Oligarchs Steering Miners Protests To Discredit Government – Mustafa Nayem
28 April, 2015

The miners protests in Kyiv on 22nd April 2015 which demanded the resignation of Ukraine's Energy Minister Volodymyr Demyshyn appear to have been, at least in part, organised by Ukrainian billionaire Rinat Akhmetov, according to Mustafa Nayem, member of the Ukrainian Parliament and former investigative journalist.

Nayem has published a document which alleges to be a plan developed to protect the monopoly of Ukrainian energy conglomerate DTEK, owned by Akhmetov. According to Nayem, Akhmetov and his associates have controlled 60 percent of the Ukrainian energy market over the past 20 years and it is a big big threat to Ukraine and to society.

The document, known as the Fortress Plan, was published on Ukrainian news website, Ukrainska Pravda, on 24 April 2015 and details a broad campaign aimed at discrediting the government officials who want to restrict the company’s monopoly on the energy market. The document described the tactics they plan to employ such as coal miner protests and building criticism of the government with the help of local media.

The situation at the protests, said Nayem, was not “black and white”, as not all the miners were being paid by Akhmetov. However he did highlight the inconsistency in the fact that Akhmetov’s employees had traveled to Kyiv to protest against the government even though Akhmetov is responsible for their salaries and working conditions.

Nayem stresses that Akhmetov's plan is not a political one but rather a business plan aimed at protecting the company’s interests. Akhmetov’s aim therefore is not start a counter revolution but to threaten and undermine the current government to ensure the status quo.

DTEK has not denied Nayem's accusations but instead issued a statement in which it claimed it was unfamiliar with the source of the document.

Hromadske International’s Ian Bateson and Angelina Kariakina spoke with Mustafa Nayem via Skype on April 26, 2015.