Last week, the former head of the Central Bank of Ukraine, Yakov Smoly, received an unpleasant gift: a coffin and several wreaths. The banker was forced to resign and announced his resignation on June 30 due to systematic pressure from television and the oligarchs.
The Washington Post reported the incident. Questions about the political influence on the country's main bank may arise in America and Europe. Assistance from the IMF, which the country needs critically, is at stake. The newspaper cites the opinion of Timothy Ashe, an expert on new markets, who believes that the influential oligarch Igor Kolomoisky is trying to weaken the Central Bank and gain control over his former Privat-Bank, which was nationalized in 2016. The expert suspects President Vladimir Zelensky of an alliance with Igor Kolomoisky and the industrial lobby, who doubt the need to cooperate with the IMF.
Smoly's predecessor, as chairman of the Central Bank of Gontarev, called on the IMF not to list new tranches and even recall the previous ones if the independence of the bank is not ensured. Valeria Gontareva left for the UK in 2017, after the vandals smashed her house, and masked Kalashnikov men brought her bloodied photo and coffin to the Central Bank. Last year, they burned her house near Kiev. Gontareva told the publication that the SBU forbade her and the chairmen after her to comment on the bank's operations.
When President Zelensky fired Prime Minister Goncharuk, a well-known reformer, and his government, the bell rang for Smoly. On June 30, he announced his resignation for political reasons, and last Wednesday, President Zelensky lowered the hryvnia by 11 percent. Valeria Gontareva believes that the same Kolomoisky is behind the attacks on Smoly. Kolomoisky himself in a message to the newspaper wrote that “Gontareva is crying in prison.” Zelensky’s administration sent an email in which he assured journalists that the president supported the independence of the Central Bank, and a new chairman, a professional with a good reputation, would be appointed soon. When asked about Smoliy’s resignation, the administration stressed that Kolomoisky has no influence on state authorities. “Smoliy’s resignation came as a surprise to us,” the administration emphasized. The Smoly version differs from the one stated in the email. Smoliy said that he directly asked the President if he wanted Smoliy to leave. The president replied: “Yes.” The head of the IMF mission in Ukraine Goesta Ljungman expressed her concern: “The very fact that the management of the Central the bank openly declares political pressure, it should bother everyone. ” Analyst Ash believes that "there is a return to the disastrous economic policies of former President Yanukovych."