AUR#655 Nearly 800 Die From Cold Weather; Shelters; Peace Corps Project; Holodomor; Leasing; Pipe Production; Particleboard; Jets To Sudan

THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR
An International Newsletter, The Latest, Up-To-Date
In-Depth Ukrainian News, Analysis and Commentary
 
Ukrainian History, Culture, Arts, Business, Religion,
Sports, Government, and Politics, in Ukraine and Around the World
 
THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR – Number 655
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor  
Washington, D.C., Kyiv, Ukraine, WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 8, 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. NEARLY 800 UKRAINIANS DIE FROM COLD SINCE MID-JANUARY
Agence France Presse (AFP), Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, January 7, 2006

2UKRAINE: HEALTH MINISTRY SAYS 738 PERSONS HAVE DIED
      DURING JAN 16-FEB 6 PERIOD BECAUSE OF COLD WEATHER
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, February 6, 2006

3.                                    FROZEN COUNTRY
                Construction of shelters should be everyone’s business
   We have neither the time nor desire to notice that behind the repugnant
   appearance of a homeless person is an unfortunate and lonely individual.
By Viktor Kaspruk, The Day Weekly Digest in English, #3
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 7, 2006

4.       PEACE CORPS PARTNERSHIP PROJECT- CHERNIVTSI
Ukraine: Safety and Security Improvement Project for the Homeless Center
    Narodna Dopomoha, $2,000 in donations needed to complete project
By Julie Adams, Peace Corps Volunteer
Chernivtsi, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 7, 2006

5.                                      A BAG OF GOODIES
               Long-awaited teddy bear and doll reach Vinnytsia shelter
By Myroslava Sokolova, The Day Weekly Digest in English #3

Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 7, 2006

6.                               EDUCATING THEMSELVES
       Despite endless reforms, Ukraine’s students are somehow getting by.
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY
: Ivan Lozowy, Transitions Online (TOL)
Prague, Czech Republic, Thursday, 26 January 2006

7.     UKRAINE: ARE SCHOOLS PREPARED TO TELL CHILDREN
                               ABOUT THE HOLODOMOR?
   Ministry of Education & Science only circulating letters of instruction
By Viktoria Herasymchuk, The Day Weekly Digest in English, #3
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 7, 2006

8. UKRAINE’S NEW AMBASSADOR TO THE US OLEH SHAMSHUR
       ADDRESSES 75TH ANNIVERSARY GENOCIDE COMMITTEE
Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA)
New York, New York, Monday, February 6, 2006
   
9.   UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MEETS IN BRUSSELS ON 
       PASSING RESOLUTION IN RECOGNITION OF FAMINE IN

                       UKRAINE AS AN ACT OF GENOCIDE
Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, February 1, 2006

10.   GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT CALLS UKRAINIAN FAMINE OF
              1932-1933 GENOCIDE AGAINST UKRAINIAN PEOPLE 
By Oksana Torop, Ukrainian News Agency

Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, January 3, 2006

11.              HISTORY CALLS COMMUNISTS TO ACCOUNT
First to condemn crimes against humanity committed by communist regimes
Charles Bremmer in Paris, The Times Online, London, UK, Jan 26, 2006

                                OVER MOSCOW’S OPPOSITION
By Vladimir Socor, Eurasia Daily Monitor, Volume 3, Issue 19
The Jamestown Foundation, Washington, D.C., Fri, Jan 27, 2006

13.    BOOK ABOUT LIFE OF UKRAINIAN PIONEER AIRCRAFT
                       DESIGNER OLEG ANTONOV PUBLISHED
Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, February 6, 2006

14.   UKRAINIAN LEASING MARKET TO RECEIVE INVESTMENTS

         FROM ONE OF LEADERS OF EUROPEAN TRADE MARKET
                     ALD International, subsidiary of Societe Generale
Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, February 7, 2006.

15ASTELIT COMPANY INTENDING TO INVEST OVER 500 MILLION
           USD INTO DEVELOPMENT OF ITS MOBILE NETWORK
Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 7, 2006

16.     HUNGARIAN BANK SUBMITS BID FOR UKRAINIAN BANK 
             Ukrsotsbank is Ukraine’s fourth largest bank in terms of assets
Marilyn Gerlach, AFX Europe (Focus)

Frankfort Germany, Tuesday, February 07, 2006

17SWISS INVESTOR STARTS PRODUCTION OF POLYETHYLENE
              PIPES AT PLANT IN RUBIZHNE, LUHANSK OBLAST
Igor Balchenkov, The Ukrainian Times, Kyiv, Ukraine, Mon, Feb 6, 2006

18LITHUANIAN COMPANY TO INVEST EUR35M TO BUILD PLANT
 FOR PRODUCTION OF PARTICLEBOARD IN CHERNIHIV REGION
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, February 6, 2006

19  UKRAINE ECONOMY: QUICK VIEW – MONTHLY CPI RISES

The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), NY, NY, Mon, Feb 6, 2006

20   UKRAINE TO STUDY IRISH EXPERIENCE OF ECONOMIC

REFORM & EUROPEAN INTEGRATION, FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS
By Anna Snigur-Grabovska, Yana Lemeshenko, Ukrinform
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 7, 2006
 
21.    UKRAINE TO SUPPLY FIVE AN-74 TURBO JETS TO SUDAN 
UNIAN news agency, Kiev, in Ukrainian 0858 gmt 6 Feb 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Monday, Feb 06, 2006
 
22ESTONIAN GARMENT MAKER BALTIKA JAN SALES UP 26 PCT
       Opened store in Odessa, Ukraine. More stores planned for Ukraine.
AFX Europe (Focus), Tallinn, Estonia, Monday, Feb 06, 2006
 
23NEW POLISH PRESIDENT BACKS UKRAINE FOR NATO AND EU
INTERVIEW: With President of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski
By David McHugh, AP Worldstream, Warsaw, Poland, Wed, Feb 08, 2006
 
24.              MOSCOW’S ENERGY BLACKMAIL, PART TWO
COMMENTARY: By Mart Laar, former Prime Minister of Estonia
The Wall Street Journal, New York, NY, Wed, February 8, 2006
 
25.           RUSSIA: THE ART OF CONCENTRATING FORCES
                            INTO A SPEARPOINT FORMATION
    Kremlin setting up a body that’s meant to lead Russia to dominance in
      the global energy market. Rumors of a prestigious new appointment.
By Marat Khairullin, Dmitri Balburov, Nikolai Vardul
Gazeta, Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, February 7, 2006
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1
.NEARLY 800 UKRAINIANS DIE FROM COLD SINCE MID-JANUARY

Agence France Presse (AFP), Kiev, Ukraine, Tuesday, January 7, 2006

KIEV – A cold snap in Ukraine killed 21 people over the past day, bringing
the toll since mid-January to nearly 800. The 24-hour toll added to a
surging death rate since a first cold wave hit Ukraine on 16 January.

The Health Ministry said that most of the deaths occurred during a period
when temperature plunged to record-breaking lows. The ministry says

most of those who died were homeless or intoxicated.

The ministry said in a statement that a total of 7,800 people sought medical
treatment and 4,470 were hospitalized in the same period.

Temperatures in January fell to below minus 30 degrees Celsius. A new cold
wave set in on 5 February with temperatures of minus 31 degrees Celsius in
the northern Sumy Oblast. Forecasters expect the cold weather to last until
10 February in some parts.  -30-
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2. UKRAINE: HEALTH MINISTRY SAYS 738 PERSONS HAVE DIED
     DURING JAN 16-FEB 6 PERIOD BECAUSE OF COLD WEATHER

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, February 6, 2006

KYIV – According to the Health Ministry, 7,522 people throughout Ukraine
sought medical assistance in connection with cold-related injuries during
the January 16-February 6 period. Out of these, 4,464 were diagnosed with
hypothermia and frostbite while 738 died.

During this period, the highest numbers of deaths were registered in the
Donetsk region (117), the Kherson region (66), the Kharkiv region (64), the
Dnipropetrovsk region (45), and the Crimea (77).

Eight people have died and 99 hospitalized as of February 6 as a result of
hypothermia and frostbite suffered on Sunday, February 5. The press

service of the Health Ministry disclosed this to Ukrainian News.

According to the press service, two people in the Crimea, two in the Donetsk
region, one in the Dnipropetrovsk region, one in the Kirovohrad region, one
in the Zhytomyr region, and one in the Chernihiv region have died in the
past 24 hours as a result of hypothermia. In Kyiv, five people have sought
medical assistance in the past 24 hours in connection with hypothermia and
all five have been hospitalized.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, the Weather Center has warned of a

sharp fall in atmospheric temperatures during the February 5-8 period, with
temperatures falling as low as -27 degrees throughout Ukrainian territory
(excluding the south). Because of the current cold snap, the Health Ministry
has called on citizens to reduce the amount of time they spend in the cold
and not go outside unless it is necessary.   -30-
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3.                                    FROZEN COUNTRY
            Construction of shelters should be everyone’s business
   We have neither the time nor desire to notice that behind the repugnant
   appearance of a homeless person is an unfortunate and lonely individual
.

By Viktor Kaspruk, The Day Weekly Digest in English, #3
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 7, 2006

On a quiet, sunny, and bitterly cold morning, passersby hurrying on their
way to work or the grocery store glanced in horror at the motionless figure
of a man lying spread-eagled on the trampled snow. The man’s head was
covered with a dirty piece of once transparent plastic, and a half-open bag
with the dead man’s meager belongings lay nearby.

