AUR#665 New Parliament: How Representative? Trusted? Voting Terribly Abused & Manipulated In Rada; Jackson-Vanik Alert; Sasha Cohen

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Washington, D.C., Kyiv, Ukraine, THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 23, 2006
           ——–INDEX OF ARTICLES——–
         Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.               
Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article
             Following article takes a look at the likely nature of the next 
              Ukrainian parliament based on the dynamics of the current
                    election campaign and political reforms in Ukraine.
By Markian Bilynskyj  [1]
U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, February 22, 2006


  Ukraine’s richest man Rinat Akhmetov now running for a seat in Parliament

Ukrayina TV, Donetsk, in Ukrainian 1900 gmt 20 Feb 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Monday, February 20, 2006

3.                         UKRAINE – CONSENSUS IN CONFLICT
OPINION: Contributed by Roland Nash
Chief Strategist, Renaissance Capital, Moscow
Prime-Tass, Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, February 21, 2006

OP-ED: By Taras Kuzio
In reply to Anders Aslund’s Kyiv Post opinion article of Feb 2
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, February 23, 2006

5 .                                    "NOT BEST FRIENDS"
  No mood on the part of voters who wish to see a united Orange front is
             capable of putting together the pieces of the broken vessel.
: By Olha Dmytrycheva
Zerkalo Nedeli, Kiev, Ukraine, in Russian 11 Feb 06, p 2
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Saturday, Feb 18, 2006

           Ukrainian tycoon allowed to export oil despite national interests,
   Member of Parliament Ihor Kolomoyskyy, who controls the Pryvat group
: By Ivan Stoichkov
Kiyevskiy Telegraf, Kiev, in Russian 18 Feb 06; p 7
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Tuesday, Feb 21, 2006

The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #665, Article 7
Washington, D.C., Thursday, February 23, 2006

8.                             MORE CARROT, LESS STICK
           United States finally recognizes Ukraine as a market economy
   Graduation from Jackson-Vanik amendment for Ukraine should be next
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, February 23, 2006

Please fax letters to Congress now to graduate Ukraine from Jackson-Vanik
Ambassador Steven Pifer and Ambassador Williams Miller, Co-Chairmen
Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition, Washington, D.C., February, 2006

                          MIGHT BE BEHIND HER STATEMENT
By Serhiy Kudelia, Ukrainian Service
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, February 22, 2006

         A run on stores and markets from Moscow to the Ural Mountains
Associated Press (AP), Moscow, Russia, Wed, February 22, 2006

12.                  WILL UKRAINE’S NATO HOPES STALL?
Jane’s Intelligence Digest, United Kingdom, Friday, February 17, 2006

   Sasha Cohen proves this new-world concept, too. Her parents emigrated
              from Ukraine after it opened up. She was born in California.
By Dave Hyde, South Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Wednesday, February 22. 2006

      Authorize Government of Ukraine to establish memorial on federal land
Written Testimony of H.E. Dr. Oleh Shamshur
Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States
Submitted at hearing held by the Subcommittee on National Parks
US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Washington, D.C., Thursday, February 16, 2006

                        "The Dream Life of Sukhanov" by Olga Grushin
     Superbly realised depiction of the claustrophobia and madness of Soviet
    communism as contradictions within the system spiralled towards collapse.
: By Michael Thompson-Noel
Financial Times, London, UK, Saturday, February 18, 2006
          The following article takes a look at the likely nature of the next
        Ukrainian parliament based on the dynamics of the current election
                            campaign and political reforms in Ukraine.

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: By Markian Bilynskyj [1]
U.S.-Ukraine Foundation, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, February 22, 2006

The Verkhovna Rada’s recent ‘dismissal’ of the Yekhanurov government

and its subsequent confrontation with President Yushchenko signaled the
opening salvo in what promises to be a series of stand-offs stemming from
the redistribution of political authority – commonly referred to as
constitutional or political reforms – that commenced on January 1.

The situation is further aggravated by the highly charged atmosphere
surrounding March elections to a more powerful parliament and, most
importantly, by the absence of a fully functioning Constitutional Court
hamstrung by the Rada’s deliberate refusal to vote on its quota of
appointments and swear in the president’s nominees.

The debate over the reforms has focused almost exclusively on the powers
that will accrue to the Rada upon their full adoption and the implications
for executive legislative relations.

Virtually no attention, however, has been paid to whether the Verkhovna
Rada as an institution can be trusted with – or, more bluntly, is fit – to
exercise its new, enhanced role.
Unfortunately, the answer is far from encouraging. Indeed, rather than
consolidating the Rada’s representative and legislative responsibilities
along a more democratic path of development, as the advocates of
political reforms argue, the changes might even reinforce some of the
worst characteristics and practices the Rada has accumulated in the
fifteen years since Ukraine’s independence.

During the latter part of the Kuchma era the Rada was often referred to (not
only by the then opposition) as a bulwark of democracy against the confused
authoritarianism pursued by the presidential Administration. This kind of
judgment was both appropriate and self-evident in the context of a raw power
confrontation with a presidency prone to rather arbitrary interpretations of
democratic procedures.

However, the advent of a new Administration – which, despite some serious
shortcomings in other areas, appears willing to live with the inconvenience
democratic scrutiny and procedure entails – has inevitably brought a change
of both context and perspective.

This reveals (even confirms) that the terms Rada, democracy, and
accountability correspond only in a broad, generic sense and that upon
closer examination there are some inherent flaws that continue to disfigure
this theoretically most democratic, and hence accountable, of political
institutions. Prominent in this regard are issues of composition,
accountability, and procedure.



Proponents of a fully proportional system of parliamentary elections
argued, inter alia, that this new model – beginning with the abolition of
majoritarian constituencies that were notoriously at the mercy of moneyed
interests, and continuing through the party convention stage – would
broaden popular participation in the process of party list creation.

This development would help finally to identify and separate those
individuals more interested in pursuing their personal interests under
parliamentary immunity from those with a genuine interest in the less
materially rewarding pursuit of professional law-making. In other words,
business would finally be separated from politics and the result would be

a Rada finally devoted to professional, publicly accountable legislating.

Unfortunately, what could never have been more than a desired outcome was
all too often presented almost as an axiom. And since any kinds of political
reforms cannot occur independently of their socio-economic context, the
first results of the political reforms appear to simply validate the
enduring wisdom of that popular "Chernomyrdism" (accepted into the
contemporary Ukrainian lexicon almost as an expression of resignation):
"Khoteli kak luchshe a poluchylos’ kak vsiegda." (They/we wanted things to
be better but they turned out just the same.)


Ukrainian political parties in general, even in the post-Orange environment,
continue to betray their genesis as special interest vehicles with limited
appeal to a broader public. Personalities therefore continue to predominate
over policies.
The parties expend considerable resources and effort in order to broaden
their legitimacy and bolster their declared democratic credentials but they
remain predominantly top-down structures overwhelmingly subservient
to the needs of their Kyiv-based leadership.

