Ukraine Backs Away From Soviet Sberbank Push

Ukraine’s parliament on Wednesday refused to consider a draft resolution, intended to force the government to resume talks with Russia on the return of savings to depositors in the former Soviet Sberbank.

The document was supported by 140 Verkhovna Rada deputies but needed 226 votes.

According to the author of the bill, the deputy of opposition faction, Our Ukraine – People’s Self-Defense, Vyacheslav Kirilenko, about 150.5 billion dollars of savings of citizens have not been returned to Ukraine, despite an agreement on principles and mechanisms of managing domestic debt of the former USSR, which was signed in Moscow in 1992 by heads of CIS Government including Russia and Ukraine.

“150.5 billion dollars of our Ukrainian savings were on accounts of the USSR Bank and now are in Russia. Therefore, I suggest returning to this issue, to take the political decision to raise the issue with the Russian Federation, which does not recognize and does not want to recognize the fact that it owes anything to Ukraine. At least until there is a formal decision of the parliament,” Kirilenko said.

Kirilenko proposed legislatively recognizing Russian debt as the main source of savings recovery. Kirilenko added that adoption of this document would restore social justice and reduce the burden on the state budget as well as it will significantly speed up Ukraine’s compensation obligations to its citizens.

The ruling Ukrainian Party of Regions refused to support the initiative of the Ukrainian opposition saying that “the raising the question in such a way is politicking and demagoguery.”

Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych previously ordered the government to ensure the payment of $125 to each depositor of the former Soviet Sberbank. Compensation is scheduled to begin in June 2012. An estimated 6 million people should receive compensation.


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