AUR#652Democracy For Chosen Few; Oligarchs Taking Over; How To Stop The Oligarchization Of Power? Poses Serious Threat To Ukraine

THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR
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DEMOCRACY FOR CHOSEN FEW 
 
Who is electing members of the Ukrainian parliament? We are, the people,
it would seem. In reality, however, according to set electoral model, the
deputies are electing themselves and the population merely grants the
self-electing process a legitimate status.

The currently effective electoral system is most defective in relation to
the democratic norms. Without a doubt, this society will eventually realize
the need to cancel the existing electoral system. The big question is when
it will happen and what price will be paid for this understanding. (Article 1)
                           

THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR – Number 652
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor  
Washington, D.C., Kyiv, Ukraine, THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 2, 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.                         DEMOCRACY FOR CHOSEN FEW
                                        2006 campaign threats
By Oleksandr Valevsky, political scientist
The Day Weekly Digest in English, #2, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, Jan 31, 2006

2.   CONSTITUTIONAL REFORMS IN UKRAINE WILL LEAD TO 
  A SEIZURE OF POWER BY THE OLIGARCHS SAYS ZINCHENKO
     New prime minister will be hostage to the oligarchs behind the parties
Interfax, Moscow, Russia, Monday, January 16, 2006

3.          HOW TO STOP THE OLIGARCHIZATION OF POWER?
        This phenomenon poses a threat to Ukraine, says political scientist

INTERVIEW: With Valentyna Hoshovswka, political scientist, Head,
Center for Prospective Social Research at the Ministry of Labor and
Social Policy and the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences
Interviewed by Tamara Khrushch, The Day
The Day Weekly Digest in English #2, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, Jan 31, 2006

4.       LESS THAN ONE THIRD OF UKRAINIANS SUPPORTING

    PARLIAMENTARY – PRESIDENTIAL FORM OF GOVERNMENT
Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, January 31, 2006

5.                   HOW TO DEFINE THE PRESIDENT’S STYLE?
By Halyna Volianska, Associate Professor, Kyiv-Mohyla

National University, Ph.D. (Law), Orange Revolution participant
The Day Weekly Digest in English #2, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, Jan 31, 2006

6.                CRISIS OF UKRAINE’S STATE INSTITUTIONS
                Yushchenko turns to Moscow to rescue his government
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Vladimir Socor
The Eurasia Daily Monitor, Volume 3, Issue 21
The Jamestown Foundation, Wash, D.C., Tue, Jan 31, 2006

 
        FORMER PM YULIA TYMOSHENKO SAYS IN BRUSSELS
By Andrew Rettman, Euobserver, Brussels, Belgium, Feb 2, 2006

8.                          ‘I WANT TO WORK A MIRACLE’
       Yulia Timoshenko was the heroine of Ukraine’s orange revolution

Article by Tom Parfitt, The Guardian
London, United Kingdom, Wednesday, Feb 02, 2006

9.                         THE RUSSIA OF PROVOCATION

           “Gasputin” is neither a democrat nor a stabilizer, but a loyal
                Russian citizen who wants his country to be powerful. 
EDITORIAL:
Il Sole 24 Ore newspaper, Milan, in Italian 1 Feb 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006

10.           “FOR PUTIN YANUKOVYCH IS A DOWNED PILOT”
    Putin placing his bets on Ukraine’s ex-premier – Russian opposition figure
INTERVIEW: With Ivan Starkiov, Russian liberal politician
By Maryana Pyetsukh, Ukrayina Moloda, Kiev, in Ukrainian 5 Jan 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Tue, Jan 31, 2006

11. PAVLOVSKIY: VERSION OF RUSSIAN REVENGE ON UKRAINE
  WAS PLAYED OUT IN THE WORLD PRESS BY OUR OPPONENTS
               Ukrainian president is a weak partner – Russian analyst

INTERVIEW: With Gleb Pavlovski, Russia political pundit
By Nataliya Shamray, Glavred, Kiev, in Russian 26 Jan 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Tue, Jan 31, 2006

12.                      CZAR PUTIN’S NEO-IMPERIAL RUSSIA
BYLINE: David A. Mittell Jr., The Providence Journal
Providence, Rhode Island, Thursday, January 26, 2006

13.     USA MAY OFFICIALLY RECOGNIZE UKRAINE’S MARKET

                          ECONOMY STATUS ON FEBRUARY 16
Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, February 1, 2006

14.   WORLD BANK SAYS DISPARATE TRADE POLICIES CAUSE
            DEVELOPMENT SPLIT WITH FORMER SOVIET BLOC 
Harry Dunphy, AP Worldstream, Washington, D.C., Tue, Jan 31, 2006

15.     UKRAINE: PRESIDENT TOURS MOTOR SICH FACILITIES
                   One of the world’s largest makers of aviation engines
         Over one hundred nations use MOTOR SICH engines for airplanes.
Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, February 1, 2006

16EU URGES SWIFT RESOLUTION TO RUSSIA-UKRAINE TRADE
      SPAT OVER BAN ON UKRAINIAN MEAT AND MILK IMPORTS
Associated Press, Brussels, Belgium, Wed, February 1, 2006

17.     HALNAFTOGAZ, COCA COLA WRAP UP 2006 CONTRACT
Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, January 30, 2006

18.   GAS DEAL DRAWS ATTENTION OF SECRETIVE IMPORTER

By Andrew E. Kramer, The New York Times
New York, New York, Wednesday, February 1, 2006

19UKRAINIAN GAS OFFICIAL LOBBIED ROSUKRENERGO DEAL
Ukrayinska Pravda website, Kiev, in Ukrainian 31 Jan 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Tue, Jan 31, 2006

20.       UKRAINE: ANTIMONOPOLY COMMITTEE BELIEVES

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, February 1, 2006
 
 TO RELEASE INFORMATION ABOUT ROSUKRENERGO’S OWNERS
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: From Roman Kupchinsky
Investigative Journalist and Analyst, Prague, Czech Republic
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #652, Article 21
Washington, D.C., Thursday, February 2, 2006
23.  MCDONALD’S REACHES GOAL TO RAISE $50 MILLION FOR
CHILDREN OF THE WORLD IN HONOR OF ITS 50TH ANNIVERSARY
            In Ukraine funds will be directed to build family rooms for the
   Children’s Department in the Institute of Oncology, Academy of Science
Business Wire, Chicago, Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006
 
24.               THE WOMAN WHO CAN READ RUSHNYKS
                                A unique museum in Cherkasy
By Nadia Tysiachna, The Day, Photos by Oleksandr Kosarev
The Day Weekly Digest in English #2, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, Jan 31, 2006
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1
                       DEMOCRACY FOR CHOSEN FEW
                                      2006 campaign threats
By Oleksandr Valevsky, political scientist
The Day Weekly Digest in English, #2, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, Jan 31, 2006

The parliamentary campaign of 2006 is certainly of historical importance,
namely that its results will either confirm that this society has turned
toward modernization after the Orange Revolution, or, on the contrary,
that there is a barrier blocking the road of reformatory projects.

There are more than enough reasons for worrying about this election
campaign that serves conservative trends, and few reasons for hopes that
the 2006 elections will lay the foundations of a dynamic political system
capable of securing stable economic progress and stability.

Who is electing members of the Ukrainian parliament? We are, the people,
it would seem. In reality, however, according to set electoral model, the
deputies are electing themselves and the population merely grants the
self-electing process a legitimate status.

The currently effective electoral system is most defective in relation to
the democratic norms. Without a doubt, this society will eventually realize
the need to cancel the existing electoral system. The big question is when
it will happen and what price will be paid for this understanding.

The development of political corruption is the next threat stemming from
the coming elections. Trading in slate entries can be described using
different terms, like buying insurance policies to protect oneself against
political risks; investments made in a promising political project, etc.

Personally I prefer the following formula: “Political corruption is when
slate entries are paid for with money.” The chosen model of closed
rosters is ideal for this kind of corruption.

No less topical is the issue of the Ukrainian political class and its
ability to function given a parliamentary-presidential model. Parliament
voting for the dismissal of the cabinet is always an extraordinary measure.
In our case it was a “technological” move made for the sake of the election
campaign.

On Jan. 10, factions in parliament claiming opposition status discredited
the amended constitution that expanded their powers. Where is logic? This
question appears meaningless as group egotism turned out stronger than
any rational arguments.

To sum it up, the high degree of uncertainty and dubious political and legal
consequences are among the most vivid characteristics of this parliamentary
campaign. The latter is unique in terms of risks and political process being
kept closed the corporate way.

 -30-This campaign may have devastating consequences for both the stability
of the political system and the entire system of public administration.

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LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/156417/
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[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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2.   CONSTITUTIONAL REFORMS IN UKRAINE WILL LEAD TO
  A SEIZURE OF POWER BY THE OLIGARCHS SAYS ZINCHENKO
     New prime minister will be hostage to the oligarchs behind the parties

Interfax, Moscow, Russia, Monday, January 16, 2006

MOSCOW – The constitutional reforms in Ukraine will lead to a seizure
of power by the oligarchs rather than openness and transparency in
political processes, former Ukrainian State Secretary Oleksandr
Zinchenko, leader of the Party of Patriotic Forces, said.

“Reforms have engendered new problems, because even after they are
completed, the system of power structures will remain controversial.

Yes, some of the presidential powers will go to the prime minister. But
even in the  future, after  parliamentary elections, this will not
simplify political processes or make them more transparent.

In fact, the new prime minister may be hostage to the interests of large
political fractions that appoint him or, to be more precise, to the
oligarchs who stand behind fractions,” Zinchenko said in a interview
published by the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper on Monday.

According to him, oligarchs will control parliamentary fractions.
“It is obvious even now that money is playing the defining role as far
as March’s parliamentary elections are concerned. Almost all political
parties or blocs include oligarchs, and they, I may assure you, are
playing key roles,” he said.

Commenting on the possible victory of Ukraine’s Party of Regions
led by former Prime  Minister Viktor Yanukovich, Zinchenko said
that “there is the law of political life: the opposition may retaliate only
if the authorities’ actions are inconsistent and misguided. That is what
is happening in Ukraine. 

In my opinion, Yanukovich’s victory is dangerous only because it
means a return to Kuchma’s era [Leonid Kuchma is the former
president of Ukraine].”  -30-
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3.        HOW TO STOP THE OLIGARCHIZATION OF POWER?
       This phenomenon poses a threat to Ukraine, says political scientist
 
INTERVIEW: With Valentyna Hoshovswka, political scientist, Head,
Center for Prospective Social Research at the Ministry of Labor and
Social Policy and the Ukrainian National Academy of Sciences
Interviewed by Tamara Khrushch, The Day
The Day Weekly Digest in English #2, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, Jan 31, 2006

[The Day] “The oligarchization of power is a new term in the Ukrainian
political milieu. What does it mean? Does it describe a process by which
oligarchs come to power? Some estimates put the number of millionaires in
the current Ukrainian parliament at 300. Why has the term ‘oligarchization
of power’ appeared only now?”

[Valentyna Hoshovswka] “It is not about the number of oligarchs in
parliament, but about the classic system of oligarchized parties. This
phenomenon was known in Europe in the early 1920s. The Ukrainian
scenario of oligarchization has four or five of the richest parties imposing
their own rules of the game.

As a group or faction, they have been in parliament for a long time, i.e.,
they have had many opportunities to push their own bills through
parliament and lobby for their ideas. A single parliamentarian can raise a
certain issue, but he will not resolve it.

Meanwhile, a group or faction has the capacity to propose a bill, push it
through parliament, and monitor its implementation. Parties that have been
represented in parliament for several convocations in a row are full-fledged
subjects of legislative power.

They are oligarchic parties. Such parties have had the same leader for more
than 10 years. They have an exceedingly large central committee and their
own monitoring and oversight bodies.”

[The Day] “They are attempting to convince us of the benefits of such
‘powerful’ political forces. What are their dangers?”

[Valentyna Hoshovswka] “These parties are capable of stifling any initiative
proposed by their cells at the regional, municipal, or district level. If
they show any disagreement, the mother party disbands them immediately.

These forces have a solid financial footing and enough regular supporters
among the voting population, which allows them to use their popularity and
paid services of the mass media to impose any opinion and implement any
idea that might run counter to the nation’s interests.

They caused the most damage during the period of transition from the
previous majority electoral system to a party one. They did absolutely
everything to endorse the most ‘tragic’ electoral legislation in Europe. The
Venice Commission criticized it in extremely negative terms. The election
law is imperfect in addition to the imperfect constitutional amendments
relating to the electoral process.

I must remind you that these amendments were proposed and lobbied for
by party leaders who spent over 20 years in parliament and did everything
possible to secure parliamentary seats for their party forces for another
five years. They created the law specifically to reflect their interests. A
kind of conservation of the elites has taken place.

Only parliamentary parties will control the election process within the
Central Electoral Commission. Only parliamentary parties will have budgets
funded with taxpayers’ money. Incidentally, these budgets are enormous.
Nobody asks people if they want to finance one party or another. It may
happen that my taxes will be used to bankroll a party that I consider
dangerous to society.”

[The Day] “Is Ukraine following its own path or repeating somebody
else’s mistakes?”