Not surprisingly, then, as a rule the party lists for the principal
contenders in the March Rada elections reveal a predominance of Kyiv-

based figures augmented by local elites seeking to redefine and align
themselves with today’s leading players in various blocs.
                        DANGER OF WITHERING AWAY

Rada Chairman Volodymyr Lytvyn’s bloc perhaps offers the best example
of this trend, while several of the parties running under various shades of
orange have also happily accommodated individuals and groups of individuals
from the regions who were quite clearly and actively in the pro- Kuchma camp
in that part of their lists that polls suggest will make it into parliament.

Moreover, according to official statistics representatives of business (at
30%) form the largest group of candidates to the Verkhovna Rada, with
educators, (8.5%) coming a distant second. This proportion is similar to
2002 when it was hoped, in vain as it turned out, that a Rada dominated by
the business community would work towards adopting progressive legislation.

(Not that business and crime are always linked in Ukraine, but there are all
sorts of rumors and estimates in circulation regarding the numbers of
candidates running for representative office, particularly at the local
level, suspected of criminal activity in the business sphere. However, the
facts are almost an irrelevance in view of the powerful popular perception,
fueled by many candidates themselves, of an enduring link between business,
crime, and politics.)

The presence, for example, of Ukraine’s wealthiest businessman, Renat
Akhmetov, at the top of the Party of Regions list does not suggest that
things will be any better this time around. (Plain amusing, on the other
hand, is the presence of Andriy Derkach, a businessman who obviously had

a change of mind about running for the Rada again, in the Socialist Party’s
list; amusing, because Mr. Derkach’s media played a leading role in the
Kuchma regime’s attempts to discredit Socialist leader Oleksandr Moroz
during the "Kuchmagate" scandal.)

Under normal circumstances, there is nothing intrinsically wrong with
successful businessmen running for public office. However, the enduring

and clear lack of consensus among Ukraine’s political elites over what
constitutes the national interest means that individual and narrow corporate
interests will continue to predominate.

The composition of the new Rada will simply not provide the critical mass
needed to change the trajectory of its evolution from essentially an
exclusive forum for brokering business deals and establishing preferential
access to the budgetary and privatization processes to one genuinely
concerned with a broader, common good.


With respect to accountability, the fact that the Rada is to be elected on a
proportional basis means that even the often all too formal, organic link
between individual deputies and constituents provided by the majoritarian
system will be further weakened.

Several parties have stated that they will compensate by dividing the
country into areas of responsibility. Yet it is difficult to imagine a party
or bloc with the minimum fifteen Rada deputies the 3% vote threshold
provides offering anything remotely resembling effective representation.

The Rada’s representative responsibilities (and by extension
accountability), never a high priority, are therefore in danger of withering
away. The envisioned reforms could make the Rada a more effective and
efficient legislative body (the so-called imperative mandate barring
deputies migrating between re is factions is being touted as a means for
enforcing voting discipline); but, with its representative imperative
effectively undermined, in whose interests?


If political reforms do not augur well for a change in composition and
representation the outlook is no better with respect to procedure. It is a
deeply ingrained and ironic aspect of the Rada’s operational culture that
Ukraine’s primary law-making body refuses to be governed by its own
regulations; regulations that, by extension, provide the key point of
reference for civil society groups interested in exercising their legitimate
role of monitoring the Rada.

The rehlament, or regulations, have languished in draft-law form since 1996
and only passed the first reading in late 1999. In the current political
reforms package, the 1996 constitutional requirement that the rehlament be
an actual law rather than a resolution is dropped. A case can be made that
in making this change, the Rada is in fact aligning itself with
international practice.

However, based on the sometimes mind-boggling abuses to which the

rehlament has been subjected over the years, a strong case can be made that
the Verkhovna Rada, at this stage of its development, must be regulated by
law not resolution if it is finally to develop as a genuinely transparent and
accountable institution.

However, that the new Rada will subordinate the interests of the individual
deputies for the sake of the institution’s long-term development is highly
unlikely because such a move would severely fence in and dilute the
authority of parliamentary party and faction leaders; in other words, the
authority of those very political actors advocating political reforms in the
first place.

            Brazen extent to which the process is manipulated

One of the most egregious abuses, concerning the voting process, appears
to have seeped into the very marrow of Rada procedure. Arguably the most
responsible function a representative and legislator is called upon to
perform is the act by which popular will is codified into law.

The brazen extent to which the process is manipulated – by all political
forces – means that it is possible to talk of institutionalized abuse. A
strong case can be made that barely a handful of legislation has been
adopted by the Verkhovna Rada since independence on the basis of the
rehlament’s one- person-one-vote requirement.

Much more frequently, often in full view of TV cameras, voting numbers

have been recorded that bear no resemblance to actual attendance in the
plenary hall. The difference is explained by deputies – so-called "piano
players" – running along the empty rows and voting with the cards of
their absent colleagues.

The prevalence of this behavior is further evidence that many deputies
see their formal responsibilities as something of an inconvenience as they
pursue their personal interests.

In late December, after a bitter confrontation with the government and
within the parliament itself, the Rada adopted the 2006 budget by just one
vote. The following day, Deputy Viktor Kirilov informed Chairman Lytvyn
that while his card had voted he did not because he was away on
constituency business.

Under normal circumstances the chairman could – even should – have

proposed a motion, as requested by Mr. Kirilov, authorizing the appropriate
committee to investigate the matter, even if this meant a new vote on the
budget. Mr. Lytvyn’s response, however, ignored this apparently clear
violation of the rehlament and replied that procedure did not provide for
a retroactive withdrawal of a deputy’s vote.

The matter was then conveniently forgotten. Who needs regulations when

power can be exercised so arbitrarily, shamelessly – and with little or no


There is currently little reason to believe that the Rada elected next month
will in any significant way be an improvement on its predecessor (s). Once
in office, too many individual deputies will likely succumb to and (even
happily) perpetuate the existing ingrained, anti-democratic corporate
culture in pursuit of their narrow personal or group interests.

Volumes of campaign rhetoric to the contrary notwithstanding, accountability
and transparency are and always have been considered inconveniences to be
avoided, the rehlament a document to be observed only in the breach.

Accumulated arbitrary abuses and a perceived disdain for popular will by the
presidency were the proximate causes of the Orange Revolution. At the time,
it was popular to anticipate the forthcoming Rada elections as complementary
to the presidential elections, a kind of "stage-two" litmus test regarding
the prospects for the eventual consolidation of Ukrainian democracy
throughout all branches of government.

Given the powerful dynamics working against the Rada reforming

itself it might take a similar – although highly unlikely – popular
expression of no-confidence to make the Rada finally take seriously
its role as the principal Ukrainian representative and legislative body.
[1] Markian Bilynskyj is the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation’s Vice President
and Director of Field Operations in Ukraine. The views expressed by
Mr. Bilynskyj are his own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of
the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation. Contact:
U.S.-Ukraine Foundation website:
NOTE: Markian Bilynskyj is a Brit with Ukrainian heritage who has
lived in worked in Ukraine for more than 15 years.  He has also
served as Director of the Pylyp Orlyk Institute for Democracy.  He
is known as an well-informed, astute, well-connected insider around
Kyiv and a savy political analyst. He is called on frequently by
international news publications for his comments on current political
and governmental issues and events in Ukraine.  AUR EDITOR
FOOTNOTE:  The subheadings in the article were inserted
editorially by The Action Ukraine Report (AUR), Washington, D.C.
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
  Ukraine’s richest man Rinat Akhmetov now running for a seat in Parliament
Ukrayina TV, Donetsk, in Ukrainian 1900 gmt 20 Feb 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Monday, February 20, 2006

DONETSK – [Presenter] Sustained economic growth, energy security and,

most importantly, a victory over poverty – this is what prominent businessman
and rising politician Rinat Akhmetov will be fighting for. He presented his
vision of Ukraine’s future at a meeting with voters on 19 February. His
address caused lively discussion by the media and the public. Here are a few

[Correspondent] This was Rinat Akhmetov’s first public appearance as a
politician. This was also his first appearance before voters rather than
football fans [Akhmetov owns Shakhtar Donetsk football club].