Too preoccupied with its urgent matters, the city kept hurrying somewhere,
while he lay there alone face down, with his arms spread wide, as if
pleading for some invisible person to help him, at the same time trying in
vain to defend himself from merciless fate that hovered like a black cloud
over his ruined life. But it seems that he was hoping in vain.

The desperately needed help never arrived. The merciless cold stiffened the
dead man’s fingers that had not been washed in a long time, the cold filled
the suffering body with burning needles, and his long-suffering soul
silently departed.

The man could not find shelter for the night. But he wasn’t always like
that, the way he was living those final years of his life.

According to passersby, who recognized the dead man as their former
neighbor, he started drinking after losing his job at a long defunct plant.

He earned a living by collecting empty bottles and wastepaper, selling
them for pennies to industrial collectors of recyclable materials.

He got divorced from his wife, and his ailing mother died a few years ago.
After his mother’s funeral his drinking escalated. But along came some
“well-wishers,” who “supported” him through his tragedy: for a whole

month they would come every day with food and drink. They genuinely
commiserated over his loss and then asked him to sign some documents
as a friendly favor. He signed them without thinking twice. Really, what
wouldn’t you do for true friends?

The next day the new owners came knocking on the door of his now

former apartment, and he found himself out on the street. Somebody had
capitalized on human tragedy, and eventually our hero paid the ultimate
price for his tragic indiscretion.

As a rule, homeless people have it especially hard when the temperature
drops below zero. Meanwhile, this winter many Ukrainian regions have
experienced temperatures well below minus 30.

Unfortunately, in Ukraine, much like in all of Eastern and Central Europe,
democracy and capitalism often walk hand in hand with homelessness.

These people are unemployed, homeless, and lonely. The number of
homeless people in Ukraine is rising with each passing year.

Today this problem exists on such a scale that it can no longer be resolved
without targeted government aid. In my view, a permanent commission on
the civil rights of homeless individuals should be created in parliament. An
important aspect of the activities of such a commission would be helping to
solve the problem of identifying individuals without a permanent place of
residence.

Such a status means that they have limited opportunities for receiving their
pensions (since they have no registration) or finding employment (impossible
without a personal ID). Perhaps it would be worthwhile to have the Ministry
of Internal Affairs look into the possibility of issuing temporary IDs to
certain categories of homeless people at district police precincts. This
would greatly simplify access to social rehabilitation for these
disadvantaged citizens.

Centers for the homeless should be created first in Kyiv and then in every
Ukrainian city. Such centers should form a network of homeless shelters,
where such individuals would be able to live for a time or leave their
documents or belongings in safekeeping.

People staying at such centers would be provided with free tea, soup, and
other types of simple foods, as well as clothing and footwear. Funding for
such a center could come from the All-Ukrainian Foundation Prylystok,
which would collect funds to assist the homeless. Naturally, the municipal
authorities would be expected to allocate some funds for the program to
assist this socially disadvantaged group.

Construction of shelters for marginalized citizens should be a matter of
concern to Ukrainian society. This problem should also be addressed by the
government, if we are to avoid a situation similar to the one that occurred
in southern Poland several years ago, when nearly 200 homeless people died
from the cold.

It makes sense to develop a new social strategy at the governmental level
with respect to those citizens who urgently need our help. A key feature of
this strategy should be the government’s effort to root out the deeper
causes of homelessness and develop a number of preventive measures to
stop people from losing their dwellings.

At one time a large number of homeless people spent much of their lives at
various government institutions. These are people who grew up in orphanages
and some who spent time in prison. In my view, the problem stems from the
fact that the government is not helping such people make the transition from
life in an institutional setting to normal life in society.

Perhaps it is worth mentioning the successful experience of Great Britain,
where special health care brigades have been formed in London to search for
homeless individuals and provide them with necessary aid. These special
brigades are authorized to provide emergency aid to the homeless, drug
addicts, alcoholics, and mentally impaired individuals.

They work in the streets of London after midnight. So far 10 such contact
groups have been formed in London. Their task is to immediately reserve
beds in clinics for drug addicts or in mental hospitals for people who need
treatment.

In my view, Britain’s new approach to resolving the problem of homelessness
is important. They shift their focus from supporting homeless people on the
streets (a practice that encourages such a lifestyle by the distribution of
food and money) to creating services that collect people from the streets in
order to help them achieve self-sufficiency and the ability to work in the
future.

The key to resolving the problem of homelessness in Great Britain lies in
the focus on the most vulnerable individuals who are addicted to drugs or
alcohol, as well as the mentally ill.

Aid agencies focus on providing greater support to young people released
from prison, mental hospitals, or those discharged from military service,
while coordinating the work of organizations that provide free soup and
clothing to the homeless. In addition, contact groups are trained to
identify the problems of homeless people and refer them to appropriate
services.

Without a doubt, the government must immediately take control of the
problem of homeless individuals in Ukraine, while civic organizations and
social foundations will provide significant assistance in resolving this
complex problem.

For if our country is truly civilized, then “wild people” abandoned by
society should not be roaming our streets. -30-
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LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/156970/
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[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

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4.    PEACE CORPS PARTNERSHIP PROJECT- CHERNIVTSI
  Ukraine: Safety and Security Improvement Project for the Homeless Center
       Narodna Dopomoha, $2,000 in donations needed to complete project

By Julie Adams, Peace Corps Volunteer
Chernivtsi, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Dear Friends of Ukraine,

My name is Julie Adams and I am currently serving as a Peace Corps
Volunteer in Chernivtsi, Ukraine and am working at a homeless center
in my city called Narodna Dopomoha (www.nardop.org.ua)

It has been my honor to work with the Ukrainians at Narodna
Dopomoha.  I have been here for almost two years and I have come to
know the incredible dedication and hard work of these individuals.

There are currently 65 homeless individuals who live at the center
and approximately 1,000 more homeless and poor citizens who also
receive services from Narodna Dopomoha.

My co-workers at Narodna Dopomoha and I have written a Safety

and Security Improvement Project for the homeless center and have
recently received permission from Peace Corps through the Partnership
Program to try and raise $3,445.  We’ve already been able to raise
$1,400!

Please click on the link below to read a description of our project.
http://www.peacecorps.gov/index.cfm?shell=resources.donors.projdetail&projdesc=343-089&region=europe

The purpose of this email is to ask for your support.  Our goal is
for 200 more people to donate $10 so please forward this email to
people you know who might be interested in donating to our project.

You can donate online by clicking on the link above.  At the bottom
of the project description is a button that will take you to the
donation page.

Your donation will make it possible for Narodna Dopomoha to provide

a safe and secure environment for the homeless citizens of the
community.  A safer environment means more needy people will come
for services and the social workers who work at Narodna Dopomoha
will be safer as well.

If you have an interest in helping other projects either in Ukraine
or other countries where Peace Corps serves please go to
www.peacecorps.gov and click on “Donate Now” on the left hand side.

If you have questions about our project please let me know.  You can
also contact Peace Corps about the Partnership Program at 800-424-
8580 ext. 2170 or pcpp@peacecorps.gov.

Thank you so much for your support!!

Julie (juladams2001@yahoo.com)

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FOOTNOTE:  We hope many of the readers of the AUR will take
time to support this appeal from Peace Corps volunteer Julie Adams
in Chernivtsi, Ukraine to improve the homeless shelter.  EDITOR
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5.                                  A BAG OF GOODIES
               Long-awaited teddy bear and doll reach Vinnytsia shelter

By Myroslava Sokolova, The Day Weekly Digest in English #3

Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 7, 2006

The following letter arrived at the office of Larysa Ivshyna.

Dear Larysa,

I am writing to you from Kuwait. My name is Vsevolod Palahin, a Ukrainian
government official on temporary assignment abroad.

The following circumstances prompted me to contact you personally. Issue

no. 27 of the Ukrainian version of your newspaper carried an article entitled
“I want a doll and a teddy bear,” by Myroslava Sokolova, who told the story
of a social orphan, a six-year-old girl whose name is Liuda Chala. Among
other things, the author mentioned that the girl wanted to have toys – a doll
and a teddy bear.

Unfortunately, I doubt that the girl’s relatives will be located very
quickly. But even if they are found, there is no telling whether they can
afford this present for the child. Therefore, I would like to make her a
little happier: I have bought her toys and some other items that she’ll need
in school – crayons, a drawing book, etc. The postage from Kuwait would

be very expensive. On top of it, the article did not provide an address to
the girl’s shelter.

So, yesterday I passed this package via my friends from Ukraine, who, I
hope, mailed it today from Boryspil Airport to the address of The Day’s
editorial office to be forwarded to its destination.

In view of the above mentioned facts, I would like to request your

personal assistance in this matter. After all, Myroslava must know the
girl’s whereabouts. Perhaps you would be kind enough to pass my
modest present to Liuda Chala through Myroslava or any other
correspondent who is visiting those parts on business.

One additional request: I would like all the items intended for the girl to
be delivered specifically to her. I do not mean to offend anybody, but

it’s an open secret that sometimes only crumbs reach such children,
especially since the shelter is taking care of other children (the photo
caption in that article said there are 16 children), who would also like
to receive presents.

For the sake of clarity, I enclose a photo of the parcel’s contents. The
thing is, I have selected matching items (the parcel contains a special bag
for the child to pack her things, a doll, a teddy bear, a pen in the shape
of a little girl, a framed picture, a drawing book, pens, and a ruler). The
package also contains a brief letter to the girl from my wife and me.

This is all I wanted to ask of you.

Finally, let me say a few words about the newspaper. I believe that

The Day is one of the most thinking newspapers with a conscience
in Ukraine.

