The Ukrainian big business hardly ever gets together on a public site to discuss something or just communicate. So far the tactics most Ukrainian business-elite representatives recourse to in order to improve their image and the investment climate of the country are reduced to solo speeches at business conferences or promotion during the preparation for IPO. However, recently many Ukrainian oligarchs gathered in London to participate in the Days of Ukraine in Great Britain. Among the VIP guests in England there were the businessmen Oleksandr Yaroslavsky, Serhii Taruta, Serhii Yevlanchik, Hryhorii and Ihor Surkis, Viktor Pinchuk and, of course, the host of the event Dmytro Firtash. Rinat Akhmetov also had promised to come, but he did not attend the Days of Ukraine as at that time he was hosting the Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych at the forum in Donetsk.
At the official opening of the Days of Ukraine at the British Parliament The Day could not help noticing the former Russian and present Ukrainian billionaire Vadym NOVYNSKY who has lived in Ukraine for one year and a half and managed to become an MP during this period of time. On the way to the prestigious Churchill Hall he answered a couple of questions asked by our journalist. The conversation with Novynsky started with his assessment of the London event and its influence on the investment climate in Ukraine.
“The more events like this one we organize the closer Ukraine will be to Europe and the world, the more investments we get.”
Are you planning to hold a similar event?
“I have not thought about it yet. If someone invites me, I’ll work on this offer.”
How would you assess the investment climate in Ukraine?
“It is good to work here.”
Why did you change the Russian citizenship to Ukrainian one?
“I have lived in Ukraine for a long time and I just legalized my status.”
What is the final result: what do you want to achieve in Ukraine?
“I just want to live calmly in a good European country. In Ukraine it is possible.”
Do you think Ukraine will sign the Association Agreement with the EU in Vilnius?
“Taking into account the questions the MPs are solving and the laws they are adopting (laws, aimed at the European integration, at improvement of the judiciary and stimulating reforms) the EU’s requirements are being fulfilled. I do not think there might be any problems with signing the Agreement. Although, anything can happen.”
Is it profitable for you tow work with the EU and Customs Union countries?
“I have left all the business questions so far and started my work as an MP. My current tasks are promoting and adopting bills that would stimulate the growth of the Ukrainian economy.”
What laws are you planning to promote in the Verkhovna Rada to achieve this goal? What are you working on now?
“At the meetings with the voters during my election campaign I repeatedly said that the there are two cities with a special status in the Ukrainian Constitution: Kyiv and Sevastopol. However, there is only the law on the status of the hero-city of Kyiv and there is not any for Sevastopol. That is why promoting a bill to grant a city-hero status to Sevastopol is my essential task. This is what I am going to work on with my colleagues. There are several draft laws and we want to arrange them and propose as one draft.”
What do you think of the tension reinforcement in the commercial relations between Ukraine and Russia that has already been called a trade war?
“It is not a war. I do not see any war. It is a certain misunderstanding that the governments of the two countries have to settle and everything will be fine.”
Has your business suffered from this commercial misunderstanding at the border?
“It is a question to the director general as I am not doing business now, I am working only in the parliament.”
What do you personally support, the cooperation with the EU or the Customs Union?
“As a former businessman who has left his business for the period of work in the parliament I think that the Customs Union is more profitable. When choosing the direction we have to build on what it will give today, tomorrow, and the day after tomorrow. All relations should be based on reciprocal esteem, trust, and benefits... If we are shown the prospects, pros and cons of participating in both unions, then Ukraine will not have to play up to anyone. Ukraine has to be a powerful country with the powerful economy… Finally, we have to think about the economy and how our people will live.”
Do you think Ukraine can enter the free trade area with the EU and continue its cooperation with the Customs Union?
“I do not think that in case the agreement with the Customs Union is signed and we enter it, we will break the commercial bridges with the EU. The Customs Union is trading with the EU, so it will not be an obstacle.
“At the end of the day the relations with Russia will get better some time after the Association Agreement with the EU is signed, but Ukraine will have to go through this period of several years. The ministries should have a vision of what is going to happen in the first and the second case.
“I think Ukraine should have good relations with all countries without arguing with them. Life is life: the fewer enemies you have the better you live.”