He was a bit nervous and said it was easier for him to talk about sport.
This is why the speech he made as parliament candidate was in a sporting
spirit. Rinat Akhmetov has a new goal – that Ukraine becomes Europe’s
champion in terms of wages, quality of living and infrastructure.

[Akhmetov, in Russian] I am taking up politics because I want a government
of economic growth to be formed. I am taking up politics to defend Ukraine’s
national interests [applause]. I am taking up politics because I want
Ukraine to become rich. I am taking up politics because I want there to be
no poor people in Ukraine. I am taking up politics because I want Ukraine to
win the best European country cup.

[Correspondent] As a successful businessman, he understands that Europe is
not ready to receive us with outstretched arms and that we should not be in
a rush to get there on an empty stomach. If Akhmetov’s plans are
implemented, Europe will meet Ukraine as an equal partner in about 10-15
years. But this is a long-term prospect. [Passage omitted: details reported
earlier, see TV 5 Kanal, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1300 gmt 19 Feb 06]

Rinat Akhmetov’s meeting with voters was about an hour-and-a-half long.
Questions covered such diverse topics as his private life and what an
oligarch should be doing in politics.

[Akhmetov, in Russian] First of all, I am not an oligarch. Oligarchs are in
government. For them, being in government is the only way of making money.

I can tell an oligarch from afar. They wear a special sort of clothes. In
their trousers, pockets start up here [points to his hip] and reach all the
way down there [points to his feet].

Oligarchs have not found their place in business, and they never will. I am
telling you, in business, they look like cows walking on ice. I realized
myself as a businessman and made my money a long time ago.  [Passage
omitted: Correspondent quotes Akhmetov as pledging to fight poverty.]

[Donetsk-based tycoon Rinat Akhmetov, reportedly the richest man in Ukraine,
is running for parliament in the 19 March general elections on the ticket of
the opposition Party of Regions. Ukrayina TV is believed to be controlled by
Akhmetov.]  -30-

[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
3.                      UKRAINE – CONSENSUS IN CONFLICT

OPINION: Contributed by Roland Nash,
Chief Strategist, Renaissance Capital, Moscow
Prime-Tass, Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, February 21, 2006

MOSCOW – A couple of weeks ago at our conference in Kiev, I talked
politics with my cab driver. We agreed that the outlook was bleak.
March elections looked likely to produce an unstable coalition
government led by one of a range of equally unsavoury potential Prime

But, I suggested, unlike Russia, at least Ukraine had democracy. The people
had earned the right to choose through their courage and determination
during the Orange Revolution. The taxi driver nodded his agreement. I said
that no matter what the short-term issues, in the longer term, democracy
was a much more secure political foundation than the authoritarianism
towards which Russia was tending. The driver said that he was no fan of

Perhaps partly in the hope of a lower cab fare, I said that being British I
could assure him that Ukrainians stood a good chance of eventually
becoming part of the EU. My driver said that Ukraine was, and
always would be, a European country. We drove in silence for a while.
‘But’, he said, ‘what Ukraine needs right now is a candidate like Stalin
who can come in and shoot all the thieving bastards in government’. He
then charged me the exorbitant price of Hr25.

Ukraine is in the early phases of democracy. The country’s near term
political success will depend on whether the current instability is the
consequence of democratic teething problems, or is fundamental enough to
undermine the concept of consensus government altogether, as happened in
Russia after the nineties.

Given the underperformance of Ukrainian equity over the last six months,
the type of regime that emerges post March 26 elections will also determine
whether there is a sharp period of catch-up, or whether Ukraine will slide
along in the doldrums.

If a coalition government emerges post elections that must struggle to
build compromise through the infighting of various lobbying groups, then
that is simply democracy at work. It might look ugly, but as long as each
power group feels that they have the potential to influence government,
then politics is essentially internalized and will tend over time towards

If, however, the differences between factions prove so great that no
coalition is able to compromise enough to govern effectively, then
the result could be the sort of anarchy that forces interest groups to look
for solutions outside of the existing constitutional framework. Given the
precedent of the Orange Revolution, the temptation exists to try the
experiment again – a risky strategy at any time, but particularly when
Russia is feeling more assertive over the near abroad.

Unfortunately, Ukraine has a number of elements that do not bode well for
successful coalition government. There are at least three axes around which
differences are irreconcilable enough to challenge stable government.

[1] First, there is the split between West and East. Historically,
culturally, economically, even linguistically, Ukraine splits down the
middle through Kiev between the Russian speaking East and the Ukrainian

speaking West. In polls on everything from support for Ukraine’s European
aspirations to attitude towards democracy, the best predictor of preference
is the geographical location of the poll.

[2] Second, is the relationship with Russia. Viktor Yanukovich, leader of
the Party of the Regions faction, one of the three main contenders in the
March 26 elections, is openly standing on a platform of support for
Ukraine’s future with Russia. Of the leaders of the other two main factions,

Yulia Tymoschenko has an arrest warrant out for her in Russia, and the other,
President Yushchenko, has frequently suggested that the Russians have
tried to poison him. While foreign policy is an electoral issue in many
countries, it is rare for the gap to stretch from mentor and sponsor to
jail and assassination.

[3] Third, there is the difference between those on the inside of Ukrainian
power and those on the outside. Until the Orange Revolution, most of
Ukrainian politics and business was dominated by a small clique who shared
power and split the economics. Controlling both politics and business,
insiders were virtually impregnable to anybody outside wishing to exercise
influence through the existing power structure. The popular frustration
following the electoral manipulation in late 2004 was what catalysed the

While that episode broke the monopoly on power, it has not ended the
enmity. Much of the politics of the last year has been about the old power
clique clinging on to their assets and the new attempting to wrestle them
free. The elections may redraw the battle lines, but they are unlikely to
end the fight.

So are the factional differences simply too great to permit the formation
of a stable government? Is Ukraine doomed to unstable government until a
single party is able to dictate stability from the top, much as the Kremlin
has decided is necessary for Russia? This time last year, in the afterglow
of the Orange Revolution, I was highly enthusiastic about Ukraine’s
prospects – in fact, so enthusiastic I bought a rather expensive apartment
in Kiev, unfortunately after a Revolution inspired 30% jump in prices.

Now, one difficult year wiser, I am certainly more sanguine, but still
remain reasonably confident that Ukraine will prove successful. While there
may be issues over which universal agreement is all but impossible, on
many of the most fundamental questions, there is broad agreement.