Please accept my heartfelt thanks for your work and that of your staff.
Thank you in advance for your assistance.

Vsevolod PALAHIN

The little girl’s big dream has come true, thanks to the Ukrainian
government official Vsevolod Palahin and his wife Maya, who are

presently living in Kuwait. Liuda Chala can’t read the letter by herself yet,
but she listened attentively as our correspondent read it to her.

Hello, Liuda!

   “We learned about you from an article in The Day and decided to give

    you a small gift: a doll and a teddy bear, which you wanted, and
    something else: a bag in which you can keep your things, crayons, a
    drawing book, etc.”

Liuda Chala now lives in “Dobro” [Goodness] the Vinnytsia municipal

shelter for children. Here is where she learned to do things that many
children learn as a matter of routine. She reads her favorite poem by Lina
Kostenko, counts to 200, and tries to print letters, but she has yet to master
the complete alphabet.

The girl’s story is tragic. Several years ago she was kidnapped by gypsies,
who forced her to panhandle. The police brought Liuda to the shelter on
Sept. 29. This date was recorded as her birthday, and doctors estimate

that she is eight years old.

The girl calls herself Liuda, but Chala is not her real last name: red tape
and bureaucratic intricacies prevailed over Liuda’s wish to have the last
name of Kostenko. She heard it from her teacher, who often helped Liuda
memorize the poems of Lina Kostenko.

None of the kids in the shelter know as many poems as Liuda. She also likes
to draw. She picked up the foreign-looking box of crayons from the Kuwaiti
parcel and asked in confusion: “What is this?” Then she smiled and said:

“I will draw flowers, the sun, a cloud, and a house – a big one, with doors
and windows.”

The girl says this is a picture for auntie Maya from Kuwait, who is shown

in the photo holding a rabbit.

   “My wife loves animals. In this picture you can see her holding a

   bunny rabbit, and at home we have a cat and a tomcat called
   Cleopatra and Havrosh.”

Liuda says that a ladybug lives in her drawer. When the heating was

switched on in the shelter, it crawled from under the window pane. In
the shelter Liuda has a friend called Maya. She’s a 16-year-old girl, who
lives here temporarily and is teaching Liuda to read. The little girl is very
curious, and although everybody here pays her as much attention as
possible, the shelter is no school.

Liuda was supposed to be transferred to a boarding school at the

beginning of the school year, but the traditional red-tape requiring
numerous certificates has delayed her transfer. However, the shelter
administration is certain that Liuda will be transferred to a boarding
school and will start attending classes any day now.

At least, the girl now has a birth certificate. She has also been baptized.
Even the shelter’s director does not know her godfather: it must have been
someone from the church staff. Meanwhile, her godmother is Larysa

Ivanivna, Liuda’s favorite teacher, who stood by her from her first day
at the shelter.

Since our last meeting in summer 2005 the girl has grown a lot, become

more outspoken, and started to smile. “Soon I will go to school. I will
study and grow up to be a doctor,” Liuda said with certainty.

   “Kuwait, where we live, is a very rich country, but very small and hot.
   Kuwait is located on the shores of the Persian Gulf. Summertime

   temperatures exceed +50 degrees Celsius, and the sea is also very
   warm, heating up to +35. But the water is very salty, so much so that
   it hurts the eyes, although it is not as bitter as the Black Sea.

   We went swimming in the Gulf even in the winter, although at this time

   the water is rather cold: +8 to +10 degrees Celsius. There are many kinds
   of fish in the Gulf, even sharks. The one you see in the photo was
   photographed not in the sea, but in a large aquarium located in a local
   research center.

  This is what Kuwait is like. However, our Ukraine is much bigger and

   more beautiful; and our vegetation is much richer, even though we do
   not have palm trees growing on the streets. But what forests Ukraine has!
   That’s something Kuwait does not have and will never have. Don’t be sad,
   Liuda. Be a good student. After all, this year you begin your education.
   We wish you luck in your life.”

This is how the Ukrainians in Kuwait ended their letter.

Liuda looks at her doll for a long time. When it was time to say goodbye,
the girl whispered in my ear: “I will sleep with her.”  -30-

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6.                               EDUCATING THEMSELVES
       Despite endless reforms, Ukraine’s students are somehow getting by.

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: Ivan Lozowy, Transitions Online (TOL)
Prague, Czech Republic, Thursday, 26 January 2006

Ukraine’s once very powerful presidency has seen its powers reduced, under
a constitutional reform that came into force on 1 January, but if the views
of President Viktor Yushchenko are heeded, education should be a center-
piece of the policies adopted by the government that emerges from March’s
parliamentary elections. Speaking to a national gathering of teachers in
mid-2005, Yushchenko declared that “nothing determines the future of a
nation as does education. Our great ancestors viewed education as living
water for our people.”

But should attention mean a great deal of change? No, some would answer.
Some educators joke that Ukraine’s education system has not changed much
since Soviet times precisely because there has been too much reform.
                                 A SURFEIT OF REFORM?
The education minister in the last years of President Leonid Kuchma’s
administration is a case in point. Vasyl Kremin, who was minister from 1999
through 2004, instituted a large number of reforms that are badly understood
even today, long after they were put into place. There were reforms that
were viewed positively: it was Kremin who decided, for example, that Ukraine
should move from 10 to 12 years of mandatory pre-university education
because, Kremin claimed, the additional years of education would herald “a
qualitatively new form of education,” a notion shared by many, though he
offered the system little extra money.

He was, however, never able to explain satisfactorily why Ukraine’s schools
changed from a five point, grade-based system to 12 points, a system that
even Kremin acknowledged was “complicated and difficult for teachers.”

Such top-down changes with little support represent one strand of Ukrainian
governments’ approach to education: a continuation of the Soviet-era
administrative-command approach.

Traces of that attitude can also be seen in the current minister, Stanislav
Nikolayenko. A Socialist who has called his ministry “the future of
Ukraine,” he has emphasized technology as the primary means of improving
Ukraine’s education system. This technology-centric view of the future is
evident in the title of his outline of his education policy paper:
“Information and Communications Technologies in Education and Science
for the Years 2006-2010.”

Echoing an initiative first announced by Yulia Tymoshenko, Ukraine’s prime
minister until Yushchenko fired her in September, Nikolayenko says he will
put a computer in every school, with one computer per 15 students by 2010
(the current official figure is one for every 75 children).

Nikolayenko’s ambitions are grander still, to “eliminate the digital,
informational, divide.” In an interview for the newspaper Dzerkalo Tyzhnia,
Nikolayenko declared that “we have already opened the ‘Island of Knowledge,’
where on the Ministry’s server there are in electronic format all the
textbooks, handbooks, programs, plans, magazines and reference books.
From any small village, one will be able to visit this ‘island’ and gather
all the information one needs.”

How plausible this all is is already being questioned. Journalists from one
investigative program on Ukrainian television dedicated to education visited
a school several hours drive from Kyiv that is listed by the Education
Ministry as having ten computers for computer-science classes. They
found roughly a dozen students hunkering around one computer with a
black-and-white screen; the others sat huddled in the corner, not working.

And if, somehow, all those computers do materialize, Nikolayenko will
face new criticism: he has ignored calls from Ukraine’s large and vocal
open-source community to reach out to free software suppliers, such as
Linux, instead continuing with the relatively expensive products offered by
Microsoft.
                            LARGELY ON THEIR OWN
This administrative-command approach is mixed with a certain laissez faire:
in reality, schools have largely been left to their own devices over the
past decade.

That can clearly be seen in one of the most contentious of issues, language.
Officially, the language of instruction is supposed to be Ukrainian, an
attempt at standardization that some hoped would overcome one of the key
educational effects of the Soviet period, namely Russification. In practice,
though, most schools in eastern and southern Ukraine teach in the Russian
language. The situation in universities is not very different. Even in Kyiv,
students may at times ask a professor to conduct their class in Russian and
the professor may agree or may demur if he or she feels sufficiently
patriotic.

As a result, in the 14 years since independence, Ukraine’s education system
has done more to entrench existing language and cultural divides than to
consolidate the nation.

The view looks different from the Education Ministry. One official charged
with standardizing the school curriculum responded by claiming that the main
purpose is being achieved: every child in Ukraine receives some knowledge of
the Ukrainian language.

So far, Yushchenko’s administration has shown little inclination to change
the status quo on the language issue, even though the president has
demonstrated that he is not above trying to influence the curriculum. In
mid-2005, Yushchenko, a religious man, suggested, in contravention to the
separation of church and state, that schools should include a mandatory
course on Christian ethics. Ukraine’s Muslim community was nonplussed, and
the president brought down on himself a flurry of criticism from a number of
quarters.
                            THE BUDGETARY GRAVE
Policy intentions and the reality that Ukrainian educators are often left to
their own devices come together in one area: home teaching. Nikolayenko,
who speaks highly of distance learning, is setting up a program that would
emphasize the role of parents in providing early education and, to help that
program along, is preparing specialized literature for use by parents who
choose to run “home schools.”

Home teaching is seen as particularly important in rural areas, where there
is a growing lack both of pre-school education and of ordinary schools.

Demographics are one factor. Ukraine’s population is shrinking fast and in
many villages there are only a few early-graders. With fewer children coming
through the doors, some schools have closed. (That trend reinforces the
impression that current plans to build new schools are merely a campaign
promise ahead of the March elections.)

But the system of allocating funds to schools also plays a role. Over the
past five years, 585 schools have shut down, 70 of them in 2005, prompting
educators to note wryly that schools share a “common budgetary grave.”

