Monday, March 16, 2015

Ukraine's other war about to start

That would be the war with creditors. Creditor number one, the Franklin Templeton fund, has retained Blackstone to represent its interests in debt renegotiations with the bankrupt state.

That in itself tells you something. Blackstone aren't altruistic work-out artists; they're cut-throat hedgies. If they've been "retained" it means FT has already made a deal to sell them their Uke debt at a deep discount.

If Argentina's experience with Elliot Management is any indication, this cloud over Ukraine's future could linger for fifteen years or more.

Interesting to see White and Case mentioned as representing Ukraine. That's a law firm famous for their pro bono work. This could be their biggest pro bona assignment yet! After all, what's Ukraine supposed to pay them with?

Ironically, Ukraine was once known as the bread-basket of Europe, and it's eastern regions were the industrial heartland of the Soviet Union. How did that rich legacy go up in smoke in the quarter century since independence? Simple; Ukraine was well and truly plucked to the last feather by her very own home-grown oligarchs.

The negotiations are doubly tragic for Ukraine in that the value of the hryvnia has been cut in half since the Nuland-Pyatt coup, but those debts must still be repaid in US dollars. That's something the Ukrainian people will have plenty of time to think about as they endure twenty years of Greek style austerity so that the banks who funded the kleptocracy of the oligarchs can be paid in full.

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