All of the three main factions believe that economic growth is crucial, and
that private business is the best way to generate it. There is also broad
agreement on the need for private property and a stable legal regime in
which to operate.

Similarly, the lessons of the nineties have made classical macroeconomic
stability conventional wisdom across the political spectrum. To be sure,
there are many disagreements on rather important details – including how
much state subsidy is needed to encourage private business and from when
exactly property should be considered private.

But the examples of Eastern Europe and Russia have illustrated the power
of economic growth and the role that private business has to play in
generating it. A government based on open conflict may well take
considerably longer to reach agreement on those important details, but
equally there is a lot less scope for either the wrong decision being
reached or for a decision taken on behalf of one particular inside group.

Much has been made of the disappointing corruption scandals that have
emerged within Ukraine’s Orange government. But, on the other hand, at
least they emerged and did damage. In a number of other regimes bordering
Ukraine, corruption stays submerged and encourages ever more ambitious

Moreover, consensus government, for all its many faults, does at least
provide a voice for each of the interest groups. Ukraine would have its
irreconcilable issues whatever the form of government. If one party
dominated government then it might be able to dictate stability for a
while, but other factions would be left with no choice but to attempt to
bring down government and establish their own period in power. Hardly a
recipe for long-term stability.

Indeed, given the entrenched factionalism in Ukrainian politics, the sort
of coalition government likely to emerge after the March elections is
perhaps the only form that has the chance to achieve some kind of longer-
term balance.

At this stage, the most likely outcome of the elections appears to be a
coalition government formed between Viktor Yuschenko’s Our Ukraine
and Viktor Yanukovich’s Party of the Regions. This time last year, a
partnership between the heads of the two parties that fought the Orange
Revolution would have been unthinkable. But the exigencies of government
have forced the two sides towards cooperation. If a government is indeed
formed between them, it will doubtless prove highly conflictual and may
well break down.

But what the Orange Revolution and its aftermath has shown is that neither
side is able to govern for long alone, and that some sort of cooperation is
necessary if the longer-term goal of a more stable, wealthy, powerful
Ukraine is to be achieved. And that cooperation, is what a consensual,
democratic government, for all its faults, is best able to achieve.

The remarkable global appetite for risk, the strength of Russian equity so
far this year and the number of Ukraine dedicated funds that have emerged
in recent months may well mean that Ukrainian equity will look attractive
in the aftermath of the upcoming elections.

My taxi driver and I may have been united in our bleak outlook for Ukrainian
politics, but we were also equally united in our hope for a stable business
environment in which to increase our incomes. He had been one of those
dedicated drum bashers the previous year who had kept up a 24/7 racket
outside government.

His desire to murder the resulting personnel was not your ideal democratic
response, but it does illustrate the level of frustration with the stand-off
that has frozen government for the last 12 months ahead of the March
elections – possibly exacerbated by several weeks standing in the snow
banging a drum.

While the coalition that will likely emerge will not exhibit the
unchallenged cohesion of Putin’s Kremlin, it could well prove to be better
than both the current incumbents and the pre-revolutionary monopoly.
NOTE: Opinions contributed to Prime-Tass are not edited. If you
would like to contribute your opinion, please send an email to:
Renaissance Capital:

[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

OP-ED: By Taras Kuzio
In reply to Anders Aslund’s Kyiv Post opinion article of Feb 2
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, February 23, 2006

Anders Aslund’s opinion article in the Post on Feb. 2 is not the first time
he has opposed re-privatization in Ukraine. Aslund became a staunch critic
of the pursuit of re-privatization early in May 2005 when he wrote
"Revolution Betrayed" for the Washington Post.

This came only two months into the Yulia Tymoshenko government and
signified his break with Tymoshenko’s economic and social policies dubbed
negative for being "populist." This, alone, does not make such policies

Aslund’s disillusionment with the Tymoshenko government was also influenced
by its ignoring of the Blue Ribbon Commission report he had co-authored with
the United Nations Development Program. Calling for a "new wave of reforms,"
the report was unveiled at the Carnegie Endowment after Viktor Yushchenko
was inaugurated president.

Oleksandr Paskhaver, president of the Kyiv-based Center of Economic
Development and an advisor to Yushchenko, was one of the report’s
co-authors. Both Aslund and Paskhaver have been stern critics of

Speaking on joint panels at Washington think tanks, Aslund and I have held
different views of Ukraine since the Orange Revolution. My approach has been
to support and criticize both Tymoshenko and Yushchenko whereas Aslund
has heaped all of his criticism on Tymoshenko while sidestepping President
Yushchenko’s own policy failures.

Only after my prompting at a panel at the conservative American Enterprise
Institute in December 2005 was I able to draw out from Aslund some belated,
mild criticism of Yushchenko. Aslund told the AEI that he did not believe
that Tymoshenko would be prime minister again or that Orange Revolution
unity would be reformed in the post-election parliamentary coalition.

It became clear that Aslund would prefer a Party of Regions-Our Ukraine
parliamentary coalition, perhaps with Volodymyr Lytvyn’s participation. I
have dubbed such a scenario as Kuchma-like, referring to its resemblance
of political alliances that were loyal to the former president.

Heaping blame on Tymoshenko in the first year of the Orange Revolution is
coupled with an unwillingness to understand the varied motives that drove
Ukrainians into mobilizing in the Orange Revolution. Aslund is right to
believe that re-privatization was not the only demand of the Orange
Revolution. At the same time, to deny that this demand was absent would
be also historically wrong.

On a visit to Washington this month, Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko said
three political forces had a right to claim a part in the Orange Revolution:
Our Ukraine, the Tymoshenko bloc and the Socialist Party of Ukraine. The
Orange Revolution and Tymoshenko cannot be separated. Her fiery
speeches were far better at mobilizing Ukrainians than Yushchenko’s.

In Washington, Lutsenko repeated his earlier comments to the Silski Visti
newspaper (Dec. 20, 2005) that the so-called Orange Revolution was
"primarily an anti-criminal revolution." Lutsenko repeated the exact same
phrase during his Washington talks. Millions joined the Orange Revolution
to protest the belief that "criminals stole their future."

The Orange Revolution was not driven by Ukrainians seeking to join the
WTO, make Ukraine a safe place to invest, respect property rights or create
a market economy. These issues were present in the Orange Revolution but
they were not dominant.

All four democratic revolutions in Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan
between 2000-2005 were driven by demands for justice and anger at the
abuse of office by the ruling elites. Election fraud was merely the spark
that ignited pent-up frustration.

To deny Tymoshenko’s views on the question of justice is to ignore a major
mobilizing factor in the Orange Revolution. Tymoshenko has outlined what
she believed Ukrainians mobilized for – justice, fairness, an end to lies
and for their voices to be heard.

In surveys, Ukrainian respondents understand questions relating to
corruption as referring to high-level abuse of office. These views tie in
with the commonly held view that individuals only enter politics to fulfill
corrupt ends and not to defend the interests of voters.

Disappointment in the struggle against corruption is understood as the
Yushchenko administration having not pursued the Orange Revolution

slogan of sending "Bandits to Prison!" During the Orange Revolution no
one attempted to define who these "bandits" were, but, most commonly,
they were understood to be senior-level officials in the Kuchma
administration and Kuchma himself.