As all of Ukraine’s schools and universities were fully subsidized by the
state during the Soviet era, the chronic budget deficits in
post-independence Ukraine have had a severe impact on educational
institutions. On paper, schools and universities continued to be allocated
sufficient funds; in reality, they received far less.

That remains the case, though Ukraine’s economy has recovered somewhat
over the past five years, enough for the government to promise to raise
secondary-school teachers’ salaries from about 500 hryvnia ($100) to 740
hryvnia per month. Some universities are in a better situation, as, thanks
to lobbying, parliament granted some of them separate line-item status in
the budget. That increased their funding by 15 percent and gave them more
assurance they would actually receive the funds promised to them.

The rest of the scarce money is allocated in a largely opaque way, with
schools typically striking backroom deals. That has prompted the heads of
some universities, such as Maria Zubrytska, dean of the Lviv Ivan Franko
University in western Ukraine, to publicly ask: “Why is the Education
Ministry’s disbursement of funds to educational institutions one of the best
kept secrets in the country?”

Faced with the task of keeping classes open with too little money to pay
teachers, support staff, and running costs, universities reacted in various
ways.

One widespread approach was to set up private universities and make
students pay. That happened immediately and on a massive scale after
independence: by the end of 1991, there were already 310 private
universities.

This ran into difficulties when it turned out that there was no legal
framework for such a transformation. The Ukrainian tax authority,
deservedly notorious for rapaciousness and arbitrariness, has and
continues to cause private universities no end of worry.

Still, the number of private universities has risen to 458.

Some have become big business. Mykhailo Poplavsky, known as “the
singing dean” for his side career as a pop-music singer, switched to fee-
based education early on – in the early 1990s – and has done extremely well.
His Institute of Culture and the Arts is very well equipped, pays its
professors high salaries, and is one of the most desirable centers of
learning in Ukraine’s capital of Kyiv.

Poplavsky, who is now a member of parliament, has morphed his institute
into a giant holding, expanding to create not just an academy of
haircutting, but also to provide courses in design and advertising, television

and film, business and management, and even law and government affairs.

Ukraine’s largest private university, the Interregional Academy for
Personnel Management, hosts over 50,000 students. Others, such as Krok,
have introduced the latest teaching aids, including electronic smart boards
and individual computers for students. These institutions have shown that,
even in Ukraine’s difficult business environment, private education can be
successful.

And, all in all, though left largely to their own devices by the state,
Ukraine’s students – and their parents – are doing a pretty fair job:
between 1989 and 2001 the number of Ukrainians with a higher education
increased by 17.6 percent.

The hope must be that the continuing reforms in education will not hamper
their efforts too much.   -30-
——————————————————————————————–
Ivan Lozowy is a TOL correspondent and runs an Internet newsletter,
the Ukraine Insider.  lozowy@i.om.ua
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http://www.tol.cz/look/TOL/article.tpl?IdLanguage=1&IdPublication=4&NrIssue=151&NrSection=4&NrArticle=15711

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7. UKRAINE: ARE SCHOOLS PREPARED TO TELL CHILDREN
                              ABOUT THE HOLODOMOR?
     Ministry of Education & Science only circulating letters of instruction

By Viktoria Herasymchuk, The Day Weekly Digest in English, #3
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 7, 2006

Where can a village schoolteacher obtain information for a thematic lesson
commemorating James Mace? The administration of an elementary school
in Vinnytsia oblast recently asked our editors this question.

A letter from the Ministry of Education and Science is being implemented in
the regions, in pursuance of the directive of the President of Ukraine “On
Measures to Honor the Memory of James Mace,” dedicated to the 54th
anniversary of the birth of this outstanding journalist, public figure, and
scholar, who revealed to the world the truth about the Holodomor of
1932-33 in Ukraine.

The unquestionably important initiative of holding special lessons
commemorating the late James Mace has given rise to countless questions.

[1] The first question comes from school principals, who have received
this directive: Where can they obtain the required information?

[2] The second question comes from us, journalists. Are Ukrainian elementary
schools and pupils prepared to carry out this measure? Do schoolteachers
know how to teach the story of the Holodomor to children? How does one
tell them about Mace’s destiny and heroic endeavors? Won’t this project be
distorted by a formalistic approach?

We received an answer to the first practical question from the ministry. As
it turns out, they are counting on us, i.e., The Day.

“We have forwarded written instructions and recommendations to all regional
departments of education to hold in January-February 2006 book exhibits,
thematic lectures, conferences for schoolchildren and students, scholarly
seminars, special classes, and roundtables in educational establishments of
Ukraine, dedicated to the life and activities of James Mace,” says Raisa
Yevtushenko, a ministry official.

She added, “We didn’t have much time, so all we could do was provide
them with Web links where information about Mace can be found. These
are publications carried by The Day and Ukrainskyi istorychnyi zhurnal
[Ukrainian Historical Journal].

In addition, the ministry plans to publish an article about Mace in its
journal Istoriia v shkolakh Ukrainy [History in the Schools of Ukraine].”

The ministry asked The Day’s journalists to write this article.

This is an honorable project. Readers should remember that the book

“Day and Eternity of James Mace” was published in 2005 as part of
The Day’s Library Series. But the state institutions responsible for
financing publications from the budget showed neither interest nor
initiative.

Incidentally, James and his wife Natalia Dziubenko-Mace once published
a booklet on the Holodomor designed exclusively for children. It could
be slightly revised and widely circulated.

But it appears that the state commissions have more important works
(especially those written by high-ranking functionaries). In any event, the
required materials, i.e., books or articles, must be supplied to schools
earlier than letters of instructions, regardless of the subject. Below, our
regional correspondents report on how Ukrainian schools are preparing
for these commemorative lessons.

“Of course, one could expect schools to respond formalistically to the
letter from the president of Ukraine about honoring James Mace’s
memory,” writes The Day’s Iryna YEHOROVA from Lviv.

“Perhaps this is the case in some places, as not many people are aware of
this outstanding personality. But his name is well known in universities,
particularly Lviv’s National University, where journalism students write
term and diploma papers, even Ph.D. theses, dedicated to his works.

Practically every school has done something in connection with this project.
Lviv’s Secondary School No. 93, for example, published a special issue of
its radio newspaper dedicated to Mace. Markiyan Shashkevych School No.
34 marked the event with an exhibit of Mace’s photos and photographs
showing Mace walking along streets of Ukraine, communicating with
scholars and ordinary people, studying our history.”

“For one month the life of this school, where the emphasis is on history,
will be devoted to James Mace. Special classes dedicated to his life and
creative work have been held in all grades. The older pupils even organized
a workshop seminar entitled ‘Mace, Researcher of the Holodomor in
Ukraine.”

They have written papers on Mace and are preparing for a discussion of the
book Day and Eternity of James Mace. Vice- principal Orysia Ronevych
admits, ‘We didn’t expect the children to show such a keen and genuine
interest in Mace, that they would read his articles so attentively and write
their papers with such wholehearted enthusiasm.

Every paper is evidence that the students are very impressed by Mace’s life
and work, that they learned many new facts about the Holodomor only after
touching on the undying memory of this man.

This is further proof that a new generation is on the rise in our country,
people who really care about the past and the future of Ukraine. We must
discuss people like Mace more often, so that these young people will care
about the future of our state, so that we can inspire our youth to
self-sacrifice, to serve the people living on this earth.”

“The schools of Vinnytsia are not preparing to study the Holodomor in
Ukraine by relying on the works of its researcher James Mace,” reports The
Day’s Myroslava SOKOLOVA. “Vasyl Marchuk, head of the general school
education department, explained that there aren’t enough academic hours.

However, Nadia Savchuk, a methodologist with the social sciences section
of the regional education department, has already received the Ukrainian
president’s directive on measures to honor Mace’s memory. She promised
that a roundtable will be held as part of a regional Olympiad in February,
and that history teachers from raions in the oblast will be invited.”

“We have conducted special classes at our high school and told the students
about the famine in Ukraine in 1932-1933 and about the various evaluations
of this tragedy, ranging from denial to its recognition as an act of
genocide,” Natalka Rudenko, principal of the Ukrainian Gymnasium in
Symferopol, told The Day.

“The school library has a standing exhibit of books by and about James
Mace, and about the Holodomor of the 1930s. The high school and library
make extensive use of the materials carried by The Day; they are valued for
their completeness and concreteness. They are extremely popular and
reliable.”

At the same time, the overall picture in the Crimea is not uniform.

Information about the Holodomor in Ukraine is used only in schools with
Ukrainian as the language of instruction, whereas others (the overwhelming
majority) are trying to avoid the subject, like before. The topic of
honoring Mace’s memory has not been broached in schools or in civic and
government-run organizations.

Together with Natalka Rudenko we determined that the presidential directive
has not reached the Ministry of Education and Science of the Crimea and
Symferopil’s municipal department of education. People there have a rather
vague idea about the Holodomor and its researcher James Mace, reports
Mykyta KASIANENKO from Symferopil.

“The teachers of our educational establishment remember Mace from The
Day’s articles and columns,” says Tamara Bashkirtseva, vice-principal for
methodology at Khmelnytsky Lyceum No. 17. “Thanks to Mykhailo Nemov,
a philanthropist from Khmelnytsky, the book “Day and Eternity of James
Mace” has appeared in the city’s libraries.

The lyceum’s instructors are now familiarizing the students with this
literary memorial to the prominent scholar, journalist, and teacher in order
to hold extracurricular readings of this book in accordance with the
established program.

