What do your stolen billions buy?
"All talk of your being awarded a Nobel Prize has fallen silent." — Lubomyr Prytulak
22 June 2001
Leonid Kuchma, President
vul. Bankivska 11
RFE/RL reported on 12 June 2001 that "Last week, Ukrainian lawmaker Hryhoriy Omelchenko alleged that Kuchma's former bodyguard Mykola Melnychenko has been given special witness status in the U.S. after he passed to the U.S. authorities audio recordings suggesting that no less than $1 billion dollars has been deposited into U.S. bank accounts that either belong to or are controlled by Kuchma."
Of course we understand that your one billion dollars in U.S. banks does not constitute your total assets — you possibly have comparable holdings in Ukraine, in Switzerland, and who knows where else.
For the sake of future politicians who succeed you in governing Ukraine, and who may be tempted to steal as much money as you have stolen, it would be valuable for you to inform them of what these stolen billions have been able to purchase for you. For example:
Your answers to these questions would be valuable for future leaders of Ukraine to read, as then they would know better whether the path that you have chosen for yourself is one that they should be desirous of following.
- Out of respect for your wealth and power,
- the people who surround you are ones that are increasingly admirable, accomplished, talented, noble;
- or, on the other hand, that they are increasingly criminal and degenerate (ones even who, like Olexander Yushko, clutch anesthetic-soaked handkerchiefs as they stalk twelve-year-old girls), and that your attitude toward those who have come to surround you is one of fear and loathing.
- With the help of your wealth and power,
- the Nobel Peace Prize (for which you were being nominated in recognition of your having supervised Ukraine's divesting itself of its nuclear arsenal) is coming within your reach;
- or, on the other hand, that all talk of your being awarded a Nobel Prize has fallen silent.
- What your wealth and power have allowed you to do for your relatives
- has strengthened your family bonds;
- or, on the other hand, your family has learned of your crimes, and holds you in contempt, to the degree that it may be said that your climb to power has lost you your family.
- Out of deference to your wealth and power,
- the world press speaks of you favorably;
- or, on the other hand, when the world press mentions you at all, it is only to list your crimes.
- That the Ukrainian people
- view you with gratitude as the man who gave them an economic prosperity matching those of neighboring Poland or the Czech Republic or Hungary;
- or, on the other hand, that the Ukrainian people see your stolen billions as the reason why they themselves go hungry.
- That although your wealth and power
- may have lost you much, they have gained you the loyalty of a tight circle;
- or, on the other hand, that they have guaranteed the disloyalty of all around you such that the day after you put out a $500,000 contract on the life of an administration critic, RFE/RL is broadcasting the news, and not long after you discuss in your own living room torturing a judge, audiotapes of your conversation are being hawked on the streets of Kyiv.
- That your wealth and power
- allow you to enjoy material and sensual pleasures that would have been beyond your reach had you not murdered and plundered;
- or, on the other hand, that you have learned that your exotic cuisine is ashes in your mouth, that your fine wines choke your throat, that your ornate bed is where you lie down to have nightmares of Heorhy Gongadze's headless corpse, that you peer out through the windows of your limousines in shame and fear, and that an honest peasant, eating humble fare in his own cottage, surrounded by his family and friends, enjoys pleasures that your stolen billions are unable to purchase.
- That your wealth and power
- encourage you to look forward to spending your last days in tranquility in a dacha overlooking the Dnipro, perhaps writing your memoirs, perhaps sometimes venturing forth to deliver speeches which impart your wisdom to the thriving nation of whom you are a father;
- or, on the other hand, that those stolen billions, those worthless billions, those billions that you would make vanish if you could, but that remain tied around your neck like an albatross — that those stolen billions will put you in prison where you will spend your last days staring at the walls of your cell.