Frustration is felt because only lower- and medium-level officials were
charged and imprisoned in 2005, as in the Kuchma era. Meanwhile, not a
single senior official has been charged, a major source of disillusionment
in the Orange camp.

The manner in which re-privatization and justice was dealt with in 2005 was
poorly handled by both Yushchenko and Tymoshenko. Yushchenko failed to
quickly end the debate between those opposed to re-privatization and those
in favor, allowing it to drag on throughout 2005.

Yushchenko was abroad more than at home. Yushchenko was, however,

let down by Tymoshenko’s emotional responses to policy issues and her
unwillingness to not air disagreements publicly.

Aslund is correct to argue that "it would be unreasonable to expect
re-privatization to be more corrupt than initial privatization." This should
not, however, be treated as an excuse for diametrically shifting from
perceived mass re-privatization, a policy commonly attributed to
Tymoshenko, to no privatization, as proclaimed by her replacement, Prime
Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov.

Yekhanurov and Aslund are ideologically close in not seeing the need, like
Paskhaver, for any re-privatizations, including the two that have been

Yushchenko, meanwhile, has forgotten to explain to Ukrainians why he

needed to remove the Tymoshenko government and to explain why justice
had been served with only two re-privatizations; after all, in spring 2005, he
claimed there was a list of 30 companies which were to be reviewed for
possible re-privatization.

To argue that re-privatizations should not be undertaken because the courts
are corrupt has consequences in other areas. Does it also mean that the
so-called bandits should not be put on trial because the courts will not be
able to guarantee them a fair trial?

The other element of this debate is that attitudes towards oligarchs and
corruption differ regionally in Ukraine. Surveys show there to be a hard
core of 23-25 percent opposed to anything Orange. Other Ukrainians will
vote for Regions of Ukraine to exact revenge for what they see as a stolen
victory in 2004.

And they don’t have a problem with the leader of that bloc, Viktor
Yanukovych, who has an alleged criminal background, nor the inclusion of
oligarchs, such as Rinat Akhmetov. Eastern Ukrainian voters either do not
believe criminality to be an important issue, or this issue is overshadowed
by their dislike of anything Orange.

Re-privatization is a complicated issue tied to emotional and subjective
factors, such as demands for justice and anger at the so-called mafia –
criminal elements running the country during the 1990s. These attitudes
have to be taken into account, particularly in an election year.

Tragically, President Yushchenko has failed to deal with the issues of
justice and re-privatization to the satisfaction of either his own Orange
supporters or eastern Ukrainians. 
Taras Kuzio is Visiting Professor at the Institute for European, Russian
and Eurasian Studies at the Elliott School of International Affairs at
George Washington University in Washington, D.C. (
OP-ED: By Anders Aslund, "Re-privatization Should Be Avoided"
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, February 2, 2006

[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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5.                                 "NOT BEST FRIENDS"
  No mood on the part of voters who wish to see a united Orange front is
           capable of putting together the pieces of the broken vessel.

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Olha Dmytrycheva
Zerkalo Nedeli, Kiev, Ukraine, in Russian 11 Feb 06, p 2
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Saturday, Feb 18, 2006

Unification initiatives voiced by the propresidential Our Ukraine bloc and
the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc, two former allies from the Orange Revolution,
are no more than election campaign manoeuvring and empty slogans, a major
weekly has written.

The author said Our Ukraine was seriously considering the option of a repeat
parliamentary election if it is unhappy with the outcome of next month’s
parliamentary election. The author concluded that despite the desire of many
voters to see the two blocs unite, any coalition of "orange forces" is
highly unlikely.

The following is the text of the article by Olha Dmytrycheva, entitled "Not
best friends", published in the Ukrainian newspaper Zerkalo Nedeli on 11
February; subheadings have been inserted editorially:
Although the [pro-government] Our Ukraine [bloc] proposed that four members
of the parliamentary race to unite in a campaign coalition straightaway,
everyone pretty much knew from the very beginning who really was the object
of the presidential team’s attention.

The active participation of the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc [YTB] faction in
overthrowing the [Yuriy] Yekhanurov government, which took place in
parliament after the gas agreements were signed with Moscow, had an
immediate effect on YTB’s rating.

Yuriy Yekhanurov’s words, which he voiced after the parliamentary vote
dismissing the government, proved prophetic: our people really love anyone
who has been hurt. Especially when there is doubt about the justice of the
inflicted offence. The results of January polls show an increase in the
number of those who intend to vote in the election for the list headed by

At the same time the number of people supporting YTB has dwindled. Not

much, but enough for the electoral sympathies of Our Ukraine to surpass
YTB and take second place after the Party of Regions.

That served as a propitious circumstance for Our Ukraine, realizing its
advantage, to open up its arms from the position of the strong player: "Come
and join us!". But the charming ingredient in the draft accord on
establishing an Orange coalition, which was sent to YTB, the Socialist Party
of Ukraine [SPU], The Kostenko-Plyushch Bloc and Reforms and Order-Pora
Bloc, was not the text of the document, but the addendum to it.

Significantly surpassing the introductory part of the message in volume, it
contained a list of posts, offered for division among the potential
signatories to the accord. All four were asked to determine their priorities
with regard to the representation of their political forces in the
composition of the Cabinet of Ministers, among regional governors, in the
leadership of parliamentary committees and in other state bodies formed by

"I ask you to also to express your views on the organization of principles
of cooperation between political forces in the framework of the
parliamentary coalition which will be formed after the 2006 election. I
believe that the signed draft coalition accord, together with the support of
the current Ukrainian cabinet can lay a strong foundation for the
cooperation of our political forces for the good of Ukraine in the future
composition of the Supreme Council [parliament]", read the message signed

by the chief of the political council of the Our Ukraine Bloc, Roman

Can you get any stronger? Such open pragmatism here served as a reason to
"stain" the Our Ukrainians. You wouldn’t say that their counterparts are
idealistic through and through. But their indignation over "divvying up" the
country looked quite reasonable.

"Unification should come based on the principles of ideology and platform",
the first deputy leader of YTB, Mykola Tomenko, said. "If this accord is
about dividing up posts in the future government, let them agree with those
who want to divide up portfolios. We are more interested in the principles
upon which the coalition government will be formed," said number seven in
the Reforms and Order-Pora Bloc Serhiy Sobolev.

"I think that those who offer specific posts as the object of agreement are
working against the coalition. Everything needs to be done after the
election", said SPU leader Oleksandr Moroz in sharing his thoughts.
But at the same time, not one of the addressees of the "indecent proposal"
declined to take part in negotiations, meant to lead to a common denominator
of the position of the once united Orange team and give the voter a
coalition accord. No-one wanted to lose points with his voters, who still
are full of desire to see the Maydan team united, and so they did not reject
the outstretched hand.

Besides, not everyone’s public statements always coincide with their true
views and intentions. According to some pieces of information, the SPU
supported the "businesslike tone" of the Our Ukrainians at negotiations and
made it understood that they were ready to delegate their man to head the
National Bank of Ukraine.

In addition to the cabinets already occupied by their party members. In
short, the SPU are open for any type of discussions. The only thing they are
firm about is their striving to keep from getting back the status of an
opposition force. And you can judge this from not only by their behaviour,
but by the words of individual statements by their leader.