[Valentyna Hoshovswka] “There was a period in Italy when a proportional
electoral system was introduced in place of a majority electoral system. The
people saw how much damage it was doing. They held a referendum and
abolished this system. The same thing can happen here.

I think that political, economic, moral, and spiritual problems are
inevitable. We will see a certain degree of degradation. People will soon

understand what it means not to have a representative of their own.

“Therefore, voters must know the names of each one of those who initiated
the amendments. We must know our ‘heroes.’ I think that they are the same
politicians who at one time caused Ukraine’s international isolation by
spreading disinformation about the sale of the Kolchuha air defense systems
and the killing of the journalist Heorhiy Gongadze.

They have also provoked the present internal crisis with the current
electoral legislation. They did it for their own party interests.

They did Ukraine a bad turn. How could they permit this chaos? The
parliamentary elections and the elections of representatives to local
councils will take place on the same day.

Voters will receive one huge sheet with the names of parliamentary nominees,
another sheet with nominees to the oblast council, and another one with the
nominees to the municipal, raion, or village councils.

The elections of mayors are also scheduled for the same day. A person will
have to spend at least 30 or 40 minutes reading these lists. How many voters
can pass through a polling district in these conditions? No more than 25
percent. Why hasn’t anybody thought about this?”

[The Day] “Some people think that the new legislation makes parliamentarians
dependent on their party leaders, which deprives them of the right to have a
viewpoint of their own.”

[Valentyna Hoshovswka] “This is true. The imperative mandate turns the
future parliamentarian into a serf and bondsman of the faction leader.
Political leaders will decide everything by themselves. They will have no
use for fellow party members. After all, the new legislation deprives
parliamentarians of the opportunity to consult the people or maintain their
own opinions.

They will only receive instructions on which way to vote and will not be
allowed to take a step to the left or the right. That is why when individual
factions are forming their slates, they require members to promise not to
‘betray’ the faction under any circumstances: ‘betray,’ as in ‘have a
different opinion.’

“I get the impression that regardless of their political leanings, leftist
or rightist, the parties have formed a kind of syndicate that is trying to
persuade everybody else that no one but these five or six parties can ever
make it to parliament. This is very dangerous, because people fall for this
type of political spin.”

[The Day] “Does this mean that you do not trust opinion polls and
 forecasts?”

[Valentyna Hoshovswka] “As a citizen, I do not trust many forecasters. I
see a pattern here: on the eve of party congresses that gather to endorse
party slates, these parties’ standings in the polls tend to rise sharply.
Some pollsters predicted 160 seats in parliament for one party and 120 or

110 seats for another. People are sure about one thing: the rich guys are
being pumped for money.

“The current legislation has fostered the growth of heretofore unseen party
corruption and trading for places on party slates. It is nobody’s concern
whether any particular person is a professional or not. It’s no surprise
that the next parliament will be composed of people, some of whom have
never written laws, will never write laws, and, furthermore, will never read
them.

I consider this a tragedy of the next parliament. Realizing this forced me
to run for parliament. I cannot live according to the principle of ‘not my
business.’

The elections are three months away, and we must do our utmost to change
this situation. The public should have a say in determining who and what
forces will be elected to parliament.”

[The Day] “However, the overwhelming majority of the population is confused.
People do not know whom they should vote for. They are disappointed in the
leaders whom they trusted only a year ago. They think that the Orange forces
not only failed to justify their hopes, but also betrayed them. What, in
your opinion, is the reason behind these sentiments?”

[Valentyna Hoshovswka] “It is clear that today thinking people are in a kind
of moral depression: they do not know whom they should vote for. They
dislike virtually all the political forces that are claiming to be the
frontrunners in the election race.

They oppose the lack of professionalism that is discernible among the
leaders of various calibers and specializations. Consider, for example, the
average barber, who becomes a Doctor of Sciences candidate and snags
a Ph.D. in one year.

In my view, the biggest problem is the absence of a stable middle class. We
have proclaimed Ukraine a social and law-governed state. This norm is
present in the constitutions of a majority of countries whose populations
are composed of 60 or 80 percent middle class.

This is the case in Spain, Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Norway, and many
other European nations. Much has been done there for doctors, teachers,
librarians, technical and agricultural specialists, and small business
owners.

Over the years nothing has been done in Ukraine to foster the formation of a
middle class. I remember how two years ago there were plans to hold a large
conference on this subject, but it did not go beyond the discussion level.
Nobody notices these problems now. Hence no efforts are made to resolve
them.

Meanwhile, as we know, the absence of a middle class results in extreme
social polarization, the kind that is happening now in Ukraine. On the one
hand, the 0.01 percent of the population is filthy rich, one percent is very
rich, and five to six percent are rich.

And the middle class is a mere 6 to 12 percent of the population. The
remaining 70 percent of Ukrainians are poor people, such as homeless
individuals, including children, the majority of pensioners, and underpaid
working-age people. The vicious circle of poverty breeds a host of problems.

Talented young people from the countryside have little opportunity to obtain
a university education and find a worthy place in life. Even if they get win
state scholarships, few parents can afford to support their life in the city
and pay for food, clothing, and travel. Social polarization has become an
abyss.

It will not consolidate society, but the opposite: it will deepen these
destructive processes. Now that we are talking about unity and
consolidation, we must propose a program to bridge the gap between the
richest and the poor.”

[The Day] “Some believe that people who run for parliament should be
well off, if not rich. Then they will not be tempted to make a fortune
 illegally.”

[Valentyna Hoshovswka] “I do not believe that they will sympathize with
the needs of the people on the other side of the abyss. When we say that
Ukraine has several families of billionaires, we must be aware that none
of them share the philosophy of the wealthy philanthropists of the 18th
and 19th centuries.

Today’s Ukrainian millionaires have forgotten about the people whom they
duped in order to build up their huge capital. How can one possibly
accumulate so much in just a few years? In other countries the process of
accumulating private capital takes centuries. Grandfathers and fathers had
to work to accumulate it.

Here it’s a matter of years, and this does not surprise anybody. Isn’t
asking where they got this much money the moral thing to do? Quite the
opposite, it’s amoral not to ask. Consider, for example, Poland, where no
one has capital exceeding 40 million.

Here such fortunes are commonplace among the rich. At the same time,
entire industries are deteriorating, drained of all their profits by
oligarchs.

Consider the coal mines. Young people work below the surface of the
earth in life-threatening conditions for meager wages. Unless people learn
to see who is who, we will not rise from this abyss.”

[The Day] “Before elections, when the population is under tremendous
informational pressure, it is not easy to make sense of the situation. How
do you distinguish between a sincere desire to develop the country and
cheap promises?”

[Valentyna Hoshovswka] “The Yevhen Marchuk bloc has enough
professionals to make this truth known to the people and propose a
program to foster the formation of a middle class in the country in the
shortest possible period.

Unless there is a middle class, there will be nobody to take care of social
orphans, of whom there are officially 200,000, but nearly a million in
reality. Even paying out 8,500 hryvnias for each child born will not help
the situation. I studied the statistics for the past nine months.

Unfortunately, even though women are now receiving this amount, they
have still abandoned twice as many children as last year, when they were
not receiving these benefits. Nothing will work if we try to solve this
problem in fits and starts, episodically, and by patching up holes without
a systemic approach.”

[The Day] “How can you tell a genuine Ukrainian patriot from a
pseudo-patriot?”

[Valentyna Hoshovswka] “I differentiate them based on how they speak
about Ukraine. For example, I have never heard a Russian or Pole say
‘We live in THIS country.’ Meanwhile, we are accustomed to hearing this
word combination: ‘in THIS country.’ It appears we have forgotten that
this is OUR country. At first this outraged and hurt me.

I have divided such people into two categories. For me, they are either
uneducated and ignorant, or they are enemies of their country. If he
doesn’t call Ukraine ‘my country,’ I do not consider him seriously.”

[The Day] “Does the notion ‘oligarchization of power’ describe only the
partisan dimension of the problem? Do the oligarchs who are trying to get
their names on party slates at any cost pose a threat to the development of
a democratic society?”

[Valentyna Hoshovswka] “This has two components: ‘political
oligarchization’ and ‘oligarchization of party slates.’ The latter developed
recently.

Oligarchs, who only a few years ago preferred to remain in the shadows,
declaring that ‘Pressing buttons is not a royal thing to do,’ are now
bending over backwards to get into parliament.

They seek immunity and an opportunity somehow to influence social
processes as part of a team. This is a solid guarantee of the preservation
and growth of their business.

Also, they want to perpetuate a belief among the public that they can build
up the country in the same way as they develop their own enterprises. But
we are all aware of the state of affairs in most of these privatized
enterprises, as well as what is happening with the coal industry, natural
gas, and oil.

I know how hard it is for real specialists to work in these spheres, when
oligarchs of various calibers interfere with the work of state
functionaries, demanding that their own interests be served first and
foremost.

The price increases for Russian gas are very advantageous for the Ukrainian
oligarchs who produce natural gas on Ukrainian territory. Today it sells for
60 or 70 dollars per 1,000 cubic meters. But just tally up their profits if
the price increases to 230.

I think the government should start not by raising gas prices for consumers,
but by inventorying Ukrainian gas wells. People should know who owns
them.

Meanwhile, a ceiling on profits, such as 10 percent of their yield, should
be set for owners, as this has been done in Russia. The remaining funds
should be directed toward social programs: education, healthcare, etc.
Things have to be brought in order.”

[The Day] “The struggle for power will obviously take a toll on the

economy. Who can curb this process?”

[Valentyna Hoshovswka] “We must clearly understand that the economic
situation will deteriorate in connection with the parliamentary elections.

It will also be a long time before a parliamentary majority forms and the
speaker and ministers are appointed. This will not happen as soon as we
would like.

Moreover, in Ukraine, where there are as many ambitions as there are
leaders, the political elite tends to overestimate itself. Therefore, this
will be a lengthy process. In this situation a professional force is needed,
one that will consolidate everyone and know how to find a way out of all
these situations.”

[The Day] “Is it possible to counter the forceful propaganda of the

handful of powerful parties?”

[Valentyna Hoshovswka] “The parties and blocs that are running for
parliament must necessarily sign a pact. They must find forms of
cooperation to resist the oligarchic parties. I am certain that it is still
not too late to reverse the extremely dark prospect of the government
becoming oligarchized.”   -30-
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LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/156526/
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4.      LESS THAN ONE THIRD OF UKRAINIANS SUPPORTING
    PARLIAMENTARY – PRESIDENTIAL FORM OF GOVERNMENT

Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, January 31, 2006

KYIV – Less than one third of Ukrainians support the parliamentary –
presidential form of government, which took effect on January 1, 2006 in
compliance with alterations made to the Constitution of Ukraine. To this

end results of an opinion poll conducted by the Institute of Social and
Political Psychology testify, which were made public by its Director
Nikolai Sliusarevskiy.

According to him, only 27.4 % of pollees (the figure is highest in Crimea –
36.1 %) support consequent implementation of amendments to the

Constitution.

According to more than 19 % of respondents, the Constitutional reform

should be suspended and submitted to a nation-wide referendum, as
President Yushchenko offers. As the sociologist said, the significant part
of the respondents believe the constitutional reform is not necessary at all
in the near future and it must be canceled (17.6 %). This is an opinion of
31 % of Donbas residents, which is the highest figure in Ukraine.

The Constitutional reform, which took effect on January 1, 2006, passes the
bulk of presidential authorities to the Parliament, who must form a
coalition of majority to form the Government. President Yushchenko in his
radio address to the nation on the occasion of the first anniversary of his
inauguration stated his recognition of the reform, though it is not ideal.
In his opinion, it must be discussed at a nation-wide referendum.  -30-
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5.                HOW TO DEFINE THE PRESIDENT’S STYLE?
 

By Halyna Volianska, Associate Professor, Kyiv-Mohyla
National University, Ph.D. (Law), Orange Revolution participant
The Day Weekly Digest in English #2, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, Jan 31, 2006

The first anniversary of the Ukrainian president’s inauguration served as a
pretext to consider the new leader’s style. Our discussion began with an
article that was sent to the editors. Later The Day’s experts joined the
debate. So, is he a peacemaker, a preacher, a reformist, an observer, or
someone else?

Without a doubt, the president’s style is still taking shape, and our
society is also taking part in the process and to a certain degree is
responsible for it. However, some of his traits can be singled out even
now. We hope that our readers will continue the debate.

President Yushchenko’s style of governance is the subject of sharp
debates. This is not coincidental, as Viktor Andriyovych’s style is
markedly different from that of his predecessors.

[1] First, it is a style germane to a free man, a free politician who is not
bound by corporate interests, as in the case of Leonid Kravchuk (the old
party nomenklatura) or Leonid Kuchma (the “Red directorate”), but
exclusively national ones, i.e., the interests of the people who came to the
Maidan at the end of 2004.

[2] Second, President Yushchenko’s style is openness, honesty, and
self-criticism. No other Ukrainian statesman or anyone who claims such a
status today, especially individuals like Viktor Yanukovych, Yulia
Tymoshenko, Nina Vitrenko, and several others, are even remotely as
sincere with the people as Viktor Andriyovych.

[3] Third, Yushchenko’s style is social-liberalism, in which two components
are organically united: a high level of social protection for citizens and a
civilized market economy for Ukrainian business. Most Ukrainian politicians
are being pulled in one direction or another, often opposing the interests
of those who work to those of employers (Vitrenko, Symonenko, et al.).

