The journalist Vasyl Zabrodsky knows firsthand about Burbak’s family. Earlier, he was a co-owner of the largest TV channel in Chernivtsi, today he is just a TV presenter and journalist. But in one time, he was close to the so-called Bukovyna clan.
“We are godparents with Yatsenyuk. We have baptized children of Andriy Pushny. I am his elder daughter’s godfather, while Yatsenyuk is his younger’s ones. When I was an MP, I repeatedly helped them. Well, if a godparent asks me, should I refuse? Therefore, I knew this,” the journalist Vasyl Zabrodsky says.
Maksym Burbak was born 42 years ago in a family of Chernivtsi University lecturers. His mother worked at the Foreign Languages Department. His grandfather Fedir Arvat then headed the Philology Department and was a famous person.
“Maksym Burbak is a grandson of the former chairman of Ukraine’s Union of Writers, who headed the union, although he did not write a single poem himself. Once his grandfather was sent to Bukovyna to establish Soviet power there” Zabrodsky noted.
However, Burbak owes to his mom his future career. She arranged her sons to study at Chernivtsi specialized school №9. Her eldest son Oleksiy shared one desk with little Yatsenyuk, son of her good friend and colleague. After graduating from school, friends entered Chernivtsi National University named after Yu. Fedkovych.
"Burbak’s acquaintances helped him in making this rapid rise, he studied together with Arseniy Yatsenyuk. Today the current Minister of Justice, Pavlo Petrenko, as well as other high-ranking officials from the National Front party, who are called the “Chernivtsi Clan”, are the backbone of the parliamentary coalition and lead the National Front,” the journalist Svyatoslav Vyshynsky said.
In addition to Arseniy Yatsenyuk, Burbak brothers, and Pavlo Petrenko, Andriy Ivanchuk, future Oshchadbank chairman, Andriy Pyshny, and the military prosecutor Anatoliy Matios became members of that student clan. Political scientist Oleh Havych assures that Maksym has always been a junior partner in this company.
Maksym Burbak cannot be called an independent political actor. Since he is only a younger member of Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s “political family.” Burbak became the public representative of this family; when a new government was formed in 2014, Oleksiy Burbak refused to take up any public position, and promoted his younger brother Maksym Burbak for this position. Oleh Khavych, director of the Institute of Western-Ukrainian Studios.
Maksym Burbak does not like talking about his first business. However, once Burbak confessed in his interview with Bukovynska Pravda, he was engaged in moving the cars from Hungary to Ukraine. His business was so successful that soon he managed to open his own car dealership. However, in order to achieve an upper level during turbulent 90s, he needed to have good contacts among the post-Soviet elites. Arseniy Yatsenyuk has quickly realized this, and in 1992 he got acquainted with the son of the then Chernivtsi region governor Valentyn Hnatyshev. Thus Yatsenyuk managed to open Yurek Ltd law firm under his auspices. And his old acquaintances, Pyshny, Ivanchuk and Burbak brothers became companions.
“They worked for gangsters, businessmen of all levels; this is how their own clan was born,” Zabrodsky said.
Thanks to the law firm, close collaboration with many representatives of Ukrainian politics and big business was elaborated. It became a turning point in their biography. Smart Arseniy rocketed up the professional ladder of the state power. After the Orange Revolution in 2004, Yatsenyuk headed the National Bank. With the support of an influential partner, the Burbak brothers began implementing market reform in their native Chernivtsi.
"Dobrobut" market is considered Yatsenyuk-Burbak group key business in Chernivtsi.” the activist Mykola Shmorgun said.
This is Kalynivsky market in Chernivtsi, founded in 1990. It was the city communal property then. Today, it is one of Ukraine’s largest markets. Similar to well-known Seventh-Kilometer Market in Odesa.
“This is a communal market, which is the largest taxpayer (following the budget sphere). During Fedoruk’s presidency, who is now National Front member, parallel structures at Kalynivsky market were created,” Vyshynsky commented.
In 2005, Chernivtsi city authorities, supported by Mayor Mykola Fedoruk, leased an area of about 6.5 hectares, located on the border with the Kalynivsky market, to the "Invest Alliance" company. The company was founded by Yatsenyuk’s relative, who at that time served as Ukraine’s Minister of Economy.
“One of Arseniy Yatsenyuk’s first businesses was a market square, now known as "Dobrobut" market in Chernivtsi, once was registered to Yatsenyuk’s aunt and considered his family estate. Today it belongs to three different legal entities, associated with Maksym Burbak. It is claimed that Yatsenyuk sold or turned over this business to Maksym Burbak.” Vyshynsky said.
The area near Kalynivsky market was allegedly allocated for the construction of a training and exhibition pavilion. Nevertheless, "Dobrobut" private market appeared on its place.
“Ironically, the structure is legally registered as an exhibition center to avoid paying taxes to the city. The market became the main competitor of "Kalynivsky" market, blocking its development and opportunities," Vyshynsky noted.
