority.
If my NU-NS colleagues adopt a complicated but right decision to enter the coalition we’ll be able to decrease the influence of the CPU upon all the processes up to a possible change of the majority’s format.

-Did you talk to Yulia Tymoshenko before conversing to the coalition?

-I have declared my position absolutely clear, when Yulia Volodymyrivna is now speaking with Yuriy Lutsenko’s mouth. In this situation I don’t see any necessity in holding any talks with her.

-Did you inform Yuriy Lutsenko about your decision? Did you talk to him about this?

-How can I talk to a person if he spits upon people? We’ve hold many discussions with him, some of them have been broadcasted. Lutsenko was aware of my plans and initiatives but we didn’t manage to establish a productive dialogue. To my great regret this person behaves inadequately.

-How did you manage to convince Novikov? He was considered to be a very close ally of Yuriy Lutsenko.

-Why is Novikov Lutsenko’s ally and not mine? We are all colleagues in faction, we have different views, and it’s just that at one point Yuriy Vitaliyovych declared himself a leader.

-Let’s return to the nearest past. Who provided the funding for People’s Self-Defense?

-I did. And this allowed us to be absolutely free.

-There are people who say that Ihor Kolomoysky also participated in funding. What do you know about this?

-I don’t know anything about this. He could have participated from Lutsenko’s side. But these are their personal relationships which I’m not interested in.

-Will you participate in local elections?

-As far as I know, local elections will be held using a mixed majoritarian-proportional system. Except the elections to district and region councils, majoritarian system will be used. So the participation of any political force will be minimal.
But we clearly state that during these local elections we plan to work with all the majoritarians who support our position. And during these elections we plan to start developing our own party based on self-nominated candidates.

-And do you plan to ballot on the next parliamentary elections?

-Many more times!

-Under which lists?

-If Verkhovna Rada approves of a mixed election system for parliamentary elections I plan to ballot under the lists of a new project.

-Aren’t you afraid of many accusations concerning our new authorities suspected of trying to introduce authoritarian regime here? The Party of Regions’ partners talk about this and Parliamentary Assembly of European Council does the same.

-Our society is so used to the weak and ineffective authority that its least attempt to become stronger is considered frightening. The authority should be. It is a basic constant for the state existence. Moreover, there should be a clear vertical of power. Meanwhile the authorities aren’t the owners of the state; they come to show their abilities during the period for which they are chosen by the people.
Besides, I think that the greatest achievement of the year 2004 is fair elections. This is our heritage. Presently there are no mechanisms to turn the authority into dictatorship.
Our parliamentary group won’t let this happen. We won’t participate in any conspiracy aimed at this. Actually, Yulia Volodymyrivna expressed this idea when she tried to create a broad coalition. It was the time when our first and basic divergences of opinion occurred.

-What are your relationships with Mykola Martynenko?

-They are great.

-Are you business partners?

-No, we are just joint shareholders of a number of companies.

-Why didn’t he go to your team? Did you persuade him to join the coalition?

-Mykola Martynenko is a self-sufficient personality and he has the right to make a decision of his own. At the present moment he is the head of the faction, but there is an open discussion going on in the NU-NS. There are two camps one of which the supports coalition entering and the other is looking for the reasons not to do this. I believe that our group has made its choice and we’ll persuade our colleagues to support us.

-But is the faction actually needed in this case? What is the sense of its existence?

-The sense of its existence lies in performing its historical mission: entering the coalition and doing everything possible to make the majority effective? Because today it is impossible to stay in the startling opposition, which sometimes becomes utterly rude.
Yulia Volodymyrivna considers herself the head of the opposition and she speaks with the mouth of Lutsenko… We don’t consider it possible to stay in such a destructive opposition.
That is why I believe that the faction should enter the coalition and do everything possible for it to provide effective reforms.  Now the country is in need of effective decisions which will help it to get out of the system crisis.

-Did you offer money to those who entered the coalition?

-No this is impossible. This would be the biggest humiliation of parliamentarianism. And this is unacceptable for me.

-So you deny that the coalition gets new members by the means of pressure on the deputies or for some preferences, including money?

-I don’t exclude separate cases. But as for us I repeat: most of people who entered the coalition have become the members of our parliamentary group and this asserts one more time that there were no financial motivations in this case. We’ve just made a decision and entered the coalition, but meanwhile until the end we tried to unite the faction.

-Did anybody discuss the question of appointment to some posts with you?

-We didn’t raise them. We are not present in the executive power now. Although we don’t exclude that in future we may aspire for some posts if this is necessary for reforms’ implementation.