[4] Fourth, Yushchenko’s style means the delimitation of the functions of
government and business, as well as the abolition of the “administrative
resource,” which is especially important on the eve of the elections. The
current president’s predecessors did not even broach these subjects; for
them nomenklatura-oligarchic authority was and remains true power.

Therefore, the style of President Yushchenko as a man, politician, and
statesman is a fundamentally new style in the state leadership of Ukraine
and its novelty requires some explanation.

Yushchenko’s opponents mostly try to portray him as “Kuchma-2,” primarily
because he does not agree with the 2004 constitutional reform that took
effect on Jan. 1, 2006. It is alleged that he gravitates toward strong and
unlimited presidential powers that Leonid Kuchma de facto possessed.

Nothing could be further from the truth. President Yushchenko’s goal is not
power as such, but an opportunity to implement the people’s will expressed
during the dramatic elections of 2004. We see that the president’s acts can
be contested in court (as in the case of Sviatoslav Piskun).

The president himself has nowhere to go to restore constitutional legality,
which happened when parliament passed the unconstitutional resolution
dismissing Yuriy Yekhanurov’s government on Jan. 10, 2006, because for the
last three months our parliament has been refusing to swear in the appointed
justices of the Constitutional Court of Ukraine. This is how Yushchenko’s
gravitation toward unlimited presidential authority looks in practice.

As for the constitutional reform, it must be considered in greater detail.
If Kuchma’s nomenklatura-oligarchic regime really wanted to change the
political system, it could have done so many times during the 10 years of
his presidency.

But the crux of the matter is that his regime, while pushing through the
constitutional reform in 2003-04, had in mind not itself but the democratic
forces, which after the relative victory in the parliamentary elections of
2002 were really claiming the president’s mace. In other words, this reform
was meant to restrict democracy, not the authoritarian regime.

However, for a real democracy strong presidential powers are no obstacle,
since there are strong counterweights to these powers in the state and
society: parliament, the judicial branch, the media, political parties, etc.

We have seen that in a true democracy, as in the case of Yushchenko’s
current government, these means of counteraction not only work but also
at times paralyze the entire political system.

Can one visualize parliament resisting the swearing in of Constitutional
Court justices under Kuchma-yes, providing one is a visionary-or any of
the media permitting themselves to criticize the conduct of Kuchma family
members? Everyone understands that on the heels of such criticism
journalists would encounter a great many problems, including criminal
prosecution and physical intimidation.

But do we appreciate what we have? Are we prepared to support those

who offer us a different, more interesting, life, and, of course, new rules
of the game?

Unfortunately, we don’t always, and therefore President Yushchenko is
constantly forced to make compromises, even with his past political
adversaries, and then is lambasted by his past comrades in arms.

Yet every unbiased citizen realizes that meeting some politicians halfway
and parting ways with others is sometimes necessary in order to implement
not illusionary but the real Maidan ideals that are meant to last for years
and decades.

Only then will the president have authority in the eyes of the people; his
authority will be effective when he will be waging his own policies, not
someone else’s, and rallying around it the entire diverse nation.

President Yushchenko’s style is bringing Ukraine closer to the newly
established democracies of Central and Eastern Europe and laying the real
foundations of a liberal-democratic – in other words, European – society in
Ukraine.

The task of the other branches of power and institutions of a civil society
is to respond to the president’s political impulses and help him guide this
state toward Europe, not Eurasia, as demonstrated by certain political
forces on the eve of the 2006 parliamentary elections. We hope that a
significant part of these impulses will be reflected in the president’s
annual message to the Verkhovna Rada.

President Yushchenko’s biggest problems are not his entourage, as some
politicians and media people often allege. These are problems that stem
from the new rules on the political playing field, where most players,
unfortunately, want to play by the old rules, regardless of the
constitutional reform, and so on. Those who oppose the new rules are
focusing special attention on the personal relations between the president
and his team.

What we actually need is a real, not make-believe, constitutional reform
that would help modernize the state, society, and the political players. To
this end the president’s associates should form an all-Ukraine association
of political forces that are prepared to carry out a truly democratic
political reform, which they could launch after winning the 2006
parliamentary elections.

Another problem faced by President Yushchenko is the formation of a new
apparatus of state governance that would correspond to the requirements of
state management and a democratic and social state ruled by law.

Here it is necessary to begin by changing the curricula of institutions of
higher learning and finish by developing modern retraining programs for
high-ranking bureaucrats, separating business from power structures,
instituting real stimuli in the remuneration of government officials and
functionaries in local self-governments, and, most importantly, by
introducing new relations between officials and ordinary citizens

according to the principle that the citizen is always right.

If a citizen is truly mistaken about something, then it is necessary to
explain this in a very delicate manner. In a word, we need a new
administrative reform that, unlike Kuchma’s reform of 1998, would focus

not on the formal organization of the executive authority but on modernizing
relations between the government and its citizens. Then this reform will be
a success and in keeping with President Yushchenko’s style.  -30-
——————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/156527/
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[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================      
6.                CRISIS OF UKRAINE’S STATE INSTITUTIONS
               Yushchenko turns to Moscow to rescue his government

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Vladimir Socor
The Eurasia Daily Monitor, Volume 3, Issue 21
The Jamestown Foundation, Wash, D.C., Tue, Jan 31, 2006

The Kremlin’s “gas attack” on Ukraine exploited an ongoing crisis of state
institutions in that country and exacerbated the crisis almost to the point
of meltdown. This situation undermines the country’s and its president’s
capacity to resist Moscow’s emerging strategy to recapture key economic

and political positions in Ukraine, one year after the Orange Revolution.

The signing of the January 4 gas agreement with Russia illustrated the
dangers stemming from the growing weakness of Ukraine’s state institutions.

Basically, just two individuals, Fuel and Energy Minister Ivan Plachkov and
Naftohaz Ukrainy chairman Oleksiy Ivchenko, negotiated and signed a

dubious agreement in complete secrecy in Moscow, without the support of
experts from government agencies that are traditionally involved in such
negotiations, without consultation with the cabinet of ministers, and without
public accountability even after the highly controversial agreement had been
signed.

Their briefings afterward to the media proved misleading, and they then
declined to testify to the parliament, in effect setting up Prime Minister
Yuriy Yekhanurov to take the fall. (Yekhanurov initially also dissembled

on the gas agreement, but eventually distanced himself from it.)

Meanwhile, President Viktor Yushchenko continues describing the gas
agreement as an unqualified success even crediting Russian President
Vladimir Putin for contributing to the purported success despite massive
domestic and international criticism of key parts of the agreement.

The gas agreement provided the parliament with the political excuse to
exercise its right to dismiss the government, although the parliament itself
will only have the constitutional right to install another government after
the March elections. Yushchenko disputes the legal validity of the
parliament’s no confidence vote and insists that the government has not

been reduced to “acting” status, but that it continues to operate with full
authority.

Nevertheless, the president and government are looking for legal avenues

to establish that the government has the standing required for signing
international agreements. A determination on that issue cannot be reached,
however, because Ukraine does not have an operating Constitutional Court.

The parliament and the president are accusing each other over failures to
fill and swear in their respective quotas of seats on the Court. Each side
fears that the other might use the Constitutional Court as a tool in the
conflict between president and parliament over implementation of
constitutional reforms.

By all accounts, the president is attempting to renege on his December 2004
agreements with parliament on constitutional reform that would transfer
certain presidential powers to the parliament and government. Yushchenko

now claims that the procedure of reaching those agreements was hidden
from the public and that the substance of the constitutional reforms was
not debated or understood prior to their adoption by parliament.

Such claims are factually unsustainable. The procedure was highly

publicized at the time; the parliament held detailed debates before passing
the constitutional reforms; and the pro-presidential bloc Our Ukraine voted
for the reforms as well.

Because of his differences with the majority of deputies over the no
confidence vote in the government and the constitutional reforms,

Yushchenko has launched a war of words on the parliament. He has
recently been describing the majorities that oppose him on those issues
as “destabilizers,” “anti-state,” “destructive,” “fifth column,” “parasitical”;
he describes their decisions as “illegal,” “anti-people,” and the
parliament’s composition itself as unrepresentative (“lost the people’s
ideological support”).

The president warns that he would call a popular referendum (either before
or after the upcoming parliamentary elections) in order to cancel the
constitutional reforms. This course, if continued, would cause Yushchenko
and his Our Ukraine bloc to lose their remaining or potential allies in this
parliament and that to be elected in March. On a fundamental level, it
reflects inadequate understanding of political and state institutions as
such.

While that inadequacy seems common to a wide range of political forces

and interest groups in Ukraine and beyond, it becomes all the more
debilitating when it afflicts the top level of the executive branch.

Immediately after the Orange victory, de facto parallel governments emerged
in the National Security and Defense Council (NSDC) and the Presidential
staff, in addition to the constitutionally empowered cabinet of ministers.
One year later, laws have yet to be adopted on the functioning of those
institutions. After NSDC’s first head, Petro Poroshenko, had vastly

exceeded his prerogatives, Poroshenko’s successor, Anatoly Kinakh,
does so selectively on key issues.

During the gas crisis, for example, Kinakh publicly proposed entrusting

the management of Ukraine’s gas transit pipeline system to Russia.
Simultaneously he declared that Ukraine would no longer tolerate
infringements of its national sovereignty, such as giving up lucrative
contracts for its turbines (an allusion to Washington’s earlier demand that
Ukraine abandon the turbine contract for Iran’s Bushehr nuclear power
plant).

Both of Yushchenko’s appointees as NSDC heads have no background in

national security, and both have played the Russia card while in that post.
Despite such dysfunctionalities, the NSDC seized a number of portfolios
from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Meanwhile, for a year after the Orange
Revolution, Ukraine had no ambassador in Washington and other key
capitals.

In sum, Ukraine is traversing an institutional and a constitutional crisis,
as well as a deficit of competence at the top. Against this backdrop,
Yushchenko’s unofficial meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin on
January 11 in Astana initiated a potentially wide-ranging rapprochement.

An embattled Yushchenko feels that he needs that relationship to shore up
his presidency and improve his bloc’s electoral prospects.

For their part, influential Kremlin advisers calculate that a weakened and
isolated Ukrainian president might be used, particularly in the
post-election period. Risky under any circumstances, a personal
rapprochement with the Kremlin could prove especially dangerous for
Yushchenko to undertake without the backing of effective democratic
institutions and a functioning government.  -30-
——————————————————————————————-
(Survey based on Ukrainian media coverage of the political crisis,

January 2006; see EDM, January 12, 25)
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[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
7.          UKRAINE FACES SECOND ORANGE REVOLUTION
                    YULIA TYMOSHENKO SAYS IN BRUSSELS

By Andrew Rettman, Euobserver, Brussels, Belgium, Feb 2, 2006

BRUSSELS – The upcoming Ukraine elections will be as critical for the future
of eastern Europe as the orange revolution, Ukraine opposition leader Yulia
Tymoshenko told MEPs in Brussels on Wednesday (1 February), while
pledging to work toward EU integration with president Viktor Yushchenko,
if her party wins.

“The situation in Ukraine calls into question the whole geopolitical
strategy of the region,” she stated. “It’s not simply a legislative vote. Do
not think the election will change nothing. The elections are a new call, a
new risk.”

The parliamentary elections are scheduled for 26 March, with constitutional
reforms in January shifting almost all power from the president’s office to
the prime minister post.

“To be honest, this is a second presidential election in Ukraine. The prime
minister will acquire a broad scope of authority and we are again at the
threshold of a very important choice,” Ms Tymoshenko said.

She warned that representatives of the old regime grouped around former
prime minister Viktor Yanukovych have a 50 percent chance of taking power

in March, reorienting Ukraine’s trade and defence focus away from the EU
and NATO and back toward Moscow.

Ukrainian disillusionment with the orange revolution one year down the line
is partly based on divisions and corruption scandals in the orange camp and
average wage levels of just $100 (Euro83) a month.

But Ms Tymoshenko said the gas price row with Russia in January spread fear
that the pro-EU regime cannot look after the country’s economic interests.

The dispute saw prices doubling overnight from Euro40 to Euro80 and
Ukrainian heavy industry coming close to standstill when Russia turned the
gas off.
                                  RUSSIA PLAYS GAS ACE
“Russia is very much trying to influence this parliamentary election. I
consider the gas deal as a system of governing Ukraine from abroad,” Ms
Tymoshenko stated. The 45-year old engineer and oil business millionaire
became Ukraine’s first post-revolutionary prime minister under president
Yushchenko in 2004.

But now she is running against both him and Mr Yanukovych after president
Yushchenko sacked her in mid-2005. The split took place when civil servants
in Ms Tymoshenko’s inner circle blew the whistle on corruption among key
figures in president Yushchenko’s clique, including steel baron Viktor
Pinchuk.

Ms Tymoshenko plans to form a new coalition with Mr Yushchenko’s
parliamentary party, Our Ukraine, after the election despite last year’s
rift.  “We have a chance to be united in the new parliament. I will support
president Yushchenko in the new parliament, we will try to join forces,” she
said, adding “We will not create a coalition with Mr Yanukovych under any
circumstances.”

