The Kamikaze Central Banker

The words “Central Banker” are not usually used in the same sentence as “kamikaze”–until now, that is.  From this Reuters report, it sounds like Ukraine has an interesting Central Bank chief at the helm.  Her name is Valeriia Gontareva and here are some of my favorite bits of the article:

1. “Every day dozens of people chant “Gontareva! Resignation! Prison!” outside her office in Kiev. Prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation into the fall of the hryvnia currency.”

2. “One political party in the governing coalition unfurled a banner behind the speaker’s chair in parliament. “Sack Gontareva, the looter!” it read.”

3. “The bank is doing everything it can to squeeze the market and prevent importers buying currency,” said one bank trader. “Now, all (import) contracts need to be confirmed, and the bank is confirming them in a lackadaisical way. To call this skilful central bank policy is out of the question.”

4. “Poroshenko knew that she could go ‘kamikaze’, that she had to take unpopular painful measures,” said an official close to the president.”

5. “‘It is like she came from another planet…..”

6.  “Gontareva told online newspaper Ukrainska Pravda on Monday that she had received words of support from abroad, including from IMF chief Christine Lagarde. “They said I’m really great, that I took on an incredible challenge.”  Hmm, I buy the latter part of the statement, but I’m not sure about the first part.

Here’s a photo of angry legislators hurling fake dollars at the CB chief–that counts as high drama for central banking: