Monthly Archives: February 2006

AUR#667 Polish President Visits Ukraine; PayPal Co-Founder From Ukraine; Orange Chronicles; Light From The Past;Russian Orthodox Church USA

      THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR
                An International Newsletter, The Latest, Up-To-Date
                    In-Depth Ukrainian News, Analysis and Commentary

                     Ukrainian History, Culture, Arts, Business, Religion,
        Sports, Government, and Politics, in Ukraine and Around the World       

                        
THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR – Number 667
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor  
Washington, D.C., Kyiv, Ukraine, MONDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 2006
              ——–INDEX OF ARTICLES——–
         Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.               
Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article
                 TO UKRAINE FROM FEBRUARY 28 TO MARCH 1
Olha Volkovetska, Kyiv, Ukraine, February 14, 2006

2.         POLISH AMBASSADOR: WE EXPECT NEW STIMULUS
By Jacek Kluczkowski, Polish ambassador to Ukraine
Polish Market, English-Language Economic Magazine
Warsaw, Poland, Issue 2, (114), February, 2006

3 POLISH OFFICIAL SAYS CHANCES FOR A SHARP INCREASE
         IN VALUE OF POLISH-UKRAINIAN TRADE ARE GREAT
Anna Skowronska-Luczynska, Minister Counselor, Head of the
Economic and Commercial Department of the Polish Embassy in Kiev
Polish Market, English-Language Economic Magazine

Warsaw, Poland, Issue 2 (114), February, 2006

4.        PROMOTING A MARKET WITH 100-MILLION PEOPLE
Polish-Ukrainian Economic Chamber
Polish Market, English-Language Economic Magazine
Warsaw, Poland, Issue 2 (114), February 2006

5 .                      THE POLISH OUTPOST IN UKRAINE
    The Polish Institute in Kiev: main aim is to promote Poland in Ukraine
INTERVIEW: With Jerzy Onuch, Director of the Polish
Institute in Kiev, Counsellor at the Polish Embassy in Ukraine:
Interviewer: Andrzej K. Kazimierski
Polish Market, English-Language Economic Magazine
Warsaw, Poland, Issue No. 2, (114) February 2006

6 CONSORTIUM TO PRESENT FEASIBILITY STUDY EXTENDING
ODESA-BRODY OIL PIPELINE TO PLOCK, POLAND ON MARCH 15
Roman Kysil, Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Fri, Feb 24, 2006

7SIGNING OF DOCUMENTS ON ENERGY SECURITY EXPECTED
DURING POLISH PRESIDENT’S VISIT TO UKRAINE SAYS KINAKH
Roman Kysil, Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Sun, Feb 26, 2006

8.                  YOU ARE INVITED TO: UKRAINE BRIEFING
       "BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT & MACROECONOMIC SCENE"
                   BEFORE THE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS

         Economics & Business Task Force, US-Ukraine Policy Dialogue 
                   Tuesday, February 28, 2006, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. 
                      At The Heritage Foundation, Washington, D.C.
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR), #667, Article 8
Washington, D.C., Monday, February 27, 2006
 
9 UKRAINE TO DIVERSIFY FUEL SUPPLIES FOR ITS NUCLEAR
  POWER PLANTS, WESTINGHOUSE & POSSIBLY FRENCH FIRMS
Itar-Tass, Moscow, Russia, Saturday, February 25, 200

10.      RUSSIAN SEVERSTAL-METIZ BUYS 60% OF UKRAINIAN
                       METALWARE PRODUCER DNIPROMETIZ
Interfax-Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, February 26, 2006

11. CO-FOUNDER OF PAYPAL IMMIGRATED TO US FROM UKRAINE
AS A TEENAGER IN 1992, PAYPAL SOLD FOR $1.5 BILLION TO EBAY
     Max Levchin, born in Kiev, likes the edge. Starting another company was
                         the natural thing to do for PayPal co-founder.
Dan Fost, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer
San Francisco, California, Sunday, February 26, 2006

12 THE ORANGE CHRONICLES DOCUMENTARY FILM FUNDRAISER

              Friday, March 3rd, 7:30 p.m. The Ukrainian Institute, NY, NY
The Ukrainian Institute, New York, NY, Friday, Feb 24, 2006

13.                           FILM: "LIGHT FROM THE EAST"
          1991.Revolution.Ukraine.The End of an Era.The Birth of a Nation
               The story of an American theater troupe that witnessed the
                  fall of Communism while in Ukraine in August of 1991.
By E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR), #667, Article 13
Washington, D.C., Monday, February 27, 2006

14.                           ENDANGERED REVOLUTION:
                 Ukraine’s bold push for democracy stunned the world,
                                 but can it live up to its promise?
Article By Andrew Meier, National Geographic magazine
Washington, D.C., March 2006, Pages 32-50

15.                       BOOK: AN ORANGE REVOLUTION
                     A Personal Journey Through Ukrainian History
         A captivating book about a defining moment in European history
.
By E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR), #667, Article 15
Washington, D.C., Monday, February 27, 2006

16.                     U.S. WARNS BELARUS OVER VOTE
AP, Reuters, The Moscow Times, Moscow, Russia, Sun, Feb 26, 2006

17.       BELARUS SAYS US CONCERN OF VIOLENCE DURING

          UPCOMING PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION UNWARRANTED
     Deputy U.S. Assistant Secretary of State David Kramer visiting Belarus
Associated Press, Minsk, Belarus, Sat, February 25, 2006

18.    BRINGING DOWN EUROPE’S LAST EX-SOVIET DICTATOR
                Presidential election in Belarus on Sunday, March 19
By Steven Lee Myers, NY Times bureau chief in Moscow
The New York Times Magazine, NY, NY, Sunday, February 26, 2006

19 . ACCUSATIONS OF MISUSED MONEY ROIL RUSSIAN ORTHODOX
                    CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Former treasurer says top officials misappropriated millions of dollars to
cover personal embarrassing credit card bills, pay sexual blackmail, support
family members, gifts of cash to visiting foreign dignitaries, entertainment
By Alan Cooperman, Washington Post Staff Writer
The Washington Post, Washington, D.C.
Sunday, February 26, 2006; Page A09
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1
.  POLAND’S PRESIDENT KACZYNSKI TO PAY OFFICIAL VISIT

                TO UKRAINE FROM FEBRUARY 28 TO MARCH 1

Olha Volkovetska, Kyiv, Ukraine, February 14, 2006

KYIV – Poland’s President Lech Kaczynski will pay an official visit to
Ukraine from February 28 to March 1. Vasyl Filipchuk, the head of the
Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Ministry’s press service, announced this to
journalists at a news briefing. "The President of Poland is expected to
visit Kyiv and Kharkiv," Filipchuk said.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, Poland’s Foreign Affairs Minister

Stefan Meller paid an official visit to Ukraine in early January. During a
telephone conversation in December 2005, President Viktor Yuschenko
congratulated Kaczynski on his first days as the president of Poland and
wished him success.

Yuschenko expressed the hope that Ukrainian-Polish relations would be
preserved and that all promising projects will be implemented. Yuschenko and
Kaczynski also discussed Ukrainian-Polish trade and economic cooperation,
regional politics, and joint projects in the energy industry. They also
exchanged information about the situation surrounding delivery of Russian
natural gas to Ukraine. Kaczynski was elected president in October. -30-
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2.    POLISH AMBASSADOR: WE EXPECT NEW STIMULUS

By Jacek Kluczkowski, Polish ambassador to Ukraine
Polish Market, English-Language Economic Magazine
Warsaw, Poland, Issue 2, (114), February, 2006

Since the Ukrainian state emerged, relations with Poland have become very
close. Poland and Canada were the first countries to recognise Ukraine’s
independence in December 1991. Relations were also good between the
former heads of states Lech Walesa and Aleksander Kwasniewski of Poland
and Leonid Kravtshuk and Leonid Kuchma of Ukraine.

Traditionally, lively contacts were developing between regions, university
schools, educational and cultural organisations. Which all proves that the
quality of our relations has not been based exclusively on events of 2004,
although the Ukrainians bid for democracy in that year met with
wholehearted support from the Polish people.

Have these hopes come true? It is known that people had great expectations.
It is unrealistic to expect that they all could come true within a year or
two. But today Ukraine is different than is was a year ago. Probably a more
objective assessment will be possible from the perspective of more years.
Surely, freedom of speech is now a fact and the oligarchs do no longer have
such direct power as before.

Present-day Ukraine is a democratic country. It pursues the road of
democracy and market economy. This is to a large extent attributed to
president Victor Jushtchenko. He is a man who has his values and ideals.

General elections will shortly be held and if Ukrainian electors will be
consistent, Ukraine’s democratic progress will continue.  I do not think,
however, that the situation has changed radically. Almost half of the
electorate still supports one camp and the second half the other. In certain
sense, this reflects the defeat of the democratic forces.

For since that time they have had the task of increasing the ranks of their
allies. But the result of the elections, whatever the outcome, will not be
disastrous for Ukraine and it will not affect relations with Europe and in
particular with Poland.

As member of the EU, Poland is the spokesman of Ukraine’s rapprochement
with Europe. In terms of so-called European standards, Ukraine’s situation
has changed last year. Ukraine has scored a big success. It has proved to
the world that it is a democratic state. Those in power do not threaten the
electoral process and freedom of speech. I do not think that the
international community expected more than what had happened.

Admittedly, the issue of Ukraine’s EU membership was not placed on last
year’s agenda yet. And it will probably not be placed this year either.
Ukraine’s most important task is to bring itself closer to European
standards and to raise the competitiveness of its economy.

A new stimulus in Polish-Ukrainian relations is expected from the first
visit to Ukraine by president Lech Kaczynski at the end of February. The new
president seeks to activate foreign policy and attaches great importance to
personal contacts. Hence establishing a personal contact with Victor
Jushtchenko will become one of the priorities of the visit. The talks
between the presidents will also deal with Ukraine’s relations with the
European Union and the coordination of tasks in energy policy.

Poland as well as the European Union are interested in energy security. Both
have been content that Ukraine and Russia reached an agreement. A situation
such as that of Russia stopping gas supplies should not happen again. It was
undreamt of till then that gas supply might simply be cut off.

Generally, such a policy is unacceptable. Deliveries of energy carriers
should not serve as instruments of political pressure. Energy security must
remain beyond politics. Now we have received a second lesson, another
proof that energy carriers have become part of politics.

It has never been so good that it could not be better, And although trade
turnover and investments are still rising we know that the growth dynamics
in recent months might have been higher if the investment climate in Ukraine
was better and if not for administrative obstacles and  unfavourable
decisions affecting Poland and which can hardly be understood.

Such clashes of interests, so it seems, are unavoidable. The elimination of
reliefs in special economic zones was not aimed against Polish investors.
The move was intended to hit  the grey zone, the off-share investors who
manipulated the rules to avoid en masse paying taxes.

Professor Marek Dabrowski, a Polish economist serving as advisor to the
authorities here told me that this was the only successful move in the
economic policy of the former government of Julia Timoshenko.

Alas, the baby was emptied out with the bath, and harm was done to honest
investors, including those from Poland. It is now our task to seek
compensation for losses incurred. We have succeeded in that only in part.

We are also speaking of bigger and spectacular actions such as the joint
application to UEFA on organising European football championships, plans
of extending the oil pipeline from Brody in the Ukraine to Plock, linking
the
wide gauge railway line connecting Silesia with Ukraine with Federal
Russia’s railway system which – when combined with the construction of a
reloading terminal in Poland – would bring us into the Euro-Asian railway
transportation system. We are talking about all that and collaborating with
Ukrainian partners.                                 -30-
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3. POLISH OFFICIAL SAYS CHANCES FOR A SHARP INCREASE
        IN VALUE OF POLISH-UKRAINIAN TRADE ARE GREAT

Anna Skowronska-Luczynska, Minister Counselor, Head of the
Economic and Commercial Department of the Polish Embassy in Kiev
Polish Market, English-Language Economic Magazine
Warsaw, Poland, Issue No. 2 (114), February, 2006

Polish-Ukrainian economic relations have developed in accordance with
Ukraine’s economic situation since the moment when the country regained
independence. In 1992 the value of Polish exports to Ukraine amounted to a
mere USD161.6 million, in 1997 reached as much as USD1,206.8 million to
slump again to USD703.1 million two years later when the Ukrainian economy
collapsed.

Since 2000 Poland has recorded a fast increase in its exports to Ukraine. In
2003 and 2004 the rate of growth in exports exceeded 130 per cent. The year
2005 was slightly worse but exports growth still reached 122.8 per cent in
January-November.

The rate of growth in imports from Ukraine has been less stable: after a
rise of 140.4 per cent in 2000, the next year saw a decline of 94.5 per
cent, followed by a sharp increase of 151.5 per cent in 2003. In
January-November 2005 Ukrainian exports to Poland reached the previous
year’s level (99.7 per cent).

There are great differences in the structure of the two countries’ exports.
Poland imports from Ukraine mainly raw materials and semi-finished products
designated for further industrial processing.

The main commodities include iron ores, products made of cast iron and
non-alloy steel, gas, ferroalloys, petroleum, wood and electricity. There
are no consumer goods or highly-processed goods on the list of Ukraine’s

30 leading exports.
  PASSENGER CARS TOP POLAND’S EXPORT TO UKRAINE
Passenger cars make up the most important commodity in Polish exports to
Ukraine ( 7.65 per cent of total exports in January-November 2005). Most of
the cars exported to Ukraine come from the FSO plant in the Zeran district
of Warsaw. In recent years, this car maker made a living exclusively thanks
to orders from Ukraine.

Among other exports are paper, cardboard and products made of these
materials, car parts and engines, tyres, stoves and cookers, refrigerators
and freezers, furniture and accessories, footwear, cosmetics, drugs and
various machines. In contrast to Ukraine, Poland exports to the Ukrainian
market a very diversified line of commodities.

It is noteworthy, however, that for a few years now Ukraine has been
importing more and more parts and accessories, rather than finished
products, as well as production machines and equipment.

In 2004 the value of Polish-Ukrainian trade reached over USD3,082 million.
This is not much if compared to Poland’s trade with the Czech Republic for
instance. But the good news is that this value has been consistently growing
for five years now.

  CHANCES FOR SHARP INCREASE IN TRADE ARE GREAT
Objectively, chances for a sharp increase in the value of Polish-Ukrainian
trade are very great. Ukraine is a large country with a population of nearly
48 million. Household incomes have been growing fast here – although by
European standards they are still very low with average wage at around
USD150 – and so is industrial demand. Poland has much to offer to Ukraine:
our commodities are of high quality and are cheaper from their Western
equivalents.

But it should be remembered that this opinion is not shared by all
Ukrainians. The reputation of Polish products was damaged by some Polish
pseudo merchants who in the past, before the imposition of visa
requirements, smuggled goods into Ukraine and sold them in inappropriate
conditions.

This is a marginal phenomenon now but the proverb says that one bad apple
spoils the whole barrel. And neither should one be under the illusion that
everything can be sold in Ukraine. Those who have been to Kiev and have seen
the local shops know one can buy everything here including luxury goods.
What’s more: Ukrainians are more avid for luxury than Poles.

      MANY BARRIERS TO TRADE ON THE UKRAINIAN SIDE
So we could sell here more goods and buy more. However, there are many
barriers to trade on the Ukrainian side. Licences are needed for trade in
many commodities and there are restrictions on trade. The certification
system dates back to the times of the Soviet Union and covers a wide range
of goods. Additionally, rules of trade change very often; changes are
unpredictable and implemented overnight.

The decline in the value of Polish imports from Ukraine in 2005 resulted
mainly from a reduction in iron ore and petroleum imports. After the
privatisation of iron ore conglomerates in Ukraine in mid-2004 the new
owners decided that previously signed sales contracts were no longer binding
and suddenly suspended supplies.

As a result the volume of iron ore imported by Poland in 2005 reached only
67 per cent of the ore imported in the previous year. In mid-April 2005 the
Ukrainian government imposed a ban on the export of Ukrainian oil. The move
meant the violation of contracts with refineries in southern Poland and put
them in great trouble.

UKRAINE RESTRICTIONS ON WOOD EXPORTS & MEAT IMPORTS
At the end of the year Ukraine imposed a statutory ban on the export of
precious types of wood and placed bureaucratic barriers on the export of the
remaining types of wood. And Ukrainian wood is in great demand from Polish
producers.

There are great complications concerning Polish meat exports to Ukraine,
particularly the export of pigs for slaughter. The reason is the protection
of the Ukrainian producer market and the activity of the agricultural lobby,
which has been intensifying its campaign against the alleged flooding of the
Ukrainian market with Polish meat, including smuggled meat.

Meat is more expensive in Ukraine than in Poland and the volume of
domestic production is low. All this shows that, although profitable, trade
with Ukraine is not an easy business.

Ukraine is the second largest market for Polish investment after Germany.
The value of Polish investment in Ukraine amounted to USD214.9 million on
October 1, 2005. This may seem little but one has to take into account that
Polish business is still working its way up and cannot afford large exports
of capital.

UKRAINE DOES NOT OFFER GOOD CONDITIONS FOR INVESTORS
On the other hand, Ukraine does not offer sufficiently good conditions to
foreign investors, which is reflected in its FDI statistics. In mid-2005 the
value of foreign direct investment exceeded USD9 billion. In the second half
of the year the much publicised sale of the Krivorozhstal metallurgical
conglomerate and a large bank added another USD7.2 billion to these
statistics.

The share of Polish investment is small but gives us satisfaction,
nonetheless. In the first years after Ukraine regained independence
investments were made here mainly by small and medium enterprises, which
were able to flexibly adjust to quite non-transparent conditions. There were
also exceptions from this rule, for example Kredyt Bank and Pekao SA.

In recent years more and more companies well-known on the Polish market
have been investing in Ukraine. Among Polish investors are CanPack (which
produces beverage cans in Ukraine), PZU SA, the furniture producers Forte,
Nowy Styl and Black Red White, the parquet flooring producer Barlinek, Katy
Group, Torunskie Zaklady Materialów Opatrunkowych (which holds a
40-per-cent share in the Ukrainian market for sanitary towels) and the car
seat producer Groclin.

After the Orange Revolution more and more Polish companies are going to
invest in Ukraine. For the time being, they have been examining the market
and its conditions and waiting for an improvement in the investment climate.

LIFTING ECONOMIC ZONES DAMAGED UKRAINE’S CREDIBILITY
The sudden lifting of preferential terms in Ukrainian special economic zones
considerably damaged the credibility of Ukraine as an investment location.
Around 70 Polish companies operate in such zones and many of them lost
such preferences, although under previous agreements they had been
supposed to enjoy them for many more years.

Moreover, investors have not received any compensation, despite numerous
promises. Efforts made in this respect by the Polish authorities and
diplomatic services in Kiev came to nothing (the problem concerns not only
Polish investors).

Despite all these difficulties and barriers, I regard Ukraine as a promising
investment location. Ukraine aspires to WTO and European Union membership
and this means it has to adopt a transparent and predictable economic policy
and open itself to cooperation with other countries, including foreign
investment.

Cooperation in the energy sector may play a special role in Polish-Ukrainian
economic cooperation. What we have in common is location as a transit
country and the need to diversify energy sources.

The Euroasian Corridor for the Transport of Oil Odessa-Brody-Plock-

Gdansk is a joint project to which the two countries have given serious
consideration. There are also prospects for cooperation in other segments
of the energy sector.

Ukraine is our strategic partner and this is not just a platitude. We have
much to do together in the economic sphere and can reap many benefits

from our being neighbours.                        -30-
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NOTE: Subheadings inserted editorially by The Action Ukraine Report.
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4.    PROMOTING A MARKET WITH 100-MILLION PEOPLE

Polish-Ukrainian Economic Chamber
Polish Market, English-Language Economic Magazine
Warsaw, Poland, Issue 2 (114), February 2006

Taken together, Poland and Ukraine, approximating one hundred million
inhabitants, represent a considerable business and human potential in terms
of market opportunities as well as educated, qualified and enterprising
population. The two countries complement each other in many ways and
business prospects look good.

Poland was one of the first countries to recognise the independence of its
eastern neighbour. Economic relations began to expand between our two
countries very fast and on a large scale. Plans of big joint projects have
been drawn up, including the Odessa-Brody-Gdansk Oil Pipeline.

A major role in developing relations between the two countries has been
played by the Polish-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce set up in 1992. It was
significant that its first chairman for many years was Andrzej Arendarski,
PhD, the president of the Polish Chamber of Commerce and it is symbolic
that it is now chaired by Jan Kulczyk PhD, Poland’s most prominent
businessman.

In 2004, Andrzej Arendarski defined the main objective of the
Polish-Ukrainian Chamber of Commerce as "that of supporting Polish and
Ukrainian companies with practical knowledge about terms of conducting
business operations in the two countries.

Another and equally important aim is to promote the Polish economy and
Polish companies on the Ukrainian market by organising fairs, arranging
business missions, scientific and training seminars." The Chamber has been
pursuing these objectives consistently.

A lot has changed in Ukraine since the Orange Revolution for the better.
Many Polish entrepreneurs operating in Ukraine were caught unprepared and
had to adopt themselves fast to entirely new business realities, different
economic mentality and new rules of the game that emerged and developed
as a result of political changes.

Trade and economic co-operation with Ukraine has become easier for
international partners as of last July after Ukraine joined the Partnership
and Cooperation Agreement between Ukraine and the European Community
Associations and their member countries (UES) as well as the European
Agreement on Important International Combined Transportation Routes.

The most important thing is that  President Victor Yushchenko’s decree on
"Ways of rectifying  the Consultative Council’s proceedings  on matters of
foreign investments in Ukraine" offers better solutions to any disputes
between foreign investors and local authorities.

Ukraine’s National Bank on its part has also done a lot to clear any
ambiguities. The new climate in Ukraine will help to intensify its share in
the international division of labour and in the ensuing benefits. Poland and
its entrepreneurs will surely participate in that process. (j.swid.)

Polsko-Ukrainska Izba Gospodarcza
00-074 Warszawa, ul. Trebacka 4
Tel. (+48 22) 630 99 29, Fax (+48 22) 630 97 93
www.ukraina.chamber.pl
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5.                     THE POLISH OUTPOST IN UKRAINE
      The Polish Institute in Kiev: main aim is to promote Poland in Ukraine

INTERVIEW: With Jerzy Onuch, Director of the Polish
Institute in Kiev, Counsellor at the Polish Embassy in Ukraine:
Interviewer: Andrzej K. Kazimierski
Polish Market, English-Language Economic Magazine
Warsaw, Poland, Issue No. 2, (114) February 2006

Q: What is the status and aim of the Polish Institute in Kiev?

A: The Institute is the official representative of the Polish Foreign
Ministry and its main aim has been to promote Poland in Ukraine by
disseminating knowledge of its cultural and scientific achievements.

We spread knowledge of Poland’s history and its present-day life focussing
in particular on this country’s achievements in the European integration
process. The Institute is also committed to developing genuinely
good-neighbourly and friendly relations with the Ukrainian people.

Q: I understand that the scale and manner of implementing these tasks is to
a large extent determined by funds at the Institute’s disposal. What is the
Institute’s offer?

A: The Institute has been operating for only seven years yet it has already
won a distinctive place on the cultural map of Ukraine and in particular
that of Kiev.  With rather modest funds at our disposal and notwithstanding
the lack of proper premises adequate to the Institute’s status and mission,
we act, in a way, as a management agent between Polish and Ukrainian men
of culture and science as well as cultural and scientific institutions.

Considering the shortage of funds, we would not be able to work effectively
without having developed a wide network of partnership contacts on both
sides of the border.

The fields of activities planned for 2006 have been defined according to
concepts and programme lines rather than traditionally defined disciplines
of the arts and science. The lines are "Classics", "Modern", "Nova" and
"Bravo" which, respectively, are of an academic, contemporary, innovative
and popular nature.

The exhibition devoted to "Crimean Sonnets" by Adam Mickiewicz at the
Khanekiv Museum in Kiev was opened recently within the "Classics" framework
line, concerts of Polish and Ukrainian contemporary music were performed in
Kharkhov, Dniepropietrovsk and Krivoy Rog within the "Modern" framework
while the "Polish Film Week" will be staged at the turn of March and April
within the "Bravo" line in Ukraine’s largest commercial cinema network of
"Kinopalast" in Kiev, Donieck, Odessa, and Lvov.

The Polish Film Week will probably become an annual event in the future.
Apart from the above, numerous other cultural and scientific events are
being prepared for this year.

Q: What are the chances of expanding your activities in the future and do
you feel there is such a need?

A: The most important task in the short-time perspective is to acquire
proper premises for the Institute in Kiev. Well equipped, modern premises
would represent a showpiece of a modernising European country, facilitate
the pursuit of our own programme ideas and serve as a magnet for young.
Ukrainians, pro-European public opinion shaping circles. We would be also
able to run Polish-language courses as interest in learning Polish is great.

Q: How do you assess present-day interest in Poland, its culture, science
and traditions among Ukrainians?

A: Interest in Poland, its culture and science has been growing for years.
The Ukrainians are first of all interested in contemporary and modern Poland
during its on-going process of  modernisation and as a country serving to
some extent as a model of integrating  with contemporary Europe without
loosing its national  traditions and character.

The Ukrainians have a great liking for Poland and look at it with some envy
that "it managed". That interest in Poland augurs very well for prospects of
co-operation and mutual benefits in many fields, but it also places upon the
Institute the duty of being a reliable and responsible partner.

Q: How much attention has been given by the Institute to West Ukrainian
territories?

A: Historically and geographically, West Ukrainian territories have been
most closely linked with Poland and as such constitute part of the country
where conditions for all-round co-operation between the two countries are
most conducive. People there know and understand Poland well.

Many Ukrainians living there visit Poland regularly and quite many are
involved in business with Poles. But for us it is eastern and central
Ukraine, that is the areas that remained long under the influence of the
Romanov and subsequently the Soviet empire that poses a challenge for
the Institute.

These parts of Ukraine are still under the influence of Euro-Asian concepts
acknowledging the special role of Russia and Moscow as carriers of a
separate civilisation paradigm. The direction of Ukraine’s evolution will
depend on these highly populated, industrialised and potentially very rich
areas.

Will this process evolve toward integration with the European Union or
rather with Russia? For one, it is a very interesting challenge for us; on
the other hand we have to satisfy the growing interest in Poland and in
particularly in contemporary Poland.

Q: While heading the Institute’s, have you noticed any evolution of
attitudes toward Poland and Polish people?

A: My experience here in Ukraine prompts me to look with optimism at the
development of relations between Poland and Ukraine. As I said, interest in
Poland has been growing and it depends on us alone whether we shall take
advantage of this development for the good of our nations.

Similarly as the "Orange Revolution" changed the image of Ukraine and the
stereotype of an Ukrainian in the minds of Poles (particularly among the
young ones) that positive change has also generated a friendly attitude of
Ukrainians to Poland. Poland is now perceived not only as a historic
neighbour but also as a strategic partner for to-day and tomorrow.
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6. CONSORTIUM TO PRESENT FEASIBILITY STUDY EXTENDING
ODESA-BRODY OIL PIPELINE TO PLOCK, POLAND ON MARCH 15

Roman Kysil, Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Fri, Feb 24, 2006

KYIV – The consortium made up of SWECO PIC (Finland), ILF GmbH

(Germany), and KANTOR (Greece) will present the final version of its
preliminary feasibility studies for extension of the Odesa-Brody oil pipeline
to Plock (Poland) in Warsaw on March 15.

Cezary Lewandowski, a board member of the Ukrainian-Polish Sarmatiya

company that is in charge of implementation of the project, disclosed this to
Ukrainian News. Lewandowski said that the consortium is completing the
formalities related to presentation of the feasibility studies, which have
already been completed.

According to him, presentation of the feasibility studies will take place
with the participation of the Ukrainian and Polish economics ministers.
Lewandowski did not rule out the possibility of representatives of the

other countries that are potentially interested in the project participating in
the presentation.

According to him, invitation of representatives of such countries is the
prerogative of the Ukrainian and Polish governments.

The Sarmatiya representative also said that the consortium should start
talks with potential investors on the terms of realization of the project
after presentation of the feasibility studies. According to him,
representatives of the consortium have already held consultations with

the Polish companies PKN Orlen and Lotos, which have expressed
preliminary interest in its realization.

He also named ShevronTexaco, ConocoPhilips, and Kazakhstan’s

Kazmunaygaz among the potential partners in the project.
As Ukrainian News earlier reported, presentation of the preliminary
feasibility study for the project for extension of the Odesa-Brody oil
pipeline to Plock took place at the Polish Economics Ministry on
December 20, 2005, with the participation of representatives of
Kazakhstan and Ukraine.

According to the presented document, the investment risk involved in
extending the Odesa-Brody oil pipeline to Plock is minimal.

 
The contract that was signed with the consortium in August 2005 provide
for preparing a business plan for the project within 12 months.

Sarmatiya insisted that the basic elements of the feasibility studies should
be ready by March 2006 in order to accelerate the start of commercial
negotiations.

According to information from the company, the preliminary feasibility
studies will include, among other things, the proposed tariff for pumping
crude oil via the Odesa-Brody-Plock route that will ensure its
competitiveness, information about the necessary investments in

construction of the Brody-Plock segment, and the possible volumes of
crude oil that could be delivered to Europe via this pipeline.

The final version of the feasibility studies will be drafted with the
participation of the investors interested in the project. The Sarmatiya
company, which was founded by Ukrainian and Polish national oil
transportation companies in 2004 to implement the Eurasian oil transport
corridor project, aims to build the pipeline with private investments by
creating a pool of investors by October 2006.

If the feasibility studies show that the project cannot be fully commercial,
Sarmatiya intends to ask the Polish government and the European

Commission to provide additional funding for the project because it will
increase the energy security of the European Union.   -30-
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[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
7. SIGNING OF DOCUMENTS ON ENERGY SECURITY EXPECTED
DURING POLISH PRESIDENT’S VISIT TO UKRAINE SAYS KINAKH

Roman Kysil, Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Sun, Feb 26, 2006

KYIV – The National Security and Defense Council’s Secretary Anatolii

Kinakh is forecasting that documents on energy security will be signed
during Polish President Lech Kaczynski’s visit to Ukraine that is planned
for February 28-March 1. Kinakh announced this to journalists at a press
conference after a meeting with Kaczynski in Warsaw on Tuesday.

"We are hoping that fundamental documents on a strategy for cooperation
between Poland and Ukraine in the area of energy will be signed during the
visit," Kinakh said. According to him, the documents will also involve the
project for construction of the Odesa-Brody-Plock oil pipeline.

Andrzej Urbanski, the head of the Polish president’s chancellery, said at
the press conference that the issue of energy security was a priority of the
Polish president. "For Lech Kaczynski, the issues of diversification [of the
sources of energy deliveries] are fundamental," he said.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, acting Prime Minister Yurii Yekhanurov
and Poland’s Prime Minister Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz signed a declaration on
support for the extension of the Odesa-Brody oil pipeline to Plock (Poland)
on February 16.

Ukraine and Poland want to create a Eurasian oil transport corridor for
transporting Caspian crude oil to Europe on the basis of the
Odesa-Brody-Plock pipeline.

The European Union backs this project. It has allocated EUR 2 million for
preparation a feasibility study for it. Ukraine’s Ukrtransnafta company and
Poland’s PERN Przyjazn company created the Sarmatiya joint enterprise in
July 2004 for implementing the project. Sarmatiya is presently cooperating
with the consortium that is conducting the feasibility studies for the
project.   -30-
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========================================================
         Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.
========================================================
8 .             YOU ARE INVITED TO: UKRAINE BRIEFING
       "BUSINESS ENVIRONMENT & MACROECONOMIC SCENE"
                   BEFORE THE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS

                  Tuesday, February 28, 2006, 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
                                    at The Heritage Foundation 
                   214 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Washington, D.C.

                                          Sponsored by the
        Economics & Business Task Force – US-Ukraine Policy Dialogue
Heritage Foundation, Rand Corp, US Chamber of Commerce, SigmaBleyzer
        U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, Manager, US-Ukraine Policy Dialogue

                  PRESENTATIONS BY MEMBERS OF THE PANEL

[1] MICHAEL BLEYZER , President, SigmaBleyzer,
Emerging Markets Private Equity Investment Group
  "Doing Business Today in Ukraine & Raising Equity Capital for Ukraine"

[2] DR. ARIEL COHEN, Sr. Research Fellow, Kathryn and Shelby
Cullom Davis Institute for International Studies, The Heritage Foundation
  "The Politics Driving the Business Environment & Macroeconomic Scene"

[3] DR. EDILBERTO SEGURA, Director, Chief Economist, SigmaBleyzer
President, Advisory Board, The Bleyzer Foundation, Kyiv
Co-author, "Ukraine, Macroeconomic Situation" monthly report
    "Year 2006 Numbers & Projections, Macroeconomic Scene in Ukraine"

[4] YEVGEN BURKET, Trade Representative, Trade & Economic
Mission, Embassy of Ukraine, Washington, D.C. 
       "U.S.-Ukraine Business Relations and the WTO Bilateral Agreement"

                                FOLLOWED BY DISCUSSION
MODERATOR: Morgan Williams, Chairman, Executive Committee,
Ukraine-U.S.Business Council & Director, Washington Office, SigmaBleyzer

PLEASE RSVP TO:  Morgan Williams

MWilliams@SigmaBleyzer.com;  Telephone, 202 437 4707
————————————————————————————————-
         Members US Side, Economics & Business Task Force
                                US-Ukraine Policy Dialogue 
Ariel Cohen: Senior Research Fellow, Heritage Foundation, Chairperson
Keith Crane: Senior Economist, RAND Corporation
Gary Litman: Vice President. European Affairs, U.S. Chamber of Commerce
E. Morgan Williams: Director, Government Affairs, Washington Office,
SigmaBleyzer Emerging Markets Private Equity Investment Group
————————————————————————————————–
       Action Plan Reports: Economics & Business Task Force
U.S.-Ukraine Policy Dialogue Task Force Reports from the June 2005
working session in Washington, DC and the November 2005 working
session in Kyiv.

[1] Economics & Business Action Plan – June 2005:

[2] Economics & Business Action Plan – November 2005:
LINK: http://www.usukraine.org/econ_action_plan_Nov05.pdf
———————————————————————————————
                           US-Ukraine Policy Dialogue 
Further information about the U.S.-Ukraine Policy Dialogue can
be found on the website of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation (USUF).
LINK: http://www.usukraine.org/dialogue.shtml                  
———————————————————————————————
  UKRAINE – MACROECONOMIC SITUATION – JANUARY 2006
To read the SigmaBleyzer "Ukraine -Macroeconomic Situation" report for
January 2006 in PDF format, including several color charts and graphics
click on the following link:
———————————————————————————————-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
9.  UKRAINE TO DIVERSIFY FUEL SUPPLIES FOR ITS NUCLEAR
  POWER PLANTS, WESTINGHOUSE & POSSIBLY FRENCH FIRMS

Itar-Tass, Moscow, Russia, Saturday, February 25, 2006

DONETSK – The Ukrainian government said it would diversify fuel supplies
to the national nuclear power plants. Prime Minister Yuri Yekhanurov told a
press conference in Kharkov on Saturday, "We want to diversify fuel supplies
to Ukraine to feel better."

He said Ukraine is considering closer cooperation in this field with Russia.
"We are also working with Westinghouse of the U.S., and there are offers
from French firms," he said.

In October 2005, the Ukrainian Fuel and Energy Ministry said Westinghouse
Electric Company (U.S.) might become an alternative supplier of fuel for
Ukrainian nuclear power plants in two to three years.

The U.S. government has decided to extend the Ukrainian nuclear fuel
qualification project in order to bring American fuel in compliance with
Ukrainian standards so that it could be used by Ukrainian nuclear power
plants. Currently Russia’s company TVEL is the sole supplier of fuel to all
Ukrainian nuclear power plants.   -30-
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[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
10.   RUSSIAN SEVERSTAL-METIZ BUYS 60% OF UKRAINIAN
                   METALWARE PRODUCER DNIPROMETIZ

Interfax-Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, February 26, 2006

KYIV – Severstal-Metiz, the metalware division of Russia’s Severstal
(RTS: CHMF) steel company, has bought 60% plus one share in
Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk-based metalware plant Dniprometiz from
Ukraine’s TAS Group.

The  parties  told reporters in Dnipropetrovsk that the transaction
was the result of a partnership deal that TAS and Severstal-Metiz signed
on February 17, 2006. The Teko-Dniprometiz  holding  company,  which
is  a  member of the TAS Group, owns 27% of the Ukrainian metalware
plant.

A press  release  circulated  at  the  briefing  said that the main
purpose  of  the  transaction  was to develop Dniprometiz, make the best
technologies  of  Severstal-Metiz’s  Russian  plants available to it and
expand the product range.

"Severstal-Metiz  views the acquisition of the stake in Dniprometiz
as the next   step   in   the   implementation  of  its  export-oriented
development strategy," the release said.

The  release  said  there  would  be  no  wholesale  management  or
personnel-related changes at Dniprometiz in the immediate future.
Severstal-Metiz  intends  to make a detailed study of the situation
and then  sit down with its partner and work out a development strategy.
The first  results  of  that  study  will  not  emerge for three or four
months.  The  plant  will  work according to existing plans for the time
being.

The  TAS  Group, which brings together a number of banks, insurance
companies,  metals plants and machine-building enterprises, welcomed the
partnership  with  Severstal-Metiz  as  one  that is consistent with the
globalization  of industry, metalware included. "For Dniprometiz this is
a chance  to  obtain unique production and management know-how and
boost its development," the release said.

Dniprometiz’s  shareholders appointed Dmitry Sergeyev, a manager at
Severstal-Metiz, as the company’s general director at a February 24 EGM.
They also voted to disband the company’s executive board.

The  five-member  supervisory  board includes three Severstal-Metiz
representatives, one Teko-Dniprometiz representative and one independent
director,  Olga Naumova, the general director of Severstal-Metiz, told a
press conference  in  Dnipropetrovsk.  Naumova said the board’s chairman
had not yet been elected.

She  said  Sergeyev  had  a  wealth  of  experience  at integrating
Severstal-Metiz’s enterprises, notably the Volgograd metalware plant. "I
think we’ll  get through the transition period thanks to his experience,
our joint  efforts  and  the  help of our partners. We look at this as a
true partnership, not a merger or takeover," Naumova said.

The  Dniprometiz  shareholders  also  voted to triple the company’s
charter  capital  to  23.426  million  hryvni by issuing new shares with
existing par value of 68.08 hryvni. Naumova  said this was being done
in order to raise capital for the Ukrainian plant’s development.

The  plant’s core shareholders did not say whether they intended to
increase their stakes as the result of the share issue. The shares will be
issued in two phases – one from May 24 to June 7 and the other from
June 8-9.

Dmitry Sergeyev, Dniprometiz’s new general director, told the press
conference that the company intended to discuss prices for wirebars with
the Mittal Steel Kriviy Rih steel works.

"We’ll  be talking to them," Sergeyev said, adding that Dniprometiz
was "not  euphoric about [the] price rises." Mittal Steel Kriviy Rih has
hiked its  wire rod prices on two occasions lately, the press conference
was told.

Olga  Naumova  said  that  Dniprometiz  could rely on the Severstal
Group’s  own  feed  materials  if  the  need  arises.  "We  have our own
feedstock,  and  we  can  cushion  ourselves against the risks if prices
rise," she said. Naumova   also   said   that   Severstal-Metiz  planned 
to  export Dniprometiz’s hardware.

"The  enterprise  fits  nicely  into the group’s general long-range
export strategy.  We  think  that  Dniprometiz  will help us to create a
full, highly  efficient chain of export commodity manufacturers. In this
particular  case  Dniprometiz  will  be geared towards the Middle East,"
Naumova said.

Dniprometiz,  which  is  a  member  of the Ukrmetiz association, is
Ukraine’s  biggest  metalware  producer.  It  raised output 15% to 252.2
million  hryvni  (5.05 hryvni/$1 on Feb 26) in 2005 and produced 124,826
tonnes of metalware.

Severstal-Metiz,  Russia’s biggest metalware producer, controls 31%
of Russia’s  metalware  market  and  accounts  for  around  half  of the
country’s  metalware exports. It produced 825,400 tonnes of metalware in
2005, exporting 200,000 tonnes.

TAS   Group,   formed   in   2001,   includes   TAS   Kommertsbank,
TAS-Investbank  and  TAS  Insurance  Company.  It  is  headed  by
Serhiy Tyhypko.
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[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================

11. CO-FOUNDER OF PAYPAL IMMIGRATED TO US FROM UKRAINE
AS A TEENAGER IN 1992, PAYPAL SOLD FOR $1.5 BILLION TO EBAY
     Max Levchin, born in Kiev, likes the edge. Starting another company was
                         the natural thing to do for PayPal co-founder.

Dan Fost, San Francisco Chronicle Staff Writer
San Francisco, California, Sunday, February 26, 2006

SAN FRANCISCO – Max Levchin, who immigrated to the United States as
a teenager from Ukraine, achieved a smashing success in 2002 when he was
just 26 years old. The company he co-founded, PayPal, was sold to eBay
for $1.5 billion.

His parents, apparently, were not satisfied. His mother told him, with what
Levchin describes as aspirations typical of Eastern European Jewish parents,
that maybe he could finally earn a doctorate degree. But for Levchin, 30,
who is one of the Internet’s most renowned fraud combatants, the fire to
achieve has meant plunging back into the startup world.

He has a small firm in San Francisco, Slide, that he believes could be
bigger than PayPal, even though its business model has changed at least
three times in the past three months. In an interview in early November,
Levchin talked about Slide as a photo-sharing site; later that month, it was
more about group communications, a la Friendster; and last week, Levchin
said he is looking to change the experience of Internet browsing.

The constant change doesn’t faze Levchin or his backers. PayPal, he points
out, started out providing security software for handheld devices, and it
changed direction at least six times before finding its raison d’etre. "You
can’t get married to any one particular plan," he said. "That is the biggest
lesson I learned at PayPal."

The underlying principle of Slide has not changed, he insists. "I’m trying
to build something where people will go every day," he said.  "Whatever
we’re going to do, we’re going to do it fast and furious, and if it doesn’t
work, we’ll try something else."

Slide ( www.slide.com) enables people to either visit a Web site or download
an application to their desktop with a series of images crawling across the
screen. The images could be personal photos, the top Google News items,
or ads or other pictures selected to match your preferences.

The main idea, Levchin says, is to organize the Internet’s vast array of
information into something like the tickers that stockbrokers rely on, or
the news crawl across a cable TV channel. It will make money by including
some sponsored pictures in the crawl.

In a way, it’s a revival of the "push" technology that rose and fell in the
late 1990s. Levchin thinks people are fed up with having to actively search
out information and instead would like it pushed to them.

Joe Wilcox, a senior analyst with Jupiter Research, offered cautious praise.
"It’s an interesting idea, and it could work, but also I’d say, stand in
line, because there are other people out there with other types of push
opportunities that are looking for the money pot, too," Wilcox said.
"Nobody’s really found it yet." Yet Levchin has a pretty good track record.
"PayPal is a hell of a first act to follow," Wilcox said.

Peter Thiel, the hedge fund manager who co-founded and ran PayPal, agrees.
Levchin "is one of the very few people who is incredibly brilliant,
incredibly creative and incredibly hard-working," said Thiel, an investor in
Slide.

PayPal, Thiel said, had to deal with "Visa, eBay, government investigators,
the Russian mafia — getting PayPal to work was not a trivial thing. You
should not underestimate the determination of the people involved."

EBay, in particular, was an early thorn in PayPal’s side. EBay occasionally
sought to supplant PayPal with its own payment service, Billpoint, Levchin
said in an e-mail, "but with Billpoint being a much weaker version of our
product, their own users would complain, and they’d have to let us keep at
it. Once it became clear that we had mastered keeping fraudsters at bay, and
run a very profitable company, eBay realized that acquisition was the only
choice."
                              SALE WAS GOOD TO HIM
The acquisition, in 2002, was good to Levchin, although he doesn’t like to
say how good. Press reports at the time said valued his stake in eBay at $36
million, but Levchin, in an e-mail, said, "To be honest, I’d rather keep
this stuff as private as possible. I did really well financially, and I
didn’t sell my eBay stock early — still have a fair bit."

Levchin has drawn on his PayPal contacts in starting Slide, including his
old college buddy, IronPort Systems co-founder Scott Bannister, and John
Malloy from Blue Run Ventures (formerly Nokia Venture Partners).

"It’s the old PayPal gang together again," Levchin says. (Levchin is also a
primary investor in Yelp, a startup that provides reviews of restaurants,
nightlife and other activities, and is run by PayPal alumni Jeremy
Stoppelman and Russel Simmons.) Levchin was such a beloved figure at
PayPal, Thiel said, that "a number of people who had kids named their kids
Max."

Levchin is also highly competitive, according to his friend, James Hong, who
co-founded and runs the dating site HotOrNot.com. "Max and I started
working out when we were both living in Mountain View," Hong said.
"Everything was a contest. Could I do this many pushups? He’ll have to
do that many, plus two."

When the two met in the offices of Sequoia Capital, Levchin was finished
with PayPal and wasn’t working. Hong said he was miserable. "He’s a very
intense guy," Hong said. "He needs to be working on something all the time."

Thiel, who is now president of Clarium Capital, a San Francisco hedge fund,
believes Levchin’s drive comes from his immigrant roots. Levchin doesn’t
deny it.

He was named Maximilian, he believes, after the Maxim, the first heavy-gauge
machine gun. He was born in Kiev, the capital of Ukraine, when it was under
Soviet authority. "My family was all old, Soviet-educated, very serious
physicists," he said.

His father is a writer, and his mother a mechanical engineer. His
grandmother, grandfather and uncle are all physicists. "Higher education in
the Levchin family is not a bachelor’s, but a Ph.D.," he said. His parents
both have master’s degrees, and his younger brother is about to earn a
doctorate in Russian literature.

His mother, Elvina Levchin, said in a phone interview from her Chicago
home that she always stressed education, even though in the Soviet system
it did not necessarily lead to wealth.

"In our family, everyone is a hard worker," she said. "We didn’t have
material values to buy something. … It was the last thing we would teach
our kids, to have something like furniture. We taught them to have good
knowledge, a good education and to work hard — not to get something. Just
the work is something interesting for us. To study new things, to learn
something, to improve our knowledge."

Max Levchin remembers the dark side of Soviet life as well, "being Jewish in
an anti-Semitic state." One day, he recalls, "I couldn’t go to school until
my dad cleaned the door. Someone had painted a Star of David on it."

His parents and grandparents always told him that as a Jew, he needed to be
valedictorian or he wouldn’t get into college. In addition, "I needed to
secure my life from the prying eyes of the government," which fostered a
lifelong interest in cryptography and security. He began programming at age
11 or 12, starting with assembly language. "Every time I discovered a
higher-level language, I would go further," he said.

His mother recalls her son starting on a calculator. She tried to interest
him in computers where she worked as an engineer. "He said, ‘I will start
on the computer after I finish with the calculator, and be able to do
everything I want in the calculator.’ " By the following year, he began
visiting her at work and tinkering with the computer.
                                  ‘A REAL BAD FEELING’
When he was 16, his family moved to Chicago. They had several reasons,
Elvina Levchin said: lingering fear of fallout from Chernobyl, problems her
husband had with the KGB and fear of her son getting drafted into the Soviet
army. "It was a real bad feeling," she said.

Max Levchin has worked hard to assimilate and speaks with only the faintest
trace of an accent. He went to the University of Illinois at
Urbana-Champaign, a computing hotbed that produced Tom Siebel, Marc
Andreessen, Ray Ozzie and many tech innovations. "It was the cheapest, best
school that my mom would let me go to, because it was close enough,"
Levchin said.

By the time he graduated with his bachelor’s degree in 1997, he was already
infected with the entrepreneurial spirit. He had started one company, Secure
Pilot, which sold security software for PalmPilots. "I put it online and
said anyone who wants it can send me money for it," he said. "I had no way
to collect money, since PayPal was not invented yet."

He was getting attention for some of his other work when he moved to
California, staying on the floor of his friend Scott Bannister’s apartment.
One day he happened upon a flyer on the Stanford campus promoting one
of Peter Thiel’s speeches. As Levchin tells it, he was one of about seven
people in the audience, and he rescued Thiel from an obnoxious chatterbox
who had cornered him.

The two had breakfast at Hobee’s in Palo Alto the next day, and Levchin
pitched some startup plans. Thiel helped him think through the concepts,
ultimately funding the forerunner to PayPal and quitting his hedge fund to
work for it. Levchin at the time was 23.

Once they got their funding, and the company (initially named Confinity)
evolved into the payment service, they realized there was one major hurdle
to success: security.

"One of things we soon discovered was a very big online fraud problem that
absolutely plagued the service," Thiel said. "The ability to fight fraud was
the key thing that made PayPal a very valuable company." But it was a long
road to get there, full of many all-nighters for Levchin. Although he seems
reluctant to talk about it, he shares a story from his days hunting hackers.

It was mid-2000, he said, and PayPal was losing $5 million to $15 million a
month to fraud. Criminals figured out that the site would flag large
transactions, so they came up with ways to automatically sign up multiple
accounts, moving small amounts of money around.

One particularly brazen person had written some programs to sign up hundreds
of accounts each day, Levchin said, signing his e-mails "Greg Stivenson."
The man Levchin called PayPal’s sheriff was a 6-foot-5 ex-Marine named John
Kothanick. When he shut down several Stivenson accounts, he sent a notice to
the offender.

The man wrote back: "You think you got me? Look at this." There were
thousands more fake accounts opened that day. When Levchin got involved,
a three-way dialogue opened up. "There was a bizarre rapport," Levchin said.

"I kept trying to figure out how to stop him from signing accounts up
automatically. Every time, it would take him less and less time" to crack
the solution. He sent taunting messages: "Screw you, American bastards. I’ll
be back." "All this while," Levchin said, "he’s stealing millions and
millions of dollars."
                                      SECURITY SYSTEM
According to the book "The PayPal Wars," by Eric Jackson, Levchin and
engineer David Gausebeck developed a mechanism to tell if a machine or a
person was signing up the accounts. The Gausebeck-Levchin test, now
commonplace online, presents some wiggly letters that a computer can’t
read, but that a person can retype to gain access to the secure areas.

"I started on it Friday night, and spent until Monday morning, coding it
nonstop," Levchin said. "John (Kothanick) sent the guy an e-mail: ‘Try to
stop this.’ He never responded."

Levchin believes that the man involved was Aleksey Ivanov, part of a larger
ring of Russian hackers, who was lured to Seattle by the FBI in 2000 and was
sentenced to four years in prison in 2003. "PayPal was just a small part of
their criminal work," Levchin said. Levchin said he took the intrusions
personally. "I am the impenetrable Russian," he said. "The rules of
engagement are clear. They try to steal and I stop them."

Looking back, Levchin said he enjoyed applying his mathematical skills to
figuring out criminal behavior. But he’s left that behind. "I want to do a
more fun version now," he said.

At Slide, he has 31 employees. Many of them were recruited in a way that
does not exactly make his education-minded family proud: His alma mater, the
University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, invites him to speak, and while on
campus, he makes late-night visits to computer labs, encouraging prospects
to drop out of school.

He did the same thing when he was at PayPal. "What am I going to tell their
parents?" he said. "The last time I got kids to drop out of college, they
all bought houses for cash." Does his mother mind that he has once again
deferred higher education? She doesn’t seem to. "He’s an adult," Elvina
Levchin said. "He decided what he wants to do. He did it. He started his
company. I’m very happy that he is successful."   -30-
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E-mail Dan Fost at dfost@sfchronicle.com.
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/02/26/BUGHIHDT5N1.DTL&feed=rss.business
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12. THE ORANGE CHRONICLES DOCUMENTARY FILM FUNDRAISER

              Friday, March 3rd, 7:30 p.m. The Ukrainian Institute, NY, NY
 
The Ukrainian Institute, New York, NY, Friday, Feb 24, 2006

NEW YORK – The Ukrainian Institute in New York City is delighted to

host an event to raise funds for "The Orange Chronicles" documentary
project.
 
Join them for a screening of the film, and meet filmmakers Damian
Kolodiy and Peter Zielyk on Friday, March 3rd at 7:30 p.m. Admission
is $20.00. A wine reception will follow. 

Damian Kolodiy arrived in Kyiv on November 16, 2004, and remained for
all of Ukraine’s historic Orange Revolution. From Kyiv to Donetsk to
Odessa to Lviv, The Orange Chronicles examines this watershed event
through poignant observation and personal interaction with Ukrainians on
all sides of the debate. A one-hour version of the film will be screened.

WHERE: The Ukrainian Institute, 2 East 79th Street, New York,

NY 10021, Tel: 212-288-8660
For more information on the film at www.OrangeChronicles.com.
 
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13.                        FILM: "LIGHT FROM THE EAST"
          1991.Revolution.Ukraine.The End of an Era.The Birth of a Nation
              The story of an American theater troupe that witnessed the
                  fall of Communism while in Ukraine in August of 1991.

E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #667, Article 13
Washington, D.C., Monday, February 27, 2006

WASHINGTON – In May, residents and visitors of New York City will
have the rare opportunity to view "LIGHT FROM THE EAST," the
story of an American theater troupe that witnessed the fall of Communism
while in Ukraine in August of 1991.

The film debuted at the South By Southwest film festival, Austin, Texas,
last year and will be showing for seven days only from Thursday, May 11
through Wednesday, May 17 (9 pm) at the Pioneer Theater, East 3rd street,
between Avenues A and B (closer to A) in New York City.

Tickets can be bought now and advance purchase is highly recommended.
The Pioneer Theater is only a 100 seat theater.

If the theater can sell out a week in advance it could be possible to have
a longer run for the film. It is hoped that Ukrainian and other interested
organizations in NY would promote the screening and make it an event
for their organization.

A synopsis of the film on the "Light From The East" website states:
"Summer 1991. Glasnost. Perestroika.  The Soviet Union opens its doors
to the West. In New York, a troupe of young actors from the La Mama
theater in New York gather to participate in the first American/Ukrainian
cultural exchange theater project in history.

As an actress in the theater group, American filmmaker Amy Grappell
brought along a cinematographer to document this historic cultural
exchange.

The troupe begins to rehearse the play "Light From the East", a docu-
drama that explores the life and work of the nationally acclaimed Ukrainian
theater director Les Kurbas. Despite political resistance, Kurbas and his
company revolutionized the Ukrainian theater of the 1920s by introducing
world classics to the Ukrainian stage.

Kurbas’ dream of internationalizing the Ukrainian theater clashed with
government ideals, leading to his assassination in one of Stalin’s purges.

As the production nears, Gorbachev is kidnapped, the Kremlin is
overthrown by a military coup, and the entire USSR is plunged into volatile
uncertainty. The troupe finds itself trapped at the epicenter of a political
revolution.

Inspired by the courage of the Ukrainian people who in their fight for
independence, squelch the coup and seize their liberty, the actors remain in
Ukraine, determined to put on the show rather than leave, as encouraged by
the American Embassy.

As rehearsals progress the play ironically begins to mirror action in the
streets.  Kurbas and his company struggled to make art during the revolution
that ushered in Communism; the American troupe performs the life of Kurbas
as the walls of Communism come tumbling down.

In between rehearsals, Amy and her host Natalia, conduct informal interviews
with average Ukrainians that provide meditations on freedom.  Ukrainians
show Americans that the concept of freedom is complex and that after nearly
a century of repression it will take time for most to feel "free".

During the massive political change of 1991, LIGHT takes the viewer on a
philosophical inquiry into the meaning of freedom and artistic expression.

As the tour ends, Ukraine declares its national independence, and the
American troupe faces the powerful lesson that freedom comes from
within."

Review comments about the film:

"Personal, political, historical, I loved It." – Richard Linklater, director
of BEFORE SUNRISE and BEFORE SUNSET, School of Rock,
Dazed and Confused and Scanner Darkly

"Beautifully captures the spirit of the former Soviet Union and the soul
of its people." – Albert Maysles

"After the recent, quiet Revolution in Ukraine, this movie is a must see
as it uses a cultural exchange theater project for the focal point of
examining a people who despite political realities are driven by dreams
that become realities."
– Louis Black, Publisher, AUSTIN CHRONICLE

Information about purchasing tickets at the Pioneer Theatre in NYC can
be found at:
http://www.twoboots.com/pioneer/light.htm .  Additional
information about the film can be found at:
www.lightfromtheeast.com.

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14.                         ENDANGERED REVOLUTION:
                    Ukraine’s bold push for democracy stunned the world,
                                   but can it live up to its promise?

Article By Andrew Meier, National Geographic magazine

Washington, D.C., March 2006, Pages 32-50

[EXCERPT] When Viktor Yushchenko rises each dawn to begin the

longest days of his life, he stares hard in the mirror. "The president
doesn’t recognize himself," an aide in his inner circle confides. "For
him, it’s impossible to square the face in the glass with the man inside."

For millions of his compatriots, however, Yushchenko’s face-bloated,
pockmarked, and deeply discolored-is a fitting symbol of their
long-suffering land, scarred by the past yet surviving against all odds.

For years Yushchenko bided his time. Throughout the dark era of former
President Leonid Kuchma, Ukraine, a nation of 46 million in a land larger
than France, devolved into a fiefdom of regional clans and robber baron
oligarchs. Reformers mounted feeble assaults on the halls of power, but the
country was held captive by a criminal regime atop a foundering post-Soviet
state.

For Ukrainians who yearn to escape Russia’s shadow and join the rest of
Europe and the West, Yushchenko stood as the last great hope.

Then, almost on cue, came Yushchenko’s brush with death. During the tense
days leading up to the 2004 presidential election, then candidate Yushchenko
fell gravely ill and had to be spirited out of the country for emergency
treatment. Austrian doctors discovered the cause of his near-fatal sickness:
dioxin poisoning.

Yushchenko survived, but with a disfigured face that fueled outrage at the
old regime, believed by many to have ordered Yushchenko’s assassination.
Instead of killing him, however, his rivals became unwitting handmaidens of
his revolution.

A declaration echoed across Ukraine in the wake of Yushchenko’s ascent:

Ya stoyav na Maidani! It means "I stood on the Maidan," Independence
Square in the heart of Kyiv. It also means, I was there, I stood up for
freedom, I have a right to expect change.

During those tense wintry weeks when the old regime tried to hijack the
election and the future hung in the balance, Ukrainians young and old
flooded the capital, setting up a tent city on the Maidan and taking over
the Kreshchatyk, Kyiv’s central avenue that doubles as Ukraine’s main
street.

For weeks the world watched the standoff, wondering if civil war would erupt
between western Ukraine, Yushchenko’s stronghold, and the country’s eastern
half, home to most of Ukraine’s eight million ethnic Russians. It didn’t
happen. Surrounded by riot troops, the protesters stood their ground in
peace. Their only weapons were banners, T-shirts, scarves, and balloons,

all the same orange color. The Orange Revolution was born.         -30-
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LINK: http://www7.nationalgeographic.com/ngm/0603/feature1/index.html
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15.                       BOOK: AN ORANGE REVOLUTION
                        A Personal Journey Through Ukrainian History
           A captivating book about a defining moment in European history.

E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #667, Article 15
Washington, D.C., Monday, February 27, 2006

WASHINGTON – The new book by journalist Askold Krushelnycky

"An Orange Revolution" A Personal Journey Through Ukrainian History"
is being launched in London, UK, on Tuesday, March 14.  I have received
an advance copy of the book from Askold.  This is one book you do not
want to miss.  Askold says he will be in London for the launching and
would like to see many of his friends, Ukrainians and the friends of
Ukraine there.

The book is being published by Harvill Secker of The Random
House Group. A press release from Harvill Secker says the following:
"In November-December 04, the world’s eyes were fixed on Ukraine –
watching its people rise up and quietly overthrow the corrupt and
dishonest government.

In "An Orange Revolution," journalist Askold Krushelnycky returns
to the country of his parents’ birth and charts the history of the
enormous but little known European country to explain the
significance of this revolution.

The Ukraine’s industrial output, rich soil, precious fossil fuels and
engineering excellence, made it the jewel of the USSR’s empire.
Despite the break up of the superpower, the Kremlin still maintained
an extraordinary hold over the country, and was loath for that to
change.

During the run up to the 2004 elections the Russian president, Vladimir
Putin, committed considerable funds to make sure his ally, Prime Minister
Viktor Yanukovych, remained in power, and casually assumed that
Ukrainians would be resigned as usual to the customary vote rigging.

This time, the blatant corruption and skullduggery forced hundreds
of thousands of ordinary people to take to the streets and demonstrate.
Decked in orange, the colour of the opposing party, the crowds called
for Viktor Yushchenko — their leader in waiting.

Krushelnycky tells this gripping story with a journalist’s detachment,
but with insider knowledge. Interviewing major players and anonymous
demonstrators alike, Krushelnycky also brings a very personal element
to the turbulent history of Ukraine, and outlines how events have directly
affected his family and friends.

In spite of threats of violence, the murder of high profile investigative
journalist and the poisoning of Viktor Yushchenko, the Ukrainian
people stood their ground and brought about lasting change.

Krushelnycky has added an epilogue to the end of the book, updating
the history further, and setting the scene for the [parliamentary] elections
in March 2006."

 
Journalist Krushelnycky wrote in his acknowledgment page: "During my
research for this project I have read books and articles which were
informative and thought-provoking.  Among the books I found most
helpful were Orest Subtelny’s outstanding "Ukraine – A History," Danylo
Yanevsky’s Ukrainian-language "Chronicle of the Orange Revolution,"
and Jaroslav Koshiw’s "Beheaded – The Killing of a Journalist." 
 
Of considerable use have been an English-language Internet publication
called "Action Ukraine Report," edited by E. Morgan Williams, and the
Ukrainian and Russian-language "Ukrayinska Pravda" Internet daily
newsletter.  Both provide comprehensive coverage and analysis of the
country’s news and the latter has been a brave champion of Ukrainian’s
fight for democracy."

Information about how to purchase the book can be found at the
——————————————————————————————
CONTACT: Askold Krushelnycky, Askold.Dare@gmail.com
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16.                     U.S. WARNS BELARUS OVER VOTE

AP, Reuters, The Moscow Times, Moscow, Russia, Sun, Feb 26, 2006

MINSK — A senior U.S. diplomat warned Belarus not to manipulate results
in next month’s tense presidential election, in which Alexander Lukashenko
is seeking a third term.

Lukashenko’s main challenger, Alexander Milinkevich, has said opposition
backers will hold demonstrations if the March 19 election is tallied
fraudulently — and concerns are high that any such large gathering would be
swiftly and harshly put down by police and troops.

U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State David Kramer called on all sides
to avoid violence, but "there is a bigger responsibility on the part of the
government — since they are the ones with security forces, they are the
ones with guns, batons and other means, tear gas — to avoid use of force
and to make sure that the election is free and fair."

"A fraudulent election will obviously not help relations, and those who
would engage in that kind of activity I hope will not underestimate the
resolve of the European and U.S. communities," Kramer said at a news
conference at the end of a two-day visit.

The Belarussian Foreign Ministry responded Saturday by urging
Washington to help keep the election free of violence.

"One can only express surprise at the State Department representative’s
insistence on possible ‘violent protest actions in Belarus during the
election campaign,’" Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Popov said in a
statement. "Just what is meant here is totally incomprehensible." Popov said
the United States should share any information it might have on possible
violence.

Kramer said Friday: "I’m not here pushing people to go into the streets. But
if it’s what people choose to do, they have a right to do it in a peaceful
way."

In a speech to students at a military institute on Friday, Lukashenko
portrayed himself as defending the nation’s youth against foreign
influences. "Our Western opponents very well understand that the most
important thing is to take ownership of the minds of the young people in
order to then manipulate them and lure them into illegal activities," he
said. "They are trying to inspire them with the idea that the most important
thing in life is their own advantage and pleasure."

Lukashenko has accused the United States and other Western countries of
backing the mass demonstrations in the former Soviet republics of Ukraine,
Georgia and Kyrgyzstan over the past two years. Those demonstrations, which
all broke out after disputed elections, drove longtime leaders from power in
Georgia and Kyrgyzstan and forced an election rerun in Ukraine that was won
by pro-West reformer Viktor Yushchenko.

 European Union-funded independent television and radio broadcast programs
for Belarus will begin on Sunday, the EU executive said, as the continent’s
leading human rights watchdog said what it called "isolation" of the
Belarussian people must end.

The news and current affairs broadcasts in Russian and Belarussian are
designed to provide independent news to Belarussians ahead of the election.

 The Czech Republic’s foreign minister and a senior official of the Council
of Europe on Thursday called on all member states of the council to support
democratic forces and civil society in Belarus.

"We encourage the member states of the Council of Europe to strengthen their
support for the further development of democratic forces and civil society
in Belarus and to break the isolation of the Belarussian people," said a
joint statement by Czech Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda and president of the
Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Rene Van der Linden,
adopted at the end of a conference in Prague.
————————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2006/02/26/015-full.html
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17.       BELARUS SAYS US CONCERN OF VIOLENCE DURING
          UPCOMING PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION UNWARRANTED
     Deputy U.S. Assistant Secretary of State David Kramer visiting Belarus

Associated Press, Minsk, Belarus, Sat, February 25, 2006

MINSK, Belarus – The Belarusian Foreign Ministry expressed "surprise" on
Saturday at a U.S. diplomat’s call for the government and its opponents to
avoid violence over the country’s upcoming residential election, saying U.S.
concerns about the use of force are unwarranted.

"It’s obvious to anyone who lives in Belarus that there is no basis for
this. Everybody notices that the election campaign is going calmly, within
the framework of the law," the ministry said in a statement.

It came a day after Deputy U.S. Assistant Secretary of State David Kramer,
visiting Belarus, called on all sides in the tense nation to avoid violence
but said the government’s responsibility is bigger "since they are the ones
with security forces, they are the ones with guns" and truncheons and tear
gas.

The Foreign Ministry said it was "surprised by the insistence with which the
State Department representative tried to develop the theme of possible use
of force and protests" linked to the March 19 election.

It called on the United States to "use every chance it has to dissuade
potential instigators of violence … if of course the American side has
contact with them" – a reference to U.S. diplomats’ close relations with
opponents of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko, whom U.S.
officials have likened to a dictator.

Lukashenko, seeking re-election after pushing through a referendum scrapping
term limits, has accused the United States and other Western countries of
backing mass demonstrations that broke out after disputed elections in the
ex-Soviet republics of Ukraine, Georgia and Kyrgyzstan over the past two
years and helped bring the opposition to power. He alleges the West aims to
provoke similar unrest in Belarus.

Lukashenko’s main challenger, Alexander Milinkevich, has said opposition
backers will hold demonstrations if the vote count is considered fraudulent,
and concerns are high that any such large gathering would be swiftly and
harshly put down by police and troops.                   -30-
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18. BRINGING DOWN EUROPE’S LAST EX-SOVIET DICTATOR
                  Presidential election in Belarus on Sunday, March 19

By Steven Lee Myers, NY Times bureau chief in Moscow
The New York Times Magazine, NY, NY, Sunday, February 26, 2006

On March 19, Aleksandr Milinkevich will not be elected the next president
of Belarus. He campaigns anyway, but with something else in mind.
Through the winter he has traveled from city to city in clattering rented
vans, meeting would-be voters in the bleak cold, gathering signatures and

speaking about the social, economic and, above all, political neuroses that
afflict this small nation at the eastern edge of a new Europe.

"I am Aleksandr Milinkevich," he recently assured a worker outside an
auto-parts factory in Borisov, a gritty industrial city northeast of the
capital, Minsk. The man seemed genuinely stunned to find this stranger
greeting him.

"It is impossible to win at the elections, because there are no elections,"
Milinkevich told me the first time I met him in a dim, three-room apartment
in Minsk in October. "Nobody counts the votes." It was my first realization
that a presidential campaign in Belarus, a former republic of the Soviet
Union, operates with a logic outside any traditional notion of democracy.

Milinkevich had just been selected, narrowly, during a congress of
democratic opposition leaders to serve as a unified candidate against the
country’s authoritarian president, Aleksandr G. Lukashenko, a former
collective-farm boss who, over nearly 12 years in power, has defined
democracy to mean not the people’s choice but the people’s acclamation –
orchestrated by his government, including the ubiquitous security services,
and enforced by a pervasive sense of fear.

"We go into these elections not because we believe in their fairness, but
because this is a chance to go to the people, to conduct a campaign door to
door," Milinkevich explained through an interpreter. "I will not say that at
every door people will become less fearful immediately. But very many
people, when they see others who are not afraid, who dare to tell the truth,
they will start to have more courage."

For now, many people react uneasily when they encounter him, as if he
were an apparition. In the consciousness of a people saturated with state
propaganda and ideology, he appears as the shadowy leader of a
revolutionary cadre financed by big powers abroad and committed to the
overthrow of the government.

Belarus, with about 10 million people in a landlocked mass not quite the
size of Kansas, is a new nation and, even in the European mind, an obscure
one. (A Belarussian acquaintance told me recently that a border guard at
Stockholm’s airport did not recognize his passport.) The country’s fate has
rarely been more than an afterthought in the larger struggles of competing
European empires.

At best it is considered the western appendage of Russia, which is what it
has been historically. Its modern borders date only to the end of World War
II, and except for a brief period between World War I and the consolidation
of the Bolshevik revolution, it has known independence only since 1991,
when the demise of the Soviet Union was officially declared – in Belarus, in
fact.

With the presidential election scheduled for next month, though, Belarus is
now the battleground for a new struggle, not between empires exactly, but
over competing notions of how democracy should work in the nations that
emerged from the Soviet wreckage.

Following popular uprisings against authoritarian leaders in Georgia,
Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan, those who would like to break Lukashenko’s iron
grip, from President Bush to leaders across Europe, have thrown their
support – and money – behind Milinkevich and an array of democratically
minded activists determined to wake up a populace considered too passive,
or too afraid, to challenge the state.

The activists are headed for a confrontation. Milinkevich, a 58-year-old
physics professor and the unlikeliest of revolutionaries, is campaigning not
for the presidency but for an uprising. "If our campaign is successful, then
we will get people out into the street," he told me last December in Brest,
a city of about 200,000 near the border with Poland. "This is the last
chance, the last battle. If we shall not stand out in the streets, the long
polar night will descend on Belarus."

Lukashenko is prepared for unrest. Last year he eliminated a legal provision
that allowed members of the police force and security services to disobey
what they considered an unlawful order. A new law pushed through Parliament
late last year makes organizing a public protest – or making statements that
discredit the state – punishable by three to five years in prison.

Lukashenko’s interior minister recently ordered new measures to increase
security before the election. A European diplomat told me that if
Milinkevich’s supporters gather in numbers in Minsk to protest an electoral
result that is already a foregone conclusion, Lukashenko will not hesitate
to disperse them forcefully. "There is no doubt Lukashenko will issue the
order," he said.

Lukashenko himself said as much in a TV interview on Jan. 27: "Any attempt
to destabilize the situation will be met with drastic action. We will wring
the necks of those who are actually doing it and those who are instigating
these acts. Embassies of certain states should be aware of this. They should
know that we know what they are up to. They will be thrown out of here
within 24 hours."

Lukashenko, first elected in 1994 as a corruption-busting reformer in the
country’s last truly free election, acts as if the world were plotting to
overthrow him. It is central to his cultivation of popular support and is a
regular theme of the steady stream of propaganda on state television, which
reports extensively on nefarious American and European – even Russian –
schemes to subordinate Belarus.

Lukashenko’s speech last September to the United Nations General Assembly
was a jeremiad against a unipolar world dominated by the United States and
included defenses of Slobodan Milosevic and Saddam Hussein. "If there are no
pretexts for intervention, imaginary ones are created," he said in remarks
shown repeatedly in Belarus. "To this end a very convenient banner was
chosen – democracy and human rights. And not in their original sense of the
rule of people and personal dignity, but solely and exclusively in the
interpretation of the U.S. leadership."

In a sense, Lukashenko is right. The policies of the European Union and the
United States – supporting free news media, sponsoring civic organizations
and providing assistance to the country’s democratic opposition – all seek
to undermine his hold on power. With the election approaching, foreign aid
has jumped in ways reminiscent of the cold war.

In January the European Union awarded a two-year, $2.4 million contract to a
German organization, Media Consulta, to coordinate the broadcasting of news
into Belarus, hoping to break an information blockade that has left most
Belarussians isolated from, and ignorant about, even neighboring countries.

The Bush administration, which has labeled Belarus the only "outpost of
tyranny" left in Europe, spent $11.8 million last year on democracy
promotion and plans to spend $12 million in 2006. The National Endowment for
Democracy, the Congressionally financed nonprofit organization that promotes
freedom overseas, is spending $2.2 million more on 49 grants related to the
Belarus election.

For some time the United States spent this money openly in Belarus, as it
has and still does in other countries of the former Soviet Union, including
Russia. Lukashenko’s government, however, has tightened controls over
organizations that received American and European funds, closing many of
them down.

When 70 Belarussians met in a Minsk movie theater in October to hold a
founding congress of an American-supported election-monitoring group called
Partnership, the police arrived and arrested them all. Three organizers were
sentenced to 15 days in jail; a fourth was fined.

The money, like the organizations themselves, has now gone underground or
abroad. In December, 50 representatives of foreign ministries and
international groups that support democracy gathered in Vilnius, the capital
of neighboring Lithuania, to try to coordinate – and divide up – millions of
dollars of aid.

Thomas C. Adams, the State Department’s aid coordinator for Europe and
Eurasia, described the meeting to me as a gathering of "the Belarussian
freedom industry." In a long day of discussions and presentations, the
slickest appeal came from four young men belonging to a group calling
itself Khopits, or "enough" in Belarussian.

Using a computer and a projector, they proposed launching a secret
information war, distributing leaflets, stickers and newspapers – mostly
satirical – as well as ribbons and scarves emblazoned with the colors of the
European Union.

Khopits does not, officially, exist. In Belarus, a month after the meeting
in Vilnius, I met one of those who made the presentation, who described the
group and its work on condition I identify neither him nor the city he is
from. He is 23 and baby-faced. "It would be better if you described me as a
woman," he said. Three days before our meeting, three Khopits members
were arrested and jailed.

Khopits, according to its members and sponsors, is a network of cells with
dozens of activists in 60 cities and villages. It has no vertical structure
or leadership. On a clear, icy day, the unnamed 23-year-old and I met at a
bustling restaurant named 0.5, meaning half-liter, the size of the typical
glass of beer.

As we sat down, he disassembled his two cellphones, taking out the cards
and the batteries as a precaution against surveillance, said to be possible
even with a phone switched off. "They listen to us, 100 percent," he told me,
underscoring a fear of eavesdropping that is widely shared in Belarus.

Khopits’s information war is well under way. The National Endowment for
Democracy, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy (the N.E.D.’s British
counterpart) and the Foreign Ministry of Germany are paying for it – with
cash smuggled into Belarus in small amounts in ways he asked me not to
disclose. (Representatives of Westminster and the German ministry declined
to discuss their support for Khopits; the N.E.D. asked that I not disclose
the amount of the assistance.)

It is hard to gauge how effective this furtive campaign is, but the
23-year-old activist explained that even a trickle of oppositional
information would seep into the cracks in Lukashenko’s rule, weakening it,
if not by the election, then sometime later. "This country is not Cuba,
surrounded by water," he told me. "It is surrounded by civilized countries."
Unless the borders are sealed entirely, information will still get through.
"Sooner or later we will open people’s eyes, and this regime will crash."

The cloak-and-dagger precautions undertaken by the Belarus opposition are
necessary because Lukashenko has rebuilt the security apparatus that existed
in Soviet times – the Komitet Gosudarstvennoi Bezopasnosti, or K.G.B. Fear
in Belarus is pervasive: fear of the police, fear of the secret service,
fear of the bureaucracy at work or school that punishes any sign of
antigovernment activity. This fear extends even beyond Belarus’s borders.

While I was in Vilnius, a dozen young students gathered in front of the
Belarussian Embassy to protest the expulsion a week earlier of Tatsiana
Khoma, a fourth-year student at the Belarussian State University of
Economics. Khoma was expelled for having attended a meeting in France of
the National Unions of Students in Europe.

Among the demonstrators was a young Belarussian who introduced herself,
improbably, as Jane. After a while she confided her real name but begged me
not to disclose it or the university she attends. She was there, she said,
to try to draw public attention to Lukashenko’s assault on higher education,
including limiting study-abroad programs and even trips, which now must be
approved by the Ministry of Education. But for her to speak openly would be
to risk the fate that befell Khoma. "It is difficult for us to do anything,"
she said, warily eyeing the embassy before rushing off.

Later that night I received an e-mail message from her, imploring me in the
subject line, "Please, don’t mention my name." "Because of the law we have
in Belarus, we can’t say anything we think about Belorussian politics," she
wrote in earnest, imperfect English. "I saw you anderstant this, but I’m a
little afrait."

That week, Milinkevich’s senior campaign aides gathered in a basement office
in Vilnius. They included Milinkevich’s rival as the democratic opposition
leader, Anatoly Lebedko, who narrowly lost in the opposition’s congress in
October. The office – modern and sleek, with projectors and equipment for
video conferences – was unlike anything the opposition had in Minsk. (In
fact, by January, Milinkevich’s campaign still did not have an official
headquarters.)

The meeting took place on the day Belarus’s lower house of Parliament
adopted the amendments to the criminal code lengthening jail terms for those
convicted of fomenting protest or criticizing the government.

Lebedko, a former school director and parliamentary deputy, has been one
of Lukashenko’s fiercest critics and has paid the price. In October 2004, as
protesters rallied in Minsk after the fraudulent referendum extending
Lukashenko’s terms, secret service officers chased him into a pizza
restaurant and beat him so badly that he nearly died. Outside the restaurant
several elderly women on the sidewalk chanted: "Fascists! Fascists!"

Lebedko, who barely conceals his disappointment at having lost to
Milinkevich as the opposition candidate, has nevertheless become the
campaign’s chief strategist. He denounced the new amendments as an
effort to instill fear and called them a sign of Lukashenko’s desperation.

"Despite propaganda reminiscent of Hitler’s, half the population still wants
change," he told me, citing polls, as he and the others loaded paper plates
with Chinese food provided for the meeting. "Fifteen percent say they are
willing to take to the streets. That is one and a half million people. This
is our chance."

The meeting began. The leaders of the democratic opposition of Belarus
were there to discuss politics with Terry Nelson, the national political
director of Bush-Cheney 2004. In that campaign, Nelson oversaw the

president’s strategy of creating a vast get-out-the-vote network by organizing
volunteers. "We have neighbors talking to neighbors, and that’s the way to
win a close race," he said at the time.

The office in Vilnius belonged to the International Republican Institute,
which is partly financed by the National Endowment for Democracy. The
institute’s director for Belarus is Trygve Olson, a bearish campaign
operative from Wisconsin who previously worked in Poland and Serbia. He
went to Belarus in January 2001 and was denied a visa by April. He has
worked in Vilnius ever since.

On Belarussian state television, Olson has been singled out for organizing
seminars like these. As the narrator of one 2004 documentary put it, "We
found out that these technologies of educating provocateurs in Nazi schools
and educating the opposition leaders in Belarus are very similar."

Terry Nelson’s presence in Vilnius underscored the depth of American support
for Belarus’s beleaguered opposition, but that support is not limited to
Republicans. The National Democratic Institute operates from Kiev, the
Ukrainian capital, its workers having also been barred from Belarus. The two
American organizations, with a bipartisanship that is increasingly rare at
home, have divided their labors: the N.D.I. works with regional groups, the
I.R.I. with the national campaign.

Nelson listened as Lebedko, Sergei Kalyakin (leader of the Communist Party
of Belarus) and Aleksandr Dobrovolsky (a Milinkevich advisor) discussed
the results of a poll, paid for by the I.R.I., that showed the ratings of
Milinkevich and other opposition leaders all in single digits. "You need to
reach those people to reach your goals," Nelson said.

The question was – and remains – whether an American-style campaign can
work in a place like Belarus. Nelson and Olson discussed, then ruled out,
such highly refined campaign tactics as microtargeting of voters based on
databases with precision information about income and habits.

Still, they went over the categories of likely supporters – students,
small-business men and Protestants (who face restrictions on worship in an
overwhelmingly Eastern Orthodox country) – that Milinkevich had, somehow,
to reach. Kalyakin said that a majority in Belarus favored a new president,
but faced with almost daily warnings on television, feared the instability
or economic chaos that could follow.

Dobrovolsky predicted that the campaign was prepared to mass 15,000 to
25,000 young people to protest the results on March 19 – or possibly a
move to disqualify Milinkevich even before the vote. He said that gathering
50,000 could prove sufficient to inspire more people to mass. "Is that
enough?" Nelson asked. "We will see," Dobrovolsky replied.

‘Only dictators fear revolutions," said Vladimir Kobets, who is essentially
a political fugitive in his own country. He is a leader of Zubr, a youth
group whose name means "bison," a symbol of the country, though not one
the government embraces. Lukashenko has instead revived those of the
Soviet era, including the green-and-red flag of the Belarus Soviet Socialist
Republic.

If people are going to protest the election results, Zubr will provide most
of the early protesters. It claims 5,000 active members and 10,000 more
"volunteers." Forty young people founded Zubr in a secret meeting in a
national park in January 2001. Its protests – often antigovernment antics
like street performances in Lukashenko masks or graffiti campaigns – have
landed dozens of the group’s members in jail. According to Kobets, nearly
100 have been beaten.

Meeting Kobets was not difficult, but it required certain precautions. We
would meet in front of a green wooden house on the banks of the Svislach
River, which wends through Minsk.

The house, now a museum, is where the Russian Social Democratic Workers’
Party, a precursor of the Bolsheviks, held its illegal founding congress in
1898. From there we wandered aimlessly along the wide esplanades beside
the river in Gorky Park before heading into a cafe, presumably safe from any
unwanted listeners.

Kobets is round-faced and wears glasses. He is no longer so young. He has a
wife and two children. He has no regular job. He was arrested last August
when he met two activists from Georgia, though he was released within hours.

The Georgians, part of the Kmara youth group that has provided inspiration
and training to Zubr, were released 10 days later, after Georgia’s
president, Mikheil Saakashvili, and Viktor A. Yushchenko of Ukraine
intervened personally with Lukashenko.

Kobets, like Milinkevich, doubts the possibility of having a legitimate
election, largely because Lukashenko’s apparatchiks control every part of
it, most important the election commissions that will count the votes and
report what the federal election chief in October 2004 called "an elegant
victory."

That was when Lukashenko announced a snap referendum amending
constitutional term limits and allowing him to seek re-election
indefinitely.

The vote was widely denounced in Europe, and an independent exit poll
suggested that the referendum actually received the support of less than
half the voters. But it stands anyway.

Kobets, over coffee, said that Lukashenko’s power was not as formidable
as it seemed. As evidence he gave the steps the government has taken to
suppress dissent: arresting protesters, expelling students from
universities, banning the distribution of independent newspapers, requiring
state workers to sign yearly contracts, which can be revoked after any sign
of disloyalty. "The problem is not Lukashenko," he said. "It is the fear."

Zubr’s newest project is to organize protests on the 16th of each month. The
date commemorates the night – Sept. 16, 1999 – that Viktor Gonchar, once a
deputy prime minister and election commissioner who became a popular
opposition leader poised to challenge Lukashenko, disappeared along with a
businessman who financed the opposition.

On that night the two men went to a banya, the public bathhouse that is a
ritual part of Slavic life. They were evidently abducted and probably
murdered. The idea is to remind Belarussians of the darker episodes in
Lukashenko’s rule.

On Jan. 16, several dozen young people gathered on Independence Street
in the center of Minsk, which used to be named after Francis Skaryna, a
Renaissance-era scholar and printer who is an important figure in
Belarussian identity. (Lukashenko changed the name last year.) A kind of
flash mob gathered, though unlike those stunts elsewhere the organizers
refuse to use text messages. "The K.G.B. reads them," a young woman
named Marina said.

They rely on word of mouth instead. Marina came to Minsk from Mogilev in the
east. On the way, the police stopped the minibus she and her companions were
riding in, ostensibly for a traffic violation. Two members of the group were
detained. Marina and four others bolted into the forest, she told me, where
officers searched for them with dogs. They avoided capture, hitched a ride
and made it to the protest. She refused to give her last name.

Marina passed out torn shreds of blue jeans; denim is now the color of this
revolution in the making. (It was settled on after a Zubr activist, Nikita
Sasim, waved his jeans jacket as the police broke up another 16th protest.)
After 15 minutes, the Minsk protest was over, and the crowd drifted into the
dark, snowy night.

Kobets told me that Belarus’s democratic activists took their inspiration
from the unlikeliest of sources: a Kevin Costner film. "The Postman,"
adapted from a novel by David Brin in 1997 and critically panned, depicts an
apocalyptic America where the remnants of civilization live in terror of a
brutal army headed by a sadistic general. Costner’s character, a drifter,
delivers a bag of old mail – information – and becomes a symbol of hope for
those hoping to restore their American democracy.

In this improbable metaphor, the postman would be Aleksandr Milinkevich.

It as midafternoon in January and minus-4 degrees Fahrenheit when
Milinkevich drove up to the Soviet-era auto factory in Borisov, one still
owned, like most everything else in Belarus, by the state. The wan winter
light was already fading as the day shift filed out. Milinkevich’s campaign
workers unfolded a small table, adorned with his portraits, outside the
factory’s entrance.

Going inside, of course, was out of the question, despite the weather. A few
workers sidled closer, forming around him a broken circle of overcoats and
hats – fur for the older men, knitted caps for the younger ones.

Hatless and gloveless, his bearded face reddening from the cold, Milinkevich
tried to draw out these would-be voters with the mild, inquisitive manner of
a professor, which is what he was until the state fired him in 2000 for
joining the campaign of a Lukashenko challenger. What followed was what
passes for a public discussion of politics in Belarus today.

"Many people want changes," he said, refuting what these people are told
when they watch television. "Yes," a voice in the circle agreed, "very many
people want changes." "Something has to be done about it," came a second.

In conversations like these, Milinkevich is asked about his policies, his
prescription for jobs and wages, relations with Russia and the rest of
Europe. Mostly, though, he is asked about the electoral process itself.

No one signed the petitions on the table. A portly woman on the factory
steps, smartly bundled, murmured that she would. "No, don’t do it," her
companion said, tugging at the fur of her coat as she led her down the steps
and away from the candidate. "They will take down your name."

"They," like the president, went unspoken, because they, like the president,
are omnipresent and, at least in the public perception, which is what
counts, all powerful. Two cars – one red, one white – followed Milinkevich’s
vans wherever they went, as they always do.

At each stop one or more of the men inside would emerge with a hand-held
video camera and record the candidate and anyone with him – sometimes only
steps away. They are – or at least they are presumed to be – officers of the
K.G.B.

"Yes, I know they are watching," Milinkevich said earlier in another town,
Zhodino, when a passer-by nodded in the direction of the stone-faced men.

In Borisov, the shift change ended, and the pool of potential voters
shuffled into the city, dispersing without having ever really assembled. A
uniformed officer of the Interior Ministry kept repeating into his
telephone: "Everything is calm."

To travel with the Milinkevich campaign is to experience an Orwellian
version of democracy. In Brest, in December, he took phone calls on a fax
machine from voters who had learned he would be at that number for one
hour that evening; they discovered this from reading fliers that had been
distributed furtively in apartment blocks.

Once, after Milinkevich met with students in front of Brest State
University, I lingered to talk with a student, who gave his name as Pavel
Dailid. Within minutes two officers arrived and demanded my documents
and those of an interpreter. "This is the usual thing for us," Dailid said
when they left after taking down our names and passport and visa numbers.

"I want to come out onto the street and say what I want." Minutes after we
parted, Dailid was stopped when he re-entered the university and threatened
with expulsion. When Milinkevich tried to deliver a gift of books to an
orphanage, a sign declared that it was closed. The director, Valentina
Kratsova, said sheepishly that a quarantine had been declared.

Milinkevich tried to meet local activists in a community center, but that,
too, was closed. They met instead in the old wooden house where he took
calls the night before. The police came and threatened to call inspectors,
saying an unsanctioned meeting was taking place and warning of violations
of the building code.

As a result of all this, Milinkevich often meets no more than a few dozen
people in an entire day. Deprived of access to the state media, unable to
assemble large crowds of supporters, he says he hopes that he can spread
a message of change almost voter by voter.

"Democracy is not only counting votes and not only the freedom of the
press," he told those who gathered in the old house. "It is what is in the
minds of people."

The meeting broke up early after the police warning. Irina Lavrovskaya, one
of Milinkevich’s aides, asked everyone to leave in small groups of one or
two people – "calmly, quietly" – and to head in different directions.

In January, in Borisov, Milinkevich received some parting advice from a
worker at the auto plant. "Remember what happened to Gonchar," the man
told him. "Don’t walk alone."

Milinkevich is running exactly the sort of campaign that Terry Nelson
suggested in the meeting in Vilnius – the one that the International
Republican Institute and the National Democratic Institute have supported
with their training programs.

A recent poll by the Gallup Organization/Baltic Surveys showed that three
out of four Belarussians now know of him – compared with one out of four in
September – and almost all of them have learned about Milinkevich by word
of mouth.

Trygve Olson said it was extraordinary that a little-known politician – a
bearded, soft-spoken professor who once served as a deputy mayor in Grodno
and was the president of a basketball team there – had made such inroads,
given the pressures he faces on the campaign trail and the blackout in state
media.

Of course, Lukashenko will win – with 75 percent of the vote, according to
Milinkevich. "He does not like figures below 75 percent," he said.
Lukashenko, whose information apparatus portrays him as the last defense
against chaos, might win in a free vote anyway. "What can you do?"
Lukashenko told a gathering of voters late last year. "You will elect me."

The secretary of the country’s election commission, Nikolai I. Lozovik, told
me in an interview, "There is no basis for a mass protest vote in Belarus
today." He also excoriated foreign meddling. "The United States and Europe
have already rejected the policy of exporting revolution," he said. "I mean
Lenin, Trotsky. I do not understand why these countries are now exporting
democratic revolutions. What is the difference?"

Meanwhile, Milinkevich speaks of a victory over passivity and fear. "Our
victory is more important," he told a sparse audience outside a factory in
Zhodino. "We want to have a victory in people’s minds. If we can manage

to achieve this victory, then we can go out into the streets. We will not go
out with guns or stones. We will go out and show how many we are."

The historic model Milinkevich has in mind, which he and others repeat
often, is Poland and Solidarity – not in 1989 when the Communist government
crumbled under its own weight, but in the dark days of 1980, when Lech
Walesa was only beginning his campaign of dissent.

"There was a powerful public protest," Milinkevich told me in January. "The
authorities could do nothing. Martial law was imposed. And that was the
beginning of the end."                             -30-
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http://www.nytimes.com/2006/02/26/magazine/26belarus.html?pagewanted=1&adxnnl=0&adxnnlx=1141007160-/xxeOUJT0q5Vaw9+y+o+ng
 

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[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
19.  ACCUSATIONS OF MISUSED MONEY ROIL RUSSIAN ORTHODOX
                  CHURCH IN THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Former treasurer says top officials misappropriated millions of dollars to
cover personal embarrassing credit card bills, pay sexual blackmail, support
family members, gifts of cash to visiting foreign dignitaries, entertainment

By Alan Cooperman, Washington Post Staff Writer
The Washington Post, Washington, D.C.
Sunday, February 26, 2006; Page A09

WASHINGTON – Allegations of financial misconduct are rocking the Orthodox
Church in America, whose former treasurer says top officials misappropriated
millions of dollars in donations from agribusiness titan Dwayne Andreas,
U.S. military chaplains and ordinary parishioners across the country.

The highest officers of the 400,000-member denomination, an offshoot of the
Russian Orthodox Church, are accused of using the money to cover personal
credit card bills, pay sexual blackmail, support family members and make up
shortfalls in various church accounts.

The former treasurer, Deacon Eric A. Wheeler, said the greatest fear of the
church’s leaders in the late 1990s was that Andreas, the retired chairman of
Archer Daniels Midland Co., would visit Moscow and discover that they had
not used his donations to renovate a church and build a conference center.

So they prepared a modern-day Potemkin village, ordering a brass plaque that
could instantly transform a Moscow law office into the "Andreas Conference
and Communications Center," he said.

The potential scandal will come to a head Wednesday when the church’s
governing body of 10 bishops, the Holy Synod, is scheduled to meet behind
closed doors at its headquarters in Syosset, N.Y., to consider demands from
some bishops, priests and parishioners for an internal investigation and an
independent audit going back to 1996.

Although most of the money allegedly went astray in the 1990s, the
accusations have emerged only in recent weeks. Wheeler first detailed them
in a confidential letter to the bishops in October. Since Jan. 7, a watchdog
group called Orthodox Christians for Accountability has posted the letter,
other documents and commentary on its Web site, http://www.ocanews.org/ .

Some of the Internet postings from church members across the country are
skeptical of the former treasurer’s claims. But many express frustration
that the church’s leaders have not publicly responded to the allegations at
all, even to refute them.

"Naturally enough, the men involved have circled the wagons Cardinal
Law-style," the Rev. Paul Harrilchak wrote in an open letter to his
parishioners at Holy Trinity Orthodox Church in Reston.

Mark Stokoe, the Web site’s editor, said that church leaders have privately
dismissed Wheeler as a "disgruntled former employee" who was fired in
1999. But he said that other insiders, including the church’s former
corporate secretary, Paul Hunchak, have come forward to corroborate
parts of Wheeler’s account.

"And the amazing thing about Wheeler’s accusations is that they are
incredibly detailed, and he is admitting he went along with it — he’s
implicating himself," Stokoe said.

The Orthodox Church in America is part of the family of Eastern Orthodox
churches that separated from the Roman Catholic Church in the 11th century.
Although sometimes colloquially called the Russian Orthodox Church in the
United States, it has been administratively independent of Moscow since
1970.

As the scandal has reverberated through the church’s 700 parishes, it has
also sown dissension among the church’s bearded, black-robed prelates, the
most senior of whom has the title metropolitan.

Metropolitan Herman, the archbishop of New York and Washington who is
first among equals in the Holy Synod, has directed church officials not to
discuss the matter publicly.

Archbishop Tikhon of San Francisco has urged the synod to discipline
Archbishop Job of Chicago — not because Job is in any way implicated in
the scandal, but because he has called for a church commission to conduct
an investigation.

"My question is very simple: Are the allegations true, or are they false?
And to this day I have no answer," Job said in a telephone interview. He
added that two bishops have privately agreed with him that an investigation
is needed, but "unfortunately they have not made that public."

In addition to serving as treasurer of the Orthodox Church in America from
1996 to 1999, Wheeler was personal secretary to its former head,
Metropolitan Theodosius, who retired in 2002.

Wheeler said that after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Theodosius asked
Andreas for $1.5 million to renovate the U.S. church’s property in Moscow,
including St. Catherine’s Embassy Church, and build a conference center.

Andreas, whose agricultural company was seeking to do business in Russia,
and who had forged a friendship with Mikhail Gorbachev, began sending the
money in $250,000 installments in June 1995.

Wheeler said he prepared progress reports twice a year to give to Andreas.
The reports, signed by Chancellor Robert S. Kondratick, "were quite
detailed on paper," he said in his letter to the bishops last fall.

But, in reality, St. Catherine’s Church was renovated with funds raised in
Moscow, the conference center was never built, and Andreas’s $250,000
checks were diverted to the metropolitan’s "discretionary account," Wheeler
said.

Brian Peterson, senior vice president for corporate affairs at Archer
Daniels Midland, said that Andreas, 87, no longer gives interviews. But
Peterson confirmed that the ADM Foundation donated $1.95 million to the
Orthodox Church in America from 1993 to 1999. Tax records show that the
Andreas Foundation, a separate family charity, contributed an additional
$1.3 million.

"Up until now, we had absolutely no reason to be concerned that these funds
weren’t used for their intended purpose," he said. "If there are credible
allegations, of course, we’d be quite concerned."

According to Wheeler, in 1993 the church received a $62,838 donation from
the U.S. Department of Army Chaplains to distribute Bibles in Russia, but
the Bibles were never purchased.

Meanwhile, "the budget was tapped for regular payments to cover Father
Kondratick’s personal Platinum AMEX card in the amounts of approximately
$5,000 to $12,000 per month," Wheeler’s letter said.

"The prevailing financial climate at the chancery was always one of
concealment. . . . Funds were needed to safeguard the church from scandal,
cover embarrassing credit card debts incurred by the Metropolitan, provide
family members who leached off their relatives with a steady stream of
assistance, pay blackmail requests and provide the means to entertain with
dinners, trips and gifts of cash the visiting foreign dignitaries and
‘friends of Syosset,’ " he wrote.

Wheeler declined in an interview to provide any detail on the alleged
blackmail. Through aides, Theodosius and Kondratick declined to comment
on any of the allegations, citing Metropolitan Herman’s request for silence.

Wheeler said he has been questioned by the FBI about tens of thousands
of dollars in cash that he says were taken into Russia, without customs
declarations, by Orthodox priests. The longer the church’s leadership
resists launching an internal investigation, he said, the more probable it
is that a federal, state or local prosecutor, or the Internal Revenue
Service, will begin an outside probe.   -30-
————————————————————————————————–
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/25/AR2006022501266.html
——————————————————————————————————————-
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AUR#666 Khrushchev Buried Stalin On This Day; De-Stalinization Begins; Stalin’s Light Shining Bright In Putin’s Russia

 

THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR
An International Newsletter, The Latest, Up-To-Date
In-Depth Ukrainian News, Analysis and Commentary
 
Ukrainian History, Culture, Arts, Business, Religion,
Sports, Government, and Politics, in Ukraine and Around the World
 
ON THIS DAY 50 YEARS AGO, FEBRUARY 25, 1956
THE DAY KHRUSHCHEV BURIED STALIN
READ WHAT THE WORLD SAYS ABOUT THE "SECRET SPEECH"
 
Delivered what many regard as 20th century’s most influential speech
Believe speech was third most important event in 20th century Russia. 
 
Given his own history, Khrushchev’s speech was an act of great moral
bravery and huge political recklessness. Speaking for nearly four hours, he
stunned his listeners with a detailed and sweeping account of Stalin’s mass
arrests, deportations, torture and executions.
 
Speech entered history as the first step toward de-Stalinization.
It was a turning point in Soviet history. The Gulags were emptied out.
 
The speech that Russia wants to forget
CULT OF STALINISM CASTS A SHADOW OVER EUROPE
Stalin may be dead but his ghost is still at the feast.
 
RUSSIA TURNS ITS BACK ON MAN WHO DENOUNCED STALIN
For the descendants of Stalin’s victims, however, the "secret speech"
remains one of the most important events of the 20th century.
STALIN’S LIGHT IS SHINING BRIGHT IN MOTHER RUSSIA
Khrushchev’s "secret speech" being ignored in Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
 
IMMINENT OPENING OF MUSEUM DEVOTED TO JOSEF STALIN
has stirred outrage among relatives of the millions he persecuted and
prompted claims that Stalinism is again on the march.
I don’t want to hear about this. How can people spit into our souls like this?
 
THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR – Number 666
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor  
Washington, D.C., Kyiv, Ukraine, SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2006
 
         The Action Ukraine Report: Khrushchev: Parts I & II

[1]  AUR#658 Feb 13 Unmasking Stalin: A Speech That Changed The World
[2]  AUR#666 Feb 25 The Day Khrushchev Buried Stalin, Shook The World
               ——–INDEX OF ARTICLES——–
         Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.               
Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article
1.                   THE DAY KHRUSHCHEV BURIED STALIN
 I believe speech was the third most important event in 20th century Russia
OPINION
: By Nina L. Khrushcheva, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles, California, Sunday, February 19, 2006

2.                    A SPEECH TO STUN EVEN A DAUGHTER
   Speech kept secret, even from Rada Adzhubei, Khrushchev’s daughter
By Anatoly Medetsky, Staff Writer, Moscow Times
Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, February 22, 2006

3 .                           A FATAL DESIRE FOR ORDER
  Khrushchev’s "secret speech" being ignored in Vladimir Putin’s Russia
OP-ED
: By Nina L. Khrushcheva, International Herald Tribune
Paris, France, Friday, February 24, 2006

4.                 THE MAN WHO STOOD UP TO STALINISM
            This great deed deserves to be celebrated on its anniversary.
      When asked in retirement what he most regretted, Khrushchev said:
                 "The blood. My arms are up to the elbows in blood."
COMMENTARY
: By William Taubman, Author "Khrushchev: The
Man and His Era," which won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in biography.
The New York Times, New York, New York
International Herald Tribune (IHT) Friday, February 24, 2006

5.                  THE SPEECH THAT SHOOK THE WORLD
Nikita Khrushchev took the podium on the final day of the 20th Congress
COMMENTARY
: By Robert Conquest, Senior Research Fellow,

Hoover Institution, Author of "The Great Terror," "The Harvest
of Sorrow" and "Stalin and the Kirov Murder."
Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California, Sunday, February 19, 2006

6.   KHRUSHCHEV’S SECRET SPEECH & END OF COMMUNISM
COMMENTARY: By Roy A Medvedev
The author is a historian and Soviet dissident
FinancialExpress.com, New Delhi, India, Saturday, February 25, 2006

7.                            THE SPEECH OF THE CENTURY
                 Has Russia successfully come to terms with its past?
COMMENTARY
: By Richard Lourie, author of "The
Autobiography of Joseph Stalin" and "Sakharov: A Biography."
The Moscow Times, Moscow, Russia
Monday, February 20, 2006. Issue 3356. Page 8.

8.                                    SACRIFICING STALIN
OPINION: By Boris Kagarlitsky, St. Petersburg Times
St. Petersburg, Russia, Wednesday, January 22, 2006

9 .                          TURNING POINT IN SOVIET HISTORY
                     The Gulags were emptied out and largely shut down
EDITORIAL
: International Herald Tribune (IHT)
Paris, France, Friday, February 24, 2006

10 KHRUSHCHEV’S SECRET SPEECH: A CRACK IN THE MONOLITH
                    Mike Haynes writes on how 50 years ago Khrushchev’s
                          ‘secret speech’ began the demolition of Stalinism
FEATURE: By Mike Haynes, SocialistWorkerOnline
London, United Kingdom, Saturday, February 18, 2006

11.              THE REAL SECRET OF KHRUSHCHEV’S SPEECH
                   Fifty years ago a Soviet leader dared to criticise Stalin.
                             But was this bravery or a cynical ploy?
Tom Parfitt in Moscow, The Guardian Unlimited
London, United Kingdom, Friday February 24, 2006

12.              WHEN IT WAS NO LONGER SWEET OR NOBLE

                                    TO KILL FOR THE CAUSE
Mirror in which the left saw itself was shattered. Its self-deception lives on.
COMMENTARY: By Martin Kettle, The Guardian
London, United Kingdom, Saturday February 11, 2006

13.                            OPENING PANDORA’S BOX
 50th anniversary of an event whose effect on Hungary was earth-shattering.
 Thankful to Khrushchev for the speech that shook up the Communist world.
By Richard W. Bruner, The Budapest Sun Online
Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, February 23, 2006

14  KHRUSHCHEV’S ‘SECRET SPEECH’ REMEMBERED: 50 YEARS
                   Entered history as the first step toward de-Stalinization
By Claire Bigg, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, February 15, 2006

15.                  THE SPEECH RUSSIA WANTS TO FORGET
By Tim Whewell, BBC NEWS, UK, Thursday, February 23, 2006

16               HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, NIKITA KHRUSHCHEV
By Anne Applebaum, OP-ED Columnist, The Washington Post
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, February 22, 2006, Page A15

17 .    FEBRUARY 25, 1956: KHRUSHCHEV LASHES OUT AT STALIN

BBC NEWS, United Kingdom, Saturday, February 25, 2006

18.         CULT OF STALINISM CASTS A SHADOW OVER EUROPE
COMMENTARY FOCUS: By George Kerevan
The Scotsman – United Kingdom; Feb 23, 2006

19COMMUNISM MAY BE DEAD, BUT CLEARLY NOT DEAD ENOUGH:
                The battle over history reflects a determination to prove that no
                   political alternative can challenge the new global capitalism
COMMENT & DEBATE
: By Seumas Milne, The Guardian
London, United Kingdom, Thursday, February 16, 2006

20.                           SECRET SPEECH STILL DIVIDES
EDITORIAL: The Moscow Times
Moscow, Russia, Wed, Feb 15, 2006. Issue 3353. Page 3.

 
21.        STALIN’S LIGHT IS SHINING BRIGHT IN MOTHER RUSSIA
 Khrushchev delivered what many regard as 20th century’s most influential speech
By Adrian Blomfield in Volgograd
Telegraph, London, United Kingdom, Saturday, February 25, 2006
 
 
            For the descendants of Stalin’s victims, however, the "secret speech"
                remains one of the most important events of the 20th century.
Jeremy Page in Moscow, The Times
London, United Kingdom, Saturday, February 25, 2006
 
23.                     IS PERSONALITY CULT POSSIBLE TODAY?
On Feb 25, 1956 Khrushchev’s speech condemned Stalin’s personality cult.
By Yury Filippov, RIA Novosti political commentator
RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, February 21, 2006
 
24.          STALIN-ERA REPRESSIONS CAST A LONG SHADOW
                                            IN RUSSIAN LIVES
WINDOW ON EURASIA: By Paul Goble
Tallinn, Estonia, Thursday, February 23, 2006
 
 
26.                 RUSSIANS FINALLY EXAMINE GULAG YEARS
By Michael Johnson, Tuesday, 14 February 2006
Johnson’s Russia List (JRL) 2006#43, Feb 15, 2006
 
27.                                  USHERING IN THE THAW
By Anna Malpas, The Moscow Times
Moscow, Russia, Friday, February 17, 2006. Issue 3355. Page 102.
 
I don’t want to hear about this. How can people spit into our souls like this?
By Andrew Osborn in Moscow, The Independent
London, United Kingdom, Saturday, February 18, 2006
======================================================
1              THE DAY KHRUSHCHEV BURIED STALIN
 I believe speech was the third most important event in 20th century Russia

OPINION: By Nina L. Khrushcheva, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles, California, Sunday, February 19, 2006

WHEN NIKITA KHRUSHCHEV died in 1971, I was still a young girl, but
I remember him well. We used to visit him on the weekends on his farm at
Petrovo Dalnee, about 30 miles outside of Moscow. I’d work with him among
the tomatoes or at his beehives. Although to me he was just my kindly old
great-grandfather, my family assured me then and later that he was a great
man, a world leader, a liberator – someone I should be proud of.

But at the privileged school for the children of the party elite that I
attended on Kutuzovsky Prospect, I never heard his name. As far as my
teachers were concerned, there was no such man. He didn’t exist. Anything
that had happened in government between 1953 and 1964, when my
great-grandfather led the country, was described as having been done merely
by the "Communist Party of the Soviet Union." The name Khrushchev was
entirely deleted from the history books.

This was the way it worked in the Soviet Union. Leaders always did away
with their predecessors; anyone who came before had to be carefully
controlled or deleted. Josef Stalin rewrote his relationship with Lenin.

Khrushchev denounced Stalin. Leonid Brezhnev did the same to Khrushchev,
who left office under obscure charges of "subjectivism" and "voluntarism"
and was banished to Petrovo Dalnee, where KGB agents monitored his
visitors and his any trips off the premises.

It was only later, when I got older, that I learned about the "secret
speech" my great-grandfather gave 50 years ago this week, in which he
denounced the crimes committed by Stalin and the "cult of personality" that
developed around him. The story of the speech is not a straightforward tale
of good versus bad, of a benevolent, democratic leader replacing a tyrant
.

It is far more nuanced than that. Khrushchev, after all, had been one of
Stalin’s trusted lieutenants, who by his own admission "did what others
did" – participating in the purges and repressions of the 1930s and 1940s,
convinced that the total "annihilation of the enemy" had to be a
communist’s uppermost priority in order to ensure the shining future of
international communism.

Some people saw, and still see, the 1956 speech as having been dictated
by internal power politics (especially because it was Stalin alone who
received the blame in it). Certainly, Khrushchev was able to use the speech
to strengthen his hand.

Yet to his credit, when he denounced Stalin before the 20th Congress of the
Communist Party of the Soviet Union, my great-grandfather had the courage
to admit that communism (and its leaders) could make mistakes. Denouncing
Stalin – and acknowledging for the first time the details of some of the
murders, purges and coerced confessions – was a morally necessary act,
Khrushchev said later.

After his "involuntary" retirement in 1964 when he was ousted as first
secretary of the party, Khrushchev confessed he had needed to tell the story
in part because his own arms were "covered with blood up to the elbows."

Yes, Khrushchev helped build the despotic Soviet system, but he also called
for its reform. And even though he did it by attacking the corruption of
communism rather than communism itself, the speech served as a catalyst,
sowing early disillusionment with Marxism-Leninism.

It transformed the image of the Soviet Union in the minds of millions of
people. It was the first crack in the monolith, and without it, it might
have taken another 100 years for the socialist countries to enjoy the post-
communist freedoms they have today.

I believe that the speech was the third most important event in 20th
century Russia, after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and the victory over
Nazism in 1945. It marked the beginning of the end, when fear began to be
replaced by freedom. It led to the release of some prisoners from Stalin’s
gulags.

It opened the country to some foreign visitors and products. It
helped awaken the first stirrings of the dissident movement that ultimately
led to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet
Union in 1991, 20 years after my great-grandfather died.

Just as Russia sits between the East and the West geographically, Russian
politics is also in between: always on a narrow line between black and
white, right and wrong, reform and dictatorship. Russians have lived for
generations under an essentially despotic system of government that is
constantly trying to modernize itself through more (Peter the Great,
Stalin) or less (Khrushchev, Mikhail Gorbachev) authoritarian means.

But even our reformers are only lesser dictators. At bottom, our people
and our leaders share a belief that only authoritarian rule can protect the
country from anarchy and disintegration. They support a "strong" state,
in which decisions come from the top and citizens are left to tremble with
respect and fear.

The most liberating events – Khrushchev’s de-Stalinization campaign of
1956, or Boris Yeltsin’s privatization of 1991 – generally end up in
disillusion or disarray, suggesting that Russian society is never fast
enough to digest modernization or patient enough to see the liberal
changes through.

Instead, Russians look back fondly on their great victories and parades
and, eventually, after short periods of thaw or perestroika, find
themselves wanting their "strong" rulers back – the rulers who by inspiring
fear provide a sense of orderly life, whose "firm hand" is associated with
stability. Stalin’s order was unbreakable while he lived; Vladimir Putin
now promises a new order in the form of his "dictatorship of law."

There’s an old saying that "every nation deserves its government." I hope
that’s not true. I believe my great-grandfather gave Russia its first taste
of freedom over fear. And I hope that one day Russians will be able to
embrace that freedom without yearning for the old days of totalitarianism

and terror.  -30-
———————————————————————————————–
Nina L. Khrushcheva teaches international affairs at New School
University in New York. Her latest book, "Visiting Nabokov," is
forthcoming from Yale University Press. ( khruschn@newschool.edu)
——————————————————————————————————————–
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-op-khrushcheva19feb19,1,2640232.story
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[return to index ] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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2.                A SPEECH TO STUN EVEN A DAUGHTER
       Speech kept secret, even from Rada Adzhubei, Khrushchev’s daughter

By Anatoly Medetsky, Staff Writer, Moscow Times
Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, February 22, 2006

When a Party official read Nikita Khrushchev’s secret speech to her
university class two weeks later, Rada Adzhubei, like millions of Soviet
citizens, was stunned by the denunciation of Josef Stalin.

But she was not surprised that the speech had been kept secret, even
from her, Khrushchev’s daughter.

"He was a statesman who went through Stalin’s school," Adzhubei, now
76, said of her father. "Khrushchev never discussed secret affairs with the
family, and the speech was a secret."

Khrushchev’s speech, denouncing the Stalin personality cult and his mass
purges, came as a bombshell to the 1,500 delegates who attended the last
day of the 20th Communist Party Congress. The date was Feb. 25, 1956 –
– 50 years ago Saturday.

The speech wasn’t a secret for long, as the party had it printed in booklet
form and read out to millions of people at workplaces and colleges across
the country.

The outside world learned of the speech via a Reuters correspondent in
Moscow, who ran the first story from Stockholm after an acquaintance —
possibly a KGB agent — recited it for him. The CIA obtained a copy later.

The speech was not printed in the Soviet media, however, until 1989, well
into the era of Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika.

Adzhubei and her fellow students in Moscow State University’s biology
department had the speech read to them, she said, speaking Monday in her
apartment near City Hall on Tverskaya Ulitsa, which she shares with her son
and his family. It took between 1 1/2 and two hours to read, she recalled.

Like the delegates at the Party Congress, the students were given no
opportunity to ask questions afterward.

"The person from the Party’s neighborhood committee took the booklet
away, and we were left with our thoughts and opinions," said Adzhubei,
who is reserved when talking about the now distant past.

"Stalin was our God, tsar, hero and everything else. It wasn’t easy to
debunk him."

Adzhubei came to see her father’s revelations as "an act of justice," she
said as she sat in a large armchair under a portrait of Khrushchev hanging
on the wall. In the photograph, three red-star Hero of the Soviet Union
awards, the highest in the country, are pinned to his chest.

On another wall in the handsomely furnished living room, a second, smiling
Khrushchev looks out from a poster hanging next to a large 19th-century
chest of drawers, with a collection of Indonesian wooden figures perched on
top. A set of ivory carvings is displayed in the hallway.
                            YURY LEVADA REMEMBERS
Yury Levada, director of the independent Levada Center polling agency and
former head of the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center, or VTsIOM,
before it came under state control, was an editor at the scientific journal
Nauka i Zhizn when Khrushchev delivered his famous speech.

The journal’s office, like the entire country, was abuzz with rumors that
Khrushchev had attacked Stalin. In early March, the staff realized the
rumors were true when they were shown the booklet of 20-odd pages,
Levada said in an interview last week.

Levada was picked by his colleagues to read out the speech, and after he
had finished, it was given back to Party officials, as happened everywhere
else across the Soviet Union, he said. The booklet had a warning stamped
on its cover, "Not for publication," Levada said.

"I thought I’d never see an official copy being handed out. It was a
surprise," he said.

Khrushchev did not explain what caused Stalinism, or invite any discussion
of the subject, Levada said. "Khrushchev made a strong effort to make sure
that people didn’t ask too many questions and that faith in the Party
wasn’t undermined," he said.

Although rumors had prepared the journal’s staff for what was in the
speech, they felt "a certain shock," Levada said. Afterward, they wondered
in private conversations why the Party had allowed Stalin to do what he
did, he said.

The 20th Congress, and the secret speech in particular, was the start of
the Khrushchev thaw, which saw a certain easing of the stranglehold over
society. The speech was a chink in the communist system that helped people
to think independently and lessened their fear of the authorities, Levada
said.

Adzhubei, meanwhile, recalled that "some radical groups" at the time sought
to overthrow communism but Khrushchev reacted angrily to any talk of
discarding the Soviet system at home and in Eastern Europe.

Later that year, the Soviet Union sent in troops to brutally suppress the
workers’ uprising in Hungary.

In many people, the speech sparked a desire to review the country’s
history, and they rifled through pre-Stalin Communist Party records and
searched for ways to be "the real Reds, the true revolutionaries," Adzhubei
said.

Khrushchev’s thaw lasted only eight years, and under his successor, Leonid
Brezhnev, Soviet media were banned from mentioning Khrushchev and his
criticism of Stalin for 18 years.

According to Levada, the Khrushchev thaw — and later, Gorbachev’s
perestroika — was too brief to allow Russia to recover from Stalinism.

"Russia has never decisively rejected Stalin," he said. "That is one of the
reasons why we are stuck, now even turning back. There’s an effort to
repeat or at least imitate the Stalin regime."

Asked what he meant specifically, he said, "It’s being spoken about very
much."

Liberal politicians and the West have criticized President Vladimir Putin
over what they have called his rollback of democracy.

Gorbachev, who has said the 20th Congress paved the way for perestroika,
last week likened today’s Russia to the Soviet Union under Brezhnev.
Without purges but with absolute control over everything, those times were
neo-Stalinist, he said at a discussion dedicated to the 1956 congress.

"There are those who want a return to the old times," Gorbachev said.
"Russia is at a crossroads because we never made a final choice."
But Gorbachev said he supported Putin.

Vladimir Petukhov, research director at Levada’s old research center,
VTsIOM, which is now under state control, cited three of his agency’s
polls from last year as evidence that Russians were ambivalent about
Stalin’s legacy.

In one poll, 50 percent of respondents approved of Stalin because he
created a strong state that defeated the Nazis, while in a second, 48
percent said Stalin’s purges were wrong, Petukhov said.

In a third poll, 52 percent said they did not want someone like Stalin as
president, but 42 percent longed for a "second Stalin," he said.

The agency’s polls consistently gave Gorbachev and former President
Boris Yeltsin worse ratings than Stalin, Petukhov said.

"There’s no romanticism about his kind of rule. People realize that Stalin
committed crimes but they don’t want the history of the state to be
destroyed together with Stalin," he said.

Victory in World War II "was the greatest achievement in Russian history,
and he was around then," Petukhov said. "If you cancel out the war, it
would ruin Russia’s sense of identity."                  -30-
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3.                            A FATAL DESIRE FOR ORDER
      Khrushchev’s "secret speech" being ignored in Vladimir Putin’s Russia
  

OP-ED: By Nina L. Khrushcheva, International Herald Tribune
Paris, France, Friday, February 24, 2006

NEW YORK  – The 50th anniversary of the 20th Communist Party Congress
in 1956, at which Nikita Khrushchev delivered his so-called "secret speech"
against Joseph Stalin, is being ignored in Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Only last year, there were many phone calls to my family asking for their
participation in commemorative events. But those plans were drawn up
before May 2005, when Russia celebrated the 60th anniversary of World
War II with the sort of Stalinist "brutalist" pomposity reminiscent of Cold
War days.

Indeed, portraits of Stalin were on prominent display as the "great leader"
in the Soviet victory over fascism.

Since that bout of totalitarian nostalgia, public criticism of anything
Stalin has been shunted off to the side. Today, Stalin is the country’s
second most popular historic figure after Peter the Great. As victor in
World War II and a champion of Great Russian statehood, he remains
revered.

So while some television producers still want to proceed with the secret
speech documentaries, television networks one by one have lost their
original interest. It’s not that they received a directive from the
Kremlin – we are in 2006, not 1937. But they can see how the wind is
blowing.

The secret speech, formally titled "The Cult of Personality and Its
Consequences," set in motion a whole sequence of events. Inmates were
freed from the Gulag, the country was opened a little to foreign visitors
and products, and the dissident movement began.

Needless to say, Putinism is not Stalinism, and the secret speech, if
ignored, is not silenced. Mikhail Gorbachev, who regards himself as
Khrushchev’s successor, is free to celebrate it at his private foundation.

The Iron Curtain and the Stalin monolith are no longer, and Putin has to
please all a
————————————————————————————————
Nina Khrushcheva, a great-granddaughter of Nikita Khrushchev,
teaches international affairs at the New School in New York.
————————————————————————————————-
http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/02/24/opinion/ednina.php
 

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[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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4.                 THE MAN WHO STOOD UP TO STALINISM
              This great deed deserves to be celebrated on its anniversary.
        When asked in retirement what he most regretted, Khrushchev said:
                 "The blood. My arms are up to the elbows in blood."

COMMENTARY: By William Taubman, Author "Khrushchev: The
Man and His Era," which won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in biography.
The New York Times, New York, New York
International Herald Tribune (IHT) Friday, February 24, 2006

Remembering Khrushchev I

Fifty years ago on Saturday, the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gave a
"secret speech" at the 20th Communist Party Congress that changed both

his country and the world.

By denouncing Stalin, whose God-like status had helped to legitimize
Communism in the Soviet Bloc, Khrushchev began a process of unraveling
it that culminated in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union. This great
deed deserves to be celebrated on its anniversary.

But it is also a good time to ponder this question: What are we to think of
a leader whose great deeds do not bring about the consequences intended?

It is a question that all leaders – particularly Khrushchev’s current heir,
Vladimir Putin, who has tried to bring his nation into the 21st century by
wielding the autocratic hand of a 19th-century czar – ought to consider
whenever they set great projects in motion.

After all, Khrushchev sought to save Communism, not to destroy it. By
cleansing it of the Stalinist stain, he wanted to re-legitimize it in the
eyes of people not just in the Soviet sphere but around the globe. Yet
within weeks after the secret speech, at Communist Party meetings called to
discuss it, criticism of Stalin rippled way beyond Khrushchev’s, including
indictments not just of Stalin himself but of the Soviet system that spawned
him. Others sprang to Stalin’s defense, especially in his native Georgia,
where at least 20 pro-Stalin demonstrators were killed in clashes with the
police.

In Eastern Europe, the unintended consequences of Khrushchev’s speech were
even more shattering. A huge strike in the Polish city of Poznan in June was
put down at a cost of at least 53 dead and hundreds wounded. Then, of
course, the revolution in Hungary in October was smashed by Soviet forces,
leaving more than 20,000 Hungarians dead.

Khrushchev also used the speech to try to buttress his position in the
Kremlin. By attacking Stalin he thought he would blacken the reputation of
his rivals for power – Vyacheslav Molotov, Georgi Malenkov and Lazar
Kaganovich – who had been closer to Stalin than he had, while burnishing his
own.

But instead, he provoked a coup attempt that very nearly ousted him in June
1957. His de-Stalinization campaign was also a prime grievance among those
who formed the conspiracy that succeeded in pushing him from power in
October 1964.

Of course, some unintended consequences are inevitable in politics as in
what Russians call "sama zhizn," or "life itself." Moreover, the "secret
speech" was part of a reform program that included many worthy
achievements that Khrushchev did indeed intend. He released and
rehabilitated millions of Stalin’s victims.

He allowed what became known as "the thaw," with its partial rebirth of
Russian culture. He revivified Soviet agriculture, which Stalin had ruined,
and started a boom in housing construction that permitted hundreds of
thousands to move out of overcrowded communal apartments.

In the midst of his ouster in 1964, Khrushchev said to his only remaining
ally, Anastas Mikoyan: "I’ve done the main thing. Could anyone have dreamed
of telling Stalin that he didn’t suit us anymore and suggesting he retire?
Not even a wet spot would have remained where we had been standing. Now
everything is different. The fear is gone and we can talk as equals. That’s
my contribution."

Khrushchev was whistling past his own political graveyard. He hadn’t exactly
embarked on reform to ease this way for his own exit. But he had meant to
end the pattern of bloody purges as the only way to transfer political
power.

Both his drive for reform and its unintended consequences cannot be
understood without understanding the Communist system that shaped him.
Soviet Communism had been built on a Stalinist foundation that cried out for
drastic change, and Khrushchev learned (or thought he had) from the
Bolsheviks’ willingness to revolutionize Soviet society that such change was
possible almost overnight.

Khrushchev’s speech didn’t change his country as intended. But it did
register a remarkable change in himself. Unlike most of his comrades in
Stalin’s inner circle, Khrushchev somehow retained his humanity. He never
forgave Stalin for making him an accomplice in terrible crimes. The secret
speech was in part motivated by a sense of guilt at his own complicity.

As early as 1940, when Khrushchev was Stalin’s viceroy in Ukraine, he told a
childhood friend who lamented Stalin’s purges: "Don’t blame me for that. I’m
not involved in that." Of course, Khrushchev was involved in "that." But
that is the point. Apart from anything else, the secret speech was an act of
repentance.

When asked in retirement what he most regretted, Khrushchev said: "The
blood. My arms are up to the elbows in blood. That is the most terrible
thing that lies in my soul."

In his case, it wasn’t the road to hell that was paved with good intentions,
but the road from the Stalinist hell in which he had faithfully served, and
which he had the courage to try to transcend.
————————————————————————————————
NOTE: William Taubman, a professor of political science at Amherst
College, is the author of "Khrushchev: The Man and His Era," which
won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in biography.
——————————————————————————————
LINK: http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/02/24/news/edtaub.php
——————————————————————————————–

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5.                 THE SPEECH THAT SHOOK THE WORLD
  Nikita Khrushchev took the podium on the final day of the 20th Congress

COMMENTARY: By Robert Conquest,
Senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution
Author of many books on Stalin and Russia, including "The Great
Terror," "The Harvest of Sorrow" and "Stalin and the Kirov Murder."
Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California, Sunday, February 19, 2006

WHEN NIKITA KHRUSHCHEV took the podium on the final day of the
20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the speech he
gave was so surprising and unexpected that some members of the audience
actually fainted.

It was Feb. 25, 1956, three years after the death of Josef Stalin and
Khrushchev’s accession as first secretary of the party. Although the speech
was made in closed session, and has been known forever after as the "secret
speech," it did not remain secret for long.

The text had been given to local Soviet organizations to be read aloud and
to East European Communist parties. A Polish version soon reached the West,
and although its authenticity was denied for a long time by Moscow, it soon
became obvious it was genuine.

Why was the speech so shocking? Because it came at the end of decades of
totalitarian terror during which millions of people died, in a country where
the misuse of power had gone virtually unquestioned and unchecked (and where
anyone who dared question the state’s authority was courting arrest). Yet on
that February day, 50 years ago this week, Khrushchev cut through years and
years of unwavering propaganda to reveal not all, but many, of the crimes of
Stalin – his predecessor and mentor – to the world.

Officially, the speech was an attack on the "cult of personality" that had
grown up around Stalin. This may sound like little more than a critique of a
certain vanity and self-advertisement on the part of the longtime vozhd, or
great leader, and that was certainly part of it. "It is impermissible and
foreign to the spirit of Marxism-Leninism to elevate one person," Khrushchev
said, "to transform him into a superman possessing supernatural
characteristics akin to those of a god."

But the full text went a good deal further, citing "grave perversions of
party principles." Stalin (although Khrushchev defended him against
Trotskyites and other "deviationists") came out badly. He had, according to
Khrushchev, made fearful mistakes in World War II; he had ruined the
country’s agriculture; V.I. Lenin, the revolutionary Bolshevik leader who
governed the country after the revolution, had condemned him; he had

wrongly broken with Josip Broz Tito, the Yugoslav leader.

Even more shocking than these criticisms were the "glaring violations of
revolutionary legality" Khrushchev referred to, particularly in Stalin’s
treatment of those of his followers he had purged and executed. Khrushchev
stressed Stalin’s insistence on "confessions" and of torture as the way to
obtain them.

Noting that "70% of the Central Committee members and candidates elected at
the 17th Congress were branded as enemies of the party and of the people,"
Khrushchev gave names of prominent victims and their torturers. Stalin, he
said, justified the torture; citing the notoriously faked "Doctors’ Plot" of
1953 (the only non-party victims to appear in the speech), Khrushchev quoted
Stalin’s interrogation instructions: "Beat, beat and beat again."

Khrushchev strongly hinted that the murder of party leader Sergei Kirov in
1934 had been ordered by Stalin. And he condemned Stalin’s mass deportations
of Chechens and others in the 1940s. (But he gave no attention to those
condemned in the "show trials" of the 1930s, many of whom had to wait 30 or
40 years for redress – or to the Katyn massacre of more than 4,000 Polish
army officers during World War II.)

It is difficult all these years later to explain the extraordinary effect of
this speech. The Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War was secretive
and mendacious. Despite the purges and plots, despite Stalin’s brutality and
paranoia, the credulous throughout the world – including many in the United
States – refused to believe the worst.

This was not the first indication of Stalin’s crimes, of course. A great
deal of firsthand testimony on the lethal Stalinist record had already been
published in the West, but it had not been accepted everywhere as true; a
large amount of misinformation had filled the shelves, often by
"intellectuals" of high standing – enough to lead to a verdict of "not
proved" from many others. To the general public, then, the speech was a
revelation. In an unprecedented act of journalism, Britain’s leading liberal
Sunday newspaper, the Observer, devoted an entire issue to it.

Khrushchev does not seem to have quite realized the degree of damage he
might do to the Soviet Union’s image as a humanist, progressive country by
speaking of official tortures and murders. Throughout the West there was an
astonishing revulsion. Those who had been totally deceived had their minds
cleared (although many eventually returned to the fold, anti-Western feeling
outweighing all else for those whom George Orwell described as "renegade
liberals").

The speech’s effect on the Communist parties of Eastern Europe was radical.
In Poland, it resulted in the overthrow of the servile pro-Moscow leadership
later that year and a confrontation that included military threats and the
direct intervention of Khrushchev and his colleagues. In Hungary came the
collapse of the Stalinist order, and then the revolution and the bloody
Soviet intervention in October. All through the Soviet bloc, the Stalinist
mentality was severely disrupted – in preparation, it might be said, for its
final collapse later.

Why did Khrushchev give the speech? For a time it was thought that he had
spoken without the agreement of the rest of the leadership. We now know that
he had, in fact, managed to get some sort of approval. It is also clear now
that the speech served, in part, as a continuation of the same internecine
struggle within the Politburo that had marked the Stalin epoch and that
persisted long afterward.

Stalin had nurtured his heirs very carefully to prevent any solidarity among
them that might lead to mutiny, and this highly quarrelsome group continued
to distrust each other even after he died. The speech was, in this context,
an attack by Khrushchev on his rivals.

It served his purposes to denounce some of the Soviet past, to blame the
safely dead Stalin and to implicate some of his surviving heirs. Like him,
they had been dragged through years of terror and stupefaction. The
following years saw Khrushchev defeating one coup d’�tat but later being
ousted by another.

In Russia itself, the speech prompted the beginnings of a thaw, but one that
did not last. And among a portion of the population there remained, and
remains even now, a favorable attitude toward Stalin, which is sometimes
seen as the result of centuries of submission to tyranny. For others, the
"secret speech" massively undermined the Stalin regime.

But the machine he had built, or inherited from Lenin, survived for a third
of a century. And, by an odd paradox, much of the parasitical apparat
remains to this day, long after its ideological justifications have gone,
like a cartoon character – Wile E. Coyote or Mr. Magoo – walking on after
his plank has disappeared.

A hundred years ago, Anton Chekhov wrote of Russia’s "heavy, chilling
history, savagery, bureaucracy, poverty, and ignorance.. Russian life weighs
upon a Russian like a thousand-ton rock." And over most of the 20th century,
things got worse still, adding yet further burdens to the Russian psyche.

Recovery has set in, sporadically, in the 50 years that have passed since
Khrushchev delivered his "secret speech." But progress was slow and even

now has far to go. Let us hope that by 2056 we might see a marked upturn.
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6.   KHRUSHCHEV’S SECRET SPEECH & END OF COMMUNISM

COMMENTARY: By Roy A Medvedev
The author is a historian and Soviet dissident
FinancialExpress.com, New Delhi, India, Saturday, February 25, 2006

In history, some events at first appear insignificant, or their significance
is hidden, but they turn out to be earthshaking. Such a moment occurred
50 years ago, with Nikita Khrushchev’s so-called "Secret Speech" to the
Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

At that moment, the communist movement appeared to be riding the tide of
history, and not only for those in the Soviet Union. Capitalism seemed to be
dying. The Twentieth Congress put an end to that.

It was a moment of truth, a cleansing from within of the brutality of
Stalinism. Khrushchev’s speech to the Congress inspired doubt and

second thoughts throughout the worldwide movement.

 Khrushchev’s motives as he took the podium on the morning of February 25,
1956, were, in his mind, moral ones. After his ouster from power, in the
seclusion of his dacha, he wrote: "My hands are covered with blood. I did
everything that others did. But even today if I have to go to that podium to
report on Stalin, I would do it again. One day all that had to be over."

Khrushchev had, of course, been an intimate part of Stalin’s repressions,
but he also didn’t know half of what was going on. The whole Stalinist
system of government was built on absolute secrecy, in which only the
general secretary himself knew the whole story.

It wasn’t terror that was the basis of Stalin’s power, but his complete
monopoly on information. Khrushchev, for example, was stunned when
he discovered that in the 1930’s and 1940’s, some 70% of Party members
were annihilated.

Initially, Khrushchev didn’t plan to keep his denunciation of Stalin a
secret. Five days after the Congress, his speech was sent to all the leaders
of the socialist countries and read at local party meetings across the
Soviet Union.

But people didn’t know how to discuss it. And with good reason, for the
problem with the de-Stalinization process was that, although the truth was
partly revealed, no answer regarding what to do was offered.

After the Congress, it became clear that the communist gospel was false and
murderously corrupt. But no other ideology was offered, and the crisis that
began with Khrushchev’s speech lasted another 30 years, until Mikhail
Gorbachev took up his mantle of change.

In the first of the protests that rocked the communist world in 1956, huge
crowds in Georgia demanded that Khrushchev be fired and Stalin’s memory
reinstated. An uprising in Poland and the far more tumultuous Hungarian
Revolution argued for the opposite.

The protests were brutally crushed, which resulted in many West European
Communists. Khrushchev’s speech also ignited the feud between Mao’s China
and the USSR, for it allowed Mao to claim the crown of world revolutionary
leadership. Worried by the protests, Khrushchev tried to cool off the
anti-Stalin campaign.

The release of the Gulag prisoners that followed his speech continued, but
it was done in silence. Party membership was restored to purge survivors,
and they received new jobs, but they were forbidden from discussing the
horrors that they had endured. That silence lasted until 1961, when
Khrushcev permitted new revelations of Stalin-era crimes. These were
reported and discussed on TV and radio.

Stalin’s body was removed from Red Square, Stalin monuments were
destroyed, and cities restored their original Soviet names. Stalingrad
became Volgograd. This second anti-Stalinist campaign lasted two years,

which was not nearly enough to change the country’s mentality.

The Twentieth Congress shattered the world communist movement, and it
turned out to be impossible to cement the cracks. The Soviet Union and
other socialist countries faced a crisis of faith, as the main threat to
communism was not imperialism, or ideological dissidents, but the
movement’s own intellectual poverty and disillusion.

So, although it is common today in Russia to blame Gorbachev and Boris
Yeltsin for the collapse of the USSR, it is both useless and unfair to do
so. The system was dead already, and it is to Yeltsin’s great credit that he
was able to bring Russia out of the ruins in one piece.

Although Russia’s future is uncertain, its history is becoming clearer, in
part because we now know that the Twentieth Party Congress started the
process that brought about the end of Soviet despotism.  -30-
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7.                         THE SPEECH OF THE CENTURY
                  Has Russia successfully come to terms with its past?

COMMENTARY: By Richard Lourie, author of "The
Autobiography of Joseph Stalin" and "Sakharov: A Biography."
The Moscow Times, Moscow, Russia
Monday, February 20, 2006. Issue 3356. Page 8.

It was 50 years ago — almost a lifetime given recent Russian life
expectancy — that Nikita Khrushchev delivered his "secret speech" denouncing

Josef Stalin. Khrushchev spoke for nearly four hours on Feb. 25, 1956, the last
day of the 20th Party Congress. The session was unscheduled and restricted
to keep the speech secret.

It was not a secret very long. A translation made for the comrades in Poland
reached the CIA via Israeli intelligence. In May, the U.S. State Department
released a copy to The New York Times, which published it on June 4. Only
three months had elapsed.

Though the secrecy of the speech was brief, its fame has proved lasting. It
could well be argued that Khrushchev’s oration was the most important
speech of the 20th century. It may have lacked any memorable flourishes like
Churchill’s "blood, sweat and tears" or FDR’s "nothing to fear but fear
itself." But its impact was deep, its influence enduring. Word as deed.

It truly was the beginning of the end, the end of faith in communism and
thus of the system itself. The shock it induced at the time can hardly be
imagined now. In the Kremlin Hospital with pneumonia, the leader of the
Polish communist party, Wladyslaw Bierut, had a heart attack when he read
the speech and died soon after.

The secret speech led directly to the Hungarian Uprising in the fall of
1956, the first of a series of crises and rebellions occurring at 11 to 12
year intervals — Prague in 1968, Solidarity in Poland in 1980, collapse of
the Soviet Union in 1991 — and the brutal suppression of that uprising led
to disaffiliation among the Soviet youth who would later become dissidents.
Vladimir Bukovsky said: "The entire world had betrayed us, and we no
longer believed anyone."

If most of the inmates of the prisons and camps were victims of injustice,
Khrushchev was duty bound to release them. After the speech the Zeks
returned by the tens of thousands. The great poet Anna Akhamatova called
herself a "Khrushchevite" because "Khrushchev did for me the noblest thing
one human being can do for another; he gave me back my son."

Among the millions of Communist Party members who read the speech was
25-year-old Mikhail Gorbachev, who instinctively admired Khrushchev’s
political courage and "did not conceal my views and defended them publicly,"
the beginnings of his own personal glasnost. It was hardly a straight line
from Khrushchev to Gorbachev.

In fact, the secret speech along with "harebrained" reforms in agriculture
and administration plus the Cuban missile fiasco led to Khrushchev’s
downfall in 1964 and ushered in Brezhnev’s 18-year reign, sometimes
described as Stalinism without Stalin.

But without Khrushchev there could have been no Gorbachev. Khrushchev’s
biographer William Taubman is right when he says: "Khrushchev’s speech
denouncing Stalin was the bravest and most reckless thing he ever did. The
Soviet regime never recovered and neither did he."

What was best about the secret speech was its questioning spirit, which
leads me to some questions of my own. Why is there no monument to
Khrushchev in Moscow when Marx’s still stands opposite the Bolshoi?

Why not make Feb. 25 something of a national holiday, marking as it does
a critical stage in the evolution of Russian freedom?

Or is Khrushchev, like Gorbachev, viewed with disdain in the Kremlin for
having caused the demise of the Soviet Union, the "greatest geopolitical
catastrophe of the 20th century" to use President Vladimir Putin’s words.

But the real question is — has Russia successfully come to terms with its
past as the Germans apparently have with theirs? And, if not, won’t that
impede Russia’s efforts to become a 21st-century society, if not at some
future point thwarting them outright?                  -30-
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NOTE: Richard Lourie is the author of "The Autobiography of
Joseph Stalin" and "Sakharov: A Biography."
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LINK: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2006/02/20/006-full.html
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8 .                                    SACRIFICING STALIN

OPINION: By Boris Kagarlitsky, St. Petersburg Times
St. Petersburg, Russia, Wednesday, January 22, 2006

Fifty years ago this month, the Soviet Communist Party held its 20th
Congress. The decisions reached at most Party congresses are long
forgotten, but the events of February 1956 continue to inspire interest and
debate.

For young people who have grown up in the post-Soviet consumer society,
Feb. 14 – the opening day of the 20th Party Congress – is Valentine’s Day,
when people send flowers and sappy cards to their sweethearts. Yet the
ideas first aired at the 20th Party Congress continue to echo in the
political debates of the present.

Current Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, commenting on the 50th
anniversary of the congress, said that the famous "secret speech" delivered
by Nikita Khrushchev to a closed session at the congress was extremely
damaging. In Zyuganov’s view, Khrushchev’s speech, in which he denounced
Stalin’s crimes and the cult of personality, was the beginning of the end.
It left society deeply divided.

Everything in the speech was true, of course, but what was the point in
airing the Party’s dirty laundry? "In his speech, Khrushchev was basically
settling a personal score with Stalin," Zyuganov said. "It should be
emphasized that the speech was not discussed in advance by either the
plenum or the presidium of the Communist Party."

Khrushchev delivered the secret speech on Feb. 25, the last day of the
congress. And it wasn’t much of a secret. The text was sent out across the
country and read at Party meetings, which were, of course, also closed. As a
result, millions of people were familiar with the speech within a few weeks.

Contrary to Zyuganov’s claim, it did not divide society. People accepted it,
just as they had accepted previous Party directives about exposing
"wreckers" and destroying "enemies of the people."

In geopolitical and economic terms, the Soviet Union reached the height of
its power under Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev. It led the way into outer
space, achieved nuclear parity with the United States and cultivated many
new allies in the Middle East and Africa. The standard of living improved at
home. But the ideological monolith of the Stalin era was gone for good.

Soviet society was never entirely monolithic. The proof of this can be found
in the novels of Alexander Solzhenitsyn as well as in the Soviet archives.
There was, however, a strong sense of a common fate and a common cause
that united not just the working class and the bureaucratic elite, but even
gulag inmates and their captors.

The Stalinist regime was directly linked to the history of the Revolution.
It was a sort of communist Bonapartism. It combined totalitarianism with
democratic principles, fear and repression with enthusiasm and sincerity.
This blend made the 20th Party Congress possible.

Looking back on the congress, some accused Khrushchev of inconsistency
and a lack of radicalism, while others objected to the fact that he made
Stalin’s crimes public and turned political reform into a personal,
posthumous reckoning with Stalin. The guilt or complicity of other Politburo

members is not the issue, however. Khrushchev heaped all the blame on Stalin
because he wanted to avoid a serious discussion of what had happened in
the Soviet Union during the 1930s and 1940s.

Had Khrushchev’s view of the dead dictator been more balanced, questions
might have been raised about the inherent contradictions of the Soviet state
and about the extent to which the existing order reflected Marxist
conceptions of socialism. These questions had been raised by Trotsky, who
was anathema to the elite under Khrushchev just as he had been under Stalin.

Had Khrushchev been a less virulent anti-Stalinist, he would almost
certainly have been forced in the direction of Trotskyism.

The Party elite in the late-1950s opted to forgive no one and to comprehend
nothing. Stalin had to be sacrificed in order to protect the system. The
secret speech was not one man’s initiative; it reflected the general view of
the Party machine after three years of infighting.

Another 30 years passed, and Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika drove the
Soviet Union to total collapse. Subsequent reforms left millions of people
to fight for their lives, as they had once fought to survive in the gulag.
Can all of this be regarded as a direct result of the 20th Party Congress,
which had such an influence on Gorbachev and his successor, Boris Yeltsin?

Both Gorbachev and Yeltsin belong to another generation, of course, one
both formed and corrupted by the Brezhnev years. The bureaucracy went
through a major evolution in those years as well. The 20th Party Congress
was nevertheless a watershed of sorts – a superficial victory for the
democratic current in Soviet society, but a real victory for the
bureaucracy.

Democratic reforms were carried out, but only under the control of the
bureaucracy, and only to serve its interests. For the country this was the
worst possible outcome.                       -30-
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NOTE: Boris Kagarlitsky is Director of the Institute for Globalization
Studies, Moscow, Russia.  Link: http://www.iprog.ru/en/
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LINK: http://www.sptimes.ru/index.php?action_id=2&story_id=16855
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9.                    TURNING POINT IN SOVIET HISTORY
                    The Gulags were emptied out and largely shut down

EDITORIAL: International Herald Tribune (IHT)
Paris, France, Friday, February 24, 2006

It’s been 50 years since Nikita Khrushchev made his famous "secret speech"
to the 20th Communist Party Congress in the Kremlin, a six-hour marathon in
which he denounced Joseph Stalin’s "cult of personality" and exposed many
of his horrors. The speech was subsequently read out at local party
meetings, and it reached the West, though it was not made public in the

Soviet Union until 1989.

Yet it was a turning point in Soviet history. The Gulags were emptied out
and largely shut down, and the monolithic Communist bloc that Stalin formed
began to break down. Hungary and later Czechoslovakia were emboldened to
challenge Moscow while China set off on its own path. Within the Soviet
Union a cultural "thaw" laid the groundwork for artistic and political
dissent.

Though Khrushchev ordered a vicious crackdown in Hungary and
denounced the young modernist writers in the crudest of terms, the days
of the Soviet experiment were numbered.

Still, the secret speech remains shrouded in ambivalence. When Khrushchev
denounced Stalin-era atrocities, he attributed them exclusively to the man,
and even then, five years would pass before the Great Leader’s remains were
removed from the mausoleum they shared with Vladimir Lenin’s.

And it took another 35 years of repressive rule before it became possible to
openly explore the crimes of the Communist Party and its founder. But
perhaps the real reason we remain ambivalent about the secret speech is
because we remain ambivalent about Russia itself.

The exposure of Stalin-era crimes, it turned out, did not end the
repression, just as the debunking of Communist ideology, we now see, did
not lead to a culture of freedom. The large majority of Russians seem happy
that a strong leader is once again gathering enormous political and economic
powers in the Kremlin and silencing critics of the state.

Russia remains that "riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma" of which
Winston Churchill complained in 1939, ever waiting for another act of
redemption.

Still, on this anniversary, to reread Khrushchev’s speech is to realize that
whatever this Russia is today, it is not Stalin’s hell. There may be
xenophobia and corruption and a host of other failings, and true democracy
may still be elusive. But there is nothing of that unspeakable terror and
killing to which Khrushchev put an end 50 years ago.         -30-
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LINK: http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/02/24/opinion/edrussia.php
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10.   KHRUSHCHEV’S SECRET SPEECH: A CRACK IN THE MONOLITH
                    Mike Haynes writes on how 50 years ago Khrushchev’s
                         ‘secret speech’ began the demolition of Stalinism

FEATURE: By Mike Haynes, SocialistWorkerOnline
London, United Kingdom, Saturday, February 18, 2006

Political speeches are usually one-day wonders. Fifty years ago next week,
Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev made a "secret speech" that was very
different. Late in the evening of 24 February 1956 delegates to the 20th
congress of the Soviet Communists were called back from their hotels to
the Kremlin in the greatest secrecy.

Just after midnight, as 25 February began, they heard Khrushchev begin to
speak. What he said was so explosive that it would not be published publicly
in the Soviet Union until 1988. But in the following weeks it was read out
at meetings across the country. It was also sent to fraternal Communist
Parties and it soon got out to the West.

The speech made history. Khrushchev ripped aside the propaganda image
of the former dictator Joseph Stalin, who had died three years earlier. He
did it from the centre of power.

But as he spoke he was also anxious to contain the damage his revelations
might cause. "We should not," he said soon after, "give ammunition to the
enemy [or] wash our dirty linen before their eyes." But the enemy he was
worried about was not the US, but the Russian people.

Stalin had claimed that his Russia had been built on the Bolshevik socialist
revolution of October 1917, which overthrew the dictator, the tsar. In
reality his power had grown out of its ashes. Stalin had helped to pile them
up.

Those closest to the real revolution became his opponents, then his victims.
As they disappeared Stalin and his supporters changed the whole idea of
socialism. The task was now to play capitalism at its own game.

It was "to catch up and overtake" the West by building up the economy and
heavy industry, and developing the Soviet army to match any in the world.

They called this socialism because the state took control and tried to
direct development. But state power was also used to crush any democracy
and to squeeze workers and peasants.

Living standards plummeted. The authority of managers was asserted in the
factories. By 1939 even arriving late for work was a criminal offence and
several millions were punished.

Those on the left who criticised Stalin’s regime were denounced as fascists.
The closest allies of the leader of the 1917 revolution, Vladimir Lenin,
were put on trial and made to confess to grotesque crimes.

Stalin had made the mistake of exiling Leon Trotsky, another leader of the
1917 revolution. From abroad he kept up a lonely campaign against Stalin
until he too became a victim, killed by a Russian agent in Mexico in 1940.

The Russian economy did move forward and, affected by propaganda,
many fell for the myth that Stalin was building a new world. Critics were
"miserable nonentities [who] raised their treacherous hands against
comrade Stalin. Stalin-our hope. Stalin-our desire. Stalin-the light of
advanced and progressive humanity. Stalin-our will. Stalin-our victory."
                                           WASTEFUL
Such praise was commonplace. This came from the young Nikita
Khrushchev as he tried to ride up into the new ruling class that was forming
around Stalin in the 1920s and 1930s.

Russia was being driven forward by accelerated industrialisation, a process
which had taken generations in the West. It was immensely wasteful and
millions died. Millions more were put into prison camps and colonies that
became known as the gulags.

This was enough to provide the resources to help defeat the Nazis in the
Second World War. The cost of the war was enormous. Huge areas were
destroyed and as many as 29 million died. Ten million more became
disabled war veterans.

Yet Stalin redoubled the process of industrialisation as the Cold War with
the US began. There was also the need to defend the empire that had been
created in Eastern Europe after the Russians had pushed the Nazis back.

Famine in 1946-7 killed perhaps two million people. The camps and colonies
filled to their highest numbers, with up to six million prisoners in 1952-3.

The logic was the same-squeeze the population to generate more resources
for investment and accumulation.

But Stalin’s paranoia also grew. "You are blind kittens. What will happen
without me?" he told those at the top. "The country will perish because you
cannot recognise enemies."

Allies were arrested and sent to camps. "Cosmopolitanism" was denounced
as Russian nationalism grew. But attacks on cosmopolitanism were a coded
form of anti-Semitism, which was becoming more evident.

Stalin’s death in March 1953 brought the possibility of relief from this
lunacy. It also brought the possibility of beginning to rationalise the
system. If competition with the West was to be a long-term affair the old
methods of brute force would no longer work.

Workers needed a better standard of living and peasants could not grow
enough food if they were malnourished. Scientists could not build an atomic
programme, rockets and missiles in the gulags. The difficulty was to know
how far to go and how far to confront the past. At first the steps were
tentative. One novelist likened it to a "thaw".

At the start of 1956 it seemed that more was necessary. This much was
agreed at the top. But in his secret speech Khrushchev went further.

Stalin, he argued, had not followed Lenin. Lenin had written a testament
saying that Stalin had too much power and should be removed. Stalin had
not been the great leader. Behind his cult lay a less impressive figure who,
when the war had began, had collapsed.

More devastating still was the relentless detail of the repression of the
1930s. Hundreds of thousands of victims had been shot, and whole peoples
had been deported in the war.

The details confirmed most of what right and left wing critics of the Soviet
Union had said. Khrushchev had to be careful. He needed to clear the
baggage of Stalin as a way of modernising the regime.

He also needed to knock his fellow leaders off balance in the struggle for
power. Stalin had created the regime and Khrushchev, like the others, was
its beneficiary. He therefore tried to limit the criticism in four main
ways.

FIRSTLY, there was no intention of allowing the position of Russia to be
weakened internationally. "When it comes to combating imperialism we are
all Stalinists," Khrushchev said.

SECONDLY, industrialisation and the collectivisation of the peasantry,
whatever its human costs, remained the basis of Soviet power and could
not be seriously questioned.

                                            VICTIMS
THIRDLY
, the rehabilitation of Stalin’s victims would be restricted. Those
Bolsheviks who had opposed him such as Nikolai Bukharin and Trotsky
remained cast out because they had offered a different vision of the future
and a more fundamental challenge than the loyalist victims who came later.

[FOURTHLY] Finally, to explain how things had gone wrong Khrushchev
began to develop the idea of the "cult of personality". The core of the
regime had been distorted by an individual and the cult that had grown up
around him.

Even within these limits the shock was enormous. In Eastern Europe the
speech helped to undermine the credibility of leaders who had depended on
Stalin’s support. It helped to encourage a wave of discussion across the
Eastern bloc. Demonstrations for reform broke out in Poland and finally,
later in 1956, there was revolution in Hungary.

In the West too the Communist Parties experienced turmoil. As Soviet tanks
rolled into Hungary it was obvious to most party members that the problem
went to the heart of the regime.

Many people left the Communist Parties and even the majorities which stayed
within the Western parties now had fewer illusions. Membership of the party
would mean a more pragmatic concern with industrial issues at home. The
Soviet Union might eventually, they hoped, become a land flowing with milk
and honey but it had never been that under Stalin.

The Russian leadership were now unsure how to move on. Khrushchev faced
enemies. In 1957 they tried and failed to overthrow him. But he could not
build a basis for effective reform.

In the next years Khrushchev zigged one way and zagged another. The fact
that the Soviet Union appeared to be growing more powerful and more rational
suggested that this might be enough.

Sputnik satellites were launched, men flew into space and the US granted the
Soviet Union a new respect even as Khrushchev fell out with China. The
Chinese leadership was still pursuing the path of industrialisation and the
Stalin model continued to look more attractive.

In 1961 Khrushchev made a sharper attack on Stalin. He revealed that Stalin
had signed the death warrants of tens of thousands. Stalin’s body was
removed from Red Square and reburied.

Two years later Khrushchev was swinging back. "Even now we feel that Stalin
was devoted to Communism, he was a Marxist, this cannot and should not be
denied," said Khrushchev.

This was nonsense. Stalin was a murderous thug who had destroyed the
revolution. Khrushchev was not a socialist. He stood at the head of a ruling
class contesting for world power. He could not completely throw away Stalin,
and he also could not develop a consistent approach to his legacy .

In 1964 Khrushchev was booted out of power. Few mourned this. The spring
thaw had not developed into a summer. His successors created more stability
but it came at a price. There would be no more inconsistency. "We should not
pour muck on ourselves," said new leader Leonid Brezhnev. The Stalin problem
would now be dealt with by suppressing discussion of it.

Outside Russia the myth of Stalin had been weakened. Inside, the regime had
partly opened up but it still depended on Stalin’s structures. It would take
another generation before growing crisis would force them to take another
step.                                             -30-
—————————————————————————————————–
The secret speech by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev can be read at:
www.marxists.org/archive/khrushchev/1956/02/24-abs.htm
—————————————————————————————————–
"Russia: Class and Power 1917-2000" by Mike Haynes (�8) is available
from Bookmarks, the socialist bookshop. Phone 020 7637 1848 or go
to www.bookmarks.uk.com
——————————————————————————————————
LINK: http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/article.php?article_id=8287
——————————————————————————————-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================

11.        THE REAL SECRET OF KHRUSHCHEV’S SPEECH
                 Fifty years ago a Soviet leader dared to criticise Stalin.
                           But was this bravery or a cynical ploy?

Tom Parfitt in Moscow, The Guardian Unlimited
London, United Kingdom, Friday February 24, 2006

Many of those who were present recall the "deathly silence" that fell across
the hall. It was the evening of February 25 1956. Unexpectedly, delegates at
the 20th congress of the Communist party had been ushered into a final,
closed session at central committee headquarters in Moscow.

When the Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, took the tribune and began to
speak, some members of the audience fainted. Others clawed their heads
in despair. Most could not believe their ears.

Without warning, Khrushchev had launched a fierce attack on his
predecessor, the revered Joseph Stalin. The great vozhd (chief) who had
guided the country through the second world war and died three years
earlier was a "capricious and despotic character", Khrushchev said. In a
four-hour indictment he condemned Stalin for creating a personality cult
and unleashing "brutal violence" on anyone who stood in his way.

Uttered 50 years ago tomorrow, this was Khrushchev’s secret speech: a
coruscating indictment of Stalinism that would roll out across the world;
the beginning of the "thaw" and the end of terror in a country where
hundreds of thousands had been shot or sent to the gulags.

In the west, the speech has mostly been interpreted as a brave and moral
step that changed the fate of the country. Earlier this month Khrushchev’s
granddaughter Nina, a lecturer who lives in the US, lauded him in the
Washington Post for "outing Stalin as a monster".

Yet in Russia, amid muted celebrations of the anniversary, there is growing
evidence that Khrushchev’s speech was a cynical ploy to save his skin and
that of his party cronies. "Khrushchev was trying to dump all the blame on
Stalin when his own hands were drenched in blood," says Yuri Zhukov, a
historian from the Russian Academy of Sciences who has studied newly
declassified archives on the period.

The re-evaluation comes as critics accuse President Vladimir Putin of
leading a drift towards an authoritarianism that resembles the rule of the
communist strongmen who dominated the 20th century. New measures have
included increased state control over broadcast media and the replacement
of elected governors by appointees.

While he is not actively promoted by the Kremlin, Stalin remains hugely
popular, with higher approval ratings than Khrushchev. Few politicians dare
criticise his legacy despite pleas to do so from victims of his oppression.
A survey by the All-Russia Centre for the Study of Public Opinion found that
50% of Russians believe Stalin played a positive role, up from 46% in 2003.

In 1956 Khrushchev’s speech was certainly a rent with the past. Stalin, he
said, had committed "serious and grave perversions of party principles" and
triggered the "cruellest repression" by inventing the concept of the "enemy
of the people". In 1937 and 1938, 98 of the 139 members of the central
committee had been shot on Stalin’s orders, Khrushchev revealed.

Many of the 1,400 people at the congress had only heard innuendo about such
events and their shock was real; as was the fury of Stalin’s supporters. "My
impression was very negative," says Nikolai Baybakov, 94, then head of
Gosplan, the Soviet central planning agency, and whose voice is still dark
with fury at the insult meted out to his hero. "Yes, negative. Compared to
Stalin, Khrushchev was a zero."

No debate was allowed, however, and the delegates went home in awe.
Many were sunk in depression; two committed suicide within weeks.

Almost immediately, changes began. Although the full text of the speech
was not published in the Soviet Union until the late 80s, excerpts were
passed to local party officials and read at meetings. Political prisoners
were rehabilitated, the press was given limited freedom and ties were
re-established with foreign powers such as France and the US.

Khrushchev’s political enemies were sidelined, but they escaped the death
sentence that would have been automatic under Stalin. Abroad, the speech
sparked intense interest after it was leaked by foreign communists. The
Observer devoted an entire issue to the 26,000-word text.

But while Khrushchev set unstoppable changes in motion, experts say he
concealed his own role in bloody repressions. Only in the past five years
has the full extent of his complicity in Stalin’s terror become evident.
[KHRUSHCHEV REQUESTED TO IMPRISON 30,000 PEOPLE WHEN
      HE TOOK OVER THE LEADERSHIP OF UKRAINE IN 1938]
A telegram discovered in Politburo archives by Mr Zhukov shows that
Khrushchev sent a request to Moscow to kill or imprison 30,000 people
when he took over the leadership of Ukraine in 1938. A brutal purge of
intellectuals and "hostile elements" was soon under way.

The year before, when he was party chief in the Moscow region, documents
show Khrushchev asked permission to shoot 8,500 anti-Soviet "traitors" and
dispatch almost 33,000 to camps. "These persecutions were real and they
were carried out on Khrushchev’s orders," Mr Zhukov says.

Dima Bykov, a young Russian intellectual, says Khrushchev was a willing
servant of Stalin. "When I was a teacher I explained the 20th congress to
my pupils using an analogy: imagine Himmler giving an anti-fascist speech
at a Nazi congress after Hitler’s death."

The limits of Khrushchev’s thaw were evident a few months after the speech
when he sent Soviet tanks to crush the Hungarian uprising. And while he
allowed Alexander Solzhenitsyn to publish a novel about the gulags, he
banned Boris Pasternak’s Dr Zhivago for its unsympathetic portrait of the
aftermath of the Bolshevik revolution.

Nikita Khrushchev, 46, a journalist who was named after his grandfather,
admits the Soviet leader was not the hero he is often made out to be. "Of
course, grandpa participated in the repressions," he says. "Of course, you
can see his signatures on the lists of those to be dealt with. And, of
course, many documents have yet to be released from the archives. But the
fact that he dared to expose Stalin was his own courageous step. It was a
real feat … It meant he had overcome the Stalinist inside himself."

Mr Bykov says Khrushchev was a brave man who recognised his faults
and attempted reform, but lacked the will to smash the system completely.
"Khrushchev was half dictator, half liberal," he says. "Putin is just the
same. The difference is that in Khrushchev’s time the main movement was
towards freedom. Now it is backwards. Krushchev initiated freedom.
Putin is its graveyard."                        -30-
——————————————————————————————-
                                   CORNCOB NIKITA
[1] Khrushchev was best known as "corncob Nikita" for his attempts
to plant vast tracts of maize [corn]
[2] His Khrushchev’s "secret speech" in 1956 took four hours to deliver
and the full text – not published in the Soviet Union until 1989 – was
26,000 words long. In it, he said Josef Stalin had "practised brutal
violence, not only towards everything which opposed him, but also

towards that which seemed, to his capricious and despotic character,
contrary to his concepts"
[3] The speech included details of a furious letter from Vladimir Lenin
to Stalin in 1923 in which the former leader accused Stalin of insulting
his wife.
[4] Politburo archives show that Khrushchev concealed that he had
requested permission to shoot or imprison about 70,000 people
himself as a party boss in the late 1930s
——————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/russia/article/0,,1716627,00.html
——————————————————————————————-
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========================================================
12.             WHEN IT WAS NO LONGER SWEET OR NOBLE
                                  TO KILL FOR THE CAUSE
Mirror in which the left saw itself was shattered. Its self-deception lives on.
COMMENTARY: By Martin Kettle, The Guardian
London, United Kingdom, Saturday February 11, 2006

If the great history lesson of the 20th century is that socialism does not
work then the watershed event in that tragic enlightenment was the one that
took place in Moscow 50 years ago this month – the so-called "secret speech"
delivered by Nikita Khrushchev to a closed session of the 20th congress of
the Soviet Communist party on February 25 1956, in which he mounted a
devastating attack on Joseph Stalin, then not quite three years dead.

I write this with complete intellectual confidence but also with some
journalistic trepidation. Part of me feels the need almost to apologise for
writing today about an event from the now-distant past, which for many
readers is likely to seem as unrelated to their own lives as the Council of
Trent or the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi.

Moreover, as someone raised in the British communist world, whose first
memory of any public event is of the death of Stalin himself and who was
surprised at the age of five to find that my infant-school teacher had never
heard of Harry Pollitt, I am anxious not to disappear into historical
anorakland and lose the many readers fortunate enough not to be similarly
steeped in the bliss, brutality and betrayal of the revolutionary movement.

Yet the secret speech has shaped all of our lives, whoever we are and
whether we realise it or not, most obviously because it led eventually to
the collapse of the Soviet system, the end of the cold war, and the triumph
of the west of which we are all today living if still sometimes conflicted
witnesses; but less obviously because it posed questions about public
intellectual and political honesty that remain just as undodgeable today as
they were in 1956.

Given his own history, Khrushchev’s speech was an act of great moral
bravery and huge political recklessness. Speaking for nearly four hours, he
stunned his listeners with a detailed and sweeping account of Stalin’s mass
arrests, deportations, torture and executions.

Though the delegates were sworn to secrecy (and the speech remained
unpublished in the USSR until 1988), the details soon leaked out, both in
briefings to Soviet and satellite parties and, possibly at Khrushchev’s own
instigation, to the western media, including via John Rettie of Reuters,
later of the Guardian.

The truth caved in on us, is how one person in the audience graphically
described the speech. But as Tony Judt points out in his magisterial
Postwar, it is important not to overstate what Khrushchev was attempting.
His aim, not surprisingly, was a controlled de-Stalinisation that kept the
revolutionary myth and the Soviet system intact. All the faults of the
Bolshevik experience were laid at Stalin’s door alone.

But in his characteristically impulsive way, Khrushchev placed the
possibility of a reformed Soviet system on the agenda. For the next decade,
indeed, it was still possible to believe in that outcome, and there were
true believers who persuaded themselves that it could happen, even 30 years
later in the Gorbachev years.

Harold Wilson’s "white heat of the technological revolution" speech in 1963
can only be properly understood in the context of his fear that Khrushchev’s
boast that the USSR would outproduce the US by 1970 was well-founded.

But the larger reality, as his biographer William Taubman says, is that the
system never recovered from the secret speech and nor did Khrushchev.

The most immediate reason for this, especially outside Russia, was the
suppression of the Hungarian democratic revolution in November 1956.
From that moment on, communism was irrevocably more about oppression
than liberation.

After Hungary the excuses would not wash, though many still made them
(even my own father, in spite of the fact that he, along with the former
teachers’ leader Max Morris, was one of only two members of the British
CP’s executive committee to vote to condemn the Soviet invasion).

After Hungary, as Judt puts it, communism became "just a way of life to be
endured" until, mercifully, its misery and decline came to an end without
large-scale bloodshed in 1989.

It is of course true that, long before 1956, there had been generations of
progressives, socialists of various kinds and even communists who had
broken with the Bolshevik myth or who had never embraced it in the first
place. Traditions of democratic and moderate socialism that predated the
Russian revolution flowed on uninterrupted by 1956.

Yet though not directly implicated by 1956 in the way that communists were,
these other traditions on the left were challenged and damaged by what
Khrushchev said and what the Red Army tanks then did in Budapest.

The secret speech was a turning point because, in Eric Hobsbawm’s
authoritative phrase, while the October revolution created a world communist
movement, the 20th congress destroyed it. Experience, whether in the form of
Walter Benjamin’s backward-looking angel of history or Barbara Tuchman’s
lantern from the stern (the image is essentially the same), had weighed the
left in the balance and found it wanting.

After 1956 socialism became more than ever just a matter of religious faith
rather than reason. It would take another 30 or more years before that
verdict was irrevocable. But it was the secret speech and Hungary that
together, as Judt says, shattered the mirror in which the European left had
always seen itself.

But it shattered something else too. After 1956 it was no longer
intellectually honest or true (if it had ever been) to use the cold-war
syllogism that my enemy’s enemy is my friend.

Those who saw history as a long war between good (the left, socialism,
the future, the Soviet Union) and evil (the right, capitalism, the old
order, the United States) were no longer entitled to swallow their doubts.

It was no longer sweet and noble to kill for the cause. A few, of course,
still said it was. Even to this day one occasionally encounters the old lie
that the Hungarian rising was a counter-revolution.

But the cold-war syllogism lives on today in a new guise. Too many haters
of capitalism and the United States still cram everything into the frame of
untruth and self-deception that says my enemy’s enemy is still my friend
because, even if he blows up my family on the tube, murders my colleagues
on the bus or threatens to behead me for publishing a drawing, he is still
at war with Bush, Blair and Berlusconi.

It is 50 years this month since that simplistic view of the world lost
whatever moral purchase it may once have had. It is time such thinking
was, to choose a sadly appropriate word, purged.

Too long, my brothers and my sisters, too long.             -30-
————————————————————————————————-
Martin Kettle, The Guardian, martin.kettle@guardian.co.uk
————————————————————————————————-
LINK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,,1707531,00.html
————————————————————————————————-
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========================================================
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13.                           OPENING PANDORA’S BOX
  50th anniversary of an event whose effect on Hungary was earth-shattering.
 Thankful to Khrushchev for the speech that shook up the Communist world.

By Richard W. Bruner, The Budapest Sun Online
Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, February 23, 2006

SATURDAY (Feb 25) is the 50th anniversary of an event whose effect on
Hungary and other eastern European countries was earth-shattering.

On Feb 25, 1956, First Party Secretary Nikita Khrushchev described in a
speech to the 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party the "perversions,"
criminal excesses, and failures of Josef Stalin, brought about by Stalin’s
"cult of personality" (which, ironically, Khrushchev had helped cultivate);
Stalin had died three years earlier.

The speech was supposed to be secret (it was not officially published in the
Soviet Union until 1988; but western intelligence agencies knew much of its
content within days. So did Communist parties around the world, scattering
confusion in their ranks.

The speech’s impact specifically on Hungary, among eastern European
countries, was, according to historian Tony Judt, "even more dramatic." In
his lucidly brilliant book, "Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945," Judt
wrote, "Khrushchev’s repudiation of Stalin seemed to suggest that Moscow
would now look favorably upon different ‘roads to socialism,’ and had
rejected terror and repression as a tool of Communist control."

Ultimately, such a view was dangerous, as Hungarians were to learn a few
months later when students took to the streets. By the time of Khrushchev’s
speech, Hungary already had a reputation for unpredictability.

In 1953, Moscow had decided to de-Stalinize Hungary by putting into power
the reform-minded Imre Nagy, once purged and imprisoned (in 1949, he was
one of only two Hungarian Politburo members who opposed executing L�szl�
Rajk). Rehabilitated, he proposed closing internment and labor camps,
encouraging agriculture and abandoning unrealistic industrial targets.

He managed to stay in office until 1955, when party enemies, led by M�ty�s
R�kosi, persuaded Moscow "that he [Nagy] could not be counted on to
maintain firm control, at a moment when the Soviet Union was facing the
threat of an expanded NATO," wrote Judt.

The Soviet Central Committee removed Nagy from office and once again
expelled him from the party. R�kosi and friends took over power, just eight
months before Khrushchev made his landmark speech. But R�kosi quickly
fell out of favor because of his reputation as an anti-Titoist at a time
when Khrushchev was trying to repair relations with Yugoslavia.

"With high-level Soviet-Yugoslav negotiations taking place in Moscow in
June, 1956," wrote Judt, "it seemed unnecessarily provocative to maintain in
power in Budapest an unreconstructed Stalinist." So the Soviets replaced
R�kosi with Ern� Ger�, another Stalinist. "This proved a mistake; Ger�
could neither lead change nor suppress it."

Instead, the changes opened a Pandora’s Box. On Oct 16, 1956, nearly eight
months after Khrushchev’s supposedly liberating speech, university students
in Szeged organized a "League of Hungarian Students," not affiliated with
Communist student groups.

Other student groups sprouted around the country. On Oct 22, Technical
University students in Budapest drafted a 16-point manifesto calling for
industrial and agrarian reforms, more democracy, free speech, criminal
trials for R�kosi and friends, and the installation of Imre Nagy as prime
minister.

Events tumbled forward quickly. On Oct 23, students assembled in Parliament
Square to demonstrate in support of their demands. Ger� vacillated. At first
he condemned the students, then permitted the demonstration, and finally
denounced it. The students tore down a statue of Stalin and Soviet troops
entered the city.

The Hungarian Communist Central Committee met through the night and the
next day installed Nagy as prime minister. Nagy wanted both to restore order
and to negotiate with the demonstrators. But chaos was widespread, with
student organizations, workers’ councils and national committees forming all
over the country and demonstrators clashing with police.

Communist Party leaders called it a "counterrevolution," missing the
opportunity, Judt wrote, "to co-opt it." Nagy decided to gamble, probably
hoping for western support. On Oct 28, he went on the radio, acknowledging
the legitimacy of the protests and denouncing the secret police.

Again, on Oct 30, he went on the radio, this time to imply he was planning
to form a multiparty government. The next day he said he would negotiate to
withdraw from the Warsaw Pact.

The entire episode is replete with ironies. On Oct 31, according to an
American National Security Briefing Book, "the tide seemed to turn
overwhelmingly in the revolution’s favor when Pravda published a declaration
promising greater equality in relations between the USSR and its east
European satellites. One sentence was of particular interest. It read:

‘[T]he Soviet Government is prepared to enter into the appropriate
negotiations with the government of the Hungarian People’s Republic and
other members of the Warsaw Treaty on the question of the presence of
Soviet troops on the territory of Hungary.’

To outside observers, the Kremlin statement came as a total surprise. CIA
Director Allen Dulles called it a ‘miracle.’ The crisis seemed on the verge
of being resolved in a way no-one in Hungary or the west had dared to hope.

"But tragically, and unbeknownst to anyone outside the Kremlin, the very
day the declaration appeared in Pravda, the Soviet leadership completely
reversed itself and decided to put a final, violent end to the rebellion.

From declassified documents, it is now clear that several factors influenced
their decision, including: the belief that the rebellion directly threatened
Communist rule in Hungary (unlike the challenge posed by Wladyslaw
Gomulka and the Polish Communists just days before, which had targeted
Kremlin rule but not the Communist system); that the west would see a lack
of response by Moscow as a sign of weakness, especially after the British,
French and Israeli strike against Suez that had begun on Oct 29; that the
spread of anti-Communist feelings in Hungary threatened the rule of
neighboring satellite leaders; and that members of the Soviet party would
not understand a failure to respond with force in Hungary."

Expectations of western support ran high when Nagy announced, on the
evening of Nov 1, Hungary’s unilateral withdrawal from the Pact and asked
the UN to recognize Hungary as neutral.

Judt wrote, "Many [Hungarian rebels] sincerely hoped for western assistance,
encouraged by the uncompromising tone of American public rhetoric and by
emissions from Radio Free Europe, whose �migr� broadcasters encouraged
Hungarians to take up arms and promised imminent foreign support."

Nagy gambled, but lost. Soviet leaders ordered Soviet army divisions in
Romania and Ukraine to the Hungarian border. The Soviets sneaked J�nos
K�d�r to Moscow where Khrushchev convinced him to form a new
government.

K�d�r had a history with Nagy that might have compromised his willingness
to replace him. Nagy, during his earlier stretch as party leader, had
released K�d�r from prison. Regardless of whatever feelings he had, K�d�r

accepted the Soviet offer. Nagy and close colleagues left office and were
granted asylum in the Yugoslav embassy on Nov 4. Within 72 hours, Soviet
troops had control of Budapest.

On Nov 7, K�d�r’s government was sworn in. On Nov 22, Nagy and his
friends were tricked into leaving the Yugoslav embassy; they were abducted
and sent to prison in Romania. After much delay, K�d�r brought Nagy back
to Hungary to be secretly tried in June 1958, and found guilty of fomenting
a counter-revolution. He was executed at dawn June 16, 1958.

Two hundred thousand Hungarians – 2% of the population – fled Hungary
during the Soviet occupation after the revolution. They settled in Austria,
Britain, what was then West Germany, France, and other places. The United
States accepted 80,000 of them.

The emigrants were mostly young people and many were educated
professionals. They may have been thankful to Khrushchev for the speech
that shook up the Communist world.  -30-
————————————————————————————————
For more information see
www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1956khrushchev-secret1.html
————————————————————————————————-
http://www.budapestsun.com/full_story.asp?ArticleId=%7BC3DF94C65F9A4A2CA7DA084E52ED80B0%7D&From=Style
————————————————————————————————-
[return to index ] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
14. KHRUSHCHEV’S ‘SECRET SPEECH’ REMEMBERED: 50 YEARS
                Entered history as the first step toward de-Stalinization

By Claire Bigg, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, February 15, 2006

MOSCOW – Khrushchev’s speech at the 20th Congress of the Communist
Party of the Soviet Union — held 14-25 February 1956 — entered history as
the first step toward de-Stalinization.

In this speech, Khrushchev accused his predecessor, Josef Stalin, of
creating a regime based on "suspicion, fear, and terror." Khrushchev added
that he wanted to break the cult of Stalin, who had died three years before.

He condemned the mass repressions that took place between 1936 and 1938,
lashed out at Stalin’s foreign policy during World War II, and accused him
of nationalism and anti-Semitism.

             HEART ATTACKS AMONG AUDIENCE MEMBERS
Khrushchev was the first official publicly to denounce Stalin’s policies,
and his sensational speech stunned the senior party officials gathered at
the congress.

According to delegates who witnessed the speech, it provoked deep shock
among the audience — many delegates were reportedly crying, others were
holding their heads in despair, and several even had heart attacks in the
conference hall.

Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalinism became known as the "secret

speech," since it was delivered behind closed doors and was not made
public until 18 March 1956.

                        PRISONERS FREED AFTER SPEECH
Roy Medvedev, a historian who in 1956 was a school director in a provincial
Russian city, describes how he first heard the content of the speech. "They
gathered activists, all the party members, all the Komsomol members, the
directors of kolkhozs [communal farms[ and sovkhozs [state farms],"
Medvedev says.

"The instructor of the district Communist Party arrived, took out a red
book, and told us: ‘I am going to read you the secret speech of Nikita
Sergeevich Khrushchev at the 20th congress.’

For four hours, we listed to this report. There were people present who had
fought in World War II and worshipped Stalin. There were people like me,
hose father was repressed and died in prison and who knew about torture
and camps."

In the aftermath of the speech, tens of thousands of political prisoners
were set free. Khrushchev’s words also had huge repercussions in Eastern
Europe, where it fuelled hopes of political change, particularly in Poland
and Hungary.

Secrecy, however, shrouded the speech for many years — the full text was
not published in Russia until 1988, some 32 years later.

                      ‘COLOSSAL HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE’
Medvedev says it took a long time for him to realize its full impact. "The
press was not reporting anything," Medvedev says. "There was no television
back then, no information. Very serious processes were set in motion about
which we knew nothing.

Two days or so after the congress, Western Communist parties protested.
They asked why this had to be done. A secret correspondence immediately
started with the Chinese Communist Party, which resolutely condemned the
20th congress. It was an event of colossal historical significance."

Today, Russians remain divided on the legacy of the "secret speech." While
most communists still view it as an act of treason and say it has done more
harm than good, many observers hail it as the beginning of the end of the
repressive Stalinist era.

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said yesterday that Khrushchev’s
speech had much wider implications than just demolishing the cult of Stalin.
He said it laid the foundation for perestroika by addressing, in his words,
"not only the cult of personality, but also democratic problems and ways to
manage the country."

Historians have often described Khrushchev as a liberal reformer. They
stress, however, that this "liberalism" soon showed its limits. Just nine
months later, in November 1956, Soviet tanks were crushing an anti-Soviet
uprising in Hungary, killing thousands of protesters.  -30-
—————————————————————————————————————-
http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/02/65e55bb7-8f00-48eb-8876-bef95791a1ea.html

——————————————————————————————-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
15.             THE SPEECH RUSSIA WANTS TO FORGET

By Tim Whewell, BBC NEWS, UK, Thursday, February 23, 2006

It was a speech so shocking that even 50 years on, Nikolai Baibakov
refuses point-blank to describe what he heard that day – a devastating
attack on the man he worshipped above all others. The retired Communist
Party official, now 91, can reel off scores of statistics of industrial
production and oil extraction in the 1950s.

But he tries every stratagem to avoid recalling the cataclysmic event to
which he is one of the very few surviving witnesses.

It was the secret final session of the 20th party congress on 25 February
1956, at which the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev demolished the
reputation of his predecessor, Joseph Stalin.

Eventually, between gritted teeth, Baibakov concedes: "Maybe there were
individual incidents of repression, but what Khrushchev denounced Stalin
for, that never happened… Khrushchev just said those things to try and
give himself more authority as a leader."

It is hard to exaggerate the impact Khrushchev’s speech had in 1956, just
three years after the dictator’s death. Stalin’s embalmed body was lying
beside Lenin in the mausoleum on Red Square, and most Soviet citizens
regarded him as little less than a god.
                                          TORTURE
Many political prisoners had returned from the camps – though hundreds of
thousands remained there. And Kremlin leaders were already referring to the
"cult of the individual" that flourished during Stalin’s rule. But there had
been nothing to prepare the 1,400 delegates of the Congress for the bitter
tone and detail of the four-hour report that Khrushchev delivered behind
locked doors on 25 February.

He talked of how thousands of innocent people had been tortured into
confessing to crimes they never committed – and he said Stalin was
personally responsible. "He called in the interrogator, gave him
instructions, and told him which methods to use, methods that were

simple – to beat, beat, and once again, beat."

He described how Stalin ordered the murder of many of the Soviet Union’s
leading generals on the eve of World War II, his "monstrous" deportation
of whole peoples to other parts of the country – and even how he was
responsible for the ruination of agriculture.
                                         NO DISCUSSION
The delegates listened in stunned silence.

According to Khrushchev’s biographer William Taubman, "Nobody said
anything. They were uncertain even of looking each other in the eye, of
revealing a gut instinct, which they shouldn’t."

And in a society still dominated by fear, many of the millions of ordinary
members of the Communist Party and Young Communist League who heard
the text of the speech read out to them at specially-convened meetings in
the following weeks reacted in the same way.

Even if they had wanted to debate the sensational revelations, it would not
have been allowed. Each meeting began with the stern warning, "There will
be no discussion, comrades – and no notes may be taken!"

And lest anyone try to spread the contents of the speech more widely, the
red brochures with the text were all gathered up afterwards and returned to
party headquarters.

Khrushchev’s speech was considered so incendiary that it was not published
in Russia until 1988, when Mikhail Gorbachev’s "glasnost" policy allowed a
re-examination of Stalin’s crimes.
                               STALIN REHABILITATED
But that re-examination was short-lived. Because as the Soviet Union
collapsed, the rehabilitation of Stalin’s victims began to be overshadowed
by the rehabilitation of Stalin himself.

Now, after 15 years when many Russians have faced growing impoverishment
and watched the decline of their country’s power and prestige, they have
begun to imagine the Stalin era as a time of discipline, order – and glory.

"The only people who thought Stalin was a criminal were the people he
obstructed – the people he prevented from robbing the state," says historian
Gennady Varakuta, reflecting a widespread belief that the corruption that
plagues Russia today was dealt with severely and decisively in the 1930s
and ’40s.

Varakuta is one of many who now claim Khrushchev denounced his
predecessor either because he was terrified that he himself might be accused
of complicity in his crimes or – for even narrower motives of revenge –
because Stalin had supposedly had Khrushchev’s son Leonid executed for
treason during World War II.

In fact, the story of the execution, and the treason, have been disproved
by several official documents. But it is regularly repeated in an effort to
discredit Khrushchev himself.
                                       CHANGING MOOD
Varakuta’s views are hardly surprising – he is the son-in-law of Leonid
Brezhnev, the man who overthrew Khrushchev in 1964. But his admiration
for Stalin is widely shared in today’s Russia.

In a poll by the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Centre at the end of
last year, 20% of respondents described Stalin’s role in Russian history as
"very positive" and 30% as "somewhat positive".

There are proposals to erect statues to the former dictator in several
provincial towns – and Russian state TV is reported to have cancelled plans
for a special documentary on the anniversary of the secret speech.

Khrushchev’s daughter Rada, now 76, has watched the changing mood in
the country and she is not surprised. She does not directly blame President
Vladimir Putin for fostering the new wave of neo-Stalinism, but she does not
believe it could happen without some official approval.

"I don’t feel they want very much to mark this date, the anniversary of one
of the main events of our history," she says. "One of my friends wanted to
make a film about it, but then he was told, ‘It’s safer not to’.

Then the only references I hear on the radio to my father are comic ones –
the idea, for example, that he put a tax on every apple tree. "And if that’s
what young journalists are thinking, I conclude it’s because that’s how
someone wants them to think."   -30-
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LINK: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4744288.stm
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16.          HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, NIKITA KHRUSHCHEV

By Anne Applebaum, OP-ED Columnist, The Washington Post
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, February 22, 2006, Page A15

It is, I admit, an odd thing to celebrate: A long-winded and not entirely
honest speech, made behind closed doors, addressed to the stony-faced
leaders of a country that no longer exists. Nevertheless, I’m reluctant to
let the 50th anniversary of Nikita Khrushchev’s famous "secret speech" —
his denunciation of Stalin and Stalinism, delivered to the 20th Congress of
the Soviet Communist Party on Feb. 25, 1956 — pass without notice.

We are, after all, at another important historical moment. Condoleezza Rice,
the U.S. secretary of state, has just announced that we will spend $75
million promoting democracy and fighting a totalitarian regime in Iran. We
have thousands of soldiers in Iraq, trying to pick up the pieces after the
collapse of another totalitarian regime there.

Since Khrushchev’s secret speech was the first step in what turned out to
be a very long struggle to end totalitarianism in the Soviet Union, it’s
worth remembering now what the circumstances that surrounded it actually
were.

In essence, Khrushchev’s speech (which didn’t remain secret very long;
Polish communists leaked it to the Israelis, who leaked it to the West) was
a piece of theater, a four-hour harangue during which the new Soviet leader
denounced the "cult of personality" that had surrounded Stalin, condemned
torture and acknowledged that "mass arrests and deportation of thousands
and thousands of people" had "created insecurity, fear and even
desperation" in his country.

But although it was an international sensation — no Soviet leader had
spoken so frankly before — the speech didn’t exactly tell the whole truth.
Khrushchev accused Stalin of many crimes, but deftly left out the ones in
which he himself had been implicated.

As William Taubman, author of "Khrushchev: The Man and His Era," has
documented, the Soviet leader had in fact collaborated enthusiastically
with Stalinist terror, participating in the very mass arrests he condemned.

Khrushchev’s speech was intended as much to consolidate his own power
and intimidate his party opponents — all of whom had also collaborated
enthusiastically — as it was to liberate his countrymen.

Still, there were high hopes for change after the speech, both within and
outside the Soviet Union. But the cultural and political thaw that followed
turned out to be as ambivalent as the speech itself. Some prisoners were
released; some were not. Some daring works of literature were published;
some were not. Khrushchev himself seemed unable to make up his mind
about how much should really change, but it didn’t matter:

Within a decade he was ousted from power by resentful neo-Stalinists. Two
more decades were to pass before Mikhail Gorbachev, one of the young
communists who had been electrified by Khrushchev’s secret speech,
restarted the discussion of Stalin’s crimes, and launched, finally, the
reforms that brought the system down.

Clearly there is a lesson here for those who would bring down totalitarian
regimes, and it concerns timing: The death of a dictator or the toppling of
his statues does not necessarily mean that a complete political
transformation has occurred, or even that one will occur soon.

On the contrary, it takes a very, very long time — more than a generation
— for a political class to free itself of the authoritarian impulse. People
do not easily give up the ideology that has brought them wealth and power.

People do not quickly change the habits that they’ve incurred over a
lifetime. Even people who want to reform their countries — and at some
level Khrushchev did want to reform his country — can’t necessarily bring
themselves to say or to do what is necessary. Certainly they find it
difficult to carry out political reforms that might hasten their own
retirement.

This isn’t to say dictatorships must last forever: Despite some of its
current leadership’s repressive instincts, Russia itself has changed in
fifty years, beyond recognition. But the transformation was often
incremental, always uneven, and difficult for impatient Americans to
understand or support. But then, all such transformations are difficult for
impatient Americans to understand or support, and probably always will
be. If history is anything to go by, we’ll have no choice but to try and do
so anyway.                                     -30-
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/21/AR2006022101140.html
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17. FEBRUARY 25, 1956: KHRUSHCHEV LASHES OUT AT STALIN
                                 On this day 50 years ago

BBC NEWS, United Kingdom, Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, has denounced Joseph Stalin as a
brutal despot.  In a sensational speech to the 20th Congress of the
Communist Party Mr Khrushchev painted a graphic picture of a regime of
"suspicion, fear, and terror" built up under the former dictator who died
three years ago.

He said he wanted to break the "Stalin cult" that has held Soviet citizens
in its thrall for 30 years. The prime minister described the purges during
the period of 1936-38. He implied that one of Stalin’s most trusted aides
Kirov had been assassinated in 1934 at the leader’s behest.
                                              PURGES
Stalin then initiated a series of trials of members of the politburo and had
some executed for Kirov’s murder, including Zinoviev, Kamenev and Rykov.
Stalin meted out humiliation and persecution to those officers and members
of the Politburo who fell from favour, said Mr Khrushchev.

He revealed that in 1937 and 1938, 98 out of the 139 members of the Central
Committee were shot on Stalin’s orders.

The leader also criticised Stalin’s foreign policy during World War II. As
an ally of Adolf Hitler, Stalin refused to believe Germany would invade
Russia – despite warnings from Winston Churchill and Sir Stafford Cripps,
the British Ambassador in Moscow, amongst others.

When the attack was launched, Stalin ordered the Red Army not to retaliate
saying the raid was merely "indiscipline" on the part of some of Hitler’s
units.
                                          ‘ODIOUS BOOK’
Mr Khrushchev also condemned Stalin’s autobiography as an "odious book"
in which Stalin refers to himself as "the workers’ genius-leader" and a "shy
and modest person". He also accused Stalin of violent nationalism and
anti-Semitism.

He revealed that in his last will and testament Lenin advised against the
retention of Stalin as general secretary of the Communist Party. He said the
information he had just divulged should only be made known to the public by
degrees.

"You understand, comrades, that we could not spread this information to the
people at once," he said. "It could be done either suddenly or gradually,
and I think it would be more correct to do it gradually."
————————————————————————————————–
                                            IN CONTEXT
[1] Mr Khrushchev’s "secret speech" was not made public until 18 March

1956 and then only in Belgrade and Washington. It had a dramatic effect in
Eastern Europe where "de-stalinisation" raised expectations of change,
especially in Poland and Hungary.
[2] The text of the speech was not published in Russia until 1988, some 32
years later.
[3] Lenin’s last will and testament was published in The New York Times in
1926, though it was not made public in the Soviet Union until Khrushchev’s
announcement.
[4] Party agitators (official propagandists) were sent to Georgia to
disseminate revelations about Stalin, where opposition to the new
information was anticipated.
[5] In the wake of the denouncement, Mr Khrushchev’s pictures were torn
down in Georgia, Stalin’s home state. Riots occurred for several days in
Tbilisi as Georgians reacted angrily to the denunciation of their hero.
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/february/25/newsid_2703000/2703581.stm
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18.  CULT OF STALINISM CASTS A SHADOW OVER EUROPE

COMMENTARY FOCUS: By George Kerevan
The Scotsman – United Kingdom; Feb 23, 2006

FIFTY years ago this week, an impulsive ex-miner from Ukraine called Nikita
Khrushchev took the rostrum during a secret session of the 20th Congress
of the Soviet Communist Party. He was to shock his audience – and the
world – with a speech that denounced Russia’s recently deceased leader,
Joseph Stalin, as a tyrant and a sadist.

Under Stalin, forced collectivisation killed 14.5 million people. In the
Great Purge, 1.2 million Communist Party cadres – more than half the
membership – were arrested and 600,000 executed. Ten million Soviet
citizens were sent to the "Gulag Archipelago". Half never came back.

There are many good reasons in 2006 to remember Khrushchev’s
incredible denunciation of the demigod of orthodox communism.

FIRST, because the cult of Stalin is being quietly revived in modern Russia,
as the Putin regime becomes ever more authoritarian and centralised.

SECOND, because naive western intellectuals were part and parcel of the
propaganda machine that originally created the myth of cuddly "Uncle Joe"
Stalin, the worker’s friend. Alas, western intellectuals have still not lost
the capacity to believe in political fairy tales.

In fact, they are repeating their deification of Stalin by pretending that a
host of murderous religious cults and nationalist groupings – such as
Hamas – are Noble with a capital N and deserve the benefit of the doubt.

Khrushchev, of course, was not motivated by disgust at Stalinism itself.
He had been a leading thug in Stalin’s inner circle and may well have
personally smothered Stalin in 1953. But Nikita was astute enough to
realise that without a loosening of the grip of Stalin’s self-devouring
terror machine, the Russian people would eventually rebel against
communist rule.

His denunciation of the Stalin cult was partly self-preservation and partly
a device to see off his rivals for the leadership of the Communist Party. It
worked a treat.

Post-Stalin, Khrushchev thought Russia could overtake the West in the
production of consumer goods but the centrally planned Soviet economic
dinosaur defeated him. After his surrender to Kennedy over Cuba, old
Nikita was toppled by the deeply corrupt Brezhnev, who was content to
preside over the remorseless decline of the communist system.

When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, ordinary Russians were free for an
instant. But in the ensuing chaos, Brezhnev’s cynical apparatchiks stole
everything they could.

The result is the rise of Vladimir Putin, a minor KGB official who has
Khrushchev’s eye for populism but not his ebullient personality. Putin
has restored a degree of order in Russia by jailing the billionaire
oligarchs and re-nationalising their assets. Putin is not a psychopathic
killer like Stalin but nor has he been averse to implying he can return
Russia to the global power it was in Uncle Joe’s heyday.

Enough water has passed under the bridge for modern Russians to have
forgotten what life was really like under Stalin. Opinion polls show that
over a quarter of Russians say they would definitely or probably vote for
Stalin were he alive and running for president. Imagine our reaction if
Germans said that about Hitler.

Putin’s impersonation of Stalin-lite is predicated on manipulating this
dubious sentiment. I doubt if he really is another Stalin, but politicians
who play with fire can get us all burned.

One of the first things Putin did on becoming Russia’s president was to
restore the old Stalinist national anthem. Next he tore up the deal to give
Chechnya independence and launched a war in the Caucuses, with a view
to making himself look strong.

The plan backfired and we are still living with the terrorist consequences.
And Stalin would be proud of the way Putin has suppressed internal
criticism by taking over independent television stations.

On the economic front, Putin is re-nationalising companies wholesale with a
view to creating national "champions", such as the energy giant Gazprom. In
January, Gazprom did the Kremlin’s bidding by cutting off gas supplies to
Ukraine.

On Monday, Putin nationalised the Russian aircraft industry, which came as a
shock to EADS (aka Airbus), the European aerospace manufacturer which
thought it owned the Sukhoi jet company.

Putin’s state industries do business in the world market so they are nowhere
near as inefficient as the old Soviet ones. Nevertheless, I would be worried
if Gazprom bought ScottishPower.

Putin is barred by the Russian constitution from seeking a third term in
2008. If he alters the constitution to stand again, you know we are in
trouble. Alternatively, he may support one of his two close aides, Sergei
Ivanov or Dmitry Medvedev.

Ivanov is ex-KGB and head of the Russian security agencies. Last month, he
came under fire for downplaying the bullying of Russian conscripts after an
18-year-old soldier’s legs and genitals had to be amputated due to vicious
beatings. Medvedev is chairman of Gazprom.

It is possible to view Vladimir Putin as a necessary stage in Russian
reform, restoring order and building an industrial economy not so different
from that of post-war Japan. Comparisons with Stalin’s totalitarian
madhouse are still far-fetched: corruption is rife, but there is still a
democratic opposition.

The problem is that Putin is an unreliable opportunist (as was Khruschchev)
playing to an electorate which is angry at the wide disparities of income in
Russia and only too ready to confuse personal angst with nationalist
aspiration. Post-Stalinist Russia has a very large chip on its shoulder that
we need to handle delicately.

Stalin may be dead but his ghost is still at the feast.            -30-
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LINK: http://news.scotsman.com/opinion.cfm?id=278852006
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19.   COMMUNISM MAY BE DEAD, BUT CLEARLY NOT DEAD ENOUGH:
                The battle over history reflects a determination to prove that no
                   political alternative can challenge the new global capitalism

COMMENT & DEBATE: By Seumas Milne, The Guardian
London, United Kingdom, Thursday, February 16, 2006

Fifteen years after communism was officially pronounced dead, its spectre
seems once again to be haunting Europe. Last month, the Council of Europe’s
parliamentary assembly voted to condemn the "crimes of totalitarian
communist regimes", linking them with Nazism and complaining that
communist parties are still "legal and active in some countries".

Now Goran Lindblad, the conservative Swedish MP behind the resolution,
wants to go further. Demands that European ministers launch a continent-
wide anti-communist campaign – including school textbook revisions, official
memorial days and museums – only narrowly missed the necessary two-thirds
majority.

Yesterday, declaring himself delighted at the first international
condemnation of this "evil ideology", Lindblad pledged to bring the wider
plans back to the Council of Europe in the coming months.

He has chosen a good year for his ideological offensive: this is the 50th
anniversary of Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin and the subsequent
Hungarian uprising, which will doubtless be the cue for further excoriation
of the communist record.

The ground has been well laid by a determined rewriting of history since
the collapse of the Soviet Union that has sought to portray 20th-century
communist leaders as monsters equal to or surpassing Hitler in their
depravity – and communism and fascism as the two greatest evils of
history’s bloodiest era.

The latest contribution was last year’s bestselling biography of Mao by Jung
Chang and Jon Halliday, keenly endorsed by George Bush and dismissed by
China specialists as "bad history" and "misleading".

Paradoxically, given that there is no communist government left in Europe
outside Moldova, the attacks have if anything become more extreme as time
has gone on. A clue as to why that might be can be found in the rambling
report by Lindblad that led to the Council of Europe declaration.

Blaming class struggle and public ownership, he explained that "different
elements of communist ideology such as equality or social justice still
seduce many" and "a sort of nostalgia for communism is still alive".

Perhaps the real problem for Lindblad and his rightwing allies in eastern
Europe is that communism is not dead enough – and they will only be
content when they have driven a stake through its heart and buried it at the
crossroads at midnight.

The fashionable attempt to equate communism and Nazism is in reality a
moral and historical nonsense. Despite the cruelties of the Stalin terror,
there was no Soviet Treblinka or Sobibor, no extermination camps built

to murder millions. Nor did the Soviet Union launch the most devastating
war in history at a cost of more than 50 million lives – in fact it played the
decisive role in the defeat of the German war machine.

Lindblad and the Council of Europe adopt as fact the wildest estimates of
those "killed by communist regimes" (mostly in famines) from the fiercely
contested Black Book of Communism, which also underplays the number
of deaths attributable to Hitler.

The real records of repression now available from the Soviet archives are
horrific enough (799,455 people were recorded as executed between 1921
and 1953 and the labour camp population reached 2.5 million at its peak)
without engaging in an ideologically-fuelled inflation game.

But in any case, none of this explains why anyone might be nostalgic in
former communist states, now enjoying the delights of capitalist
restoration. The dominant account gives no sense of how communist
regimes renewed themselves after 1956 or why western leaders feared
they might overtake the capitalist world well into the 1960s.

For all its brutalities and failures, communism in the Soviet Union, eastern
Europe and elsewhere delivered rapid industrialisation, mass education, job
security and huge advances in social and gender equality.

It encompassed genuine idealism and commitment, captured even by critical
films and books of the post-Stalin era such as Wajda’s Man of Marble and
Rybakov’s Children of the Arbat. Its existence helped to drive up welfare
standards in the west, boosted the anti-colonial movement and provided a
powerful counterweight to western global domination.
 [FAR BLOODIER RECORD OF EUROPEAN COLONIALISM]
It would be easier to take the Council of Europe’s condemnation of
communist state crimes seriously if it had also seen fit to denounce the far
bloodier record of European colonialism – which only finally came to an end
in the 1970s. This was a system of racist despotism, which dominated the
globe in Stalin’s time.

And while there is precious little connection between the ideas of fascism
and communism, there is an intimate link between colonialism and Nazism. The
terms lebensraum and konzentrationslager were both first used by the German
colonial regime in south-west Africa (now Namibia), which committed genocide
against the Herero and Nama peoples and bequeathed its ideas and personnel
directly to the Nazi party.

Around 10 million Congolese died as a result of Belgian forced labour and
mass murder in the early 20th century; tens of millions perished in
avoidable or enforced famines in British-ruled India; up to a million
Algerians died in their war for independence, while controversy now rages in
France about a new law requiring teachers to put a positive spin on colonial
history.

Comparable atrocities were carried out by all European colonialists, but not
a word of condemnation from the Council of Europe – nor over the impact of
European intervention in the third world since decolonisation. Presumably,
European lives count for more.

No major 20th-century political tradition is without blood on its hands, but
battles over history are more about the future than the past. Part of the
current enthusiasm in official western circles for dancing on the grave of
communism is no doubt about relations with today’s Russia and China.

But it also reflects a determination to prove there is no alternative to the
new global capitalist order – and that any attempt to find one is bound to
lead to suffering and bloodshed.

With the new imperialism now being resisted in both the Muslim world and
Latin America, growing international demands for social justice and ever
greater doubts about whether the environmental crisis can be solved within
the existing economic system, the pressure for political and social
alternatives will increase.

The particular form of society created by 20th-century communist parties
will never be replicated. But there are lessons to be learned from its
successes as well as its failures.   -30-
——————————————————————————————
Seumas Milne, The Guardian, s.milne@guardian.co.uk
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LINK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,,1710891,00.html
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20.                       SECRET SPEECH STILL DIVIDES

EDITORIAL: The Moscow Times
Moscow, Russia, Wed, Feb 15, 2006. Issue 3353. Page 3.

A half-century after Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev condemned Josef
Stalin’s mass purges at the landmark 20th Party Congress, Communists
called his words a mistake that helped bring down the Soviet Union, and
Mikhail Gorbachev praised the event as the harbinger of perestroika.

In a secret speech on the final day of the Feb. 14-25, 1956, congress,
Khrushchev denounced his predecessor’s cult of personality. He said Stalin
"practiced brutal violence" against his opponents by torturing innocent
people to extract confessions in 1937 and 1938.

"The 20th Congress was about not only the personality cult, but also the
issues of democracy and governing the country," Gorbachev said Monday,
Interfax reported. He said that without Khrushchev’s speech, his perestroika
reforms would have been impossible.

Khrushchev’s grandson, also named Nikita Khrushchev, described the
congress as an attempt "to restore justice" in the country.

Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov said Khrushchev’s speech gave
a distorted picture of Stalin’s rule and blamed Stalin for everything bad
that took place in the country.

Under Stalin, the Soviet Union also became a powerful, industrialized
nation, Zyuganov said, Interfax reported. He said Krushchev’s criticism of

Stalin divided the country and damaged communism’s image internationally.

Gorbachev and Russia’s first president, Boris Yeltsin, were similar to
Khrushchev in that their policies were detrimental to the Soviet Union,
Zyuganov said. "As a result of the push that Khrushchev made 50 years ago,
and which Gorbachev and Yeltsin continued, we are now left with nothing,"
he said.                                       -30-
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21.     STALIN’S LIGHT IS SHINING BRIGHT IN MOTHER RUSSIA
Khrushchev delivered what many regard as 20th century’s most influential speech

By Adrian Blomfield in Volgograd
Telegraph, London, United Kingdom, Saturday, February 25, 2006

VOLGOGRAD – The two portraits on the wall of the director’s office in the
Battle of Stalingrad Museum look as incongruous a pairing as one is ever
likely to find. An oil painting, flanked by two ceremonial swords, shows
Josef Stalin in military regalia. Below him hangs a delicate watercolour of
the late Queen Mother.

"She was very fond of him, you know," said Boris Usik, the director of the
museum in the centre of Volgograd, as Stalingrad was renamed in 1961. "They
were both great people, people with extraordinary vision."

The Queen Mother was enormously popular in Volgograd, remembered for the
funds she raised for the devastated city after the epic Second World War
battle.

But Stalin’s picture is the more startling. Previously it would have been
unheard of for a state-appointed official such as Mr Usik to so honour the
dictator.

Stalin was disgraced 50 years ago today when his successor, Nikita
Khrushchev, delivered what many regard as the 20th century’s most
influential speech.

Stunned, delegates at the 20th Communist Party Congress heard for the first
time a party leader denounce Stalin’s brutality. The Soviet "thaw" was about
to begin. Within months Hungary was in the grip of an uprising against
communist rule, within a decade the first Soviet dissidents were challenging
Moscow at home.

Many view the speech as the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union, among
them Mikael Gorbachev, who says it planted the "glasnost" idea in his mind.

But Khrushchev is remembered in a negative light. According to polls, only
Mr Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin are more hated former Russian leaders.

In the past decade, 200 books and films about Stalin, some eulogies, have
appeared. Polls show that 18 per cent of Russians believe he was their best
leader since 1917, while almost 50 per cent view him in a positive or very
positive light.

In May the first major museum dedicated to Stalin in half a century will be
opened in Volgograd by his three grandsons. Among the exhibits will be
telegrams from Stalin to Churchill, a model of the train he lived in after
the 1917 revolution and his famous cap.

Valentina Klyushina, the deputy curator of Volgograd’s famous statue to
Mother Russia, is an enthusiast for the project, even though her mother was
jailed for seven years in Stalin’s time.

"He was a great man with a great personality," she said. "Even his enemies,
even Churchill, acknowledged that he took a backward country with an
illiterate population and turned it into a global powerhouse with a nuclear
bomb."

It is unclear how the Kremlin views the growing popularity of Stalin and the
vilification of Khrushchev. But President Vladimir Putin has been less
willing to condemn Stalin than his predecessors.

Stalin is remembered by some as a champion of equality. "Would there have
been a Roman Abramovich under Stalin?" asked Mr Usik, repeating a refrain
frequently heard these days.

He is popular among the young, say pollsters, mainly because of rising
nationalism, the result of the humiliation of Russia’s diminished place in
the world.

Volgograd University students lauded Stalin on everything from
collectivisation, the agricultural policy that resulted in the deaths of
millions through famine, to his supposed love for human rights.

"To change a weak country into the world’s greatest power, we had to
collectivise," said Andrei Ivanov, a history student. "We were able to
produce tractor factories and to win the war."

Students insist Stalin’s crimes were exaggerated by Khrushchev to avenge the
death of his son, Leonid, whom they believed was executed during the war for
passing secrets to the Nazis – a rumour that has long been debunked.
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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/02/25/wruss25.xml&sSheet=/news/2006/02/25/ixworld.html

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22.   RUSSIA TURNS ITS BACK ON THE MAN WHO DENOUNCED STALIN
            For the descendants of Stalin’s victims, however, the "secret speech"
                remains one of the most important events of the 20th century.

Jeremy Page in Moscow, The Times
London, United Kingdom, Saturday, February 25, 2006

MOSCOW – WHEN Nikita Khrushchev took the podium on the last day

of the Communist Party congress 50 years ago today, his words were so
shocking that some fainted.

The Soviet leader had done the unthinkable, denouncing his predecessor
Joseph Stalin, who had died three years earlier, as a fanatical tyrant who
had hundreds of thousands of citizens executed or sent to prison camps.

So sensitive was Khrushchev’s "secret speech" that his daughter, Rada
Adzhubei, did not learn of it for two weeks, when excerpts were read out at
party meetings. "I was shocked, like everyone else," Mrs Adzhubei, now 76,
told The Times in her apartment a few hundred yards from the Kremlin.

"Millions knew about these things, but millions did not know. And we were
all brought up in an atmosphere where Stalin was the great leader – it was
in the air we breathed."

Looking back, she now sees her father’s speech as an heroic step that ended
the terror of the Stalinist era and paved the way for perestroika and
glasnost 30 years later. "It was an act of justice," she said.

Few people would disagree in the West, where the speech caused a sensation
when it was leaked to the foreign press months later. Poland’s leader,
Boleslaw Bierut, died of a heart attack after reading it a month afterwards.
But in Russia, the anniversary is being marked by a reassessment of
Khrushchev’s role in history that, analysts say, reflects the increasingly
repressive climate under the Kremlin of Vladimir Putin.

The only official commemoration is a tiny exhibition in the Historical
Museum, featuring a few documents and memorabilia including Khrushchev’s
embroidered Ukrainian shirt. Russian state television has cancelled a
planned documentary on the subject, and a growing number of academics and
journalists are portraying the "secret speech" as an act of revenge or a
cynical ploy to avoid sharing blame for the bloodshed of previous decades.

"Since then we have lived increasingly useless and dirty lives," wrote
Yelena Prudnikova, a St Petersburg-based journalist, in her recent book
"Stalin: The Second Murder." "The country, deprived of high ideals in just a
few decades, has rotted to the ground."

Stalin, meanwhile, is enjoying a revival; several statues are planned in his
honour and a museum is being opened next month in the city of Volgograd,
previously named Stalingrad.

A recent poll by the AllRussian Public Opinion Research Centre found that 50
per cent of respondents thought Stalin’s role in history was positive. This
historical irony, analysts say, reflects the political atmosphere in Russia
as President Putin reasserts central control over the media, business and
politics.

Today’s Kremlin neither promotes Stalin nor denigrates Khrushchev, but
President Putin has lamented the collapse of the Soviet Union as the
"greatest geopolitical catastrophe" of the 20th century.

The "secret speech", which led directly to the Hungarian Uprising later in
1956 and the Sino-Soviet split in 1960, opened the cracks in the system that
eventually destroyed the Soviet Union.

Mikhail Gorbachev, who was a young Party activist in 1956, told a conference
this month that the "secret speech" had inspired him to launch the liberal
reforms of the 1980s. "I do not think that a concept like perestroika could
have appeared without it," he said.

Russia, he said, was now going through a political backlash similar to the
one under Khrushchev’s successor, Leonid Brezhnev.

Stalin’s rehabilitation began in 1965, when Brezhnev mentioned him
positively in an address, while the "secret speech" was not published in the
Soviet Union until 1988.

Thus, many Russians still see Stalin not as a brutal tyrant, but as the man
who oversaw the victory against Nazi Germany, and turned the Soviet Union
into a superpower.

Khrushchev’s reputation, on the other hand, remains tarnished. In the past
five years, several Russian academics have produced evidence showing that
Khrushchev personally signed orders for thousands of people to be executed
or sent to labour camps.

Mrs Adzhubei, a retired biologist, says she has no illusions about her
father’s past. "You had to sign the orders, because if you didn’t your name
would be on the next list," she said. "They were all guilty, but some were
more guilty than others."

For the descendants of Stalin’s victims, however, the "secret speech"
remains one of the most important events of the 20th century.

"It was like a breath of fresh air," said Helen Lezvinskaya, a 64-year-old
doctor, who visited the Historical Museum’s exhibition this week. Her aunt
and uncle spent 20 years in the Gulag, but were rehabilitated after
Khrushchev’s speech. "Only now can we understand in what terrible times we
lived," she said.
                                        SHOCKING TRUTHS
‘Stalin . . . practised brutal violence, not only towards everything which
opposed him, but also towards that which seemed – to his capricious and
despotic character – contrary to his concepts’

‘Stalin . . . instead of proving his political correctness and mobilising
the masses, often chose the path of repression and physical annihilation,
not only against actual enemies, but also against individuals who had not
committed any crimes against the Party and the Soviet Government’

‘It is impermissible and foreign to the spirit of Marxism-Leninism to
elevate one person . . . into a superman possessing supernatural
characteristics akin to those of a god’  -30-
——————————————————————————————-
                      Nikita Khrushchev, February 25, 1956
                                         ALSO IN 1956…
January-March  Riots in Cyprus
April  Khrushchev visits UK
June  Polish workers riot against Communists
July-November  Suez crisis after Nasser nationalises canal. British,
French and Israeli troops invade
September  Heartbreak Hotel is Elvis’s first No 1
November  Soviet troops crush Hungarian uprising; President
Eisenhower wins second term; Vladimir Kuts, a Russian, wins
5,000m and 10,000m at Melbourne Olympics

——————————————————————————————–
[return to index ] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
23.            IS PERSONALITY CULT POSSIBLE TODAY?
On Feb 25, 1956 Khrushchev’s speech condemned Stalin’s personality cult.

By Yury Filippov, RIA Novosti political commentator
RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, February 21, 2006

MOSCOW – On February 25, 1956, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev
read his famous "closed" report, condemning Stalin’s personality cult,
at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

In subsequent Soviet and Russian history this event became a symbolic
partition line between the past and the future.

Many nations have such dates and documents, for instance, the U.S.
Declaration of Independence, the French Declaration of the Rights and
Liberties of Man and Citizen. Khrushchev’s report, which leaked into the
West and the Communist bloc countries, had a similar impact on the minds.

By that time the world had become more integrated, while the Communist
perspective had not yet lost its appeal for a vast number of people in
different countries.

Whether Khrushchev wanted it or not, but having slightly opened the veil of
secrecy over the truth about millions of Stalin’s victims, he had sown the
seeds of future changes in his own country, and dealt a huge blow at the
international Communist movement.

It is with good reason that many experts consider Khrushchev to be the
forerunner of Gorbachev and Yeltsin. Although the new Soviet leader had
promised to build Communism in the U.S.S.R. by 1980, he did more than
anyone else for Communism never to appear anywhere.

It would be a crude mistake to assess Khrushchev in the context of today,
to see modern connotations in his criticism of Stalin. In theory, it is
possible to assume that the protest of the new Soviet leader against
massive purges on political grounds was rooted in his understanding of
human rights, and his criticism of Stalin was his striving for the freedom
of speech. But in reality, it was the same Khrushchev who in 1956 crushed
the uprising in Hungary with tanks, which was the first political response
of Eastern Europe to his report at the 20th Congress.

Khrushchev’s inconsistency has had a dual effect on the destiny of the
U.S.S.R. and its citizens. The then Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov
said that after this report the Soviet Union never again had as many
friends as it used to have before.

This was a major charge against Khrushchev when he was removed from all
government and party posts in 1964. But he was not thrown behind bars, nor
killed, as would have been the case had he not resolutely exposed Stalinist
political morals.

The question, which is of interest today, is whether the personality cult
is always accompanied by reprisals. In Russia the cult of outstanding
statesmen is rooted in the 20th century history with its three revolutions,
two world wars, industrial modernization, and many other major events,
which subjected the nation to ultimate strain. Stalin was just one of many
– both in Russia and abroad. Apart from him, the late revolutionaries and
Communists Marx, Engels, and Lenin, the successor of their cause and the
founder of the Soviet state were also revered as the "leaders of
progressive mankind."

There were "living Gods" of a smaller rank – party and government leaders
Vyacheslav Molotov, Kliment Voroshilov, Lazar Kaganovich, to name but a
few. They were always present in the lives of ordinary people – big cities
and small villages, plants and collective farms bore their names. Not
infrequently, the idea came from below because these people had outstanding

achievements to their credit, and they were sincerely appreciated.

But what was happening in the rest of the world at that time? Residents of
both Germanies could still remember the massive psychosis, which had made
them clap their hands to Hitler and other Nazi top brass. Mussolini
lingered before Italian eyes. In some West European countries the faded
versions of the personality cults survived World War II. The Portuguese
glorified Antonio Salazar, Spaniards sang praises to Bahamonde Franco.

The giant figure of Mao Tsetung hovered over China after the decades of
civil war and resistance to foreign intervention. The Japanese, who adopted
a democratic Constitution, did not give up deification of their Emperor.

Although they became formal in many respects, monarchies are still there in
many parts of the world with their opulent rituals – in the United Kingdom
and other European countries.

Examples are many, and the general picture is clear enough: the personality
cult or at least some of its manifestations were widespread in the 20th
century all over the world – from Europe to Asia. The United States was the
only country that managed to avoid it, but even there an exception was made
for the outstanding Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who saved the nation from
the Great Depression, was one of the victors of World War II, and was
elected President for 12 years running.

Apparently, at some stage in history the personality cult emerges in
different countries. When the demand for it disappears, it fades into the
past, but some of its manifestations may linger on for a long time to come.
It is not at all a hard and fast rule that the personality cult is
necessarily accompanied by bloody political reprisals, as it happened in
the U.S.S.R. under Stalin.

Is the personality cult possible in the 21st century? This question is
particularly vital for post-Soviet nations where it had led to the worst
consequences in the past. So far history is optimistic. The first
democratic revolution in this century took place in Georgia, Stalin’s
homeland. The second one occurred in Ukraine, where Khrushchev was
born.

Both republics are headed by completely different political figures. When
the press shows President Saakashvili hugging young girls, and President
Yushchenko diving into an ice-hole, it becomes clear that these countries
will not suffer from the personality cult.

The situation in Asian republics is different. The personality cult there
is encouraged by local traditions. Turkmenistan offers the brightest
example. There is a gilded statue of President Niyazov in the central
square of Ashgabad. He is called Turkmenbashi, or father of all Turkmens.

Although Kazakh President Nazarbayev is the most European among his
Central Asian colleagues, the local traditions require a certain deification
of the head of state. The important point here is the extent to which the
mandatory esteem of the national leader is combined with the principles of
democracy, human rights, and freedom of speech. But even Central Asian
regimes have gone much further on that road than even the U.S.S.R. after
destalinization.

As for Russia, where Stalinist repressions led to the biggest casualties,
way back in 1993 it patterned its political system after the American
presidential republic with a President, elected by the whole nation, a
multi-Party parliament, and an independent court.

However, because of the Russian mind-set, the majority of the population
has never viewed Presidents Yeltsin and Putin as simple mortals. But people
in Russia realize by now that presidents come and go, and therefore creating
a cult of their personalities is simply not worth it.                -30-
———————————————————————————————–

[return to index ] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
24.     STALIN-ERA REPRESSIONS CAST A LONG SHADOW
                                     IN RUSSIAN LIVES

WINDOW ON EURASIA: By Paul Goble
Tallinn, Estonia, Thursday, February 23, 2006

TALLINN – More than a quarter of all Russians say that among their
relatives were victims of Stalin-era repressions, a figure that highlights
the enormous impact those events still have despite or perhaps because

those crimes are less often discussed by the country’s leaders than they
were a generation ago.

In a poll whose release coincides with the 50th anniversary this week of
Nikita Khrushchev’s "secret speech" denunciation of Stalin, the All.Russian
Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM) asked 1578 Russians
across the country about their experiences with and attitudes
toward the Soviet past ( http://www.wciom.ru/?=pt=40&article=2315).

Twenty-seven percent of those polled said that they had relatives who
numbered among those repressed until Stalin, with just over one in three
of those who said they did saying that they had learned about them from
the stories of family members or from family archives.

Of those aged 60 or more, the share saying that they had relatives among
those repressed was 36 percent, with half reporting that they knew about
them from personal stories or archives. But among those aged 18 to 24,
the total was 13 percent, with fewer than one-third of those indicating that
they knew about them from such personal sources.

At the same time, however, 47 percent – or just under half – told the
VTsIOM pollsters that to the best of their knowledge, none of their
relatives had suffered repression, but the remaining 23 percent said that
they did not know whether their ancestors were among the repressed or

not.

The Russian sample was also asked whom they believed was responsible
for the repressions: Forty-one percent named Stalin, 30 percent named the
heads of the NKVD, and 17 percent named the senior communist party
leadership at that time. An additional 10 percent blamed Lenin, and 2
percent blamed Dzerzhinskiy.

Interestingly enough, only 7 percent of the sample said they accepted the
notion  – widely put about by the defenders of Stalin personally and the
Soviet system more generally at the time — that the repressions under
Stalin were inevitable given that the USSR at the same was surrounded

by "hostile imperialist" states and "the threat of war."

But despite the suffering that Stalin inflicted on their relatives and their
country, a suprisingly large percent of Russians not only identified Stalin
as one of the most successful leaders of the country and indicated that the
Russian people need "a strong hand" in charge even now.

Asked who was the most successful leader of the country after 1917, 38
percent named incumbent president Vladimir Putin, but 15 percent named
Leonid Brezhnev, 11 percent named Stalin (putting him in third place),
7 percent named Yuri Andropov, and 5 percent named Nikita Khrushchev.

Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader and Boris Yeltsin, the first
Russian Federation president, tied for last place with only 2 percent each,
VTsIOM reported, noting that 13 percent of this sample had indicated that
they found it "difficult to answer" this question.

Asked whether contemporary Russia needed "a strong and powerful leader,
a strong hand" 57 percent said that "our people always need a strong hand."
And 16 percent said "that in the current situation it is necessary to
concentrate all power into one set of hands." But 20 percent disagreed,
saying "all power must never be given into the hands of one person."

VTsIOM did not present  a full array of the data so it is impossible to say
whether those who oppose the concentration of power into the hands of one
man are the same as those who know about the suffering of their relatives at
the hands of Stalin and his henchmen in the past.

Such a correlation is of course likely, and that in turn raises a disturbing
possibility: In the absence of a serious and ongoing public discussion of
the issue of Stalin’s crimes against his own people, the propensity of
Russians to say that their country should be governed by a virtual dictator
is unlikely to decline anytime soon.                        -30-
——————————————————————————————–
[return to index ] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
25. RUSSIAN COMMUNIST LEADER GENNADY ZYUGANOV SAYS
20TH COMMUNIST CONGRESS IN 1956 SHATTERED SOVIET UNION

Interfax, Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, February 14, 2006

MOSCOW – The 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet
Union and Nikita Khrushchev’s secret speech denouncing the policies of
Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin delivered an irreparable blow both to the
Communist Party and the reputation of the Soviet Union, Russian
Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov told Interfax on Tuesday.

February 14 marks the 50th anniversary of the forum, which was held in
Moscow on February 14-February 25, 1956.

"In his report, Khrushchev effectively settled personal scores with Stalin.
I would like to stress that this speech had not been discussed" at any
sessions of the Soviet Communist Party’s Central Committee preceding
the congress, he said.

"Instead of discussing violations of the law and the 1930s repressions, in
which Khrushchev personally took part, the speaker offered an absolutely
personal assessment of Stalin, shouldering the blame for all processes in
the country onto him. It was a totally subjective, voluntaristic approach
which did more harm than good to the country and the party," Zyuganov
said.

Ahead of the 1956 congress, a large number of people around the world
approved of the Soviet Union, "noting that it did not take our country long
to turn from a ‘bast shoe’ state into a power that defeated Fascism," the
party leader said.

Khrushchev’s speech triggered a major split in the international Communist
movement, "considerably affecting Soviet society’s morale and political
life," Zyuganov said. Soviet society "divided into those who supported the
denouncement of Stalin and those who categorically disagreed," he said.

Khrushchev’s policies, aimed at undermining the foundation of the Soviet
state, were continued by Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and First
Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Zyuganov said. tm md
——————————————————————————————-
[return to index ] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
26.          RUSSIANS FINALLY EXAMINE GULAG YEARS

By Michael Johnson, Tuesday, 14 February 2006

Johnson’s Russia List (JRL) 2006#43, Feb 15, 2006

Are the Russians finally ready to face the horrors of their history during
the years of the gulag? If television ratings can be believed, it would
appear so.

One of the great novels of the 20th century, Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s "The
First Circle", drew large audiences during is 10 episodes on Russian state
television recently. The novel was banned when it appeared in 1968 during
my posting there as an AP reporter, and, although long since available in
book form, was thought to be irrelevant to modern Russia.

But suddenly here it is, broadcast to great acclaim. The first installment,
according to the New York Times, held the nation in thrall, even attracting
a larger audience than "Terminator 3" that ran against it on another
channel. It lost some viewers in later episodes but continued to score high
ratings.

Several other once-banned works, including Boris Pasternak’s "Doctor
Zhivago", are coming to Russian television in the next few months.

What makes this so important is the truism that remembering history might
help us avoid repeating it.

Russian dissidents, mostly writers and scientists, seemed until now to have
lost their place in their country’s history as greater events subsumed
them. Furthermore, their values such as democratic governance come

fourth or fifth in pollsters’ lists of priorities among the general population.
Employment, food and political stability naturally score higher.

Even in the West – except for academic specialists – we pay too little
attention to the swings in Russia’s momentous recent history. A couple of
years ago, I conducted an informal poll among university graduates in
London to see who could remember how the Soviet Union came apart.

Most of them had heard of Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin but
Solzhenitsyn? He was unknown and unread. One history graduate student,
30 years old, couldn’t understand the name. She asked: "Soldier who?
Soldier Nitsin?"

Nobel Peace laureate Andrei Sakharov, known as the father of the Soviet
hydrogen bomb, died in 1989 after decades of KGB harassment and a brief
role as a Soviet parliamentarian under Gorbachev. But to many of the
educated younger set in the West he might as well have never existed.

Leading dissidents Vladimir Bukovsky, Valery Chalidze, Alexander
Yesenin-Volpin and Pavel Litvinov have all slipped from the public scene.

Edward Kline covers the era in his well-documented recent book translated
into Russian by Lev Timofeyev, "The Moscow Human Rights Committee"
(Moskovskii komitet prav cheloveka), Izadelstvo "Prava cheloveka".

But it is Sakharov who deserves the most attention, for he brought gravitas
to the ragtag dissident movement and he worried the authorities like no one
else. His widow, Dr. Elena Bonner, now lives in Boston and continues her
work on his papers, a great legacy from a major human rights defender.

Yale University Press also deserves credit for continuing its series on
"The Annals of Communism", a recent volume of which sheds new light on
the Sakharov case. "The KGB File of Andrei Sakharov" provides the first
English language translation of 146 KGB memos detailing the activities of
Sakharov and Dr. Bonner during the tense days of the movement in the
1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

I have read the memos and was struck by the degree to which KGB prose
resembled the thinking of any supreme authority. While grammatically
impeccable, even intelligent, on the surface, every fact is selected and
shaded, every event stretched to fit the case against the subject under
scrutiny.

There are lessons here for any society in danger of creating excessive
police powers by default or design.

The KGB memos are constructed with carefully wrought logic, dense
information and a collection of wooden euphemisms. At one point, summing
up the Sakharov problem, the KGB explained deadpan that Sakharov "does
not enjoy the trust of the investigative organs, since his personal behavior
does not correspond to the norms of our society".

This book puts to rest the contention by some analysts that the Soviet
dissident movement was a minor irritant controlled by routine police
action. We did not know it at the time, but this book makes it clear that
the movement was the talk of the Communist Party Central Committee and
the Politburo. Most of these memos went to the Central Committee.

Reading this material, and the excellent commentary by editors Joshua
Rubinstein and Alexander Gribanov, one begins to understand the extent
of telephone taps, postal intercepts and physical surveillance that were
employed to detect signs of ideological drift in the Soviet population.

Yuri Andropov, head of the KGB at the time, kept the pressure up at
Politburo level, arguing that it would be a mistake to "renounce the
criminal prosecution of people who oppose the Soviet system". He got his
way most of the time, and his men temporarily subdued the movement in
the 1970s with a wave of arrests and expulsions.

Rubenstein pinpoints Sakharov’s moment of truth as early as July 1961 when
his warnings against atmospheric atomic testing went unheeded by Party
Chairman Nikita Khrushchev. Sakharov later acknowledged that he felt
bitter, humiliated, impotent and ashamed by being ignored on such a crucial
issue. Five years later he made his first appearance at an unauthorized
public demonstration and the KGB never let him out of their sight again.

"Over the next decade," Rubenstein writes, "Sakharov stood vigil outside
closed courtrooms, wrote appeals on behalf of more than 200 individual
prisoners and continued to write carefully composed essays about the need
for democratisation."

I was part of a crowd of Western journalists standing vigil when he made
his first courtroom appearance in support of a group of accused dissidents,
the appeal hearing of Eduard Kuznetsov and his fellow would-be hijackers.

We all felt a frisson as this great man emerged into the snowdrifts around
the courthouse to announce to us that Kuznetsov’s death sentence had been
reprieved. The movement had just been elevated to new heights.

Perhaps Russian television will get around to the Sakharov story one day.
It is stranger than fiction.                                -30-
————————————————————————————————-
Michael Johnson, a former Moscow correspondent, is at work on a
history of the Soviet dissidents.  E-mail: johnson33@laposte.net
————————————————————————————————-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
27.                              USHERING IN THE THAW

By Anna Malpas, The Moscow Times
Moscow, Russia, Friday, February 17, 2006. Issue 3355. Page 102.

After the 20th Party Congress in February 1956, a Muscovite named Mikhail
Kokhn wrote to the well-known author Ilya Ehrenburg — whose novella "The
Thaw" was to define the era — asking him to help with his appeal for
rehabilitation. He said that he had spent years in prison for reading works
by Ehrenburg and another writer.

Ehrenburg wrote to the public prosecutor asking him to investigate, but not
hearing back, he wrote again in May 1956, saying that he was interested in
the case since he had apparently played a role. Only four months later did
he get a reply.

The prosecutor said that Kokhn’s convictions were unsound, but that his
offense had not been his choice of reading material — rather, Kokhn had
been imprisoned for his membership in a Menshevik organization from
1917 to 1922 and his later "anti-Soviet agitation."

Shortly afterward, the writer sent a brief note to Kokhn repeating what the
prosecutor had said. In response, he received a passionate letter from
Kokhn’s wife. The message from the prosecutor had come too late, she said.

Her husband had died in June, broken by his experiences. Ehrenburg’s letter
would have brought him joy, she wrote, at least with the news about his
rehabilitation.

But she wanted to assure him that her husband had written the truth. "Why
are they now telling you a lie?" she asked. Involvement with a Menshevik
organization had "broken" her husband’s life for many years, she wrote, but
in 1951 he had been convicted, perhaps not even for reading, but simply for
listening to, "nonexistent anti-Soviet poems" by Ehrenburg and poet
Margarita Aliger.

Kokhn loved Ehrenburg, she added. "I don’t think many people have such
a lovingly and carefully chosen collection of all your novels, stories and
articles."

This series of letters, typed and sent from one apartment on Tverskaya to
another, is part of an exhibition titled "The Thaw" that opened at the
Historical Museum last week. Timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of
the 20th Party Congress, the exhibition presents documents, photographs
and objects connected with the era, from the officer’s cap that lay on Josef
Stalin’s coffin to Nikita Khrushchev’s trademark embroidered shirt.

The Thaw period was "full of contradictions, drama, impossible ideas and at
the same time, hopes for a better life," the exhibition notes read. The
oldest items on display — such as passes to attend Stalin’s funeral on Red
Square, and booklets with the speeches read by Georgy Malenkov and
Vyacheslav Molotov on the occasion — give a sense of the leader’s
deep-rooted place in official dogma.

Even the gifts sent by members of the public to the delegates of the 20th
Party Congress suggest how little they expected a reappraisal of Stalin’s
role: Carved panels of wood and bone feature dual portraits of Lenin and
Stalin. And confident Pravda coverage on the Congress’ first day emphasizes
how the Party correctly solved problems in industry and agriculture.

The consequences of Khrushchev’s secret speech to the Congress, in which
he criticized the cult of personality and the repressions from 1934 onward,
come through in far less pompous exhibits: the small wooden suitcase brought
back after 19 years in the gulag by the mother of the bard singer Bulat
Okudzhava, and matter-of-fact slips from the public prosecutor in which
people were informed that convictions leading to years spent in prison camps
and exile had been "without enough basis."

Also on display is a torn black leather jacket worn by one former prisoner
on the day that she returned to Moscow. She translated for Soviet pilots in
Spain during that country’s Civil War, and her offense was marriage to an
"enemy of the people."

The rehabilitation process had already begun, haltingly, before the 20th
Party Congress, as a letter written to Khrushchev by a veteran Party member
points out. "I have been a witness of difficult scenes and the suffering of
people who appeal to the public prosecutor," E.R. Levitas wrote in 1955.
"Investigations run on for long months and sometimes even years,"

Levitas was seeking rehabilitation for his brother Abram, who died in
detention in 1938. He wrote that "the people who apply to the prosecutor
on duty almost always receive the standard reply: Your case is being
investigated. Wait."

The changed atmosphere after Khrushchev’s secret speech was also one of
cultural revival, and the exhibition shows books from the era, such as
Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich," which
was printed in Novy Mir in 1962.

The exhibition ends with gifts from top officials to Khrushchev on his 70th
birthday in April 1964: a congratulatory address in a vast book, and a pass
with the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. Six months later, he found
himself out of a job, and the official mood harshened, bringing an end to
the Thaw period.

"The Thaw" (Ottepel) runs to March 19 at the Historical Museum, located
at 1/2 Red Square. Metro Ploshchad Revolyutsii. [Moscow] Tel. 692-4019.
———————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2006/02/17/102-full.html
———————————————————————————————–

[return to index ] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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28. STALIN MUSEUM IS AN INSULT TO MILLIONS WHO SUFFERED
                   IN STALIN’S PURGES AND DIED IN THE GULAG
   I don’t want to hear about this. How can people spit into our souls like this?

By Andrew Osborn in Moscow, The Independent
London, United Kingdom, Saturday, February 18, 2006

MOSCOW – The imminent opening of a museum devoted to Josef Stalin

has stirred outrage among relatives of the millions he persecuted and
prompted claims that Stalinism is again on the march.

After a number of delays, the "Stalin Museum" dedicated to the
once-venerated Father of the People is due to be opened at the end of

March in Volgograd, the World War II "hero city" once known as
Stalingrad.

The project is being privately financed by local businessmen but will
controversially enjoy pride of place in the official complex that
commemorates the epic Battle of Stalingrad.

The museum will boast a writing set owned by the dictator, copies of his
historic musings, a mock-up of his Kremlin office, a Madame Tussauds-style
wax representation of him and medals, photographs and busts.

Svetlana Argatseva, the museum’s future curator, told Ogonyok magazine she
felt the project was justified. "In France people regard Napoleon and indeed
the rest of their history with respect. We need to look at our history in
the same way."

But Eduard Polyakov, the chairman of the local association of victims of
political repression, is among those who believe the project is an insult to
the millions who suffered in Stalin’s purges and died in the Gulag.

"I don’t even want to hear about this," he said. "In the Stalingrad area
100,000 families suffered political repression and were forcibly resettled
because of their ethnicity. How can people spit into our souls like this?"

The scandal comes half a century after Stalin’s cult of personality was
officially dismantled and the crimes "Uncle Joe" perpetrated against his

own people exposed.

February 25 will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the "secret" speech made
by then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in 1956 denouncing Stalin, an event
that ushered in "de-Stalinisation" and saw monuments to the Georgian-born
autocrat torn down across the country.

Ironically, however, the former dictator appears to be enjoying a
mini-revival. Actors playing Stalin are in serious demand as television and
theatrical productions about the era flourish, while the modern-day Russian
Communist Party says his crimes were "exaggerated".

The "comeback" of a man whose bloodied hands are often compared to

Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot and Mao Zedong has alarmed the more liberal wing
of Russia’s political class.

The Soviet Union’s last leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, has warned that
neo-Stalinism is on the march again, and Russia’s first post-Soviet
President, Boris Yeltsin, has said he can’t understand why Stalin is still
so popular.

Between 30 and 40 per cent of poll respondents regularly rate Stalin’s
achievements as "positive" and a survey last year named him the most revered
Communist leader the Soviet system had produced. Admirers cite his turning
the Soviet Union into a superpower, the country’s defeat of fascism and the
"order" he enforced.

According to Gorbachev, Russia is going through a dangerous period. "We

can see what was seen in the 1930s even now," he said this month. "Portraits
of Stalin and a renaissance of Stalinism can be observed in the mass media
and in theatres. Some attempts are being made to preserve Stalinism and
this is very serious.

"Russia today is reminiscent of the Brezhnev era which led to
neo-Stalinism – Stalinism without political reprisals but with persecution
and total control."

Stalin, who ruled the USSR from 1924 until his death in 1953, ruthlessly
purged the Communist Party and the armed forces and effected rapid
industrialisation at huge human cost. The total number who died under his
regime is disputed but Western historians put the figure at 20 million. He
once said that one death was a tragedy, but one million was a statistic.

————————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/article346163.ece
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AUR#666 Khrushchev Buried Stalin On This Day; De-Stalinization Begins; Stalin’s Light Shining Bright In Putin’s Russia

 

THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR
An International Newsletter, The Latest, Up-To-Date
In-Depth Ukrainian News, Analysis and Commentary
 
Ukrainian History, Culture, Arts, Business, Religion,
Sports, Government, and Politics, in Ukraine and Around the World
 
ON THIS DAY 50 YEARS AGO, FEBRUARY 25, 1956
THE DAY KHRUSHCHEV BURIED STALIN
READ WHAT THE WORLD SAYS ABOUT THE "SECRET SPEECH"
 
Delivered what many regard as 20th century’s most influential speech
Believe speech was third most important event in 20th century Russia. 
 
Given his own history, Khrushchev’s speech was an act of great moral
bravery and huge political recklessness. Speaking for nearly four hours, he
stunned his listeners with a detailed and sweeping account of Stalin’s mass
arrests, deportations, torture and executions.
 
Speech entered history as the first step toward de-Stalinization.
It was a turning point in Soviet history. The Gulags were emptied out.
 
The speech that Russia wants to forget
CULT OF STALINISM CASTS A SHADOW OVER EUROPE
Stalin may be dead but his ghost is still at the feast.
 
RUSSIA TURNS ITS BACK ON MAN WHO DENOUNCED STALIN
For the descendants of Stalin’s victims, however, the "secret speech"
remains one of the most important events of the 20th century.
STALIN’S LIGHT IS SHINING BRIGHT IN MOTHER RUSSIA
Khrushchev’s "secret speech" being ignored in Vladimir Putin’s Russia.
 
IMMINENT OPENING OF MUSEUM DEVOTED TO JOSEF STALIN
has stirred outrage among relatives of the millions he persecuted and
prompted claims that Stalinism is again on the march.
I don’t want to hear about this. How can people spit into our souls like this?
 
THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR – Number 666
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor  
Washington, D.C., Kyiv, Ukraine, SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 25, 2006
 
         The Action Ukraine Report: Khrushchev: Parts I & II

[1]  AUR#658 Feb 13 Unmasking Stalin: A Speech That Changed The World
[2]  AUR#666 Feb 25 The Day Khrushchev Buried Stalin, Shook The World
               ——–INDEX OF ARTICLES——–
         Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.               
Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article
1.                   THE DAY KHRUSHCHEV BURIED STALIN
 I believe speech was the third most important event in 20th century Russia
OPINION
: By Nina L. Khrushcheva, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles, California, Sunday, February 19, 2006

2.                    A SPEECH TO STUN EVEN A DAUGHTER
   Speech kept secret, even from Rada Adzhubei, Khrushchev’s daughter
By Anatoly Medetsky, Staff Writer, Moscow Times
Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, February 22, 2006

3 .                           A FATAL DESIRE FOR ORDER
  Khrushchev’s "secret speech" being ignored in Vladimir Putin’s Russia
OP-ED
: By Nina L. Khrushcheva, International Herald Tribune
Paris, France, Friday, February 24, 2006

4.                 THE MAN WHO STOOD UP TO STALINISM
            This great deed deserves to be celebrated on its anniversary.
      When asked in retirement what he most regretted, Khrushchev said:
                 "The blood. My arms are up to the elbows in blood."
COMMENTARY
: By William Taubman, Author "Khrushchev: The
Man and His Era," which won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in biography.
The New York Times, New York, New York
International Herald Tribune (IHT) Friday, February 24, 2006

5.                  THE SPEECH THAT SHOOK THE WORLD
Nikita Khrushchev took the podium on the final day of the 20th Congress
COMMENTARY
: By Robert Conquest, Senior Research Fellow,

Hoover Institution, Author of "The Great Terror," "The Harvest
of Sorrow" and "Stalin and the Kirov Murder."
Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California, Sunday, February 19, 2006

6.   KHRUSHCHEV’S SECRET SPEECH & END OF COMMUNISM
COMMENTARY: By Roy A Medvedev
The author is a historian and Soviet dissident
FinancialExpress.com, New Delhi, India, Saturday, February 25, 2006

7.                            THE SPEECH OF THE CENTURY
                 Has Russia successfully come to terms with its past?
COMMENTARY
: By Richard Lourie, author of "The
Autobiography of Joseph Stalin" and "Sakharov: A Biography."
The Moscow Times, Moscow, Russia
Monday, February 20, 2006. Issue 3356. Page 8.

8.                                    SACRIFICING STALIN
OPINION: By Boris Kagarlitsky, St. Petersburg Times
St. Petersburg, Russia, Wednesday, January 22, 2006

9 .                          TURNING POINT IN SOVIET HISTORY
                     The Gulags were emptied out and largely shut down
EDITORIAL
: International Herald Tribune (IHT)
Paris, France, Friday, February 24, 2006

10 KHRUSHCHEV’S SECRET SPEECH: A CRACK IN THE MONOLITH
                    Mike Haynes writes on how 50 years ago Khrushchev’s
                          ‘secret speech’ began the demolition of Stalinism
FEATURE: By Mike Haynes, SocialistWorkerOnline
London, United Kingdom, Saturday, February 18, 2006

11.              THE REAL SECRET OF KHRUSHCHEV’S SPEECH
                   Fifty years ago a Soviet leader dared to criticise Stalin.
                             But was this bravery or a cynical ploy?
Tom Parfitt in Moscow, The Guardian Unlimited
London, United Kingdom, Friday February 24, 2006

12.              WHEN IT WAS NO LONGER SWEET OR NOBLE

                                    TO KILL FOR THE CAUSE
Mirror in which the left saw itself was shattered. Its self-deception lives on.
COMMENTARY: By Martin Kettle, The Guardian
London, United Kingdom, Saturday February 11, 2006

13.                            OPENING PANDORA’S BOX
 50th anniversary of an event whose effect on Hungary was earth-shattering.
 Thankful to Khrushchev for the speech that shook up the Communist world.
By Richard W. Bruner, The Budapest Sun Online
Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, February 23, 2006

14  KHRUSHCHEV’S ‘SECRET SPEECH’ REMEMBERED: 50 YEARS
                   Entered history as the first step toward de-Stalinization
By Claire Bigg, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, February 15, 2006

15.                  THE SPEECH RUSSIA WANTS TO FORGET
By Tim Whewell, BBC NEWS, UK, Thursday, February 23, 2006

16               HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, NIKITA KHRUSHCHEV
By Anne Applebaum, OP-ED Columnist, The Washington Post
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, February 22, 2006, Page A15

17 .    FEBRUARY 25, 1956: KHRUSHCHEV LASHES OUT AT STALIN

BBC NEWS, United Kingdom, Saturday, February 25, 2006

18.         CULT OF STALINISM CASTS A SHADOW OVER EUROPE
COMMENTARY FOCUS: By George Kerevan
The Scotsman – United Kingdom; Feb 23, 2006

19COMMUNISM MAY BE DEAD, BUT CLEARLY NOT DEAD ENOUGH:
                The battle over history reflects a determination to prove that no
                   political alternative can challenge the new global capitalism
COMMENT & DEBATE
: By Seumas Milne, The Guardian
London, United Kingdom, Thursday, February 16, 2006

20.                           SECRET SPEECH STILL DIVIDES
EDITORIAL: The Moscow Times
Moscow, Russia, Wed, Feb 15, 2006. Issue 3353. Page 3.

 
21.        STALIN’S LIGHT IS SHINING BRIGHT IN MOTHER RUSSIA
 Khrushchev delivered what many regard as 20th century’s most influential speech
By Adrian Blomfield in Volgograd
Telegraph, London, United Kingdom, Saturday, February 25, 2006
 
 
            For the descendants of Stalin’s victims, however, the "secret speech"
                remains one of the most important events of the 20th century.
Jeremy Page in Moscow, The Times
London, United Kingdom, Saturday, February 25, 2006
 
23.                     IS PERSONALITY CULT POSSIBLE TODAY?
On Feb 25, 1956 Khrushchev’s speech condemned Stalin’s personality cult.
By Yury Filippov, RIA Novosti political commentator
RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, February 21, 2006
 
24.          STALIN-ERA REPRESSIONS CAST A LONG SHADOW
                                            IN RUSSIAN LIVES
WINDOW ON EURASIA: By Paul Goble
Tallinn, Estonia, Thursday, February 23, 2006
 
 
26.                 RUSSIANS FINALLY EXAMINE GULAG YEARS
By Michael Johnson, Tuesday, 14 February 2006
Johnson’s Russia List (JRL) 2006#43, Feb 15, 2006
 
27.                                  USHERING IN THE THAW
By Anna Malpas, The Moscow Times
Moscow, Russia, Friday, February 17, 2006. Issue 3355. Page 102.
 
I don’t want to hear about this. How can people spit into our souls like this?
By Andrew Osborn in Moscow, The Independent
London, United Kingdom, Saturday, February 18, 2006
======================================================
1              THE DAY KHRUSHCHEV BURIED STALIN
 I believe speech was the third most important event in 20th century Russia

OPINION: By Nina L. Khrushcheva, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles, California, Sunday, February 19, 2006

WHEN NIKITA KHRUSHCHEV died in 1971, I was still a young girl, but
I remember him well. We used to visit him on the weekends on his farm at
Petrovo Dalnee, about 30 miles outside of Moscow. I’d work with him among
the tomatoes or at his beehives. Although to me he was just my kindly old
great-grandfather, my family assured me then and later that he was a great
man, a world leader, a liberator – someone I should be proud of.

But at the privileged school for the children of the party elite that I
attended on Kutuzovsky Prospect, I never heard his name. As far as my
teachers were concerned, there was no such man. He didn’t exist. Anything
that had happened in government between 1953 and 1964, when my
great-grandfather led the country, was described as having been done merely
by the "Communist Party of the Soviet Union." The name Khrushchev was
entirely deleted from the history books.

This was the way it worked in the Soviet Union. Leaders always did away
with their predecessors; anyone who came before had to be carefully
controlled or deleted. Josef Stalin rewrote his relationship with Lenin.

Khrushchev denounced Stalin. Leonid Brezhnev did the same to Khrushchev,
who left office under obscure charges of "subjectivism" and "voluntarism"
and was banished to Petrovo Dalnee, where KGB agents monitored his
visitors and his any trips off the premises.

It was only later, when I got older, that I learned about the "secret
speech" my great-grandfather gave 50 years ago this week, in which he
denounced the crimes committed by Stalin and the "cult of personality" that
developed around him. The story of the speech is not a straightforward tale
of good versus bad, of a benevolent, democratic leader replacing a tyrant
.

It is far more nuanced than that. Khrushchev, after all, had been one of
Stalin’s trusted lieutenants, who by his own admission "did what others
did" – participating in the purges and repressions of the 1930s and 1940s,
convinced that the total "annihilation of the enemy" had to be a
communist’s uppermost priority in order to ensure the shining future of
international communism.

Some people saw, and still see, the 1956 speech as having been dictated
by internal power politics (especially because it was Stalin alone who
received the blame in it). Certainly, Khrushchev was able to use the speech
to strengthen his hand.

Yet to his credit, when he denounced Stalin before the 20th Congress of the
Communist Party of the Soviet Union, my great-grandfather had the courage
to admit that communism (and its leaders) could make mistakes. Denouncing
Stalin – and acknowledging for the first time the details of some of the
murders, purges and coerced confessions – was a morally necessary act,
Khrushchev said later.

After his "involuntary" retirement in 1964 when he was ousted as first
secretary of the party, Khrushchev confessed he had needed to tell the story
in part because his own arms were "covered with blood up to the elbows."

Yes, Khrushchev helped build the despotic Soviet system, but he also called
for its reform. And even though he did it by attacking the corruption of
communism rather than communism itself, the speech served as a catalyst,
sowing early disillusionment with Marxism-Leninism.

It transformed the image of the Soviet Union in the minds of millions of
people. It was the first crack in the monolith, and without it, it might
have taken another 100 years for the socialist countries to enjoy the post-
communist freedoms they have today.

I believe that the speech was the third most important event in 20th
century Russia, after the Bolshevik Revolution of 1917 and the victory over
Nazism in 1945. It marked the beginning of the end, when fear began to be
replaced by freedom. It led to the release of some prisoners from Stalin’s
gulags.

It opened the country to some foreign visitors and products. It
helped awaken the first stirrings of the dissident movement that ultimately
led to the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the collapse of the Soviet
Union in 1991, 20 years after my great-grandfather died.

Just as Russia sits between the East and the West geographically, Russian
politics is also in between: always on a narrow line between black and
white, right and wrong, reform and dictatorship. Russians have lived for
generations under an essentially despotic system of government that is
constantly trying to modernize itself through more (Peter the Great,
Stalin) or less (Khrushchev, Mikhail Gorbachev) authoritarian means.

But even our reformers are only lesser dictators. At bottom, our people
and our leaders share a belief that only authoritarian rule can protect the
country from anarchy and disintegration. They support a "strong" state,
in which decisions come from the top and citizens are left to tremble with
respect and fear.

The most liberating events – Khrushchev’s de-Stalinization campaign of
1956, or Boris Yeltsin’s privatization of 1991 – generally end up in
disillusion or disarray, suggesting that Russian society is never fast
enough to digest modernization or patient enough to see the liberal
changes through.

Instead, Russians look back fondly on their great victories and parades
and, eventually, after short periods of thaw or perestroika, find
themselves wanting their "strong" rulers back – the rulers who by inspiring
fear provide a sense of orderly life, whose "firm hand" is associated with
stability. Stalin’s order was unbreakable while he lived; Vladimir Putin
now promises a new order in the form of his "dictatorship of law."

There’s an old saying that "every nation deserves its government." I hope
that’s not true. I believe my great-grandfather gave Russia its first taste
of freedom over fear. And I hope that one day Russians will be able to
embrace that freedom without yearning for the old days of totalitarianism

and terror.  -30-
———————————————————————————————–
Nina L. Khrushcheva teaches international affairs at New School
University in New York. Her latest book, "Visiting Nabokov," is
forthcoming from Yale University Press. ( khruschn@newschool.edu)
——————————————————————————————————————–
http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/opinion/la-op-khrushcheva19feb19,1,2640232.story
———————————————————————————————

[return to index ] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
2.                A SPEECH TO STUN EVEN A DAUGHTER
       Speech kept secret, even from Rada Adzhubei, Khrushchev’s daughter

By Anatoly Medetsky, Staff Writer, Moscow Times
Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, February 22, 2006

When a Party official read Nikita Khrushchev’s secret speech to her
university class two weeks later, Rada Adzhubei, like millions of Soviet
citizens, was stunned by the denunciation of Josef Stalin.

But she was not surprised that the speech had been kept secret, even
from her, Khrushchev’s daughter.

"He was a statesman who went through Stalin’s school," Adzhubei, now
76, said of her father. "Khrushchev never discussed secret affairs with the
family, and the speech was a secret."

Khrushchev’s speech, denouncing the Stalin personality cult and his mass
purges, came as a bombshell to the 1,500 delegates who attended the last
day of the 20th Communist Party Congress. The date was Feb. 25, 1956 –
– 50 years ago Saturday.

The speech wasn’t a secret for long, as the party had it printed in booklet
form and read out to millions of people at workplaces and colleges across
the country.

The outside world learned of the speech via a Reuters correspondent in
Moscow, who ran the first story from Stockholm after an acquaintance —
possibly a KGB agent — recited it for him. The CIA obtained a copy later.

The speech was not printed in the Soviet media, however, until 1989, well
into the era of Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika.

Adzhubei and her fellow students in Moscow State University’s biology
department had the speech read to them, she said, speaking Monday in her
apartment near City Hall on Tverskaya Ulitsa, which she shares with her son
and his family. It took between 1 1/2 and two hours to read, she recalled.

Like the delegates at the Party Congress, the students were given no
opportunity to ask questions afterward.

"The person from the Party’s neighborhood committee took the booklet
away, and we were left with our thoughts and opinions," said Adzhubei,
who is reserved when talking about the now distant past.

"Stalin was our God, tsar, hero and everything else. It wasn’t easy to
debunk him."

Adzhubei came to see her father’s revelations as "an act of justice," she
said as she sat in a large armchair under a portrait of Khrushchev hanging
on the wall. In the photograph, three red-star Hero of the Soviet Union
awards, the highest in the country, are pinned to his chest.

On another wall in the handsomely furnished living room, a second, smiling
Khrushchev looks out from a poster hanging next to a large 19th-century
chest of drawers, with a collection of Indonesian wooden figures perched on
top. A set of ivory carvings is displayed in the hallway.
                            YURY LEVADA REMEMBERS
Yury Levada, director of the independent Levada Center polling agency and
former head of the All-Russia Public Opinion Research Center, or VTsIOM,
before it came under state control, was an editor at the scientific journal
Nauka i Zhizn when Khrushchev delivered his famous speech.

The journal’s office, like the entire country, was abuzz with rumors that
Khrushchev had attacked Stalin. In early March, the staff realized the
rumors were true when they were shown the booklet of 20-odd pages,
Levada said in an interview last week.

Levada was picked by his colleagues to read out the speech, and after he
had finished, it was given back to Party officials, as happened everywhere
else across the Soviet Union, he said. The booklet had a warning stamped
on its cover, "Not for publication," Levada said.

"I thought I’d never see an official copy being handed out. It was a
surprise," he said.

Khrushchev did not explain what caused Stalinism, or invite any discussion
of the subject, Levada said. "Khrushchev made a strong effort to make sure
that people didn’t ask too many questions and that faith in the Party
wasn’t undermined," he said.

Although rumors had prepared the journal’s staff for what was in the
speech, they felt "a certain shock," Levada said. Afterward, they wondered
in private conversations why the Party had allowed Stalin to do what he
did, he said.

The 20th Congress, and the secret speech in particular, was the start of
the Khrushchev thaw, which saw a certain easing of the stranglehold over
society. The speech was a chink in the communist system that helped people
to think independently and lessened their fear of the authorities, Levada
said.

Adzhubei, meanwhile, recalled that "some radical groups" at the time sought
to overthrow communism but Khrushchev reacted angrily to any talk of
discarding the Soviet system at home and in Eastern Europe.

Later that year, the Soviet Union sent in troops to brutally suppress the
workers’ uprising in Hungary.

In many people, the speech sparked a desire to review the country’s
history, and they rifled through pre-Stalin Communist Party records and
searched for ways to be "the real Reds, the true revolutionaries," Adzhubei
said.

Khrushchev’s thaw lasted only eight years, and under his successor, Leonid
Brezhnev, Soviet media were banned from mentioning Khrushchev and his
criticism of Stalin for 18 years.

According to Levada, the Khrushchev thaw — and later, Gorbachev’s
perestroika — was too brief to allow Russia to recover from Stalinism.

"Russia has never decisively rejected Stalin," he said. "That is one of the
reasons why we are stuck, now even turning back. There’s an effort to
repeat or at least imitate the Stalin regime."

Asked what he meant specifically, he said, "It’s being spoken about very
much."

Liberal politicians and the West have criticized President Vladimir Putin
over what they have called his rollback of democracy.

Gorbachev, who has said the 20th Congress paved the way for perestroika,
last week likened today’s Russia to the Soviet Union under Brezhnev.
Without purges but with absolute control over everything, those times were
neo-Stalinist, he said at a discussion dedicated to the 1956 congress.

"There are those who want a return to the old times," Gorbachev said.
"Russia is at a crossroads because we never made a final choice."
But Gorbachev said he supported Putin.

Vladimir Petukhov, research director at Levada’s old research center,
VTsIOM, which is now under state control, cited three of his agency’s
polls from last year as evidence that Russians were ambivalent about
Stalin’s legacy.

In one poll, 50 percent of respondents approved of Stalin because he
created a strong state that defeated the Nazis, while in a second, 48
percent said Stalin’s purges were wrong, Petukhov said.

In a third poll, 52 percent said they did not want someone like Stalin as
president, but 42 percent longed for a "second Stalin," he said.

The agency’s polls consistently gave Gorbachev and former President
Boris Yeltsin worse ratings than Stalin, Petukhov said.

"There’s no romanticism about his kind of rule. People realize that Stalin
committed crimes but they don’t want the history of the state to be
destroyed together with Stalin," he said.

Victory in World War II "was the greatest achievement in Russian history,
and he was around then," Petukhov said. "If you cancel out the war, it
would ruin Russia’s sense of identity."                  -30-
———————————————————————————————

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========================================================
3.                            A FATAL DESIRE FOR ORDER
      Khrushchev’s "secret speech" being ignored in Vladimir Putin’s Russia
  

OP-ED: By Nina L. Khrushcheva, International Herald Tribune
Paris, France, Friday, February 24, 2006

NEW YORK  – The 50th anniversary of the 20th Communist Party Congress
in 1956, at which Nikita Khrushchev delivered his so-called "secret speech"
against Joseph Stalin, is being ignored in Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Only last year, there were many phone calls to my family asking for their
participation in commemorative events. But those plans were drawn up
before May 2005, when Russia celebrated the 60th anniversary of World
War II with the sort of Stalinist "brutalist" pomposity reminiscent of Cold
War days.

Indeed, portraits of Stalin were on prominent display as the "great leader"
in the Soviet victory over fascism.

Since that bout of totalitarian nostalgia, public criticism of anything
Stalin has been shunted off to the side. Today, Stalin is the country’s
second most popular historic figure after Peter the Great. As victor in
World War II and a champion of Great Russian statehood, he remains
revered.

So while some television producers still want to proceed with the secret
speech documentaries, television networks one by one have lost their
original interest. It’s not that they received a directive from the
Kremlin – we are in 2006, not 1937. But they can see how the wind is
blowing.

The secret speech, formally titled "The Cult of Personality and Its
Consequences," set in motion a whole sequence of events. Inmates were
freed from the Gulag, the country was opened a little to foreign visitors
and products, and the dissident movement began.

Needless to say, Putinism is not Stalinism, and the secret speech, if
ignored, is not silenced. Mikhail Gorbachev, who regards himself as
Khrushchev’s successor, is free to celebrate it at his private foundation.

The Iron Curtain and the Stalin monolith are no longer, and Putin has to
please all a
————————————————————————————————
Nina Khrushcheva, a great-granddaughter of Nikita Khrushchev,
teaches international affairs at the New School in New York.
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http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/02/24/opinion/ednina.php
 

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4.                 THE MAN WHO STOOD UP TO STALINISM
              This great deed deserves to be celebrated on its anniversary.
        When asked in retirement what he most regretted, Khrushchev said:
                 "The blood. My arms are up to the elbows in blood."

COMMENTARY: By William Taubman, Author "Khrushchev: The
Man and His Era," which won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in biography.
The New York Times, New York, New York
International Herald Tribune (IHT) Friday, February 24, 2006

Remembering Khrushchev I

Fifty years ago on Saturday, the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev gave a
"secret speech" at the 20th Communist Party Congress that changed both

his country and the world.

By denouncing Stalin, whose God-like status had helped to legitimize
Communism in the Soviet Bloc, Khrushchev began a process of unraveling
it that culminated in 1991 with the collapse of the Soviet Union. This great
deed deserves to be celebrated on its anniversary.

But it is also a good time to ponder this question: What are we to think of
a leader whose great deeds do not bring about the consequences intended?

It is a question that all leaders – particularly Khrushchev’s current heir,
Vladimir Putin, who has tried to bring his nation into the 21st century by
wielding the autocratic hand of a 19th-century czar – ought to consider
whenever they set great projects in motion.

After all, Khrushchev sought to save Communism, not to destroy it. By
cleansing it of the Stalinist stain, he wanted to re-legitimize it in the
eyes of people not just in the Soviet sphere but around the globe. Yet
within weeks after the secret speech, at Communist Party meetings called to
discuss it, criticism of Stalin rippled way beyond Khrushchev’s, including
indictments not just of Stalin himself but of the Soviet system that spawned
him. Others sprang to Stalin’s defense, especially in his native Georgia,
where at least 20 pro-Stalin demonstrators were killed in clashes with the
police.

In Eastern Europe, the unintended consequences of Khrushchev’s speech were
even more shattering. A huge strike in the Polish city of Poznan in June was
put down at a cost of at least 53 dead and hundreds wounded. Then, of
course, the revolution in Hungary in October was smashed by Soviet forces,
leaving more than 20,000 Hungarians dead.

Khrushchev also used the speech to try to buttress his position in the
Kremlin. By attacking Stalin he thought he would blacken the reputation of
his rivals for power – Vyacheslav Molotov, Georgi Malenkov and Lazar
Kaganovich – who had been closer to Stalin than he had, while burnishing his
own.

But instead, he provoked a coup attempt that very nearly ousted him in June
1957. His de-Stalinization campaign was also a prime grievance among those
who formed the conspiracy that succeeded in pushing him from power in
October 1964.

Of course, some unintended consequences are inevitable in politics as in
what Russians call "sama zhizn," or "life itself." Moreover, the "secret
speech" was part of a reform program that included many worthy
achievements that Khrushchev did indeed intend. He released and
rehabilitated millions of Stalin’s victims.

He allowed what became known as "the thaw," with its partial rebirth of
Russian culture. He revivified Soviet agriculture, which Stalin had ruined,
and started a boom in housing construction that permitted hundreds of
thousands to move out of overcrowded communal apartments.

In the midst of his ouster in 1964, Khrushchev said to his only remaining
ally, Anastas Mikoyan: "I’ve done the main thing. Could anyone have dreamed
of telling Stalin that he didn’t suit us anymore and suggesting he retire?
Not even a wet spot would have remained where we had been standing. Now
everything is different. The fear is gone and we can talk as equals. That’s
my contribution."

Khrushchev was whistling past his own political graveyard. He hadn’t exactly
embarked on reform to ease this way for his own exit. But he had meant to
end the pattern of bloody purges as the only way to transfer political
power.

Both his drive for reform and its unintended consequences cannot be
understood without understanding the Communist system that shaped him.
Soviet Communism had been built on a Stalinist foundation that cried out for
drastic change, and Khrushchev learned (or thought he had) from the
Bolsheviks’ willingness to revolutionize Soviet society that such change was
possible almost overnight.

Khrushchev’s speech didn’t change his country as intended. But it did
register a remarkable change in himself. Unlike most of his comrades in
Stalin’s inner circle, Khrushchev somehow retained his humanity. He never
forgave Stalin for making him an accomplice in terrible crimes. The secret
speech was in part motivated by a sense of guilt at his own complicity.

As early as 1940, when Khrushchev was Stalin’s viceroy in Ukraine, he told a
childhood friend who lamented Stalin’s purges: "Don’t blame me for that. I’m
not involved in that." Of course, Khrushchev was involved in "that." But
that is the point. Apart from anything else, the secret speech was an act of
repentance.

When asked in retirement what he most regretted, Khrushchev said: "The
blood. My arms are up to the elbows in blood. That is the most terrible
thing that lies in my soul."

In his case, it wasn’t the road to hell that was paved with good intentions,
but the road from the Stalinist hell in which he had faithfully served, and
which he had the courage to try to transcend.
————————————————————————————————
NOTE: William Taubman, a professor of political science at Amherst
College, is the author of "Khrushchev: The Man and His Era," which
won the 2004 Pulitzer Prize in biography.
——————————————————————————————
LINK: http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/02/24/news/edtaub.php
——————————————————————————————–

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5.                 THE SPEECH THAT SHOOK THE WORLD
  Nikita Khrushchev took the podium on the final day of the 20th Congress

COMMENTARY: By Robert Conquest,
Senior research fellow at the Hoover Institution
Author of many books on Stalin and Russia, including "The Great
Terror," "The Harvest of Sorrow" and "Stalin and the Kirov Murder."
Los Angeles Times, Los Angeles, California, Sunday, February 19, 2006

WHEN NIKITA KHRUSHCHEV took the podium on the final day of the
20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, the speech he
gave was so surprising and unexpected that some members of the audience
actually fainted.

It was Feb. 25, 1956, three years after the death of Josef Stalin and
Khrushchev’s accession as first secretary of the party. Although the speech
was made in closed session, and has been known forever after as the "secret
speech," it did not remain secret for long.

The text had been given to local Soviet organizations to be read aloud and
to East European Communist parties. A Polish version soon reached the West,
and although its authenticity was denied for a long time by Moscow, it soon
became obvious it was genuine.

Why was the speech so shocking? Because it came at the end of decades of
totalitarian terror during which millions of people died, in a country where
the misuse of power had gone virtually unquestioned and unchecked (and where
anyone who dared question the state’s authority was courting arrest). Yet on
that February day, 50 years ago this week, Khrushchev cut through years and
years of unwavering propaganda to reveal not all, but many, of the crimes of
Stalin – his predecessor and mentor – to the world.

Officially, the speech was an attack on the "cult of personality" that had
grown up around Stalin. This may sound like little more than a critique of a
certain vanity and self-advertisement on the part of the longtime vozhd, or
great leader, and that was certainly part of it. "It is impermissible and
foreign to the spirit of Marxism-Leninism to elevate one person," Khrushchev
said, "to transform him into a superman possessing supernatural
characteristics akin to those of a god."

But the full text went a good deal further, citing "grave perversions of
party principles." Stalin (although Khrushchev defended him against
Trotskyites and other "deviationists") came out badly. He had, according to
Khrushchev, made fearful mistakes in World War II; he had ruined the
country’s agriculture; V.I. Lenin, the revolutionary Bolshevik leader who
governed the country after the revolution, had condemned him; he had

wrongly broken with Josip Broz Tito, the Yugoslav leader.

Even more shocking than these criticisms were the "glaring violations of
revolutionary legality" Khrushchev referred to, particularly in Stalin’s
treatment of those of his followers he had purged and executed. Khrushchev
stressed Stalin’s insistence on "confessions" and of torture as the way to
obtain them.

Noting that "70% of the Central Committee members and candidates elected at
the 17th Congress were branded as enemies of the party and of the people,"
Khrushchev gave names of prominent victims and their torturers. Stalin, he
said, justified the torture; citing the notoriously faked "Doctors’ Plot" of
1953 (the only non-party victims to appear in the speech), Khrushchev quoted
Stalin’s interrogation instructions: "Beat, beat and beat again."

Khrushchev strongly hinted that the murder of party leader Sergei Kirov in
1934 had been ordered by Stalin. And he condemned Stalin’s mass deportations
of Chechens and others in the 1940s. (But he gave no attention to those
condemned in the "show trials" of the 1930s, many of whom had to wait 30 or
40 years for redress – or to the Katyn massacre of more than 4,000 Polish
army officers during World War II.)

It is difficult all these years later to explain the extraordinary effect of
this speech. The Soviet Union at the height of the Cold War was secretive
and mendacious. Despite the purges and plots, despite Stalin’s brutality and
paranoia, the credulous throughout the world – including many in the United
States – refused to believe the worst.

This was not the first indication of Stalin’s crimes, of course. A great
deal of firsthand testimony on the lethal Stalinist record had already been
published in the West, but it had not been accepted everywhere as true; a
large amount of misinformation had filled the shelves, often by
"intellectuals" of high standing – enough to lead to a verdict of "not
proved" from many others. To the general public, then, the speech was a
revelation. In an unprecedented act of journalism, Britain’s leading liberal
Sunday newspaper, the Observer, devoted an entire issue to it.

Khrushchev does not seem to have quite realized the degree of damage he
might do to the Soviet Union’s image as a humanist, progressive country by
speaking of official tortures and murders. Throughout the West there was an
astonishing revulsion. Those who had been totally deceived had their minds
cleared (although many eventually returned to the fold, anti-Western feeling
outweighing all else for those whom George Orwell described as "renegade
liberals").

The speech’s effect on the Communist parties of Eastern Europe was radical.
In Poland, it resulted in the overthrow of the servile pro-Moscow leadership
later that year and a confrontation that included military threats and the
direct intervention of Khrushchev and his colleagues. In Hungary came the
collapse of the Stalinist order, and then the revolution and the bloody
Soviet intervention in October. All through the Soviet bloc, the Stalinist
mentality was severely disrupted – in preparation, it might be said, for its
final collapse later.

Why did Khrushchev give the speech? For a time it was thought that he had
spoken without the agreement of the rest of the leadership. We now know that
he had, in fact, managed to get some sort of approval. It is also clear now
that the speech served, in part, as a continuation of the same internecine
struggle within the Politburo that had marked the Stalin epoch and that
persisted long afterward.

Stalin had nurtured his heirs very carefully to prevent any solidarity among
them that might lead to mutiny, and this highly quarrelsome group continued
to distrust each other even after he died. The speech was, in this context,
an attack by Khrushchev on his rivals.

It served his purposes to denounce some of the Soviet past, to blame the
safely dead Stalin and to implicate some of his surviving heirs. Like him,
they had been dragged through years of terror and stupefaction. The
following years saw Khrushchev defeating one coup d’�tat but later being
ousted by another.

In Russia itself, the speech prompted the beginnings of a thaw, but one that
did not last. And among a portion of the population there remained, and
remains even now, a favorable attitude toward Stalin, which is sometimes
seen as the result of centuries of submission to tyranny. For others, the
"secret speech" massively undermined the Stalin regime.

But the machine he had built, or inherited from Lenin, survived for a third
of a century. And, by an odd paradox, much of the parasitical apparat
remains to this day, long after its ideological justifications have gone,
like a cartoon character – Wile E. Coyote or Mr. Magoo – walking on after
his plank has disappeared.

A hundred years ago, Anton Chekhov wrote of Russia’s "heavy, chilling
history, savagery, bureaucracy, poverty, and ignorance.. Russian life weighs
upon a Russian like a thousand-ton rock." And over most of the 20th century,
things got worse still, adding yet further burdens to the Russian psyche.

Recovery has set in, sporadically, in the 50 years that have passed since
Khrushchev delivered his "secret speech." But progress was slow and even

now has far to go. Let us hope that by 2056 we might see a marked upturn.
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http://www.latimes.com/news/printedition/suncommentary/la-op-conquest19feb19,1,4286635.story?coll=la-headlines-suncomment
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6.   KHRUSHCHEV’S SECRET SPEECH & END OF COMMUNISM

COMMENTARY: By Roy A Medvedev
The author is a historian and Soviet dissident
FinancialExpress.com, New Delhi, India, Saturday, February 25, 2006

In history, some events at first appear insignificant, or their significance
is hidden, but they turn out to be earthshaking. Such a moment occurred
50 years ago, with Nikita Khrushchev’s so-called "Secret Speech" to the
Twentieth Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

At that moment, the communist movement appeared to be riding the tide of
history, and not only for those in the Soviet Union. Capitalism seemed to be
dying. The Twentieth Congress put an end to that.

It was a moment of truth, a cleansing from within of the brutality of
Stalinism. Khrushchev’s speech to the Congress inspired doubt and

second thoughts throughout the worldwide movement.

 Khrushchev’s motives as he took the podium on the morning of February 25,
1956, were, in his mind, moral ones. After his ouster from power, in the
seclusion of his dacha, he wrote: "My hands are covered with blood. I did
everything that others did. But even today if I have to go to that podium to
report on Stalin, I would do it again. One day all that had to be over."

Khrushchev had, of course, been an intimate part of Stalin’s repressions,
but he also didn’t know half of what was going on. The whole Stalinist
system of government was built on absolute secrecy, in which only the
general secretary himself knew the whole story.

It wasn’t terror that was the basis of Stalin’s power, but his complete
monopoly on information. Khrushchev, for example, was stunned when
he discovered that in the 1930’s and 1940’s, some 70% of Party members
were annihilated.

Initially, Khrushchev didn’t plan to keep his denunciation of Stalin a
secret. Five days after the Congress, his speech was sent to all the leaders
of the socialist countries and read at local party meetings across the
Soviet Union.

But people didn’t know how to discuss it. And with good reason, for the
problem with the de-Stalinization process was that, although the truth was
partly revealed, no answer regarding what to do was offered.

After the Congress, it became clear that the communist gospel was false and
murderously corrupt. But no other ideology was offered, and the crisis that
began with Khrushchev’s speech lasted another 30 years, until Mikhail
Gorbachev took up his mantle of change.

In the first of the protests that rocked the communist world in 1956, huge
crowds in Georgia demanded that Khrushchev be fired and Stalin’s memory
reinstated. An uprising in Poland and the far more tumultuous Hungarian
Revolution argued for the opposite.

The protests were brutally crushed, which resulted in many West European
Communists. Khrushchev’s speech also ignited the feud between Mao’s China
and the USSR, for it allowed Mao to claim the crown of world revolutionary
leadership. Worried by the protests, Khrushchev tried to cool off the
anti-Stalin campaign.

The release of the Gulag prisoners that followed his speech continued, but
it was done in silence. Party membership was restored to purge survivors,
and they received new jobs, but they were forbidden from discussing the
horrors that they had endured. That silence lasted until 1961, when
Khrushcev permitted new revelations of Stalin-era crimes. These were
reported and discussed on TV and radio.

Stalin’s body was removed from Red Square, Stalin monuments were
destroyed, and cities restored their original Soviet names. Stalingrad
became Volgograd. This second anti-Stalinist campaign lasted two years,

which was not nearly enough to change the country’s mentality.

The Twentieth Congress shattered the world communist movement, and it
turned out to be impossible to cement the cracks. The Soviet Union and
other socialist countries faced a crisis of faith, as the main threat to
communism was not imperialism, or ideological dissidents, but the
movement’s own intellectual poverty and disillusion.

So, although it is common today in Russia to blame Gorbachev and Boris
Yeltsin for the collapse of the USSR, it is both useless and unfair to do
so. The system was dead already, and it is to Yeltsin’s great credit that he
was able to bring Russia out of the ruins in one piece.

Although Russia’s future is uncertain, its history is becoming clearer, in
part because we now know that the Twentieth Party Congress started the
process that brought about the end of Soviet despotism.  -30-
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http://www.financialexpress.com/fe_full_story.php?content_id=118670
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7.                         THE SPEECH OF THE CENTURY
                  Has Russia successfully come to terms with its past?

COMMENTARY: By Richard Lourie, author of "The
Autobiography of Joseph Stalin" and "Sakharov: A Biography."
The Moscow Times, Moscow, Russia
Monday, February 20, 2006. Issue 3356. Page 8.

It was 50 years ago — almost a lifetime given recent Russian life
expectancy — that Nikita Khrushchev delivered his "secret speech" denouncing

Josef Stalin. Khrushchev spoke for nearly four hours on Feb. 25, 1956, the last
day of the 20th Party Congress. The session was unscheduled and restricted
to keep the speech secret.

It was not a secret very long. A translation made for the comrades in Poland
reached the CIA via Israeli intelligence. In May, the U.S. State Department
released a copy to The New York Times, which published it on June 4. Only
three months had elapsed.

Though the secrecy of the speech was brief, its fame has proved lasting. It
could well be argued that Khrushchev’s oration was the most important
speech of the 20th century. It may have lacked any memorable flourishes like
Churchill’s "blood, sweat and tears" or FDR’s "nothing to fear but fear
itself." But its impact was deep, its influence enduring. Word as deed.

It truly was the beginning of the end, the end of faith in communism and
thus of the system itself. The shock it induced at the time can hardly be
imagined now. In the Kremlin Hospital with pneumonia, the leader of the
Polish communist party, Wladyslaw Bierut, had a heart attack when he read
the speech and died soon after.

The secret speech led directly to the Hungarian Uprising in the fall of
1956, the first of a series of crises and rebellions occurring at 11 to 12
year intervals — Prague in 1968, Solidarity in Poland in 1980, collapse of
the Soviet Union in 1991 — and the brutal suppression of that uprising led
to disaffiliation among the Soviet youth who would later become dissidents.
Vladimir Bukovsky said: "The entire world had betrayed us, and we no
longer believed anyone."

If most of the inmates of the prisons and camps were victims of injustice,
Khrushchev was duty bound to release them. After the speech the Zeks
returned by the tens of thousands. The great poet Anna Akhamatova called
herself a "Khrushchevite" because "Khrushchev did for me the noblest thing
one human being can do for another; he gave me back my son."

Among the millions of Communist Party members who read the speech was
25-year-old Mikhail Gorbachev, who instinctively admired Khrushchev’s
political courage and "did not conceal my views and defended them publicly,"
the beginnings of his own personal glasnost. It was hardly a straight line
from Khrushchev to Gorbachev.

In fact, the secret speech along with "harebrained" reforms in agriculture
and administration plus the Cuban missile fiasco led to Khrushchev’s
downfall in 1964 and ushered in Brezhnev’s 18-year reign, sometimes
described as Stalinism without Stalin.

But without Khrushchev there could have been no Gorbachev. Khrushchev’s
biographer William Taubman is right when he says: "Khrushchev’s speech
denouncing Stalin was the bravest and most reckless thing he ever did. The
Soviet regime never recovered and neither did he."

What was best about the secret speech was its questioning spirit, which
leads me to some questions of my own. Why is there no monument to
Khrushchev in Moscow when Marx’s still stands opposite the Bolshoi?

Why not make Feb. 25 something of a national holiday, marking as it does
a critical stage in the evolution of Russian freedom?

Or is Khrushchev, like Gorbachev, viewed with disdain in the Kremlin for
having caused the demise of the Soviet Union, the "greatest geopolitical
catastrophe of the 20th century" to use President Vladimir Putin’s words.

But the real question is — has Russia successfully come to terms with its
past as the Germans apparently have with theirs? And, if not, won’t that
impede Russia’s efforts to become a 21st-century society, if not at some
future point thwarting them outright?                  -30-
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NOTE: Richard Lourie is the author of "The Autobiography of
Joseph Stalin" and "Sakharov: A Biography."
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LINK: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2006/02/20/006-full.html
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8 .                                    SACRIFICING STALIN

OPINION: By Boris Kagarlitsky, St. Petersburg Times
St. Petersburg, Russia, Wednesday, January 22, 2006

Fifty years ago this month, the Soviet Communist Party held its 20th
Congress. The decisions reached at most Party congresses are long
forgotten, but the events of February 1956 continue to inspire interest and
debate.

For young people who have grown up in the post-Soviet consumer society,
Feb. 14 – the opening day of the 20th Party Congress – is Valentine’s Day,
when people send flowers and sappy cards to their sweethearts. Yet the
ideas first aired at the 20th Party Congress continue to echo in the
political debates of the present.

Current Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov, commenting on the 50th
anniversary of the congress, said that the famous "secret speech" delivered
by Nikita Khrushchev to a closed session at the congress was extremely
damaging. In Zyuganov’s view, Khrushchev’s speech, in which he denounced
Stalin’s crimes and the cult of personality, was the beginning of the end.
It left society deeply divided.

Everything in the speech was true, of course, but what was the point in
airing the Party’s dirty laundry? "In his speech, Khrushchev was basically
settling a personal score with Stalin," Zyuganov said. "It should be
emphasized that the speech was not discussed in advance by either the
plenum or the presidium of the Communist Party."

Khrushchev delivered the secret speech on Feb. 25, the last day of the
congress. And it wasn’t much of a secret. The text was sent out across the
country and read at Party meetings, which were, of course, also closed. As a
result, millions of people were familiar with the speech within a few weeks.

Contrary to Zyuganov’s claim, it did not divide society. People accepted it,
just as they had accepted previous Party directives about exposing
"wreckers" and destroying "enemies of the people."

In geopolitical and economic terms, the Soviet Union reached the height of
its power under Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev. It led the way into outer
space, achieved nuclear parity with the United States and cultivated many
new allies in the Middle East and Africa. The standard of living improved at
home. But the ideological monolith of the Stalin era was gone for good.

Soviet society was never entirely monolithic. The proof of this can be found
in the novels of Alexander Solzhenitsyn as well as in the Soviet archives.
There was, however, a strong sense of a common fate and a common cause
that united not just the working class and the bureaucratic elite, but even
gulag inmates and their captors.

The Stalinist regime was directly linked to the history of the Revolution.
It was a sort of communist Bonapartism. It combined totalitarianism with
democratic principles, fear and repression with enthusiasm and sincerity.
This blend made the 20th Party Congress possible.

Looking back on the congress, some accused Khrushchev of inconsistency
and a lack of radicalism, while others objected to the fact that he made
Stalin’s crimes public and turned political reform into a personal,
posthumous reckoning with Stalin. The guilt or complicity of other Politburo

members is not the issue, however. Khrushchev heaped all the blame on Stalin
because he wanted to avoid a serious discussion of what had happened in
the Soviet Union during the 1930s and 1940s.

Had Khrushchev’s view of the dead dictator been more balanced, questions
might have been raised about the inherent contradictions of the Soviet state
and about the extent to which the existing order reflected Marxist
conceptions of socialism. These questions had been raised by Trotsky, who
was anathema to the elite under Khrushchev just as he had been under Stalin.

Had Khrushchev been a less virulent anti-Stalinist, he would almost
certainly have been forced in the direction of Trotskyism.

The Party elite in the late-1950s opted to forgive no one and to comprehend
nothing. Stalin had to be sacrificed in order to protect the system. The
secret speech was not one man’s initiative; it reflected the general view of
the Party machine after three years of infighting.

Another 30 years passed, and Mikhail Gorbachev’s perestroika drove the
Soviet Union to total collapse. Subsequent reforms left millions of people
to fight for their lives, as they had once fought to survive in the gulag.
Can all of this be regarded as a direct result of the 20th Party Congress,
which had such an influence on Gorbachev and his successor, Boris Yeltsin?

Both Gorbachev and Yeltsin belong to another generation, of course, one
both formed and corrupted by the Brezhnev years. The bureaucracy went
through a major evolution in those years as well. The 20th Party Congress
was nevertheless a watershed of sorts – a superficial victory for the
democratic current in Soviet society, but a real victory for the
bureaucracy.

Democratic reforms were carried out, but only under the control of the
bureaucracy, and only to serve its interests. For the country this was the
worst possible outcome.                       -30-
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NOTE: Boris Kagarlitsky is Director of the Institute for Globalization
Studies, Moscow, Russia.  Link: http://www.iprog.ru/en/
———————————————————————————————-
LINK: http://www.sptimes.ru/index.php?action_id=2&story_id=16855
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9.                    TURNING POINT IN SOVIET HISTORY
                    The Gulags were emptied out and largely shut down

EDITORIAL: International Herald Tribune (IHT)
Paris, France, Friday, February 24, 2006

It’s been 50 years since Nikita Khrushchev made his famous "secret speech"
to the 20th Communist Party Congress in the Kremlin, a six-hour marathon in
which he denounced Joseph Stalin’s "cult of personality" and exposed many
of his horrors. The speech was subsequently read out at local party
meetings, and it reached the West, though it was not made public in the

Soviet Union until 1989.

Yet it was a turning point in Soviet history. The Gulags were emptied out
and largely shut down, and the monolithic Communist bloc that Stalin formed
began to break down. Hungary and later Czechoslovakia were emboldened to
challenge Moscow while China set off on its own path. Within the Soviet
Union a cultural "thaw" laid the groundwork for artistic and political
dissent.

Though Khrushchev ordered a vicious crackdown in Hungary and
denounced the young modernist writers in the crudest of terms, the days
of the Soviet experiment were numbered.

Still, the secret speech remains shrouded in ambivalence. When Khrushchev
denounced Stalin-era atrocities, he attributed them exclusively to the man,
and even then, five years would pass before the Great Leader’s remains were
removed from the mausoleum they shared with Vladimir Lenin’s.

And it took another 35 years of repressive rule before it became possible to
openly explore the crimes of the Communist Party and its founder. But
perhaps the real reason we remain ambivalent about the secret speech is
because we remain ambivalent about Russia itself.

The exposure of Stalin-era crimes, it turned out, did not end the
repression, just as the debunking of Communist ideology, we now see, did
not lead to a culture of freedom. The large majority of Russians seem happy
that a strong leader is once again gathering enormous political and economic
powers in the Kremlin and silencing critics of the state.

Russia remains that "riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma" of which
Winston Churchill complained in 1939, ever waiting for another act of
redemption.

Still, on this anniversary, to reread Khrushchev’s speech is to realize that
whatever this Russia is today, it is not Stalin’s hell. There may be
xenophobia and corruption and a host of other failings, and true democracy
may still be elusive. But there is nothing of that unspeakable terror and
killing to which Khrushchev put an end 50 years ago.         -30-
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LINK: http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/02/24/opinion/edrussia.php
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10.   KHRUSHCHEV’S SECRET SPEECH: A CRACK IN THE MONOLITH
                    Mike Haynes writes on how 50 years ago Khrushchev’s
                         ‘secret speech’ began the demolition of Stalinism

FEATURE: By Mike Haynes, SocialistWorkerOnline
London, United Kingdom, Saturday, February 18, 2006

Political speeches are usually one-day wonders. Fifty years ago next week,
Russian leader Nikita Khrushchev made a "secret speech" that was very
different. Late in the evening of 24 February 1956 delegates to the 20th
congress of the Soviet Communists were called back from their hotels to
the Kremlin in the greatest secrecy.

Just after midnight, as 25 February began, they heard Khrushchev begin to
speak. What he said was so explosive that it would not be published publicly
in the Soviet Union until 1988. But in the following weeks it was read out
at meetings across the country. It was also sent to fraternal Communist
Parties and it soon got out to the West.

The speech made history. Khrushchev ripped aside the propaganda image
of the former dictator Joseph Stalin, who had died three years earlier. He
did it from the centre of power.

But as he spoke he was also anxious to contain the damage his revelations
might cause. "We should not," he said soon after, "give ammunition to the
enemy [or] wash our dirty linen before their eyes." But the enemy he was
worried about was not the US, but the Russian people.

Stalin had claimed that his Russia had been built on the Bolshevik socialist
revolution of October 1917, which overthrew the dictator, the tsar. In
reality his power had grown out of its ashes. Stalin had helped to pile them
up.

Those closest to the real revolution became his opponents, then his victims.
As they disappeared Stalin and his supporters changed the whole idea of
socialism. The task was now to play capitalism at its own game.

It was "to catch up and overtake" the West by building up the economy and
heavy industry, and developing the Soviet army to match any in the world.

They called this socialism because the state took control and tried to
direct development. But state power was also used to crush any democracy
and to squeeze workers and peasants.

Living standards plummeted. The authority of managers was asserted in the
factories. By 1939 even arriving late for work was a criminal offence and
several millions were punished.

Those on the left who criticised Stalin’s regime were denounced as fascists.
The closest allies of the leader of the 1917 revolution, Vladimir Lenin,
were put on trial and made to confess to grotesque crimes.

Stalin had made the mistake of exiling Leon Trotsky, another leader of the
1917 revolution. From abroad he kept up a lonely campaign against Stalin
until he too became a victim, killed by a Russian agent in Mexico in 1940.

The Russian economy did move forward and, affected by propaganda,
many fell for the myth that Stalin was building a new world. Critics were
"miserable nonentities [who] raised their treacherous hands against
comrade Stalin. Stalin-our hope. Stalin-our desire. Stalin-the light of
advanced and progressive humanity. Stalin-our will. Stalin-our victory."
                                           WASTEFUL
Such praise was commonplace. This came from the young Nikita
Khrushchev as he tried to ride up into the new ruling class that was forming
around Stalin in the 1920s and 1930s.

Russia was being driven forward by accelerated industrialisation, a process
which had taken generations in the West. It was immensely wasteful and
millions died. Millions more were put into prison camps and colonies that
became known as the gulags.

This was enough to provide the resources to help defeat the Nazis in the
Second World War. The cost of the war was enormous. Huge areas were
destroyed and as many as 29 million died. Ten million more became
disabled war veterans.

Yet Stalin redoubled the process of industrialisation as the Cold War with
the US began. There was also the need to defend the empire that had been
created in Eastern Europe after the Russians had pushed the Nazis back.

Famine in 1946-7 killed perhaps two million people. The camps and colonies
filled to their highest numbers, with up to six million prisoners in 1952-3.

The logic was the same-squeeze the population to generate more resources
for investment and accumulation.

But Stalin’s paranoia also grew. "You are blind kittens. What will happen
without me?" he told those at the top. "The country will perish because you
cannot recognise enemies."

Allies were arrested and sent to camps. "Cosmopolitanism" was denounced
as Russian nationalism grew. But attacks on cosmopolitanism were a coded
form of anti-Semitism, which was becoming more evident.

Stalin’s death in March 1953 brought the possibility of relief from this
lunacy. It also brought the possibility of beginning to rationalise the
system. If competition with the West was to be a long-term affair the old
methods of brute force would no longer work.

Workers needed a better standard of living and peasants could not grow
enough food if they were malnourished. Scientists could not build an atomic
programme, rockets and missiles in the gulags. The difficulty was to know
how far to go and how far to confront the past. At first the steps were
tentative. One novelist likened it to a "thaw".

At the start of 1956 it seemed that more was necessary. This much was
agreed at the top. But in his secret speech Khrushchev went further.

Stalin, he argued, had not followed Lenin. Lenin had written a testament
saying that Stalin had too much power and should be removed. Stalin had
not been the great leader. Behind his cult lay a less impressive figure who,
when the war had began, had collapsed.

More devastating still was the relentless detail of the repression of the
1930s. Hundreds of thousands of victims had been shot, and whole peoples
had been deported in the war.

The details confirmed most of what right and left wing critics of the Soviet
Union had said. Khrushchev had to be careful. He needed to clear the
baggage of Stalin as a way of modernising the regime.

He also needed to knock his fellow leaders off balance in the struggle for
power. Stalin had created the regime and Khrushchev, like the others, was
its beneficiary. He therefore tried to limit the criticism in four main
ways.

FIRSTLY, there was no intention of allowing the position of Russia to be
weakened internationally. "When it comes to combating imperialism we are
all Stalinists," Khrushchev said.

SECONDLY, industrialisation and the collectivisation of the peasantry,
whatever its human costs, remained the basis of Soviet power and could
not be seriously questioned.

                                            VICTIMS
THIRDLY
, the rehabilitation of Stalin’s victims would be restricted. Those
Bolsheviks who had opposed him such as Nikolai Bukharin and Trotsky
remained cast out because they had offered a different vision of the future
and a more fundamental challenge than the loyalist victims who came later.

[FOURTHLY] Finally, to explain how things had gone wrong Khrushchev
began to develop the idea of the "cult of personality". The core of the
regime had been distorted by an individual and the cult that had grown up
around him.

Even within these limits the shock was enormous. In Eastern Europe the
speech helped to undermine the credibility of leaders who had depended on
Stalin’s support. It helped to encourage a wave of discussion across the
Eastern bloc. Demonstrations for reform broke out in Poland and finally,
later in 1956, there was revolution in Hungary.

In the West too the Communist Parties experienced turmoil. As Soviet tanks
rolled into Hungary it was obvious to most party members that the problem
went to the heart of the regime.

Many people left the Communist Parties and even the majorities which stayed
within the Western parties now had fewer illusions. Membership of the party
would mean a more pragmatic concern with industrial issues at home. The
Soviet Union might eventually, they hoped, become a land flowing with milk
and honey but it had never been that under Stalin.

The Russian leadership were now unsure how to move on. Khrushchev faced
enemies. In 1957 they tried and failed to overthrow him. But he could not
build a basis for effective reform.

In the next years Khrushchev zigged one way and zagged another. The fact
that the Soviet Union appeared to be growing more powerful and more rational
suggested that this might be enough.

Sputnik satellites were launched, men flew into space and the US granted the
Soviet Union a new respect even as Khrushchev fell out with China. The
Chinese leadership was still pursuing the path of industrialisation and the
Stalin model continued to look more attractive.

In 1961 Khrushchev made a sharper attack on Stalin. He revealed that Stalin
had signed the death warrants of tens of thousands. Stalin’s body was
removed from Red Square and reburied.

Two years later Khrushchev was swinging back. "Even now we feel that Stalin
was devoted to Communism, he was a Marxist, this cannot and should not be
denied," said Khrushchev.

This was nonsense. Stalin was a murderous thug who had destroyed the
revolution. Khrushchev was not a socialist. He stood at the head of a ruling
class contesting for world power. He could not completely throw away Stalin,
and he also could not develop a consistent approach to his legacy .

In 1964 Khrushchev was booted out of power. Few mourned this. The spring
thaw had not developed into a summer. His successors created more stability
but it came at a price. There would be no more inconsistency. "We should not
pour muck on ourselves," said new leader Leonid Brezhnev. The Stalin problem
would now be dealt with by suppressing discussion of it.

Outside Russia the myth of Stalin had been weakened. Inside, the regime had
partly opened up but it still depended on Stalin’s structures. It would take
another generation before growing crisis would force them to take another
step.                                             -30-
—————————————————————————————————–
The secret speech by Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev can be read at:
www.marxists.org/archive/khrushchev/1956/02/24-abs.htm
—————————————————————————————————–
"Russia: Class and Power 1917-2000" by Mike Haynes (�8) is available
from Bookmarks, the socialist bookshop. Phone 020 7637 1848 or go
to www.bookmarks.uk.com
——————————————————————————————————
LINK: http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/article.php?article_id=8287
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11.        THE REAL SECRET OF KHRUSHCHEV’S SPEECH
                 Fifty years ago a Soviet leader dared to criticise Stalin.
                           But was this bravery or a cynical ploy?

Tom Parfitt in Moscow, The Guardian Unlimited
London, United Kingdom, Friday February 24, 2006

Many of those who were present recall the "deathly silence" that fell across
the hall. It was the evening of February 25 1956. Unexpectedly, delegates at
the 20th congress of the Communist party had been ushered into a final,
closed session at central committee headquarters in Moscow.

When the Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, took the tribune and began to
speak, some members of the audience fainted. Others clawed their heads
in despair. Most could not believe their ears.

Without warning, Khrushchev had launched a fierce attack on his
predecessor, the revered Joseph Stalin. The great vozhd (chief) who had
guided the country through the second world war and died three years
earlier was a "capricious and despotic character", Khrushchev said. In a
four-hour indictment he condemned Stalin for creating a personality cult
and unleashing "brutal violence" on anyone who stood in his way.

Uttered 50 years ago tomorrow, this was Khrushchev’s secret speech: a
coruscating indictment of Stalinism that would roll out across the world;
the beginning of the "thaw" and the end of terror in a country where
hundreds of thousands had been shot or sent to the gulags.

In the west, the speech has mostly been interpreted as a brave and moral
step that changed the fate of the country. Earlier this month Khrushchev’s
granddaughter Nina, a lecturer who lives in the US, lauded him in the
Washington Post for "outing Stalin as a monster".

Yet in Russia, amid muted celebrations of the anniversary, there is growing
evidence that Khrushchev’s speech was a cynical ploy to save his skin and
that of his party cronies. "Khrushchev was trying to dump all the blame on
Stalin when his own hands were drenched in blood," says Yuri Zhukov, a
historian from the Russian Academy of Sciences who has studied newly
declassified archives on the period.

The re-evaluation comes as critics accuse President Vladimir Putin of
leading a drift towards an authoritarianism that resembles the rule of the
communist strongmen who dominated the 20th century. New measures have
included increased state control over broadcast media and the replacement
of elected governors by appointees.

While he is not actively promoted by the Kremlin, Stalin remains hugely
popular, with higher approval ratings than Khrushchev. Few politicians dare
criticise his legacy despite pleas to do so from victims of his oppression.
A survey by the All-Russia Centre for the Study of Public Opinion found that
50% of Russians believe Stalin played a positive role, up from 46% in 2003.

In 1956 Khrushchev’s speech was certainly a rent with the past. Stalin, he
said, had committed "serious and grave perversions of party principles" and
triggered the "cruellest repression" by inventing the concept of the "enemy
of the people". In 1937 and 1938, 98 of the 139 members of the central
committee had been shot on Stalin’s orders, Khrushchev revealed.

Many of the 1,400 people at the congress had only heard innuendo about such
events and their shock was real; as was the fury of Stalin’s supporters. "My
impression was very negative," says Nikolai Baybakov, 94, then head of
Gosplan, the Soviet central planning agency, and whose voice is still dark
with fury at the insult meted out to his hero. "Yes, negative. Compared to
Stalin, Khrushchev was a zero."

No debate was allowed, however, and the delegates went home in awe.
Many were sunk in depression; two committed suicide within weeks.

Almost immediately, changes began. Although the full text of the speech
was not published in the Soviet Union until the late 80s, excerpts were
passed to local party officials and read at meetings. Political prisoners
were rehabilitated, the press was given limited freedom and ties were
re-established with foreign powers such as France and the US.

Khrushchev’s political enemies were sidelined, but they escaped the death
sentence that would have been automatic under Stalin. Abroad, the speech
sparked intense interest after it was leaked by foreign communists. The
Observer devoted an entire issue to the 26,000-word text.

But while Khrushchev set unstoppable changes in motion, experts say he
concealed his own role in bloody repressions. Only in the past five years
has the full extent of his complicity in Stalin’s terror become evident.
[KHRUSHCHEV REQUESTED TO IMPRISON 30,000 PEOPLE WHEN
      HE TOOK OVER THE LEADERSHIP OF UKRAINE IN 1938]
A telegram discovered in Politburo archives by Mr Zhukov shows that
Khrushchev sent a request to Moscow to kill or imprison 30,000 people
when he took over the leadership of Ukraine in 1938. A brutal purge of
intellectuals and "hostile elements" was soon under way.

The year before, when he was party chief in the Moscow region, documents
show Khrushchev asked permission to shoot 8,500 anti-Soviet "traitors" and
dispatch almost 33,000 to camps. "These persecutions were real and they
were carried out on Khrushchev’s orders," Mr Zhukov says.

Dima Bykov, a young Russian intellectual, says Khrushchev was a willing
servant of Stalin. "When I was a teacher I explained the 20th congress to
my pupils using an analogy: imagine Himmler giving an anti-fascist speech
at a Nazi congress after Hitler’s death."

The limits of Khrushchev’s thaw were evident a few months after the speech
when he sent Soviet tanks to crush the Hungarian uprising. And while he
allowed Alexander Solzhenitsyn to publish a novel about the gulags, he
banned Boris Pasternak’s Dr Zhivago for its unsympathetic portrait of the
aftermath of the Bolshevik revolution.

Nikita Khrushchev, 46, a journalist who was named after his grandfather,
admits the Soviet leader was not the hero he is often made out to be. "Of
course, grandpa participated in the repressions," he says. "Of course, you
can see his signatures on the lists of those to be dealt with. And, of
course, many documents have yet to be released from the archives. But the
fact that he dared to expose Stalin was his own courageous step. It was a
real feat … It meant he had overcome the Stalinist inside himself."

Mr Bykov says Khrushchev was a brave man who recognised his faults
and attempted reform, but lacked the will to smash the system completely.
"Khrushchev was half dictator, half liberal," he says. "Putin is just the
same. The difference is that in Khrushchev’s time the main movement was
towards freedom. Now it is backwards. Krushchev initiated freedom.
Putin is its graveyard."                        -30-
——————————————————————————————-
                                   CORNCOB NIKITA
[1] Khrushchev was best known as "corncob Nikita" for his attempts
to plant vast tracts of maize [corn]
[2] His Khrushchev’s "secret speech" in 1956 took four hours to deliver
and the full text – not published in the Soviet Union until 1989 – was
26,000 words long. In it, he said Josef Stalin had "practised brutal
violence, not only towards everything which opposed him, but also

towards that which seemed, to his capricious and despotic character,
contrary to his concepts"
[3] The speech included details of a furious letter from Vladimir Lenin
to Stalin in 1923 in which the former leader accused Stalin of insulting
his wife.
[4] Politburo archives show that Khrushchev concealed that he had
requested permission to shoot or imprison about 70,000 people
himself as a party boss in the late 1930s
——————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/russia/article/0,,1716627,00.html
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12.             WHEN IT WAS NO LONGER SWEET OR NOBLE
                                  TO KILL FOR THE CAUSE
Mirror in which the left saw itself was shattered. Its self-deception lives on.
COMMENTARY: By Martin Kettle, The Guardian
London, United Kingdom, Saturday February 11, 2006

If the great history lesson of the 20th century is that socialism does not
work then the watershed event in that tragic enlightenment was the one that
took place in Moscow 50 years ago this month – the so-called "secret speech"
delivered by Nikita Khrushchev to a closed session of the 20th congress of
the Soviet Communist party on February 25 1956, in which he mounted a
devastating attack on Joseph Stalin, then not quite three years dead.

I write this with complete intellectual confidence but also with some
journalistic trepidation. Part of me feels the need almost to apologise for
writing today about an event from the now-distant past, which for many
readers is likely to seem as unrelated to their own lives as the Council of
Trent or the Treaty of Unkiar Skelessi.

Moreover, as someone raised in the British communist world, whose first
memory of any public event is of the death of Stalin himself and who was
surprised at the age of five to find that my infant-school teacher had never
heard of Harry Pollitt, I am anxious not to disappear into historical
anorakland and lose the many readers fortunate enough not to be similarly
steeped in the bliss, brutality and betrayal of the revolutionary movement.

Yet the secret speech has shaped all of our lives, whoever we are and
whether we realise it or not, most obviously because it led eventually to
the collapse of the Soviet system, the end of the cold war, and the triumph
of the west of which we are all today living if still sometimes conflicted
witnesses; but less obviously because it posed questions about public
intellectual and political honesty that remain just as undodgeable today as
they were in 1956.

Given his own history, Khrushchev’s speech was an act of great moral
bravery and huge political recklessness. Speaking for nearly four hours, he
stunned his listeners with a detailed and sweeping account of Stalin’s mass
arrests, deportations, torture and executions.

Though the delegates were sworn to secrecy (and the speech remained
unpublished in the USSR until 1988), the details soon leaked out, both in
briefings to Soviet and satellite parties and, possibly at Khrushchev’s own
instigation, to the western media, including via John Rettie of Reuters,
later of the Guardian.

The truth caved in on us, is how one person in the audience graphically
described the speech. But as Tony Judt points out in his magisterial
Postwar, it is important not to overstate what Khrushchev was attempting.
His aim, not surprisingly, was a controlled de-Stalinisation that kept the
revolutionary myth and the Soviet system intact. All the faults of the
Bolshevik experience were laid at Stalin’s door alone.

But in his characteristically impulsive way, Khrushchev placed the
possibility of a reformed Soviet system on the agenda. For the next decade,
indeed, it was still possible to believe in that outcome, and there were
true believers who persuaded themselves that it could happen, even 30 years
later in the Gorbachev years.

Harold Wilson’s "white heat of the technological revolution" speech in 1963
can only be properly understood in the context of his fear that Khrushchev’s
boast that the USSR would outproduce the US by 1970 was well-founded.

But the larger reality, as his biographer William Taubman says, is that the
system never recovered from the secret speech and nor did Khrushchev.

The most immediate reason for this, especially outside Russia, was the
suppression of the Hungarian democratic revolution in November 1956.
From that moment on, communism was irrevocably more about oppression
than liberation.

After Hungary the excuses would not wash, though many still made them
(even my own father, in spite of the fact that he, along with the former
teachers’ leader Max Morris, was one of only two members of the British
CP’s executive committee to vote to condemn the Soviet invasion).

After Hungary, as Judt puts it, communism became "just a way of life to be
endured" until, mercifully, its misery and decline came to an end without
large-scale bloodshed in 1989.

It is of course true that, long before 1956, there had been generations of
progressives, socialists of various kinds and even communists who had
broken with the Bolshevik myth or who had never embraced it in the first
place. Traditions of democratic and moderate socialism that predated the
Russian revolution flowed on uninterrupted by 1956.

Yet though not directly implicated by 1956 in the way that communists were,
these other traditions on the left were challenged and damaged by what
Khrushchev said and what the Red Army tanks then did in Budapest.

The secret speech was a turning point because, in Eric Hobsbawm’s
authoritative phrase, while the October revolution created a world communist
movement, the 20th congress destroyed it. Experience, whether in the form of
Walter Benjamin’s backward-looking angel of history or Barbara Tuchman’s
lantern from the stern (the image is essentially the same), had weighed the
left in the balance and found it wanting.

After 1956 socialism became more than ever just a matter of religious faith
rather than reason. It would take another 30 or more years before that
verdict was irrevocable. But it was the secret speech and Hungary that
together, as Judt says, shattered the mirror in which the European left had
always seen itself.

But it shattered something else too. After 1956 it was no longer
intellectually honest or true (if it had ever been) to use the cold-war
syllogism that my enemy’s enemy is my friend.

Those who saw history as a long war between good (the left, socialism,
the future, the Soviet Union) and evil (the right, capitalism, the old
order, the United States) were no longer entitled to swallow their doubts.

It was no longer sweet and noble to kill for the cause. A few, of course,
still said it was. Even to this day one occasionally encounters the old lie
that the Hungarian rising was a counter-revolution.

But the cold-war syllogism lives on today in a new guise. Too many haters
of capitalism and the United States still cram everything into the frame of
untruth and self-deception that says my enemy’s enemy is still my friend
because, even if he blows up my family on the tube, murders my colleagues
on the bus or threatens to behead me for publishing a drawing, he is still
at war with Bush, Blair and Berlusconi.

It is 50 years this month since that simplistic view of the world lost
whatever moral purchase it may once have had. It is time such thinking
was, to choose a sadly appropriate word, purged.

Too long, my brothers and my sisters, too long.             -30-
————————————————————————————————-
Martin Kettle, The Guardian, martin.kettle@guardian.co.uk
————————————————————————————————-
LINK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,,1707531,00.html
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13.                           OPENING PANDORA’S BOX
  50th anniversary of an event whose effect on Hungary was earth-shattering.
 Thankful to Khrushchev for the speech that shook up the Communist world.

By Richard W. Bruner, The Budapest Sun Online
Budapest, Hungary, Thursday, February 23, 2006

SATURDAY (Feb 25) is the 50th anniversary of an event whose effect on
Hungary and other eastern European countries was earth-shattering.

On Feb 25, 1956, First Party Secretary Nikita Khrushchev described in a
speech to the 20th Congress of the Soviet Communist Party the "perversions,"
criminal excesses, and failures of Josef Stalin, brought about by Stalin’s
"cult of personality" (which, ironically, Khrushchev had helped cultivate);
Stalin had died three years earlier.

The speech was supposed to be secret (it was not officially published in the
Soviet Union until 1988; but western intelligence agencies knew much of its
content within days. So did Communist parties around the world, scattering
confusion in their ranks.

The speech’s impact specifically on Hungary, among eastern European
countries, was, according to historian Tony Judt, "even more dramatic." In
his lucidly brilliant book, "Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945," Judt
wrote, "Khrushchev’s repudiation of Stalin seemed to suggest that Moscow
would now look favorably upon different ‘roads to socialism,’ and had
rejected terror and repression as a tool of Communist control."

Ultimately, such a view was dangerous, as Hungarians were to learn a few
months later when students took to the streets. By the time of Khrushchev’s
speech, Hungary already had a reputation for unpredictability.

In 1953, Moscow had decided to de-Stalinize Hungary by putting into power
the reform-minded Imre Nagy, once purged and imprisoned (in 1949, he was
one of only two Hungarian Politburo members who opposed executing L�szl�
Rajk). Rehabilitated, he proposed closing internment and labor camps,
encouraging agriculture and abandoning unrealistic industrial targets.

He managed to stay in office until 1955, when party enemies, led by M�ty�s
R�kosi, persuaded Moscow "that he [Nagy] could not be counted on to
maintain firm control, at a moment when the Soviet Union was facing the
threat of an expanded NATO," wrote Judt.

The Soviet Central Committee removed Nagy from office and once again
expelled him from the party. R�kosi and friends took over power, just eight
months before Khrushchev made his landmark speech. But R�kosi quickly
fell out of favor because of his reputation as an anti-Titoist at a time
when Khrushchev was trying to repair relations with Yugoslavia.

"With high-level Soviet-Yugoslav negotiations taking place in Moscow in
June, 1956," wrote Judt, "it seemed unnecessarily provocative to maintain in
power in Budapest an unreconstructed Stalinist." So the Soviets replaced
R�kosi with Ern� Ger�, another Stalinist. "This proved a mistake; Ger�
could neither lead change nor suppress it."

Instead, the changes opened a Pandora’s Box. On Oct 16, 1956, nearly eight
months after Khrushchev’s supposedly liberating speech, university students
in Szeged organized a "League of Hungarian Students," not affiliated with
Communist student groups.

Other student groups sprouted around the country. On Oct 22, Technical
University students in Budapest drafted a 16-point manifesto calling for
industrial and agrarian reforms, more democracy, free speech, criminal
trials for R�kosi and friends, and the installation of Imre Nagy as prime
minister.

Events tumbled forward quickly. On Oct 23, students assembled in Parliament
Square to demonstrate in support of their demands. Ger� vacillated. At first
he condemned the students, then permitted the demonstration, and finally
denounced it. The students tore down a statue of Stalin and Soviet troops
entered the city.

The Hungarian Communist Central Committee met through the night and the
next day installed Nagy as prime minister. Nagy wanted both to restore order
and to negotiate with the demonstrators. But chaos was widespread, with
student organizations, workers’ councils and national committees forming all
over the country and demonstrators clashing with police.

Communist Party leaders called it a "counterrevolution," missing the
opportunity, Judt wrote, "to co-opt it." Nagy decided to gamble, probably
hoping for western support. On Oct 28, he went on the radio, acknowledging
the legitimacy of the protests and denouncing the secret police.

Again, on Oct 30, he went on the radio, this time to imply he was planning
to form a multiparty government. The next day he said he would negotiate to
withdraw from the Warsaw Pact.

The entire episode is replete with ironies. On Oct 31, according to an
American National Security Briefing Book, "the tide seemed to turn
overwhelmingly in the revolution’s favor when Pravda published a declaration
promising greater equality in relations between the USSR and its east
European satellites. One sentence was of particular interest. It read:

‘[T]he Soviet Government is prepared to enter into the appropriate
negotiations with the government of the Hungarian People’s Republic and
other members of the Warsaw Treaty on the question of the presence of
Soviet troops on the territory of Hungary.’

To outside observers, the Kremlin statement came as a total surprise. CIA
Director Allen Dulles called it a ‘miracle.’ The crisis seemed on the verge
of being resolved in a way no-one in Hungary or the west had dared to hope.

"But tragically, and unbeknownst to anyone outside the Kremlin, the very
day the declaration appeared in Pravda, the Soviet leadership completely
reversed itself and decided to put a final, violent end to the rebellion.

From declassified documents, it is now clear that several factors influenced
their decision, including: the belief that the rebellion directly threatened
Communist rule in Hungary (unlike the challenge posed by Wladyslaw
Gomulka and the Polish Communists just days before, which had targeted
Kremlin rule but not the Communist system); that the west would see a lack
of response by Moscow as a sign of weakness, especially after the British,
French and Israeli strike against Suez that had begun on Oct 29; that the
spread of anti-Communist feelings in Hungary threatened the rule of
neighboring satellite leaders; and that members of the Soviet party would
not understand a failure to respond with force in Hungary."

Expectations of western support ran high when Nagy announced, on the
evening of Nov 1, Hungary’s unilateral withdrawal from the Pact and asked
the UN to recognize Hungary as neutral.

Judt wrote, "Many [Hungarian rebels] sincerely hoped for western assistance,
encouraged by the uncompromising tone of American public rhetoric and by
emissions from Radio Free Europe, whose �migr� broadcasters encouraged
Hungarians to take up arms and promised imminent foreign support."

Nagy gambled, but lost. Soviet leaders ordered Soviet army divisions in
Romania and Ukraine to the Hungarian border. The Soviets sneaked J�nos
K�d�r to Moscow where Khrushchev convinced him to form a new
government.

K�d�r had a history with Nagy that might have compromised his willingness
to replace him. Nagy, during his earlier stretch as party leader, had
released K�d�r from prison. Regardless of whatever feelings he had, K�d�r

accepted the Soviet offer. Nagy and close colleagues left office and were
granted asylum in the Yugoslav embassy on Nov 4. Within 72 hours, Soviet
troops had control of Budapest.

On Nov 7, K�d�r’s government was sworn in. On Nov 22, Nagy and his
friends were tricked into leaving the Yugoslav embassy; they were abducted
and sent to prison in Romania. After much delay, K�d�r brought Nagy back
to Hungary to be secretly tried in June 1958, and found guilty of fomenting
a counter-revolution. He was executed at dawn June 16, 1958.

Two hundred thousand Hungarians – 2% of the population – fled Hungary
during the Soviet occupation after the revolution. They settled in Austria,
Britain, what was then West Germany, France, and other places. The United
States accepted 80,000 of them.

The emigrants were mostly young people and many were educated
professionals. They may have been thankful to Khrushchev for the speech
that shook up the Communist world.  -30-
————————————————————————————————
For more information see
www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/1956khrushchev-secret1.html
————————————————————————————————-
http://www.budapestsun.com/full_story.asp?ArticleId=%7BC3DF94C65F9A4A2CA7DA084E52ED80B0%7D&From=Style
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[return to index ] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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14. KHRUSHCHEV’S ‘SECRET SPEECH’ REMEMBERED: 50 YEARS
                Entered history as the first step toward de-Stalinization

By Claire Bigg, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
Prague, Czech Republic, Wednesday, February 15, 2006

MOSCOW – Khrushchev’s speech at the 20th Congress of the Communist
Party of the Soviet Union — held 14-25 February 1956 — entered history as
the first step toward de-Stalinization.

In this speech, Khrushchev accused his predecessor, Josef Stalin, of
creating a regime based on "suspicion, fear, and terror." Khrushchev added
that he wanted to break the cult of Stalin, who had died three years before.

He condemned the mass repressions that took place between 1936 and 1938,
lashed out at Stalin’s foreign policy during World War II, and accused him
of nationalism and anti-Semitism.

             HEART ATTACKS AMONG AUDIENCE MEMBERS
Khrushchev was the first official publicly to denounce Stalin’s policies,
and his sensational speech stunned the senior party officials gathered at
the congress.

According to delegates who witnessed the speech, it provoked deep shock
among the audience — many delegates were reportedly crying, others were
holding their heads in despair, and several even had heart attacks in the
conference hall.

Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalinism became known as the "secret

speech," since it was delivered behind closed doors and was not made
public until 18 March 1956.

                        PRISONERS FREED AFTER SPEECH
Roy Medvedev, a historian who in 1956 was a school director in a provincial
Russian city, describes how he first heard the content of the speech. "They
gathered activists, all the party members, all the Komsomol members, the
directors of kolkhozs [communal farms[ and sovkhozs [state farms],"
Medvedev says.

"The instructor of the district Communist Party arrived, took out a red
book, and told us: ‘I am going to read you the secret speech of Nikita
Sergeevich Khrushchev at the 20th congress.’

For four hours, we listed to this report. There were people present who had
fought in World War II and worshipped Stalin. There were people like me,
hose father was repressed and died in prison and who knew about torture
and camps."

In the aftermath of the speech, tens of thousands of political prisoners
were set free. Khrushchev’s words also had huge repercussions in Eastern
Europe, where it fuelled hopes of political change, particularly in Poland
and Hungary.

Secrecy, however, shrouded the speech for many years — the full text was
not published in Russia until 1988, some 32 years later.

                      ‘COLOSSAL HISTORICAL SIGNIFICANCE’
Medvedev says it took a long time for him to realize its full impact. "The
press was not reporting anything," Medvedev says. "There was no television
back then, no information. Very serious processes were set in motion about
which we knew nothing.

Two days or so after the congress, Western Communist parties protested.
They asked why this had to be done. A secret correspondence immediately
started with the Chinese Communist Party, which resolutely condemned the
20th congress. It was an event of colossal historical significance."

Today, Russians remain divided on the legacy of the "secret speech." While
most communists still view it as an act of treason and say it has done more
harm than good, many observers hail it as the beginning of the end of the
repressive Stalinist era.

Former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev said yesterday that Khrushchev’s
speech had much wider implications than just demolishing the cult of Stalin.
He said it laid the foundation for perestroika by addressing, in his words,
"not only the cult of personality, but also democratic problems and ways to
manage the country."

Historians have often described Khrushchev as a liberal reformer. They
stress, however, that this "liberalism" soon showed its limits. Just nine
months later, in November 1956, Soviet tanks were crushing an anti-Soviet
uprising in Hungary, killing thousands of protesters.  -30-
—————————————————————————————————————-
http://www.rferl.org/featuresarticle/2006/02/65e55bb7-8f00-48eb-8876-bef95791a1ea.html

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[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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15.             THE SPEECH RUSSIA WANTS TO FORGET

By Tim Whewell, BBC NEWS, UK, Thursday, February 23, 2006

It was a speech so shocking that even 50 years on, Nikolai Baibakov
refuses point-blank to describe what he heard that day – a devastating
attack on the man he worshipped above all others. The retired Communist
Party official, now 91, can reel off scores of statistics of industrial
production and oil extraction in the 1950s.

But he tries every stratagem to avoid recalling the cataclysmic event to
which he is one of the very few surviving witnesses.

It was the secret final session of the 20th party congress on 25 February
1956, at which the Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev demolished the
reputation of his predecessor, Joseph Stalin.

Eventually, between gritted teeth, Baibakov concedes: "Maybe there were
individual incidents of repression, but what Khrushchev denounced Stalin
for, that never happened… Khrushchev just said those things to try and
give himself more authority as a leader."

It is hard to exaggerate the impact Khrushchev’s speech had in 1956, just
three years after the dictator’s death. Stalin’s embalmed body was lying
beside Lenin in the mausoleum on Red Square, and most Soviet citizens
regarded him as little less than a god.
                                          TORTURE
Many political prisoners had returned from the camps – though hundreds of
thousands remained there. And Kremlin leaders were already referring to the
"cult of the individual" that flourished during Stalin’s rule. But there had
been nothing to prepare the 1,400 delegates of the Congress for the bitter
tone and detail of the four-hour report that Khrushchev delivered behind
locked doors on 25 February.

He talked of how thousands of innocent people had been tortured into
confessing to crimes they never committed – and he said Stalin was
personally responsible. "He called in the interrogator, gave him
instructions, and told him which methods to use, methods that were

simple – to beat, beat, and once again, beat."

He described how Stalin ordered the murder of many of the Soviet Union’s
leading generals on the eve of World War II, his "monstrous" deportation
of whole peoples to other parts of the country – and even how he was
responsible for the ruination of agriculture.
                                         NO DISCUSSION
The delegates listened in stunned silence.

According to Khrushchev’s biographer William Taubman, "Nobody said
anything. They were uncertain even of looking each other in the eye, of
revealing a gut instinct, which they shouldn’t."

And in a society still dominated by fear, many of the millions of ordinary
members of the Communist Party and Young Communist League who heard
the text of the speech read out to them at specially-convened meetings in
the following weeks reacted in the same way.

Even if they had wanted to debate the sensational revelations, it would not
have been allowed. Each meeting began with the stern warning, "There will
be no discussion, comrades – and no notes may be taken!"

And lest anyone try to spread the contents of the speech more widely, the
red brochures with the text were all gathered up afterwards and returned to
party headquarters.

Khrushchev’s speech was considered so incendiary that it was not published
in Russia until 1988, when Mikhail Gorbachev’s "glasnost" policy allowed a
re-examination of Stalin’s crimes.
                               STALIN REHABILITATED
But that re-examination was short-lived. Because as the Soviet Union
collapsed, the rehabilitation of Stalin’s victims began to be overshadowed
by the rehabilitation of Stalin himself.

Now, after 15 years when many Russians have faced growing impoverishment
and watched the decline of their country’s power and prestige, they have
begun to imagine the Stalin era as a time of discipline, order – and glory.

"The only people who thought Stalin was a criminal were the people he
obstructed – the people he prevented from robbing the state," says historian
Gennady Varakuta, reflecting a widespread belief that the corruption that
plagues Russia today was dealt with severely and decisively in the 1930s
and ’40s.

Varakuta is one of many who now claim Khrushchev denounced his
predecessor either because he was terrified that he himself might be accused
of complicity in his crimes or – for even narrower motives of revenge –
because Stalin had supposedly had Khrushchev’s son Leonid executed for
treason during World War II.

In fact, the story of the execution, and the treason, have been disproved
by several official documents. But it is regularly repeated in an effort to
discredit Khrushchev himself.
                                       CHANGING MOOD
Varakuta’s views are hardly surprising – he is the son-in-law of Leonid
Brezhnev, the man who overthrew Khrushchev in 1964. But his admiration
for Stalin is widely shared in today’s Russia.

In a poll by the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Centre at the end of
last year, 20% of respondents described Stalin’s role in Russian history as
"very positive" and 30% as "somewhat positive".

There are proposals to erect statues to the former dictator in several
provincial towns – and Russian state TV is reported to have cancelled plans
for a special documentary on the anniversary of the secret speech.

Khrushchev’s daughter Rada, now 76, has watched the changing mood in
the country and she is not surprised. She does not directly blame President
Vladimir Putin for fostering the new wave of neo-Stalinism, but she does not
believe it could happen without some official approval.

"I don’t feel they want very much to mark this date, the anniversary of one
of the main events of our history," she says. "One of my friends wanted to
make a film about it, but then he was told, ‘It’s safer not to’.

Then the only references I hear on the radio to my father are comic ones –
the idea, for example, that he put a tax on every apple tree. "And if that’s
what young journalists are thinking, I conclude it’s because that’s how
someone wants them to think."   -30-
————————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4744288.stm
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[return to index ] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
16.          HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, NIKITA KHRUSHCHEV

By Anne Applebaum, OP-ED Columnist, The Washington Post
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, February 22, 2006, Page A15

It is, I admit, an odd thing to celebrate: A long-winded and not entirely
honest speech, made behind closed doors, addressed to the stony-faced
leaders of a country that no longer exists. Nevertheless, I’m reluctant to
let the 50th anniversary of Nikita Khrushchev’s famous "secret speech" —
his denunciation of Stalin and Stalinism, delivered to the 20th Congress of
the Soviet Communist Party on Feb. 25, 1956 — pass without notice.

We are, after all, at another important historical moment. Condoleezza Rice,
the U.S. secretary of state, has just announced that we will spend $75
million promoting democracy and fighting a totalitarian regime in Iran. We
have thousands of soldiers in Iraq, trying to pick up the pieces after the
collapse of another totalitarian regime there.

Since Khrushchev’s secret speech was the first step in what turned out to
be a very long struggle to end totalitarianism in the Soviet Union, it’s
worth remembering now what the circumstances that surrounded it actually
were.

In essence, Khrushchev’s speech (which didn’t remain secret very long;
Polish communists leaked it to the Israelis, who leaked it to the West) was
a piece of theater, a four-hour harangue during which the new Soviet leader
denounced the "cult of personality" that had surrounded Stalin, condemned
torture and acknowledged that "mass arrests and deportation of thousands
and thousands of people" had "created insecurity, fear and even
desperation" in his country.

But although it was an international sensation — no Soviet leader had
spoken so frankly before — the speech didn’t exactly tell the whole truth.
Khrushchev accused Stalin of many crimes, but deftly left out the ones in
which he himself had been implicated.

As William Taubman, author of "Khrushchev: The Man and His Era," has
documented, the Soviet leader had in fact collaborated enthusiastically
with Stalinist terror, participating in the very mass arrests he condemned.

Khrushchev’s speech was intended as much to consolidate his own power
and intimidate his party opponents — all of whom had also collaborated
enthusiastically — as it was to liberate his countrymen.

Still, there were high hopes for change after the speech, both within and
outside the Soviet Union. But the cultural and political thaw that followed
turned out to be as ambivalent as the speech itself. Some prisoners were
released; some were not. Some daring works of literature were published;
some were not. Khrushchev himself seemed unable to make up his mind
about how much should really change, but it didn’t matter:

Within a decade he was ousted from power by resentful neo-Stalinists. Two
more decades were to pass before Mikhail Gorbachev, one of the young
communists who had been electrified by Khrushchev’s secret speech,
restarted the discussion of Stalin’s crimes, and launched, finally, the
reforms that brought the system down.

Clearly there is a lesson here for those who would bring down totalitarian
regimes, and it concerns timing: The death of a dictator or the toppling of
his statues does not necessarily mean that a complete political
transformation has occurred, or even that one will occur soon.

On the contrary, it takes a very, very long time — more than a generation
— for a political class to free itself of the authoritarian impulse. People
do not easily give up the ideology that has brought them wealth and power.

People do not quickly change the habits that they’ve incurred over a
lifetime. Even people who want to reform their countries — and at some
level Khrushchev did want to reform his country — can’t necessarily bring
themselves to say or to do what is necessary. Certainly they find it
difficult to carry out political reforms that might hasten their own
retirement.

This isn’t to say dictatorships must last forever: Despite some of its
current leadership’s repressive instincts, Russia itself has changed in
fifty years, beyond recognition. But the transformation was often
incremental, always uneven, and difficult for impatient Americans to
understand or support. But then, all such transformations are difficult for
impatient Americans to understand or support, and probably always will
be. If history is anything to go by, we’ll have no choice but to try and do
so anyway.                                     -30-
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http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/21/AR2006022101140.html
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[return to index ] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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17. FEBRUARY 25, 1956: KHRUSHCHEV LASHES OUT AT STALIN
                                 On this day 50 years ago

BBC NEWS, United Kingdom, Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Soviet leader, Nikita Khrushchev, has denounced Joseph Stalin as a
brutal despot.  In a sensational speech to the 20th Congress of the
Communist Party Mr Khrushchev painted a graphic picture of a regime of
"suspicion, fear, and terror" built up under the former dictator who died
three years ago.

He said he wanted to break the "Stalin cult" that has held Soviet citizens
in its thrall for 30 years. The prime minister described the purges during
the period of 1936-38. He implied that one of Stalin’s most trusted aides
Kirov had been assassinated in 1934 at the leader’s behest.
                                              PURGES
Stalin then initiated a series of trials of members of the politburo and had
some executed for Kirov’s murder, including Zinoviev, Kamenev and Rykov.
Stalin meted out humiliation and persecution to those officers and members
of the Politburo who fell from favour, said Mr Khrushchev.

He revealed that in 1937 and 1938, 98 out of the 139 members of the Central
Committee were shot on Stalin’s orders.

The leader also criticised Stalin’s foreign policy during World War II. As
an ally of Adolf Hitler, Stalin refused to believe Germany would invade
Russia – despite warnings from Winston Churchill and Sir Stafford Cripps,
the British Ambassador in Moscow, amongst others.

When the attack was launched, Stalin ordered the Red Army not to retaliate
saying the raid was merely "indiscipline" on the part of some of Hitler’s
units.
                                          ‘ODIOUS BOOK’
Mr Khrushchev also condemned Stalin’s autobiography as an "odious book"
in which Stalin refers to himself as "the workers’ genius-leader" and a "shy
and modest person". He also accused Stalin of violent nationalism and
anti-Semitism.

He revealed that in his last will and testament Lenin advised against the
retention of Stalin as general secretary of the Communist Party. He said the
information he had just divulged should only be made known to the public by
degrees.

"You understand, comrades, that we could not spread this information to the
people at once," he said. "It could be done either suddenly or gradually,
and I think it would be more correct to do it gradually."
————————————————————————————————–
                                            IN CONTEXT
[1] Mr Khrushchev’s "secret speech" was not made public until 18 March

1956 and then only in Belgrade and Washington. It had a dramatic effect in
Eastern Europe where "de-stalinisation" raised expectations of change,
especially in Poland and Hungary.
[2] The text of the speech was not published in Russia until 1988, some 32
years later.
[3] Lenin’s last will and testament was published in The New York Times in
1926, though it was not made public in the Soviet Union until Khrushchev’s
announcement.
[4] Party agitators (official propagandists) were sent to Georgia to
disseminate revelations about Stalin, where opposition to the new
information was anticipated.
[5] In the wake of the denouncement, Mr Khrushchev’s pictures were torn
down in Georgia, Stalin’s home state. Riots occurred for several days in
Tbilisi as Georgians reacted angrily to the denunciation of their hero.
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http://news.bbc.co.uk/onthisday/hi/dates/stories/february/25/newsid_2703000/2703581.stm
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18.  CULT OF STALINISM CASTS A SHADOW OVER EUROPE

COMMENTARY FOCUS: By George Kerevan
The Scotsman – United Kingdom; Feb 23, 2006

FIFTY years ago this week, an impulsive ex-miner from Ukraine called Nikita
Khrushchev took the rostrum during a secret session of the 20th Congress
of the Soviet Communist Party. He was to shock his audience – and the
world – with a speech that denounced Russia’s recently deceased leader,
Joseph Stalin, as a tyrant and a sadist.

Under Stalin, forced collectivisation killed 14.5 million people. In the
Great Purge, 1.2 million Communist Party cadres – more than half the
membership – were arrested and 600,000 executed. Ten million Soviet
citizens were sent to the "Gulag Archipelago". Half never came back.

There are many good reasons in 2006 to remember Khrushchev’s
incredible denunciation of the demigod of orthodox communism.

FIRST, because the cult of Stalin is being quietly revived in modern Russia,
as the Putin regime becomes ever more authoritarian and centralised.

SECOND, because naive western intellectuals were part and parcel of the
propaganda machine that originally created the myth of cuddly "Uncle Joe"
Stalin, the worker’s friend. Alas, western intellectuals have still not lost
the capacity to believe in political fairy tales.

In fact, they are repeating their deification of Stalin by pretending that a
host of murderous religious cults and nationalist groupings – such as
Hamas – are Noble with a capital N and deserve the benefit of the doubt.

Khrushchev, of course, was not motivated by disgust at Stalinism itself.
He had been a leading thug in Stalin’s inner circle and may well have
personally smothered Stalin in 1953. But Nikita was astute enough to
realise that without a loosening of the grip of Stalin’s self-devouring
terror machine, the Russian people would eventually rebel against
communist rule.

His denunciation of the Stalin cult was partly self-preservation and partly
a device to see off his rivals for the leadership of the Communist Party. It
worked a treat.

Post-Stalin, Khrushchev thought Russia could overtake the West in the
production of consumer goods but the centrally planned Soviet economic
dinosaur defeated him. After his surrender to Kennedy over Cuba, old
Nikita was toppled by the deeply corrupt Brezhnev, who was content to
preside over the remorseless decline of the communist system.

When the Berlin Wall fell in 1989, ordinary Russians were free for an
instant. But in the ensuing chaos, Brezhnev’s cynical apparatchiks stole
everything they could.

The result is the rise of Vladimir Putin, a minor KGB official who has
Khrushchev’s eye for populism but not his ebullient personality. Putin
has restored a degree of order in Russia by jailing the billionaire
oligarchs and re-nationalising their assets. Putin is not a psychopathic
killer like Stalin but nor has he been averse to implying he can return
Russia to the global power it was in Uncle Joe’s heyday.

Enough water has passed under the bridge for modern Russians to have
forgotten what life was really like under Stalin. Opinion polls show that
over a quarter of Russians say they would definitely or probably vote for
Stalin were he alive and running for president. Imagine our reaction if
Germans said that about Hitler.

Putin’s impersonation of Stalin-lite is predicated on manipulating this
dubious sentiment. I doubt if he really is another Stalin, but politicians
who play with fire can get us all burned.

One of the first things Putin did on becoming Russia’s president was to
restore the old Stalinist national anthem. Next he tore up the deal to give
Chechnya independence and launched a war in the Caucuses, with a view
to making himself look strong.

The plan backfired and we are still living with the terrorist consequences.
And Stalin would be proud of the way Putin has suppressed internal
criticism by taking over independent television stations.

On the economic front, Putin is re-nationalising companies wholesale with a
view to creating national "champions", such as the energy giant Gazprom. In
January, Gazprom did the Kremlin’s bidding by cutting off gas supplies to
Ukraine.

On Monday, Putin nationalised the Russian aircraft industry, which came as a
shock to EADS (aka Airbus), the European aerospace manufacturer which
thought it owned the Sukhoi jet company.

Putin’s state industries do business in the world market so they are nowhere
near as inefficient as the old Soviet ones. Nevertheless, I would be worried
if Gazprom bought ScottishPower.

Putin is barred by the Russian constitution from seeking a third term in
2008. If he alters the constitution to stand again, you know we are in
trouble. Alternatively, he may support one of his two close aides, Sergei
Ivanov or Dmitry Medvedev.

Ivanov is ex-KGB and head of the Russian security agencies. Last month, he
came under fire for downplaying the bullying of Russian conscripts after an
18-year-old soldier’s legs and genitals had to be amputated due to vicious
beatings. Medvedev is chairman of Gazprom.

It is possible to view Vladimir Putin as a necessary stage in Russian
reform, restoring order and building an industrial economy not so different
from that of post-war Japan. Comparisons with Stalin’s totalitarian
madhouse are still far-fetched: corruption is rife, but there is still a
democratic opposition.

The problem is that Putin is an unreliable opportunist (as was Khruschchev)
playing to an electorate which is angry at the wide disparities of income in
Russia and only too ready to confuse personal angst with nationalist
aspiration. Post-Stalinist Russia has a very large chip on its shoulder that
we need to handle delicately.

Stalin may be dead but his ghost is still at the feast.            -30-
———————————————————————————————

LINK: http://news.scotsman.com/opinion.cfm?id=278852006
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[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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19.   COMMUNISM MAY BE DEAD, BUT CLEARLY NOT DEAD ENOUGH:
                The battle over history reflects a determination to prove that no
                   political alternative can challenge the new global capitalism

COMMENT & DEBATE: By Seumas Milne, The Guardian
London, United Kingdom, Thursday, February 16, 2006

Fifteen years after communism was officially pronounced dead, its spectre
seems once again to be haunting Europe. Last month, the Council of Europe’s
parliamentary assembly voted to condemn the "crimes of totalitarian
communist regimes", linking them with Nazism and complaining that
communist parties are still "legal and active in some countries".

Now Goran Lindblad, the conservative Swedish MP behind the resolution,
wants to go further. Demands that European ministers launch a continent-
wide anti-communist campaign – including school textbook revisions, official
memorial days and museums – only narrowly missed the necessary two-thirds
majority.

Yesterday, declaring himself delighted at the first international
condemnation of this "evil ideology", Lindblad pledged to bring the wider
plans back to the Council of Europe in the coming months.

He has chosen a good year for his ideological offensive: this is the 50th
anniversary of Khrushchev’s denunciation of Stalin and the subsequent
Hungarian uprising, which will doubtless be the cue for further excoriation
of the communist record.

The ground has been well laid by a determined rewriting of history since
the collapse of the Soviet Union that has sought to portray 20th-century
communist leaders as monsters equal to or surpassing Hitler in their
depravity – and communism and fascism as the two greatest evils of
history’s bloodiest era.

The latest contribution was last year’s bestselling biography of Mao by Jung
Chang and Jon Halliday, keenly endorsed by George Bush and dismissed by
China specialists as "bad history" and "misleading".

Paradoxically, given that there is no communist government left in Europe
outside Moldova, the attacks have if anything become more extreme as time
has gone on. A clue as to why that might be can be found in the rambling
report by Lindblad that led to the Council of Europe declaration.

Blaming class struggle and public ownership, he explained that "different
elements of communist ideology such as equality or social justice still
seduce many" and "a sort of nostalgia for communism is still alive".

Perhaps the real problem for Lindblad and his rightwing allies in eastern
Europe is that communism is not dead enough – and they will only be
content when they have driven a stake through its heart and buried it at the
crossroads at midnight.

The fashionable attempt to equate communism and Nazism is in reality a
moral and historical nonsense. Despite the cruelties of the Stalin terror,
there was no Soviet Treblinka or Sobibor, no extermination camps built

to murder millions. Nor did the Soviet Union launch the most devastating
war in history at a cost of more than 50 million lives – in fact it played the
decisive role in the defeat of the German war machine.

Lindblad and the Council of Europe adopt as fact the wildest estimates of
those "killed by communist regimes" (mostly in famines) from the fiercely
contested Black Book of Communism, which also underplays the number
of deaths attributable to Hitler.

The real records of repression now available from the Soviet archives are
horrific enough (799,455 people were recorded as executed between 1921
and 1953 and the labour camp population reached 2.5 million at its peak)
without engaging in an ideologically-fuelled inflation game.

But in any case, none of this explains why anyone might be nostalgic in
former communist states, now enjoying the delights of capitalist
restoration. The dominant account gives no sense of how communist
regimes renewed themselves after 1956 or why western leaders feared
they might overtake the capitalist world well into the 1960s.

For all its brutalities and failures, communism in the Soviet Union, eastern
Europe and elsewhere delivered rapid industrialisation, mass education, job
security and huge advances in social and gender equality.

It encompassed genuine idealism and commitment, captured even by critical
films and books of the post-Stalin era such as Wajda’s Man of Marble and
Rybakov’s Children of the Arbat. Its existence helped to drive up welfare
standards in the west, boosted the anti-colonial movement and provided a
powerful counterweight to western global domination.
 [FAR BLOODIER RECORD OF EUROPEAN COLONIALISM]
It would be easier to take the Council of Europe’s condemnation of
communist state crimes seriously if it had also seen fit to denounce the far
bloodier record of European colonialism – which only finally came to an end
in the 1970s. This was a system of racist despotism, which dominated the
globe in Stalin’s time.

And while there is precious little connection between the ideas of fascism
and communism, there is an intimate link between colonialism and Nazism. The
terms lebensraum and konzentrationslager were both first used by the German
colonial regime in south-west Africa (now Namibia), which committed genocide
against the Herero and Nama peoples and bequeathed its ideas and personnel
directly to the Nazi party.

Around 10 million Congolese died as a result of Belgian forced labour and
mass murder in the early 20th century; tens of millions perished in
avoidable or enforced famines in British-ruled India; up to a million
Algerians died in their war for independence, while controversy now rages in
France about a new law requiring teachers to put a positive spin on colonial
history.

Comparable atrocities were carried out by all European colonialists, but not
a word of condemnation from the Council of Europe – nor over the impact of
European intervention in the third world since decolonisation. Presumably,
European lives count for more.

No major 20th-century political tradition is without blood on its hands, but
battles over history are more about the future than the past. Part of the
current enthusiasm in official western circles for dancing on the grave of
communism is no doubt about relations with today’s Russia and China.

But it also reflects a determination to prove there is no alternative to the
new global capitalist order – and that any attempt to find one is bound to
lead to suffering and bloodshed.

With the new imperialism now being resisted in both the Muslim world and
Latin America, growing international demands for social justice and ever
greater doubts about whether the environmental crisis can be solved within
the existing economic system, the pressure for political and social
alternatives will increase.

The particular form of society created by 20th-century communist parties
will never be replicated. But there are lessons to be learned from its
successes as well as its failures.   -30-
——————————————————————————————
Seumas Milne, The Guardian, s.milne@guardian.co.uk
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LINK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/Columnists/Column/0,,1710891,00.html
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20.                       SECRET SPEECH STILL DIVIDES

EDITORIAL: The Moscow Times
Moscow, Russia, Wed, Feb 15, 2006. Issue 3353. Page 3.

A half-century after Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev condemned Josef
Stalin’s mass purges at the landmark 20th Party Congress, Communists
called his words a mistake that helped bring down the Soviet Union, and
Mikhail Gorbachev praised the event as the harbinger of perestroika.

In a secret speech on the final day of the Feb. 14-25, 1956, congress,
Khrushchev denounced his predecessor’s cult of personality. He said Stalin
"practiced brutal violence" against his opponents by torturing innocent
people to extract confessions in 1937 and 1938.

"The 20th Congress was about not only the personality cult, but also the
issues of democracy and governing the country," Gorbachev said Monday,
Interfax reported. He said that without Khrushchev’s speech, his perestroika
reforms would have been impossible.

Khrushchev’s grandson, also named Nikita Khrushchev, described the
congress as an attempt "to restore justice" in the country.

Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov said Khrushchev’s speech gave
a distorted picture of Stalin’s rule and blamed Stalin for everything bad
that took place in the country.

Under Stalin, the Soviet Union also became a powerful, industrialized
nation, Zyuganov said, Interfax reported. He said Krushchev’s criticism of

Stalin divided the country and damaged communism’s image internationally.

Gorbachev and Russia’s first president, Boris Yeltsin, were similar to
Khrushchev in that their policies were detrimental to the Soviet Union,
Zyuganov said. "As a result of the push that Khrushchev made 50 years ago,
and which Gorbachev and Yeltsin continued, we are now left with nothing,"
he said.                                       -30-
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21.     STALIN’S LIGHT IS SHINING BRIGHT IN MOTHER RUSSIA
Khrushchev delivered what many regard as 20th century’s most influential speech

By Adrian Blomfield in Volgograd
Telegraph, London, United Kingdom, Saturday, February 25, 2006

VOLGOGRAD – The two portraits on the wall of the director’s office in the
Battle of Stalingrad Museum look as incongruous a pairing as one is ever
likely to find. An oil painting, flanked by two ceremonial swords, shows
Josef Stalin in military regalia. Below him hangs a delicate watercolour of
the late Queen Mother.

"She was very fond of him, you know," said Boris Usik, the director of the
museum in the centre of Volgograd, as Stalingrad was renamed in 1961. "They
were both great people, people with extraordinary vision."

The Queen Mother was enormously popular in Volgograd, remembered for the
funds she raised for the devastated city after the epic Second World War
battle.

But Stalin’s picture is the more startling. Previously it would have been
unheard of for a state-appointed official such as Mr Usik to so honour the
dictator.

Stalin was disgraced 50 years ago today when his successor, Nikita
Khrushchev, delivered what many regard as the 20th century’s most
influential speech.

Stunned, delegates at the 20th Communist Party Congress heard for the first
time a party leader denounce Stalin’s brutality. The Soviet "thaw" was about
to begin. Within months Hungary was in the grip of an uprising against
communist rule, within a decade the first Soviet dissidents were challenging
Moscow at home.

Many view the speech as the beginning of the end of the Soviet Union, among
them Mikael Gorbachev, who says it planted the "glasnost" idea in his mind.

But Khrushchev is remembered in a negative light. According to polls, only
Mr Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin are more hated former Russian leaders.

In the past decade, 200 books and films about Stalin, some eulogies, have
appeared. Polls show that 18 per cent of Russians believe he was their best
leader since 1917, while almost 50 per cent view him in a positive or very
positive light.

In May the first major museum dedicated to Stalin in half a century will be
opened in Volgograd by his three grandsons. Among the exhibits will be
telegrams from Stalin to Churchill, a model of the train he lived in after
the 1917 revolution and his famous cap.

Valentina Klyushina, the deputy curator of Volgograd’s famous statue to
Mother Russia, is an enthusiast for the project, even though her mother was
jailed for seven years in Stalin’s time.

"He was a great man with a great personality," she said. "Even his enemies,
even Churchill, acknowledged that he took a backward country with an
illiterate population and turned it into a global powerhouse with a nuclear
bomb."

It is unclear how the Kremlin views the growing popularity of Stalin and the
vilification of Khrushchev. But President Vladimir Putin has been less
willing to condemn Stalin than his predecessors.

Stalin is remembered by some as a champion of equality. "Would there have
been a Roman Abramovich under Stalin?" asked Mr Usik, repeating a refrain
frequently heard these days.

He is popular among the young, say pollsters, mainly because of rising
nationalism, the result of the humiliation of Russia’s diminished place in
the world.

Volgograd University students lauded Stalin on everything from
collectivisation, the agricultural policy that resulted in the deaths of
millions through famine, to his supposed love for human rights.

"To change a weak country into the world’s greatest power, we had to
collectivise," said Andrei Ivanov, a history student. "We were able to
produce tractor factories and to win the war."

Students insist Stalin’s crimes were exaggerated by Khrushchev to avenge the
death of his son, Leonid, whom they believed was executed during the war for
passing secrets to the Nazis – a rumour that has long been debunked.
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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/02/25/wruss25.xml&sSheet=/news/2006/02/25/ixworld.html

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22.   RUSSIA TURNS ITS BACK ON THE MAN WHO DENOUNCED STALIN
            For the descendants of Stalin’s victims, however, the "secret speech"
                remains one of the most important events of the 20th century.

Jeremy Page in Moscow, The Times
London, United Kingdom, Saturday, February 25, 2006

MOSCOW – WHEN Nikita Khrushchev took the podium on the last day

of the Communist Party congress 50 years ago today, his words were so
shocking that some fainted.

The Soviet leader had done the unthinkable, denouncing his predecessor
Joseph Stalin, who had died three years earlier, as a fanatical tyrant who
had hundreds of thousands of citizens executed or sent to prison camps.

So sensitive was Khrushchev’s "secret speech" that his daughter, Rada
Adzhubei, did not learn of it for two weeks, when excerpts were read out at
party meetings. "I was shocked, like everyone else," Mrs Adzhubei, now 76,
told The Times in her apartment a few hundred yards from the Kremlin.

"Millions knew about these things, but millions did not know. And we were
all brought up in an atmosphere where Stalin was the great leader – it was
in the air we breathed."

Looking back, she now sees her father’s speech as an heroic step that ended
the terror of the Stalinist era and paved the way for perestroika and
glasnost 30 years later. "It was an act of justice," she said.

Few people would disagree in the West, where the speech caused a sensation
when it was leaked to the foreign press months later. Poland’s leader,
Boleslaw Bierut, died of a heart attack after reading it a month afterwards.
But in Russia, the anniversary is being marked by a reassessment of
Khrushchev’s role in history that, analysts say, reflects the increasingly
repressive climate under the Kremlin of Vladimir Putin.

The only official commemoration is a tiny exhibition in the Historical
Museum, featuring a few documents and memorabilia including Khrushchev’s
embroidered Ukrainian shirt. Russian state television has cancelled a
planned documentary on the subject, and a growing number of academics and
journalists are portraying the "secret speech" as an act of revenge or a
cynical ploy to avoid sharing blame for the bloodshed of previous decades.

"Since then we have lived increasingly useless and dirty lives," wrote
Yelena Prudnikova, a St Petersburg-based journalist, in her recent book
"Stalin: The Second Murder." "The country, deprived of high ideals in just a
few decades, has rotted to the ground."

Stalin, meanwhile, is enjoying a revival; several statues are planned in his
honour and a museum is being opened next month in the city of Volgograd,
previously named Stalingrad.

A recent poll by the AllRussian Public Opinion Research Centre found that 50
per cent of respondents thought Stalin’s role in history was positive. This
historical irony, analysts say, reflects the political atmosphere in Russia
as President Putin reasserts central control over the media, business and
politics.

Today’s Kremlin neither promotes Stalin nor denigrates Khrushchev, but
President Putin has lamented the collapse of the Soviet Union as the
"greatest geopolitical catastrophe" of the 20th century.

The "secret speech", which led directly to the Hungarian Uprising later in
1956 and the Sino-Soviet split in 1960, opened the cracks in the system that
eventually destroyed the Soviet Union.

Mikhail Gorbachev, who was a young Party activist in 1956, told a conference
this month that the "secret speech" had inspired him to launch the liberal
reforms of the 1980s. "I do not think that a concept like perestroika could
have appeared without it," he said.

Russia, he said, was now going through a political backlash similar to the
one under Khrushchev’s successor, Leonid Brezhnev.

Stalin’s rehabilitation began in 1965, when Brezhnev mentioned him
positively in an address, while the "secret speech" was not published in the
Soviet Union until 1988.

Thus, many Russians still see Stalin not as a brutal tyrant, but as the man
who oversaw the victory against Nazi Germany, and turned the Soviet Union
into a superpower.

Khrushchev’s reputation, on the other hand, remains tarnished. In the past
five years, several Russian academics have produced evidence showing that
Khrushchev personally signed orders for thousands of people to be executed
or sent to labour camps.

Mrs Adzhubei, a retired biologist, says she has no illusions about her
father’s past. "You had to sign the orders, because if you didn’t your name
would be on the next list," she said. "They were all guilty, but some were
more guilty than others."

For the descendants of Stalin’s victims, however, the "secret speech"
remains one of the most important events of the 20th century.

"It was like a breath of fresh air," said Helen Lezvinskaya, a 64-year-old
doctor, who visited the Historical Museum’s exhibition this week. Her aunt
and uncle spent 20 years in the Gulag, but were rehabilitated after
Khrushchev’s speech. "Only now can we understand in what terrible times we
lived," she said.
                                        SHOCKING TRUTHS
‘Stalin . . . practised brutal violence, not only towards everything which
opposed him, but also towards that which seemed – to his capricious and
despotic character – contrary to his concepts’

‘Stalin . . . instead of proving his political correctness and mobilising
the masses, often chose the path of repression and physical annihilation,
not only against actual enemies, but also against individuals who had not
committed any crimes against the Party and the Soviet Government’

‘It is impermissible and foreign to the spirit of Marxism-Leninism to
elevate one person . . . into a superman possessing supernatural
characteristics akin to those of a god’  -30-
——————————————————————————————-
                      Nikita Khrushchev, February 25, 1956
                                         ALSO IN 1956…
January-March  Riots in Cyprus
April  Khrushchev visits UK
June  Polish workers riot against Communists
July-November  Suez crisis after Nasser nationalises canal. British,
French and Israeli troops invade
September  Heartbreak Hotel is Elvis’s first No 1
November  Soviet troops crush Hungarian uprising; President
Eisenhower wins second term; Vladimir Kuts, a Russian, wins
5,000m and 10,000m at Melbourne Olympics

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23.            IS PERSONALITY CULT POSSIBLE TODAY?
On Feb 25, 1956 Khrushchev’s speech condemned Stalin’s personality cult.

By Yury Filippov, RIA Novosti political commentator
RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, February 21, 2006

MOSCOW – On February 25, 1956, Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev
read his famous "closed" report, condemning Stalin’s personality cult,
at the 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.

In subsequent Soviet and Russian history this event became a symbolic
partition line between the past and the future.

Many nations have such dates and documents, for instance, the U.S.
Declaration of Independence, the French Declaration of the Rights and
Liberties of Man and Citizen. Khrushchev’s report, which leaked into the
West and the Communist bloc countries, had a similar impact on the minds.

By that time the world had become more integrated, while the Communist
perspective had not yet lost its appeal for a vast number of people in
different countries.

Whether Khrushchev wanted it or not, but having slightly opened the veil of
secrecy over the truth about millions of Stalin’s victims, he had sown the
seeds of future changes in his own country, and dealt a huge blow at the
international Communist movement.

It is with good reason that many experts consider Khrushchev to be the
forerunner of Gorbachev and Yeltsin. Although the new Soviet leader had
promised to build Communism in the U.S.S.R. by 1980, he did more than
anyone else for Communism never to appear anywhere.

It would be a crude mistake to assess Khrushchev in the context of today,
to see modern connotations in his criticism of Stalin. In theory, it is
possible to assume that the protest of the new Soviet leader against
massive purges on political grounds was rooted in his understanding of
human rights, and his criticism of Stalin was his striving for the freedom
of speech. But in reality, it was the same Khrushchev who in 1956 crushed
the uprising in Hungary with tanks, which was the first political response
of Eastern Europe to his report at the 20th Congress.

Khrushchev’s inconsistency has had a dual effect on the destiny of the
U.S.S.R. and its citizens. The then Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov
said that after this report the Soviet Union never again had as many
friends as it used to have before.

This was a major charge against Khrushchev when he was removed from all
government and party posts in 1964. But he was not thrown behind bars, nor
killed, as would have been the case had he not resolutely exposed Stalinist
political morals.

The question, which is of interest today, is whether the personality cult
is always accompanied by reprisals. In Russia the cult of outstanding
statesmen is rooted in the 20th century history with its three revolutions,
two world wars, industrial modernization, and many other major events,
which subjected the nation to ultimate strain. Stalin was just one of many
– both in Russia and abroad. Apart from him, the late revolutionaries and
Communists Marx, Engels, and Lenin, the successor of their cause and the
founder of the Soviet state were also revered as the "leaders of
progressive mankind."

There were "living Gods" of a smaller rank – party and government leaders
Vyacheslav Molotov, Kliment Voroshilov, Lazar Kaganovich, to name but a
few. They were always present in the lives of ordinary people – big cities
and small villages, plants and collective farms bore their names. Not
infrequently, the idea came from below because these people had outstanding

achievements to their credit, and they were sincerely appreciated.

But what was happening in the rest of the world at that time? Residents of
both Germanies could still remember the massive psychosis, which had made
them clap their hands to Hitler and other Nazi top brass. Mussolini
lingered before Italian eyes. In some West European countries the faded
versions of the personality cults survived World War II. The Portuguese
glorified Antonio Salazar, Spaniards sang praises to Bahamonde Franco.

The giant figure of Mao Tsetung hovered over China after the decades of
civil war and resistance to foreign intervention. The Japanese, who adopted
a democratic Constitution, did not give up deification of their Emperor.

Although they became formal in many respects, monarchies are still there in
many parts of the world with their opulent rituals – in the United Kingdom
and other European countries.

Examples are many, and the general picture is clear enough: the personality
cult or at least some of its manifestations were widespread in the 20th
century all over the world – from Europe to Asia. The United States was the
only country that managed to avoid it, but even there an exception was made
for the outstanding Franklin Delano Roosevelt, who saved the nation from
the Great Depression, was one of the victors of World War II, and was
elected President for 12 years running.

Apparently, at some stage in history the personality cult emerges in
different countries. When the demand for it disappears, it fades into the
past, but some of its manifestations may linger on for a long time to come.
It is not at all a hard and fast rule that the personality cult is
necessarily accompanied by bloody political reprisals, as it happened in
the U.S.S.R. under Stalin.

Is the personality cult possible in the 21st century? This question is
particularly vital for post-Soviet nations where it had led to the worst
consequences in the past. So far history is optimistic. The first
democratic revolution in this century took place in Georgia, Stalin’s
homeland. The second one occurred in Ukraine, where Khrushchev was
born.

Both republics are headed by completely different political figures. When
the press shows President Saakashvili hugging young girls, and President
Yushchenko diving into an ice-hole, it becomes clear that these countries
will not suffer from the personality cult.

The situation in Asian republics is different. The personality cult there
is encouraged by local traditions. Turkmenistan offers the brightest
example. There is a gilded statue of President Niyazov in the central
square of Ashgabad. He is called Turkmenbashi, or father of all Turkmens.

Although Kazakh President Nazarbayev is the most European among his
Central Asian colleagues, the local traditions require a certain deification
of the head of state. The important point here is the extent to which the
mandatory esteem of the national leader is combined with the principles of
democracy, human rights, and freedom of speech. But even Central Asian
regimes have gone much further on that road than even the U.S.S.R. after
destalinization.

As for Russia, where Stalinist repressions led to the biggest casualties,
way back in 1993 it patterned its political system after the American
presidential republic with a President, elected by the whole nation, a
multi-Party parliament, and an independent court.

However, because of the Russian mind-set, the majority of the population
has never viewed Presidents Yeltsin and Putin as simple mortals. But people
in Russia realize by now that presidents come and go, and therefore creating
a cult of their personalities is simply not worth it.                -30-
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24.     STALIN-ERA REPRESSIONS CAST A LONG SHADOW
                                     IN RUSSIAN LIVES

WINDOW ON EURASIA: By Paul Goble
Tallinn, Estonia, Thursday, February 23, 2006

TALLINN – More than a quarter of all Russians say that among their
relatives were victims of Stalin-era repressions, a figure that highlights
the enormous impact those events still have despite or perhaps because

those crimes are less often discussed by the country’s leaders than they
were a generation ago.

In a poll whose release coincides with the 50th anniversary this week of
Nikita Khrushchev’s "secret speech" denunciation of Stalin, the All.Russian
Center for the Study of Public Opinion (VTsIOM) asked 1578 Russians
across the country about their experiences with and attitudes
toward the Soviet past ( http://www.wciom.ru/?=pt=40&article=2315).

Twenty-seven percent of those polled said that they had relatives who
numbered among those repressed until Stalin, with just over one in three
of those who said they did saying that they had learned about them from
the stories of family members or from family archives.

Of those aged 60 or more, the share saying that they had relatives among
those repressed was 36 percent, with half reporting that they knew about
them from personal stories or archives. But among those aged 18 to 24,
the total was 13 percent, with fewer than one-third of those indicating that
they knew about them from such personal sources.

At the same time, however, 47 percent – or just under half – told the
VTsIOM pollsters that to the best of their knowledge, none of their
relatives had suffered repression, but the remaining 23 percent said that
they did not know whether their ancestors were among the repressed or

not.

The Russian sample was also asked whom they believed was responsible
for the repressions: Forty-one percent named Stalin, 30 percent named the
heads of the NKVD, and 17 percent named the senior communist party
leadership at that time. An additional 10 percent blamed Lenin, and 2
percent blamed Dzerzhinskiy.

Interestingly enough, only 7 percent of the sample said they accepted the
notion  – widely put about by the defenders of Stalin personally and the
Soviet system more generally at the time — that the repressions under
Stalin were inevitable given that the USSR at the same was surrounded

by "hostile imperialist" states and "the threat of war."

But despite the suffering that Stalin inflicted on their relatives and their
country, a suprisingly large percent of Russians not only identified Stalin
as one of the most successful leaders of the country and indicated that the
Russian people need "a strong hand" in charge even now.

Asked who was the most successful leader of the country after 1917, 38
percent named incumbent president Vladimir Putin, but 15 percent named
Leonid Brezhnev, 11 percent named Stalin (putting him in third place),
7 percent named Yuri Andropov, and 5 percent named Nikita Khrushchev.

Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Soviet leader and Boris Yeltsin, the first
Russian Federation president, tied for last place with only 2 percent each,
VTsIOM reported, noting that 13 percent of this sample had indicated that
they found it "difficult to answer" this question.

Asked whether contemporary Russia needed "a strong and powerful leader,
a strong hand" 57 percent said that "our people always need a strong hand."
And 16 percent said "that in the current situation it is necessary to
concentrate all power into one set of hands." But 20 percent disagreed,
saying "all power must never be given into the hands of one person."

VTsIOM did not present  a full array of the data so it is impossible to say
whether those who oppose the concentration of power into the hands of one
man are the same as those who know about the suffering of their relatives at
the hands of Stalin and his henchmen in the past.

Such a correlation is of course likely, and that in turn raises a disturbing
possibility: In the absence of a serious and ongoing public discussion of
the issue of Stalin’s crimes against his own people, the propensity of
Russians to say that their country should be governed by a virtual dictator
is unlikely to decline anytime soon.                        -30-
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25. RUSSIAN COMMUNIST LEADER GENNADY ZYUGANOV SAYS
20TH COMMUNIST CONGRESS IN 1956 SHATTERED SOVIET UNION

Interfax, Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, February 14, 2006

MOSCOW – The 20th Congress of the Communist Party of the Soviet
Union and Nikita Khrushchev’s secret speech denouncing the policies of
Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin delivered an irreparable blow both to the
Communist Party and the reputation of the Soviet Union, Russian
Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov told Interfax on Tuesday.

February 14 marks the 50th anniversary of the forum, which was held in
Moscow on February 14-February 25, 1956.

"In his report, Khrushchev effectively settled personal scores with Stalin.
I would like to stress that this speech had not been discussed" at any
sessions of the Soviet Communist Party’s Central Committee preceding
the congress, he said.

"Instead of discussing violations of the law and the 1930s repressions, in
which Khrushchev personally took part, the speaker offered an absolutely
personal assessment of Stalin, shouldering the blame for all processes in
the country onto him. It was a totally subjective, voluntaristic approach
which did more harm than good to the country and the party," Zyuganov
said.

Ahead of the 1956 congress, a large number of people around the world
approved of the Soviet Union, "noting that it did not take our country long
to turn from a ‘bast shoe’ state into a power that defeated Fascism," the
party leader said.

Khrushchev’s speech triggered a major split in the international Communist
movement, "considerably affecting Soviet society’s morale and political
life," Zyuganov said. Soviet society "divided into those who supported the
denouncement of Stalin and those who categorically disagreed," he said.

Khrushchev’s policies, aimed at undermining the foundation of the Soviet
state, were continued by Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev and First
Russian President Boris Yeltsin, Zyuganov said. tm md
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26.          RUSSIANS FINALLY EXAMINE GULAG YEARS

By Michael Johnson, Tuesday, 14 February 2006

Johnson’s Russia List (JRL) 2006#43, Feb 15, 2006

Are the Russians finally ready to face the horrors of their history during
the years of the gulag? If television ratings can be believed, it would
appear so.

One of the great novels of the 20th century, Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s "The
First Circle", drew large audiences during is 10 episodes on Russian state
television recently. The novel was banned when it appeared in 1968 during
my posting there as an AP reporter, and, although long since available in
book form, was thought to be irrelevant to modern Russia.

But suddenly here it is, broadcast to great acclaim. The first installment,
according to the New York Times, held the nation in thrall, even attracting
a larger audience than "Terminator 3" that ran against it on another
channel. It lost some viewers in later episodes but continued to score high
ratings.

Several other once-banned works, including Boris Pasternak’s "Doctor
Zhivago", are coming to Russian television in the next few months.

What makes this so important is the truism that remembering history might
help us avoid repeating it.

Russian dissidents, mostly writers and scientists, seemed until now to have
lost their place in their country’s history as greater events subsumed
them. Furthermore, their values such as democratic governance come

fourth or fifth in pollsters’ lists of priorities among the general population.
Employment, food and political stability naturally score higher.

Even in the West – except for academic specialists – we pay too little
attention to the swings in Russia’s momentous recent history. A couple of
years ago, I conducted an informal poll among university graduates in
London to see who could remember how the Soviet Union came apart.

Most of them had heard of Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin but
Solzhenitsyn? He was unknown and unread. One history graduate student,
30 years old, couldn’t understand the name. She asked: "Soldier who?
Soldier Nitsin?"

Nobel Peace laureate Andrei Sakharov, known as the father of the Soviet
hydrogen bomb, died in 1989 after decades of KGB harassment and a brief
role as a Soviet parliamentarian under Gorbachev. But to many of the
educated younger set in the West he might as well have never existed.

Leading dissidents Vladimir Bukovsky, Valery Chalidze, Alexander
Yesenin-Volpin and Pavel Litvinov have all slipped from the public scene.

Edward Kline covers the era in his well-documented recent book translated
into Russian by Lev Timofeyev, "The Moscow Human Rights Committee"
(Moskovskii komitet prav cheloveka), Izadelstvo "Prava cheloveka".

But it is Sakharov who deserves the most attention, for he brought gravitas
to the ragtag dissident movement and he worried the authorities like no one
else. His widow, Dr. Elena Bonner, now lives in Boston and continues her
work on his papers, a great legacy from a major human rights defender.

Yale University Press also deserves credit for continuing its series on
"The Annals of Communism", a recent volume of which sheds new light on
the Sakharov case. "The KGB File of Andrei Sakharov" provides the first
English language translation of 146 KGB memos detailing the activities of
Sakharov and Dr. Bonner during the tense days of the movement in the
1970s, 1980s and 1990s.

I have read the memos and was struck by the degree to which KGB prose
resembled the thinking of any supreme authority. While grammatically
impeccable, even intelligent, on the surface, every fact is selected and
shaded, every event stretched to fit the case against the subject under
scrutiny.

There are lessons here for any society in danger of creating excessive
police powers by default or design.

The KGB memos are constructed with carefully wrought logic, dense
information and a collection of wooden euphemisms. At one point, summing
up the Sakharov problem, the KGB explained deadpan that Sakharov "does
not enjoy the trust of the investigative organs, since his personal behavior
does not correspond to the norms of our society".

This book puts to rest the contention by some analysts that the Soviet
dissident movement was a minor irritant controlled by routine police
action. We did not know it at the time, but this book makes it clear that
the movement was the talk of the Communist Party Central Committee and
the Politburo. Most of these memos went to the Central Committee.

Reading this material, and the excellent commentary by editors Joshua
Rubinstein and Alexander Gribanov, one begins to understand the extent
of telephone taps, postal intercepts and physical surveillance that were
employed to detect signs of ideological drift in the Soviet population.

Yuri Andropov, head of the KGB at the time, kept the pressure up at
Politburo level, arguing that it would be a mistake to "renounce the
criminal prosecution of people who oppose the Soviet system". He got his
way most of the time, and his men temporarily subdued the movement in
the 1970s with a wave of arrests and expulsions.

Rubenstein pinpoints Sakharov’s moment of truth as early as July 1961 when
his warnings against atmospheric atomic testing went unheeded by Party
Chairman Nikita Khrushchev. Sakharov later acknowledged that he felt
bitter, humiliated, impotent and ashamed by being ignored on such a crucial
issue. Five years later he made his first appearance at an unauthorized
public demonstration and the KGB never let him out of their sight again.

"Over the next decade," Rubenstein writes, "Sakharov stood vigil outside
closed courtrooms, wrote appeals on behalf of more than 200 individual
prisoners and continued to write carefully composed essays about the need
for democratisation."

I was part of a crowd of Western journalists standing vigil when he made
his first courtroom appearance in support of a group of accused dissidents,
the appeal hearing of Eduard Kuznetsov and his fellow would-be hijackers.

We all felt a frisson as this great man emerged into the snowdrifts around
the courthouse to announce to us that Kuznetsov’s death sentence had been
reprieved. The movement had just been elevated to new heights.

Perhaps Russian television will get around to the Sakharov story one day.
It is stranger than fiction.                                -30-
————————————————————————————————-
Michael Johnson, a former Moscow correspondent, is at work on a
history of the Soviet dissidents.  E-mail: johnson33@laposte.net
————————————————————————————————-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
27.                              USHERING IN THE THAW

By Anna Malpas, The Moscow Times
Moscow, Russia, Friday, February 17, 2006. Issue 3355. Page 102.

After the 20th Party Congress in February 1956, a Muscovite named Mikhail
Kokhn wrote to the well-known author Ilya Ehrenburg — whose novella "The
Thaw" was to define the era — asking him to help with his appeal for
rehabilitation. He said that he had spent years in prison for reading works
by Ehrenburg and another writer.

Ehrenburg wrote to the public prosecutor asking him to investigate, but not
hearing back, he wrote again in May 1956, saying that he was interested in
the case since he had apparently played a role. Only four months later did
he get a reply.

The prosecutor said that Kokhn’s convictions were unsound, but that his
offense had not been his choice of reading material — rather, Kokhn had
been imprisoned for his membership in a Menshevik organization from
1917 to 1922 and his later "anti-Soviet agitation."

Shortly afterward, the writer sent a brief note to Kokhn repeating what the
prosecutor had said. In response, he received a passionate letter from
Kokhn’s wife. The message from the prosecutor had come too late, she said.

Her husband had died in June, broken by his experiences. Ehrenburg’s letter
would have brought him joy, she wrote, at least with the news about his
rehabilitation.

But she wanted to assure him that her husband had written the truth. "Why
are they now telling you a lie?" she asked. Involvement with a Menshevik
organization had "broken" her husband’s life for many years, she wrote, but
in 1951 he had been convicted, perhaps not even for reading, but simply for
listening to, "nonexistent anti-Soviet poems" by Ehrenburg and poet
Margarita Aliger.

Kokhn loved Ehrenburg, she added. "I don’t think many people have such
a lovingly and carefully chosen collection of all your novels, stories and
articles."

This series of letters, typed and sent from one apartment on Tverskaya to
another, is part of an exhibition titled "The Thaw" that opened at the
Historical Museum last week. Timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of
the 20th Party Congress, the exhibition presents documents, photographs
and objects connected with the era, from the officer’s cap that lay on Josef
Stalin’s coffin to Nikita Khrushchev’s trademark embroidered shirt.

The Thaw period was "full of contradictions, drama, impossible ideas and at
the same time, hopes for a better life," the exhibition notes read. The
oldest items on display — such as passes to attend Stalin’s funeral on Red
Square, and booklets with the speeches read by Georgy Malenkov and
Vyacheslav Molotov on the occasion — give a sense of the leader’s
deep-rooted place in official dogma.

Even the gifts sent by members of the public to the delegates of the 20th
Party Congress suggest how little they expected a reappraisal of Stalin’s
role: Carved panels of wood and bone feature dual portraits of Lenin and
Stalin. And confident Pravda coverage on the Congress’ first day emphasizes
how the Party correctly solved problems in industry and agriculture.

The consequences of Khrushchev’s secret speech to the Congress, in which
he criticized the cult of personality and the repressions from 1934 onward,
come through in far less pompous exhibits: the small wooden suitcase brought
back after 19 years in the gulag by the mother of the bard singer Bulat
Okudzhava, and matter-of-fact slips from the public prosecutor in which
people were informed that convictions leading to years spent in prison camps
and exile had been "without enough basis."

Also on display is a torn black leather jacket worn by one former prisoner
on the day that she returned to Moscow. She translated for Soviet pilots in
Spain during that country’s Civil War, and her offense was marriage to an
"enemy of the people."

The rehabilitation process had already begun, haltingly, before the 20th
Party Congress, as a letter written to Khrushchev by a veteran Party member
points out. "I have been a witness of difficult scenes and the suffering of
people who appeal to the public prosecutor," E.R. Levitas wrote in 1955.
"Investigations run on for long months and sometimes even years,"

Levitas was seeking rehabilitation for his brother Abram, who died in
detention in 1938. He wrote that "the people who apply to the prosecutor
on duty almost always receive the standard reply: Your case is being
investigated. Wait."

The changed atmosphere after Khrushchev’s secret speech was also one of
cultural revival, and the exhibition shows books from the era, such as
Alexander Solzhenitsyn’s "One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich," which
was printed in Novy Mir in 1962.

The exhibition ends with gifts from top officials to Khrushchev on his 70th
birthday in April 1964: a congratulatory address in a vast book, and a pass
with the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. Six months later, he found
himself out of a job, and the official mood harshened, bringing an end to
the Thaw period.

"The Thaw" (Ottepel) runs to March 19 at the Historical Museum, located
at 1/2 Red Square. Metro Ploshchad Revolyutsii. [Moscow] Tel. 692-4019.
———————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2006/02/17/102-full.html
———————————————————————————————–

[return to index ] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
28. STALIN MUSEUM IS AN INSULT TO MILLIONS WHO SUFFERED
                   IN STALIN’S PURGES AND DIED IN THE GULAG
   I don’t want to hear about this. How can people spit into our souls like this?

By Andrew Osborn in Moscow, The Independent
London, United Kingdom, Saturday, February 18, 2006

MOSCOW – The imminent opening of a museum devoted to Josef Stalin

has stirred outrage among relatives of the millions he persecuted and
prompted claims that Stalinism is again on the march.

After a number of delays, the "Stalin Museum" dedicated to the
once-venerated Father of the People is due to be opened at the end of

March in Volgograd, the World War II "hero city" once known as
Stalingrad.

The project is being privately financed by local businessmen but will
controversially enjoy pride of place in the official complex that
commemorates the epic Battle of Stalingrad.

The museum will boast a writing set owned by the dictator, copies of his
historic musings, a mock-up of his Kremlin office, a Madame Tussauds-style
wax representation of him and medals, photographs and busts.

Svetlana Argatseva, the museum’s future curator, told Ogonyok magazine she
felt the project was justified. "In France people regard Napoleon and indeed
the rest of their history with respect. We need to look at our history in
the same way."

But Eduard Polyakov, the chairman of the local association of victims of
political repression, is among those who believe the project is an insult to
the millions who suffered in Stalin’s purges and died in the Gulag.

"I don’t even want to hear about this," he said. "In the Stalingrad area
100,000 families suffered political repression and were forcibly resettled
because of their ethnicity. How can people spit into our souls like this?"

The scandal comes half a century after Stalin’s cult of personality was
officially dismantled and the crimes "Uncle Joe" perpetrated against his

own people exposed.

February 25 will mark the fiftieth anniversary of the "secret" speech made
by then Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev in 1956 denouncing Stalin, an event
that ushered in "de-Stalinisation" and saw monuments to the Georgian-born
autocrat torn down across the country.

Ironically, however, the former dictator appears to be enjoying a
mini-revival. Actors playing Stalin are in serious demand as television and
theatrical productions about the era flourish, while the modern-day Russian
Communist Party says his crimes were "exaggerated".

The "comeback" of a man whose bloodied hands are often compared to

Adolf Hitler, Pol Pot and Mao Zedong has alarmed the more liberal wing
of Russia’s political class.

The Soviet Union’s last leader, Mikhail Gorbachev, has warned that
neo-Stalinism is on the march again, and Russia’s first post-Soviet
President, Boris Yeltsin, has said he can’t understand why Stalin is still
so popular.

Between 30 and 40 per cent of poll respondents regularly rate Stalin’s
achievements as "positive" and a survey last year named him the most revered
Communist leader the Soviet system had produced. Admirers cite his turning
the Soviet Union into a superpower, the country’s defeat of fascism and the
"order" he enforced.

According to Gorbachev, Russia is going through a dangerous period. "We

can see what was seen in the 1930s even now," he said this month. "Portraits
of Stalin and a renaissance of Stalinism can be observed in the mass media
and in theatres. Some attempts are being made to preserve Stalinism and
this is very serious.

"Russia today is reminiscent of the Brezhnev era which led to
neo-Stalinism – Stalinism without political reprisals but with persecution
and total control."

Stalin, who ruled the USSR from 1924 until his death in 1953, ruthlessly
purged the Communist Party and the armed forces and effected rapid
industrialisation at huge human cost. The total number who died under his
regime is disputed but Western historians put the figure at 20 million. He
once said that one death was a tragedy, but one million was a statistic.

————————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://news.independent.co.uk/europe/article346163.ece
—————————————————————————————————
[return to index ] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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AUR#665 New Parliament: How Representative? Trusted? Voting Terribly Abused & Manipulated In Rada; Jackson-Vanik Alert; Sasha Cohen

 THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR
               An International Newsletter, The Latest, Up-To-Date
                    In-Depth Ukrainian News, Analysis and Commentary

               Ukrainian History, Culture, Arts, Business, Religion,
   Sports, Government, and Politics, in Ukraine and Around the World       
                           

THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR – Number 665
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor  
Washington, D.C., Kyiv, Ukraine, THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2006
           ——–INDEX OF ARTICLES——–
         Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.               
Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article
1.             THE ‘NEW’ VERKHOVNA RADA: HOW NEW?
             Following article takes a look at the likely nature of the next 
              Ukrainian parliament based on the dynamics of the current
                    election campaign and political reforms in Ukraine.
ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY:
By Markian Bilynskyj  [1]
U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, February 22, 2006

2I AM NO OLIGARCH, UKRAINIAN TYCOON, AKHMETOV TELLS
VOTERS, I WANT UKRAINE TO BECOME RICH, NO POOR PEOPLE

  Ukraine’s richest man Rinat Akhmetov now running for a seat in Parliament

Ukrayina TV, Donetsk, in Ukrainian 1900 gmt 20 Feb 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Monday, February 20, 2006

3.                         UKRAINE – CONSENSUS IN CONFLICT
OPINION: Contributed by Roland Nash
Chief Strategist, Renaissance Capital, Moscow
Prime-Tass, Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, February 21, 2006

4.                  RE-PRIVATIZATION AND THE REVOLUTION
OP-ED: By Taras Kuzio
In reply to Anders Aslund’s Kyiv Post opinion article of Feb 2
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, February 23, 2006

5 .                                    "NOT BEST FRIENDS"
  No mood on the part of voters who wish to see a united Orange front is
             capable of putting together the pieces of the broken vessel.
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY
: By Olha Dmytrycheva
Zerkalo Nedeli, Kiev, Ukraine, in Russian 11 Feb 06, p 2
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Saturday, Feb 18, 2006

6 "WHO DOES A NATIONAL SECURITY AND DEFENCE COUNCIL
        MEMBER RESCUE?  WHO IS BEHIND DUBIOUS EXPORTS?"
           Ukrainian tycoon allowed to export oil despite national interests,
   Member of Parliament Ihor Kolomoyskyy, who controls the Pryvat group
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY
: By Ivan Stoichkov
Kiyevskiy Telegraf, Kiev, in Russian 18 Feb 06; p 7
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Tuesday, Feb 21, 2006

7 AMERICAN RESPONSE TO UPCOMING UKRAINIAN RADA VOTE 
ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: By Michael Averko
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #665, Article 7
Washington, D.C., Thursday, February 23, 2006

8.                             MORE CARROT, LESS STICK
           United States finally recognizes Ukraine as a market economy
   Graduation from Jackson-Vanik amendment for Ukraine should be next
EDITORIAL:
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, February 23, 2006

9.   URGENT CALL TO ACTION: JACKSON-VANIK GRADUATION
Please fax letters to Congress now to graduate Ukraine from Jackson-Vanik
Ambassador Steven Pifer and Ambassador Williams Miller, Co-Chairmen
Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition, Washington, D.C., February, 2006

10U.S. COMPANY "HOLTEC INT" DISMISSES ACCUSATIONS OF
     YULIA TYMOSHENKO AND SUSPECTS BUSINESS-INTERESTS
                          MIGHT BE BEHIND HER STATEMENT
By Serhiy Kudelia, Ukrainian Service
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, February 22, 2006

11.      TENSIONS WITH UKRAINE SPARK RUSSIA SALT RUN
         A run on stores and markets from Moscow to the Ural Mountains
Associated Press (AP), Moscow, Russia, Wed, February 22, 2006

12.                  WILL UKRAINE’S NATO HOPES STALL?
Jane’s Intelligence Digest, United Kingdom, Friday, February 17, 2006

13.       SKATING DRAMA CREATES COLD WAR NOSTALGIA
   Sasha Cohen proves this new-world concept, too. Her parents emigrated
              from Ukraine after it opened up. She was born in California.
COMMENTARY:
By Dave Hyde, South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Wednesday, February 22. 2006

14 ESTABLISHING A MEMORIAL IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
  TO HONOR VICTIMS OF MANMADE FAMINE IN UKRAINE 1932-1933
      Authorize Government of Ukraine to establish memorial on federal land
Written Testimony of H.E. Dr. Oleh Shamshur
Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States
Submitted at hearing held by the Subcommittee on National Parks
US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Washington, D.C., Thursday, February 16, 2006

15. LIKE A DREAM-AFTER HER DEBUT BOOK, A RUSSIAN WRITER
            IS HAILED AS THE NEXT GREAT AMERICAN NOVELIST
                        "The Dream Life of Sukhanov" by Olga Grushin
     Superbly realised depiction of the claustrophobia and madness of Soviet
    communism as contradictions within the system spiralled towards collapse.
BOOK REVIEW
: By Michael Thompson-Noel
Financial Times, London, UK, Saturday, February 18, 2006
========================================================
1
THE ‘NEW’ VERKHOVNA RADA: HOW NEW?
          The following article takes a look at the likely nature of the next
        Ukrainian parliament based on the dynamics of the current election
                            campaign and political reforms in Ukraine.

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: By Markian Bilynskyj [1]
U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, February 22, 2006

The Verkhovna Rada’s recent ‘dismissal’ of the Yekhanurov government

and its subsequent confrontation with President Yushchenko signaled the
opening salvo in what promises to be a series of stand-offs stemming from
the redistribution of political authority – commonly referred to as
constitutional or political reforms – that commenced on January 1.

The situation is further aggravated by the highly charged atmosphere
surrounding March elections to a more powerful parliament and, most
importantly, by the absence of a fully functioning Constitutional Court
hamstrung by the Rada’s deliberate refusal to vote on its quota of
appointments and swear in the president’s nominees.

The debate over the reforms has focused almost exclusively on the powers
that will accrue to the Rada upon their full adoption and the implications
for executive legislative relations.

 
Virtually no attention, however, has been paid to whether the Verkhovna
Rada as an institution can be trusted with – or, more bluntly, is fit – to
exercise its new, enhanced role.
        CHANGES MAY REINFORCE WORST PRACTICES
 
Unfortunately, the answer is far from encouraging. Indeed, rather than
consolidating the Rada’s representative and legislative responsibilities
along a more democratic path of development, as the advocates of
political reforms argue, the changes might even reinforce some of the
worst characteristics and practices the Rada has accumulated in the
fifteen years since Ukraine’s independence.

During the latter part of the Kuchma era the Rada was often referred to (not
only by the then opposition) as a bulwark of democracy against the confused
authoritarianism pursued by the presidential Administration. This kind of
judgment was both appropriate and self-evident in the context of a raw power
confrontation with a presidency prone to rather arbitrary interpretations of
democratic procedures.

However, the advent of a new Administration – which, despite some serious
shortcomings in other areas, appears willing to live with the inconvenience
democratic scrutiny and procedure entails – has inevitably brought a change
of both context and perspective.

This reveals (even confirms) that the terms Rada, democracy, and
accountability correspond only in a broad, generic sense and that upon
closer examination there are some inherent flaws that continue to disfigure
this theoretically most democratic, and hence accountable, of political
institutions. Prominent in this regard are issues of composition,
accountability, and procedure.

 

            [1] ISSUES: COMPOSITION OF THE RADA


Proponents of a fully proportional system of parliamentary elections
argued, inter alia, that this new model – beginning with the abolition of
majoritarian constituencies that were notoriously at the mercy of moneyed
interests, and continuing through the party convention stage – would
broaden popular participation in the process of party list creation.

This development would help finally to identify and separate those
individuals more interested in pursuing their personal interests under
parliamentary immunity from those with a genuine interest in the less
materially rewarding pursuit of professional law-making. In other words,
business would finally be separated from politics and the result would be

a Rada finally devoted to professional, publicly accountable legislating.

Unfortunately, what could never have been more than a desired outcome was
all too often presented almost as an axiom. And since any kinds of political
reforms cannot occur independently of their socio-economic context, the
first results of the political reforms appear to simply validate the
enduring wisdom of that popular "Chernomyrdism" (accepted into the
contemporary Ukrainian lexicon almost as an expression of resignation):
"Khoteli kak luchshe a poluchylos’ kak vsiegda." (They/we wanted things to
be better but they turned out just the same.)

   POLITICAL PARTIES ARE SPECIAL INTEREST VEHICLES

Ukrainian political parties in general, even in the post-Orange environment,
continue to betray their genesis as special interest vehicles with limited
appeal to a broader public. Personalities therefore continue to predominate
over policies.
 
The parties expend considerable resources and effort in order to broaden
their legitimacy and bolster their declared democratic credentials but they
remain predominantly top-down structures overwhelmingly subservient
to the needs of their Kyiv-based leadership.

Not surprisingly, then, as a rule the party lists for the principal
contenders in the March Rada elections reveal a predominance of Kyiv-

based figures augmented by local elites seeking to redefine and align
themselves with today’s leading players in various blocs.
        RADA’S REPRESENTATIVE RESPONSIBILITIES IN
                        DANGER OF WITHERING AWAY

Rada Chairman Volodymyr Lytvyn’s bloc perhaps offers the best example
of this trend, while several of the parties running under various shades of
orange have also happily accommodated individuals and groups of individuals
from the regions who were quite clearly and actively in the pro- Kuchma camp
in that part of their lists that polls suggest will make it into parliament.

Moreover, according to official statistics representatives of business (at
30%) form the largest group of candidates to the Verkhovna Rada, with
educators, (8.5%) coming a distant second. This proportion is similar to
2002 when it was hoped, in vain as it turned out, that a Rada dominated by
the business community would work towards adopting progressive legislation.

(Not that business and crime are always linked in Ukraine, but there are all
sorts of rumors and estimates in circulation regarding the numbers of
candidates running for representative office, particularly at the local
level, suspected of criminal activity in the business sphere. However, the
facts are almost an irrelevance in view of the powerful popular perception,
fueled by many candidates themselves, of an enduring link between business,
crime, and politics.)

The presence, for example, of Ukraine’s wealthiest businessman, Renat
Akhmetov, at the top of the Party of Regions list does not suggest that
things will be any better this time around. (Plain amusing, on the other
hand, is the presence of Andriy Derkach, a businessman who obviously had

a change of mind about running for the Rada again, in the Socialist Party’s
list; amusing, because Mr. Derkach’s media played a leading role in the
Kuchma regime’s attempts to discredit Socialist leader Oleksandr Moroz
during the "Kuchmagate" scandal.)

Under normal circumstances, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with
successful businessmen running for public office. However, the enduring

and clear lack of consensus among Ukraine’s political elites over what
constitutes the national interest means that individual and narrow corporate
interests will continue to predominate.

The composition of the new Rada will simply not provide the critical mass
needed to change the trajectory of its evolution from essentially an
exclusive forum for brokering business deals and establishing preferential
access to the budgetary and privatization processes to one genuinely
concerned with a broader, common good.

          [2] ISSUES: ACCOUNTABILITY OF THE RADA

With respect to accountability, the fact that the Rada is to be elected on a
proportional basis means that even the often all too formal, organic link
between individual deputies and constituents provided by the majoritarian
system will be further weakened.

Several parties have stated that they will compensate by dividing the
country into areas of responsibility. Yet it is difficult to imagine a party
or bloc with the minimum fifteen Rada deputies the 3% vote threshold
provides offering anything remotely resembling effective representation.

The Rada’s representative responsibilities (and by extension
accountability), never a high priority, are therefore in danger of withering
away. The envisioned reforms could make the Rada a more effective and
efficient legislative body (the so-called imperative mandate barring
deputies migrating between re is factions is being touted as a means for
enforcing voting discipline); but, with its representative imperative
effectively undermined, in whose interests?

              [3] ISSUES: PROCEDURE USED BY RADA

If political reforms do not augur well for a change in composition and
representation the outlook is no better with respect to procedure. It is a
deeply ingrained and ironic aspect of the Rada’s operational culture that
Ukraine’s primary law-making body refuses to be governed by its own
regulations; regulations that, by extension, provide the key point of
reference for civil society groups interested in exercising their legitimate
role of monitoring the Rada.

The rehlament, or regulations, have languished in draft-law form since 1996
and only passed the first reading in late 1999. In the current political
reforms package, the 1996 constitutional requirement that the rehlament be
an actual law rather than a resolution is dropped. A case can be made that
in making this change, the Rada is in fact aligning itself with
international practice.

However, based on the sometimes mind-boggling abuses to which the

rehlament has been subjected over the years, a strong case can be made that
the Verkhovna Rada, at this stage of its development, must be regulated by
law not resolution if it is finally to develop as a genuinely transparent and
accountable institution.

However, that the new Rada will subordinate the interests of the individual
deputies for the sake of the institution’s long-term development is highly
unlikely because such a move would severely fence in and dilute the
authority of parliamentary party and faction leaders; in other words, the
authority of those very political actors advocating political reforms in the
first place.

    THE MOST EGREGIOUS ABUSES IN VOTING PROCESS
            Brazen extent to which the process is manipulated

One of the most egregious abuses, concerning the voting process, appears
to have seeped into the very marrow of Rada procedure. Arguably the most
responsible function a representative and legislator is called upon to
perform is the act by which popular will is codified into law.

The brazen extent to which the process is manipulated – by all political
forces – means that it is possible to talk of institutionalized abuse. A
strong case can be made that barely a handful of legislation has been
adopted by the Verkhovna Rada since independence on the basis of the
rehlament’s one- person-one-vote requirement.

Much more frequently, often in full view of TV cameras, voting numbers

have been recorded that bear no resemblance to actual attendance in the
plenary hall. The difference is explained by deputies – so-called "piano
players" – running along the empty rows and voting with the cards of
their absent colleagues.

The prevalence of this behavior is further evidence that many deputies
see their formal responsibilities as something of an inconvenience as they
pursue their personal interests.

In late December, after a bitter confrontation with the government and
within the parliament itself, the Rada adopted the 2006 budget by just one
vote. The following day, Deputy Viktor Kirilov informed Chairman Lytvyn
that while his card had voted he did not because he was away on
constituency business.

Under normal circumstances the chairman could – even should – have

proposed a motion, as requested by Mr. Kirilov, authorizing the appropriate
committee to investigate the matter, even if this meant a new vote on the
budget. Mr. Lytvyn’s response, however, ignored this apparently clear
violation of the rehlament and replied that procedure did not provide for
a retroactive withdrawal of a deputy’s vote.

The matter was then conveniently forgotten. Who needs regulations when

power can be exercised so arbitrarily, shamelessly – and with little or no
consequence?
   LITTLE REASON TO BELIEVE IN AN IMPROVED RADA

 

There is currently little reason to believe that the Rada elected next month
will in any significant way be an improvement on its predecessor (s). Once
in office, too many individual deputies will likely succumb to and (even
happily) perpetuate the existing ingrained, anti-democratic corporate
culture in pursuit of their narrow personal or group interests.

Volumes of campaign rhetoric to the contrary notwithstanding, accountability
and transparency are and always have been considered inconveniences to be
avoided, the rehlament a document to be observed only in the breach.

Accumulated arbitrary abuses and a perceived disdain for popular will by the
presidency were the proximate causes of the Orange Revolution. At the time,
it was popular to anticipate the forthcoming Rada elections as complementary
to the presidential elections, a kind of "stage-two" litmus test regarding
the prospects for the eventual consolidation of Ukrainian democracy
throughout all branches of government.

Given the powerful dynamics working against the Rada reforming

itself it might take a similar – although highly unlikely – popular
expression of no-confidence to make the Rada finally take seriously
its role as the principal Ukrainian representative and legislative body.
———————————————————————————————–
[1] Markian Bilynskyj is the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation’s Vice President
and Director of Field Operations in Ukraine. The views expressed by
Mr. Bilynskyj are his own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of
the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation. Contact: mib@usukraine.kiev.ua.
U.S.-Ukraine Foundation website: http://www.usukraine.org.
———————————————————————————————-
NOTE: Markian Bilynskyj is a Brit with Ukrainian heritage who has
lived in worked in Ukraine for more than 15 years.  He has also
served as Director of the Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy.  He
is known as an well-informed, astute, well-connected insider around
Kyiv and a savy political analyst. He is called on frequently by
international news publications for his comments on current political
and governmental issues and events in Ukraine.  AUR EDITOR
——————————————————————————————–
FOOTNOTE:  The subheadings in the article were inserted
editorially by The Action Ukraine Report (AUR), Washington, D.C.
———————————————————————————————
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
2. I AM NO OLIGARCH, UKRAINIAN TYCOON, AKHMETOV TELLS
VOTERS, I WANT UKRAINE TO BECOME RICH, NO POOR PEOPLE
  Ukraine’s richest man Rinat Akhmetov now running for a seat in Parliament
Ukrayina TV, Donetsk, in Ukrainian 1900 gmt 20 Feb 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Monday, February 20, 2006

DONETSK – [Presenter] Sustained economic growth, energy security and,

most importantly, a victory over poverty – this is what prominent businessman
and rising politician Rinat Akhmetov will be fighting for. He presented his
vision of Ukraine’s future at a meeting with voters on 19 February. His
address caused lively discussion by the media and the public. Here are a few
excerpts.

[Correspondent] This was Rinat Akhmetov’s first public appearance as a
politician. This was also his first appearance before voters rather than
football fans [Akhmetov owns Shakhtar Donetsk football club].

He was a bit nervous and said it was easier for him to talk about sport.
This is why the speech he made as parliament candidate was in a sporting
spirit. Rinat Akhmetov has a new goal – that Ukraine becomes Europe’s
champion in terms of wages, quality of living and infrastructure.

[Akhmetov, in Russian] I am taking up politics because I want a government
of economic growth to be formed. I am taking up politics to defend Ukraine’s
national interests [applause]. I am taking up politics because I want
Ukraine to become rich. I am taking up politics because I want there to be
no poor people in Ukraine. I am taking up politics because I want Ukraine to
win the best European country cup.

[Correspondent] As a successful businessman, he understands that Europe is
not ready to receive us with outstretched arms and that we should not be in
a rush to get there on an empty stomach. If Akhmetov’s plans are
implemented, Europe will meet Ukraine as an equal partner in about 10-15
years. But this is a long-term prospect. [Passage omitted: details reported
earlier, see TV 5 Kanal, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1300 gmt 19 Feb 06]

Rinat Akhmetov’s meeting with voters was about an hour-and-a-half long.
Questions covered such diverse topics as his private life and what an
oligarch should be doing in politics.

[Akhmetov, in Russian] First of all, I am not an oligarch. Oligarchs are in
government. For them, being in government is the only way of making money.

I can tell an oligarch from afar. They wear a special sort of clothes. In
their trousers, pockets start up here [points to his hip] and reach all the
way down there [points to his feet].

Oligarchs have not found their place in business, and they never will. I am
telling you, in business, they look like cows walking on ice. I realized
myself as a businessman and made my money a long time ago.  [Passage
omitted: Correspondent quotes Akhmetov as pledging to fight poverty.]

[Donetsk-based tycoon Rinat Akhmetov, reportedly the richest man in Ukraine,
is running for parliament in the 19 March general elections on the ticket of
the opposition Party of Regions. Ukrayina TV is believed to be controlled by
Akhmetov.]  -30-
———————————————————————————————

[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
3.                      UKRAINE – CONSENSUS IN CONFLICT

OPINION: Contributed by Roland Nash,
Chief Strategist, Renaissance Capital, Moscow
Prime-Tass, Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, February 21, 2006

MOSCOW – A couple of weeks ago at our conference in Kiev, I talked
politics with my cab driver. We agreed that the outlook was bleak.
March elections looked likely to produce an unstable coalition
government led by one of a range of equally unsavoury potential Prime
Ministers.

But, I suggested, unlike Russia, at least Ukraine had democracy. The people
had earned the right to choose through their courage and determination
during the Orange Revolution. The taxi driver nodded his agreement. I said
that no matter what the short-term issues, in the longer term, democracy
was a much more secure political foundation than the authoritarianism
towards which Russia was tending. The driver said that he was no fan of
Putin.

Perhaps partly in the hope of a lower cab fare, I said that being British I
could assure him that Ukrainians stood a good chance of eventually
becoming part of the EU. My driver said that Ukraine was, and
always would be, a European country. We drove in silence for a while.
‘But’, he said, ‘what Ukraine needs right now is a candidate like Stalin
who can come in and shoot all the thieving bastards in government’. He
then charged me the exorbitant price of Hr25.

Ukraine is in the early phases of democracy. The country’s near term
political success will depend on whether the current instability is the
consequence of democratic teething problems, or is fundamental enough to
undermine the concept of consensus government altogether, as happened in
Russia after the nineties.

Given the underperformance of Ukrainian equity over the last six months,
the type of regime that emerges post March 26 elections will also determine
whether there is a sharp period of catch-up, or whether Ukraine will slide
along in the doldrums.

If a coalition government emerges post elections that must struggle to
build compromise through the infighting of various lobbying groups, then
that is simply democracy at work. It might look ugly, but as long as each
power group feels that they have the potential to influence government,
then politics is essentially internalized and will tend over time towards
stability.

If, however, the differences between factions prove so great that no
coalition is able to compromise enough to govern effectively, then
the result could be the sort of anarchy that forces interest groups to look
for solutions outside of the existing constitutional framework. Given the
precedent of the Orange Revolution, the temptation exists to try the
experiment again – a risky strategy at any time, but particularly when
Russia is feeling more assertive over the near abroad.

Unfortunately, Ukraine has a number of elements that do not bode well for
successful coalition government. There are at least three axes around which
differences are irreconcilable enough to challenge stable government.

[1] First, there is the split between West and East. Historically,
culturally, economically, even linguistically, Ukraine splits down the
middle through Kiev between the Russian speaking East and the Ukrainian

speaking West. In polls on everything from support for Ukraine’s European
aspirations to attitude towards democracy, the best predictor of preference
is the geographical location of the poll.

[2] Second, is the relationship with Russia. Viktor Yanukovich, leader of
the Party of the Regions faction, one of the three main contenders in the
March 26 elections, is openly standing on a platform of support for
Ukraine’s future with Russia. Of the leaders of the other two main factions,

Yulia Tymoschenko has an arrest warrant out for her in Russia, and the other,
President Yushchenko, has frequently suggested that the Russians have
tried to poison him. While foreign policy is an electoral issue in many
countries, it is rare for the gap to stretch from mentor and sponsor to
jail and assassination.

[3] Third, there is the difference between those on the inside of Ukrainian
power and those on the outside. Until the Orange Revolution, most of
Ukrainian politics and business was dominated by a small clique who shared
power and split the economics. Controlling both politics and business,
insiders were virtually impregnable to anybody outside wishing to exercise
influence through the existing power structure. The popular frustration
following the electoral manipulation in late 2004 was what catalysed the
Revolution.

While that episode broke the monopoly on power, it has not ended the
enmity. Much of the politics of the last year has been about the old power
clique clinging on to their assets and the new attempting to wrestle them
free. The elections may redraw the battle lines, but they are unlikely to
end the fight.

So are the factional differences simply too great to permit the formation
of a stable government? Is Ukraine doomed to unstable government until a
single party is able to dictate stability from the top, much as the Kremlin
has decided is necessary for Russia? This time last year, in the afterglow
of the Orange Revolution, I was highly enthusiastic about Ukraine’s
prospects – in fact, so enthusiastic I bought a rather expensive apartment
in Kiev, unfortunately after a Revolution inspired 30% jump in prices.

Now, one difficult year wiser, I am certainly more sanguine, but still
remain reasonably confident that Ukraine will prove successful. While there
may be issues over which universal agreement is all but impossible, on
many of the most fundamental questions, there is broad agreement.

All of the three main factions believe that economic growth is crucial, and
that private business is the best way to generate it. There is also broad
agreement on the need for private property and a stable legal regime in
which to operate.

Similarly, the lessons of the nineties have made classical macroeconomic
stability conventional wisdom across the political spectrum. To be sure,
there are many disagreements on rather important details – including how
much state subsidy is needed to encourage private business and from when
exactly property should be considered private.

But the examples of Eastern Europe and Russia have illustrated the power
of economic growth and the role that private business has to play in
generating it. A government based on open conflict may well take
considerably longer to reach agreement on those important details, but
equally there is a lot less scope for either the wrong decision being
reached or for a decision taken on behalf of one particular inside group.

Much has been made of the disappointing corruption scandals that have
emerged within Ukraine’s Orange government. But, on the other hand, at
least they emerged and did damage. In a number of other regimes bordering
Ukraine, corruption stays submerged and encourages ever more ambitious
projects.

Moreover, consensus government, for all its many faults, does at least
provide a voice for each of the interest groups. Ukraine would have its
irreconcilable issues whatever the form of government. If one party
dominated government then it might be able to dictate stability for a
while, but other factions would be left with no choice but to attempt to
bring down government and establish their own period in power. Hardly a
recipe for long-term stability.

Indeed, given the entrenched factionalism in Ukrainian politics, the sort
of coalition government likely to emerge after the March elections is
perhaps the only form that has the chance to achieve some kind of longer-
term balance.

At this stage, the most likely outcome of the elections appears to be a
coalition government formed between Viktor Yuschenko’s Our Ukraine
and Viktor Yanukovich’s Party of the Regions. This time last year, a
partnership between the heads of the two parties that fought the Orange
Revolution would have been unthinkable. But the exigencies of government
have forced the two sides towards cooperation. If a government is indeed
formed between them, it will doubtless prove highly conflictual and may
well break down.

But what the Orange Revolution and its aftermath has shown is that neither
side is able to govern for long alone, and that some sort of cooperation is
necessary if the longer-term goal of a more stable, wealthy, powerful
Ukraine is to be achieved. And that cooperation, is what a consensual,
democratic government, for all its faults, is best able to achieve.

The remarkable global appetite for risk, the strength of Russian equity so
far this year and the number of Ukraine dedicated funds that have emerged
in recent months may well mean that Ukrainian equity will look attractive
in the aftermath of the upcoming elections.

My taxi driver and I may have been united in our bleak outlook for Ukrainian
politics, but we were also equally united in our hope for a stable business
environment in which to increase our incomes. He had been one of those
dedicated drum bashers the previous year who had kept up a 24/7 racket
outside government.

His desire to murder the resulting personnel was not your ideal democratic
response, but it does illustrate the level of frustration with the stand-off
that has frozen government for the last 12 months ahead of the March
elections – possibly exacerbated by several weeks standing in the snow
banging a drum.

While the coalition that will likely emerge will not exhibit the
unchallenged cohesion of Putin’s Kremlin, it could well prove to be better
than both the current incumbents and the pre-revolutionary monopoly.
———————————————————————————————-
NOTE: Opinions contributed to Prime-Tass are not edited. If you
would like to contribute your opinion, please send an email to:
engeditor@prime-tass.com.
———————————————————————————————
Renaissance Capital: http://www.RenCap.com
———————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://www.prime-tass.com/news/show.asp?id=392570&topicid=0

——————————————————————————————–
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
4.            RE-PRIVATIZATION AND THE REVOLUTION

OP-ED: By Taras Kuzio
In reply to Anders Aslund’s Kyiv Post opinion article of Feb 2
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, February 23, 2006

Anders Aslund’s opinion article in the Post on Feb. 2 is not the first time
he has opposed re-privatization in Ukraine. Aslund became a staunch critic
of the pursuit of re-privatization early in May 2005 when he wrote
"Revolution Betrayed" for the Washington Post.

This came only two months into the Yulia Tymoshenko government and
signified his break with Tymoshenko’s economic and social policies dubbed
negative for being "populist." This, alone, does not make such policies
wrong.

Aslund’s disillusionment with the Tymoshenko government was also influenced
by its ignoring of the Blue Ribbon Commission report he had co-authored with
the United Nations Development Program. Calling for a "new wave of reforms,"
the report was unveiled at the Carnegie Endowment after Viktor Yushchenko
was inaugurated president.

Oleksandr Paskhaver, president of the Kyiv-based Center of Economic
Development and an advisor to Yushchenko, was one of the report’s
co-authors. Both Aslund and Paskhaver have been stern critics of
re-privatization.

Speaking on joint panels at Washington think tanks, Aslund and I have held
different views of Ukraine since the Orange Revolution. My approach has been
to support and criticize both Tymoshenko and Yushchenko whereas Aslund
has heaped all of his criticism on Tymoshenko while sidestepping President
Yushchenko’s own policy failures.

Only after my prompting at a panel at the conservative American Enterprise
Institute in December 2005 was I able to draw out from Aslund some belated,
mild criticism of Yushchenko. Aslund told the AEI that he did not believe
that Tymoshenko would be prime minister again or that Orange Revolution
unity would be reformed in the post-election parliamentary coalition.

It became clear that Aslund would prefer a Party of Regions-Our Ukraine
parliamentary coalition, perhaps with Volodymyr Lytvyn’s participation. I
have dubbed such a scenario as Kuchma-like, referring to its resemblance
of political alliances that were loyal to the former president.

Heaping blame on Tymoshenko in the first year of the Orange Revolution is
coupled with an unwillingness to understand the varied motives that drove
Ukrainians into mobilizing in the Orange Revolution. Aslund is right to
believe that re-privatization was not the only demand of the Orange
Revolution. At the same time, to deny that this demand was absent would
be also historically wrong.

On a visit to Washington this month, Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko said
three political forces had a right to claim a part in the Orange Revolution:
Our Ukraine, the Tymoshenko bloc and the Socialist Party of Ukraine. The
Orange Revolution and Tymoshenko cannot be separated. Her fiery
speeches were far better at mobilizing Ukrainians than Yushchenko’s.

In Washington, Lutsenko repeated his earlier comments to the Silski Visti
newspaper (Dec. 20, 2005) that the so-called Orange Revolution was
"primarily an anti-criminal revolution." Lutsenko repeated the exact same
phrase during his Washington talks. Millions joined the Orange Revolution
to protest the belief that "criminals stole their future."

The Orange Revolution was not driven by Ukrainians seeking to join the
WTO, make Ukraine a safe place to invest, respect property rights or create
a market economy. These issues were present in the Orange Revolution but
they were not dominant.

All four democratic revolutions in Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan
between 2000-2005 were driven by demands for justice and anger at the
abuse of office by the ruling elites. Election fraud was merely the spark
that ignited pent-up frustration.

To deny Tymoshenko’s views on the question of justice is to ignore a major
mobilizing factor in the Orange Revolution. Tymoshenko has outlined what
she believed Ukrainians mobilized for – justice, fairness, an end to lies
and for their voices to be heard.

In surveys, Ukrainian respondents understand questions relating to
corruption as referring to high-level abuse of office. These views tie in
with the commonly held view that individuals only enter politics to fulfill
corrupt ends and not to defend the interests of voters.

Disappointment in the struggle against corruption is understood as the
Yushchenko administration having not pursued the Orange Revolution

slogan of sending "Bandits to Prison!" During the Orange Revolution no
one attempted to define who these "bandits" were, but, most commonly,
they were understood to be senior-level officials in the Kuchma
administration and Kuchma himself.

Frustration is felt because only lower- and medium-level officials were
charged and imprisoned in 2005, as in the Kuchma era. Meanwhile, not a
single senior official has been charged, a major source of disillusionment
in the Orange camp.

The manner in which re-privatization and justice was dealt with in 2005 was
poorly handled by both Yushchenko and Tymoshenko. Yushchenko failed to
quickly end the debate between those opposed to re-privatization and those
in favor, allowing it to drag on throughout 2005.

Yushchenko was abroad more than at home. Yushchenko was, however,

let down by Tymoshenko’s emotional responses to policy issues and her
unwillingness to not air disagreements publicly.

Aslund is correct to argue that "it would be unreasonable to expect
re-privatization to be more corrupt than initial privatization." This should
not, however, be treated as an excuse for diametrically shifting from
perceived mass re-privatization, a policy commonly attributed to
Tymoshenko, to no privatization, as proclaimed by her replacement, Prime
Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov.

Yekhanurov and Aslund are ideologically close in not seeing the need, like
Paskhaver, for any re-privatizations, including the two that have been
undertaken.

Yushchenko, meanwhile, has forgotten to explain to Ukrainians why he

needed to remove the Tymoshenko government and to explain why justice
had been served with only two re-privatizations; after all, in spring 2005, he
claimed there was a list of 30 companies which were to be reviewed for
possible re-privatization.

To argue that re-privatizations should not be undertaken because the courts
are corrupt has consequences in other areas. Does it also mean that the
so-called bandits should not be put on trial because the courts will not be
able to guarantee them a fair trial?

The other element of this debate is that attitudes towards oligarchs and
corruption differ regionally in Ukraine. Surveys show there to be a hard
core of 23-25 percent opposed to anything Orange. Other Ukrainians will
vote for Regions of Ukraine to exact revenge for what they see as a stolen
victory in 2004.

And they don’t have a problem with the leader of that bloc, Viktor
Yanukovych, who has an alleged criminal background, nor the inclusion of
oligarchs, such as Rinat Akhmetov. Eastern Ukrainian voters either do not
believe criminality to be an important issue, or this issue is overshadowed
by their dislike of anything Orange.

Re-privatization is a complicated issue tied to emotional and subjective
factors, such as demands for justice and anger at the so-called mafia –
criminal elements running the country during the 1990s. These attitudes
have to be taken into account, particularly in an election year.

Tragically, President Yushchenko has failed to deal with the issues of
justice and re-privatization to the satisfaction of either his own Orange
supporters or eastern Ukrainians. 
               -30-
——————————————————————————————-
Taras Kuzio is Visiting Professor at the Institute for European, Russian
and Eurasian Studies at the Elliott School of International Affairs at
George Washington University in Washington, D.C. ( tkuzio@gwu.edu)
——————————————————————————————-
LINK: http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/oped/23911/
——————————————————————————————
OP-ED: By Anders Aslund, "Re-privatization Should Be Avoided"
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, February 2, 2006
LINK: http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/oped/23807/
——————————————————————————————–

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========================================================
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5.                                 "NOT BEST FRIENDS"
  No mood on the part of voters who wish to see a united Orange front is
           capable of putting together the pieces of the broken vessel.

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Olha Dmytrycheva
Zerkalo Nedeli, Kiev, Ukraine, in Russian 11 Feb 06, p 2
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Saturday, Feb 18, 2006

Unification initiatives voiced by the propresidential Our Ukraine bloc and
the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc, two former allies from the Orange Revolution,
are no more than election campaign manoeuvring and empty slogans, a major
weekly has written.

The author said Our Ukraine was seriously considering the option of a repeat
parliamentary election if it is unhappy with the outcome of next month’s
parliamentary election. The author concluded that despite the desire of many
voters to see the two blocs unite, any coalition of "orange forces" is
highly unlikely.

The following is the text of the article by Olha Dmytrycheva, entitled "Not
best friends", published in the Ukrainian newspaper Zerkalo Nedeli on 11
February; subheadings have been inserted editorially:
                    DESPERATELY SEEKING TYMOSHENKO?
Although the [pro-government] Our Ukraine [bloc] proposed that four members
of the parliamentary race to unite in a campaign coalition straightaway,
everyone pretty much knew from the very beginning who really was the object
of the presidential team’s attention.

The active participation of the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc [YTB] faction in
overthrowing the [Yuriy] Yekhanurov government, which took place in
parliament after the gas agreements were signed with Moscow, had an
immediate effect on YTB’s rating.

Yuriy Yekhanurov’s words, which he voiced after the parliamentary vote
dismissing the government, proved prophetic: our people really love anyone
who has been hurt. Especially when there is doubt about the justice of the
inflicted offence. The results of January polls show an increase in the
number of those who intend to vote in the election for the list headed by
Yekhanurov.

At the same time the number of people supporting YTB has dwindled. Not

much, but enough for the electoral sympathies of Our Ukraine to surpass
YTB and take second place after the Party of Regions.

That served as a propitious circumstance for Our Ukraine, realizing its
advantage, to open up its arms from the position of the strong player: "Come
and join us!". But the charming ingredient in the draft accord on
establishing an Orange coalition, which was sent to YTB, the Socialist Party
of Ukraine [SPU], The Kostenko-Plyushch Bloc and Reforms and Order-Pora
Bloc, was not the text of the document, but the addendum to it.

Significantly surpassing the introductory part of the message in volume, it
contained a list of posts, offered for division among the potential
signatories to the accord. All four were asked to determine their priorities
with regard to the representation of their political forces in the
composition of the Cabinet of Ministers, among regional governors, in the
leadership of parliamentary committees and in other state bodies formed by
parliament.

"I ask you to also to express your views on the organization of principles
of cooperation between political forces in the framework of the
parliamentary coalition which will be formed after the 2006 election. I
believe that the signed draft coalition accord, together with the support of
the current Ukrainian cabinet can lay a strong foundation for the
cooperation of our political forces for the good of Ukraine in the future
composition of the Supreme Council [parliament]", read the message signed

by the chief of the political council of the Our Ukraine Bloc, Roman
Bezsmertnyy.

Can you get any stronger? Such open pragmatism here served as a reason to
"stain" the Our Ukrainians. You wouldn’t say that their counterparts are
idealistic through and through. But their indignation over "divvying up" the
country looked quite reasonable.

"Unification should come based on the principles of ideology and platform",
the first deputy leader of YTB, Mykola Tomenko, said. "If this accord is
about dividing up posts in the future government, let them agree with those
who want to divide up portfolios. We are more interested in the principles
upon which the coalition government will be formed," said number seven in
the Reforms and Order-Pora Bloc Serhiy Sobolev.

"I think that those who offer specific posts as the object of agreement are
working against the coalition. Everything needs to be done after the
election", said SPU leader Oleksandr Moroz in sharing his thoughts.
                  VOTERS WANT UNITED ORANGE TEAM
But at the same time, not one of the addressees of the "indecent proposal"
declined to take part in negotiations, meant to lead to a common denominator
of the position of the once united Orange team and give the voter a
coalition accord. No-one wanted to lose points with his voters, who still
are full of desire to see the Maydan team united, and so they did not reject
the outstretched hand.

Besides, not everyone’s public statements always coincide with their true
views and intentions. According to some pieces of information, the SPU
supported the "businesslike tone" of the Our Ukrainians at negotiations and
made it understood that they were ready to delegate their man to head the
National Bank of Ukraine.

In addition to the cabinets already occupied by their party members. In
short, the SPU are open for any type of discussions. The only thing they are
firm about is their striving to keep from getting back the status of an
opposition force. And you can judge this from not only by their behaviour,
but by the words of individual statements by their leader.

In commenting on the draft accord offered by Our Ukraine, Oleksandr Moroz
did not rule out a coalition in the new parliament with the Party of
Regions: "There can be various configurations of a pro-authority coalition.
And we are not against cooperation, including with such forces as the Party
of Regions, in order to at least neutralize the tension between east and
west [Ukraine]".

It seems Oleksandr Moroz named exactly that force, cooperation with which
both YTB and Our Ukraine have stubbornly rejected, while at the same time
suspecting each other of secret agreements with the Donetsk people [Party of
Regions is viewed as dominated by people from Donetsk Region].

And the latter in turn, in the words of their leader Viktor Yanukovych,
regularly state they do not intend to form any alliances with anyone of the
Orange camp. The unbending rise of the Party of Regions’ rating is a fact
which one must take into account.
                                     MUTUAL DISTRUST
And it’s very hard to not be impressed by the figure which is drawn after
adding together the likely results of the pro-presidential bloc and the
Party of Regions in the election. You get that much sought after majority
which would allow one to nominate his own prime minister and form a
coalition government.

It would be easier for Our Ukraine to not give in to that temptation if it
knew for certain that Yuliya Tymoshenko would not take its place in an
alliance with the Party of Regions. But that guarantee does not exist.

And though recent polls show that YTB’s harvest in the election could turn
out to be more modest that that of the Our Ukrainians, the votes lacking to
make a majority could be added, as we’ve already noted, by Oleksandr Moroz.

And so the president’s circle has to invent a new means which in their minds
is capable of thwarting the rise of a parliamentary majority without the
participation of Our Ukraine. And it is not for nothing that in the draft
accord the need to form an Orange coalition is based on the need to give
back the president his status as leader of the entire team of the Maydan.

"We stress that our potential partners should recognize the president as the
leader of the Orange coalition. And then, of course it will be logical to
recognize his right to form his team", stated another Our Ukraine
representative in the negotiation process, Roman Zvarych.

On the other hand, Yuliya Tymoshenko, who was nailed to the shameful rail
post of pollsters which can be bought, those consciously perverting the real
picture of electorate sympathies, says only two forces will be competing in
the parliamentary election – YTB and the Party of Regions. And such
confidence in her advantage over Our Ukraine inspired YTB to write its own
accord on a coalition of Orange forces.

By agreeing to the offer from YTB, Our Ukraine could rid itself of its main
fear. Since one of the points of the draft accord from Tymoshenko proposes
rejecting signatures on forming a coalition with those political forces
which "are against national interests and which strive to criminalize power,
in particular, the Party of Regions".
                                   NOT A SERIOUS ACCORD
But it appears that this document was not written to be a real accord.
Another point testifies of this, the one which reads that potential partners
in the coalition, among other things, "demand a review of the gas agreements
which are ruinous for Ukraine[ellipsis as published] and for holding
responsible those bureaucrats who are guilty of betraying national
interests".

But in the course of negotiations a compromise can always be found,

trading proposals unacceptable to one’s opponent for a point the other
side is proposing, which is just as disagreeable to you.

As far as the principles of personnel policy written in the draft accord
from YTB – despite statements from Our Ukraine that Tymoshenko is

insisting she be nominated prime minister after the election, that is not there.

It only reads that the political force which gets the most votes compared to
other coalition participants will propose its candidate for head of the
cabinet. And that the rest of the vacancies will be filled by the
participants based on the results of the election.

Viktor Yushchenko’s name is not mentioned in the accord as the leader of

the association being created but it is at the end together with the names of
the other participants. In as much as it reads that it is the president who
is the guarantor of the principles and foundations of the activity of the
coalition being fulfilled.

And we don’t know what Roman Zvarych had in mind when he accused YTB

of plagiarism. But if as Zvarych claims, the draft accord being proposed by
YTB is practically the same, excepting a couple of points, as the one earlier
presented by Our Ukraine, then it is logical to ask what is keeping these
political forces from melting into coalition ecstasy after negotiating to
remove differences? The answer is easy: we are brash enough to suggest
that such an end result is not what is meant. And by either side.

But while Tymoshenko and her team are passive in this given situation, Our
Ukraine is the initiator. The behaviour of her representatives is all the
more surprising – for the third week running they are doing everything so
that their proposals to unite will be met with a categorical "No!".
                                 DISMISSING PARLIAMENT?
Roman Bezsmertnyy, who has been actively giving interviews and commentary
these days, at first admitted he did not like Tymoshenko, saying that only
his party duty forced him to enter negotiations with YTB. And then with the
knowledge of a historian said, "the solidarity which is being declared by
Yuliya Tymoshenko was the basis for fascism". And to round out the picture,
he said in one daily that if the result of the election is not good for Our
Ukraine\[ellipsis as published] there would be a new election.

That could be taken for a slip of the tongue, if not for Roman Petrovych
[Bezsmertnyy]’s statement in another publication. In answer to a question on
whether the Our Ukraine campaign headquarters was looking at the variant of
a repeat election, he answered in the affirmative.

To be honest, observant journalists have long noticed that along with
periods of enlightenment, Roman Bezsmertnyy has dark periods. Only his

own self-criticism excuses him.

In the same interview, when asked whom of the political beau monde he’d like
to punch in the face, Bezsmertnyy answered: "Myself, for certain phrases".
Maybe he should do it with everyone watching, so that they understood
immediately what statements by the leader of the Our Ukraine campaign
deserve attention and which are simply "empty words".

Zvarych was not far behind in his efforts to end the negotiation process as
fast as possible. What is behind his statement that, besides other things,
the potential participants in the coalition must "repeal the decision by
parliament regarding the so-called dismissal of the government". YTB is
certainly an influential faction in parliament, but not so much that it can
repeal a decision by the legislative body.

One thing emerges from all of this: a coalition of Orange forces is as
realistic today as unification between [far-left politician] Nataliya
Vitrenko and [right-wing MP] Oleh Tyahnybok. And no mood on the part

of voters who wish to see a united Orange front is capable of putting
together the pieces of the broken vessel.

In the big picture, Our Ukraine’s nervousness can be explained by the fact
that they are beginning to recognize that their presence in a parliamentary
majority is not a given. Nobody really needs Our Ukraine. Since the next
parliament will be just another limited liability company with a supervisory
council of the majority and an executive body in the cabinet and management
under the council of factions.

Ideological boundaries between the main shareholders in the enterprise are
so vague that they will have no big problem in agreeing with each other in
any configuration. It is another matter that it is very important to the
workability of the LTD company, that the president not try to stop its
wheels from rolling.

But if the president still does not want to act in the aggressive manner so
foreign to him, he should choose his candidates more carefully before
charging them with the negotiation process.  -30-
——————————————————————————————–

[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================      
6.  "WHO DOES A NATIONAL SECURITY AND DEFENCE COUNCIL
      MEMBER RESCUE?  WHO IS BEHIND DUBIOUS EXPORTS?"
         Ukrainian tycoon allowed to export oil despite national interests,
Member of Parliament Ihor Kolomoyskyy, who controls the Pryvat group

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Ivan Stoichkov
Kiyevskiy Telegraf, Kiev, in Russian 18 Feb 06; p 7
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Tuesday, Feb 21, 2006

Two Ukrainian companies have been allowed to export oil despite possible
shortages in the future, a weekly has said. It added that the firms were
linked to MP Ihor Kolomoyskyy, who controls the Pryvat group.

The following is the text of the article by Ivan Stoichkov entitled "Who
does a National Security and Defence Council member rescue? What is

behind dubious exports?" published in the Kiyevskiy Telegraf newspaper
on 18 February; subheadings have been inserted editorially:

The problem of energy safety has become extremely topical recently. It gave
rise to a major demand: that all fuels produced in Ukraine should above all
serve its interests. Domestic interests. However, not everybody seems to
have understood this. But then, this is hardly surprising: as we know, self
comes first.

There are two amazing documents: letters approving the issue of licenses

for exporting crude oil of Ukrainian origin (i.e. oil extracted in Ukraine)
under foreign trade contracts. Both documents were signed by Fuel and
Energy Minister Ivan Plachkov.

The papers allow two Ukrainian companies to export Ukrainian oil.

[1] The first one is the Prylutskyy Naftonalyv limited-liability company –
which is allowed to export 60,000 tonnes, of them 15,000 tonnes in the first
quarter of 2006 (under foreign trade contract No 3/2006-H signed on 26
December 2005 between Prylutskyy Naftonalyv and the company SWS
Handelsgesellschaft mbH).

[2] The second one is the open joint-stock company Naftokhimik Prykarpattya,
which is allowed to export 120,000 tonnes (under foreign trading contract No
zz/060106 signed on 6 January 2006 between Naftokhimik Prykarpattya and
Lawndale Group S.A., based in Tortola, Virgin Islands).

It looks like at a time when our country is falling over backwards trying to
get rid of energy dependence, including dependence on oil, some people can
comfortably do business. Lucrative business. As they say, winter is no
obstacle for ice hockey, and some people actually benefit from difficulties.
                                  FUEL MINISTER’S ROLE
However, the question emerges: "In this case, why is the National Security
and Defence Council charges with overseeing supply issues?" The president
[Viktor Yushchenko] recently appointed none other than Ivan Plachkov as a
member of the council. What for? Was it to better coordinate the export of
something which our country needs so badly?

Everything was fine as it was: the two firms mentioned above exported some
180,000 tonnes of oil, which is almost as much oil as is extracted in
Ukraine per month.

In other words, it looks like while Agricultural Policy Minister Oleksandr
Baranivskyy and Economics Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk are fighting for the
successful start of the sowing campaign, enough fuel supplies and are
striving to prevent all sorts of sugar, meat or milk crises, a National
Security and Defence Council member organizes these crises?
                        BUSINESSMAN MP TO BENEFIT
However, there is another detail which suggests an answer. Both Prylutskyy
Naftonalyv and Naftokhimik Prykarpattya have close ties with the chief of
the notorious Pryvat group [MP and businessman] Ihor Kolomoyskyy.

There is an impression that this man (sorry, gentleman) has got the knack of
persuading people. He has arguments. Are they is his briefcase or in a box
from a copying machine? Are they sufficient for everyone, or just for some
"members" and other judges on call?

But this is not a topic of this article. There are other agencies which
should look into this. Among them is the National Security and Defence
Council, which, incidentally, is going to consider the issue of energy
safety and searching for ways of diversifying energy flows to Ukraine once
again.   -30-
——————————————————————————————–
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
7.  AMERICAN RESPONSE TO UPCOMING UKRAINIAN RADA VOTE 

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: By Michael Averko
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #665, Article 7
Washington, D.C., Thursday, February 23, 2006

An open ended issue is prevalent on how America will deal with East
Ukrainian political leader Viktor Yanukovych’s likely resurgence in the
Ukrainian body politic. Keep in mind that American foreign policy elites are
preoccupied with other issues like Iraq, Iran and Hamas-Israel. Post Soviet
Ukraine under Leonid Kravchuk, Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko
has burned America three times.

On Ukraine, there’s apprehension among those American elites, whose foreign
policy specialties are in other areas. At the same time, those concerned
with Ukraine from a neo-conservative and George Soros funded neo-liberal
persuasion will no doubt push for continued support for the more
"pro-Western" forces within the Ukrainian political establishment. This
advocacy is staunchly backed by the relatively influential and politically
active West Ukrainian community in Canada and the U.S.

Yanukovych is so far positioning himself well by not going against his
pro-Russian constituency, while expressing an openness to the West minus
Ukraine joining NATO. Yanukovych is cool towards NATO like the majority
of Ukraine’s citizenry. He’s interesting in closer EU ties with Ukraine, but
is also sympathetic to the proposed Common Economic Sphere with Russia.

He no doubt recognizes that Ukrainian membership in the EU isn’t probable
in the near future. A recent public opinion poll shows most of Ukraine’s
citizenry sharing Yanukovych’s opinion of the CES, EU and NATO. [1]

North American attitudes towards Ukraine have been traditionally influenced
by North Americans of West Ukrainian descent. This is especially true of
Canada, where the ethnic West Ukrainian dynamic is proportionately greater
than the U.S. In 1991, Canada and Poland recognized an independent Ukraine
before a referendum was held to formally determine that matter.

Prior to World War I., Western Ukraine was part of the Hapsburg Empire and
between the two world wars (1918-39), it was part of Poland. West Ukraine’s
centuries long separation from historic Russia (those lands descended from
Kievan Rus) resulted in that region developing a different geopolitical
outlook, along with a distinct Christian denomination (Uniate), dialect (a
mix of Polish, German and Ukrainian) and architecture.

It should be noted that many people with ancestral roots from the territory
of modern day Ukraine don’t always identify with Ukraine as much as they do
with some other lands. Ethnic Poles from Lviv/Lvov are likely to feel a
greater kinship with Poland.

Jews from Ukraine often tend to identify more with either Russia or Poland.
There’re many ethnic Russians from Ukraine. The 20% ethnic Romanian
population in Bukovina (a region in Western Ukraine) are known to not be
sympathetic towards Ukrainian nationalism. Not to be overlooked are those
Ukrainians favoring close ties with Russia.

Prior to the American government legislated Jackson-Vanik amendment of the
19 seventies (which began opening up emigration of Soviet nationals to
America), the West Ukrainian view of Ukraine dominated America. Since
Jackson-Vanik, a greater number of people from southern, central and eastern
Ukraine have migrated to America as well as to Canada.

Many of these newer arrivals don’t share the West Ukrainian tendency of
seeking to distance Ukraine from Russia. Despite this, the West Ukrainian
consensus remains the more dominant one in North America. Case in point was
a poll among Chicago’s Ukrainian population during the so called "orange
revolution." That poll favored Yushchenko by over 90%. This despite the fact
that his opponent Yanukovych received over 40% of the vote in the last
Ukrainian presidential election.

American Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice’s recently repeated assertion

of hers that Russia is (in her view) slipping back on democratic reforms
indicates that Washington officialdom would be cool towards closer
Russo-Ukrainian relations.

Simultaneously though, one can find instances where extreme criticism of the
Russian government can have its limits. Witness Anders Aslund’s leaving the
high profile (by American think tank standards) Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace.

Aslund’s August paper calling for the overthrow of the "Putin regime" and
his catering to anti-Russian advocates was apparently too much for the
neo-liberal slanted Carnegie Endowment. Aslund has clearly targeted himself
for support from the anti-Russian lobby of North American based individuals.
A good number of these people have roots in Poland, Western Ukraine and
the Baltics.

The Orange Circle ( http://www.orangecircle.org) is a newly created
organization that has been funded in good measure by the West-Ukrainian
American community. I recognize that the general sentiment in Western
Ukraine is shared by others throughout Ukraine (though not as
enthusiastically), much like how pro-Russian sentiment can be found in
Western Ukraine.

Since the Soviet breakup, greater attempts have been made on the part of
some North American based Polish and West Ukrainian intellectuals to promote
closer relations between Ukraine and Poland, with Russia portrayed in a
negative manner (despite this, one often hears that anti-Polish sentiment in
Western Ukraine remains greater when compared to anti-Russian feeling).

The makeup of the Orange Circle is quite revealing. Zbigniew Brzezinski,
Janusz Onyszkiewicz (former Polish Defense Minister), Madeleine Albright,
Ann Applebaum (the influential Washington Post editor, who is married to the
current Polish defense minister Radek Sikorski), Timothy Garton Ash (a
prominent neo-conservative) Bronislaw Geremek and Vaclav Havel are all
positively referred to at the Orange Circle’s web site (some of them are
formally involved with that organization).

A February 1, Orange Circle panel discussion featured Adrian Karatnycky,
Anders Aslund and Marianna Kozinstseva
(http://www.orangecircle.org/news_020201oc-pr-briefing.html ). Karatnycky
is the grandson of West Ukrainian emigres. For several years, he was on the
staff of Freedom House, which has historically had a West Ukrainian bias.
He now heads the Orange Circle.

Since his departure from the Carnegie Endowment, Aslund has been active in
stating his views before Russia unfriendly gatherings. Kozintseva, the
lesser known of the three, is employed by the American financial firm Bear
Stearns. Her Orange Circle panel appearance was intriguing given her stated
skepticism of the supposed achievements of the so called "orange
revolution."

Perhaps the February 1, invitation to Kozintseva shows a realization on the
part of the orange crowd that they aren’t likely to have their way in
Ukraine and that compromises will have to be made. There’s also the
possibility of their trying to woo Yanukovych to a more West Ukrainian
direction. This could be employed via a "damage control" plan.

Under this scenario, there’s the tacit acknowledgement that Ukraine will not
politically influence Russia and that Moscow’s historically close
relationship with its southern neighbor will not end. At the same time,
continued efforts will be made to limit Russian influence in Ukraine as

much as possible.

The Orange Circle’s recent creation is no doubt initiated (in part) to
further encourage a greater separation between Kiev and Moscow. There’s
presently no effective pro-Russian lobbying group in the U.S. to offer a
different perspective. Specifically, that closer Russo-Ukrainian relations
aren’t a threat to Western interests.

Given all of the variables, look for Washington, Moscow and the leading
Ukrainian political factions to keep the existing differences from fully
boiling over. No one benefits from a socio-economically weakened Ukraine.
———————————————————————————————-
[1] CITATION OF POLL:
Poll shows Ukrainians favour joining CIS economic bloc ahead of EU
Ukrainian news agency UNIAN, Kiev, 15 February:
While 42.6 per cent of Ukrainians support the country’s accession to the
European Union, 56.8 per cent support membership of the Single Economic
Space [with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan].
The results of a national poll conducted by the Democratic Initiatives fund
in January was announced at a round table in Kiev today.
Another 30.5 per cent of respondents opposed Ukraine’s EU entry, while
26.9 per cent failed to give an answer. While 17.8 per cent who opposed
Ukraine’s accession to the Single Economic Space, 25.5 per cent failed to
give a clear answer.
Respondents provided the following answers to a question about Ukraine’s
NATO entry: 19.2 per cent supported the entry; 55 per cent opposed it; 25.8
per cent had difficulty answering. When asked about the best guarantee of
Ukraine’s security, the answers were as follows: 17.1 per cent mentioned
NATO entry; 35.5 per cent, military union with Russia and other CIS
countries; 26.2 per cent, a non-bloc status; 20 per cent failed to give a
clear answer. The number of respondents polled was 2,000.
Commenting on the data, the director of the Democratic Initiatives fund,
Ilko Kucheriv, said that about 10 per cent of Ukrainians are really
interested in politics and are well informed. The problem is that
Ukrainians have a low awareness of what NATO is about, and they are guided
by the old stereotype of NATO as an aggressive bloc. He pointed out that 1
per cent of respondents were able to answer how many wars were started by
NATO.The director of international programmes at the Ukrainian Razumkov
centre for economic and political studies, Valeriy Chalyy, told the round
table that research conducted by the centre in January showed that only 6.6 per
cent of respondents said they were well informed about the EU, and 6.25 per
cent about NATO. Chalyy said this makes any opinion poll concerning these
institutions unreasonable because one cannot express an opinion without
knowing the subject.                       -30-
—————————————————————————————————-
Mike Averko is a New York based independent foreign policy analyst

whose commentary has appeared in Eurasian Home, Johnson’s Russia
List, Intelligent.Ru, The Moscow Times, New York Times and Newsday.
He can be contacted at: mikeaverko@msn.com.
——————————————————————————————–
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
         Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.
========================================================
8 .                           MORE CARROT, LESS STICK
                 U.S. finally recognizes Ukraine as a market economy
   Graduation from Jackson-Vanik amendment for Ukraine should be next

EDITORIAL: Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, February 23, 2006

Last week, a top official from the U.S. Commerce Department came to
Ukraine to announce that his country had finally recognized the former
Soviet republic as a market economy.

Up until then, Ukraine was vulnerable to various U.S. trade restrictions,
which it could not appeal in court with the argument that the country’s
economy was market-oriented. Many of these trade restrictions are still in
place by the EU, Russia, the U.S. and other countries as Ukraine is still
not a member of the WTO.

But now Ukraine has a chance to defend its export rights to the U.S. in
court without having to prove it’s a market economy.

We congratulate Ukraine on this accomplishment and welcome everything
that it will mean for its dynamic economy. However, much more remains to
be done before Ukraine takes the much more important step of becoming a
WTO member.

Ukraine has worked hard convincing other WTO member countries one by
one to accept it as a member. President Viktor Yushchenko’s administration
has been active in pushing much of the necessary legislation through
parliament.

The process, however, is certain to continue being painful, as a large
portion of the legislature – communists and lawmakers loyal to business
interests keen on keeping protection laws in place – continue to block the
rostrum whenever WTO-friendly bills are discussed. "Protection of the
domestic producer" is their self-serving battle cry.

Spoiled by sweet inside deals which gave them monopolistic control over a
large share of Ukraine’s economy, they have no desire to face competition,
which fuels growth and quality in any open market.

It is probably no coincidence that the factions in parliament which oppose
WTO membership often voted in line with Russian interests on issues such
as an official status for the Russian language and joining a trade union
with Russia.

Moscow, which has urged Ukraine to join the Single Economic Space and
hammered its southern neighbor with higher gas prices, also wants to join
the WTO, but doesn’t like the idea that Ukraine could get in first. Being
first would give either country an enviable advantage over the other:
setting conditions for aspiring members. The U.S. Commerce Department
seems to be eager to avoid such a conflict by suggesting Ukraine and Russia
join simultaneously.

We salute any proposal that would allow Ukraine to join at least as early
Russia, which has more than once displayed its desire to pressure Ukraine
into becoming more compliant to its interests.

Moving on, the U.S. and EU need to continue rewarding Kyiv’s reform efforts.
And the next step for Washington should be Congress’s annulment of the
Cold-War era Jackson-Vanik amendment, which authorized trade restrictions
intended to pressure the Soviet authorities into letting Jews emigrate. This
goal has long been achieved.

The Senate removed Ukraine from the list last November. The bill has yet to
be approved by the House of Representatives. If the U.S. is serious about
helping Ukraine, be it for geopolitical reasons or honest desire to aid an
aspiring democracy, it should ensure that this is accomplished soon.
-30-
————————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/editorial/23913/
——————————————————————————————-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

========================================================
9.  URGENT CALL TO ACTION: JACKSON-VANIK GRADUATION
Please fax letters to Congress now to graduate Ukraine from Jackson-Vanik

Ambassador Steven Pifer and Ambassador Williams Miller, Co-Chairmen
Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition, Washington, D.C., February, 2006

WASHINGTON – The Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition is pushing to
persuade the House of Representatives to pass legislation in February to
graduate Ukraine from the provisions of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment.
This is now a matter requiring URGENT action.

The Coalition is urging Congress to take action now, due to concern that,
with the approaching March 26 Rada elections, a failure by Congress to act
will be seen as a failure of the Ukrainian government’s foreign policy and
an indication of Western disinterest in Ukraine.

Congressional inaction thus could be used by opponents of the government’s
pro-reform, pro- West course in the run-up to the parliamentary elections.
The Coalition thus seeks passage of legislation by the House of
Representatives in February, to send a strong signal of U.S. support to
Ukraine.

The Senate passed by unanimous consent legislation to graduate Ukraine in
November 2005, but the House of Representatives adjourned without taking
parallel action. The House returned to work on January 31.

Our understanding continues to be that there is no opposition per se to
graduating Ukraine in Congress; indeed, there is general agreement that
Ukraine has long met Jackson-Vanik’s freedom-of-emigration requirements.
However, the House Ways and Means Committee (the House committee
with primary jurisdiction for Jackson-Vanik) is reluctant to take up
legislation until it has the opportunity to review the U.S.-Ukraine bilateral

protocol on Ukraine’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Both U.S. and Ukrainian government sources report that significant progress
has been made on the protocol and that only a handful of issues remain, but
it is not known how soon the protocol will be finished.

The Coalition is urging members of Congress to support and co-sponsor H.R.
1053, introduced by Rep Gerlach of Pennsylvania. Of the three House bills
pending on Jackson-Vanik graduation for Ukraine, H.R. 1053 has the greatest
receptivity in the Ways and Means Committee. As of January 31, H.R. 1053
had almost 40 co-sponsors.

Coalition co-chairmen Steven Pifer and William Miller sent letters on
February 2 to members of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus who have not
yet co- sponsored H.R. 1053 urging them to do so and graduate Ukraine this
month (see text below). They also sent letters to the co-sponsors of H.R.
1053 and to members of the Ways and Means Committee urging action this

month.

The Coalition urges all those who are interested in seeing Ukraine graduated
from Jackson-Vanik to fax letters NOW urging Congressional action THIS
MONTH to their members in the House of Representatives, to the members of
the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus, and to members of the House Ways and
Means Committee. The Coalition suggests faxing letters to district offices
as well as to the Representatives’ Washington offices.           -30-
——————————————————————————————————-
                  Suggested points for use in letters or in calls to

                          Congressional offices follows below.

In November 2005, the Senate passed by unanimous consent legislation to
graduate Ukraine from the provisions of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment.
The House of Representatives now must take similar action, and pass the
graduation bill H.R. 1053 by the end of February.

Independent Ukraine fully meets the freedom-of- emigration requirements
of Jackson-Vanik, with an exemplary emigration record. This has been
acknowledged by Presidents Clinton and Bush.

Urgent action is required. Ukraine holds parliamentary elections in March.
Opponents of the Ukrainian government’s pro-reform, pro-West course will
seize on Congressional inaction as a failure of the Yushchenko government’s
foreign policy and an indication of Western disinterest.

Congress must act now to pass H.R. 1053 to graduate Ukraine and send a
positive signal of support for a democratic, market-oriented Ukraine that is
fully integrated into the Euro-Atlantic community. This is not just good for
Ukraine; it is in the U.S. national interest.

Moreover, graduating Ukraine from Jackson-Vanik is necessary to meet one
of the key U.S. commitments from the April 2005 Bush-Yushchenko Joint
Statement.

Early action is supported by a broad coalition, which now numbers more than
250 Ukrainian- American groups, Jewish-American groups, American business
and NGOs.

For more information about the Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition, please
email jvgc@usukraine.org and check website: http://www.usukraine.org.
—————————————————————————————————–
     Text of letter sent from JVGC to Congressional Ukrainian Caucus
               members who have not yet co- sponsored H.R. 1053:

Dear Congressional Ukrainian Caucus member,

We are writing to urge your support, as a member of the Congressional
Ukrainian Caucus, for graduating Ukraine from the provisions of the
Jackson-Vanik Amendment by the end of February. In particular, we ask
that you join now in co-sponsoring H.R. 1053.

The Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition, which currently represents more
than 250 businesses and Ukrainian-American, Jewish-American and other
non-governmental organizations, believes this is a matter of urgency.

Congressional action in February will send a critical signal of support for
strong U.S.- Ukrainian relations in the run-up to the very important March
26 parliamentary elections in Ukraine.

Lack of action, on the other hand, will be seized upon by opponents of
Ukraine’s pro-reform, pro-West government as both a failure of its foreign
policy and an indication of Western disinterest. Congressional action now
will have the optimum positive impact in Ukraine and promote the U.S.
national interest in integrating a democratic, market- oriented Ukraine into
the Euro-Atlantic community.

Ukraine fully merits graduation; it has long met Jackson-Vanik’s
freedom-of-emigration requirements. Moreover, it has created conditions in
which religious minorities can freely practice their beliefs. This has been
recognized by both Presidents Clinton and Bush. The Senate last November
passed by unanimous consent legislation to graduate Ukraine from
Jackson-Vanik. Action thus now lies with the House.

The Coalition supports H.R. 1053 as we have heard repeatedly that, of the
three House bills pending on Jackson-Vanik graduation for Ukraine, it has
the most receptivity in the Ways and Means Committee. As of January 31,
H.R. 1053 had almost 40 co-sponsors, double the number in November.

We urgently ask you to please support Ukraine’s graduation by joining now
as a co-sponsor of H.R. 1053 and urging your fellow members to take like
action, with the objective of passing legislation by the end of February.

Sincerely,
Ambassador Pifer and Ambassador Miller
Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition Co-Chairmen

——————————————————————————————-
NOTE:  For complete information on the key members of the U.S.
House of Representatives the Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition
recommend you contact please go to the following link:
http://www.usukraine.org/jvgc.shtml#members
——————————————————————————————-
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
10. U.S. COMPANY "HOLTEC INT" DISMISSES ACCUSATIONS OF
     YULIA TYMOSHENKO AND SUSPECTS BUSINESS-INTERESTS
                         MIGHT BE BEHIND HER STATEMENT

By Serhiy Kudelia, Ukrainian Service
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, February 22, 2006

WASHINGTON – The accusations of Ukraine’s ex-Prime Minister Yulia

Tymoshenko against the U.S. company "Holtec International", contracted
to build a storage facility in Ukraine for the spent nuclear fuel, were absurd
and false. This is according to the company’s President Dr. Kris Singh,
interviewed by RFE/RL.

According to Dr. Singh, the contract signed on December 26, 2005 between
"ENERGOATOM" and Holtec provides that the storage will be used for the

spent fuel only from Ukrainian nuclear reactors, and not from the foreign ones,
as Tymoshenko asserted during her latest press-conference in Kyiv.

Dr. Singh also denied Tymoshenko’s claim that the U.S. government revoked
the company’s license. He thinks that with her statement, Tymoshenko might
have acted on behalf of certain business-interests within Ukraine. RFE/RL’s
Washington correspondent Serhiy Kudelia interviewed Dr. Singh for this
report.

In the summer of 2003, Ukrainian state nuclear energy-generating company
"ENERGOATOM" announced an international tender to build a storage facility
for the used fuel from Ukraine’s nuclear stations. The main contenders for
the contract were the U.S. company "Holtec International" and Ukrainian
consortium, represented by the closed joint-stock company

"Ukratomenergobud".

At the beginning of October 2004, before the first round of the presidential
elections in Ukraine, the tender committee released its decision that the
Ukrainian offer should be viewed as preferable. However, already after the
Orange Revolution, in late December 2004, then head of "Energoatom" and
Ukraine’s minister of fuel and energy Serhiy Tulub announced that the
contract was awarded to the Holtec.

A year later, new head of "Energoatom" Yurii Nedeshkovskyi signed an
official contract with "Holtec International" for the construction of the
storage facility for the spent nuclear fuel. The contract value is
approximately $150 million, with 90% financed by Holtec. According to the
company’s press-release, this contract represents the largest investment in
Ukraine’s nuclear sector by a U.S. company.

On February 20, 2006, Yulia Tymoshenko, the leader of the opposition
election bloc "BYuT", called the signing of this contract a "fatal event"
since it could, allegedly, harm Ukraine’s security. Calling it a "nuclear
graveyard", Tymoshenko asserted that the projected storage facility would be
used to store the spent nuclear fuel not only from Ukraine, but also from
other countries. In the interview with RFE/RL, Holtec’s President Dr. Kris
Singh dismissed such an assertion:

"She (Yulia Tymoshenko) is misinformed. It’s not true. There is no foreign
fuel. The tender document did not mention any foreign fuel. And this
facility that we will be installing in Ukraine would not be for foreign
fuel. It is for the Ukrainian domestic reactor – fuel you burnt domestically
in Ukraine. It will be stored in the place, which is environmentally
acceptable, that pass the environmental impact statements and approved by
the government."

At the press-conference, Tymoshenko also questioned the business

reputation of the U.S. company. According to her, U.S. government revoked
the company’s license in May of 2005. "How can we choose as a contractor
a company, whose license was revoked in another country?", asked
Tymoshenko at the press-conference.
 
However, Dr. Kris Singh denies this accusation by Tymoshenko: "None of
our licenses has ever been revoked. Never mind 2005. There has never been
a revocation of the Holtec International license by the US Nuclear Regulatory
Commission, which is the license provider."

Dr. Kris Singh says that Tymoshenko’s statement regarding Holtec was

based on false facts and argues that there is "not an iota of truth in it." He
assumes that somebody might have misinformed Tymoshenko and presumes
that it could have been those politicians, who have been lobbying for the
interests of the Ukrainian consortium, represented by "Ukratomenergobud" –
business competitor of the U.S. company.

"There are political interests within Ukraine, who opposed this project. The
consortium, which filed a law suit, has, as I was told, some politicians in
their country involved. And it may not have been entirely their altruistic
interests for their country that they are protecting. But I don’t know their
names. And now may be they are looking at Ms. Tymoshenko as unwitting ally
to something that would harm their country."

Although Dr. Singh does not mention the names of the interested politicians,
it is not hard to guess whose political and business interests are at stake.
Ukrainian participant in the tender "Ukratomenergobud" acted as an official
representative of the consortium.

In reality, it acted on behalf of Novokramatorsk machine-building plant
(NKMZ), which submitted an application to participate in the tender process.
The president of NKMZ has been Georgiy Skudar, who is the member of

"Regions of Ukraine" faction in the Ukrainian parliament and number three
on the party list of the "Party of Regions" in this year’s election.

Dr. Singh says that he does not know anything about Ukrainian politics. But
he emphasizes that Ukraine is losing $7 million to $9 million a month due to
the lack of a storage facility for the spent nuclear fuel.

However, even political experts would probably be surprised by the fact that
Yulia Tymoshenko, the strong opponent of Viktor Yanukovich, makes
statements, which might benefit the business interests of the prominent
members of Yanukovich’s "Party of Regions."

Dr. Singh adds that her attempts to prevent Holtec from executing the
contract would only be harmful to Ukraine: "We are bringing to the country a
technology, which is significantly safer than anything they have their now.
We are bringing in the capital to deploy the technology. We are bringing in
the resources to employ Ukrainian people to build the equipment and
facilities.

And we are bringing in the technology that represents the best in the United
States. And we are a company with the flawless performance record. If all of
this does not make sense to people, who have power in Ukraine and they
decide to cancel the contract, it would be an act of foolishness on their
part."

The commissioning of the facility has been scheduled for 2008. However, as
election-fueled political controversy in Ukraine over the contract ensues,
its construction might be further delayed, costing Ukraine annually close to
$100 million.                                       -30-
———————————————————————————————————-
NOTE: The original version of this report can be accessed here:
http://www.radiosvoboda.org/article/2006/02/f36d79af-a6ef-4f7f-8f0a-2059096bc57c
Serhiy Kudelia, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Ukrainian Service)
Washington, DC, email: skudelia@jhu.edu; phone: 202-457-6935 (work),
202-413-4887 (cell); fax: 202-457-6974.
——————————————————————————————-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================

11.    TENSIONS WITH UKRAINE SPARK RUSSIA SALT RUN
             Run on stores & markets from Moscow to the Ural Mountains

Associated Press (AP), Moscow, Russia, Wed, February 22, 2006

MOSCOW – When fears of a shortfall in salt deliveries from Ukraine gathered
pace last week, the result was a run on stores and markets from Moscow to
the Ural Mountains.

Experts say the panic, that saw producers scramble to meet demand, was
fueled as much by the deep-seated worries of elderly Russians – whose
memories of the bread-lines of the Soviet Union have not been dispelled by
Russia’s newfound prosperity – as tense relations between Moscow and Kiev.

Salt underpins the Russian diet in a major way: experts estimate its
citizens consume as much as 20 grams per day – or four times the amount
recommended by the World Health Organization.

"The conditions for a deficit simply do not exist," Dmitry Yanin, head of
the international confederation of consumer societies, said in an interview
with The Associated Press.

According to Yanin, a major Ukrainian producer had changed the distribution
company it was working with in central Russia, leading to temporary
disruptions last week.

But the fact that a Ukrainian supplier was involved only fueled the panic.
Relations between the Kremlin and its western- leaning neighbor are
strained: Russia temporarily cut off Ukraine’s gas supplies in a New Year’s
price spat, while Russian officials have since imposed a ban on Ukrainian
dairy and meat imports.

"There followed a reaction typical to post-Soviet countries," said Yanin.
"The rumors spread, and the older generation remembers the years when salt,
sugar, soap and matches were in deficit. So they ran out, forgetting that a
person can only eat two packs of salt in a year, and bought 20 kilograms. Of
course traders started to raise prices."

Ultimately the only supply problems were to do with arranging transport to
cope with the extra demand. Ukraine doubled its exports to 35 rail wagons
per day. Producers delivered salt in unbranded plastic bags to some Moscow
stores, such was the rush to meet demand, according to Yanin.

Pickling vegetables, while contributing to the high levels of salt in
Russian’s diets, is something of a cottage industry. Many rely on the
gardens of their country allotments to supplement their often meager incomes
as well as their diets in the long winter months.

Stalls laden with buckets of pickled cucumbers, peppers and apples amid
mounds of sauerkraut can be found in any of Moscow’s food markets. Other
salty favorites include pungent dried fish – typically consumed with beer –
and salami.

Some 98% of Russia’s salt consumption – between 800,000 and 1 million

metric tons – is provided from local plants and imports from Ukraine and
Belorussia. While the two former Soviet republics mostly supply much of the
central Russian regions, plants in the cities of Astrakhan, Orenburg, Perm
and Irkutsk cover the rest of the country.

With the panic over, Russia’s anti-monopoly agency has said it will conduct
an investigation of the salt market for evidence of abuses by retailers.

But Yanin suggests that the root of the salt shortage lies in the public’s
conviction that – despite the much touted political and economic stability
under President Vladimir Putin, every one looks out for his own interests.
"Its a bad signal – if people are so sensitive to rumors it means they don’t
believe in the authorities’ ability to solve such problems," he said. "Trust
is minimal."   -30-
 

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========================================================
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========================================================
12.                  WILL UKRAINE’S NATO HOPES STALL?

Jane’s Intelligence Digest, United Kingdom, Friday, February 17, 2006

Ukrainian ministers continue to be publicly optimistic about their country’s
chances of future NATO membership. However, their timetables show
considerable variation. JID’s CIS correspondent reviews the current
situation.

Ask Ukrainian officials for their estimate on when their country will be
ready to join NATO and different dates are likely to be offered, ranging
from 2008 to 2010. Recently, Volodymyr Khandohiy, deputy foreign minister,
stated that Ukraine hoped to be included among the countries invited to join
at the NATO summit in 2008. This gathering is expected to have the further
enlargement of the alliance on its agenda. Three other countries could be
included in this phase: Croatia, Albania and Macedonia.

Being included on the 2008 enlargement list could see Ukraine and the three
other current candidates join NATO in 2010. Politically, this would be good
timing for Kiev, as the move would follow the October 2009 presidential
elections. However, such a scenario presupposes the re-election of pro-NATO
Viktor Yushchenko as President or, failing that, the election of a successor
who also favours membership.

Meanwhile, NATO General Secretary Jaap de Hoop Scheffer supports the view
that the 2008 NATO summit will have an enlargement agenda focusing on the
western Balkan states and Ukraine. However, he has so far declined to offer
a concrete date by which the four aspirant countries could actually become
members.

For his part, Ukrainian Defence Minister Anatoliy Grytsenko believes Ukraine
could obtain a membership action plan (MAP) at the NATO summit in Riga in
November 2006. This will be first of the alliance’s summits to be held in a
former Soviet republic. If this forecast proves accurate, it would offer
Ukraine the opportunity to complete two annual cycles of MAP before being
formally invited to join NATO.
                              SUPPORT FROM WASHINGTON
Given that the current US administration is also committed to supporting
democratisation abroad, there is support in Washington for including Ukraine
and Georgia in NATO. US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has voiced
support for Ukraine’s membership. As one Ukrainian newspaper observed
recently: "The US will support it in every possible way and call on the
other allies to help Ukraine integrate into the alliance."

The present climate of unilateralism in the US could work in Ukraine’s
favour by reducing the need for Washington to take notice of continuing
Russian objections to Ukraine’s entry into NATO. This is especially true at
a time when there are serious concerns over the apparent ‘regression’ away
from democracy in Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

The territorial conflict with Russia over Tuzla island near the Crimea in
2003, the 2005-2006 winter gas crisis and the ongoing dispute over the Black
Sea Fleet’s illegal occupation of Crimean naval facilities have all served
to convince Ukraine’s leaders of the need to achieve NATO membership.

Yushchenko told a joint meeting in Kiev of Ukraine’s National Security and
Defence Council and NATO’s North Atlantic Council that NATO membership

would provide the necessary external guarantees for Ukraine’s national security.

Another key issue is the extent to which NATO membership is likely to impact
Ukraine’s future ambitions to join the EU. As de Hoop Scheffer has noted,
joining NATO may also be seen as a stepping stone to EU membership. At
present, the EU is inclined to offer ‘enhanced partnership’ to Ukraine
rather than full membership.

As the ‘carrot’ of eventual EU membership was crucial in encouraging
post-communist states to undertake painful and unpopular economic reforms,
the absence of such a promise could have a negative impact on reforms in
Ukraine.

Although Kiev has a good chance of being invited into NATO’s MAP process

in 2006, the timeframe for achieving full membership could be delayed beyond
the 2008 NATO summit because of the widely held view among European
members of NATO that Ukraine is not yet ready for membership.

Of course, Yushchenko is correct in stating that no country invited into
NATO’s Intensified Dialogue on Membership (which Ukraine was invited to join
in May 2005) has not ultimately joined NATO. However, the short timeframe
that has been allotted to agree on a membership action plan before Kiev can
be invited into NATO (2006-2008) could delay the country’s invitation until
after 2008.
              PROGRESS AND REFORM ON VARIOUS FRONTS
NATO and the Bush administration expect three conditions to be met before
Kiev’s membership will become a viable future option.

[1] The first of these is the holding on 26 March 2006 of ‘free and fair
elections’, as defined by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in
Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe. This objective is very likely to be
met when Ukraine holds what is expected to be its first free election since
1994.

[2] The second condition is the continuation of political, economic and
defence reforms. Although the pace of reform since Yushchenko’s election

has been slower than initially hoped, it has been recognised internationally
that progress has been made.

US-based Freedom House, an independent organisation that tracks the progress
of civil freedoms around the world, upgraded Ukraine’s status to ‘free’ this
year. Kiev was also granted market economic status by both the EU and the
US. Meanwhile, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on money-laundering
has now halted its monitoring of Ukraine.

In addition, there is an ongoing reform of the Interior Ministry and the
military under Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko and Defence Minister
Grytsenko. The latter has called for greater co-ordination among Ukraine’s
security forces, where duties often overlap. NATO is set to assist in this
process by extending its long-standing co-operation with Ukraine’s military
to the country’s security forces, Interior Ministry and Ministry for
Emergency Situations.

[3] The third – and potentially the most contentious issue – is addressing
the problem of regional opposition to NATO membership, as well as low public
support for the move. Ukraine is not unique in this. Some other
post-communist states, such as Slovenia and Hungary, also had relatively low
public support for their membership. Ukraine’s populist bloc, led by former
premier Yulia Tymoshenko, has recently reiterated its opposition to joining
NATO if the move is not supported within Ukraine.

Ukraine is also different from other post-communist countries that have
joined NATO in that it would be the first truly former Soviet republic to be
invited to join. In contrast, the three Baltic states never joined the CIS.
Meanwhile, only around ten per cent of Ukrainians appear to understand what
NATO is and why their country should join, a legacy which some observers
attribute to decades of Soviet anti-NATO propaganda.

A positive information campaign on NATO was also lacking during the
presidency of Leonid Kuchma. This has left a vacuum into which the
opposition has launched its anti-NATO membership campaign. In January 2006,
the Central Election Commission registered a total of 92 initiative groups
calling for a referendum on membership of both NATO and the CIS Single
Economic Space.

The anti-NATO campaign is being led by the Ne Tak! (Not This Way!) election
bloc, which is grouped around the United Social Democratic Party headed by
Viktor Medvedchuk, former head of the presidential administration during
Kuchma’s final years in power.

An important financial source for the Ne Tak! bloc and the anti-NATO
campaign is the Republican Party, led by former Naftohaz Ukrainy CEO Yuriy
Boyko, a key player in the Rosukrenergo company set up in July 2004 and
involved in the controversial new gas contract with Russian energy giant
Gazprom.

The major hurdle to be overcome in Ukraine will be the attitude of the Party
of Regions, which is set to be the largest faction in the newly elected
parliament. The Party of Regions is dominant in eastern Ukraine, where
opposition to NATO membership is highest.

Without converting this group into a pro-NATO force – or at least one
neutrally disposed towards membership – after the March 2006 elections, it
is difficult to see how Ukraine will be able to move beyond a MAP into
membership by 2008-2010 as Yushchenko and other top Ukrainian officials

are claiming.  -30-
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========================================================
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========================================================
13.    SKATING DRAMA CREATES COLD WAR NOSTALGIA
    Sasha Cohen proves this new-world concept, too. Her parents emigrated
              from Ukraine after it opened up. She was born in California.

COMMENTARY: By Dave Hyde, South Florida Sun-Sentinel.com
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Wednesday, February 22. 2006

TURIN, Italy — Do you believe in miracles again? Yes?

Because when Sasha Cohen’s scores went up Tuesday, it had the feel of
1980 again. American flags waved proudly. The chant of, "U-S-A" shook
the night. Cohen punched the air with a fist, and yelled to her
figure-skating coach, "Give me a hug!" as she shot into first place by the

thinnest of margins over … (Man, don’t the Olympics miss this?) … a
Russian.

And not just any Russian. The coolest, coldest, most calculating, most
decorated Russian sphinx that Leonid Brezhnev could invent. Irina Slutskaya
doesn’t just skate toe loops around most women. She talks from behind an
iron curtain, even to the most harmless of questions, like how she arrived
to the skating rink this night.

"I did what I do all the time," she said. OK, but were you nervous? "It’s
competition," she said. "I don’t want to tell you." What was she thinking on
the ice? "If I tell you, everyone will know my secrets, and everyone will do
great," she said.

She then turned and walked off into the night after placing second in
Tuesday’s short program. This woman is tough, folks. And good. And
experienced enough, at 27, to be in her third Olympics and the first person
to win seven European titles.

In another time, and another world, you could work up a real
U.S.-against-them mentality to it all and — aw, what the heck, why not do
it for this Super Bowl event of the Olympics?

It’s the Cold War again, for old time’s sake. And let’s be honest: That’s
what the Games miss most. People can say TV ratings are down in America
because the sports are silly, the Internet age changes everything or the
stars have flopped. That’s all true to a point. But what they really miss is
a good Evil of Empire to work into a lather against.

The world is such a different place now. All of the Russian pairs collecting
gold at these figure-skating Games live in America (Slutskaya, bless her,
lives in Moscow).

Sasha Cohen proves this new-world concept, too. Her parents emigrated
from Ukraine after it opened up. She was born in California. She lists
among her hobbies "collecting Beanie Babies" and says she was inspired
read college-basketball legend John Wooden’s "Pyramid of Success."

Now she’s America’s Last Great Hope, too. Most of the other top names
have fizzled. Bode Miller. Apolo Ohno. Michelle Kwan got hurt. The
women’s hockey team got upset. You can keep going down the list and find
that about all we’re winning in are snowboard and men’s speedskating.

Cohen, 21, is a star in her own right. That’s where the miracle theme of
1980 cracks. But this won’t be easy for her, going against a champ like
Slutskaya. At halftime, Cohen leads, 66.73 to 66.70. But she has a
reputation for not finishing well.

Still, she has reasons why this finish should be different. "The experience,
the constant work," she said. "It’s definitely going to be tough for
everyone to do great (long programs) with the pressure … But I’m going to
believe in myself and expect the best.

"Everything that has happened to me has taught me along the way. It’s
brought me to where I am today."

Slutskaya could say the same. In Salt Lake four years ago, she felt judges
unfairly gave the gold to America’s Sarah Hughes and then stuck to the
Russian party line in discussing it.

"I’m obviously not the only Russian who has suffered here," she said. Four
years later, this worthy Russian is back and talking as cold as ever. And
Thursday, she’s going sit-spin-to-sit-spin against another American for the
gold.  Ain’t it grand?   -30-
————————————————————————————————–
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/sports/sfl-hyde22xfeb22,0,3766550.column
————————————————————————————————–

NOTE:  Information found on the internet sent to us yesterday by
Mark Rudkin, of SigmaBleyzer in Houston: "Morgan, I didn’t realize
it until tonight but Olympic figure skater Sasha Cohen is of Ukrainian
descent. Her mother was born in Odessa, Ukraine.
 
Arts and music play a big role in the Cohen family. Her mother, Galina, 
plays a role in the artistry and music selection to her routines. Her father,
Roger, grew up around classical music. Her sister, Natasha, is a concert
pianist.
 
Her grandfather, who emigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine in the 1970’s,
once performed in a children’s gymnastics troupe for Soviet dictator
Josef Stalin.  Also notable was the fact that Sasha Cohen’s short
program was Ukrainian music and her costume was Ukrainian blue and
yellow."                                                 -30-
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[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
14.  ESTABLISHING A MEMORIAL IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
TO HONOR VICTIMS OF MANMADE FAMINE IN UKRAINE 1932-1933
    Authorize Government of Ukraine to establish memorial on federal land

Written Testimony of H.E. Dr. Oleh Shamshur
Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States
Submitted at hearing held by the Subcommittee on National Parks
US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Washington, D.C., Thursday, February 16, 2006

         WRITTEN TESTIMONY OF H.E. DR. OLEH SHAMSHUR
                    Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States
                 Washington, D.C., Thursday, February 16, 2006

Hearing on a bill [H.R. 562] to authorize the Government of Ukraine to
establish a memorial on Federal land in the District of Columbia to honor
the victims of the manmade famine that occurred in Ukraine in 1932-1933

Mr. Chairman,
Distinguished members of the Subcommittee

First of all, let me express my deep gratitude for the attention you are
paying to the issue of raising a memorial to the victims of the manmade
Famine in Ukraine in 1932-33.

In Ukrainian language this tragedy is referred to as "Holodomor", meaning
"Total Starvation". Holodomor is an unparalleled disaster in the history of
my nation, similar to Holocaust in scale, cruelty and cynicism of its
perpetrators. A crime officially recognized by US Congress in 1986 as an

act of genocide against Ukrainian people.

Although Holodomor has taken away from 7 to 11 million innocent lives, it
remains barely known to the world. Stalin and the Soviet regime employed
every possible tool in order to make this atrocious crime fall into
oblivion. And yet, as the Gospel says "there is nothing hidden, except that
it should be made known; neither was anything made secret, but that it
should come to light".

The truth about the cold-blooded starving to death of millions of human
beings in the centre of Europe, in the midst of the 20th century has been
revealed, although it is yet to receive a due historical tribute. The pain
and bitter memory of Holodomor are alive in practically every Ukrainian
family, they make our hearts ache and remind us what a monster died when
the Soviet empire fell apart 15 years ago.

There is at least one thing that has been always well known about Ukraine:
its richness in agricultural resources that earned it the name of the "bread
basket of Europe". In early 1930s Ukraine was still largely an agricultural
country. It was inhabited by hard working, peaceful and diligent people.

The state forced them into so-called kolhospy, collective farms where they
toiled to satisfy the agricultural appetites of the Soviet regime. They were
natural born farmers deprived of earth and instruments of production.

Yet, even after 15 years of the communist rule they still knew how to grow
wheat, breed cattle, plow their fertile land. Respect to private property
and independent spirit were in their blood. This was their crime in the eyes
of the tyrant who ruled the country. This was the reason why Ukraine and
its people were considered dangerous by Stalin and his henchmen.

I shall be honored to provide you with some background information to
explain what a horrible tragedy occurred in my country 73 years ago and why
it deserves to be commemorated in the capital of the US. In my testimony I
will rely upon the book "Harvest of Sorrow" by British historian Robert
Conquest, works of the British researcher James E. Mace, Canadian scholar
Roman Serbyn and British journalist Askold Krushelnycky.

The disaster started in 1932 when the Soviet authorities increased the grain
procurement quota for Ukraine by 44%. They were aware that this
extraordinarily high quota would cause grain shortage, resulting in the
inability of the Ukrainian peasants to feed themselves. Soviet law was quite
explicit: no grain could be given to feed the peasants until the state quota
was met.

Communist party officials with the aid of military troops and NKVD secret
police units were used to move against peasants who may be hiding grain
from the Soviet government. An internal passport system restricted movement
of Ukrainian peasants so that they could not travel in search of food.
Ukrainian grain was collected and stored in grain elevators that were
guarded by military units & NKVD while Ukrainians were starving in the
vicinity.

After it turned out in 1932 that Ukraine couldn’t fulfill the quota set by
Moscow, draconian measures were taken. On the highest level, the grown
wheat was declared inviolate "socialist property" and anyone who gleaned
even an ear of wheat or bit off a sugar beet was declared an "enemy of
people" and could be executed or sentenced to not less than 10 years in

Gulag.

In Ukraine, the decree of December 6, 1932 singled out six villages that
allegedly sabotaged the grain procurement campaign. They were placed on
the "blacklist", which was soon extended in a wholesale fashion.

The blacklist meant a complete economic blockade of the villages listed,
including an immediate closing of stores with all the food therein; a
complete ban on trade in the village, including trade in most essential
goods; immediate halting and calling in of all credits and advances; combing
neighborhood for so-called "foreign agents" and "saboteurs". At that time it
was equivalent to a sentence of death by starvation.

Only those who survived famine can describe adequately what it was like.
They tell of the entire village population swelling up from starvation. They
tell of the "dead wagons" day after day picking up dead bodies to dump them
later in pits. They tell of whole villages becoming deserted, of homeless
children roaming the country in search for food and of railroad stations
flooded with starving peasants who had to beg lying down for they were too
weak to stand.

Many tried to cross the border to the Russian Federation where bread was
available. But the secret police established border check-points to prevent
anyone from carrying food from Russia to Ukraine. This meant de facto
blacklisting of entire Ukraine.

Graphic portraits of the horrors of village life during Holodomor emerge
from testimonies of eyewitnesses gathered by British journalist Askold
Krushelnycky.

Oleksa Sonipul was 10 in 1933 and lived in a village in northern Ukraine.
She said by the beginning of that year, famine was so widespread people had
been reduced to eating grass, tree bark, roots, berries, frogs, birds, and
even earthworms. Desperate hunger drove people to sell off all of their
possessions for any food they could find.

At night, an eerie silence fell over the village, where all the livestock
and chickens had long since been killed for food and exhausted villagers
went to bed early. But requisition brigades looking to fulfill the
impossibly high grain quotas continued to search even those villages where
inhabitants were already dying from starvation.

Brigade members, fueled by Soviet hate campaigns against the peasants,
acted without mercy, taking away the last crumbs of food from starving
families knowing they were condemning even small children to death. Any
peasant who resisted was shot. Rape and robbery also took place.

Sonipul described what happened when a brigade arrived at her home.

"In 1933, just before Christmas, brigades came to our village to search for
bread. They took everything they could find to eat. That day they found
potatoes that we had planted in our grandfather’s garden, and because of
that they took everything from grandfather and all the seeds that
grandmother had gathered for sowing the following autumn. And the next day,
the first day of Christmas, they came to us, tore out our windows and doors
and took everything to the collective farm."

As villages ran out of food, thousands of desperate people trekked to beg
for food in towns and cities. Food was available in cities, although
strictly controlled through ration coupons. But residents were forbidden to
help the starving peasants and doctors were not allowed to aid the skeletal
villagers, who were left to die in the streets.

Fedir Burtianski was a young man in 1933 when he set out by train to
Ukraine’s Donbas mining area in search of work. He says thousands of
starving peasants, painfully thin with swollen bellies, lined the rail track
begging for food. The train stopped in the city of Dnipropetrovsk and
Burtianski says he was horrified by what he saw there.

"At Dnipropetrovsk we got out of the carriages. I got off the wagon and I
saw lots of people swollen and half-dead. And some who were lying on the
ground in convulsions. Probably they were going to die within a few minutes.
Then the railway NKVD quickly herded us back into the wagons."

Grain and potatoes continued to be harvested in Ukraine, driven by the
demand of Stalin’s quotas. But the inefficiency of the Soviet transportation
system meant that tons of food literally rotted uneaten – sometimes in the
open and within the view of those dying of starvation.

The scene Burtianski described was repeated in towns and cities all over
Ukraine. In the countryside, entire villages were being wiped out. The
hunger drove many people to desperation and madness. Many instances of
cannibalism were recorded, with people living off the remains of other
starvation victims or in some instances resorting to murder. Most peasant
families had five or six children, and some mothers killed their weakest
children in order to feed the others.

Burtianski said at one point, he avoided buying meat from a vendor because
he suspected it was human flesh. When the authorities heard about the
incident, he was forced to attend the trial of a man and his two sons who
were suspected of murdering people for food. Burtianski says during the
trial one of the sons admitted in chilling terms to eating the flesh of his
own mother, who had died of starvation.

He said, "Thank you to Father Stalin for depriving us of food. Our mother
died of hunger and we ate her, our own dead mother. And after our mother
we did not take pity on anyone. We would not have spared Stalin himself."

Mykhaylo Naumenko was 11 years old in 1933. His father was executed for
refusing to join a nearby collective farm. Mykhaylo was left with his mother
and siblings to face the famine without a provider. He said people were shot
for trying to steal grain or potatoes from the local collective farm, which
was surrounded by barbed wire and guarded by armed men. He said people
were executed even for trying to pick up a few loose seeds dropped on the
ground.

"A tragedy developed. People became swollen, they died by the tens each
day.The collective farm authorities appointed six men to collect and bury
the dead. From our village of 75 homes, by May 24 houses were empty

where all the inhabitants had died."

Many people met their deaths with quiet resignation, praying and comforting
their starving children with fairy tales.

Teodora Soroka, who lost nearly every member of her family to
"dekulakization" and famine, says such memories can never be erased.

Nor does she want to forget them.

"My baby sister died of hunger in my arms. She was begging for a piece of
bread, because to have apiece of bread in the house meant life. She pleaded
for me to give her a bit of bread. I was crying and told her that we didn ‘t
have any. She told me that I wanted her to die. Believe me, it’s painful
even now. I was little myself then.

I cried, but my heart was not torn to shreds because 1 couldn’t understand
why this was all happening. But today, and ever since I became an adult, I
haven’t spent a day in my life when I haven’t cried. I have never gone to
sleep without thinking about what happened to my family."

Let us think about this little girl. Visualize this Ukrainian martyr forced
to see her dear ones die one after another from starvation. Multiply her
suffering by at least 7 million – those are the most modest estimates of
human losses Ukraine suffered during Holodomor.

Today I am adding my voice to many others who ask you to provide
Ukrainians with an opportunity to commemorate the immeasurable
suffering and horrid death of millions of their kin and to condemn this act
of genocide by erecting a solemn memorial in the heart of America which
has always been so attentive to pain and injustice inflicted upon the
others.

By doing so you will also pay tribute to over one million Ukrainian
Americans making an outstanding contribution to the prosperity of this
country. This memorial will be yet another sign of the developing
partnership between Ukraine and the United States now standing together
for democracy and against tyranny and oppression.

Thank you.
               [Written Testimony of H.E. Dr. Oleh Shamshur
                 Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States]
———————————————————————————————-
NOTE: The next step towards final passage of HR562 is to bring it to a
vote in the U.S. Senate during the 2nd Session of the 109th Congress.
The bill has already passed the U.S. House of Representatives. EDITOR
———————————————————————————————-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
15. LIKE A DREAM-AFTER HER DEBUT BOOK, A RUSSIAN WRITER
          IS HAILED AS THE NEXT GREAT AMERICAN NOVELIST
                    "The Dream Life of Sukhanov" by Olga Grushin
Superbly realised depiction of the claustrophobia and madness of Soviet
communism as contradictions within the system spiralled towards collapse.

BOOK REVIEW: By Michael Thompson-Noel
Financial Times, London, UK, Saturday, February 18, 2006

RE: THE DREAM LIFE OF SUKHANOV
by Olga Grushin, Viking Pounds 14.99, 368 pages

Born in Moscow in 1971, Olga Grushin was apparently the first Russian
citizen to enrol, in 1989, for an American college degree course following
the end of the cold war – a minor claim to fame that has been eclipsed,
spectacularly, by her emergence as the next big thing in American literary
fiction.

Grushin now lives in Washington D.C. English is her third language. Yet so
accomplished are her skills – so hauntingly assured – that more than one US
critic has greeted her as the next great American novelist.

Her debut novel, The Dream Life of Sukhanov, is a superbly realised
depiction of the claustrophobia and madness of Soviet communism as the
contradictions within the system spiralled towards collapse.

Moscow, 1985. Anatoly Pavlovich Sukhanov has much to be grateful for:
large, central apartment; beautiful, high-born wife; two intelligent,
ambitious children. Above all, Sukhanov basks in the acclaim deriving from
his position as a member of the privilegentsia.

He is editor-in-chief of The Art of the World, an exquisitely named state
organ in which he lauds the socialist-realist role of Soviet art while
providing conclusive evidence of the way sick western "isms", such as
impressionism and surrealism, show capitalist insolvency.

Grushin has much fun with the absurdities of late-Soviet art appreciation.
Sukhanov, for example, learns from his assistant editor that an article on
Dali on which he has been labouring is being pulled from the magazine to
make room for one on Chagall.

This horrifies Sukhanov. "The difference between Dali, outrageous by virtue
of his foreign birth and viewed therefore as a mere curiosity… and
Chagall, who had come from Russia’s own backyard, been appointed

Commissar of Fine Arts after the Revolution, taught in a Soviet art academy
and then chosen to leave Russia… in order to become foreign and outrageous,
was (simply) impassable." To publish such an article would be an act of
rebellion.

Sukhanov realises that this challenge to his authority follows a faux pas
he committed at the opening of an exhibition to celebrate his esteemed
father-in-law’s 80th birthday, an act of mere unthinkingness that swiftly
starts the unravelling of his career, his life, his sanity.

Present and past collide. Dream and nightmare converge. Yet all the time,
Grushin’s virtuosity – especially sensuous descriptiveness, iron control of
structure and immaculate pacing – carry her past one challenge after
another.

A wonderful example of her skill occurs towards the end, when Sukhanov
starts to observe the other passengers on his train: people in drab clothes
with stony faces, vacant eyes, features devastated by grotesque
deformities, sunken mouths, broken noses, monstrous warts.

His unease becomes fear when he notices freakish objects protruding from
baskets or draped in yawning bags – a severed bovine leg, a bird’s neck, a
rusty cemetery cross with clumps of reddish earth still attached – and it
strikes him he has stumbled on some alien, nocturnal world, the unseen
bowels of Russia.

To write a novel as good as this you need to be very talented.

 
And Grushin is.                               -30-
——————————————————————————————-
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AUR#664 Bush-Yushchenko April 2005 Joint Statement Progress Report; Orange Revolution At Yellow Speed; Crop Damage; 100,000 Tulips Soon In Kyiv

THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR
An International Newsletter, The Latest, Up-To-Date
In-Depth Ukrainian News, Analysis and Commentary
Ukrainian History, Culture, Arts, Business, Religion,
Sports, Government, and Politics, in Ukraine and Around the World

THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR – Number 664
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor
Washington, D.C., Kyiv, Ukraine, WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 2006

——–INDEX OF ARTICLES——–
Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.
Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article

1. BUILDING A NEW CENTURY AGENDA: UNITED STATES AND
UKRAINE MAKE GOOD PROGRESS ON IMPLEMENTING
APRIL 2005 BUSH-YUSHCHENKO JOINT STATEMENT
Foreign Policy and National Security Task Force
U.S.-Ukraine Policy Dialogue
The Atlantic Council of the United States, Washington
Razumkov Centre for Economic & Political Studies, Kyiv
U.S.-Ukraine Foundation (USUF), Washington
Washington, D.C., Friday, February 17, 2006

2. U.S. HAS GRANTED UKRAINE MARKET ECONOMY STATUS
In what way can Ukraine benefit from this status?
By Oleh Malsky, Master of Law, Georgetown University
The Day Weekly Digest in English, #5, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, Feb 21, 2006

3. MARKET ECONOMY STATUS BY USA CREATES CONDITIONS
FOR OBJECTIVE CONSIDERATION OF ANTIDUMPING CASES
Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, February 18, 2006

4. UKRAINIAN ENTERPRISES REPORTED ENTITLED TO DEMAND
REVISION OF ANTI-DUMPING PROCEDURES IN USA
Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, February 20, 2006

5. UKRAINIAN CINEMATOGRAPHERS AWARDED TECHNICAL
OSCAR PRIZE BY AMERICAN CINEMATOGRAPHY ART ACADEMY
The award presentation ceremony was held in Beverly Hills, CA.
Natatiya Bukvych, Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, February 20, 2006

6. UKRAINIAN GENOCIDE MEMORIAL SITE BILL BEFORE
U.S. SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE

Ukrainian National Information Service (UNIS)
Washington, D.C., Friday, February 17, 2006

7. ORANGE REVOLUTION, AT YELLOW SPEED
Reality in Ukraine.
COMMENTARY:
By Ethan Wallison in Kiev
NationalReviewOnline (NRO), NY, NY, Wed, Feb 15, 2006

8. UKRAINIAN ICE DANCERS WIN BRONZE: 2006 OLYMPIC GAMES
First ice dancing Olympic medal ever for Ukraine, congratulations from Pres
Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 21, 2006

9. ICE DANCING REMAINS A MYSTERY
Tatiana Navka, who was born in Ukraine, and Roman Kostomarov,
shockingly born in Russia, skate for Russia and win the gold medal.
Ruslan Goncharov, who is from Ukraine and actually skates for
Ukraine, with partner, Elena Grushina, won bronze.
By Phil Sheridan, Philadelphia Inquirer Columnist
Philadelphia, PA, Tuesday, February 21, 2006

10 . CZECH PREMIER SEES UKRAINE AS KEY STRATEGIC PARTNER
Czech Republic counting with Ukraine as an important source of labour force.

CTK news agency, Prague, in English 2048 gmt 17 Feb 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Sunday, Feb 19, 2006

11. CENTRAL EUROPEAN NEIGHBOURS BACK UKRAINE’S NATO
AND EUROPEAN UNION BID, THE VISEGRAD FOUR
TV 5 Kanal, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1800 gmt 21 Feb 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Tue, Feb 21, 2006

12. UKRAINIAN PRES MEETS NORWEGIAN TELECOM EXECUTIVES
UNIAN news agency, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1558 gmt 21 Feb 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Tuesday, Feb 21, 2006

13 . LARGE FOREIGN BANKS IN UKRAINE IMPROVE UKRAINE’S
INVESTMENT ATTRACTIVENESS, SAY EXPERTS
Interfax-Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 21, 2006

14. FDI’S IN UKRAINE IN 2005 HIT A RECORD HIGH OF $7.33 BN
Steel mill brings in $4.8 billion, Aval Bank brings in $1.03 billion

Interfax-Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 21, 2006

15. EBRD MAY LEND TO DNIPROPETROVSK, KHARKIV, DONETSK,
HEATING NETWORKS & KHARKIV WATER TREATMENT UTILITY
Interfax-Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 21, 2006

16. DOUBTS RAISED ON UKRAINE’S ECONOMIC GROWTH
By Stefan Wagstyl, Financial Times, London, UK, Wed, February 22 2006

17. YUSHCHENKO VETOES LAW BANNING PRIVATIZATION
OF 50%+1 SHARE IN NIKOPOL FERROALLOY PLANT
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv,Ukraine, Monday, February 20, 2006

18. CIS BANKS REVIEW ISSUED – COMPARISON OF ALL MAJOR
BANKS CIS COUNTRIES IN TERMS OF ASSET VALUE
Ukraine’s largest bank, Privatbank, is ranked number 14.
Interfax Center for Economic Analysis (Interfax-CEA)
Moscow, Russia, Thursday, February 16, 2006

19. UKRAINE: WINTER GRAIN CROPS SUFFER MAJOR DAMAGE

AgriNews, AKP-Inform, Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, Mon, Feb 20, 2006

20. PROFILE OF UKRAINIAN INDUSTRIALIST VITALY HAYDUK
BBC Monitoring research in English 21 Feb 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Tue, Feb 21, 2006

21. UKRAINE TRIES TO DEFEND DEPORTATION OF UZBEKS
LINKED TO UPRISING
Human rights watchdogs do not agree with Ukraine’s decision
Associated Press (AP), Kiev, Ukraine, Tue, February 21, 2006

22. UKRAINE: OUR UKRAINE BLOC AGAINST EXTENDING
MORATORIUM ON FARMLAND SALES
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, February 20, 2006

23. “APPLICATION FOR EU MEMBERSHIP LIKE REQUEST
FOR POLITICAL ASYLUM”
Seek EU membership to avoid Russian control
Russia will not “adopt” Ukraine – it will take advantage of Ukraine.
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY:
By Oleh Runak
Glavred, Kiev, in Russian 0000 gmt 6 Feb 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Tue, Feb 21, 2006

24. 100,000 TULIPS APPEAR IN KYIV’S FLOWER BEDS THIS SPRING
Kyiv is a city of annuals and perennials,” Kyiashko insists. Kyiv is
also a city of begonias, ageratums, and especially marigolds.
By Viktoria HERASYMCHUK, The Day
The Day Weekly Digest in English, #5, Tuesday, 21 Feb 2006

25. ORANGE REVOLUTION BOOK: “CONSCIENCE CALLS”
Proceeds from Orange Revolution book helps orphans in Ukraine
Article By Orest Deychakiwsky from the foreword of
“Conscience Calls” – by Roksolana Tymiak-Lonchyna DDS
Washington, D.C., Winter, 2005-2006
========================================================
1
. BUILDING A NEW CENTURY AGENDA: UNITED STATES AND
UKRAINE MAKE GOOD PROGRESS ON IMPLEMENTING
APRIL 2005 BUSH-YUSHCHENKO JOINT STATEMENT

Foreign Policy and National Security Task Force
U.S.-Ukraine Policy Dialogue
The Atlantic Council of the United States, Washington
Razumkov Centre for Economic & Political Studies, Kyiv
U.S.-Ukraine Foundation (USUF), Washington
Washington, D.C., Friday, February 17, 2006

Joint Press Release on the Occasion of the First
Anniversary of Viktor Yushchenko’s Presidency

WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. and Ukrainian governments have made
considerable progress on implementing the April 4, 2005 joint statement
agreed by Presidents Bush and Yushchenko, according to an assessment
released today by the Foreign Policy and National Security Task Force
of the non-governmental U.S.-Ukraine Policy Dialogue.

This progress has added new substance and depth to the U.S.-Ukraine
bilateral relationship over the past nine months and it has substantially
strengthened Ukraine on its path toward Euro-Atlantic integration.

“The two governments have fully accomplished several key commitments –
such as launching an Intensified Dialogue between NATO and Ukraine,
granting Ukraine market economy status, and ending or easing visa
requirements – and they are progressing on others,” stated Steven Pifer a
and Yuriy Scherbak, the Task Force co-chairs. They urged Washington
and Kyiv to fulfill all remaining tasks by April 4, 2006, the joint
statement’s one-year anniversary, as some key issues still need to be
resolved.

“It is particularly important that both sides complete a bilateral protocol
on Ukraine’s accession to the World Trade Organization and that the U.S.
Congress enact long overdue legislation to remove Ukraine from the
provisions of the Jackson-Vanik amendment,” noted Pifer and Scherbak.

The joint statement was signed during President Yushchenko’s first U.S.
visit following the Orange Revolution. Both governments described the
document as a road map for developing bilateral ties. The Task Force
identified 20 tasks in the statement.

The Dialogue’s Foreign Policy and National Security Task Force monitors
U.S.-Ukraine relations, as well as Ukraine’s links with NATO and the
European Union. The Task Force is co-organized by the Atlantic Council
of the United States (Washington, DC) and the Razumkov Centre (Kyiv).
Although the Policy Dialogue is funded in part by the U.S. Department of
State [through the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, USUF], the Task Force’s
conclusions are its own.

The Task Force Co-Chairs are Ambassador Steven Pifer (former U.S.
Ambassador to Ukraine) and Ambassador Yuri Scherbak (former
Ukraine Ambassador to the United States). -30-
————————————————————————————————–
JOINT STATEMENT BY U.S. PRESIDENT GEORGE W. BUSH
AND UKRAINE PRESIDENT VIKTOR YUSHCHENKO, APRIL 4, 2005

Washington, D.C.

“A NEW CENTURY AGENDA FOR THE UKRAINIAN-AMERICAN
STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP”

Today, the United States and Ukraine affirm a new era of strategic
partnership between our nations and friendship between our peoples. We
commit our nations to working together to advance freedom and security
grounded in democratic principles and institutions, which form the
foundation of our relationship.

We salute the people of Ukraine who claimed their right to elect freely
their leadership. Their brave stand was a victory for democracy inspiring
those throughout the world who yearn for freedom and dignity in the face
of tyranny, isolation and oppression.

The territorial integrity, security, and political and economic transformation
of Ukraine are essential to building a Europe whole, free and at peace. We
will work together to strengthen democratic institutions in Ukraine and to
advance freedom in Europe, its neighborhood and beyond.

We will work to defeat terrorism wherever it occurs and to advance economic
development, democratic reforms and peaceful settlement of regional
disputes. We are grateful to the men and women of those nations who have
served and sacrificed for Iraqi freedom.

Today, we pledge ourselves anew to assist the Iraqi people to secure liberty,
peace and prosperity, and we join our efforts to assist Iraq in its economic
reconstruction. Fear and resentment, the breeding ground of terrorism, must
be replaced with freedom and hope.

We also commit to work together to back reform, democracy, tolerance and
respect for all communities, and peaceful resolution of conflicts in Georgia
and Moldova, and to support the advance of freedom in countries such as
Belarus and Cuba. Citizens in our open societies value the freedom to
practice their faiths, and we are committed to promoting religious tolerance
globally.

As Ukraine undertakes far-reaching reform at home, it can count on the
United States for support. We applaud Ukraine’s commitment to curb
corruption, promote the rule of law and improve the business climate.
Progress on reforms will allow Ukraine to realize its aspirations to move
closer to, and ultimately join European, Euro-Atlantic and international
institutions.

We will further integrate Ukraine into the world economy and promote
investment and trade between our two countries. As a first step, the
Ukrainian Government seeks expeditious U.S. recognition as a market
economy. We agree to continue our close cooperation to ensure a process
that recognizes the evolution of Ukraine’s economy.

We are committed to working together to achieve Ukraine’s accession to the
World Trade Organization (WTO). For its part, the Ukrainian Government
will seek to secure, on an urgent basis, approval of legislation and enact
regulations that will facilitate accession and contribute to lasting
economic reform, including in agriculture, manufacturing, services and the
protection and enforcement of intellectual property rights.

The United States and Ukraine are committed to working together to complete
our bilateral negotiations for Ukraine’s accession to the WTO in 2005. We
will also cooperate on the outstanding multilateral work that must be
concluded for Ukraine’s WTO accession. We also support immediately
ending application of Jackson-Vanik to Ukraine.

The United States supports Ukraine’s NATO aspirations and is prepared to
help Ukraine achieve its goals by providing assistance with challenging
reforms. The United States supports an offer of an Intensified Dialogue on
membership issues with Ukraine at the meeting of Alliance Foreign Ministers
in Vilnius, Lithuania later this month. Our cooperation will also deepen
through the U.S.-led, largest-ever NATO trust fund to destroy obsolete and
excess weaponry.

We are initiating an energy dialogue to cooperate in the restructuring and
reform of Ukraine’s energy sector to encourage investment, diversify
Ukraine’s energy supplies, reduce its energy dependence, bolster commercial
competition in Eurasian energy sectors and promote nuclear safety. To
advance this dialogue, we are establishing an Energy consultative mechanism
between our Energy Ministries. United States Secretary of Energy Bodman
will travel to Ukraine in the near future to initiate the consultative
mechanism and to promote our energy and nonproliferation cooperation.

Building on our cooperation through the G-8 Global Partnership, the
Cooperative Threat Reduction Program and the Proliferation Security
Initiative, we pledge to begin a new chapter in the fight against the
proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery.

We will deepen our cooperation on nonproliferation, export controls, border
security and law enforcement to deter, detect, interdict, investigate and
prosecute illicit trafficking of these weapons and related materials;
enhance the security of nuclear and radiological sources; and dispose of
spent nuclear fuel.

We also agree on the importance of addressing the growing threat posed by
the proliferation of ballistic missiles. In this regard, we will explore how
we can work together on missile defense, including beginning negotiations on
a framework to facilitate such cooperation and closer industry-to-industry
collaboration.

The security and stability of nations increasingly depends on the health,
well-being and prosperity of their citizens. We therefore commit to
cooperate on a broad agenda of social and humanitarian issues, including
halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and TB; fighting the scourge of organized
crime, trafficking in persons and child pornography; and completing the
Chornobyl Shelter Implementation Plan.

To help complete the Chornobyl Shelter, the United States will provide an
additional $45 million to the Shelter Fund. Ukraine will also provide an
additional financial contribution and facilitate prompt completion of the
Shelter. U.S. assistance to Ukraine will particularly focus on solidifying
democratic advances through anti-corruption and rule of law programs,
media and NGO development, nonpartisan party and election monitor
training and other steps to improve electoral institutions and practices.

We also support a bold expansion of contact between our societies. To this
end, Ukraine will eliminate visa requirements for Americans, and the United
States will reduce visa fees for Ukrainians. We aim to enhance citizen
exchanges, training opportunities and cooperation between business
communities of both countries.

We commit our two nations to stand together as global partners for freedom,
security and prosperity in the 21st century. -30-
—————————————————————————————————-
MONITORING THE IMPLEMENTATION OF THE APRIL 4, 2005
JOINT U.S.-UKRAINE STATEMENT
The identified 20 specific tasks agreed by the two governments.

Foreign Policy and National Security Task Force
U.S.-Ukraine Policy Dialogue
Washington, D.C., Friday, February 17, 2006

Presidents Bush and Yushchenko on April 4, 2005 issued a joint statement on
“A New Century Agenda for the Ukrainian-American Strategic Partnership”
during President Yushchenko’s visit to Washington. Both governments
described the joint statement as a road map for developing and deepening the
U.S.-Ukraine bilateral relationship in the aftermath of Ukraine’s Orange
Revolution.

The Foreign Policy and National Security Task Force is part of the
non-governmental U.S.-Ukraine Policy Dialogue, which was launched in June
2005. The Task Force has taken on as one of its key assignments monitoring
the U.S.-Ukraine relationship, including implementation of the April 4 joint
statement. Task Force members reviewed the joint statement and identified
20 specific tasks agreed by the governments.

What follows below is our assessment of the progress the two governments
have made as of January 31, 2006 in implementing those 20 tasks.

TASK #1: To work together to back peaceful resolution of conflicts in
Georgia and Moldova.
Status: The Ukrainian government launched a new plan to press for a
settlement of the Transnistrian dispute (Moldova) in May 2005. The U.S.
government has expressed support for this effort and has joined the
multilateral talks on Transnistria as an observer. The Ukrainian government
agreed on October 7, 2005 with the European Union and Moldova on
deploying EU border monitors along the Ukraine-Moldova border, and the
monitors began operating in December 2005.

TASK #2: To support the advance of freedom in Belarus.
Status: The U.S. and Ukrainian governments supported a resolution on
Belarus at the April 2005 session of the UN Commission on Human Rights.
The Ukrainian government has participated in Belarus donor coordination
meetings (which include coordination of democracy assistance).

TASK #3: To support the advance of freedom in Cuba.
Status: The U.S. and Ukrainian governments supported a resolution on
Cuba at the April 2005 session of the UN Commission on Human Rights.

TASK #4: The U.S. government to proceed with a process on Ukraine’s
market economy status.
Status: The U.S. Department of Commerce has extended its review of
Ukraine’s application for market economy status; a decision is to be
announced on or before February 16, 2006. (Although this assessment
covers only the period through January 31, 2006, it was announced on
February 17, 2006 that the U.S. government has granted Ukraine market
economy status.)

TASK #5: The Ukrainian government to secure approval of necessary
legislation and enact regulations to facilitate accession into the World
Trade Organization (WTO).
Status: The Rada passed intellectual property rights/optical disc
legislation on July 7, 2005, President Yushchenko signed it into law, and it
was promulgated on August 2, 2005. The Rada has passed a number of
other laws to bring the Ukrainian trade regime into compliance with the
WTO regime and is considering additional laws; as of January 2006, the
Rada still needs to pass nine or ten laws.

TASK #6: To complete bilateral negotiations for Ukraine’s WTO
accession by the end of 2005.
Status: The end of 2005 deadline was missed, but the sides report that
the negotiations are down to a handful of final issues. The U.S. side has
suggested options for resolution of these issues, and is awaiting the
Ukrainian response.

TASK #7: The U.S . government to support immediately ending
application of the Jackson-Vanik amendment to Ukraine.
Status: The U.S. Senate passed on November 18, 2005 a resolution to
graduate Ukraine from Jackson-Vanik; action is now with the House of
Representatives.

TASK #8: The U.S. government to support an offer of an Intensified
Dialogue on membership issues for Ukraine at the April 2005 NATO-

Ukraine Ministerial meeting.
Status: Done. An Intensified Dialogue was launched at the April 21,
2005 NATO-Ukraine Ministerial.

TASK #9: To cooperate through a U.S.-led NATO trust fund to destroy
obsolete and excess conventional weaponry.
Status: The NATO/Partnership for Peace Trust Fund implementing
agreement was signed on November 23, 2005, and implementation has
begun.

TASK #10: To initiate an energy dialogue to address restructuring/reform
of Ukraine’s energy sector and to establish a bilateral energy consultative
mechanism.
Status: Done. The energy dialogue was initiated and consultative mechanism
established during Secretary of Energy Bodman’s May 26-27, 2005 visit to
Kyiv. The U.S. government sent two energy experts to examine Ukraine’s
energy strategy and report to the U.S. Department of Energy on areas of
possible bilateral cooperation. The Bilateral Consultative Group, which met
in Kyiv on January 24, 2006, addressed energy security issues, particularly
in the aftermath of the Ukraine-Russia gas dispute.

TASK #11: To deepen cooperation on non-proliferation, export controls,
border security and law enforcement.
Status: An agreement on the prevention of illicit trafficking of nuclear
and other radioactive materials was signed in April 2005.
An implementing agreement on securing radioactive materials was signed
on May 27, 2005. An agreement on countering the threat of bioterrorism
was signed on August 29, 2005.

TASK #12: To explore bilateral missile defense cooperation.
Status: Preliminary exchanges have taken place on a research, development,
testing and evaluation agreement, which would provide the legal framework
for bilateral missile defense cooperation. The first formal discussions are
scheduled for March 2006.
The U.S. Missile Defense Agency and National Space Agency of Ukraine
conducted missile defense workshops in July and October 2005. Contacts
are ongoing between U.S. firms and Ukrainian companies to establish
industry-to-industry relationships.

TASK #13: To cooperate on halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and TB.
Status: The U.S. government has increased assistance to more than double
the coverage of information and services to target populations at high risk
of HIV/AIDS.

TASK #14: To cooperate against organized crime.
Status: The U.S. government is providing support for Ukraine’s reform
of the criminal justice system.

TASK #15: To cooperate to halt trafficking in persons and child
pornography.
Status: To facilitate the Ukrainian Ministry of Interior’s decision to
create an anti-trafficking in persons department, the U.S. government
provided $250,000 worth of vehicles, computers and other technical
equipment. The U.S. government facilitated contacts between the new
department and the Southeastern European Cooperative Center for
Combating Transnational Crime.

TASK #16: The U.S. government to contribute an additional $45 million
to the Chornobyl Shelter Fund.
Status: The U.S. government allocated $13 million toward this pledge in
2005 and intends to allocate a minimum of $20.5 million more in 2006.

TASK #17: The Ukrainian government to make an additional financial
contribution to the Chornobyl Shelter Fund.
Status: Done. The Ukrainian government pledged to increase its financial
contribution to an equivalent of $22 million at the EBRD Donor
Conference held in London on May 12, 2005.

TASK #18: The Ukrainian government to end visa requirements for
American citizens.
Status: Done. The Ukrainian government dropped visa requirements for
American citizens effective July 1, 2005 on a provisional basis; this was in
full effect by September 1, 2005.

TASK #19: The U.S. government to reduce visa fees for Ukrainian citizens.
Status: Done. The U.S. government eliminated visa issuance fees for
Ukrainian citizens, leaving only visa application fees, effective July 6,
2005.

TASK #20: To enhance exchanges between citizens and business communities.
Status: The U.S. government plans to use FY 2005 FREEDOM Support
Act supplemental funds to increase exchanges, with a focus on eastern and
southern Ukraine. -30-
———————————————————————————————–
For more information on the U.S.-Ukraine Policy Dialogue please contact
Marta Matselioukh at the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation at (202) 223-2228 or
martam@usukraine.org; or Jan Neutze at the Atlantic Council of the United
States at (202) 778-4990 or jneutze@acus.org. Links to the program:
http://www.acus.org/docs/06-02-US-Ukraine_Relations_Press_Release.pdf
http://www.acus.org/programs-relations-projects-US-Ukraine.asp
http://www.usukraine.org/dialogue.shtml
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2. U.S. HAS GRANTED UKRAINE MARKET ECONOMY STATUS
In what way can Ukraine benefit from this status?

By Oleh Malsky, Master of Law, Georgetown University
The Day Weekly Digest in English, #5, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, Feb 21, 2006

Ukraine has been expecting the US to recognize Ukraine as a market economy
since 2001. It is only after longtime concerted efforts of the government
and private business, conclusions of Ukrainian and American lawyers, and the
EU decision last December that the US agreed to meet Ukraine halfway and
grant it market economy status.

To assess “marketness,” the US adhered to the following criteria in
accordance with its trade law: convertibility of the national currency,
setting wages on the basis of collective bargaining between employees and
employers, restrictions to foreign investments, governmental ownership of
and control over the means of production, governmental control of resources
distribution, price formation and the choice of businesses to produce items
at their own discretion. The US confirmed last Friday that Ukraine meets
these criteria and can be considered a market economy.

In what way can Ukraine benefit from this status? The notion “market economy
country” is usually used during antidumping investigations and is thus of
great importance for international trade relations and particularly for the
countries to which Ukraine is or will be exporting its goods.

Now that Ukraine has been recognized a market economy, it may be expected
that antidumping actions against our country will be more transparent. To
prove the fact of dumping, a commodity’s export price is compared with its
intrinsic value or the price at the exporter’s domestic market.

The common perception is that market forces do not work in non-market
economy: prices, distorted by governmental intervention, are not set under
the law of demand and supply and, therefore, cannot be subjected to
comparison. Under the US antidumping law, in the case of import from a
non-market-economy country, the intrinsic value is set on the basis of a
price or a construed value in a third market-economy country (the so-called
analogue or surrogate country).

In other words, a third country was usually chosen for Ukraine and
calculations were made with reference to it. Obviously, it was next to
impossible to avoid manipulations and errors during this kind of assessment.
Granting a country market economy status considerably reduces opportunities
for such manipulations.

The absence of manipulation opportunities will force the US industry to
think twice before launching expensive antidumping investigations. This will
in turn make the US market more accessible and interesting for Ukrainian
exporters.

Besides, when dumping by a non-market-economy country is being investigated,
the antidumping duty is assessed not individually for each exporters but for
the entire country because it is considered that all producers work in the
same conditions and with the same prices.

When the market economy status has been granted, each exporter will have an
individual duty assessed for him, which will provide a true picture of his
production facilities and price formation.

Moreover, the status in question may produce a positive effect, when it
comes to cutting antidumping duties owing to a more transparent process.

The market economy status will not stop antidumping investigations
altogether but will help reduce their potential number as well as the
antidumping duty rate.

For most manufacturers, a 10-% antidumping duty is not a serious obstacle
for export, but the US antidumping duty on Ukrainian goods was at least 40%
and 120% on the average up to now, which practically closed the market.

Under the US antidumping law, in case of an essential change of the
circumstances, for example, granting market economy status, the exporters
against whom antidumping duties are in force may request the US government
to revise them.

As of today, the US is now investigating seven antidumping cases against
Ukraine – mainly with respect to hot-rolled sheet metal, concrete
reinforcements, silico-manganese, ammonium nitrate, carbamide, rods and
wires made of high-carbon and some other varieties of carbonized steel, in
one of which Ukraine has undertaken certain commitments.

All exporters of these goods can plead for revising the existing duties
because Ukraine has been granted market economy status and thus obtain
individual, by all accounts lesser, antidumping duties.

Recognizing Ukraine a market economy also has many other economically
positive effects.

[1] First, the recognition of Ukraine as a market economy by the US (as well
as the recent recognition by the EU) will be a signal for many states,
important trade partners of Ukraine, to make a similar decision. As of
today, Brazil, Mexico, India and some other countries still consider Ukraine
a non-market economy. After making this kind of decision, these countries
will reduce the number of antidumping investigations, revise their existing
attitudes, and, in general, make their markets more accessible.

[2] Secondly, this access to the markets of developed states will bring
about reorientation of export from the countries of Asia and Africa to more
economically developed countries. This will in turn boost the development
and technological progress of export-oriented industries and increase
employment and cost-effectiveness, which will eventually improve this
country’s overall well-being.

[3] Thirdly, this will considerably improve Ukraine’s image on the arena of
international trade and investments.

Market economy status is undoubtedly a positive thing. Yet this status also
has a drawback: application to Ukraine of the compensation measures that are
nor applicable to non-market economies (actions against the goods whose
production is heavily subsidized by the state).

The Ukrainian exporters that enjoy governmental support, exemptions and
subsidies may well become the object of such investigations in the US. It
should still be noted that in practice compensation investigations and
duties in general are resorted to much more seldom than antidumping
measures. -30-
————————————————————————————————
LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/157622/
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3. MARKET ECONOMY STATUS BY USA CREATES CONDITIONS
FOR OBJECTIVE CONSIDERATION OF ANTIDUMPING CASES

Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, February 18, 2006

KYIV – A decision of the US Department of Commerce on granting Ukraine
the market-economy country status means that the USA has acknowledged to
democratic changes in Ukraine and real steps toward accedence to the WTO,
diminishing export limitations for Ukrainian commodities, improvement of
bipartite trade-investment relations, the Economy Ministry’s press service
told Ukrinform.

The market economy country status enables Ukrainian enterprises to
compete with other countries’ companies and to assert their rights during
antidumping procedures. This will also predetermine holding new
investigations and creating conditions for objective consideration of
antidumping cases on the basis of information, submitted by enterprises,
the Economy Ministry believes.

The USA finally recognized that hryvnia is a freely-converted currency,
Ukraine is open for foreign investors and provides protection of investors’
rights. A business is developing separately from authorities and the
Government doesn’t intrude into relations between employers and employees,
who are working on contracts, the Economy Ministry believes. -30-
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========================================================
4. UKRAINIAN ENTERPRISES REPORTED ENTITLED TO DEMAND
REVISION OF ANTI-DUMPING PROCEDURES IN USA

Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, February 20, 2006

KYIV – According to Oleh Riabokon, a member of the Magister & Partner
legal film, now that the USA has recognized Ukraine as a market economy,
Ukrainian enterprises are entitled to demand that anti-dumping procedures be
revised in the USA.

As Mr Riabokon noted, the USA’s decision to his effect, which was made
on February 17, 2006, took effect on February 1. This means, he noted, that
whatever anti-dumping procedures were launched after February 1, 2006 will
be subject to revision.

As Oleh Riabokon stressed, anti-dumping duties, which are levied on
Ukrainian commodities, imported into the USA, and which amount to 43
percent to 168 percent of their value, will be revised. Ukrainian enterprises or
a group of enterprises will have just to approach the US Commerce
Department to petition it for revising the anti-dumping duties, Oleh Riabokon
said. -30-
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========================================================
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5. UKRAINIAN CINEMATOGRAPHERS AWARDED TECHNICAL
OSCAR PRIZE BY AMERICAN CINEMATOGRAPHY ART ACADEMY
The award presentation ceremony was held in Beverly Hills, CA.

Natatiya Bukvych, Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, February 20, 2006

WASHINGTON, DC – Ukrainian cinematographers have been awarded the
Technical Oscar Prize for the list time by the American Academy of
Cinematography Art for their concept of improving operators’ techniques.

The award presentation ceremony was held in Beverly Hills. The prize was
presented to Kyiv-based FilmoTekhnika operators Anatoliy Kokush, Yuriy
Popovskiy, Aleksei Zolotarev.

The Ukrainian cinematographers were awarded the prize for having designed
the AutoRobot crane with the panoramic Flight Head, which can be mounted
on virtually every kind of road vehicles. The remotely-controlled crane and
camera are capable of smoothly rotating 360 degrees and operating at any
speeds of the vehicle.

Anatoliy Kikush was also awarded a prize for creating the Cascade operating
cranes and for the Trevelling Cascade System.

These designs are superlight and alone to place cameras in hitherto
inaccessible places. The company FilmoTekhnika develops and makes
telescopic operator cranes, stability panoramic tips for shooting moving
objects. The company incorporates over thirty enterprises.

The Ukrainian company’s devices were successfully demonstrated at
exhibitions in Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Cologne, New York City. Its
equipment was used in shooting over a hundred films, recording over a
thousand concerts by such known performers as Chris Norman, Sting,
Julio Iglesias, the Scorpions, Deep Purple, Bad Boys Blue.

The award presentation ceremony was attended by Ukrainian Ambassador to
the USA Oleh Shamshur. During his stay in Los Angeles Oleh Shamshur met
with members of the Hollywood Trident Foundation, composed of ethnic
Ukrainians, who are engaged in the movie industry.

During the meeting the parties discussed Ukrainian – American cooperation in
the movie industry and establishing contacts between Ukrainian and American
film studios.

The Ukrainian Ambassador participated in a service at the Ukrainian Catholic
Church in Los Angeles and met with members of the city’s Ukrainian
community. He laid flowers at the Monument to 1932 – 1933 Famine Victims,
which was erected in Los Angeles in the early 1970s and which was designed
by Ukrainian architect Taras Kozbur.

Oleh Shamshur also met with Beverly Hills vice mayor Beck Berkie and
West Hollywood mayor Abbe Land. He also held an informal meeting
with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. -30-
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6. UKRAINIAN GENOCIDE MEMORIAL SITE BILL BEFORE
U.S. SENATE SUBCOMMITTEE


Ukrainian National Information Service (UNIS)
Washington, D.C., Friday, February 17, 2006

WASHINGTON, DC – After the successful unanimous passage last year in
the U.S. House of Representatives of a bill to [allow the construction of a]
construct a [privately financed] monument on federal land in Washington, DC
to honor the victims of the Ukrainian Genocide of 1932-1933, the U.S. Senate
Subcommittee on National Parks of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources
Committee held a hearing on HR562 on Thursday, February 16, 2006.

Chairing the hearing was Sen. Craig Thomas (R-WY) with oral testimony
provided by John Parsons, Associate Regional Director for Lands, Resources,
and Planning for the National Park Service (NPS). Written testimony was
submitted to the Subcommittee by Rep. Sander Levin(D-MI), Co-Chair of the
Congressional Ukrainian Caucus and sponsor of HR562; H.E. Oleh Shamshur,
Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States; and, Michael Sawkiw, Jr.,
President of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA).

In an opening statement, Sen. Thomas mentioned the bills to be examined
including HR562. With that, Mr. Parsons commenced his verbal testimony by
stating that HR562 would “duplicate the efforts of the Victims of Communism
(VOC) memorial,” which is to be built by the end of 2006 in Washington, DC.

Unfortunately, the VOC monument will be a generalized memorial and will not
specify the atrocities endured by various nations under the yoke of
communism. When questioned by the Chairman about how the other groups
feel about the general VOC monument, Mr. Parsons accurately portrayed the
sentiments: “I don’t think it [the VOC memorial] represents what they [the
Ukrainians] are trying to tell.”

Other testimony provided to the Subcommittee elaborated on the necessity
to build such a monument to the victims of the Ukrainian Genocide of
1932-1933.

Rep. Levin, sponsor of the bill, enumerated the enormous sacrifice the
Ukrainian people made during the Ukrainian Genocide and noted that “this
memorial will not only honor the victims of this horrible period of history,
but also serve as a reminder to all of us that we must work together to
prevent such tragedies in the future. This reminder is particularly
poignant given the renewed commitment of Ukraine to freedom and
democracy during last year’s Orange Revolution.”

H.E. Oleh Shamshur, Ukraine’s newly-appointed ambassador to the United
States, also delivered written testimony to the National Parks Subcommittee.
The ambassador highlighted the sheer brutality of the 1932-1933 Ukrainian
Genocide.

Referring to the Genocide by its Ukrainian word “Holodomor,” Amb.
Shamshur highlighted its sheer brutality, stating that “the unparalleled
disaster in the history of my nation, [is] similar to the Holocaust in scale,
cruelty, and cynicism of its perpetrators.”

Poignant in his remarks, the ambassador’s testimony related the “pain and
bitter memory of the Holodomor are alive in practically every Ukrainian
family; they make our hearts ache.”

Also providing testimony was the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America.
In his written remarks, the UCCA President quoted the 1986 U.S. Congress
Commission on the Ukraine Famine, which concluded in its findings that
“Joseph Stalin and those around him committed genocide against the
Ukrainians in 1932-1933.”

In the broader context of memorializing the innocent victims of the
Ukrainian Genocide, Mr. Sawkiw reiterated that a monument in Washington,
DC “would enhance the scope and message of a true victim of communism.
Their ultimate sacrifice was as a result of an inhumane ideology – food as a
weapon.Though other atrocities have afflicted many nations of the world, the
sheer magnitude and gravity of the Ukrainian Genocide remains little know to
the world.”

The next step towards final passage of HR562 is to bring it to a vote in the
U.S. Senate during the 2nd Session of the 109th Congress. Rep. Levin is to
be commended for his sponsorship of HR562 and his advocacy of this very
important issue to the Ukrainian American community, as well as H.E. Oleh
Shamshur for the Ukrainian government’s support and testimony.
———————————————————————————————–
Contact: Serhiy Zhykharev, Ukrainian National Information Service
311 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20002
tel: (202) 547-0018; fax: (202) 543-5502; e-mail: unis@ucca.org
LINK: http://www.ucca.org
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7. ORANGE REVOLUTION, AT YELLOW SPEED
Reality in Ukraine.

COMMENTARY: By Ethan Wallison in Kiev
NationalReviewOnline (NRO), NY, NY, Wed, Feb 15, 2006

KIEV, UKRAINE – A British acquaintance here learned a few months ago,
much to his dismay, that a gleaming new residential complex was about to
go up – on his doorstep, on land deeded to his building. He mustered the
paperwork and made the usual appeals to the usual authorities, but this led
to an even bleaker discovery: The developers were the authorities, more or
less.

That is to say, they were close associates of President Viktor Yushchenko,
and nowadays his people are making the rules. “I should want [Viktor]
Yanukovich to win,” this acquaintance now says, referring to the former
presidential candidate who could soon become prime minister. Different
crooks, different crimes, he figures.

Even Ukrainians with somewhat less exposure to the new elite seem to have
concluded that Yushchenko is like all the others, or at least is no better.
His political party fetches no more than 15 percent in national polls ahead
of critical parliamentary elections next month. And as Yushchenko goes, so
goes the Orange Revolution that he once embodied.

The deputies elected to the next session of the Verkhovna Rada will have the
choice of prime minister, and if Yushchenko’s pathetic numbers stay where
they are now, this selection is bound to cost him dearly. At the farthest
end of unthinkable scenarios is the elevation of Yanukovich, the goat of the
revolution – now with greater power than if he had been elected president in
the first place and the protests had never happened.

Only mildly less distressing would be the re-appointment of ousted prime
minister Yulia Tymoshenko, the most dynamic and untrustworthy politician
this side of Edwin Edwards. Though it was the pretext for her dismissal,
corruption was perhaps the least of her problems.

An inept administrator with no economic program except populism, she moved
to sharply increase social spending while crusading to “re-privatize” former
government holdings that were sold off by the previous government under
questionable circumstances.

This became a circus, as Tymoshenko estimated that “thousands” of properties
may need to be redistributed. Investors fled. One year on, Ukraine’s gross
domestic product has gone from twelve-percent annual growth to near zero.
Yet if Yanukovich does not emerge as prime minister after the balloting in
late March, it very likely will mean that Tymoshenko gets the nod instead.

CORRUPTION-WEARY COUNTRY
As an outsider, it is difficult to know what Ukrainians expected to find in
their country one year after the revolution. Sure, everyone wants to live in
a country with a strong economy and no corruption. But looking at Ukraine,
who would even know where to start?

Public institutions have been debased to the edge of rot by decades of abuse
and official cynicism. The courts are rife with graft, and will probably
need to be rebuilt from the ground up. Like HAL the supercomputer in 2001:
A Space Odyssey, Ukraine’s bureaucracy manages nothing so well as its own
survival.

Yet battling corruption in Ukraine without first attacking the vast and
impenetrable bureaucracy is an impossible task. When even the simplest
projects can take years to get the necessary approvals, bureaucracy becomes
big business.

What’s more, who will enact the reforms? The safest place in Ukraine for a
criminal is still the country’s parliament, where membership confers
absolute immunity from prosecution. It’s anyone’s guess how many crooks are
hiding out there, but several of the country’s more brazen “oligarchs” have
seats, just to be safe. (And seats can literally be purchased, under the
chamber’s absurd rules of appointment.)

In 2004, one of these deputies, Viktor Pinchuk, purchased the country’s
premier steel mill at a bargain-basement price from the government of Leonid
Kuchma, who happens to be his father-in-law. Perhaps a blind trust is too
much to ask, but what about basic shame? Deputies in parliament own banks,
which in Ukraine collect taxes and utility payments, among other receipts.
Who will mess with that arrangement?

Add to this the unique illogic and disorder of the Soviet system – lovingly
preserved since independence in 1991 like an embalmed Lenin – and it’s a
wonder that Ukraine’s revolutionaries were ever illusioned enough to be
disillusioned now. The problems Ukraine faces are going to take years –
perhaps generations – to correct. They don’t get swapped out with a change
of government.

Yushchenko has not been ideal, by any measure. He has introduced
corruption-wearied Ukrainians to the wearying possibilities of feebleness.
He has failed to mediate a dispute between Tymoshenko and his close
personal friend Petro Poroshenko, the state security chief, which led to
the collapse of the first post-revolution government.

More egregiously, he has been suckered into a written agreement with
Yanukovich that, among other things, extends the immunity of the Rada to
more than 2,000 other politicians across Ukraine. (This was the price he
paid to win the approval of Yuriy Yekhanurov, the current prime minister,
after dismissing the Tymoshenko government in the fall.)

Episodes such as these have prompted Pora, the youth-led reform movement
that played a key role in the revolution, to form its own party ahead of the
parliamentary elections. Its “list” – topped by retired boxer Vitaliy
Klitschko – will need to break three percent at the polls in order to be
represented in the Rada. Otherwise, all Pora will likely do is take votes
from Our Ukraine, Yushchenko’s party, at the ballot box.

All the same, it is important to bear in mind that Yushchenko is not “like
all the others.” (Although some of his courtiers may be a different story.)
He is attacked in newspaper editorials that could not have been written in
the climate of fear and intimidation that preceded him.

Part of his problem, in fact, is that Ukrainians have already, for better
and for worse, internalized the victories of the revolution: They have their
new rights, and they’re done thanking Yushchenko for them. Now they are
worried about the sputtering economy, high inflation, the country’s tetchy
relationship with Mother Russia – and, of course, signs that official
corruption endures.

Some Ukrainians I’ve spoken to are perfectly willing to acknowledge the new
freedoms and yet remain ambivalent about the possibility they may wind up
saddled with Yanukovich, who combines the grace of a thug – he was jailed
twice for assault and robbery as a young man – with a Russian accent and the
predictable blessing of Vladimir Putin.

His appointment as prime minister would certainly be an odd conclusion to
the Orange Revolution’s narrative arc: He sought permission to order the
military to open fire on the protestors in Independence Square.
A TIME FOR CHOOSING
“People in Ukraine will never believe any government!” a schoolteacher
assured me recently in the town of Malin, about 90 miles north and west of
Kiev. Malin is reasonably near Chernobyl, and the woman recalled how the
Soviets denied reports of a disaster there for days while people sat in
harm’s way.

On television, the same old movies played. They heard something vague
about a fire, but it was “under control.” Many had relatives who lived
nearer and knew different, though. Finally, days into the crisis, she was
relocated to Latvia.

It is not really a question of whether Ukrainians want change. It is more
useful to ask how long they are willing to pursue it before they revert to
the usual choruses of doubt.

The difficulties of the post-revolution period have awakened the old spirit
of fatalism in Ukrainians, who take almost an anti-pride in their centuries
of suffering and betrayals. (The country’s slogan – no joke – is “Ukraine
has not yet died.”) This is, after all, the land of the Holodomor, the
Stalin-era famine which claimed as many as 10 million lives. Trust at your
own peril.

The country’s history helps make sense of the speed with which
disillusionment took hold here after the revolution. Why be a chump? But
that’s not really the choice anymore, of course. The choice, just like in
American politics, is one of whose chump you would prefer to be. You
cannot elect a perfect politician. But you can choose defeat. -30-
——————————————————————————————
NOTE: Ethan Wallison is a journalist living in Kiev and the publisher of
http://Room12A.com . Wallison, is a ten-year veteran of Washington
political reporting, most recently with Roll Call, where he was White
House Correspondent. ( ethan@Room12A.com)
——————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/wallison200602150830.asp

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8 . UKRAINIAN ICE DANCERS WIN BRONZE: 2006 OLYMPIC GAMES
First ice dancing Olympic medal ever for Ukraine, congratulations from Pres

Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 21, 2006

KYIV – Ukrainian ice dancers Elena Grushina and Ruslan Goncharov have
won bronze in the 20th winter Olympic games in Torino with 195.85 score.
No Ukrainian ice dancers have ever managed to win Olympic medal before.
Elena Grushina and Ruslan Goncharov started dancing together in 1990.

President Viktor Yushchenko congratulated Ukrainian ice dancers Elena
Grushina and Ruslan Goncharov, “Your athletic mastery, harmony, and
spiritual power of your dance brought Ukraine this coveted victory. Your
achievement is a wonderful example for other athletes to follow and a
valuable contribution to the gains of our team”, the President said.
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9. ICE DANCING REMAINS A MYSTERY
Tatiana Navka, who was born in Ukraine, and Roman Kostomarov,
shockingly born in Russia, skate for Russia and win the gold medal.
Ruslan Goncharov, who is from Ukraine and actually skates for
Ukraine, with partner, Elena Grushina, won bronze.

By Phil Sheridan, Philadelphia Inquirer Columnist
Philadelphia, PA, Tuesday, February 21, 2006

TURIN – The Russian who is really from Ukraine but lives in New Jersey
had a gold medal. The Canadian who lives in Michigan had a silver one, in
spite of the wobble in her twizzle. The California woman who skates for
Azerbaijan, but has never been there, finished 19th.

And we can report with some certainty that neither member of the Italian
ice-dancing pair murdered the other one – at least not before they finished
their free dance. Any questions? Maybe the most pressing one is, what is up
with this ice dancing, anyway?

The fourth most interesting strain of figure skating – after women’s, pairs
and men’s, in that order – grabbed a rather uneventful Winter Olympics by
the throat and shook hard on Sunday night. First, there were more crashes
than the average NASCAR race. Four of the top pairs took nasty tumbles
during their original dances.

“That was the first time in my life so many skaters fell,” said Ruslan
Goncharov, who is from Ukraine and actually skates for Ukraine.

The signature image of these Games may well prove to be Italy’s Barbara
Fusar Poli staring holes through her partner, Maurizio Margaglio, after she
tumbled. When their program was done, she gave him a look so nasty, you
half expected him to burst into flames.

The pair, who won a bronze medal in this event in 2002, did not speak to
reporters after that performance. The buzz about the meltdown attracted
dozens of reporters, who would normally avoid ice dancing like a bird flu
sandwich, to the Palavela last night.

NBC, which is getting drubbed in the ratings, had to be thrilled. If the
Winter Olympics cannot compete with contrived drama like American Idol,
then a little contrived drama is just what Dr. Nielsen ordered. There proved
to be precious little drama, but a little bit of precious history for the
United States. Well, sort of.

First, let’s all relax and exhale. Barbara was not angry with Maurizio,
honest she wasn’t. “No, no, never,” she said after the pair finished sixth
overall. “He is like my brother. We do not speak on the ice. We communicate
with our eyes.” And what were her eyes saying? “Crap, we did a mistake,”
Fusar Poli said. Margaglio told the same tale. (What? You were thinking he’d
contradict her? After that?) “It was a mistake of both of us, not one
person,” Margaglio said.

Meanwhile, the pair who live in Montclair, N.J., won the gold medal, as
expected. Nevertheless, the Russian national anthem was played – not, say, a
Springsteen song. Tatiana Navka, who was born in Ukraine, and Roman
Kostomarov, shockingly born in Russia, skate for Russia.

But the big news was the silver medal won by Tanith Belbin and Ben Agosto,
an absolutely delightful duo. It was the first U.S. medal in the event since
Colleen O’Connor and James Millns took bronze in 1976. It was the first
figure-skating medal of these Games for the United States, with the women’s
competition starting today.

Belbin and Agosto gave thanks to the American officials who made their
appearance in these Games possible. Belbin, who was born in Canada, was
not an American citizen until a special amendment was appended to an
appropriations bill. When President Bush signed the bill into law, she
became eligible to take her citizenship test.

Belbin became an American citizen on New Year’s Eve. She retains
Canadian citizenship, which makes her, what? Canerican? Ameradian?
“She’s lived in the U.S. for eight years now,” Agosto said. “So really,
this was more of a formality.”

Belbin is only 21, which means she was 13 when she moved here. That makes
her at least as American as Denis Petukhov, who is married to his partner,
Melissa Gregory. And it makes Belbin at least as American as Kristin Fraser,
who obtained citizenship in Azerbaijan just to skate in the Olympics –
without bothering to visit the country itself.

This is a very strange sport in that way. OK, this is a very strange sport
in every way. It is not as athletic as pairs figure skating, which involves
throws and jumps. It really is more like ballroom dancing on ice, a
combination of two difficult skills, which is then judged on required
elements as well as grace in performance.

Belbin said she “wobbled” while performing a “twizzle.” When someone
asked exactly when in the program it happened, she smiled brightly. “You
didn’t [see it]?” Belbin asked. “Then I’m not going to tell you. What
wobble?”

She and Agosto, 24, have definite star power in this sport, and are young
enough to compete for gold in Vancouver in 2010. And who knows? Maybe
they’ll still be skating for the United States. That would be something.
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10. CZECH PREMIER SEES UKRAINE AS KEY STRATEGIC PARTNER
Czech Republic counting with Ukraine as an important source of labour force.

CTK news agency, Prague, in English 2048 gmt 17 Feb 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Sunday, Feb 19, 2006

PRAGUE – [Czech] Prime Minister Jiri Paroubek today met his Ukrainian
counterpart Juriy Yekhanurov with whom he discussed future Ukrainian
membership in the EU, military cooperation and cooperation in the energy
industry.

The two prime ministers signed inter-governmental agreements on cooperation
in the defence industry and tourism. Paroubek described Ukraine as a key
strategic partner and said that Czech-Ukrainian relations were satisfactory.

According to Paroubek, there are about 90,000 Ukrainians working in the
Czech Republic. “They are help for medium-sized and small businesses,” he
said. Paroubek told CTK that the question of legalization of the presence of
Ukrainian citizens who have stayed in the Czech Republic illegally was not
discussed during the talks. [Passage omitted] Paroubek said that the Czech
Republic was counting with Ukraine as an important source of labour force.

At a press conference after the talks, Paroubek said that the Czech Republic
had a strong interest in the development of the Ukrainian energy industry.
[Passage omitted] He described as promising cooperation in saving energy
sources.

Paroubek said that Ukraine could rely on the Czech Republic’s support after
its parliamentary elections that are due at the end of March. He said that
the Ukrainian prime minister assured him that his country would continue its
pro-European orientation and gradual integration with Trans-Atlantic
organizations. Yekhanurov said that the Czech Republic’s support for Ukraine
in its rapprochement to the EU was very important. [Passage omitted]

Paroubek described the question of the Ukrainian debt to the Czech Republic
as the only long-term open question in Czech- Ukrainian relations. “We have
agreed on a system how to proceed in this question,” he said.

The Ukrainian parliament should ratify by the end of the current election
term an agreement on cooperation in the industry, science and technologies.
A mixed commission will be established as part of the agreement that will
deal with the problem of the debt, he said. According to the Ukrainian prime
minister, the amount of the debt has not yet been calculated precisely.

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11.CENTRAL EUROPEAN NEIGHBOURS BACK UKRAINE’S NATO
AND EUROPEAN UNION BID, THE VISEGRAD FOUR

TV 5 Kanal, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1800 gmt 21 Feb 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Tue, Feb 21, 2006

KYIV – [Presenter] The European Union is waiting for Ukraine, the member
states of the Visegrad Four are convinced. Representatives of neighbouring
Poland, Hungary and Slovakia promise Ukraine to support its European
integration efforts.

[Correspondent] An international meeting was dedicated to the 15th
anniversary of the Visegrad Four. Nowadays this union is considered to be
one of the most successful in Europe. Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia
and Hungary are members of the two biggest blocs at the same time – NATO
and the EU. They protect their interests as a group because the four
neighbouring state have similar problems and their solutions.

[Rafal Wisniewski, Polish Undersecretary of State, in English, overlaid with
Ukrainian] At the beginning of the 1990s no-one in Poland could think of its
becoming a member of NATO or the EU. Then we were beyond Europe and
even joked that Asia starts 40 km to the south of Krakow. But these stereotypes
were ruined under the pressure of political and economic progress.

[Correspondent] Ukraine considers the Four’s way to the EU as a paragon.
During its long way to the EU Ukraine will also need to start from NATO
membership. Ukrainian Foreign Minister [Borys Tarasyuk] is convinced that
the most important thing is the integrity of political elites, and if they
change, the chosen course should remain unchanged.

[Tarasyuk] If we speak about the Visegrad group as a group of countries that
are members of the EU and NATO, I can say without any exaggeration that this
is a group of friends of Ukraine with all ensuing consequences.

[Correspondent] The Visegrad Four has been demonstrating its friendly
intentions for several years so far. They cooperate in several fields at
once. The most active cooperation is in the military and defence sector with
regard to the closest prospects for NATO.

The members of the Visegrad Four would like to see Ukraine as an equal
neighbour, but they hint that this will happen when most people in Ukraine
strive for this.

[Magda Vasaryova, Slovak Secretary of State, in English, overlaid with
Ukrainian] We are ready to help you because we see Ukraine as an equal
member of both NATO and the EU. We want our closest neighbours to move
along the same road with us, however what is most important here is your
willingness. If today’s course remains unchanged, I think Ukraine will soon
become a member of both NATO and the EU.

[Correspondent] Ukrainian officials want to improve the partnership with the
Visegrad Four by increasing the number of its members to five, however the
format of cooperation remains the same. The Visegrad Four members still do
not see Ukraine even as an observer country. -30-
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12. UKRAINIAN PRES MEETS NORWEGIAN TELECOM EXECUTIVES

UNIAN news agency, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1558 gmt 21 Feb 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Tuesday, Feb 21, 2006

Kiev, 21 February: President Viktor Yushchenko and representatives of the
Norwegian company Telenor, [Executive Vice-President] Jan Thygesen and
[Senior Executive Vice-President] Torstein Moland, have discussed the
company’s plans on the Ukrainian investment market. The presidential press
service said that during the meeting the issue of Ukraine’s socio-economic
development over the last year was discussed.

Thygesen and Moland gave a high assessment of Ukraine’s economic
achievements, in particular, the improvement in the investment climate.
Yushchenko said that he supports Telenor’s plans to expand its range of
services and increase their quality.

The meeting was also attended by Transport and Communications Minister
Viktor Bondar, Kyivstar director Ihor Lytovchenko, and the acting head of
the main service for social-economic policy, Pavlo Haydutskyy.

Telenor specializes in cellular, satellite and fixed-line communications, as
well as TV broadcasting. The company is one of the biggest investors in the
domestic cellular communications market, and owns a 56.5-per-cent stake in
Kyivstar GSM. [Passage omitted: more about Kyivstar] -30-
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13. LARGE FOREIGN BANKS IN UKRAINE IMPROVE UKRAINE’S
INVESTMENT ATTRACTIVENESS, SAY EXPERTS

Interfax-Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 21, 2006

KYIV – The presence of foreign banking capital increases the investment
attractiveness of Ukraine, according to the coordinator of projects by the
European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) Viktor
Marchenko. “The more direct foreign investments we have, the better it is
[for Ukraine],” Marchenko told the press in an interview.

“Everybody knows such banks as BNP, Intesa, and Raiffeisen. When others
see how these banks buy something here, in Ukraine, and pay large sum of
money to be represented here, it confirms that these banks see the investment
attractiveness of our country.”

Marchenko said that among other positive results of foreign capital’s
presence in the Ukrainian banking sector are the raising of assets and the
guarantee of access to the international financial markets, as well as
better management, from credit issuing to software, which will allow the
more effective issuing of credits and management of risk and expenditures.

“These banks will propose new services for individuals, primarily, through
new credit products. Everybody expects attractive interest rates. Other
banks, taking the leaders of the market as an example, will improve their
procedures and processes.

Competition will rise, which will lead to more attractive conditions for
issuing credits to individuals,” the expert said.

The member of the financial committee in the parliament, MP Dmytro
Sviatash said that in the long-term perspective, foreign banking capital is
profitable both for industry and the population.

“The reliability of the banking system will grow considerably, interest
rates will fall to some extent, so one will be able to receive credit
resources at less interest rates and for longer period,” he told the press.

“New banking products will appear – those which are not at present developed
enough in Ukraine, for example, the financing of export agreements with
small tariffs and the financing of import agreements.” According to him, tax
payments from activity of such banks will grow. “Such banks always pay all
taxes. There will be another standard in paying taxes by these banks,” he
said.

Sviatash said that the Ukrainian banks that are not prepared to operate to
the new standards won’t be able to compete with foreign banks. “Other
banks will enter the top ten and top twenty of Ukraine’s banks,” he said.

“The public and business will win if large foreign banks come to Ukraine.
Domestic and Western banks will compete, and it could lead to a fall in
interest rates,” according to the head expert of the department for economic
policy of the Ukrainian Manufacturers and Entrepreneurs Union, Serhiy
Pukas. -30-
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14. FDI’S IN UKRAINE IN 2005 HIT A RECORD HIGH OF $7.33 BN
Steel mill brings in 4.8 billion, Aval Bank brings in 1.03 billion

Interfax-Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 21, 2006

KYIV – The growth of foreign direct investments (FDIs) in Ukraine in 2005
hit a record high of $7.328 billion, which was 4.7 times up on 2004, the
State Statistics Committee reported on Tuesday.

The overall amount of FDIs in Ukraine by January 1, 2006, had amounted to
$16.375 billion, which was 81% up on the figure registered by January 1,
2005, or $349 per capita.

As the State Statistics Committee reported, in 2005 foreign investors
injected $7.868 billion in direct investments into Ukraine’s economy, while
withdrew $375.2 million in direct investments from Ukraine.

The FDI growth in the fourth quarter of 2005 alone was estimated at $6.843
billion, while in the third – $440.9 million, in the second – $264 million,
and in the first – $227.2 million.

The experts explain the high pace of the FDI growth in the fourth quarter
of 2005 by the privatization sale of Kryvorizhstal steel mill to Mittal Steel
Germany GmbH for $4.8 billion and the private sale of Aval Bank to
Raiffeisenbank of Austria for $1.03 billion in October 2005. -30-
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15. EBRD MAY LEND TO DNIPROPETROVSK, KHARKIV, DONETSK,
HEATING NETWORKS & KHARKIV WATER TREATMENT UTILITY

Interfax-Ukraine, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 21, 2006

KYIV – The Board of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development
(EBRD) Directors plans to consider loans in 2006 to heating networks in
Kharkiv, Donetsk and Dnipropetrovsk and a Kharkiv water treatment utility,
the EBRD said.

In particular, Kharkivski Teplomerezhi, Donetsk-based Teplomerezha,
Dnipropetrovsk municipal heating networks and KharkivKommunOchystVod
may get from EUR 10 million to EUR 20 million each.

The EBRD Board will consider a EUR 10 million loan under the EUR 14
million project to KharkivKommunOchystVod and a EUR 15 million loan
under the EUR 18.6 million project to Kharkivski Teplomerezhi on April 25.

A EUR 20 million loan to Donetsk-based Teplomerezha under a EUR 26
million project will be considered on May 16, 2006, and a EUR 15 million
loan to Dnipropetrovsk municipal heating network under a EUR 17 million
project will be considered on September 5.

The loans to the thermal suppliers will finance the rehabilitation and
modernization of existing district heating distribution network and the
introduction of new, compact Individual Heating Sub-stations in residential
apartment buildings equipped with meters. The investments and institutional
reforms are expected to achieve significant cost savings and greater
efficiency.

The proceeds of the loan to be provided to KharkivKommunOchystVod
would be used to finance priority capital investments to improve the municipal
wastewater infrastructure and services in the city, which will contribute
significantly to decreasing the level of polluting discharges into the
Siverskyi Donets River and the Azov Sea basin.

Anton Usov, the press secretary of the EBRD representative office in Kyiv,
told Interfax-Ukraine on Monday that the loan projects for Kharkiv’s heat
networks and water treatment utility, as well as to Donetsk’s heat networks,
are nearing completion and are most likely to be approved in the first half
of 2006. -30-
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16. DOUBTS RAISED ON UKRAINE ECONOMIC GROWTH

By Stefan Wagstyl, Financial Times, London, UK, Wed, February 22 2006

LONDON – Oleksandr Savchenko, deputy governor of Ukraine’s central
bank, said at a Financial Times conference in London yesterday that the gas
price dispute with Russia and hotly disputed upcoming parliamentary
elections were raising fears over the country’s growth prospects.

He said there would be no official growth forecasts for 2006 until later in
the year. Ukraine has seen a sharp increase in gas import prices since a new
Russian deal at the start of the year, which led to parliament sacking the
government in a move president Victor Yushchenko ignored.

Mr Savchenko said his estimate for gross domestic product growth in 2006
was 4 to 5 per cent, up from 2.4 per cent last year.

But Volodymyr Ignasenko, deputy economy minister, said he expected
2.5 to 3 per cent. Other ministers have put the figure at 2 per cent and the
World Bank has predicted 1.5-2 per cent. -30-
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17. YUSHCHENKO VETOES LAW BANNING PRIVATIZATION
OF 50%+1 SHARE IN NIKOPOL FERROALLOY PLANT

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv,Ukraine, Monday, February 20, 2006

KYIV – President Viktor Yuschenko has vetoed the law banning privatization
of 50%+1 share in the Nikopol ferroalloy plant (Dnipropetrovsk region). The
presidential press service made the statement.

According to the president’s suggestions, opinion of the Cabinet of
Ministers was not taken into account in the parliament’s decision to ban
privatization of the plant, while, according to article 5 of the law of
privatization of state property, the list of state-owned facilities not
subject to privatization is to be approved by the Verkhovna Rada upon the
suggestion of the Cabinet of Ministers.

Yuschenko also notes that, according to the state privatization program, if
sales and purchase agreements on privatization are terminated because of
failure to meet the terms or if these agreements are declared invalid by
court, the funds paid by the purchaser should be returned to him. However,
the national budget for 2006 does not envisage the costs for return of this
sum to the former owner of 50%+1 share in the Nikopol ferroalloy plant.

As Ukrainian News reported earlier, on February 9, the Verkhovna Rada
passed a bill banning privatization of 50%+1 share in Nikopol ferroalloy plant.
Bill 9041 on amendments to the law of the list of state-owned facilities not
subject to privatization received support of 287 MPs with a necessary
minimum of 226 votes required to pass it.

Acting Prime Minister Yurii Yekhanurov ordered the State Property Fund to
draft and submit to the Cabinet of Ministers by February 25 a project for
the sale of 50%+1 share in the Nikopol ferroalloy plant, which under a court
verdict must be returned to the state.

Meanwhile, State Property Fund’s Chairwoman Valentyna Semeniuk said that
this order cannot be implemented because the plant’s shares have not yet
been transferred into the accounts of the State Property Fund.

The Cabinet of Ministers won a lawsuit in which it argued that the
privatization of the NFP was illegal and a procedure has been launched with
the aim of returning to the state the 50%+1 share of the plant that earlier
belonged to the Prydniprovia concern.

Prydniprovia’s shares in the Nikopol ferroalloy plant are presently frozen
in accounts with Ukrsotsbank, which performs the function of a depository
for the shares. Interpipe, which controls Prydniprovia, holds about 73% of
the shares in the NFP, while the Pryvatbank group controls about 26% of the
shares. -30-
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18. CIS BANKS REVIEW ISSUED – COMPARISON OF ALL MAJOR
BANKS CIS COUNTRIES IN TERMS OF ASSET VALUE
Ukraine’s largest bank, Privatbank, is ranked number 14
.

Interfax Center for Economic Analysis (Interfax-CEA)
Moscow, Russia, Thursday, February 16, 2006

MOSCOW – The Interfax Center for Economic Analysis (Interfax-CEA) has
issued the Interfax-1000 – CIS Banks review, which for the first time
enables a comparison of all the major banks in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan
and other CIS countries in terms of asset value and other financial indicators.

“Banking systems in CIS countries are becoming less disconnected and the
flow of bank capital from one country to another is becoming stronger,”
Interfax-CEA General Director Mikhail Matovnikov said. “The time has come
when for many banks it is a mistake to view them solely within national
borders and without an understanding of the wider context it is impossible
to understand the development trend of different banking systems,” he said.

The top three banks in the Interfax-1000 are Russia’s Sberbank,
Vneshtorgbank and Gazprombank and the top ten includes two Kazakh banks
(Kazkommertsbank and Bank TuranAlem). Ukraine’s largest bank, Privatbank,
is ranked number 14.

The list has information on assets, capital, loan portfolios and funds
raised for 1,000 CIS banks (815 Russian and 185 banks from other CIS
countries) as of July 1 2005 and January 1 2005. The review also contains a
short description of banking systems in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan,
Belarus, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Moldova.
———————————————————————————————
The Center for Economic Analysis is an analytical center, which is part of
the Interfax International Group and provides macroeconomic forecasts,
analyses the situation on financial markets and regional economies, and
reports on tendencies in the money market in Russia and the Commonwealth
of Independent States.

The CEA’s most popular editions are rankings of Russia’s largest banks and
insurance companies, known as Interfax-100, highly reputed among players
on the financial market.

Contacts: Interfax-CEA, 2 Pervaya Tverskaya-Yamskaya Ul., Moscow,
127006, Russia, Tel. +7 (495) 250-8036, E-mail: cea@interfax.ru, General
Director: Mikhail Matovnikov.

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19. UKRAINE: WINTER GRAIN CROPS SUFFER MAJOR DAMAGE

AgriNews, AKP-Inform, Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine, Mon, Feb 20, 2006

Over 30 percent of winter wheat and some 50 percent of winter barley in
Ukraine will have to be re-seeded, head of agro-meteorological dept. at
Ukrainian weather centre Tetyana Adamenko said to media on Friday. The
conclusion has been made after obtaining monolith growing tests of the
plant samples, taken from fields after the first wave of frosts on January 27.

The researchers have also notes a considerable loss rate of winter rye,
which is uncharacteristic for this crop of rather high frost-resistance. “It
(rye) is frost-resistant in case of normal development. But if the planting
was late or if the plants are on the seed-sprouting or the initial shooting
stages, the frost-resistance is considerably hurt,” Adamenko said.

She said that January’s frosts had been extremely destructive for the
frost-sensitive rapeseeds, but the weather centre did not have the exact
data because no observation of this crop was being made.

The crop losses are registered nearly all over the territory of the country.
“The damaged fields are everywhere. It can be said now that the winter crops
development will be extremely uneven. When the snow had fallen, there were
strong winds, and the snow cover turned to be patchy,” Ms. Adamenko said.
She said that the crop condition was a little bit better in the west and
north-west of the country.

The weather centre specialists say these data are not the final ones. The
next monolith growing test results will most probably display further
increase of the crop loss rate. According to statistics data, winter cereals
for grain and green feed uses (rapeseeds not included) for the 2006 crop
were sown in Ukraine on 6.194 million hectares – down 18.8 percent from the
year before. The drop in the sown area is accounted to extremely dry
conditions in autumn 2005. -30-

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20. PROFILE OF UKRAINIAN INDUSTRIALIST VITALY HAYDUK

BBC Monitoring research in English 21 Feb 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Tue, Feb 21, 2006

Vitaliy Hayduk is a wealthy Ukrainian industrialist and former deputy prime
minister in the administration of president Leonid Kuchma. Hayduk appears
to be the owner of a 49.99-per-cent stake in the Industrial Union of Donbas
(IUD), a diversified holding company that controls around 40 industrial
assets in Ukraine and abroad.

He served as Ukrainian deputy prime minister for energy in the Viktor
Yanukovych cabinet from November 2002 to December 2003. His sacking
was widely linked to his opposition to Russian-backed energy projects in
Ukraine, including the creation of the gas transit consortium and the
reversal of the Odessa-Brody pipeline.

After his dismissal, Hayduk reportedly built ties with the then opposition
led by Viktor Yushchenko. After Yushchenko’s victory in the presidential
election in 2004 it was rumoured that IUD had helped finance his campaign,
and in early 2005 Hayduk was widely viewed as a likely contender for a top
cabinet post or the Donetsk regional governorship.

At the launch of a new casting machine at the Alchevsk steelworks in August,
Yushchenko praised IUD as a positive example of open and transparent
investment policy.

On 30 December 2005, in the middle of the gas crisis with Russia, President
Viktor Yushchenko announced that he would appoint Hayduk deputy prime
minister for fuel and energy.

In a TV interview, Yushchenko described Hayduk as a “very gifted person”,
and said he would be put in charge of the energy sector, the Fuel and Energy
Ministry, the coal industry and energy saving, with a goal to make sure that
Ukraine “has an independent energy balance in four years’ time”.

However, the decree to this effect was never published. IUD co-owner Serhiy
Taruta, who vehemently opposed the new gas deal signed with Russia on 4
January 2006, has said that an “energy lobby” including Fuel and Energy
Minister Ivan Plachkov and Naftohaz Ukrayiny state oil and gas company
chairman Oleksiy Ivchenko persuaded Yushchenko not to sign the decree.

In an interview with the BBC in January 2006, Hayduk criticized the gas deal
with Russia, saying Ukraine should have insisted on keeping the gas price
unchanged based on existing contracts. He suggested that the Ukrainian
negotiators had mishandled the talks and failed to secure gas transit rights
from Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, effectively cutting off the Turkmen gas
option.

He predicted heavy economic fallout from rising gas prices, and said he had
no explanation for the fact that despite the presidential announcement the
decree on his appointment had never been released. He added though that
following the signing of the gas deal with Russia, he considered himself
free of any obligations regarding his work in the government.

Following the rise in gas prices, Hayduk said IUD steel plants would invest
heavily in energy-saving technologies and replace gas with coal in its
blast-furnace production cycle.

The web site Ukrayinska Pravda reported rumours that Hayduk has fine
relations with Yushchenko’s former secretary and trusted aide Very
Ulyanchenko, who was said to have lobbied for Hayduk’s appointment.

In September 2005, a Ukrainian paper said Hayduk was the deputy head of
a working group in the Ukrainian government negotiating gas supplies with
Russia’s Gazprom at the time, but he does not appear to have had any role
in subsequent negotiations.

On 9 February 2006, the specialist energy web site www.pek.com.ua quoted
sources in Hayduk’s Evolution Media holding as saying that Hayduk was
harbouring presidential ambitions. The source added that Hayduk had been
showing keen interest in various political projects over the previous two
months.

It said six people close to Hayduk, including former Energy Minister Serhiy
Yermilov, were running for parliament on the list of the Eco+25 party (which
has little chance of clearing the 3-per-cent threshold but could win some
seats in regional councils in eastern Ukraine), and his allies were on the
lists of several other parties.
IUD
IUD’s core activities are the production of steel, pipes and coke, and heavy
engineering. In addition, it is active in the power engineering,
construction, telecommunications, leisure and agricultural sectors. It also
trades metal products, coal, coke and natural gas.

For 2004, the company reported revenues of 12bn hryvnyas ( 2.4bn dollars) and
a profit of 2bn hyrvnyas. Another 49.99-per-cent stake in the IUD is owned
by Serhiy Taruta, who is also the chairman of the board of directors,
through his company Azovimpeks.

Hayduk is also the president of the Industrial Group consortium, an asset
management company set up by IUD in 2004. The remaining 0.02 per cent of
IUD is controlled by the Donetsk company Oniks-Don, the ownership of
which is unclear.

Hayduk has tended to be seen as the senior partner in the corporation, and
Taruta was for a long time largely invisible in the post of executive
director. Formerly highly secretive, IUD gradually became more open after
Taruta was appointed board chairman in 2002. He has since become its public
face.

Set up in 1995, IUD appears to have been initially intended to supply gas to
Donbass plants through highly-lucrative barter arrangements. In 1996, IUD
delivered 5.5bn cu.m. of gas to industrial consumers, and arranged a closed
production cycle encompassing coal, coke, steel and pipes. The pipes were
delivered to Russia in exchange for gas.

As Taruta put it in a 2003 interview, “IUD gradually became an enormous
clearing centre, which solved problems in the commercial life of many
industrial enterprises in the region.”

It has been suggested that the formation of IUD was initiated by Donetsk
businessmen Akhat Brahin (who had been assassinated in October 1995) and
MP Yevhen Shcherban to resist encroachment on Donbass industry by gas
suppliers from neighbouring Dnipropetrovsk region. IUD was reportedly
protected by Donetsk governor Volodymyr Shcherban.

In the summer of 1996, IUD and its backers came into direct conflict with
then Prime Minister Pavlo Lazarenko. Volodymyr Shcherban was dismissed
as governor and replaced by a Lazarenko loyalist. Yevhen Shcherban was
assassinated in November 2006. Meanwhile, the Dnipropetrovsk-based trader
United Energy Systems of Ukraine, then headed by Yuliya Tymoshenko,
squeezed IUD out of the Donbass gas market.

However, Kuchma appears to have been frightened by Lazarenko’s growing
power. After dismissing him in summer 1997, Kuchma restored the local elite
to power in Donetsk Region, granting them virtual economic autonomy in
exchange for political loyalty.

Meanwhile, IUD survived and shifted to a coal-coke-metal production cycle,
the foundation of all the corporation’s business. IUD was also gaining
control over many of the region’s plants by buying shares from the State
Property Fund or through debt-for-equity swaps.

By 2000, IUD and its partner firms Dongorbank, ARS and Danco had acquired
control over Azovstal, Khartsyzsk pipe plant, Mariupol coke plant
(Markokhim), and the Alchevsk, Makiyivka and Kostyanivka steelworks, plus
most of the region’s profitable coal mines. By 2003 the IUD had gradually
moved away from barter and by that time all settlements were in monetary
form.

The company was for a long time associated with Donetsk businessman Rinat
Akhmetov, who succeeded Brahin as president of the Shakhtar football club
and appears to have inherited his business empire. However, Akhmetov has
always denied being a shareholder in IUD, though he has been a partner of
the corporation in operating a number of plants.

From 2002, a company set up by Akhmetov, System Capital Management,
began to take control over some of IUD’s most lucrative assets. These included
Azovstal, Khartsyzsk pipe plant (in which Taruta said IUD had invested 80m
dollars), Markokhim, Dongorbank and the coal mines. IUD was left with
Alchevsk steelworks, stakes in a number of engineering plants, and some
foreign assets including Uzbek oil and gas construction company
Uzneftegazstroy.

IUD appears to have used the cash windfall from these deals to acquire
numerous assets in Ukraine and abroad, including the Dniprodzherzhynsk-
based Dzherzhynskyy steelworks, the Dunaferr and Diosgyori Acelmuvek
steelworks in Hungary, and the Huta Czestochowa steelworks in Poland.

In 2004, IUD took part in the first tender for Kryzorizhstal steelworks,
losing out to a consortium formed by Akhmetov and Kuchma’s son-in-law,
Viktor Pinchuk. IUD also made a bid for Kryvorizhstal in the repeat tender
in October 2005 in alliance with Luxembourg-registered Arcelor, but lost to
Mittal Steel.

IUD reportedly owns a stake in the moderately pro-opposition NTN television
channel – which is linked to Eduard Prutnyk, a former adviser to Party of
Regions leader Viktor Yanukovych. It is also reported to control the ProUA
web site and the English language newspaper Kiev Weekly through the
Evolution Media holding.

Hayduk is also said to be financing the PRT (Praym Taym) communications
group (Ukraina Kriminalnaya website, Kiev, in Russian 11 Nov 05).

IUD is involved in philanthropic and cultural projects, including
sponsorship of opera productions in Donetsk.
RECORD IN GOVERNMENT
Hayduk was appointed to the pro-Kuchma coalition government of Viktor
Yanukovych on 26 November 2002, formally under the quota of the United
Social Democratic Party but representing Donetsk business interests.

He was distinctly unenthusiastic about Russian-sponsored joint energy
projects, and was spectacularly fired by Kuchma on 5 December 2003,
apparently bypassing proper procedure, within a few hours after giving a
news conference. In it he said there was no economic justification for using
the Odessa-Brody pipeline, originally built for carrying Caspian oil to
Europe, to pump Russian crude to Odessa instead.

He said there were other ways to meet Russia’s increased demand for oil
transit capacity, and argued that the pipeline should serve its original
purpose of reducing Ukraine’s dependence on Russian oil. He also said there
was no need for a joint Russian-Ukrainian consortium to manage the Ukrainian
gas transit system, as Ukraine was perfectly capable to do that on its own.
Russia reacted swiftly, saying Hayduk’s statements were his “private
opinion”, and Kuchma’s decree sacking him was released on the same day.

Hayduk’s position was praised by opposition figure Yuliya Tymoshenko,
although Hayduk appeared to have played a role in her own dismissal from the
post of deputy prime minister for fuel and energy in the Yushchenko cabinet
in 2000.

Russia eventually succeeded in pushing though its proposal to reverse the
flow of oil in Odessa-Brody, but failed to make any progress on the gas
transit consortium.

Prior to his appointment as deputy prime minister he served as deputy energy
minister and then minister of fuel and energy in January 2000-November 2002.

BIOGRAPHY
Hayduk was born in 19 July 1957 in the village of Khlibodarivka, Volnovakha
District, Donetsk Region. In 1980 he graduated from the Donetsk
Polytechnical Institute with a diploma in machine-building. In 1997-2000 he
was the head of the closed joint stock company Vizavi.
In 1994-1997 he served as the deputy head of the Donetsk Regional council,
and then deputy head of the Donetsk Regional State Administration (deputy
governor) in charge of industry, transport and communications. In 1988-1994
he was the director of the Zuyevsky power-engineering plant.
In 1981-1988 he worked for the Donetsk regional service centre of the VAZ
car manufacturer, working his way up to deputy director.
Hayduk has a PhD in economics, and is a member of the Academy of
Economic Sciences of Ukraine. He is married, and has a son and a daughter.
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21. UKRAINE TRIES TO DEFEND DEPORTATION OF UZBEKS
LINKED TO UPRISING
Human rights watchdogs do not agree with Ukraine’s decision

Associated Press (AP), Kiev, Ukraine, Tue, February 21, 2006

KIEV – Ukraine Tuesday defended the deportation of 10 Uzbeks allegedly
involved in last year’s uprising in Uzbekistan, a move that human rights
groups said called into question the government’s democratic credentials.

Ukrainian authorities detained the 10 earlier this month in two Crimean
cities as a part of an operation to fight illegal migration. They were
deported last Tuesday. Friday, the U.N. refugee agency slammed the
deportation and demanded urgent clarification from Ukraine.

Vasyl Filipchuk, a spokesman for Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry, said the Uzbeks
were deported because they violated Ukraine’s law on migration and on the
status of foreigners. The Uzbeks, who arrived in Ukraine last May, only
applied for asylum earlier this month and refused to appeal a local court
decision to send them home, Filipchuk said.

Ukrainian human rights watchdogs claimed Ukraine deported the Uzbeks at
Uzbekistan’s request. “Ukraine committed a crime against human rights,
violated international standards and its international obligations,” said
Natalia Dulneva, head of Amnesty International’s Ukrainian mission.

“Ukraine should have defended those people, but it sent them (to a place)
where they can face torture and, perhaps, death,” she added. Dulneva said
that the Uzbeks were arrested in Uzbekistan after being deported and nobody
knows their exact location.

Analyst Serhiy Taran of the Kiev-based International Institute of Democracy
said that it was a “democracy exam which Ukraine didn’t pass.”

The May 2004 uprising in the eastern Uzbek city of Andijan erupted when
militants seized a prison and freed 23 businessmen on trial for alleged
Islamic extremism. Rights groups and witnesses said hundreds were killed
during the crackdown that ensued. The government accused Islamic militants
of instigating the violence, and said 187 people died.

In the past four months, Uzbek courts have convicted 151 people in
closed-door trials criticized by human rights groups as a
government-orchestrated show using evidence coerced by torture.

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22. UKRAINE: OUR UKRAINE BLOC AGAINST EXTENDING
MORATORIUM ON FARMLAND SALES

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, February 20, 2006

KYIV – The Our Ukraine Election Bloc is against prolonging the moratorium
on farmland sales. Ukrainian News has learned this from bloc representative
and MP Ksenia Liapina. “The sooner we open the land market, the better it
will be,” she said.

Liapina noted the cancellation of the farmland sale moratorium does not mean
that foreign investors will start buying land on a large scale. “The market
of non-agricultural land was opened a long time ago, nevertheless it’s not
occupied by foreign investors, and domestic owners are dominating on the
market,” she said.

Liapina said the formation of the farmland market would stimulate the inflow
of private investments into agriculture. “It is private investments that
will allow raising the agrarian industry ‘from knees’ and will give a chance
to Ukrainian farmers to effectively compete on the world market,” she said.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, the Socialist Party is speaking out in
support of extension of the moratorium on farmland sale until 2012.

In November 2005, President Viktor Yuschenko ordered the Cabinet of
Ministers to work out a concept for the formation and development of land
market. Former President Leonid Kuchma signed the law on amendments to
the Land Code of Ukraine in late 2004, which envisaged extension of the
moratorium on the sale of farmland by January 1, 2007. -20-
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23. “APPLICATION FOR EU MEMBERSHIP LIKE REQUEST
FOR POLITICAL ASYLUM”
Seek EU membership to avoid Russian control
Russia will not “adopt” Ukraine – it will take advantage of Ukraine.

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY : By Oleh Runak
Glavred, Kiev, in Russian 0000 gmt 6 Feb 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Tue, Feb 21, 2006

Ukraine has done little to realize its eight-year-old priority of joining
the EU, and it missed the chance to apply for EU membership when it was in
a more advantageous position, an article posted on a website has suggested.

Citing figures showing Ukrainian commodity exports to the EU had dropped
while EU imports had risen, the website said that despite the Orange
Revolution bringing a European mood to Ukraine, the country had gained
little from partnership with the EU.

However, the report urged Ukraine to apply for EU membership immediately,
suggesting that the alternative was control by Russia.

The following is an excerpt from the article by Oleh Runak entitled
“Application for EU membership like request for political asylum” posted on
the Ukrainian website Glavred on 6 February; subheadings have been inserted
editorially; ellipsis as received:

A year ago Ukraine had every chance of competing with Turkey over who
would be first to become a full member of the EU.

Captivated Europe, for whom the fall of the Berlin wall and the velvet
revolutions of the end of the 1980s made history, observed Ukrainian
Maydan [Square protests leading to the Orange Revolution] spellbound.

[Passage omitted: some Europeans came to join the protests; European
newspapers wrote a lot about the Orange Revolution, polls show Europeans
are keen to see Ukraine as EU members]

The main achievement of the Orange Revolution so far (in many ways
justifiably) is considered the radical multi-level Europeanization of
Ukraine, the desire of the Ukrainian people to live in a European way, which
is embodied in real steps.

Following the logic of the European Neighbourhood Policy, it would appear
that the EU should be assisting Ukraine materially, or in any case actively
contributing to boosting our relations, primarily economic.
UKRAINE LOSING OUT IN TRADE WITH EU
What do we see from the State Statistics Committee results up to the end of
November 2005, which have been published? Exports of Ukrainian commodities
to Europe fell by more than 6.5 per cent, while as a whole they (imports [as
received; presumably exports]) rose by more than 5.5 per cent, with a rise
of 26.1 per cent to CIS states, 28.18 per cent to Russia, 60 per cent to
Belarus and 7.61 per cent to Kazakhstan.

This is in a situation when commodities make up 83 per cent of all Ukrainian
exports. A question springs to mind: in what direction did we really
integrate last year? Towards the EU? Or in the other direction?

To be fair, we should note that imports of commodities from Europe to
Ukraine grew by 27.9 per cent, with a total growth in commodity imports of
24.6 per cent and a growth in imports from the CIS of just 12.1 per cent.
This is the asymmetry that we are getting. What does it indicate?

The EU has signed agreements on free trade zones with Balkan and
Mediterranean states allowing European markets to be opened to commodities
from those states as soon as these agreements come into force, with a
gradual, phase-by-phase opening of these countries’ markets to commodities
from the EU. (When I say opening the markets, I mean abolishing import
duties.)

This “preferential asymmetry” in the EU’s trade relations was practised in
the 1990s and towards states in the last wave of expansion. This made it
possible for the economies of EU partner states to avoid shocks as they
integrated with one of the most powerful world markets, to attract
investment (rather than commodities) and in the long run it boosted the
competitiveness of the national economies.

In Ukraine the neighbourhood policy has so far borne results which are the
direct opposite: an exporting state is turning into an importer. Even with
an increase in quotas in 2005 for the main category of goods Ukraine exports
to the EU – non-precious metals and goods made from them – our commodity
balance with the EU has turned from slightly positive to very negative.

The trade asymmetry with the EU is plainly not going Ukraine’s way: in 2005
we significantly liberalized import duties, including for European goods,
but the EU is not hurrying to respond with a liberalization for Ukrainian
goods.

The situation is somewhat reminiscent of the visa situation, incidentally:
Ukraine has abolished visas for EU citizens, but the EU has not even eased
visa requirements for Ukrainians, demanding in exchange for the abolition of
visas a fairly tough agreement on readmission.

All that has been said indicates that the EU still does not view Ukraine as
a potential member of the Union. Or if it does, then only theoretically. One
clear illustration of this is the volume of EU assistance to Ukraine and to
our neighbour, Poland, which has a population of nearly 10m and a territory
just over half the size of Ukraine.

The combined assistance of the EU to Ukraine over the last 10 years has been
1.072bn euros. Financial plans recently adopted by the EU for 2007-13 (for
eight years) set out 59.6bn euros for Poland to receive from EU structural
funds. The figures are too eloquent to comment on.
MISSED OPPORTUNITIES
Nevertheless, all the “asymmetry” in relations with the EU would be no
tragedy if Ukraine was a strong, independent state, capable of taking a
tough stance in standing up for its national interests – like Ataturk’s
Turkey, for example.

At the end of the day, Turkey – over whose future membership of the EU there
is still a big question mark – is showing growth in GDP that is unattainable
not only for EU veterans but also for the new EU members, who are literally
pumped up with investment and financing from structural funds.

This is in a situation when from 1 January 2006 the minimum wage in Turkey
became 332.26 euros, which indicates foundations of the Turkish economic
miracle which are very different from the Chinese ones!

The Ukrainian economy – taking advantage of gas prices which were at dumping
level by European standards and which were enshrined until recently in
medium-term agreements with Russia and Turkmenistan – used to be in a
well-founded position to think out and carry out a strategy of expansion
into certain sectors of the European market.

Understanding and making use of all the advantages of its unique
geopolitical position, the ideology of the European Neighbourhood Policy
outlined above and also the weak points of the sluggish EU bureaucracy
machine, Ukraine could have achieved a lot – on condition that it had a
clear idea of what it was aiming for and was ready to fight effectively for
its interests.

Unfortunately, it has to be stated that Ukraine does not today need strong
sparring partners but a sick nurse and some stretcher bearers. January’s gas
policy on the part of the “pro-European” Ukrainian authorities surprised
even those who had already seen all kinds of adventurers under [former
President Leonid] Kuchma.

Decisions which are crucial to the country are not being taken either in
Europe or in China – or even in Belarus [but in Russia]. What is telling is
that there has not been a single move or a single statement about stepping
down from any ministers, whose position the gas dealers washed their hands
of. What kind of Europe can we talk about, then?
URGE TO APPLY FOR EU MEMBERSHIP
On the other hand, the EU is Ukraine’s only chance of not being decisively
embroiled in Eurasian “bondage”. The incapable need a guardian. A minor
needs a tutor. The weak need a defender. A drowning man needs a straw.

A year ago the trade-off for EU membership could have been a beautiful move
by the Ukrainian authorities, saying that they had taken a well-thought-out
strategic decision which would entrench forever the gains of the “dignity
revolution”, but now this can be nothing more than the cry of a drowning
man, a request for political asylum or a plea for adoption.

By all appearances, pro-European forces in the Ukrainian establishment (not
to be confused with pro-Swiss, already integrated into the economy of Zug
canton [where Rosukrenergo, the intermediary company in a gas deal signed in
January between Russia and Ukraine, has offices]!) have only just enough
time left.

Russia will not “adopt” Ukraine – it will take advantage of Ukraine. It will
take advantage not as a European power but “as a simple voracious victor”.

Understanding that, we should forget about standoffishness, about Brussels’s
requests not to pronounce the word “membership” until 2010 at the earliest,
about the fact that the EU now has a bellyful of its own problems – we have
to overcome the complex of flirting with Brussels and grasp at the European
straw – a drowning man does not care about the rules of etiquette.

This is all the more the case since we have a legal basis for putting in an
application to request membership: “Any European state which respects the
principles of liberty, democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental
freedoms, and the rule of law may apply to become a member of the Union”
(Articles 6 and 49 of the Treaty on European Union).

[Article 6 states: “The Union is founded on the principles of liberty,
democracy, respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms, and the rule
of law, principles which are common to the Member States.” Article 49
states: “Any European State which respects the principles set out in Article
6(1) may apply to become a member of the Union.”]

At the end of the day, what are we basically losing if we are refused (which
is unlikely) or if Brussels drags out examining our application for a long
and tedious time? Basically nothing! The UK was twice turned down for EEC
membership; Spain and Turkey also had to listen to a categorical “no” from
Brussels.

The UK and Spain have nevertheless long been in the EU, Turkey is holding
membership talks and Ukraine, which declared EU membership a main priority
in its domestic and foreign policy eight years ago, has still not got around
to taking even the first step to achieve its dream – formally declaring to
Brussels the content of that dream.
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24. 100,000 TULIPS APPEAR IN KYIV’S FLOWER BEDS THIS SPRING
Kyiv is a city of annuals and perennials,” Kyiashko insists. Kyiv is
also a city of begonias, ageratums, and especially marigolds.

By Viktoria HERASYMCHUK, The Day
The Day Weekly Digest in English, #5, Tuesday, 21 Feb 2006

Spring is just around the corner. Although weather forecasters are avoiding
long-term forecasts, promising only a slight increase in temperature for the
next days, there is no escaping spring. What will it be like in our capital?
Landscape developers know the answer to this question.

“I can assure you that spring will be wonderful as always,” The Day heard
from Valentyna Kyiashko, deputy chief of the landscaping department at
Kyiv’s municipal enterprise Kyivzelenbud. Contrary to what you might expect,
February is not the low season for landscape designers but a very hectic
period.

Before spring they have to plan all the details of the coming flower season.
Landscape developers get busy as the temperature rises in the city: they
have to clean up the flower beds and get the plants back into shape after
their winter sleep.

Some plants never wake after the winter because of the large amount of sand
mixed with salt on the roads. Salt leeches from sidewalks onto flower beds,
killing dormant flowers. Salt also kills linden and chestnut trees.

Although Kyivans love the fact that the chestnuts in their city bloom more
than once a year, that is actually a sign that these trees are in bad shape.
Every year Kyivzelenbud has to plant countless new trees to preserve Kyiv’s
status as a “green capital.”

Tulips will be the first to appear in Kyiv’s flower beds. Kyiashko says that
every year her department plants at least 100,000 tulips
. Often they have to
plant additional flowers, as the city residents and guests of the city are
not above stealing a few flowers or entire flower beds. They not only cut
the flowers, but dig out the bulbs. “It’s horrible.

When the country was better off economically, nobody would steal flowers.
We used to plant roses, and they would still be there the next day. Now they
steal no matter what you plant, even the most inconspicuous flowers. Let’s
hope that someday we will have economic prosperity, and people will stop
stealing,” says Kyiashko. This is quite an indicator of well-being.

On the other hand, the residents of Kyiv are eager to lend a hand in
cleaning up and planting flowers on lawns adjacent to their apartment
buildings. Spring is a season of community drives, including Environment
Day, Earth Day, and the “Sapling of the Future” holiday, which was
introduced by presidential order. “This is a time of joint community
efforts. People take to the streets en masse to clean up,” says Kyiashko.

But let us return to flowers. Hyacinths and crocuses appear at the same time
as tulips. Kyivans will also have an opportunity to enjoy traditional
springtime flower exhibits in parks and gardens. The themes and sketches
for these exhibits are already in the works.

“Unfortunately, Kyiv has no chief landscape architect, who could develop a
general concept for the city’s appearance,” says Oksana Dzhun, a famous
Kyiv landscape architect and the organizer of exhibits held on the hills
overlooking the Dnipro.

“Still, Kyiv is upholding its fine old traditions, such as patterned flower
beds, which are maintained the same way for years. It is much more difficult
to create a regular flower bed than one intended for an exhibition. My dream
is to decorate Independence Square with flower beds based on well
thought-out plans.”

Incidentally, the famous slogan “Kyiv is the city of tulips” is not entirely
accurate. “We are not a city of tulips! Kyiv is a city of annuals and
perennials,” Kyiashko insists. Kyiv is also a city of begonias, ageratums,
and especially marigolds.

Only the most absent-minded resident of Kyiv has not noticed that marigolds
are Kyiv’s main flower, which is Mayor Oleksandr Omelchenko’s favorite.
They bloom in any weather and are resistant to rain and cold. Marigolds
appear in Kyiv’s flower beds only in the summertime, so in springtime Kyiv
is truly a city of tulips. -30-
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LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/157880/

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25. ORANGE REVOLUTION BOOK: “CONSCIENCE CALLS”
Proceeds from Orange Revolution book helps orphans in Ukraine

Article By Orest Deychakiwsky
From the Foreword of “Conscience Calls” – Poklyk Sumlinnia
Washington, D.C., Winter, 2005-2006

RE: “CONSCIENCE CALLS”
Book by Roksolana Tymiak-Lonchyna
Privately Published, $30

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The word “historic” has become overused of late,
but there can be no doubt that Ukraine’s Orange Revolution was a triumphal
historic event for Ukraine.

It showed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, the determination of the people
of Ukraine to achieve their rights in a peaceful manner and to live in a
democratic, free and independent country. It was, indeed, an idea whose
time had come!

Throughout much of the last century, the Ukrainian people were subjected
to tremendous suffering, most notably the genocidal Ukrainian famine of
1932-33, perpetrated by foreign dictatorships and invaders.

The euphoria of long-awaited independence in 1991 did not bring with it full
freedom. Ukraine’s post-communist regimes were not able – or willing – to
shed the legacy of the past. Unrestrained corruption, including at the
highest levels, the suppression of media freedoms, the killing of
journalists, were all manifestations of the Kuchma regime’s contempt for the
people of Ukraine, and potentially exposed Ukraine’s vulnerability as an
independent state.

Numerous international observers, including the author of this manuscript,
observed the fair and transparent run-off elections which were held on
December 26 – the third nationwide election in two months. This election
stood in sharp contrast to the runoff held just 5 weeks earlier, an election
that was marked by widespread manipulation and outright falsification.

After that November 21 election, something unanticipated, something
monumental, something truly unprecedented occurred in Ukraine. The
Ukrainian people had had enough. I witnessed just one of many examples
of this as an OSCE international observer during the November 21 elections.

I was observing in the infamous Territorial Electoral Commission #100 in
Kirovohrad, in central Ukraine, which rightly earned the reputation as one
of the worst places with respect to election fraud in the first-round,
October 31 elections. It was there that I saw ordinary people standing up
for their rights, voicing their fervent desire “to live in a civilized
country.”

The very next day, in Kyiv, in reaction to the widespread fraud, I witnessed
the streets of the capital rapidly filling with thousands upon thousands of
men, women and children bedecked in orange. Clearly, the spirit of democracy
inspired Ukrainians of all ages. Within a few weeks, the will of the people
prevailed.

Nobody present will ever forget what happened in Independence Square in
Kyiv in the days and weeks following the fraudulent November runoff. The
dignified presence and determination of those in Kyiv – and, for that
matter, others elsewhere in Ukraine — provided the strength to seek freedom
and fair elections.

It gave strength to Ukraine’s institutions, and on December 3, the Supreme
Court invalidated the November 21 election and ordered a repeat of the
runoff vote between Prime Minister Yanukovich and opposition leader Viktor
Yushchenko to be held on December 26. A few days later, the Verkhovna
Rada approved a new law on presidential elections, paving the way for a
freer, more transparent voting process.

The support from Western governments and international organizations such
as the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe), which
insisted that the Ukrainian authorities comply with standards for fair and
transparent elections, also helped, as did the many thousands of
international observers, including many from Ukraine’s far-flung diaspora,
who observed all three rounds, particularly the successful, free and fair
December 26 elections.

With the success of the Orange Revolution, Ukraine is on the path to fulfill
its quest to become a thriving democracy in which human rights are respected
and the rule of law prevails. As we have seen it is not an easy path, but it
is one worth taking and one that Ukraine’s leadership seems determined to
follow.

Roksolana Tymiak-Lonchyna, a Chicago dentist and Ukrainian-American
community activist, has written a highly-readable, personal account of her
experiences as an international election observer during this historic
period for Ukrainians everywhere.

She provides not only a fascinating account of what it was like to observe
the elections in a difficult environment – the stronghold of Prime Minister
Yanukovich – but also offers a glimpse into Ukrainian life in three distinct
Ukrainian cities – Lviv, Kyiv, and Donetsk.

Her observations of the election process, but also her experiences with and
perceptions of people and places throughout Ukraine provide interesting
insights to life in Ukraine – the country of her parents’ birth — during
this historic time. -30-
————————————————————————————————-
TO BUY THE BOOK “CONSCIENCE CALLS”
PRICE: $30 (postage included US/Canada)
CHECK: made out to: Sts. Volodymyr and Olha “Starving for Color”
MAIL: to Roksolana Tymiak-Lonchyna DDS
828 S Washington St., Hinsdale, IL 60521 USA
————————————————————————————————-
Proceeds from the sale of “Conscience Calls” are used to purchase infant
formula for orphanages in Ukraine though the “Starving For Color” program.

“Starving for Color” was started by Roksolana Tymiak-Lonchyna with the
opening of the Black and White photo exhibit of orphaned, neglected and
abandoned children of Lviv, Ukraine, in October of 2002 at the Ukrainian
National Museum in Chicago, IL. With the help of Sts. Volodymyr and Olha
Parish an account was established to nourish the orphaned newborns.

Dr. Tymiak-Lonchyna has been traveling to Ukraine every 4-6 months at her
own expense, visiting orphanages and buying formula as needed in 6 month
increments. The amount of formula purchased varies depending on the number
of newborns residing at the orphanages.

Prices are negotiated with a local distributor, and Dr. Tymiak-Lonchyna
remains until the formula is delivered, at which point the payment is made.

Until 2005, Dr. Tymiak-Lonchyna worked with one orphanage in Lviv since
it was the only one that housed newborn orphans. As a result of her trip to
Ukraine during the Orange Revolution, she also supports infant formula
supplies at an orphanage in Donetsk.

It is the author’s goal to bring more orphanages into the program. But this
has to be done responsibly with an eye on the available funds, primarily so
that the orphanages where the program was initiated do not suffer as a
result.

It takes about 7.24 hryvni (5.12 hryvni – $1.00) a day to feed a child. Each
book sold provides approximately 17 days of sustenance for one child.

One of the orphanages cares for between 9 to 14 newborns at any given
time, and they require formula through the first 8 months. -30-
——————————————————————————————-
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AUR#663 Ukraine Achieves Market-Economy Status From U.S.; NaftoGas Loan Debts Out Of Control? Bankruptcy?; Ukraine Returns Uzbek Refugees, Why?

THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR
An International Newsletter, The Latest, Up-To-Date
In-Depth Ukrainian News, Analysis and Commentary
Ukrainian History, Culture, Arts, Business, Religion,
Sports, Government, and Politics, in Ukraine and Around the World
NAFTOGAS LOAN DEBTS OUT OF CONTROL? BANKRUPTCY?
Non-transparency of NAFTOGAS’s financial activities and
cash flows has long been notorious.

“Attachment of accounts, debt restructuring, bankruptcy? What will the
creditors’ claim be like at the negotiations on debt settlement or
restructuring? It will not be the claim to NAFTOGAS but, rather, to the
state of Ukraine, which holds 100% of NAFTOGAS shares and which
transferred its gas infrastructure to the company’s management.

Will they want part of the gas transportation system (the most treasured
asset from GASPROM’s perspective), full control of the UKRGAS-
ENERGO Joint Venture or Ukrainian underground gas holders? [Article 14]

THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR – Number 663
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor
Washington, D.C., Kyiv, Ukraine, TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 21, 2006

——–INDEX OF ARTICLES——–
Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.
Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article

1. UKRAINE ACHIEVES MARKET-ECONOMY STATUS,
U.S. OFFICIAL ANNOUNCES IN KIEV
Deputy Commerce Secretary: U.S. committed to helping Ukraine join WTO
USINFO.STATE.GOV, U.S. Department of State
Washington, D.C., Friday, February 17, 2006

2. USA GRANTS MARKET ECONOMY STATUS TO UKRAINE
USA Gives Economic, Political Support on Eve of Elections
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY
: By Roman Bryl
IntelliNews – Ukraine This Week, Kyiv, Ukraine, Mon, Feb 20, 2006

3. MARKET ECONOMY STATUS FOR UKRAINE IN ANTIDUMPING
CASES IN THE UNITED STATES AND EUROPEAN UNION
By John Maloney, Attorney and Gary Horlick, Attorney [1]
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR), #663, Article 3
Washington, D.C., Tuesday, February 21, 2006

4. GRADUATION OF UKRAINE TO MARKET ECONOMY STATUS
International Trade Administration (ITA)
United States Department of Commerce
Washington, D.C., Friday, February 17, 2006

5. USA PLEDGES TO RESUME FINANCING FOR PROGRAMME THAT
WOULD HELP UKRAINE DIVERSIFY NUCLEAR FUEL SUPPLIES
NTN, Kiev, Ukraine in Ukrainian 1700 gmt 18 Feb 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Saturday, Feb 18, 2006

6. UNITED STATES PROLONGS PROGRAM FOR QUALIFICATION
OF UKRAINE’S NUCLEAR FUEL
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, February 19, 2006

7. U.S. INTERESTED IN A TRANSPARENT UKRAINE-RUSSIA
AGREEMENT ON GAS DELIVERIES
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Sunday, February 19, 2006

8. UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER SAYS HE DOES NOT KNOW WHO
THE SECRET INVESTORS ARE IN ROSUKRENERGO,
COMPANY THAT WILL CONTROL UKRAINE’S GAS IMPORTS
Company’s murky background has sparked widespread criticism
Associated Press (AP), Prague, Czech Republic, Friday, February 17, 2006

9 . TURKMENISTAN’S HIGHER PRICE DEMANDS FOR NATURAL
GAS IMPERIL MOSCOW-KYIV GAS DEAL
Grim reminder Ukraine’s gas woes are far from over
ANALYSIS:
By Roman Kupchinsky
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
Prague, Czech Republic, Friday, February 17, 2006

10 . UKRAINE ECONOMY: GAS TROUBLE
Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), NY, NY, Friday, Feb 17, 2006

11. UKRAINE PROBLEMS ON THE HORIZON
Adam Landes, Renaissance Capital (RenCap)
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 14, 2006

12. UKRAINIAN GAS DEBT TO TURKMENISTAN $159 MILLION
Itar-Tass, Moscow, Russia, Sunday, February 19, 2006

13. UKRAINE DENIES GAS DEBTS TO TURKMENISTAN
One Plus One TV, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1730 gmt 20 Feb 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Mon, February 20, 2006

14 . WHO WILL REPAY NAFTOGAS LOAN DEBTS?
Non-transparency of NAFTOGAS’s financial activities and
cash flows has long been notorious
ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: Yuriy Skolotiany, Alla Yeremenko
Zerkalo Nedeli On The Web, Mirror-Weekly, No. 6 (585)
International Social Political Weekly
Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, 18-24 February 2006

15. AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL STRONGLY CONDEMNS UKRAINE
FOR VIOLATING OBLIGATIONS UNDER INTERNATIONAL LAW
Ten asylum-seekers forcibly returned to Uzbekistan by Ukraine
Amnesty International, New York, NY, Monday, February 20, 2006

16. UNITED NATIONS HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR REFUGEES
(UNHCR) DEPLORES ACTION OF UKRAINE AUTHORITIES,
SEEKS INFORMATION ON DEPORTED UZBEKS
Action was a contravention of Ukraine’s international obligations.
Press Briefing by Ron Redmond, UNHCR Spokesman
United National High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
Palais des Nations, Geneva, Switzerland, Friday, February 17, 2006

17. UKRAINE: UZBEK ASYLUM SEEKERS SENT BACK, FACE ABUSE,
TORTURE, DEPORTATIONS VIOLATE INTERNATIONAL LAW
Human Rights Watch, New York, NY, Friday, February 17, 2006

18. PBS PANEL ON ARMENIAN GENOCIDE STIRS PROTEST
Broadcaster Defends Inclusion of Deniers of Mass Killing by Turks
By Paul Farhi, Washington Post Staff Writer
The Washington Post, Washington, D.C.
Thursday, February 16, 2006; Page C01

19. MR. BUSH AND GENOCIDE
EDITORIAL: The Washington Post
Washington, D.C., Sunday, February 12, 2006; Page B06

20. MIKHAIL GORBACHEV CONCERNED OVER REANIMATION
OF JOSEPH STALIN’S CULT IN TODAY’S RUSSIA
Mosnews.com, Moscow, Russia, Monday, February 13, 2006

21. RUSSIAN HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVISTS OPPOSE MONOPOLY IN
RELIGIOUS MATTERS, PARTICULARLY RUSSIAN ORTHODOXY
Interfax-Russia, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, February 15, 2006
========================================================
1
. UKRAINE ACHIEVES MARKET-ECONOMY STATUS,
U.S. OFFICIAL ANNOUNCES IN KIEV
Deputy Commerce Secretary: U.S. committed to helping Ukraine join WTO

USINFO.STATE.GOV, U.S. Department of State
Washington, D.C., Friday, February 17, 2006

WASHINGTON – The United States has granted market-economy status to
Ukraine, U.S. Deputy Commerce Secretary David Sampson announced
February 17 while in Kiev, Ukraine, to discuss bilateral trade and
investment relations.

“This determination reflects the impressive economic developments that have
occurred in Ukraine over the past several years,” Sampson said in a Commerce
Department news release February 17. “Today’s announcement underscores
our commitment to expanding our bilateral economic relationship that will
lead our two countries to peace, prosperity and stronger commercial ties.”

Sampson met with senior Ukrainian government officials February 17 and
said he also planned to meet with Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov. These
meetings were a follow-up to an April 2005 meeting in Washington between
President Bush and Ukraine’s President Viktor Yushchenko, when the two
leaders discussed integrating Ukraine into the world economy and promoting
investment and trade between the two countries.

Ukraine is still transitioning to a world economy. A U.S. official said in
September 2005 that the country is making progress in fighting the high
levels of corruption.

In January, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative announced that the
United States was reinstating Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)
benefits for Ukraine in recognition of its efforts to improve the
enforcement and protection of intellectual property rights. The GSP
provides preferential duty-free entry to certain products from designated
beneficiary countries and territories and Ukraine’s benefits under the GSP
were suspended in August 2001 for failing to protect intellectual property.

According to the Commerce Department press release, Sampson praised the
government of Ukraine for achieving market-based economy status and said
the United States and Ukraine are committed to expanding a “bilateral
economic relationship that will lead our two countries to peace, prosperity
and stronger commercial ties.” The new status means will now use the
standard market economy methodology in anti-dumping cases.

In his meetings with the Ukrainian officials, Sampson raised a number of
trade issues, including Ukraine’s accession to the World Trade Organization
(WTO) and steps to improve the country’s business climate, strengthen its
protection of intellectual property rights, and expand U.S.-Ukraine
commercial opportunities.

“We are committed to working together to achieve Ukraine’s accession to the
World Trade Organization,” Sampson said. “As a member of WTO, Ukraine
would become partners in an ever-expanding group of nations that favor
democratic and free-market economic values. This would open up potentially
vast opportunities for local businesses, and would attract major industrial
players.”

The Commerce Department said it considered a number of criteria in
determining the market or nonmarket status of the Ukraine economy,
including the extent of currency convertibility, free bargaining for wage
rates, foreign investment, government ownership or control of production,
government control over the allocation of resources and “other appropriate
factors.” -30-
————————————————————————————————-
http://usinfo.state.gov/eur/Archive/2006/Feb/17-398158.html?chanlid=eur
———————————————————————————————
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
2. USA GRANTS MARKET ECONOMY STATUS TO UKRAINE
USA Gives Economic, Political Support on Eve of Elections

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Roman Bryl
IntelliNews – Ukraine This Week, Kyiv, Ukraine, Mon, Feb 20, 2006

KYIV – The United States on Feb 17 officially granted Ukraine the coveted
market economy status. Dr. David A. Sampson, deputy secretary of the U.S.
Department of Commerce that arrived in Kyiv on that day, made the
announcement. This status opened the way to WTO and aims to boost FDI in
Ukraine. According to preliminary estimates, the status will result in a USD
300-400mn increase of FDI in 2006.

The decision was expected to be made on Jan 23. But it was postponed due
to nomination of new deputy secretary of the department of commerce. The
process of getting the status was initiated by Ukraine’s government, large
local metallurgy plans and several legal consultancies.

The Ukrainian association of metallurgical companies (UkrAPchermet) played
a key role in stepping up the talks. It accumulated funds and hired law firms
to arrange legal issues with the US administration.

From the Ukrainian side, Magister&Partners was responsible for the talks. It
was assisted by US colleagues from Wilmer Hale. To inform you, in 2001
Magister&Partners was the first who initiated the procedure of granting
market economy status by the US.

The company compiled evidences proving the domestic economy was
developing according to market principles. But the US side delayed
examining the issue obviously for political reasons. That was only the
second year of journalist Georgiy Gongadze’s murder scandal in which
highly ranking officials, including ex-president Leonid Kuchma, were
allegedly involved. Of course, economic factors also played an important
role, for example intellectual property right protection.

In April Bush administration promises to assist
Ukraine in WTO accession process ———-

In April 2005 USA and Ukraine agreed to accelerate negotiations on
Ukraine’s accession to WTO in 2005. The mutual declaration of presidents
George Bush and Victor Yuschenko signed on Apr 4 included a statement
on US support in the procedures.

But only on Dec 7, 2005 during her visit to Ukraine, Secretary of State
Condoleezza Rice confirmed that Kyiv would be granted the status in the
forthcoming future. Nevertheless she did not indicate the exact date. And
finally on Jan 26, US ambassador in Ukraine John Herbst hinted in a
newspaper interview that the status would be granted in Feb 2006.

The final push to obtain the status Ukraine made in Dec 2005 when a
delegation headed by deputy economy minister Valeriy Pyatnitskiy visited
Washington. Representatives of Ukrainian companies were included in the
delegation. The visitors met with Congressmen, representatives of the
presidential administration and Department of Commerce.

On Feb 16 Condoleezza Rice, speaking in Congress, declared that the US
will continue to support further democratic transformations in Ukraine. The
next day’s visit of David A. Sampson became a kind of evidence of such
support.

Status eases exports to US ———-

The new status gives Ukraine several benefits in bilateral trade relations
with the US and other countries.

FIRST, domestic companies will be treated equally with other foreign
entities on the American market in terms of protecting their rights in
antidumping investigations. The status also decreases the number of
possible investigations in future.

This is because US regulators, starting with Feb 1, 2006, when the status
was officially enacted, in their decision to introduce sanctions will use
market information provided by Ukrainian companies. Earlier the opinion
of local companies did not count.

SECOND, by granting the status the US recognized 5 following things:

[1] UAH is a freely convertible currency;
[2] The structure of ownership is complete in the country and
ownership rights are guaranteed;
[3] The country is open for foreign investments and investors’
rights are protected;
[4] The business environment develops independently and the
state does not interfere in mechanism of price formation;
[5] Relationships between employers and employees are based
on common agreements, and trade unions operate independently.

Chemical, metallurgical plants can benefit most from status ———-

Now that both the EU and the US have granted this status to Ukraine,
countries that still do not recognize Ukraine as having a market economy
would be pressured to do so quicker. To remind you, EU on Dec 21, 2005
officially granted Ukraine the market economy status. The decision stepped
in effect on Dec 30.

According to Foyil Securities, the new status should help Ukrainian
exporters to combat new antidumping suits and demand revision of old ones.
This should benefit local steel and chemical sectors the most, since they
are the biggest Ukrainian exporters to the US.

The conclusion of a bilateral trade treaty with the US, as promised by the
US government, should expedite the cancellation of the Jackson-Vanik
amendment and assist WTO negotiations with countries which have yet to
sign a bilateral trade agreement with Ukraine, most importantly Australia.
Entering the WTO will broadly benefit the Ukrainian economy.

In next two weeks we expect signing agreement on
common access to markets with US ———-

Moreover, Sampson informed that in the next two weeks US would sign a
bilateral agreement on common access to markets with Ukraine that opens the
door to WTO accession. According to EconMin, the agreement guarantees
Ukraine can join WTO until the end of 2006. However, we expect the
long-awaited event to take place in the beginning of 2007, slightly prior to
Russia.

According to information we obtained from sources close to the talks, the
accession is supposed to go parallel with Russia’s. But there are more
complications in the Russian talks, thus Russia is expected to join in early
2007. Ukraine will have to wait a bit, but would still be allowed to become
a WTO member a little earlier than Russia.

The US is one of the five key trade partners of Ukraine. It also ranks 2nd
in terms of FDI in the country. According to state statistics committee,
bilateral trade turnover made up USD 2.23bn, and US direct investments
totaled USD 1.22bn as of Jan 1, 2006. There were 1,323 companies with
American capital that operated in Ukraine in 2005.

Granting status, US backs Yuschenko’s political positions ———-

In the granting of the status, we can find not only economic benefits, but
also some political reasons. First of all, Bush’s administration shows its
support to president Victor Yuschenko, who is the most loyal partner of
the US among the present political elite in the country.

In the run-up to the parliamentary elections, Yuschenko strongly needs
such support from foreign allies. According to latest polls, his party Our
Ukraine stays behind ex-PM Victor Yanukovich’s Regions of Ukraine.

These two parties, IntelliNews supposes, will be the main winners of the
elections. But neither will take enough seats to create independently a
majority in government. The most obvious outcome will be the need for
them to form coalition.

Such coalition will hamper Ukraine’s Euro-integration efforts, because
Regions of Ukraine stands for closer ties with Russia. At least it did
before and during the 2004 presidential elections, which Yanukovich lost in
the end. Recently the party has been a lot more anti-Russian, although this
can also be explained by the approaching elections.

Possibly Ukrainian businesses are becoming more pro-Western ———-

Also importantly, we think the status was received under pressure of
industrial enterprises that for mostly are located in the Eastern part of
the country, where the main supporters of Regions of Ukraine live. It shows
these influential companies are becoming more pro-Western. That can
undermine public support for Yanukovich’s pro-Russian policy. Although
so far the impact is still small, it might signal a pivotal change in Ukraine’s
politics. -30-
———————————————————————————————
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
3. MARKET ECONOMY STATUS FOR UKRAINE IN ANTIDUMPING
CASES IN THE UNITED STATES AND EUROPEAN UNION

By John Maloney, Attorney and Gary Horlick, Attorney [1]
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR), #663, Article 3
Washington, D.C., Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The U.S. Department of Commerce on February 16, 2006 decided that
Ukraine will be treated as a “market economy” as of February 1, 2006 for
antidumping cases in the United States. The EU had reached a similar
decision on 21 December 2005.

“Market Economy Status” (MES) means that, in an antidumping case, a
country’s exporters are judged on the basis of their own data for normal
value (typically, either home market prices or production costs), while in
“non-market economy” (NME) cases, the importing country authorities
construct a “hypothetical constructed value” as normal value, using the
factors of production of the exporter but costing those factors in a
“surrogate” market economy.

Interestingly, a recent study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office
of the U.S. Congress concludes that, while NME status leads to much higher
dumping margins for non-investigated exporters than does market economy
status, NME does not necessarily lead to higher margins for those NME
exporters that are individually investigated. That has been the case in our
experience.

In practice, MES has several benefits for the exporting country:

[1] The exporters which are investigated probably do not have to do quite
as much work in order to get dumping margins reflecting their situation
(although it still requires a lot of work);

[2] Non-investigated exporters are much better off, as a rule; and,

[3] Companies are judged by their own data, rather than data from a
different company in a different country — in our experience, company
executives want to be judged by their own data.

[4] In addition, in the U.S. system of retrospective review, market-economy
status makes it much easier for the exporting company to comply with the
U.S. antidumping order because the company does not have to guess what
surrogate Commerce will use, and then also guess what the prices of the
inputs in the surrogate country will be (possibly as much as a year after
the sale under consideration).

The Commerce department decision was based on six factors:

[1] Extent to which the country’s currency is convertible;
[2] Extent to which wage rates in the country are the product
of free bargaining;
[3] Extent to which joint ventures and foreign direct investment
are permitted;
[4] Extent of government ownership or control of the means
of production;
[5] Extent of government control over the allocation of
resources and price and output decisions of enterprises; and,
[6] Other appropriate factors.

Notably, the U.S. statute does not require perfection — very few market
economies have completely reached all of those goals (for example, even
the United States discourages foreign direct investment when it feels like it,
often in contested takeover fights involving a U.S. and a foreign bidder).

In both practical and legal terms, the “bar” is “set” by prior Commerce
decisions. Thus, Commerce could not have said very easily that Ukraine
had not met the necessary standard when Russia and Kazakhstan already
had.

Interestingly, the European Union (EU) uses slightly different factors:

[1] Low degree of government influence over the allocation of resources
and decisions of enterprises, whether directly or indirectly (e.g. public
bodies), for example through the use of State-fixed prices, or
discrimination in the tax, trade or currency regimes;

[2] Absence of State-induced distortions in the operation of enterprises
linked to privatisation (i.e. “carry over” from the old system). Absence
of use of non-market trading or compensation systems (such as barter
trade);

[3] Existence and implementation of a transparent and non-discriminatory
company law which ensures adequate corporate governance (application
of international accounting standards, protection of shareholders, public
availability of accurate company information;

[4] Existence and implementation of a coherent, effective and transparent
set of laws which ensure the respect of property rights and the operation
of a functioning bankruptcy regime; and,

[5] Existence of a genuine financial sector which operates independently
from the State and which in law and practice is subject to sufficient
guarantee provisions and adequate supervision.

Inevitably, there will be speculation about the role of politics in these
decisions. For example, the EU announced that it intended to grant MES to
Ukraine on December 1, 2005, on the occasion of an EU-Ukraine summit in
Kiev.

To some extent, though, the political changes welcomed by the U.S. and
EU (such as the “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine) also bring about policy
changes relevant to the stated MES criteria, such as Ukraine’s abolition of
a 50% currency retention rule in April 2005, which makes it easier for
Commerce (and outside observers such as the EBRD) to recognize that
Ukraine’s currency is convertible.

The market economy “issue” is a non-issue with respect to WTO language.
The AD Note to Article VI of GATT 1994 states that “in the case of imports
from a country which has a complete or substantially complete monopoly of
its trade and where all domestic prices are fixed by the State . comparison
with domestic prices in such a country may not always be appropriate.”

There are very few, if any, countries left where the government controls
“all” prices, thus any WTO Member is entitled to normal MES treatment
under the WTO Antidumping Agreement, unless it has agreed otherwise.
————————————————————————————————
[1] WilmerHale, Washington, DC. The authors were counsel to the Ukraine
Association of Ferrous Metallurgy Enterprises in the U.S. proceeding leading
to the Department of Commerce decision. The opinions expressed here are
not necessarily those of the firm or its clients. (http://www.WilmerHale.com )
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[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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4. GRADUATION OF UKRAINE TO MARKET ECONOMY STATUS

International Trade Administration (ITA)
United States Department of Commerce
Washington, D.C., Friday, February 17, 2006

FACT SHEET
On February 17, the Department of Commerce’s Import Administration