Ms Tymoshenko told MEPs she shares president Yushchenko’s grand design of
getting Ukraine into the EU and dragging its economy from communist era-type
monopolies and black markets into modernity.

But she attacked the president’s method of making “shadowy compromises”

with Ukraine’s business clans and the former regime in order to make progress.
                           YUSHCHENKO METHOD FLAWED
Ms Tymoshenko said Kiev should do more to punish the murderers of opposition
journalist Georgy Gongadze in 2000 and the officials responsible for selling
off Ukraine’s largest steel company, Kryvorozhstal for a sixth of its true
price in 2004.

“Everybody knows who did this [killed Mr Gongadze], who committed this
crime,” she said, with popular suspicion in the country fingering former
president Leonid Kuchma.

Tymoshenko said Kiev has allowed the Ukrainian black market in steel, vodka
and cigarettes from the breakaway Moldovan republic of Transniestria to
flourish and promised to target the country’s business clans if she comes to
power, calling them “a cancer in the Ukrainian economy.”

But she reserved her strongest criticism for president Yushchenko’s decision
to pay higher gas prices despite holding a contract from Russian supplier
Gazprom guaranteeing lower price levels until 2009.

She indicated the non-transparent structure of Rosukrenergo, the
Swiss-based firm put in charge of Ukraine’s gas deliveries, is designed to
hide further concessions to Russia. “This is a system to make Ukraine
totally dependent on Russia. The deal is a time bomb that could explode at
any moment,” she stated.  -30-

———————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://euobserver.com/9/20816
——————————————————————————————–
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
         Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.
========================================================
8.                            ‘I WANT TO WORK A MIRACLE’
   Yulia Timoshenko was the heroine of Ukraine’s orange revolution and went
   on to become the country’s prime minister. Then it all went wrong when her
      former ally, President Viktor Yushchenko, abruptly fired her. But it’s not
                                   over yet, she tells Tom Parfitt

Article by Tom Parfitt, The Guardian
London, United Kingdom, Wednesday, Feb 02, 2006

Their heads tilted so close together that they brush at the temple, the
couple seem a picture of harmony and understanding. His face is strangely
pockmarked, hers drawn yet beautiful, but both are smiling with quiet
contentment.

The iconic image of Ukraine’s opposition leader, Viktor Yushchenko, and his
ally, Yulia Timoshenko, on stage in Kiev appeared in newspapers across the
world. It is a reminder of happier times: the orange revolution last winter
that propelled Yushchenko to the presidency.

A rigged presidential election had sparked a popular uprising that quickly
saw the capital’s Independence Square crammed with chanting protesters. For
more than a month, international attention was locked on Ukraine and on the
“dream team” of Yushchenko and Timoshenko, who promised a sparkling
future out of the clutches of a corrupt, Soviet-style regime.

Yushchenko, the shy but respected former banker whose face was crumpled
by an alleged poisoning attempt, provided the gravitas. Timoshenko was the
glamorous firebrand who loosed off tirades of rhetoric and called her
supporters to the barricades.

For the protesters who camped out in sub-zero temperatures she was a Joan
of Arc, a talisman who made the sacrifice worthwhile. And in the end, the
fairy- tale came true. The arch-villain of the piece, pro-Russian prime
minister Viktor Yanukovich, was ushered from the stage and Yushchenko
took the presidency. Within weeks he named his spirited sidekick as prime
minister.

Then the trouble began. The economy began to nosedive and rifts opened
between the orange leaders. “From the very first moment that the president
came to power, people from his closest circle made an enemy figure out of
me,” claims Timoshenko, in an interview at her party headquarters in central
Kiev.

When she was sacked as premier with the rest of her cabinet last September,
after a welter of corruption allegations between Yushchenko’s aides and
ministers spilled into the open, she turned on her former ally, accusing him
of “ruining our unity, our future, the future of our country”.

Petite and startlingly good-looking, the 45-year-old former businesswoman
retains her fearsome reputation – her latest moniker in the Ukrainian press
is “the samurai in a skirt”. Approaching the end of a 16-hour working day,
she is dressed in an immaculate pinstripe trouser suit and a pleated white
blouse.

She speaks with a silky intensity that seems to embody her sense of
righteous indignation. “I was not fired for some kind of action that was
ineffective in my role as head of the government, but to close off the
subject of this shameful corruption within the president’s circle,” she
says.

Since her dismissal she has kept up a constant stream of criticism of
Yushchenko, calling Kiev’s recent deal with Moscow over the gas crisis “a
complete betrayal and a secret pact for the personal enrichment of people
in Ukraine’s highest offices”.

She is now focused on next month’s parliamentary elections, when she
hopes to garner enough support to seize back the premiership. She arrives
in London today to pitch her vision for reform and European integration in
a speech at Chatham House.

In Ukraine, the split between the orange leaders has led to widespread
disillusionment with their vows to throw off the corrupt old ways that
thrived under former president Leonid Kuchma. “Yushchenko came off very
badly because people see him and Timoshenko as a quarrelling couple and
they think he, as the man, should be patching things up,” says Denys Bohush,
a former campaign spin doctor for Yushchenko.

Timoshenko says the break-up was “a great mistake” and the “biggest moral
trauma of my life”, but is convinced the ideals of the orange revolution can
still be salvaged. “My political aim, in fact, is very simple – I would like
to work a miracle and realise what was promised at the time of Yushchenko’s
election. I want Ukraine to stop being a country of clans, I want terribly
that one day honest courts will be born here, and all other things that are
a sign of a normal society, a normal government.”

She does not rule out a reconciliation with Yushchenko, but insists he must
first shed the oligarchs and advisers who she claims have manipulated him
and ensured his “complete disorientation”.

“All the time a feeling was being stirred up in the president that I was his
main competitor in political life,” she says. “But that was not true. We
complemented each other politically . . . Our efforts were so harmoniously
shared out that we could have worked as a team for decades, without being
competitors.

Unfortunately, that did not figure in the plans of those people who saw
Ukraine as a closed business for the creation of their own shadow profits,
for the creation of a powerful system to earn money.”

The bubble exploded only seven months after her appointment when the then
presidential chief of staff, Alexander Zinchenko, accused Petro Poroshenko,
a confectionery magnate who became the head of the national security and
defence council, and another senior aide, of nepotism – charges that were
furiously denied.

Yushchenko responded quickly by sacking the government and appointing a
caretaker prime minister, accusing separate factions of “playing their own
games behind closed doors”.

“Many new faces have come to power, but the face of power has not changed,”
Yushchenko famously added, grumbling that Timoshenko had concentrated
on self-aggrandisement and hinting that her zeal for reprivatising former
state assets concealed a desire to benefit associates in the business world.

She denies mismanagement of the economy. “I am very sad that I lost the
war for the opinion of the president,” she says, her sense of betrayal
underlined by a near-messianic fervour to regain her place at the top table
of Ukrainian politics.

Asked whether she is hurt by attempts to discredit her, she replies: “Well,
Christ was crucified. As a normal, earthly person, if you want to reach the
end of a difficult road then you can only do it by going though ordeals that
seem insurmountable.”

Yulia Grigyan was born in 1960 in the eastern city of Dnepropetrovsk. She
was an only child brought up alone by her mother in a cramped flat. After
leaving school in 1979 she studied cybernetic engineering at the local
university. That year she met Oleksandr Timoshenko, the son of a bureaucrat.
The couple married and their daughter, Yevgenia, was born a year later.

Using borrowed money, the couple set up a shop renting out pirated videos
made on two recorders in their living room. The shop soon became a chain.
Later they began trading in oil and metals and in the mid-1990s Timoshenko
became president of United Energy Systems of Ukraine (UESU), a private
company that took advantage of the country’s energy crisis.

The energy sector in post-Soviet Ukraine has created vast illicit wealth.
Pavel Lazarenko, a business associate of the Timoshenkos and an ally of
Kuchma, was appointed prime minister in 1996, introducing a system to
allow companies to pay for gas from regional energy distributors with cash,
shares, or the goods they produced. As a result, UESU achieved an annual
turnover of more than $10bn.

Timoshenko became extremely wealthy, earning the nickname “the gas princess”
and reportedly flying in a fleet of private jets. She sent her daughter to
the London School of Economics. All seemed well, but when Lazarenko fled to
the US and was arrested there for money laundering and embezzling vast sums
of money during his time in office, Timoshenko was named as an associate in
the indictment.

The US authorities did not pursue her. However, in summer 2000 her husband
was detained by Ukrainian police and charged with fraud, an accusation that
was later dropped. Six months later, Timoshenko, who had by then entered
politics as a fierce critic of President Kuchma, was sacked from her post of
deputy prime minister and later arrested for alleged fraud, smuggling and
tax evasion.

Prosecutors claimed that as head of UESU she had funnelled more than
$1bn abroad. She spent six weeks in prison awaiting trial before a court
ordered her release.

Timoshenko refuses to talk about her personal fortune but insists her
business dealings were “absolutely legal” and that the charges were
politically motivated. It is generally acknowledged that her campaign to
root out corruption as deputy premier returned about $2bn to state coffers
and provoked the fury of oligarchs close to Kuchma.

“It does not happen that a person robs their country for one half their
life, and works for it for the second half,” she says in her defence. Moscow
dropped criminal charges against her for allegedly bribing Russian defence
officials in the 1990s at the end of last year.

Out of jail, Timoshenko finally threw in her lot with Yushchenko in his race
for the presidency against Yanukovich, a Kuchma protege whose attempts
to fiddle the vote prompted the orange revolution. Analysts say the pair had
their differences, but scrubbed up well as a heroic couple to lead the
protests.

Besides her rousing speeches, Timoshenko’s undoubted charisma and sex
appeal were a major vote winner. She twisted her hair into a halo-like
peasant plait (known to her fans as the “steering wheel of the state”) and later,

as prime minister, posed for Elle magazine in a series of designer outfits. Her
vivacity was the perfect foil to the sombre Yushchenko.

No single party is likely to gain a majority in the March 26 elections,
opening the way for intense horse-trading over a coalition. Many orange
supporters even fear the golden couple’s falling out could open up a route
for Yanukovich to snatch back a chunk of power.

But, typically bullish, Timoshenko is holding out for total victory. “I very
much hope my political force will take the majority on its own, without the
need for some hybrid union,” she says. “Of course, I want to be prime
minister.” -30-
——————————————————————————————-
LINK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/g2/story/0,,1700035,00.html
——————————————————————————————-
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

========================================================
9.                         THE RUSSIA OF PROVOCATION
             “Gasputin” is neither a democrat nor a stabilizer, but a loyal
                 Russian citizen who wants his country to be powerful.

EDITORIAL: Il Sole 24 Ore newspaper, Milan, in Italian 1 Feb 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006

Old ghosts never die. “We have the most powerful missiles in the world.”
Putin is flirting with the past and going back to the old Kremlin
vocabulary: crude, archaic, and intolerant.

He is dictating terms – “We will join the WTO the way we like” – and citing
Russian proverbs against Bush: “The dog barks and the caravan passes by.”

 
If it were a movie, one might call it: “The Return of the Empire” – a bad
movie, weighed down by Red Square rhetoric that conceals a serious deficit
of democracy.

Putin is playing tough and using energy in the balance of needs that has
replaced the balance of terror. The aim of his wager is clear: to restore a
regional power to the role of superpower.

His terms are no lightweight matter: gas and oil in return for Chechen
blood, for Ukraine, Poland, and the Baltic countries, and for the Europe
that Moscow might one day “Finlandize,” knocking it out with the chloroform
of Gazprom.

We have been harbouring a large number of illusions regarding the man who

is using energy blackmail today. The fact of the matter is that “Gasputin” is
neither a democrat nor a stabilizer, but a loyal Russian citizen who wants
his country to be powerful.

The right approach to his policy lies in our being able to grasp its meaning
and its limitations; in other words, in seeing his game and, if possible, in
holding a better hand. This, because dependence is a mutual thing and the
West has some excellent cards to play (and, why not, even a Russian
proverb to quote: “A reindeer cannot knock down an oak tree”).

The strong leader of a weak country, Putin likes to gamble and he is playing
the pyromaniac (in the east) and the firefighter (in Iran). But the feeling
one gets is that he may well overplay his hand. Behind him he has an
inefficient country that is devoid of civil society and of a modern economy,
that is in the grip of an authoritarian involution, and that is incapable of
acting as a referent.

A world that is no longer Copernican but that has not yet found its new
balance is still suffering from settling tremors after an earthquake. Russia
is playing its game in all of this, but what is it going to win on the
global chess board?

History books still talk about King Pyrrhus’ “Pyrrhic” victory. If the world
were to become bipolar again one day, the “other” pole would not be

Moscow. -30-
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[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
10.         “FOR PUTIN YANUKOVYCH IS A DOWNED PILOT”
  Putin placing his bets on Ukraine’s ex-premier – Russian opposition figure

INTERVIEW: With Ivan Starkiov, Russian liberal politician
By Maryana Pyetsukh, Ukrayina Moloda, Kiev, in Ukrainian 5 Jan 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Tue, Jan 31, 2006

Russian President Vladimir Putin supports Ukraine’s former Prime Minister
Yuliya Tymoshenko, Russian liberal politician Ivan Starikov has said.
Ukraine’s opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych is no more Putin’s favourite,
according to Starikov.