These extracurricular readings will be summed up at a student conference
dedicated to The Day’s book about James Mace, scheduled for November
2006, reports The Day’s Mykhailo VASYLEVSKY.

“In Zhytomyr, James Mace is remembered without the need for special
directives,” reports The Day’s Vasyl KOSTIUKEVYCH. Borys Vedmedenko,
principal of General Secondary School No. 20 (I-III), told The Day that the
teachers conducted special lessons on the days commemorating the victims
of the Holodomor, and that James Mace was mentioned during these lessons.

Mykola Kurbatov, vice-principal of General Educational School No. 69 in
Donetsk, told The Day’s Hanna KHRYPUNKOVA: “We act on instructions
from the raion education and science department, but we haven’t received a
nything.”

In contrast, there is much discussion of the scholar and his research at
School No. 68 in the miners’ capital, even in the absence of special
directives.

The subject of the Holodomor, according to Kurbatov, is taught and
discussed in Grade 10 only in the space of one lesson, as laid down in
the curriculum.

Naturally, 45 minutes are hardly enough to cover the story of this tragedy,
let alone Mace’s works on the subject. Yet the teachers try to convey to the
students as much knowledge as possible in the space of this short lesson.

Neither has the ministry provided schools with any recommendations
concerning such commemorative lessons. There is no uniform interpretation
of these historical events; on the one hand, this gives the teacher carte
blanche, but on the other hand, teachers are faced with a choice they are
not always prepared to make.

In fact, the subject of the Holodomor should be taught very carefully.
“History must not be forgotten, but neither should too much attention be
paid to its negative aspects,” says Iryna Holovneva, Ph.D. (History),
adding, “To begin with, this may create problems in the current reality,
and this reality must be more important than the past for all of us.

Second, teenagers have a very vulnerable mentality. The emphasis should
be on the situation – why that tragedy happened – and not on the tragedy
itself, like hair- raising accounts and photos. It should be stressed that
the tragedy resides primarily in the deaths of people who could have
accomplished much for the benefit of our country, and never dwell on
the death toll.”

“How effective these classes will be and whether they will turn out to be
just another formality depends entirely on the teacher,” says Prof. Yuri
Shapoval, Ph.D. (History), “on his/her personality, erudition, and the
availability of information sources. The teacher must make pupils
contemplate this knowledge, make them think. Then this lesson won’t

be in vain.   -30-
———————————————————————————————-
LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/156971/
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8.  UKRAINE’S NEW AMBASSADOR TO THE US OLEH SHAMSHUR
       ADDRESSES 75TH ANNIVERSARY GENOCIDE COMMITTEE

Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA)
New York, New York, Monday, February 6, 2006

NEW YORK – Ukraine’s new Ambassador to the United States, H.E. Oleh
Shamshur, visited the New York City area on Friday and Saturday, February
3-4, 2006.

During his two days in the area, Amb. Shamshur attended a meeting of the
Committee to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Ukrainian Genocide

of 1932-1933, which was held on Saturday, February 4, 2006 in the conference
room of the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America at 203 Second Avenue.

The Chairman of the Committee to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the
Ukrainian Genocide of 1932-1933, Michael Sawkiw, Jr., greeted Amb. Shamshur
and welcomed the Ukrainian government’s recent measures to further the world’s
attention to the genocide which occurred in Ukraine nearly 75 years ago.

“Indeed, President Yushchenko’s first public speech after his inauguration
last year,” stated Mr. Sawkiw, “dealt with the Ukrainian Genocide of
1932-1933 and how the Ukrainian people must learn the truth about its
circumstances.  Furthermore President Yushchenko raised the Ukrainian
genocide on the world forum when he addressed the United Nations General
Assembly in September 2005.”

The Ukrainian ambassador thanked the Committee for its invitation to attend
the deliberations and to address its participants.  “The world must
understand that this was a genocide against the Ukrainian people,” stated
Amb. Shamshur.

The ambassador also thanked the Ukrainian American community for its
diligent and hard-working efforts to advocate a monument to the victims of
the Ukrainian Genocide on federal land in Washington, DC.  “Your hard
efforts were fruitful,” continued Amb. Shamshur, “and together with the
Ukrainian government we will leave a lasting legacy for all in Washington to
see.”

Following the ambassador’s initial comments, participants at the meeting
were afforded an opportunity to ask questions.  Many issues of concerned
were broached, including the upcoming Ukrainian parliamentary elections; the
gas crisis between Ukraine and Russia; relations with the West; and, general
economic reform in Ukraine, to which the ambassador answered in a very

open and cordial manner.

Also present at the Committee to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the
Ukrainian Genocide of 1932-1933 meeting was Askold Lozynskyj, President of
the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC).  In his greeting and message to Amb.
Shamshur, Mr. Lozynskyj spoke of the various issues of concern to the
Ukrainian Diaspora worldwide, in particular the upcoming parliamentary
elections, but also about his important duty and role in Washington, DC.

“Your work here [in the United States] may not be easy at times,” stated Mr.
Lozynskyj, “but rest assured, we, the Ukrainian Diaspora, look forward to
working with you and wish you the best of fortunes in your new post.”

Following the ambassador’s remarks, the Committee to Commemorate the

75th Anniversary of the Ukrainian Genocide of 1932-1933 formed various
commissions to begin its work in preparation for the upcoming 75th
anniversary commemoration of the Ukrainian Genocide in 2008.

The commissions formed include:  Fundraising; Marketing; Media;
Organizational; Duranty; Financial; Program/Exhibit; Building/Planning; and,
Scholarly.  Each commission is to develop its action plan for commemorating
the 75th anniversary of the Ukrainian Genocide.

The Committee to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Ukrainian

Genocide of 1932-1933 requests that individuals interested in being involved
with the planning and coordination of the upcoming 75th anniversary
preparations contact its chairman at unis@ucca.org.  Future meetings of the
Committee to Commemorate the 75th Anniversary of the Ukrainian Genocide
of 1932-1933 and its commissions will be announced in the Ukrainian press.

Others in attendance at the meeting included, Osyp Roshka, Editor-
“America”, Ukrainian Catholic Weekly; Larissa Kyj, UCCA Executive Vice
President; and Rev. George Bazylevsky, Ukrainian Orthodox Church in the
United States.  -30-
——————————————————————————————–
Contact:  Serhiy Zhykharev, Tel:  (202) 547-0018
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9.   UKRAINIAN FOREIGN MINISTER MEETS IN BRUSSELS ON 
       PASSING RESOLUTION IN RECOGNITION OF FAMINE IN
                       UKRAINE AS AN ACT OF GENOCIDE
 
Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, February 1, 2006

KYIV – During his working visit to Brussels Ukrainian Foreign Minister

Borys Tarasyuk met with members of the Union for Europe of the Nations
Group of the European Parliament in Brussels Wednesday.

The meeting dealt the internal developments in Ukraine and in the European
Union, impact of internal transformations in the EU on realization of
Ukraine’s European integration and relations between Ukraine and the EU

in the context of implementation of the Ukraine – EU Action Plan.

The members of the group briefed the Ukrainian Minister about the Group’s
initiating a resolution of the EuroParliament on recognition of the famine
in Ukraine as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people.

As MEP Marcin Libicki said, a declaration to this end is being drafted and
stressed that the document means to recognize the famine as one of the most
terrible crimes against the humanity in the 20th century. He urged to step
up scientific studying the issue and offered to consider likelihood of
allotting funds to this end.  -30-
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10.  GEORGIAN PARLIAMENT CALLS UKRAINIAN FAMINE OF
           1932-1933 GENOCIDE AGAINST UKRAINIAN PEOPLE 

By Oksana Torop, Ukrainian News Agency,

Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, January 3, 2006

KYIV – The Georgian parliament has called the 1932-1933 famine in

Ukraine the act of genocide against the people of Ukraine. Ukrainian
News learned this from the Georgian embassy in Ukraine.

According to the report, Georgia recognized that the totalitarian Bolshevik
rule of 1932-1933 conducted “intended genocide against the people of
Ukraine”. Georgia also expressed its sorrow and condolences over the

victims of genocide, and expressed solidarity with the Ukrainian people.

As Ukrainian News reported, Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko called

on other country leaders to call the famine in Ukraine a genocide against the
people of Ukraine. Earlier the parliaments of several countries recognized
the famine as an act of genocide.
The Ukrainian parliament declared the famine as an act of genocide in 2003.

The Verkhovna Rada declared the Famine in 2003 as an act of genocide.

In November 2003, 25 UN member-countries drafted a joint statement
calling the famine in Ukraine a result of the totalitarian regime policy. Later
other states joined to this statement.
According to various estimates, from 3 to 7 million people died as a result
of famine in 1932-1933.  -30-
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11.          HISTORY CALLS COMMUNISTS TO ACCOUNT
First to condemn crimes against humanity committed by communist regimes

From Charles Bremmer in Paris
The Times Online, London, UK, January 26, 2006

FIFTEEN years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Council of Europe last
night became the first international body to condemn crimes against humanity
committed by the communist regimes of the Soviet Union and other states.

However, in a vote that was bitterly contested by Russia and Western
Europe’s left-wing parties, the 46-nation council failed to raise the
two-thirds majority needed to approve a tougher resolution by a Swedish MP

that called on former communist states to teach the truth about their former
regimes and create days of remembrance.

The council assembly, which includes MPs from all former European

communist states except Belarus, voted by simple majority for a motion
deploring that there had never been an international inquiry on the “crimes
committed in these states”.