According to the documents, Maksym Burbak's father, pensioner Yuriy is on of the "Dobrobut" founders; its charter capital is 17 million hryvnias (over 600 thousand dollars).
“At that time, the charter capital amounted to $ 2 million (over 70 thousand dollars). When was asked, where this money come from, Maksym replied his father was a businessman. And he earned such money. Of course, it is a lie,” Zabrodsky said.
In 2006, the rental area of “Dobrobut” has doubled. And then, with the facilitation of mentioned Mykola Fedoruk city mayor, it was privatized. Accordingly, "Kalynivsky" municipal market has gradually transformed into "Dobrobut" private market. Tens of thousands of hryvnias were daily earned on the parking. At the same time, "Dobrobut" marked never paid the taxes due to its puppet status.
“The market begs numerous question. The current city council, which has a Negative attitude towards Maksym Burbak, is convinced that Chernivtsi has lost up to 400 million UAH (over 14 mln dollars) because of the market’s unique conditions and privatization of the land plot,” the activist Mykola Shmorgun told.
In 2011, the city council dismissed Mayor Mykola Fedoruk. And "Kalyiovsky" market head Ivan Rynzhuk was arrested for a 250,000 USD bribe. The new city authorities tried to "nationalize" the "Dobrobut" market and even initiated a lawsuit to cancel the privatization agreement. But change of criminal power prevented it, as it often happens in Ukraine.
In 2014, the wave of the Revolution of Dignity not only swayed Yanukovych's regime, but also brought the Chernivtsi clan to the highest stages of Ukrainian power.
A mayor was elected after the revolution in Chernivtsi. Oleksiy Kaspruk is a close acquaintance of Yatsenyuk and the Burbaks.
A year after the court closed a case of bribery against Ivan Ryndzhuk, former director of the market. Go deep down.
Another story is about assigning a road for use, the road leads to the Dobrobut market. This was the first and the only precedent in Ukraine when local authorities performed early lease out for a road for many years to a commercial entity. The road was supposed to return back into the use of the city, however, a tricky scheme was wrapped up. One legal entity, affiliated with Burbak, assigned this road to other legal entity also affiliated with Burbak for use. The bankruptcy operations were performed, so the road has gone. It should have been returned into the ownership of the city, though it is impossible to return it back to local authorities in near future, Vyshynsky said.
Alongside with the business, Chernivetsky has built up his political project. Arseniy Yatsenyuk “deployed” his classmates and business partners for to the “Front of Changes”. Maksym Byrbak being loyal to the leader became the head of Chernivtsi region department.
There was no better candidate for the position than a junior brother of Yatsenyuk’s partner. Thus since then he chaired the regional administration. Zabrodsky noted.
In 2010, Maksym Burbak was elected as a regional council deputy. And in 2012 he moved to Ukraine’s capital and became a Member of Ukraine’s Parliament of the 7th convocation.
It all changed in 2014. After the revolution won, Arseniy Yatsenyuk becomes the Prime Minister of Ukraine. And Maksym Burbak starts fighting corruption in a high position of trust in the government.
Our hero was appointed the Minister of Infrastructure in the team of reform makers. This must be due to his profession and experience, since he used to bring the cars from abroad.
However, today there’s no use of the first post-revolution government and its ministers, as it is impossible to bring the car from abroad even in their native Chernivtsi.
“Two trains and one flight go here. Being a Prime Minister and a minister of infrastructure, they haven’t done anything,” Vasyl Zabrodsky said
This may have happened because the public official Burbak engaged himself in global projects more than in local ones. And he really succeeded in this, according to our experts. To start with the administration of sea ports – one of the industries under the control of the Ministry of Infrastructure.
“Burbak is a protégé of the National Front. It was then when a shadow system of mafia enforcers was set about in the system of sea ports,” Glib Kanevsky, the Chairman of the Board of State Watch Public Association told.
There are plenty of schemes to embezzle millions. According to Kanevsky, they fell under the control of people from Chernivtsi after the clan of people from Donetsk.
“First, these are tenders, when bogus firms procure the services or millions of hryvnias.
Second, this is a trick with sums of port fees. Some entities are allowed a discount. Others are not. Some entities are charged officially, others make shadow payments. Some ships may be documented as a large-size ship, others in contrary are “reduced” in size in the documents in order to charge less. The third thing, wages and bonuses for the management. Millions,” Kanevsky said.
The State Audit Service conducted an audit of administration of sea ports in 2015 – 2017 and detected that:
Due to manipulations in markings of the ships, the ports sustained losses in 100 million hryvnias (3.5 million dollars) in official payments only.
Due to the fact that the Administration of seaports cooperated with bogus contractors, which existed only on paper, the Administration of sea ports lost over 27 million hryvnias (1 million dollars).
Due to the fact that the Administration of seaports paid big salaries and bonuses, the ports lost over 40 million hryvnias (1.4 million dollars).