The following is the text of an interview with Starikov by Maryana Pyetsukh
published by the Ukrainian progovernment newspaper Ukrayina Moloda on 5
January under the headline “For Putin Yanukovych is a downed pilot”:

Ivan Starikov, a well-known Russian opposition leader, deputy to the State
Duma, former minister of the economy, former member of the federal political
council of the Union of Right-Wing Forces and today a leading member of
(Mikhail Kasyanov’s) Democratic Party of Russia and a member of the
supervisory council of the All-Russian Civic Congress, gave his views on the
problems in Ukrainian-Russian relations in an exclusive interview with
Ukrayina Moloda.
                                 TYMOSHENKO AND PUTIN
[Pyetsukh] Mr Starikov, how do you assess the fact that the conflict over
[natural] gas [between Russia and Ukraine] has turned into a serious
information war?

[Starikov] The information war has just begun on the Ukrainian side, whereas
on the Russian side it has been going on ever since the moment when Viktor
Yushchenko announced his candidacy for the presidency in the summer of

2004. I was at Spivoche Pole [a park in Kiev next to the Monastery of the
Caves, where Yushchenko made his announcement] on that occasion, along
with a 100,000 other people.

But that morning Russia state-owned Channel One showed only the Palace

of Culture of Zaporizhstal [Zaporizhzhya Steelworks], where [then Prime
Minister Viktor] Yanukovych announced his candidacy in the presence of
2,000 people.

Of course, it is a pity that now everything has come down to a mutual
information war. Aside from everything else, one of the side effects of this
information war for Ukraine has been to weaken the position of the
government and the pro-presidential forces.

I can see that some politicians who oppose Viktor Yushchenko are trying to
exploit the gas crisis by proposing their services as intermediaries, saying
that they will solve all the problems. But in so doing, they are assuming
certain obligations towards Russia, which they are not likely to be able to
fulfill. And if they do start fulfilling them, this will not be in the
interests of Ukraine.

The main objective is absolutely clear to me. As soon as Ukraine agrees to
hand over part ownership in its gas transportation system to Russia, the
Kremlin will propose a price for gas that is even lower than 50 dollars [per
1,000 cu.m. of gas].

In other words, the intermediate goal of the information war is to try to
weaken the current Ukrainian government, and the strategic goal is to keep
up the pressure and gain ownership of the gas transportation system.

[Pyetsukh] What do you think about the fact that the issue of the Black Sea
Fleet and [Russia] radar stations was raised after the gas conflict broke
out? Was this an adequate response to the pressure from Russia, or not?

[Starikov] No, it was absolutely inadequate. Because Russia couldn’t care
less about the Black Sea Fleet and the radar stations. Russia is not
building any geopolitical plans for the future. Russia will readily give up
the fleet and say that this was the right thing to do, that this was an
economic diversion and the whole fleet has rotted away, and that it needed
to be abandoned in any event.

[Pyetsukh] As I understand it, in your answer to my first question, you
alluded to [former Prime Minister] Yuliya Tymoshenko. Do you think that

she is consciously playing into Putin’s hands in this gas crisis?

[Starikov] Of course. Believe me, criminal cases in today’s system of
justice in Russia, or, more precisely, in the absence of such a system, are
not closed just like that. Therefore, it is absolutely obvious to me that Ms
Tymoshenko and Putin struck a behind-the-scenes deal according to which
Tymoshenko is to work against Yushchenko and represent certain interests

of the Kremlin.

But I think the Ukrainian people understand all this perfectly well and will
not surrender their country and their freedom in exchange for such
underhanded agreements.

[Pyetsukh] In your opinion, if there is in fact such a deal, why is Putin
placing his bets on Tymoshenko rather than on Yanukovych, whose ratings

are currently higher? And what do you think will Putin be able to get in return
from Tymoshenko?

[Starikov] [1] In Putin’s eyes Yanukovych is a downed pilot. Putin did
everything he could, and then some, to assure victory for Yanukovych, but
the latter lost. And I think that is why in his heart Putin feels repugnance
for Yanukovych, especially in view of the latter past.

[2] Secondly, Ms Tymoshenko is a much more energetic and unprincipled
politician. In that respect, the two share the exact same mentality. As to
what Tymoshenko can do to repay Putin?

I am certain that Putin is prepared to give gas at a low price in order to
later get a prime minister with expanded powers, whom it will be possible to
manipulate from the Kremlin. It is Putin’s fondest dream to have such a
prime minister. But I don’t think this is in the interests of Ukraine.

[Pyetsukh] According to your information, how many times did Tymoshenko

meet with Putin?

[Starikov] As far as I know, the key visit took place at the end of
September, following which the criminal cases against her were closed. And
on the eve of the New Year all charges against Ms Tymoshenko were dropped

by the Prosecutor-General’s Office. That means that Ms Tymoshenko is bound
hand and foot by Russia, and she is not an independent politician.

[Pyetsukh] When Tymoshenko stood on the same stage with Yushchenko

last year, did you trust her?

[Starikov] I am captivated and impressed by the beauty of this woman
politician, perhaps the only successful politician in the post-Soviet space.

But the whole problem lies in the fact that there are things that must not
be surrendered. You can forgive mistakes in economic policy leading to a
rise in the prices of petrol, sugar and meat.

But there is the moral aspect of the Maydan [Kiev’s Independence Square, the
focal point of the Orange Revolution]. And that is what Ms Tymoshenko is
betraying. And the fact that there are people around Tymoshenko today who a
year ago proposed crushing Maydan with tanks and now are striking deals and
forming alliances with her – such things are inadmissible even in politics.
That is why I oppose Ms Tymoshenko.
                                RUSSIA IS NOT DEMOCRATIC
[Pyetsukh] There are frequent protests being held these days in front of the
Ukrainian embassy in Moscow against Ukraine’s position on the gas issue, and
the word is that these demonstrators are paid for staging these actions.
Your political force supports Ukraine. Why are you not conducting any public
actions in our support?

[Starikov] The level of repression of civil liberties has gone so far in our
country that to talk today about organizing some sort of picket or rally…
[ellipsis as published] Our legislation is so distorted that it is virtually
impossible to conduct actions of this kind without the permission of the
authorities, which, of course, will not give permission.

But there is no doubt that this will eventually happen, because the “grapes
of wrath” are ripening. I assure you that many people, future leaders, are
watching our television channels and are extremely repelled by the blatant
lies and the mud being slung at Ukraine.

[Pyetsukh] In your opinion, is Europe’s response to this gas conflict weak,
or is it adequate after all?

[Starikov] Of course, Europe could and should have taken a much tougher
stand. Because a defeat for Viktor Yushchenko is not just a defeat for
Ukrainian democracy and a very serious blow and weakening of the position

of democratic forces in Russia, which will thus lose their chance at victory.
This is also a defeat for European policies.

Of course, Europe is led by pragmatists, and they are to a considerable
degree dependent on Russia. But I think that Putin will have to pay a price
in the end for such indicative things as support for Europe’s last dictator
[Belarusian President Alyaksandr] Lukashenka. Russia’s reputation is
suffering. And I think when it has to make a choice, the European Union

will support Ukraine.

[Pyetsukh] Do you see the Kremlin backing down in the end?

[Starikov] I think that the economic interests of Putin’s team are
concentrated primarily in the West; the president of Russia is afraid of and
respects the Anglo-Saxon and German establishment. That is why it is
absolutely clear to me that he will not run for a third term.

Putin would like to become a respected pensioner, in good repute in
democratic countries, and therefore he will not go as far as the boiling
point in this conflict; he will not behave like Lukashenka, who has no
interests in the West.

That is why after the gas attack, there will be a “rollback.” I would just
like to see the Ukrainian side form very clear conditions for the
transitional period as quickly as possible.   -30-

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11. PAVLOVSKIY: VERSION OF RUSSIAN REVENGE ON UKRAINE
  WAS PLAYED OUT IN THE WORLD PRESS BY OUR OPPONENTS
               Ukrainian president is a weak partner – Russian analyst

INTERVIEW: With Gleb Pavlovski, Russia political pundit
By Nataliya Shamray, Glavred, Kiev, in Russian 26 Jan 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Tue, Jan 31, 2006

Gleb Pavlovskiy, a notable Russian political pundit, has said Russia needs a
strong, reliable partner in Ukraine, but President Viktor Yushchenko “cannot
even construct a system of priorities”.

Pavlovskiy said Russia did not start the gas war to punish Ukraine, but that
the Ukrainian delegation had benefited from non-transparent negotiations and
finally the lack of agreement surfaced in December creating “crisis of
understanding”.

The following is the text of an interview with Pavlovskiy by Nataliya
Shamray, entitled “Gleb Pavlovskiy: the version of Russian revenge on
Ukraine was played out in the world press by our opponents”, posted on the
Ukrainian website Glavred on 26 January, subheadings have been inserted
editorially:

Russia followed Ukraine’s lead and now it has problems. At any rate, that

is what Russian political scientist Gleb Pavlovskiy thinks. Pavlovskiy is
called a manipulator as well as an analyst and the authorship of many
scandals is attributed to him.

[Shamray] Mr Pavlovskiy, don’t you think that coverage of the gas conflict
in Russian media was not objective and was set-up?

[Pavlovskiy] Yes, I think it was. But I think the reaction of Ukrainian
media was the same. I am saddened that the declared absence of political
control in the media in Ukraine is not leading to the development of fairly
strong, professional approaches to information.

We did not see strong, objective analyses of the situation in the Ukrainian
press, ones which were not set-up with the interests of one side. And in
Russia?

Relations with Ukraine are not a priority for our press. You have to
remember that. For Russian journalists it is more often just a reason to be
comic. By the way, I do not have a very high opinion of analysis in the
Russian press.

[Shamray] Who won and who lost in this information war?

[Pavlovskiy] [The term] information war is a metaphor. In Europe, it was
probably Ukraine which won the information war over the gas conflict. But
again, due to a certain interest in Europe in Ukraine and anxiety over the
issue of transit. But that does not mean that Ukraine cannot expect a stiff
campaign on discipline in transit shipments to Europe. Because Europe feels
the difference between propaganda and real, especially material, values.

Energy transit and supplies are a priority for the European economy. And
what some people are doing today in Ukraine – I mean the unsanctioned
diversion of gas – that gives Europe aversive impressions. The integral
result – who won and who lost – demands the comparison of propaganda

and real, including political, aspects of the issues. I think that both sides
lost.
                                   A WEAK PARTNER
[Shamray] Who is Russia counting on now in Ukrainian politics?

[Pavlovskiy] You must never get carried away in gambling on politics. It’s
better to divide your bets. It is not worth it to play for chance in
politics and I think Russia figured that out in 2004. Russia’s main problem
in relations with Ukraine is the scandalously long time without a clear
partner on the Ukrainian side.

Russia needs a partner, and not just another pro-Russian player. Because for
various reasons, a player can turn out to be an even bigger evil than a
balanced partner. Russia values politicians who show a course of priority
relations with us. That means both [Viktor] Yanukovych and [Nataliya]
Vitrenko.

But foremost we need a partner who controls and to a certain extent
influences state policy. And who can make decisions. And so Russia works a
lot with [Ukrainian President] Viktor Yushchenko, and in a certain sense his
bit of weakness is Moscow’s problem and its unresolved riddle.

The fact is that he is letting slide the chance for strengthening and cannot
even build a system of priorities in both relations with Russia and
relations with other branches of power in Ukraine. And that makes him a

weak partner, while Russia needs a strong partner in Ukraine.

It appears that the parliamentary election will not result in the appearance
of a steadfast and balanced combination in power. That is they will not
result in a collectively strong partner.

As before, we send signals to everyone we are working with – both official
and non-official people – about how the important it is that the results of
the election are legitimate. And about the shaky constitutional basis in
today’s political processes in Ukraine not being destroyed during the
election or before it.

[Shamray] What is Russia’s stance now towards [former Prime Minister]

Yuliya Tymoshenko who made pretty sharp statements during the gas war?

[Pavlovskiy] Tymoshenko is of course a very interesting and strong figure.
But stronger as a player than in terms of consolidation. It is clear that no
government with her participation will be stable. It is also clear that the
president does not view her as the head of government under any outcome

of the election.

Not to mention that she is not a desirable politician in the east and
southern regions of Ukraine. And so, there is ongoing dialogue with Ms
Tymoshenko as a probable participant in the majority in parliament, but no
more.

[Shamray] Does the “acting” status of our government influence further
negotiations on gas with Russia?

[Pavlovskiy] Without doubt, that is a weakening factor. But we are in view
of President Yushchenko’s guarantee that the government is real and not
temporary. It has all complete authority in the president’s opinion and here
we are basing ourselves on President Yushchenko’s evaluation of the [Yuriy]
Yekhanurov cabinet.

Of course it is clear that Russia would be categorically against the
decisions of this government, as inter-governmental ones, if they are
somehow devalued in the future. I do not think Yushchenko is that weak or
that he will be weakened as a result of the election.
                                  NO REVENGE INTENDED
[Shamray] What is the real reason for the gas war? One gets the impression
that it is simple revenge for the Orange Revolution.

[Pavlovskiy] You named the answer, because that myth is a battle myth, a
myth in the information-propaganda war which was irrational and mutually
unbeneficial. In any case, it certainly did not strengthen Ukraine’s
positive European image.