In commenting on the draft accord offered by Our Ukraine, Oleksandr Moroz
did not rule out a coalition in the new parliament with the Party of
Regions: "There can be various configurations of a pro-authority coalition.
And we are not against cooperation, including with such forces as the Party
of Regions, in order to at least neutralize the tension between east and
west [Ukraine]".

It seems Oleksandr Moroz named exactly that force, cooperation with which
both YTB and Our Ukraine have stubbornly rejected, while at the same time
suspecting each other of secret agreements with the Donetsk people [Party of
Regions is viewed as dominated by people from Donetsk Region].

And the latter in turn, in the words of their leader Viktor Yanukovych,
regularly state they do not intend to form any alliances with anyone of the
Orange camp. The unbending rise of the Party of Regions’ rating is a fact
which one must take into account.
                                     MUTUAL DISTRUST
And it’s very hard to not be impressed by the figure which is drawn after
adding together the likely results of the pro-presidential bloc and the
Party of Regions in the election. You get that much sought after majority
which would allow one to nominate his own prime minister and form a
coalition government.

It would be easier for Our Ukraine to not give in to that temptation if it
knew for certain that Yuliya Tymoshenko would not take its place in an
alliance with the Party of Regions. But that guarantee does not exist.

And though recent polls show that YTB’s harvest in the election could turn
out to be more modest that that of the Our Ukrainians, the votes lacking to
make a majority could be added, as we’ve already noted, by Oleksandr Moroz.

And so the president’s circle has to invent a new means which in their minds
is capable of thwarting the rise of a parliamentary majority without the
participation of Our Ukraine. And it is not for nothing that in the draft
accord the need to form an Orange coalition is based on the need to give
back the president his status as leader of the entire team of the Maydan.

"We stress that our potential partners should recognize the president as the
leader of the Orange coalition. And then, of course it will be logical to
recognize his right to form his team", stated another Our Ukraine
representative in the negotiation process, Roman Zvarych.

On the other hand, Yuliya Tymoshenko, who was nailed to the shameful rail
post of pollsters which can be bought, those consciously perverting the real
picture of electorate sympathies, says only two forces will be competing in
the parliamentary election – YTB and the Party of Regions. And such
confidence in her advantage over Our Ukraine inspired YTB to write its own
accord on a coalition of Orange forces.

By agreeing to the offer from YTB, Our Ukraine could rid itself of its main
fear. Since one of the points of the draft accord from Tymoshenko proposes
rejecting signatures on forming a coalition with those political forces
which "are against national interests and which strive to criminalize power,
in particular, the Party of Regions".
                                   NOT A SERIOUS ACCORD
But it appears that this document was not written to be a real accord.
Another point testifies of this, the one which reads that potential partners
in the coalition, among other things, "demand a review of the gas agreements
which are ruinous for Ukraine[ellipsis as published] and for holding
responsible those bureaucrats who are guilty of betraying national

But in the course of negotiations a compromise can always be found,

trading proposals unacceptable to one’s opponent for a point the other
side is proposing, which is just as disagreeable to you.

As far as the principles of personnel policy written in the draft accord
from YTB – despite statements from Our Ukraine that Tymoshenko is

insisting she be nominated prime minister after the election, that is not there.

It only reads that the political force which gets the most votes compared to
other coalition participants will propose its candidate for head of the
cabinet. And that the rest of the vacancies will be filled by the
participants based on the results of the election.

Viktor Yushchenko’s name is not mentioned in the accord as the leader of

the association being created but it is at the end together with the names of
the other participants. In as much as it reads that it is the president who
is the guarantor of the principles and foundations of the activity of the
coalition being fulfilled.

And we don’t know what Roman Zvarych had in mind when he accused YTB

of plagiarism. But if as Zvarych claims, the draft accord being proposed by
YTB is practically the same, excepting a couple of points, as the one earlier
presented by Our Ukraine, then it is logical to ask what is keeping these
political forces from melting into coalition ecstasy after negotiating to
remove differences? The answer is easy: we are brash enough to suggest
that such an end result is not what is meant. And by either side.

But while Tymoshenko and her team are passive in this given situation, Our
Ukraine is the initiator. The behaviour of her representatives is all the
more surprising – for the third week running they are doing everything so
that their proposals to unite will be met with a categorical "No!".
                                 DISMISSING PARLIAMENT?
Roman Bezsmertnyy, who has been actively giving interviews and commentary
these days, at first admitted he did not like Tymoshenko, saying that only
his party duty forced him to enter negotiations with YTB. And then with the
knowledge of a historian said, "the solidarity which is being declared by
Yuliya Tymoshenko was the basis for fascism". And to round out the picture,
he said in one daily that if the result of the election is not good for Our
Ukraine\[ellipsis as published] there would be a new election.

That could be taken for a slip of the tongue, if not for Roman Petrovych
[Bezsmertnyy]’s statement in another publication. In answer to a question on
whether the Our Ukraine campaign headquarters was looking at the variant of
a repeat election, he answered in the affirmative.

To be honest, observant journalists have long noticed that along with
periods of enlightenment, Roman Bezsmertnyy has dark periods. Only his

own self-criticism excuses him.

In the same interview, when asked whom of the political beau monde he’d like
to punch in the face, Bezsmertnyy answered: "Myself, for certain phrases".
Maybe he should do it with everyone watching, so that they understood
immediately what statements by the leader of the Our Ukraine campaign
deserve attention and which are simply "empty words".

Zvarych was not far behind in his efforts to end the negotiation process as
fast as possible. What is behind his statement that, besides other things,
the potential participants in the coalition must "repeal the decision by
parliament regarding the so-called dismissal of the government". YTB is
certainly an influential faction in parliament, but not so much that it can
repeal a decision by the legislative body.

One thing emerges from all of this: a coalition of Orange forces is as
realistic today as unification between [far-left politician] Nataliya
Vitrenko and [right-wing MP] Oleh Tyahnybok. And no mood on the part

of voters who wish to see a united Orange front is capable of putting
together the pieces of the broken vessel.

In the big picture, Our Ukraine’s nervousness can be explained by the fact
that they are beginning to recognize that their presence in a parliamentary
majority is not a given. Nobody really needs Our Ukraine. Since the next
parliament will be just another limited liability company with a supervisory
council of the majority and an executive body in the cabinet and management
under the council of factions.

Ideological boundaries between the main shareholders in the enterprise are
so vague that they will have no big problem in agreeing with each other in
any configuration. It is another matter that it is very important to the
workability of the LTD company, that the president not try to stop its
wheels from rolling.

But if the president still does not want to act in the aggressive manner so
foreign to him, he should choose his candidates more carefully before
charging them with the negotiation process.  -30-

[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
         Ukrainian tycoon allowed to export oil despite national interests,
Member of Parliament Ihor Kolomoyskyy, who controls the Pryvat group

Kiyevskiy Telegraf, Kiev, in Russian 18 Feb 06; p 7
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Tuesday, Feb 21, 2006

Two Ukrainian companies have been allowed to export oil despite possible
shortages in the future, a weekly has said. It added that the firms were
linked to MP Ihor Kolomoyskyy, who controls the Pryvat group.

