The Verkhovna Rada in Kiev today approved the bill on Martial Law, which now makes it legal to detain and intern foreign (Russian) citizens just for owning the wrong passport. The new legislation bestows much wider new powers to Ukraine’s President in case martial law is declared.
Russian blogger El-Murid highlights a very interesting aspect of the new law, allowing for the quick, arbitrary extrajudicial confiscation of property owned by the wrong people.
The law allows for the nationalization, without explanation and applying existing procedures, in the interest of the country’s defense.
This gives the President virtually unlimited powers to redistribute property, which, in the circumstances of the erupting oligarchic war will automatically make him no longer first among equals, but really the top person with unlimited powers. Naturally, if martial law is declared.
The procedure of the eventual return of expropriated assets has apparently been regulated in a very sparing manner, and there are plenty of options to bypass this minor obstacle: you can declare the asset owner an enemy of the nation, and on this basis find no reason to return him his property and assets.
Poroshenko thus got in his hands a very powerful tool of pressure on his oligarch peer competitors. Take into account that in the Donbas no cease-fire has been and isn’t there: shooting have again become commonplace, isolated, but nonetheless very real artillery shelling of cities in the Donbass have started. A casus belli can be found at any time. The question now is whether it will be an occasion applying only to the insurgent Donbass or reflect oligarchic interests in the clan war. No easy answer there.
Given Poroshenko’s recent collision with Dnepropetrovsk oligarch Kolomoisky, and Donetsk tycoon Akhmetov’s balancing act between Kiev and the rebels (a number of his assets are located on both sides of the Donbass front line), Poroshenko will certainly have the incentive to use this new “legal” capability.