Platon Yelenin, a.k.a. disgraced Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky, applied for the Ukrainian visa a week ago, probably because he wants to come to Kiev when Russian President Vladimir Putin visits the Ukrainian capital on March 19, writes Rossiiskaya Gazeta.
|Russian oligarch Boris Berezovsky|
Now the Kiev authorities must decide what to do, though Nikolai Tochitsky, head of the consular service of the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, hinted that Mr. Yelenin would not be granted the visa while Mr. Putin was in Kiev.
According to Mr. Berezovsky, he wants to go to Ukraine for economic reasons, because the republic's steel and coal industries are slated for re-privatization.
Formally, there is no reason not to issue a visa to Berezovsky. Ukrainian Justice Minister Roman Zvarich said there are no grounds to deny his request. If that happened, several Russian politicians should also be proclaimed "undesirable." The Ukrainian authorities can be spared only because Mr. Yelenin, who has not been immersed in any dubious affairs, rather than Mr. Berezovsky has applied for a visa. Russia has opened a criminal case against Mr. Berezovsky but should have no complaints about Mr. Yelenin.
But Ukrainian political scientists say the appearance of Mr. Berezovsky would complicate Russia-Ukraine relations.
Moreover, the Ukrainian authorities are not happy at the prospect of Mr. Berezovsky's visit, because he protected a former major in the Ukrainian state guard service, Nikolai Melnichenko, who had 700 hours of audiotapes illegally made in the office of President Leonid Kuchma. Only a small part of the tapes has been made public so far. If Mr. Berezovsky takes hold of the tapes, he will control the past of the current Ukrainian authorities, because incumbent president Viktor Yushchenko and his premier, Yulia Timoshenko, were all in Mr. Kuchma's office during his presidency.