As far as Russia is concerned, this is a version of a “vengeful Russia being
so full of vengeance that it was ready to sacrifice its own financial and
market positions to pay back Ukraine for an old matter”.

Well, that awkward version was deliberately played out in the world press by
Russia’s opponents, and Russia has plenty of them. It is a myth. It is
simply enough to know [Russian President Vladimir] Putin just a little bit
to know that he would never use hundreds of millions and billions of dollars
in manipulation just to punish someone.

In my opinion, Russia’s main information problem in this conflict was that
it did not make the course of negotiations with Ukraine public early enough;
the Ukrainian side was not interested in the transparency [of these
negotiations]. Here Russia followed Ukraine’s lead.

The world simply doesn’t know, and Ukrainian society does not know, about
the manoeuvres of the Ukrainian delegation between May and December of

last year. Otherwise the situation would be much more straightforward and
understandable in both Europe and in our own countries.
                               CRISIS OF UNDERSTANDING
[Shamray] What was it that Russia followed?

[Pavlovskiy] I mean that Russia retained the regime of confidentiality. In
part that is the legacy of logic in relations with [former President of
Ukraine Leonid] Kuchma, because the style of relations between Moscow

and Kiev at the time was absolutely non-transparent. And that lack of
transparency was viewed as good-will, friendship and a decision to not let
society and the press judge many real moments of conflict.

Since the negotiations were carried out by the Ukrainian side in a very
strange manner and irrationally, but no-one knew that and in December

when the lack of agreement came to the surface, it created a crisis of
understanding.   -30-
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12.                    CZAR PUTIN’S NEO-IMPERIAL RUSSIA

BYLINE: David A. Mittell Jr., The Providence Journal
Providence, Rhode Island, Thursday, January 26, 2006

I saw life in both Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union in the 1970s.
Except in secret or in the bosom of the family, life was usually joyless.

Then, in 2000, I followed a band of American surgeons and medical
technicians who spent their summer vacation that year toiling unsalaried
at two hospitals in Ukraine.

Thus, unexpectedly, I found a new love, a new calling, and a new news
beat in nations that had emerged from decades of oppression by
“scientific socialism.” (In the lands formerly ruled by the Russian Empire,
including Russia herself, the oppression of serfdom had preceded
communism for centuries.) I have now returned to the region 11 times.

I had the privilege of watching Ukraine’s Orange Revolution rise, tremble,
and triumph, in 2004; and this month I had the privilege of seeing Russia’s
abrupt midwinter cutoff of gas to Ukraine from the perspectives of
Providence and Kyiv, some 4,300 miles apart.

From Ukraine to Georgia to Kazakhstan to Kyrgyzstan, non-Russian
former Soviet republics have been at the heart of one of the more
important geopolitical dramas of the last two years. This is partly because
of the tactics of Russian President Vladimir Putin in suppressing dissent
in his own country, while using his influence and economic power to
prop up corrupt ex-communist protégés and their billionaire friends in
what Russians euphemistically call the “Near Abroad.”

Mr. Putin’s anti-democratic antics raise several geopolitical issues:

       + Can Russia be counted on by the West to be an economic
partner and a reliable source of energy?
       + Can Mr. Putin be a reliable democratic ally in the war on
terrorism, or is he only the butcher of Chechnya?
       + Can Mr. Putin be an honest broker (as he proposes) in dealing
with a nation (Iran) that advocates destroying a fellow member of the
United Nations (Israel) and is putatively on the brink of having nuclear
weapons?

President Putin’s argument about gas with Ukrainian President Viktor
Yushchenko resulted directly from Mr. Putin’s clumsy attempt in 2004
to put his own man, Viktor Yanukovich, who at the time was Ukraine’s
prime minister, into the presidency.

To polish Mr. Yanukovich’s image, Mr.Putin signed a five-year deal to
send gas to Ukraine at about a quarter of its market value. The deal was
similar to one he gave to Alexander Lukashenko, his proxy-president in
Belarus.

When the Orange Revolution interposed Viktor Yushchenko, a free-market
democrat, into the Ukrainian presidency, Mr. Putin reneged on the contract
made with Mr. Yanukovich, and demanded an immediate fourfold increase
in Ukraine’s payments for gas. In response, President Yushchenko — who
understands that Ukraine will have to pay market value for energy — only
asked for stepped increases, to ease the economic shock.

As 2005 ended, the two presidents could not agree after nine months of
arguing. Accordingly, on New Year’s Day of what would prove to be the
coldest January in the region in a quarter of a century, Mr. Putin cut the
gas to Ukraine.

This act showed his cynicism; his contempt for the welfare of people; his
unreliability and disrespect for written contracts; and his disdain for Mr.
Yanukovich and his followers, who tend to be Russian-speaking eastern
Ukrainians.

He also showed himself to be a signal bungler, for in squeezing the flow
of gas into Ukraine, the Russian gas monopoly also threatened supplies to
Poland, Germany, Austria and Hungary. The outcry there quickly made
the bully back down,and may have permanently diminished his stature in
Western Europe.

The American intelligentsia often seems willing to overlook (dare I say
appease?) Mr. Putin’s clumsy geopolitics, in a way it would never tolerate
in an American president. On a deeper level, I think Americans show their
lack of understanding of the Russian diaspora living in the 14 non-Russian
former Soviet states.

After its noble period ended, our own civil-rights movement was taken

over by an ethic that “everything is ethnic,” and we sometimes project
that attitude in other parts of the world.

Thus we assume that Russophones in Armenia or Latvia or Ukraine must
be fired with the wish to be ruled by Russia. Here and there, especially
among aging communists, that’s the case. But by and large it is not the case
at all. Russophones have a long, distinct, prominent Ukrainian history
in Ukraine. Vladimir Putin’s neo-imperial Russia has no claim on them.
———————————————————————————————
NOTE: David A. Mittell Jr. is a member of The Journal’s editorial board.
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========================================================
13.    USA MAY OFFICIALLY RECOGNIZE UKRAINE’S MARKET

                        ECONOMY STATUS ON FEBRUARY 16

Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, February 1, 2006

KYIV – Ukraine counts on the USA’s recognition as a market economy nation

on February 16, Deputy Foreign Minister Volodymyr Khandohiy disclosed on
February 1. As he noted, February 16 is not an official date as it has been
endorsed in no documents.

The decision on granting Ukraine the market economy status is rather a
technical matter as the political decision has been made, Mr Khandohiy
explained.

As Ukrinform reported earlier, the USA’s decision about Ukraine’s market
economy status was expected on January 23, 2006, but the USA decided

to postpone the decision’s formal announcement to February 16, 2006.

The European Union’s political decision on recognizing Ukraine a market
economy was announced on December 1, 2005 during the Ukraine – EU

Summit in Kyiv.   -30-
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14.   WORLD BANK SAYS DISPARATE TRADE POLICIES CAUSE
            DEVELOPMENT SPLIT WITH FORMER SOVIET BLOC 

Harry Dunphy, AP Worldstream, Washington, D.C., Tue, Jan 31, 2006

WASHINGTON – The economies in countries of Eastern Europe and the

former Soviet Union are heading in two directions – a faster-reforming, richer
group is forging ties to Western Europe, while the other, slower-reforming,
poorer group is focused on Russia, the World Bank said Tuesday.

The bank warned in a report that the trend could continue unless the poorer
countries push ahead more strongly to change their trading policies and
economic systems. The report analyzed the evolution of trade in 27

countries since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

“By the mid-1990s, the transition of an increasing number of countries to
market economies began to take hold, and today most of the region’s
countries are significantly better integrated into the global economy than
at any time since the 1917 Russian Revolution,” the report said.

It said the region now sends and receives more than two-thirds of its goods
and services to and from the rest of the world and, since the mid-1990s,
trade growth has been faster than in any other region. The region’s exports
have tripled and imports increased 2 1/2 times.

“The most prosperous countries of the region are those that found ways

to leverage greater international trade into more rapid growth,” the report
said.

“They have not accomplished this by liberalizing formal trade policies,
however. They have also implemented domestic structural and institutional
reforms that foster trade.” The faster-growing countries included the Czech
Republic, Hungary and Slovenia, the report said.

At the other end of the spectrum, the report said, countries such as Belarus
and Uzbekistan maintain relatively closed trading systems and lag in
fundamental market reforms as many businesses remain in state ownership

and service sectors are closed to competition. Their populations are decidedly
poorer than those of the other group.

“There is an emerging bipolarity in the region,” said Harry Broadman, author
of the study, “From Disintegration to Reintegration: Eastern Europe and the
Former Soviet Union in International Trade.”

“One group tends toward trade with the advanced countries of Western
European and enjoy relatively high incomes,” he said. “The other group is
considerably poorer and is tending to pull back toward a Russia-centric
sphere.”

The report says the boundaries of the two groups are soft. Russia and
Ukraine, for example, are more integrated into the global economy than

are many of their neighbors in the Russia-centric bloc.

Many countries in Southeastern Europe such as Croatia, Romania and

Bulgaria occupy a middle ground between the two poles, according to
the study. It says a two-bloc region is not inevitable, but countries in the
Russia-centric bloc need to take concrete action to halt its slide and
potentially reverse its future development.

“Virtually all the countries in the region still need to pursue further
trade policy reforms, such as reducing tariffs, lowering disincentives to
export, pursuing accession to (the World Trade Organization) and
rationalizing the myriad of existing regional trade arrangements,”

Broadman said.

He said countries must unleash domestic businesses to come with one

another, institute strong incentives for governance and open up services
to international trade and investment.  -30-
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On the Net: World Bank: http://www.worldbank.org
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15.      UKRAINE: PRESIDENT TOURS MOTOR SICH FACILITIES
                   One of the world’s largest makers of aviation engines
         Over one hundred nations use MOTOR SICH engines for airplanes.

Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, February 1, 2006

ZAPORIZHIA – During his Wednesday working trip to Zaporizhia region
President Viktor Yushchenko visited the public joint-stock company
MOTOR SICH and mixed with its personnel.

MOTOR SICH director Viacheslav Boguslayev acquainted the Head of
State with the company’s specimen products, in particular, with aviation
engines, some of which are unrivalled in the world.

The President was also shown the company’s other products, such as
agricultural machinery, medical equipment and energy-saving facilities.

President Viktor Yushchenko was particularly interested to learn about the
company’s hi-tech products. He suggested to shortly summon deliberations
of hi-tech industry captains.

President Yushchenko stated the authority’s task as promoting Ukrainian
producers’ interests on  markets abroad. Speaking to the company’s
personnel, the President noted that Ukraine has a solid base for hi-tech
breakthroughs. As the President reminded the gathering, in 2005 Ukraine
sold more aircraft to foreign nations than over the years of its independent
statehood.

President Viktor Yushchenko also got acquainted with a pilot project, which
provides for creating an automated remote control system to monitor
atmospheric pollution by industrial enterprises and which was developed by
the National Environmental Protection Ministry.

Presenting the project, Zaporizhia Vice Governor Oleksandr Fin noted that
the pilot project’s implementation will start in 2006’s first quarter and
will last through 2007.

The automated system for remote control of harmful atmospheric emissions,
the Vice Governor noted, is of particular significance to the Zaporizhia
region, where such harmful emissions increased from about 121,000 tons in
2001 to over 146,000 tons in 2004.

As the project’s architects believe, its implementation will allow to
significantly reduce amounts of harmful atmospheric emissions through
using high technologies. As they said, the program’s implementation will
cost about 30 M. UAH.

As Zaporizhia Governor Yevhen Chervonenko told the President, the
Regional Administration is contemplating to install an electronic screen in
downtown Zaporizhia, which will display on-line information about amounts
of harmful atmosphere emissions.

This will allow the public to be more pro-active in demanding that directors
of major industrial enterprises apply cleaner technologies, Yevhen
Chervonenko said.
                                         UKRINFORM NOTE:
The company MOTOR SICH is one of the world’s largest makers of
aviation engines and Ukraine’s only manufacturer of these. It serially makes
69 types and modifications of aviation engines. Over one hundred nations
use MOTOR SICH engines for civilian and military planes.
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16. EU URGES SWIFT RESOLUTION TO RUSSIA-UKRAINE TRADE
      SPAT OVER BAN ON UKRAINIAN MEAT AND MILK IMPORTS

Associated Press, Brussels, Belgium, Wed, February 1, 2006

BRUSSELS -The European Union said Wednesday Moscow’s ban on

Ukrainian meat and milk imports over alleged health violations was disrupting
E.U. exports in transit to Russia and appealed to both sides to settle the
dispute.

E.U. External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner urged Kiev

and Moscow to sit down to solve the issue in the same way they resolved
the natural gas crisis last month.

Ukraine’s farm minister Monday threatened to start a trade war with Russia
over its refusal to lift the ban, which it instituted Jan. 20 because of
perceived violations of veterinary standards. Ukraine has called the move a
retaliation for its efforts to reclaim a number of disputed lighthouses on
the Black Sea coast.

“We think it’s a very serious matter, with significant impact on Ukraine.
And it also concerns us, because E.U. products in transit through the
Ukraine (to Russia) are also blocked,” Ferrero-Waldner told reporters

after meeting with Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Boris Tarasyuk.

