Well dear readers, I had a draft post relating to changes to the Criminal Code prepared for today as I tend to write a day in advance.
The post draft will now wait until tomorrow if it ever sees the light of day at all.
Why the delay?
Well unfolding upon my TV last night on one of the local channels was the arrest of the Vice Mayor of Odessa. A very slow to unfold drama I must say, eventually concluding about 1 am.
Why did it take so long? It followed the tried and tested Soviet script.
That script dictates that an alleged nefarious act takes places, the police arrive and arrest the dastardly politically connected criminal, who when confronted and arrested suddenly feels so incredibly ill the police are duty bound to await medical attendance and hospitalisation, thus preventing immediate questioning and time in a rather nasty cell.
It also, of course, provides thinking time for the alleged offender and the ability to make frantic telephone calls to the patrons who put them in the positions of power the subsequently allegedly abused, hoping that same patronage can get them out of the difficulties they now find themselves in.
It is a script so well used and so tired, every time it is used it is like watching a series re-run of All Creatures Great and Small for the 43rd time. Tedious and unsurprising.
Now it just happens that the Odessa Mayor was not in Odessa when the Vice Mayor was arrested. He was in Kyiv. That is not that unusual other than the fact the Odessa Mayor does not normally stay in Kyiv overnight when he has to go there.
I know this because last time I flew back from Kyiv to Odessa in June this year, my plane was delayed 40 minutes to accommodate the Odessa Mayor getting from Kyiv city centre to the airport to fly back to Odessa, in the process screwing up the arrangements of everybody else on the plane who had people and taxis waiting at Odessa Airport of course.
Strangely though, the Odessa Mayor did not delay planes or drive at Warp Factor 3 back to Odessa to the aid of his Vice Mayor, but remained in Kyiv or slowly returning from Kyiv long enough for the Vice Mayor to be taken from City Hall at 1 am. He did however manage to make a statement in Kyiv along the lines of the fact he did not believe the allegations.
Now it maybe the Odessa Mayor was deliberately in Kyiv when his Vice Mayor was arrested, or it maybe the police deliberately arrested the Vice Mayor knowing the Mayor was in Kyiv and could not interfere so easily.
So what is the substance to the arrest? It appears the Vice Mayor allegedly received an amount of cash in return for his action over a certain issue.
Normally the Odessa agencies be they UBOB, SBU or other criminal investigative bodies, when knowing somebody is corrupt, use undercover officers to pay bribes for these individuals assistance over certain matters with marked money and recorded money, preferably also filmed by covert cameras where they can.
I know this for a fact, as I know such a person who paid $2 million in such money whilst on camera to a Mayor from a neighbouring city during the years of the last administration and has also carried out numerous other stings on corrupt school directors, and minor city officials.
If this was the same method used for the Vice Mayor of Odessa, and as I say it is the preferred method, explaining away large bundles of individually marked and recorded $100 bills takes a fair bit of imagination.
That said, as was with the case of the Mayor from a neighbouring city and the $2 million bribe, the old administration of Yushenko/Tymoshenko squashed the case despite the evidence and the Mayor in question even kept his job. The press though did not get a sniff of that incident unlike that of yesterday with the Vice Mayor of Odessa which makes it far harder to sweep under the carpet.
To be honest, Odessa was due to be hit by the anti-corruption stings as so far it has avoided it under the new government. The fact that the Odessa Administration is the same party as the national administration is of course a deliberate action to show a non-political angle to prosecutions for corruption.
Before comparisons are made between Ms Tymoshenko and a Vice Mayor of Odessa, we should remember that she is not being investigated for corruption but rather for an old Soviet Misuse of Office law. She is not accused of corruption.
Cynics amongst us would possibly highlight the fact that amongst all the reasonably high profile and possibly corrupt officials in the Oblast and City structures, the Vice Mayor of Odessa is about the lowliest of them all and thus the lamb for the sacrificial alter of corruption.
Optimists may hope that regardless of past nefarious and corrupt deeds carried out by almost all Ukrainian officials, and Odessa officials are no different, that the Vice Mayor is the only one remiss enough to continue such practices knowing friends and colleagues around Ukraine have been getting arrested for corruption in various cities for the past 18 months or so with some regularity.
Whether there is any substance to the arrest of the Vice Mayor of Odessa we have yet to see. Whether he will be saved by a particularly strong patronage agreement if he did do something corrupt we will see. How long he will remain in hospital we will see.
Nevertheless, a little bit of high profile local scandal unfolding on my TV until the early hours of this morning seemed to justify bumping back the drafted post about changes to the Criminal Code.