“These have never been condemned by the international community as have

been the horrible crimes committed in the name of (German) National
Socialism”, said Göran Lindblad, a Swedish conservative MP. The failure
to win the broader motion underlined the misgivings among parliamentarians
over the wisdom of revisiting painful history and issuing blanket
condemnations.

The council was founded after the Second World War to protect human

rights and the rule of law. The case made by conservatives for putting Stalin
on a par with Hitler has fuelled a furious dispute in recent years in France,
Greece and other Western European states where Marxist doctrines and
communist parties enjoy strong sympathies. A Russian opinion poll last
month suggested that 42 per cent of Russians believed that Stalin had
played a positive role in their country.

MPs from Hungary, Estonia, Bulgaria and other former Soviet satellite

states gave emotional backing to the vote. Russian MPs relayed the anger
in Moscow over what is seen as a hostile act aimed at isolating their
country and opening the way to lawsuits.

Natalia Narochnitskaya, deputy chief of the Duma’s foreign affairs
committee, said that Europe should be denouncing the terror of the French
Revolution. She added: “Oliver Cromwell has never been denounced.”
                                     REGIMES OF DEATH
Conservative estimate of deaths attributed to Soviet and other Communist
regimes in the European Council document presented yesterday (1917-
present day): 94.5 million

Soviet Union (1917-89): 20 million victims (includes party purges,
mass murder, deportations, starvation policy in 1930s Ukraine,
wartime reprisals)
China: 65 million (under Mao Zedong and successors)
Vietnam: 1 million
North Korea: 2 million
Cambodia: 2 million
Eastern Europe: 1 million
Latin America: 150,000
Africa: 1.7 million
Afghanistan: 1.5 million

Victims of Nazi Germany and its allies; the military and civilian death toll
from the mid-1930s to 1945: 56 million, including 6 million Jews. -30-
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LINK: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,13509-2010125,00.html
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12. COUNCIL OF EUROPE CONDEMNS CRIMES OF COMMUNISM
                                OVER MOSCOW’S OPPOSITION

By Vladimir Socor, Eurasia Daily Monitor, Volume 3, Issue 19
The Jamestown Foundation, Washington, D.C., Fri, Jan 27, 2006

Against Russian-led opposition, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of
Europe (PACE) approved by a simple majority of votes on January 25 a report
calling for “International Condemnation of the Crimes of Communist Regimes.”

The move in Strasbourg marks the first time that an inter-governmental
organization, such as the CE, condemns the crimes and the ideology of
communism.

Such a step would be inconceivable at the other inclusive inter-governmental
organization, the OSCE, which — for all its claims to speak for “values” —
is structurally dependent on Russia and makes a virtue out of the necessity
named “consensus.”

A different kind of Russian problem emerged in the debates on the
anti-communism resolution at PACE: Russia’s delegation enlisted the support
of a sizeable contingent of left-leaning European Socialists, hardline
leftists, and residual communists to fight the report. In negotiations prior
to the vote, this bloc managed to delete or dilute some formulations in the
report, even expunging direct references to the Soviet Union.

Even so, the Russian delegation, along with allies on the left, tried to
kill the document altogether by returning it to PACE’s Political Committee
for further revisions. That Committee began work on the report in December
2003, initially under the Dutch Christian-Democrat Rene van der Linden
(currently the president of PACE) and then under the Swedish parliamentarian
Goran Lindblad, both affiliated with the European People’s Party in the
Assembly.

Ultimately, the PACE resolution to approve the report passed narrowly with
81 in favor, 70 opposed, and some members not voting.

The report notes that the totalitarian communist regimes formerly in power
in Central and Eastern Europe, and those still ruling elsewhere, were
responsible for mass-scale crimes and suppression of human rights. Without
explicitly equating Communism and Nazism, the report calls for condemning
these totalitarian ideologies.

It calls on all existing communist parties to review critically their own
past and to acknowledge and condemn the horrors perpetrated by communist
regimes.

It urges all post-communist parties and governments in formerly
communist-ruled countries to encourage the study of the historical record of
communist regimes, ensure that their crimes are appropriately reflected in
school textbooks, and institute national days for commemoration of the
victims of communist regimes.

The report recommends that the Council create a working group of experts to
process information on the crimes of communist regimes. However, two other
recommendations fell short of the necessary majority and were not adopted.

One would have called on Europe’s governments to adopt an official
declaration of international condemnation of crimes of totalitarian
communist regimes. The other defeated recommendation called on Europe’s
governments to carry out legal investigations of individuals involved in
those crimes.

Konstantin Kosachev, chairman of the State Duma’s international affairs
committee and head of Russia’s delegation to PACE, led the fight against the
report. Kosachev claimed that not all communist regimes were criminal or
violent, though he did not clarify how he categorized the Soviet Union in
that regard.

And he made light of the atrocities: “Not everything that’s red is blood,
some of it may be tomato juice, Mr. Lindblad” — he admonished the
rapporteur during the official debate (Interfax, January 25). Moreover,
Kosachev charged that the report seeks to assign to the USSR a share of the
responsibility for the Second World War and the division of Europe.

Finally, he contended that Communist ideology could not be grouped together
with Nazi ideology under the category of “totalitarian.” Implicitly excusing
the former, Kosachev insisted that the report must not place those two
ideologies on the same footing.

In Moscow, the Kremlin-linked political consultant Sergei Markov criticized
the PACE report in a similar vein. He termed the document a “blow struck
against Russia as successor to the communist Soviet Union.” Moreover,
according to Markov, PACE is “attempting to prop up the undemocratic regimes
in the Baltic states, Ukraine, and Georgia, the legitimacy of which rests on
anti-communism” (Interfax, January 25).

It would be unthinkable for German officials to describe condemnations of
Nazism as blows struck against today’s Germany or to feel insulted by the
pairing of Nazism with Communism as totalitarian ideologies. Yet this type
of attitudes on the part of Russian officials seems to be regarded as normal
by many European Socialists, judging by PACE’s vote.

Russian Communist leader Gennady Zyuganov seconded Kosachev’s efforts in
Strasbourg, though using a different line of argument by which he attempted
to vindicate communism outright. “Latin America is turning Red,” Zyuganov
exulted in this context, alluding to Venezuela and Bolivia.

The other Russian delegates to PACE had to speak more cautiously than this.
But, while the PACE debate was in progress, Russian energy giants Gazprom
and Lukoil were rushing to Venezuela and Bolivia with Kremlin-approved
project offers.  -30-
—————————————————————————————-
(Interfax, January 20, 23-25; Radio France Internationale, January 21; Ekho
Moskvy, January 24; PACE release, January 25)
——————————————————————————————-
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13.     BOOK ABOUT LIFE OF UKRAINIAN PIONEER AIRCRAFT
                        DESIGNER OLEG ANTONOV PUBLISHED

Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, February 6, 2006

KYIV – A new book, entitled “Airplanes Bear His Name” about Oleg

Antonov has been published. Aircraft general designer Oleg Antonov
belongs to a number of pioneers of Ukrainian gliding and aircraft design.
His AN models prevailed in original solutions, high flying qualities and
deserved to enter the world science and technique history.

Oleg Antonov devoted over 60 years to aircraft design. The path of a
constructor was not triumphal, the author noted. The success was followed

by misfortune, happiness gave place to pain or grief. Sometimes, obstacles
were too complicated to overcome, but it was too hard to escape from his
inner self.  That’s why it kept on emerging again and again.

Oleg Antonov was a many-sided person. He was interested in painting,
literature, economics and ecology.

The author reveals life of the aircraft general designer and his entourage
in detail. They have altogether established an outstanding construction
bureau, presently, known as, the Antonov Aeronautical Scientific/Technical
Complex.

Thus, the history of a so-called “AN-family”, which started with the “Dove”
glider and followed by such planes as “Ruslan”, “Dream” and AN-70

continues.

The book, predetermined for different groups of people and published by

the “KVITS” publishers will assist in perpetuating the memory of the
outstanding constructor, whose 100th anniversary is supposed to be
celebrated on February 7.   -30-
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[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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14.  UKRAINIAN LEASING MARKET TO RECEIVE INVESTMENTS
         FROM ONE OF LEADERS OF EUROPEAN TRADE MARKET
                     ALD International, subsidiary of Societe Generale
Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, February 7, 2006.

KYIV – The Ukrainian leasing market will receive new investments by one

of the leaders in the European automobile leasing market, the ALD
International, a subsidiary of Societe Generale [a leading French bank].

The First Leasing Company, the leader of the Ukrainian leasing service
market with a 40 % market share, has already started its integration to the
global ALD International network.  -30-
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[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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15. ASTELIT COMPANY INTENDING TO INVEST OVER 500 MILLION
           USD INTO DEVELOPMENT OF ITS MOBILE NETWORK

Ukrinform, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 7, 2006

KYIV – On February 7 the Astelit company (mobile operator “Life”)

made public the results of the first year of its operation on the Ukrainian
market of mobile connections. In December 2005 the number of its
customers reached 2.46 M. people, which is 103% more when compared
to the previous year.

According to Director General of the Astelit company, Akhmet Tanyu,

the company received over 500 million USD for its expansion plans. This
is the largest credit ever obtained by a Ukrainian non-state run company.

According to Renat Tanyu, since 2005 the “Life” network has covered over
12,000 populated areas of Ukraine and all cities with a population of over
100,000 people, which equals 70% of Ukraine’s population.  -30-
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[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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16.   HUNGARIAN BANK SUBMITS BID FOR UKRAINIAN BANK 
           Ukrsotsbank is Ukraine’s fourth largest bank in terms of assets

Marilyn Gerlach, AFX Europe (Focus)
Frankfort Germany, Tuesday, February 07, 2006

FRANKFURT – Hungary’s OTP Bank Ltd said it has submitted a binding

bid to acquire a controlling majority stake in the Kiev-based joint stock
commercial bank for social development Ukrsotsbank. No financial details
of the deal were given in a statement released here.