The following is the text of the article by Ivan Stoichkov entitled "Who
does a National Security and Defence Council member rescue? What is

behind dubious exports?" published in the Kiyevskiy Telegraf newspaper
on 18 February; subheadings have been inserted editorially:

The problem of energy safety has become extremely topical recently. It gave
rise to a major demand: that all fuels produced in Ukraine should above all
serve its interests. Domestic interests. However, not everybody seems to
have understood this. But then, this is hardly surprising: as we know, self
comes first.

There are two amazing documents: letters approving the issue of licenses

for exporting crude oil of Ukrainian origin (i.e. oil extracted in Ukraine)
under foreign trade contracts. Both documents were signed by Fuel and
Energy Minister Ivan Plachkov.

The papers allow two Ukrainian companies to export Ukrainian oil.

[1] The first one is the Prylutskyy Naftonalyv limited-liability company –
which is allowed to export 60,000 tonnes, of them 15,000 tonnes in the first
quarter of 2006 (under foreign trade contract No 3/2006-H signed on 26
December 2005 between Prylutskyy Naftonalyv and the company SWS
Handelsgesellschaft mbH).

[2] The second one is the open joint-stock company Naftokhimik Prykarpattya,
which is allowed to export 120,000 tonnes (under foreign trading contract No
zz/060106 signed on 6 January 2006 between Naftokhimik Prykarpattya and
Lawndale Group S.A., based in Tortola, Virgin Islands).

It looks like at a time when our country is falling over backwards trying to
get rid of energy dependence, including dependence on oil, some people can
comfortably do business. Lucrative business. As they say, winter is no
obstacle for ice hockey, and some people actually benefit from difficulties.
                                  FUEL MINISTER’S ROLE
However, the question emerges: "In this case, why is the National Security
and Defence Council charges with overseeing supply issues?" The president
[Viktor Yushchenko] recently appointed none other than Ivan Plachkov as a
member of the council. What for? Was it to better coordinate the export of
something which our country needs so badly?

Everything was fine as it was: the two firms mentioned above exported some
180,000 tonnes of oil, which is almost as much oil as is extracted in
Ukraine per month.

In other words, it looks like while Agricultural Policy Minister Oleksandr
Baranivskyy and Economics Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk are fighting for the
successful start of the sowing campaign, enough fuel supplies and are
striving to prevent all sorts of sugar, meat or milk crises, a National
Security and Defence Council member organizes these crises?
                        BUSINESSMAN MP TO BENEFIT
However, there is another detail which suggests an answer. Both Prylutskyy
Naftonalyv and Naftokhimik Prykarpattya have close ties with the chief of
the notorious Pryvat group [MP and businessman] Ihor Kolomoyskyy.

There is an impression that this man (sorry, gentleman) has got the knack of
persuading people. He has arguments. Are they is his briefcase or in a box
from a copying machine? Are they sufficient for everyone, or just for some
"members" and other judges on call?

But this is not a topic of this article. There are other agencies which
should look into this. Among them is the National Security and Defence
Council, which, incidentally, is going to consider the issue of energy
safety and searching for ways of diversifying energy flows to Ukraine once
again.   -30-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #665, Article 7
Washington, D.C., Thursday, February 23, 2006

An open ended issue is prevalent on how America will deal with East
Ukrainian political leader Viktor Yanukovych’s likely resurgence in the
Ukrainian body politic. Keep in mind that American foreign policy elites are
preoccupied with other issues like Iraq, Iran and Hamas-Israel. Post Soviet
Ukraine under Leonid Kravchuk, Leonid Kuchma and Viktor Yushchenko
has burned America three times.

On Ukraine, there’s apprehension among those American elites, whose foreign
policy specialties are in other areas. At the same time, those concerned
with Ukraine from a neo-conservative and George Soros funded neo-liberal
persuasion will no doubt push for continued support for the more
"pro-Western" forces within the Ukrainian political establishment. This
advocacy is staunchly backed by the relatively influential and politically
active West Ukrainian community in Canada and the U.S.

Yanukovych is so far positioning himself well by not going against his
pro-Russian constituency, while expressing an openness to the West minus
Ukraine joining NATO. Yanukovych is cool towards NATO like the majority
of Ukraine’s citizenry. He’s interesting in closer EU ties with Ukraine, but
is also sympathetic to the proposed Common Economic Sphere with Russia.

He no doubt recognizes that Ukrainian membership in the EU isn’t probable
in the near future. A recent public opinion poll shows most of Ukraine’s
citizenry sharing Yanukovych’s opinion of the CES, EU and NATO. [1]

North American attitudes towards Ukraine have been traditionally influenced
by North Americans of West Ukrainian descent. This is especially true of
Canada, where the ethnic West Ukrainian dynamic is proportionately greater
than the U.S. In 1991, Canada and Poland recognized an independent Ukraine
before a referendum was held to formally determine that matter.

Prior to World War I., Western Ukraine was part of the Hapsburg Empire and
between the two world wars (1918-39), it was part of Poland. West Ukraine’s
centuries long separation from historic Russia (those lands descended from
Kievan Rus) resulted in that region developing a different geopolitical
outlook, along with a distinct Christian denomination (Uniate), dialect (a
mix of Polish, German and Ukrainian) and architecture.

It should be noted that many people with ancestral roots from the territory
of modern day Ukraine don’t always identify with Ukraine as much as they do
with some other lands. Ethnic Poles from Lviv/Lvov are likely to feel a
greater kinship with Poland.

Jews from Ukraine often tend to identify more with either Russia or Poland.
There’re many ethnic Russians from Ukraine. The 20% ethnic Romanian
population in Bukovina (a region in Western Ukraine) are known to not be
sympathetic towards Ukrainian nationalism. Not to be overlooked are those
Ukrainians favoring close ties with Russia.

Prior to the American government legislated Jackson-Vanik amendment of the
19 seventies (which began opening up emigration of Soviet nationals to
America), the West Ukrainian view of Ukraine dominated America. Since
Jackson-Vanik, a greater number of people from southern, central and eastern
Ukraine have migrated to America as well as to Canada.

Many of these newer arrivals don’t share the West Ukrainian tendency of
seeking to distance Ukraine from Russia. Despite this, the West Ukrainian
consensus remains the more dominant one in North America. Case in point was
a poll among Chicago’s Ukrainian population during the so called "orange
revolution." That poll favored Yushchenko by over 90%. This despite the fact
that his opponent Yanukovych received over 40% of the vote in the last
Ukrainian presidential election.

American Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice’s recently repeated assertion

of hers that Russia is (in her view) slipping back on democratic reforms
indicates that Washington officialdom would be cool towards closer
Russo-Ukrainian relations.

Simultaneously though, one can find instances where extreme criticism of the
Russian government can have its limits. Witness Anders Aslund’s leaving the
high profile (by American think tank standards) Carnegie Endowment for
International Peace.

Aslund’s August paper calling for the overthrow of the "Putin regime" and
his catering to anti-Russian advocates was apparently too much for the
neo-liberal slanted Carnegie Endowment. Aslund has clearly targeted himself
for support from the anti-Russian lobby of North American based individuals.
A good number of these people have roots in Poland, Western Ukraine and
the Baltics.