After all, National anti-Corruption Bureau of Ukraine took an interest in multi-million embezzlement and corruption manipulations in ports. Burbaks’ fellow countrymen and party members were among the defendant in the case.
The scheme under the investigation of an anti-corruption bureau is a classical scheme when the tender is initially tooled for the two bogus companies organized by the leadership of the Administration of sea ports. Ameelin is connected with the National Front, and the circle of Ivanchuk.
Back then these companies got 700 million UAH (25 million dollars) aimed for dredging operations, and NABU put that in issue in court and proved that the firms only existed on paper and had no production base. These firms were organized by one and the same person, who coordinated their work with Amelin. The tender companies are tied to these firms, and they have simply hired other contractors and paid them less, leaving the margin to themselves. Kanevsky said.
At the beginning of this year, the National Anti-Corruption Bureau conducted several searches and detained Andriy Amelin, former head of the Administration of seaports, who got his office with the help and promotion of Maksym Burlaka.
The investigation in the case of abuse during dredging operations in ports found losses in several million hryvnias.
“The investigation of the case on embezzlement of 8,8 million dollars by the public servants of the Ukrainian Sea Ports Authority state enterprise is completed. We have a great problem in our ports and we can see that judging by other proceedings. The problem is that higher-ups control the ports and this case is the first one in this sphere,” Artem Sytnyk, the Director of the National Anti-Corruption Bureau.
At the time Maksym Burbak was in office, the schemes were flourishing also in other sectors of the Infrastructure Ministry. During the parliamentary election campaign of 2014, Ukrposhta gave to the representatives of People’s Front a discount of 32 thousand dollars on distribution of agitation leaflets. Besides, Burbak did not only manage earthly business. He has passionately engaged in development of Ukrainian State Air Traffic Services Enterprise (UkSATSE).
The minister-reformer had bright ideas on the development of state aviation. And he was implementing them so well, he eventually attracted the attention of the Anti-Corruption Committee of the Verkhovna Rada.
One of the most known fraud is the one connected to Platinum Bank. Ukrainian State Air Traffic Services Enterprise transferred over 14 million dollars to the accounts of bank on the verge of bankruptcy. Currently, the National Police is investigating this case. The investigators are trying to find out on whose initiative an almost bankrupt bank received this sum of money. This money was divided between the interested parties after the bankruptcy of the financial institution.
The General Prosecutor’s Office and the National Anti-Corruption Bureau are also investigating this scheme.
It was found that the information that officials of the Ukrainian State Air Traffic Services Enterprise by abusing power, intentionally made ungrounded large money transfers to the account of the enterprise opened in Platinum Bank, was input in the Unified Register of Pre-Trial Investigations. Money transfers were done with the purpose to receive personal improper advantage or in favor of other legal entity in contrary to the interests of the Ukrainian State Air Traffic Services Enterprise and this caused grave consequences.
Maksym Burbak achieved such fruitful results only in a year of work as the Minister of Infrastructure. And after the resignation of Yatsenyuk government, he headed the People's Front and went on to defend Ukraine in the Verkhovna Rada. Here he can be seen in the hottest spots.
“Taking into account that Arseniy Yatsenyuk personally trusts him ... I think he was appointed the leader of the largest faction in parliament. Not because of his personal skills, but because he is very loyal to Arseniy Yatsenyuk.” Shmorgun said.
Maksym Burbak confirms his statement not by word, but by deed. Currently, his daughter, Kateryna, is receiving high-quality education in London. The education costs 20 thousand dollars a year without the cost of food, accommodation and entertainment. Officially, the deputy earns a year twice less than it is needed for a child's education. But what you will not do for the exemplary success of the education reform.
When Maksym Burbak on Chernivtsi TV channel says he is sending his daughter to study in London, he himself underlines with the red line his words about reforming education in Ukraine. That is, the only indicator that education is changing is that your children stay to study in this system of education. And if you protect it only by words, and still send someone to study in London, it shows that you are saying lies. Shmorgun said.
Meanwhile, Maksym Burbak tirelessly showers with righteous anger all the traitors who want to flee abroad in difficult times for the country:
“We will now vote to deprive the foreign citizen of the status of the people’s deputy of Ukraine”
“A person who has access to the state secret such as people’s deputy, cannot be a foreign citizen.”
Though, some evil tongues say that Maksym Yuriyovych, together with his family, is preparing to become subjects of the British Crown. At least the Burbaks have already invested more than £ 2 million in the economy of this country. This investment allows you to claim English citizenship.
However, we sincerely believe that foggy Albion will not tempt the true patriot to leave Ukraine. After all, he has something to lose and defend in his native land.
If we look at the declaration, Maksym Yuriyovych is almost a beggar and lives on his salary. Business and assets are registered to his closest friends and wife. According to the declaration, the Burbaks possess:
-A couple of land plots on thousands of square meters.
-Several dozens of cars.
-Millions of hryvnias on bank accounts and millions of hryvnias in cash.
-Besides, an object on the construction stage.