Amidst Chaos of War, A New Report Exposes the Stealth Take-over of Ukrainian Agricultural Land

What does Ukraine, beneath the sheen, fight for? They fight for outfits like U.S.-based private equity fund NCH Capital, which has bought some 11 million hectares, roughly the size of the arable land of Germany, of Ukrainian croplands. And, as this excellent report explains, they die for the American, Saudi, Ukrainian and EU oligarchs, as well as the various sovereign funds, U.S. pension funds, foundations, and university endowments whose stake in Ukraine matches NCH Capital’s and who therefore similarly stand to hit the jackpot if Ukraine somehow wins the war and is in a position to pay back its creditors.

Conversely, as those august gangsters have so much at stake, they are, as Tucker Carlson’s landmark twitter video explained, hell-bent on ensuring America’s Democrat and Republican “wannabe dictators” protect their bet right down to the last dead Ukrainian soldier.

As Ukrainian “leader” Zelensky put this land “reform” into law in 2020 against the will of the vast majority of ordinary Ukrainians who clearly saw that it would exacerbate the country’s rampant corruption and reinforce control by those self-same vested interests, we can say, with hand on heart, that is just further proof that Zelensky is no Jack Kennedy or Charles de Gaulle. He is a self-serving traitor but so too are all the respectable Western bosses of pension funds, foundations, and university endowments who are using that leader (ha ha) to fill their own pockets at the expense of over 400,000 dead Ukrainian soldiers. source

Amidst Chaos of War, A New Report Exposes the Stealth Take-over of Ukrainian Agricultural Land
February 21, 2023

Oakland, CA — One year after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a new report from the Oakland Institute, War and Theft: The Takeover of Ukraine’s Agricultural Land, exposes the financial interests and the dynamics at play leading to further concentration of land and finance.

“Despite being at the center of news cycle and international policy, little attention has gone to the core of the conflict — who controls the agricultural land in the country known as the breadbasket of Europe. Answer to this question is paramount to understanding the major stakes in the war,” said Frédéric Mousseau, Oakland Institute’s Policy Director and co-author of the report.

The total amount of land controlled by oligarchs, corrupt individuals, and large agribusinesses is over nine million hectares — exceeding 28 percent of Ukraine’s arable land. The largest landholders are a mix of Ukrainian oligarchs and foreign interests — mostly European and North American as well as the sovereign fund of Saudi Arabia. Prominent US pension funds, foundations, and university endowments are invested through NCH Capital, a US-based private equity fund.

Several agribusinesses, still largely controlled by oligarchs, have opened up to Western banks and investment funds — including prominent ones such as Kopernik, BNP, or Vanguard — who now control part of their shares. Most of the large landholders are substantially indebted to Western funds and institutions, notably the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the World Bank.

Western financing to Ukraine in recent years has been tied to a drastic structural adjustment program that has required austerity and privatization measures, including the creation of a land market for the sale of agricultural land. President Zelenskyy put the land reform into law in 2020 against the will of the vast majority of the population who feared it would exacerbate corruption and reinforce control by powerful interests in the agricultural sector. Findings of the report concur with these concerns. While large landholders are securing massive financing from Western financial institutions, Ukrainian farmers — essential for ensuring domestic food supply — receive virtually no support. With the land market in place, amidst high economic stress and war, this difference of treatment will lead to more land consolidation by large agribusinesses.

The report also sounds the alarm that Ukraine’s crippling debt is being used as a leverage by the financial institutions to drive post-war reconstruction towards further privatization and liberalization reforms in several sectors, including agriculture.

“This is a lose-lose situation for Ukrainians. While they are dying to defend their land, financial institutions are insidiously supporting the consolidation of farmland by oligarchs and Western financial interests. At a time when the country faces the horrors of the war, the government and Western institutions must listen to the calls made by the Ukrainian civil society, academics, and farmers to suspend the land law and all land transactions. The necessity to prioritize an agricultural model no longer dominated by oligarchy and corruption, where land and resources are controlled by and benefit all Ukrainians, is the way forward for post war reconstruction,” Mousseau concluded.

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