REUTERS

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has tabled a bill in parliament to eliminate the oligarchic system in Ukraine.

This was reported by the press service of the President's Office.

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Draft law No. 5599 on preventing threats to national security associated with the excessive influence of persons with significant economic or political heft in public life (oligarchs) was tabled as an urgent one.

"This document contains the definition of the so-called oligarchs – persons who have significant influence in the economic and political life of the country, and also control the main segments of the media sector," it said.

The President's Office notes that the bill does not violate the fundamental rights of people who fall under the definition of an oligarch, but only defines the circle of such persons and establishes the rules for their transparent relationship with government officials. In particular, it will regulate meetings and other relationships between government officials and persons with significant assets.

This law is designed to expire in 10 years. It should be the first step towards the elimination of the oligarchic system in Ukraine. It will be used as the grounds for drafting antitrust laws, a law on lobbying activities, and other regulatory legal acts that will reshape the economic and social relations in the country.

The Office of the President says that "having initiated this bill, Volodymyr Zelensky demonstrates the political will for fundamental changes in the social and political structure of Ukraine."

"As the experience of other successful countries shows, the elimination of the monopoly position of a number of elected persons will give an impetus to the development of the middle class and accelerate the development of the economy," the President's Office said.

The LB.ua media outlet posted the wording of the bill. The preamble of the bill states that its purpose is to overcome the conflict of interest caused by the merger of politicians, media and big businesses.

"This [draft] law defines the legal and organizational foundations for the functioning of the system for preventing excessive influence of persons with significant economic or political heft in public life (oligarchs), the content and procedure for the application of measures of impact on these persons. The goal of this law is to overcome the conflict of interest caused by the merger of politicians, media and big businesses, ensuring the national security of Ukraine in the economic, political and information spheres, protecting democracy, ensuring state sovereignty and avoiding cases of manipulating the consciousness of citizens with deliberately distorted information to gain access to resources owned by the Ukrainian people," the preamble says.

Definition of an oligarch

Member of Parliament Pavlo Frolov shared via Telegram the details of the bill on oligarchs.

According to him, the document contains four criteria, compliance with three of which will become the basis for classifying a person as an oligarch:

  • assets worth from UAH 2.3 billion (about US$84.1 million);
  • significant influence on the media;
  • monopoly position in the commodity market of the state or a subject of natural monopolies;
  • participation in politics.

A decision on including such a person in the register of oligarchs will be made by the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) upon a motion by a NSDC member, the government, or the Antimonopoly Committee.

According to Frolov, the oligarchs will be "neutralized" in the following way:

  • the launch of proceedings by the Antimonopoly Committee on non-compliance with competition laws;
  • immediate dismissal of all persons who have significant influence on the implementation of the functions of the state (heads and deputies of central executive agencies, civil servants who belong to category A, chiefs of law enforcement agencies, judges, regional leaders) for failure to provide the NSDC with information on the content of any meeting or conversation (including by phone) with oligarchs or their representatives;
  • a ban on financing political parties and participating in large-scale privatizations;
  • obligatory e-declaration of such persons' assets.