Tarasyuk said he and E.U. officials also talked about negotiations on new
visa travel rules and expected a deal could be reached in March. Tarasyuk
also used his visit to Brussels to push for closer ties. “Issues of peace
and security, issues of energy security. We found a lot in common,”

Tarasyuk said.

Ferrero-Waldner said the E.U. would reassess relations after parliamentary
elections in Ukraine planned for March.

The E.U. has so far rejected calls from Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko
his country be given the goal of future membership.

In separate talks with E.U. lawmakers, former Ukraine prime minister and
opposition party leader Yulia Tymoshenko said a recent gas deal between Kiev
and Moscow meant Russia’s influence over the ex-Soviet republic would
continue. “It will form a new debt dependency of Ukraine on Russia, which
will allow Russia to manipulate different processes in Ukraine, including
political processes,” Tymoshenko said at a press conference.

She said her party would continue Ukraine’s current attempts to move

closer to the E.U., if it becomes part of a new governing coalition.

The Russian and Ukrainian state-controlled gas companies were finalizing
their deal, which aimed to resolve last month’s bitter price and supply
dispute, which caused shortages not only in Ukraine, but also in several
E.U. countries. The E.U. is watching closely to ensure the deal does not
lead to more disruptions in gas supplies to its member states.  -30-

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17.   HALNAFTOGAZ, COCA COLA WRAP UP 2006 CONTRACT

Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, January 30, 2006

KYIV – The concern HalNaftoGaz and the company Coca Cola have
signed a general contract for 2006, under which the latter is to be the
exclusive supplier of drinks to shops at OCCO gas stations.

Signing the contract, we demonstrated our readiness for alternative
cooperation patterns, such as giving the exclusive right to sell sundry
products, in this particular case to sell the “energy drink” Burn, Roman
Bazakin, HalNaftoGaz chief manager for auxiliary commodities and
services, commented on the deal.

According to a survey by HalNaftoGaz experts, the Burn is in greatest
demand among Ukrainian motorists.

The concern HalNaftoGaz is a unit of the holding “Universal Investment
Group” and is one of Ukraine’s largest owners of gas stations.

The concern’s OCCO chain incorporates 117 modern gas stations. The
concern owns a total of 170 gas stations and 15 petroleum stores in Kyiv
City and regions.  -30-

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8.   GAS DEAL DRAWS ATTENTION OF SECRETIVE IMPORTER
 
By Andrew E. Kramer, The New York Times
New York, New York, Wednesday, February 1, 2006
 
MOSCOW, Jan. 31 ­ Four weeks after Ukraine cut a deal to import natural
gas through RosUkrEnergo, a shell entity based in Switzerland, the obscure
company is facing an uncomfortable amount of attention.

After becoming one of Europe’s biggest energy traders overnight with the
Ukraine deal, the company promised changes to become more open about its
operations. Gazprom, the Russian gas giant, owns half of the company; its
other owners have not been disclosed. The plush terms the company has
received in the past from Gazprom are also a matter of much speculation.

RosUkrEnergo’s secretive nature has driven the Parliaments of both Ukraine
and Russia to open investigations; meanwhile, Russian journalists have
tried to untangle the skein of shell companies and subsidiaries in the
ownership structure.

On Tuesday, Ukrainian authorities approved one element of the Jan. 4
agreement. The antimonopoly committee cleared RosUkrEnergo to distribute
natural gas inside Ukraine through a joint venture with Naftogaz, the
Ukrainian national gas company. But the overarching agreement to import

gas from Russia into Ukraine seems to be adrift, amid a growing din of
criticism.

Last month, a member of the RosUkrEnergo board acknowledged that the
company was struggling with its new profile after functioning as a
behind-the-scenes intermediary in natural gas deals in the former Soviet
Union on behalf of its undisclosed international investors.

“We have an image problem,” Wolfgang Putschek, a member of the board of
RosUkrEnergo said. Mr. Putschek represents the unnamed investors on the
board.

“Something that was set up as an economic intermediary has become a

very political enterprise,” he said in an interview from Vienna, where he is
based. “Therefore, we are open to attack by all the political forces.”

RosUkrEnergo, which owns no physical assets, has a dozen or so

employees at an office in Zug, Switzerland. The company made $500
million in before-tax profits last year, according to Mr. Putschek.

RosUkrEnergo’s role has been to import natural gas from Central Asia to
Ukraine through pipelines owned by Gazprom, a service Gazprom is able to
deliver without an intermediary making huge profits, analysts say. Ceding
this business to an outside company is estimated to cost Russia’s majority
state-owned natural gas monopoly ­ and Russian taxpayers as well as
Ukrainian natural gas customers ­ hundreds of millions of dollars.

It is unclear how profitable the latest deal will be to RosUkrEnergo in its
role of exclusive supplier of both Russian and Central Asian natural gas to
Ukraine.

The investigations in Russia and Ukraine are opening a window on the
widespread use of shell companies and offshore dealing, a business practice
that proliferated in the 1990’s in Russia and remains mostly in the
shadows, with the curtain rising briefly only in times of crisis.

One glaring example emerged during an unstable period in the 1990’s, when
Russian investigators tracking suspected money-laundering traced $70
billion to the address of a shack on Nauru, a tiny island nation in the
Pacific. The money was tied to the Russian mafia and, as the schemes
unraveled, Western nations imposed sanctions on the island.

In December 2004, a unit of the oil company, Yukos, was sold at a
questionable auction to the Baikal Finans Group, an unknown company with

a registered address at a dingy cellphone store 170 miles outside Moscow.
Baikal paid $9.37 billion, well below the estimated $14 billion to $22
billion value of the unit, and then swiftly sold it to Rosneft, the Russian
government-controlled energy company. The sale was interpreted as the
beginning of a partial nationalization of Russian oil assets.

RosUkrEnergo evolved from a previous entity registered in a Hungarian
village, which grew out of a trading firm called Itera. The newspaper
Novaya Gazeta in Russia reported last week that Itera fueled the
high-roller lifestyle of a generation of politically connected business
tycoons in both Moscow and Kiev, the capital of Ukraine.

Yulia V. Tymoshenko, the former prime minister of Ukraine, has said the
current deputy director and the former chief executive at Naftogaz were
among the beneficiaries. Neither man responded to phone requests for
comment.

In addition, Ms. Tymoshenko’s campaign director, Oleksandr Turchinov, who
is a former director of Ukraine’s secret police, has hinted that an accused
Russian organized crime kingpin, Semyon Mogilevich, plays a prominent role
in the company. Mr. Mogilevich has been linked to crimes including the
1990’s money-laundering scheme in Nauru. Mr. Turchinov was quoted in the
newspaper Ukrayinskaya Pravda as saying Mr. Mogilevich had had a hand in
the company’s operations since 2004.

Mr. Mogilevich is wanted by the F.B.I. on suspicion of racketeering,
securities fraud and money-laundering, according to the agency’s Web site.
The site says Mr. Mogilevich, who also goes by the alias Seva, is believed
to be living in Moscow.

Mr. Putschek, however, flatly denied any beneficiary of RosUkrEnergo had
criminal ties.

Under the contract that settled the gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine,
RosUkrEnergo will buy Russian natural gas for $230 per thousand cubic
meters and sell it to Ukraine for $95 for the same volume. It will make up
the difference by either selling gas in Europe, where the price is around
$230 per thousand cubic meters, or by blending the Russian gas with cheaper
fuel from Central Asia. Analysts say the potential for profit depends on
the fuel mix and the volumes re-exported to Western Europe.

RosUkrEnergo’s unnamed investors are represented by Raiffeisen Investments,
a branch of the Raiffeisen Zentralbank, based in Vienna. Mr. Putschek, who
represents the Raiffeisen investors, says that RosUkrEnergo operates in
strict compliance with European banking law. He said he knew the investors,
and that the law stated that their names never needed to appear on any
stock register; that the shares were owned as bearer instruments, which
operate like currency, meaning that whoever possesses the stock
certificates owns the company. The certificates are typically kept in bank
safe deposit boxes, Mr. Putschek said.

Mr. Putschek said that his shareholders’ representatives gathered for board
meetings in Zug, but generally exercised no control over operational
questions of gas supply or shipment.

“The industrial leadership is with Gazprom,” he said. “Formally, it’s
50-50, but in practice Gazprom is the leading partner. As Raiffeisen, we
won’t have any say” over operations.

RosUkrEnergo, he said, “enables Gazprom to accept compromises that are
face-saving for all parties involved.” Gazprom could not directly accept
the Ukraine deal, but through RosUkrEnergo, it could. “On the other hand,
it’s very clear that Gazprom controls the pipelines,” he added.

But the company’s role as a front for the unnamed owners has become an
embarrassment for Gazprom, according to analysts who follow the company.
Officials in Russia and Ukraine have urged greater openness.

One way of opening the ownership structure would be to sell the Raiffeisen
stake to Naftogaz, which Mr. Putschek said the investors might consider,
though Ukrainian officials downplayed that possibility. For now, however,
he said, RosUkrEnergo is planning an initial public offering. That would be
a first for an offshore operator with an obscure past from the former
Soviet Union.  -30-
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[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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19. UKRAINIAN GAS OFFICIAL LOBBIED ROSUKRENERGO DEAL

Ukrayinska Pravda website, Kiev, in Ukrainian 31 Jan 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Tue, Jan 31, 2006

The deputy board chairman of state oil and gas company Naftohaz Ukrayiny,
Ihor Voronin, appears to have coordinated the drafting of the statute of a
proposed joint venture with Swiss-registered trading company Rosukrenergo,
which was approved by the cabinet today, the Ukrayinska Pravda web site
reports.

In his report on events at the Cabinet of Ministers on 31 January, Serhiy
Morda writes, “Voronin spent most of his time at the Cabinet of Ministers

in the men’s toilet next to the government’s meeting room, where he was
smoking and holding consultations with his colleagues from Naftohaz.”

Leshchenko reports that Voronin spent about 30 minutes talking to Defence
Minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko in the toilet after the morning session ended.
He was overheard telling Hrytsenko that Ukraine would only benefit if it
cooperated with Rosukrenergo. Hrytsenko later refused to comment on the
conversation.

Leshchenko describes the “mythical” Voronin as “the person in charge of
contacts with Rosukrenerho under [former President] Leonid Kuchma and

who has managed to remain in that line of activity under [President Viktor]
Yushchenko”.

He recalls that former Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko accused him

of representing the interests of unidentified Ukrainian shareholders in
Rosukrenergo. He was dismissed and questioned by the Security Service
of Ukraine, but was reinstated after Tymoshenko’s dismissal.

Leshchenko also reports that previously no photographs of Voronin have

been available on the Internet, and that he tried to avoid being photographed
at the Cabinet of Ministers today. However, Ukrayinska Pravda posts a
photograph of an individual identified as Voronin standing in a doorway
with Naftohaz first deputy board chairman Andriy Lopushanskyy.

According to the gas deal signed by Naftohaz and Russia’s Gazprom in

Moscow on 4 January, 31 January was the deadline for setting up a joint
venture between Naftohaz and Rosukrenergo to sell gas to Ukrainian
consumers. Rosukrenergo itself is to sell Russian and Central Asian gas to
the joint venture at the Russian-Ukrainian border for 95 dollars per 1,000
cu.m. in the first half of 2006.  -30-
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[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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20.      UKRAINE: ANTIMONOPOLY COMMITTEE BELIEVES
 INFORMATION ON ROSUKRENERGO IS COMMERCIAL SECRET
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, February 1, 2006

KYIV – The Antimonopoly Committee of Ukraine believes that information

concerning company RosUkrEnergo, which the agency received for making
a decision on setting up joint venture Ukrhaz-Energo, is a commercial secret.
This follows from a report by the committee’s press service.

“In line with article 22-1 in the law on the Antimonopoly Committee of
Ukraine, the article foresees that the information may be provided only to
investigative agencies or courts.

Apart from this, the press service says, while providing materials for
making a decision on the creation of joint venture Ukrhaz-Energo,
RosUkrEnergo and NJSC Naftohaz Ukrainy requested that this information

be considered a commercial secret.

“In such a way, the committee has no legal grounds to make the received
information public. The decision on publishing this information may be

made exceptionally by participants in the joint venture,” the message reads.

As Ukrainian News reported, on January 31, the Antimonopoly Committee

of Ukraine permitted NJSC Naftohaz Ukrainy and RosUkrEnergo to create
JV Ukrhaz-Energo for deliveries of natural gas to Ukraine.

In early January, Naftohaz Ukrainy, Russia’s Gazprom and RosUkrEnergo
reached an agreement on the creation of a joint venture for deliveries of
natural gas to Ukraine.  -30-
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21. UKRAINE: ANTI-MONOPOLY COMMITTEE AND DECISION NOT 
 TO RELEASE INFORMATION ABOUT ROSUKRENERGO’S OWNERS

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: From Roman Kupchinsky
Investigative Journalist and Analyst, Prague, Czech Republic
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #652, Article 21
Washington, D.C., Thursday, February 2, 2006

The Ukraine anti-monopoly committee put out a press release yesterday
stating that it had received the names of the owners of RosUkr, and found
no objections to them, however, due to some obscure regulation (article
22-1 of the law on “The Anti-Monopoly Committee of Ukraine”) confidential
information received by the committee shall not be disclosed.