Hungary’s largest financial institution said Ukraine is one of the main
target countries in its acquisition strategy. It said in the nine months to
September last year, Ukrsotsbank was Ukraine’s fourth largest bank in

terms of assets, which totaled 1.86 bln usd. In the same period,
shareholders’ equity was 186.9 mln usd and net profit 25.4 mln usd.
——————————————————————————————-
marilyn.gerlach@afxnews.com
——————————————————————————————-
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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17. SWISS INVESTOR STARTS PRODUCTION OF POLYETHYLENE
              PIPES AT PLANT IN RUBIZHNE, LUHANSK OBLAST

Igor Balchenkov, The Ukrainian Times, Kyiv, Ukraine, Mon, Feb 6, 2006

KYIV – The plant situated in the town of Rubizhne, Luhansk oblast, has
started making pipes from polyethylene. Reportedly, the enterprise has a
capacity to produce 10,000 tons of gas and water pipes per year. The pilot
lot of the products has been manufactured already.

It must be noted that the Rubizhne pipe plant belongs to the Swiss company
Strongfield Marketing which invested $1.3 million in production.

As far as the history of pipe production in the Donbas region is concerned,
enterprises based in Makiyivka, Mariupol, Donetsk and Khartsyzk have long
been making products designed for transportation of natural gas and oil.

The Dobropillya plant turned out large concrete pipes for the canal
Dnipro-Donbas, applying Australian technology, and the Artemivsk

enterprise has been making ceramic pipes for irrigation farming.
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18. LITHUANIAN COMPANY TO INVEST EUR35M TO BUILD PLANT
 FOR PRODUCTION OF PARTICLEBOARD IN CHERNIHIV REGION

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, February 6, 2006

KYIV – Vakaru Medienos Grupe (VMG), a holding company based in

Klaipeda (Lithuania), intends to invest EUR 35 million in construction of
an enterprise for production particleboard in the Chernihiv region in 2006.
Kyastutis Masalskis, a trade representative at the Lithuanian embassy,
disclosed this to Ukrainian News.

According to him, VMG selected the Chernihiv region because it is the

best location in terms of logistics. Founded in 2002, VMG is a vertically
integrated holding that specializes in production of particleboard,
furniture, and plywood. The company also invests in wood processing
enterprises.

The holding consists of the AB Klaipedos mediena, UAB Giriu bizonas,

and UAB Sakuona enterprises. VMG is the largest producer and exporter
of particleboard in the Baltic States. The holding exports its products to
Sweden, Germany, France, the United States, and Denmark.  -30-
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[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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19.  UKRAINE ECONOMY: QUICK VIEW – MONTHLY CPI RISES
 
The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU)
New York, New York, Monday, February 6, 2006

Monthly inflation in Ukraine rate rose by 1.2% in January, from 0.9% in
December according to the State Statistics Committee of Ukraine. In
year-on-year terms, however, inflation softened slightly to 9.8% in

January from 10.4% a month earlier.

Food prices helped to drive up January’s monthly inflation figure, rising

by 1.6% month on month, compared with a 1.1% rise in December.
Within this category, the largest growth rates were seen for vegetables,
potatoes and fruit, which increased by 19.3%, 7.1% and 5.4%
respectively.

The rise in consumer prices for non-food goods showed no change for

the second consecutive month in January-although most categories
recorded modest price rises, these were completely offset by the
continued decline of electrical goods’ prices and medicine prices, along
with a drop in footwear costs for the first time since July.

Meanwhile, there was a slowdown in price growth in the services sector,

with inflation of just 0.9% month on month after recording 1.2% in
December.
 
The most notable slowdown within services was in the cost of utilities
(up 0.7% in January from 1.6% in December) and urban and highway
transport (up 0.4% from 1.3% in December).
                                         THE EIU VIEW
Consumer price inflation dropped in the final months of 2005 to reach a
year-end rate of just over 10%. Although this has continued in January, we
expect inflation to accelerate on an annual basis in 2006, owing to rising
prices of gas imports, before easing to around 8.5% by end-2007.

The rise in year-on-year inflation expected in 2006-and the only slow pace
of disinflation expected thereafter-reflects not just the gas price issue,
but also the moderately loose fiscal stance and the adjustments to
administered utility prices that are expected after the March 2006
parliamentary elections.

Moreover, investment-related currency inflows are expected to rise, which
will partly offset the deceleration in money-supply growth (and hence
disinflation) that is expected to result from reduced trade-related currency
inflows.  -30-
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20.     UKRAINE TO STUDY IRISH EXPERIENCE OF ECONOMIC

REFORM & EUROPEAN INTEGRATION, FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS

By Anna Snigur-Grabovska, Yana Lemeshenko, Ukrinform
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 7, 2006

BERLIN, Germany – Ukraine will study Ireland’s experience of economic
reforming and European integration, Ukrainian Minister for Foreign Affairs
Borys Tarasyuk said before leaving on an official visit to Ireland.

“Ireland is an example for Ukraine of successful realization of internal
economic reforms”, Borys Tarasyuk noted. The Ukrainian Foreign Minister
unveiled his plans to sign a series of important documents there in the
sphere of culture, education and science.  -30-
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21.   UKRAINE TO SUPPLY FIVE AN-74 TURBO JETS TO SUDAN 

UNIAN news agency, Kiev, in Ukrainian 0858 gmt 6 Feb 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Monday, Feb 06, 2006

KHARKIV – The Kharkiv aviation plant has signed a contract to supply five
An-74 [multifunctional light turbo jet] planes of various modifications to
Sudan, the director-general of the Kharkiv plant, Pavlo Naumenko, told
journalists today. The contract was signed at the end of 2005, he said.

The implementation of the contract could begin right after it comes into
force, he said. It is planned to produce a plane every two months. The
contract is worth 85m dollars and will come into force in March 2006.
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22. ESTONIAN GARMENT MAKER BALTIKA JAN SALES UP 26 PCT
       Opened store in Odessa, Ukraine. More stores planned for Ukraine.

AFX Europe (Focus), Tallinn, Estonia, Monday, Feb 06, 2006

TALLINN – Estonian garment maker Baltika said its consolidated sales
grew 26 pct in January from a year earlier, reaching 59.8 mln kroons

(3.82 mln eur), BNS news agency reported.

Retail sales were up 25 pct at 48.7 mln kroons, while wholesale sales

were up 43 pct at 10.1 mln kroons from January 2005, the company
said.

In January, Baltika opened a new store in Odessa, Ukraine. As one store

in Poland was closed, the number of stores remained constant at 86 at
end-January. Their total sales surface area is 12,558 square metres.

At the beginning of February, one store opened and another opening is
planned for the end of February in St Petersburg, Russia. Baltika plans to
open 7-10 stores, mainly in Ukraine and Russia in the first half of 2006.
——————————————————————————————–

[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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23. NEW POLISH PRESIDENT BACKS UKRAINE FOR NATO AND EU

INTERVIEW: With President of Poland Aleksander Kwasniewski
By David McHugh, AP Worldstream, Warsaw, Poland, Wed, Feb 08, 2006

WARSAW – Poland’s new president said his country hopes to see neighbor
Ukraine join NATO in 2008 and wants better relations with Russia while
urging Moscow to drop ideas of having a “zone of influence” in the region.

President Lech Kaczynski, a social conservative, took over in December from
former communist Aleksander Kwasniewski, who had served the maximum

two terms. Kaczynski travels Wednesday to the U.S. for his first meeting with
President George W. Bush.

Poles have been eager to win more U.S. investment and easier access to
visas, but Kaczynski stressed that strategic issues like Iraq and hopes for
further NATO expansion would be a priority during his meeting with Bush on
Thursday. Many of his comments looked to Poland’s immediate neighborhood

in Eastern Europe.

“The main issue of the talks will be related to our political-military
alliance, NATO, the enlargement of NATO,” Kaczynski, 56, said in an
interview with The Associated Press on Tuesday. “Poland is very much
interested in the enlargement of NATO.”

He indicated that Poland would push for building stronger Western ties with
Ukraine – a former part of the Soviet Union where Russian influence is still
strong. “Poland is very deeply interested in Ukraine joining NATO. We would
very much like that to happen in 2008,” he said, reiterating Polish support
for Ukraine eventually joining the European Union as well.

Poland, where memories of domination by Moscow during the Cold War are

still fresh, angered Moscow with its support for Ukraine’s so-called “Orange
Revolution,” in which pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko won election
over a candidate backed by Moscow.

He said Poland would continue efforts to diversify its sources of oil and
gas to reduce its dependence on Russia, and would focus on efforts to obtain
more natural gas from Norway and plans to build a terminal on the Baltic Sea
to take delivery of gas by ship from sources such as Algeria and Qatar.

“We never know what fate may bring,” he said. “We must have the possibility
of getting gas from many sources.”

Kaczynski won the election in October after his twin brother, Jaroslaw
Kaczynski, led their Law and Justice Party to victory in parliamentary
elections the month before. Both are former activists in the Solidarity
trade union movement that helped topple communist rule in 1989-90.

Jaroslaw Kaczynski decided not to seek the prime minister’s job because the
brothers believed many people wouldn’t want identical twins in the two top
political posts. Law and Justice’s Kazimierz Marcinkiewicz became prime
minister instead.

