NEWSWATCH Christian Science Monitor: Ukraine’s latest challenge: oligarchs with private armies

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

[“Ukraine’s latest challenge: oligarchs with private armies; Gov. Igor Kolomoisky, who was given political power and the right to create a private army last year, last week used that power to seize the state oil company’s headquarters in Kiev” – Christian Science Monitor –  Fred Weir – March 25, 2015]

The Christian Science Monitor reports on developments in Ukraine surrounding billionaire oligarch and regional governor Igor Kolomoisky sending armed men to seize control of state oil company offices, followed by his dismissal by Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko.

… Ukraine struggles with near-financial meltdown and a shaky peace deal with pro-Russian rebels … the last thing it needs is a showdown with a powerful oligarch with a private army. But that may be just what is brewing.
… Poroshenko announced he has fired rough-and-tumble tycoon Igor Kolomoisky … from the position as governor of the restive Dnipropetrovsk region of east Ukraine, setting up a potential clash between Kiev and one of its key oligarch allies. … Kolomoisky was handed political power and the right to establish an army in the wake of last year’s Maidan revolution, but last week triggered what some are calling a serious political crisis … using that force to seize the state oil company’s headquarters in Kiev.

Actual motives and unfolding outcomes might be more subtle, however, according to some observers.

Most experts say Kolomoisky’s actions in Kiev, and the rally his supporters at home are planning Wednesday, are a bargaining ploy … not a declaration of war. The conflict might even have positive consequences if it forces Kiev to move on long-stalled plans for ‘decentralization’ of power to the country’s diverse regions.

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