Furthermore, the press release states that both RUE and Naftohaz requested
that the names of the owners not be released since this is a commercial
secret.

Therefore, the committee refused to disclose their names and gave the go-
ahead for the creation of the joint venture between RUE and Naftohaz.

This, of course, is pure PS and smells like someone really put the screws

to this committee. We should not forget that the head of the anti-monopoly
committee is Oleksiy Kostusyev, who is on the election list of the Regions
of Ukraine Party for the upcoming election.  -30-
———————————————————————————————-
NOTE: Roman Kupchinsky is the organized crime and terrorism analyst
for RFE/RL Online and the editor of “RFE/RL Organized Crime and
Terrorism Watch.” He was director of the RFE/RL Ukrainian Service
for 10 years. Contact: KupchinskyR@rferl.org
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[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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22. FRENCH MOVIE STAR GERARD DEPARDIEU DISCUSSES “TARAS
BULBA” FILM PROJECT WITH DOVZHENKO CINEMA STUDIO CHIEFS

Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday February 1, 2006

KYIV – Famous French actor and producer Gerard Depardieu visited the
Dovzhenko National Cinema Studio on Wednesday and discussed with its

chiefs shooting the film based on a story by Nikolay Gogol (1809-1852)
“Taras Bulba”.

Gerard Depardieu arrived in Ukraine on a personal invitation by President
Viktor Yushchenko, who received the actor at his house in the village of
Bezradychi. Viktor and Kateryna Yushchenko showed the guest their

collection of old Ukrainian household utensils.

Gerard Depardieu showed his interest in Ukrainian traditions and stated

his intention to participate in the scaled historical Ukrainian – French film
project.

Vice Prime Minister Viacheslav Kyrylenko, who accompanied the movie

star around the movie studio, said that the film will be “international with
its team and financing” and “exclusively Ukrainian with its spirit”. The
Ukrainian Culture and Tourism Ministry has already prepared all the
necessary art materials and documents.

In 2005, while discussing the idea of revival of the Ukrainian movie,
humanitarian sphere figures resolved to realize ambitious film projects

with inviting world stars to play in. In such a way an idea of shooting the
“Taras Bulba” film appeared.

According to Gerard Depardieu the film must not be shot in a style of a
traditional American remake. “Such stories as “Taras Bulba” reflect the
Ukrainian culture.  -30-
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[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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23.   MCDONALD’S REACHES GOAL TO RAISE $50 MILLION FOR
CHILDREN OF THE WORLD IN HONOR OF ITS 50TH ANNIVERSARY

            In Ukraine funds will be directed to build family rooms for the
   Children’s Department in the Institute of Oncology, Academy of Science

Business Wire, Chicago, Wednesday, Feb 01, 2006

CHICAGO – McDonald’s Corporation today announced the donation of $50
million to children around the world benefiting from programs supported by
Ronald McDonald House Charities (RMHC) and other children’s
organizations.

Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York and Global Ambassador for World
Children’s Day, and Ken Barun, President and CEO of RMHC, accepted
the check at McDonald’s new downtown Chicago showcase restaurant.

The $50 million donation is the result of a commitment made by Jim Skinner,
CEO of McDonald’s Corporation as part of McDonald’s 50th Anniversary
celebration.

“Giving back to the community has been a part of McDonald’s culture since
its inception in 1955,” said Jim Skinner, CEO of McDonald’s. “Ray Kroc felt
that it was the responsibility of a business to give back to its community
which is why RMHC was founded in his honor more that 20 years ago. With
30,000 restaurants serving 50 million people every day, McDonald’s, through
its support of RMHC, is uniquely positioned to reach millions of children
who need help.”

The $50 million was raised throughout 2005 through various international,
national and local McDonald’s fundraising activities supported by
owner/operators, suppliers, and customers.

Nearly half of the funds were raised through McDonald’s annual global
fundraiser, World Children’s Day, where countries raised funds throughout
the month of November with such activities as restaurants donating a portion
of product sales, celebrity concerts, walk-a-thons and gala dinners.

“There are so many children who face obstacles such as cancer, poverty,
hunger and AIDS,” said Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. “Together, we
can help children come out of these desperate lives and in doing so, we
benefit not only their communities, but the whole world.”

With Chapters in 49 countries around the world, RMHC directly impacts
the health and well being of children on a large scale. The $50 million will
help children who vitally need it right in their own communities.

“In 2005, fundraising efforts contributed in part to the opening of 15
Ronald McDonald Houses, a home-away-from-home for families of critically
ill children receiving treatment at nearby hospitals; 15 Ronald McDonald
Family Rooms, located inside hospitals so families can stay close to their
children; and 5 Ronald McDonald Care Mobiles, state of the art vehicles
that deliver cost-effective medical, dental and health education services to
underserved children right in their own neighborhoods,” said Barun.

Examples of global beneficiaries include:

— Korea -Funds will help support a Ronald McDonald Family Room(TM)
for the Yonsei Children’s Hospital.
— Mexico – Funds will provide more than 4,000 hearing aids to children in
need through a partnership with Sistema Nacional para el Desarrollo Integral
de la Familia (DIF) and RMHC Mexico.
— Poland – 2005 funds assisted RMHC Poland with the launch of the first
European Ronald McDonald Care Mobile(TM), dedicated to early detection
of pediatric cancer.
— Ukraine – Funds will be directed to build family rooms for the

Children’s Department in the Institute of Oncology, Academy of Science.
— United States – More than $11 million in cash and in-kind has been
donated to children and families who are victims of Hurricane Katrina.
— Venezuela – World Children’s Day funds will contribute to RMHC
Venezuela’s support of two children’s hospitals in Caracas.
                                         ABOUT MCDONALD’S
McDonald’s is the leading global foodservice retailer with more than 30,000
restaurants serving nearly 50 million people in more than 120 countries each
day. Approximately 80 percent of McDonald’s restaurants worldwide are
owned and operated by independent, local businessmen and women. For
nutrition information, please visit www.mcdonalds.com.
                                          ABOUT RMHC
Ronald McDonald House Charities, a non-profit, 501 (c)(3) corporation,
creates, finds and supports programs that directly improve the health and
well being of children. Its programs are grassroots-driven to enable the
Charity to offer help where children need it most – right in their own
communities.

RMHC makes an immediate, positive impact on children’s lives through its
global network of local Chapters in nearly 50 countries and its three core
programs: the Ronald McDonald House(R), Ronald McDonald Family Room
and Ronald McDonald Care Mobile. RMHC and its global network of local
Chapters have awarded more than $430 million in grants and program services
to children’s programs around the world. For more information, visit
www.rmhc.org. (McDonald’s Joanne Jacobs, 630-623-7943 or
RMHC Palmer Moody, 630-623-5372)
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[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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24.              THE WOMAN WHO CAN READ RUSHNYKS
                                   A unique museum in Cherkasy

By Nadia Tysiachna, The Day, Photos by Oleksandr Kosarev
The Day Weekly Digest in English #2, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, Jan 31, 2006

Bohdan Khmelnytsky Cherkasy National University has a museum devoted
entirely to Ukrainian embroidered towels known as rushnyks. We were
invited to explore this one-of-a-kind museum when we were presenting
The Day’s books at the university.

The museum is located in a former spacious classroom, where more than
500 rushnyks from Cherkasy and the neighboring oblasts of Poltava,
Chernihiv, Rivne, and Kyiv are on display.

An equal number of towels are stored in the depository. All of them date to
the late 19th-early 20th century. Svitlana Kytova, the museum’s curator and
guide, says: “I have very tender feelings for my child.

The museum would not exist without the efforts of many people. Since
ancient times the rushnyk has been regarded as a sacral object in our daily
life,” she continued, “and it is an element in numerous rituals.

As an important part of interior decorations; newborns were wrapped in
them; they were worn by matchmakers; a towel bound the hands of the
bride and groom; it hung from graveside crosses. At harvest time ryshnyky
were used to bind sheaves.

The rushnyks were restored three times a year, on Christmas Eve, Easter,
and Trinity Sunday: every rushnyk was ironed, some needlework was
added, or new towels were embroidered.

Even today in small towns and villages in certain regions of Ukraine women
wash the rushnyks and whitewash the inner and outer walls of their homes
on the eve of important religious holidays.”

Svitlana took pains to point out that every rushnyk carries valuable
information about the philosophy of Ukrainians, which is a blend of dual
faith: paganism and Christianity. This pagan tradition dates back to the
Scythian period (4 BC-3 AD).

According to Kytova, proof of this is the fact that our ancestors liked to
portray small objects on large ones, like a hare against the background of
a lion or a small rhombus within a large one. Such patterns are found on
embroidered cloths from the 19th century.

Svitlana Kytova, who has a Ph.D. in Cultural Studies and is a professor
at the Chair of Ukrainian Literature and Comparative Studies at Cherkasy
University, knows the language of rushnyks. Several years ago she
published a book about the origins of the Ukrainian rushnyk, entitled “The
Cloth Chronicle of Ukraine.”

She is also the author of “The Family Tree of Songs” (Mykhailo
Maksymovych’s Little Russian Songs, (1827) and Their Contemporary
Recordings) and “Christmas and New Year’s Carols in Contemporary
Recordings.”

In 1987, when churches were being destroyed, she went on an
ethnographic expedition in search of icons, copies of the Holy Book, and
priests’ vestments in old churches, where she also found rushnyks. She
says that these treasures later ended up in Leningrad.

Since then Ms. Kytova has made the rushnyk the focus of her research.
She has learned to read information contained in them by studying world
and Ukrainian classics of philosophy, psychology, history, linguistics, and
ethnography: Georg Hegel, Carl Gustav Jung, Mykhailo Hrushevsky,
Dmytro Antonovych, and Oleksandr Potebnia, among others.

Svitlana Kytova interprets an embroidered circle open to the outside with
its rays, or closed and turned inward, as a symbol of the sun. On one side
it is grand and luminous, symbolizing joy, and on the other side it is hot
and dark, prophesying misfortune.

“Remember that when Prince Ihor saw a solar eclipse, he asked the boyars
and troops: ‘What is this sign?'” They replied: “‘Oh, prince, this is not a
good sign.’ This passage appears in the Hypatian Chronicle (12th c.). A
dual interpretation of this symbolism is typical of pagan magical spells.

In the Christian tradition, a circle is interpreted as eternity and the
continuity of existence. I asked about the significance of the letters A,
Zh, M1, M2, M3 represented on various cloths. It turns out that “A,”
stands for azm, meaning “the first.”

This sign also stands for all or some of the 12 Apostles; Zh means zhyvot,
 which means “life” in Old Church Slavonic. Accordingly, M1, M2, and
M3 indicate the first, second, and third prechysta (religious holidays
celebrating the Virgin Mary – Ed.).

“Now take a look at this,” our unique told guide told us. “The religiously
significant letter ‘A’ encircles an early Christian anchor-shaped symbol or
kitvytsia (its ancient name). The cross, as a Christian sign, appeared only
in the 4th century.

Or take the Holy Sepulcher: above it are two angels and keys, obviously to
hell and paradise. Reproduced below is an eagle’s head above a serpent’s
head. I wonder how the Ukrainian granny from Zhabotyn in Cherkasy oblast
who made this rushnyk could have known that a pair of keys and an eagle
and serpent symbolize God’s struggle against evil, according to Tertullian,
one of the first Christian theologians?

Obviously, this is proof that the traditions of past centuries have been
powerfully preserved, as well as the link between generations. When I
doubt something, I go to the regional hospital and hold a “counsel” with
women there.”

Among the ornamental subjects we found some that can be easily used
for painting folk pictures, for example, a couple on a stile, a girl with a
shoulder-yoke, or a Cossack watering his horse.

This precious collection is being expanded with finds from expeditions
whose participants include Kytova’s students.

“It’s true that old rushnyks, on one of which, for example, a great-
grandmother stood during the wedding ceremony, and with another she
wiped an infant’s face after baptism, seem to absorb and then preserve
those people’s energy and those events,” says the professor, adding:
“They ‘tell’ you about our ancestors’ characters and personalities.

The designs of rushnyks from the past century have been simplified.
These pieces of cloth confirm only that we have survived the misfortunes
Ukraine sustained in the 20th century.”  -30-
———————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/156531/
——————————————————————————————–
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“THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT- AUR” – SPONSORS
       “Working to Secure & Enhance Ukraine’s Democratic Future”
            List of AUR sponsors will appear again in the next AUR.
========================================================
TO BE ON OR OFF THE FREE AUR DISTRIBUTION LIST
If you would like to read THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT- AUR,
around five times a week, please send your name, country of residence,
and e-mail contact information to morganw@patriot.net. Information about
your occupation and your interest in Ukraine is also appreciated. If you do
not wish to read THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT please contact us
immediately by e-mail to morganw@patriot.net.  If you are receiving more
than one copy please let us know so this can be corrected. 
========================================================
                        PUBLISHER AND EDITOR – AUR
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Director, Government Affairs
Washington Office, SigmaBleyzer
Emerging Markets Private Equity Investment Group
P.O. Box 2607, Washington, D.C. 20013, Tel: 202 437 4707
Mobile in Kyiv: 8 050 689 2874
mwilliams@SigmaBleyzer.com; www.SigmaBleyzer.com
========================================================
      Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely.
========================================================
return to index [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
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