-Who’s the opposition’s leader according to you?

-Opposition doesn’t exist for me today because it’s too weak, startling, and ridiculous. The country needs the high quality opposition, which it had at the beginning of the 2000-s.

-But you could organize the right opposition. Why didn’t you do this and ran to those in power?

-Because those starling actions made by opposition do not fit my understanding of politics. If it were possible, I would stay in the opposition. But this is impossible!
Opposition’s actions lead to annihilation of parliament. And this led to the adoption of a budget without any discussions. Presently our opposition is just tomatoes, eggs, and rudeness.

-Aren’t you afraid of the opposition’s extinction?

-This place won’t stay free for a long time. I don’t exclude that the united opposition will form in the course of confrontation during the laws’ adoption in the parliament, in the process of creation of the power’s framework thanks to the improvement of legislature and constructive critics. That’s all.
But we won’t have opposition annihilated here. We won’t have the Russian scenario in Ukraine. We should forget about it as if it were a nightmare. We are the freedom-loving country.

-And, in general, are you satisfied with the atmosphere in the country when the opposition vanishes along with the “wrong opinion” in media?

-Unfortunately, there are disturbing signals, But Internet allows everything: you can write and say whatever you want! Nobody can prohibit this!

-There is information that before the ratification you and Mykola Martynenko have bought a state holding of shares of one telecommunications company and this was your payment for the access to the coalition…
-Yes, the company which shares we hold has bought Infocom's shares. But these talks were held by Germans for three years. Ukrtelekom gets rid of non-core assets. All in all Germans proposed us to buy these shares; there is no political ground under this.

-And when will the agreement be signed?

-It has been held in four tranches.

-And did it happen before the ratification?

-Yes. Half of the year before. Everything depended upon the Germans, and their audit.

-Was the tender for the state share holding announced?

-This wasn’t a state share holding.

-One more problem through which somebody could influence you is your citizenship. Could you explain how you received the Ukrainian passport?

-I had a Georgian citizenship. And I rejected it and waited for half of a year until I called President Shevardnadze. He asked why I had decided so. I told him that the decision was made and wouldn’t further be discussed. And then he signed a decree about my leaving the Georgian citizenship. That’s all.

-We have information that you had two USSR passports and Georgian bodies told those of Ukraine that in their data base there wasn’t the passport you had changed for a Ukrainian one.

-Everything wasn’t like this. Viktor Andriyovych Yuschenko personally called Mikhail Saakashvili and asked to assist his group of investigators that was going to try the poisoning case in Georgia. The group visited Georgia six times. They interrogated everyone who knew me. Then they discovered that I really lived there, went to school, to work, had holidays… lived a normal life.
They had nothing to go by so they went by one item: that my Soviet passport is a false one. Actually Georgia didn’t confirm that, because they still have some reason and they got scared of a possible suit to the Court on Human Rights.
That is why they responded softly, saying that, according to their information, the Department of Visas and Registration that issued my passport didn’t have such numbers. Such numbers were issued by another district’s department. Based on this document Ukrainian investigators went to the court where a young judge asked them if they had any other proves. They answered “no.” Then the judge asked if they thought that I weren’t born at all. Because he didn’t find any reason for me to forge the passport when I was 16 years old.

-But you have turned over your Soviet passport when you got Georgian citizenship. How did this passport appear in Ukraine then?

-I didn’t turn it over. This wasn’t necessary in Georgia. You just came, showed your passport and received an identity card. Not any of Georgia’s citizens has turned over his Soviet passport.

-But when you received Ukrainian citizenship you delivered your Soviet passport?

-Yes. I left Georgian citizenship, turned over my Soviet passport and received a Ukrainian one.

-Is the criminal case on this issue closed already?

-There wasn’t any. This is a myth of a tame department of Prosecutor’s General Office. It was a startling instrument. The passport was a part of a case on poisoning which didn’t happen.

-How could it be!?

-It doesn’t exist and it didn’t happen. The case was opened on the basis of Zinchenko’s statement in the Internet. It was closed in the course of a year. There wasn’t any other case afterwards. It even didn’t have a number.

-And the last question just for the record. Viktor Yanukovych’s program hasn’t changed much since 2004. At that time you fought against him and his program. How do you feel being its executive now?

-During the President’s speech devoted to his 100 days in rule I haven’t found even several articles against which I fought before. Out of all the presidents’ programs in Ukraine Yanukovych’s one is of the highest quality and is also the most ambitious one. I even pity the government which took the responsibility for implementing all of the tasks announced. That is why I will be happy to participate in implementation of all the projects of high quality.


By Mustafa Nayem