Tony Blair, adviser to Ukrainian government?

Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko with Tony Blair in Kiev. Photograph: Mykhaylo Markiv/AFP/Getty

The government of Petro Poroshenko, chocolate billionaire, weapons manufacture billionaire and president of Ukraine, employs advisers. Like Dmitro Yarosh, the founder and leader of the neo-fascist Right Sector organization, now adviser to the Ukrainian Ministry of War … sorry, I should use the euphemism ‘Defence’.

That government employs war criminals. Like the Aidar bataillion, which in a non-Islamist, but still ISIS-like way, beheads prisoners.

Apparently, the Poroshenko administration thinks that, even though the economy of Ukraine is collapsing for the majority of its people, they are not employing enough advisers and enough war criminals yet.

From daily The Guardian in Britain:

‘A true friend’: Ukraine president asks Tony Blair to take on advisory role

Unclear whether former British PM will take up offer by Petro Poroshenko, as Blair meets other key figures in Kiev hosted by oligarch Viktor Pinchuk

Katya Gorchinskaya in Kiev and Shaun Walker in Moscow

Thursday 18 June 2015 16.47 BST

Tony Blair has been offered a role advising Ukraine’s president after the pair met in Kiev on Wednesday. Blair, whose foundation has long-standing links with a Ukrainian oligarch, is said to be considering the role.

“You are now facing great challenges in the spheres of security and reforms,” Blair told Petro Poroshenko, according to the Ukrainian presidential website. Poroshenko called Blair a “true friend of Ukraine” and offered him an advisory role. A source close to Blair declined to comment, and it is unclear whether Blair has accepted the role. …

The former British prime minister attended a private dinner on Wednesday night in Kiev hosted by Ukrainian oligarch Viktor Pinchuk and attended by other Ukrainian business and political figures, in which he was briefed on the current situation in the country and asked how he could help.

Blair has spoken a number of times at an annual summit hosted by Pinchuk in the Crimean resort of Yalta. He was the dinner speaker at the most recent event, hosted last September in Kiev because Crimea had been annexed by Russia.

Pinchuk’s foundation paid $500,000 to Blair’s Faith Foundation in 2011 and 2012, $230,000 in 2013 and $330,000 in 2014 and a spokesperson for Pinchuk confirmed there is a long-term relationship between the two. Pinchuk has hosted several visits by the former prime minister to Ukraine.

It would not be the first time Blair has advised the government of a post-Soviet state. While billionaire chocolate magnate Poroshenko says he wants advice on driving through difficult reforms, Blair has been criticised in the past for cosying up to authoritarian governments in the region.

As part of his advisory role to Kazakhstan’s president, Nursultan Nazarbayev, Blair counselled the authoritarian ruler on how to handle criticism over the massacre of oil workers by riot police in 2011. Blair told Nazarbayev in a letter that the deaths, “tragic though they were, should not obscure the enormous progress that Kazakhstan has made”.

Poroshenko has appointed a number of foreign officials to key roles in his government, most notably naming former Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili as governor of Odessa last month. …

Saakashvili also sits on Ukraine’s International Advisory Council for Reforms, the body which Blair has been asked to join, along with former Swedish foreign minister Carl Bildt. US senator John McCain turned down a role with the body, citing US Congress regulations.

19 thoughts on “Tony Blair, adviser to Ukrainian government?

  1. Rally of Ukrainian workers against cuts

    On Tuesday, hundreds of Ukrainian workers rallied outside the Rada (parliament building) in Kiev. They demanded the re-indexation of salaries and pensions.

    Representatives of five trade union organizations handed in an ultimatum to the parliament, demanding the halving of gas prices, a programme of job creation and the re-indexation of the wages of public sector workers, student bursaries and pensions.

    Free Trades Unions Confederation chairman Mykhailo Volynets said if the government did not respond favourably the unions would call a national strike.


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