After talking tough about Moscow during the election campaign and
immediately afterward, Kaczynski’s remarks Tuesday were nuanced. He

declined to criticize Russia for briefly turning off natural gas to Ukraine in a
dispute that underlined fears Moscow may use its energy reserves as a lever
to enhance its influence over other countries.

“As far as Russia is concerned, we are interested in good cooperation and

we are also interested in Russians forgetting that there is a sphere of
influence here,” he said. “I am aware that this is particularly difficult
for the Russians.

“But for the sake of good European cooperation, they should forget about

it, and be aware that Poles are eager for cooperation with Russia.”

He said Russia’s campaign against separatist rebels in the Muslim Chechnya
region did not meet standards of democracy. But he added that not all

President Vladimir Putin’s efforts to centralize political control were bad.

“Putin is consolidating the state in a very strong manner. Some of his
actions truly fit in the true standards of democracy,” Kaczynski said. “But
people who think that every centralization is anti-democratic and every
decentralization is pro-democratic, will always say … that are many
anti-democratic processes there. I don’t share this opinion.”

“But if we are dealing with actions aimed at curbing the opposition, then
that does not fit the standards of democracy and certainly the issues of
Chechnya cannot be reconciled with the standards of democracy.”

Kaczynski also said Poland might extend its deployment of a reduced force

of 900 soldiers in Iraq, where they are training Iraqi personnel. “I have said
a number of times that staying beyond 2006 is subject to consideration,”
Kaczynski said.

“There is no such decision today,” he said. “Today, we have the decision
concerning 2006. The mission in 2007 would call for a new decision.” He

said that he “could not imagine” staying beyond 2007.

He was asked whether people in Iraq were better or worse off since the
U.S.-led invasion in 2003. “Whether better or worse, that’s a question for
the people of Iraq,” he said. “I am in Poland. But I can say one thing for
sure: certainly a dictator with blood on his hands has been removed, a man
whose actions bordered on genocide.

“I don’t know whether he had weapons of mass destruction. And from the

very start I did not attach too much attention to that, because I did not
believe that if he had them he would use them. But I know that he is guilty of
numerous crimes and that it was a gangster-like regime. And I believe that
removing the regime was good, not bad.” -30-
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[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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24.          MOSCOW’S ENERGY BLACKMAIL, PART TWO

COMMENTARY
: By Mart Laar, former Prime Minister of Estonia
The Wall Street Journal, New York, NY, Wed, February 8, 2006

TBILISI, Georgia — While visiting here recently I observed that, despite
some problems and misgivings, the achievements of the “Rose Revolution”

are real. The mood in the country has changed over the past two years; the
people are looking to the future with more hope. The outlook was not only
brighter but warmer: For the first time in years, people were getting
regular electricity and heat during the winter.

This picture unfortunately changed on Jan. 21 when two gas pipelines to
Georgia were knocked out overnight by explosions in a mountainous part

of North Ossetia in Russian territory. Georgia, as well as Armenia, was left
without gas and, as a result, partly without electricity. The crisis came
during the coldest winter in decades, with temperatures plunging to as low
as -20 degrees Celsius.

Russian security officials publicly blamed anti-Kremlin insurgents for the
blasts, but Georgians widely believe that Russia is simply punishing the
country for its pro-Western course and its desire to join NATO and rid
itself of the Russian military presence.

President Mikhail Saakashvili said Georgia was suffering the same fate as
Ukraine, whose supply of Russian gas was cut off just weeks earlier in a
contract dispute. “I think the world should wake up to this kind of
behavior,” said Mr. Saakashvili. “Yesterday it was Ukraine, today it is
Georgia, and tomorrow it might [reach] everywhere where Russia sells its

gas and electricity.”

To understand the Georgian reaction, we must recall a similar incident in
2004 when gas pipelines on Georgian territory were blown up. Then, Russia
accused Chechen terrorists of sabotage. But Georgian authorities have since
found a strong link between the blasts and the Russian secret service FSB.
Suspects escaped to Russia, and authorities there refuse to hand them over
to Georgia for proper investigation.

After a catastrophe like the one last month, any normal country would at
least contact the leaders of countries that were affected. But not Russia.
Georgia’s prime minister, Zurab Noghaideli, tried all day following the
blasts to reach his Russian counterpart, but to no avail.

Russia never so much as apologized for leaving two countries in the cold,
nor did the state-controlled Gazprom hurry to restore the gas deliveries
until it became clear that Georgia could seek alternative energy sources in
Iran and Turkey.

Whatever the reasons for the crisis, Georgians demonstrated their ability to
overcome even worst difficulties. The people stayed calm, gathering around
fireplaces to make “shashlik” meat kebabs and drink “tsatsha,” a strong
local alcohol. It became clear that this nation could not be pushed back on
its knees again.

There are two main lessons Georgia can learn from this crisis.

[1] First, it has to continue its integration with West. To achieve this,
Georgia must continue with reforms. The country needs to open its

economy to competition, welcome foreign investment, protect property
rights, guarantee the rule of law and build an effective government
administration.

[2] Second, the crisis indicated that Georgia has to end its near total
dependence on Russian energy sources. Russia has proved that it is not a
reliable source of energy. This is by now more and more clear for Europe

as well, and in this field Europe can and must cooperate more with all of its
“new neighbors” in the East, and not only Russia.

Georgia deserves our attention and support. It needs the chance to restore
its territorial integrity and find a peaceful solution for the problems of
South Ossetia and Abkhazia. Russia’s so-called “peacekeeping” troops in
these territories are not protecting the peace, but rather the pieces of the
Russian empire.

They must be sent home if the situation is to be normalized. Georgia can’t
be seen as just another little known country that is too far away from the
Western world.
  -30-
—————————————————————————————–
Mr. Laar is a former prime minister of Estonia.
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[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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25.        RUSSIA: THE ART OF CONCENTRATING FORCES
                         INTO A SPEARPOINT FORMATION
   Kremlin setting up a body that’s meant to lead Russia to dominance in
     the global energy market. Rumors of a prestigious new appointment.

By Marat Khairullin, Dmitri Balburov, Nikolai Vardul
Gazeta, Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, February 7, 2006

A reliable source informs us that in his address to parliament this
April, President Vladimir Putin may announce a new department in
the presidential administration, in charge of energy matters. This is
meant to be the first step towards making Russia a world energy
leader.

Senior Kremlin officials have realized immediately that a brilliant future
awaits whoever is placed in charge of making President Putin’s idea a
reality. Dmitri Medvedev is viewed as a potential successor to Putin
because he has been given responsibility for the national projects. The
person who is placed in charge of Russia’s movement towards global
leadership in the energy sector could challenge Medvedev.

It may be added that the appointment of a new Kremlin official
in charge of the fuel and energy sector wouldn’t really change
anything from the standpoint of common sense. It is common
knowledge, after all, that no major project in this sector can go
ahead without the Kremlin’s approval. (For example, think back to
what happened when Mikhail Khodorkovsky and some Americans
considered establishing an oil company where Khodorkovsky, a man
not particularly trusted by the Kremlin, would have become the key
executive.)

There is no need to remind anyone that Medvedev is chairman of the
board at Gazprom; Igor Sechin, presidential aide and deputy head of
the presidential administration, is chairman of the board at Rosneft;
Vladislav Surkov, deputy head of the presidential administration, is
chairman of the board at Transnefteprodukt; Sergei Sobyanin, head
of the presidential administration, is a former governor of the oil-rich
Tyumen region.

Formalizing the Kremlin’s control over Russian oil may be damaging to
the image of the authorities, since it would make it very clear who really
has access to oil revenues. On the other hand, this damage to image is
nothing compared to the potential gains.

There are no favorites in the race as yet. Sobyanin lacks the
political muscles in Moscow. A source called Sobyanin “a function
rather than a real administrator.” The source adds that it’s Sechin
who has every chance of winning the race for this prestigious new
appointment. Sechin’s inner circle includes Rosneft CEO Sergei
Bogdanchikov and Sibneft CEO Alexander Ryazanov, plus (with some
reservations) LUKoil CEO Vagit Alekperov and Rosoboroneksport
CEO Sergei Chemezov.

According to our sources, neither should Surkov’s chances be
dismissed out of hand. To a certain extent, he is an alternative to
the siloviki (security and law enforcement faction) and as such is
supposed to suggest alternatives to their plans. He is known for his
creativity and ability to retain and expand the bridgeheads he wins
in political and administrative battles. Surkov may even be
described as a unique figure in the federal halls of power nowadays.

Among those who are keeping a close eye on developments are
Anatoly Chubais, head of RAO Unified Energy Systems, and Fuel
and Energy Minister Viktor Khristenko, not to mention political
heavyweights from oil-producing regions like President Mintimer
Shaimiyev of Tatarstan and President Murat Zyazikov of
Bashkortostan.

Sources in the Kremlin say that Yamal-Nenetsk Governor Yuri
Neelov is regarded as the most promising candidate for the new
department of the presidential administration. A Sechin man, Neelov
would also be acceptable to Medvedev. Khanty-Mansiisk Governor
Alexander Filipenko is the second favorite. He is rumored to be
loyal to Mikhail Fridman of Alfa Group, who in turn is believed to
belong to Surkov’s team. All the same, insiders don’t rule out the
possibility of a dark horse getting the appointment – someone from
the second echelons of Gazprom or Rosneft. (Translated by A.
Ignatkin)   -30-

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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
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      Power Corrupts and Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely. 
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return to index [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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