The Orange Circle ( is a newly created
organization that has been funded in good measure by the West-Ukrainian
American community. I recognize that the general sentiment in Western
Ukraine is shared by others throughout Ukraine (though not as
enthusiastically), much like how pro-Russian sentiment can be found in
Western Ukraine.

Since the Soviet breakup, greater attempts have been made on the part of
some North American based Polish and West Ukrainian intellectuals to promote
closer relations between Ukraine and Poland, with Russia portrayed in a
negative manner (despite this, one often hears that anti-Polish sentiment in
Western Ukraine remains greater when compared to anti-Russian feeling).

The makeup of the Orange Circle is quite revealing. Zbigniew Brzezinski,
Janusz Onyszkiewicz (former Polish Defense Minister), Madeleine Albright,
Ann Applebaum (the influential Washington Post editor, who is married to the
current Polish defense minister Radek Sikorski), Timothy Garton Ash (a
prominent neo-conservative) Bronislaw Geremek and Vaclav Havel are all
positively referred to at the Orange Circle’s web site (some of them are
formally involved with that organization).

A February 1, Orange Circle panel discussion featured Adrian Karatnycky,
Anders Aslund and Marianna Kozinstseva
( ). Karatnycky
is the grandson of West Ukrainian emigres. For several years, he was on the
staff of Freedom House, which has historically had a West Ukrainian bias.
He now heads the Orange Circle.

Since his departure from the Carnegie Endowment, Aslund has been active in
stating his views before Russia unfriendly gatherings. Kozintseva, the
lesser known of the three, is employed by the American financial firm Bear
Stearns. Her Orange Circle panel appearance was intriguing given her stated
skepticism of the supposed achievements of the so called "orange

Perhaps the February 1, invitation to Kozintseva shows a realization on the
part of the orange crowd that they aren’t likely to have their way in
Ukraine and that compromises will have to be made. There’s also the
possibility of their trying to woo Yanukovych to a more West Ukrainian
direction. This could be employed via a "damage control" plan.

Under this scenario, there’s the tacit acknowledgement that Ukraine will not
politically influence Russia and that Moscow’s historically close
relationship with its southern neighbor will not end. At the same time,
continued efforts will be made to limit Russian influence in Ukraine as

much as possible.

The Orange Circle’s recent creation is no doubt initiated (in part) to
further encourage a greater separation between Kiev and Moscow. There’s
presently no effective pro-Russian lobbying group in the U.S. to offer a
different perspective. Specifically, that closer Russo-Ukrainian relations
aren’t a threat to Western interests.

Given all of the variables, look for Washington, Moscow and the leading
Ukrainian political factions to keep the existing differences from fully
boiling over. No one benefits from a socio-economically weakened Ukraine.
Poll shows Ukrainians favour joining CIS economic bloc ahead of EU
Ukrainian news agency UNIAN, Kiev, 15 February:
While 42.6 per cent of Ukrainians support the country’s accession to the
European Union, 56.8 per cent support membership of the Single Economic
Space [with Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan].
The results of a national poll conducted by the Democratic Initiatives fund
in January was announced at a round table in Kiev today.
Another 30.5 per cent of respondents opposed Ukraine’s EU entry, while
26.9 per cent failed to give an answer. While 17.8 per cent who opposed
Ukraine’s accession to the Single Economic Space, 25.5 per cent failed to
give a clear answer.
Respondents provided the following answers to a question about Ukraine’s
NATO entry: 19.2 per cent supported the entry; 55 per cent opposed it; 25.8
per cent had difficulty answering. When asked about the best guarantee of
Ukraine’s security, the answers were as follows: 17.1 per cent mentioned
NATO entry; 35.5 per cent, military union with Russia and other CIS
countries; 26.2 per cent, a non-bloc status; 20 per cent failed to give a
clear answer. The number of respondents polled was 2,000.
Commenting on the data, the director of the Democratic Initiatives fund,
Ilko Kucheriv, said that about 10 per cent of Ukrainians are really
interested in politics and are well informed. The problem is that
Ukrainians have a low awareness of what NATO is about, and they are guided
by the old stereotype of NATO as an aggressive bloc. He pointed out that 1
per cent of respondents were able to answer how many wars were started by
NATO.The director of international programmes at the Ukrainian Razumkov
centre for economic and political studies, Valeriy Chalyy, told the round
table that research conducted by the centre in January showed that only 6.6 per
cent of respondents said they were well informed about the EU, and 6.25 per
cent about NATO. Chalyy said this makes any opinion poll concerning these
institutions unreasonable because one cannot express an opinion without
knowing the subject.                       -30-
Mike Averko is a New York based independent foreign policy analyst

whose commentary has appeared in Eurasian Home, Johnson’s Russia
List, Intelligent.Ru, The Moscow Times, New York Times and Newsday.
He can be contacted at:
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
         Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.
8 .                           MORE CARROT, LESS STICK
                 U.S. finally recognizes Ukraine as a market economy
   Graduation from Jackson-Vanik amendment for Ukraine should be next

EDITORIAL: Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, February 23, 2006

Last week, a top official from the U.S. Commerce Department came to
Ukraine to announce that his country had finally recognized the former
Soviet republic as a market economy.

Up until then, Ukraine was vulnerable to various U.S. trade restrictions,
which it could not appeal in court with the argument that the country’s
economy was market-oriented. Many of these trade restrictions are still in
place by the EU, Russia, the U.S. and other countries as Ukraine is still
not a member of the WTO.

But now Ukraine has a chance to defend its export rights to the U.S. in
court without having to prove it’s a market economy.

We congratulate Ukraine on this accomplishment and welcome everything
that it will mean for its dynamic economy. However, much more remains to
be done before Ukraine takes the much more important step of becoming a
WTO member.

Ukraine has worked hard convincing other WTO member countries one by
one to accept it as a member. President Viktor Yushchenko’s administration
has been active in pushing much of the necessary legislation through

The process, however, is certain to continue being painful, as a large
portion of the legislature – communists and lawmakers loyal to business
interests keen on keeping protection laws in place – continue to block the
rostrum whenever WTO-friendly bills are discussed. "Protection of the
domestic producer" is their self-serving battle cry.

Spoiled by sweet inside deals which gave them monopolistic control over a
large share of Ukraine’s economy, they have no desire to face competition,
which fuels growth and quality in any open market.

It is probably no coincidence that the factions in parliament which oppose
WTO membership often voted in line with Russian interests on issues such
as an official status for the Russian language and joining a trade union
with Russia.

Moscow, which has urged Ukraine to join the Single Economic Space and
hammered its southern neighbor with higher gas prices, also wants to join
the WTO, but doesn’t like the idea that Ukraine could get in first. Being
first would give either country an enviable advantage over the other:
setting conditions for aspiring members. The U.S. Commerce Department
seems to be eager to avoid such a conflict by suggesting Ukraine and Russia
join simultaneously.

We salute any proposal that would allow Ukraine to join at least as early
Russia, which has more than once displayed its desire to pressure Ukraine
into becoming more compliant to its interests.

Moving on, the U.S. and EU need to continue rewarding Kyiv’s reform efforts.
And the next step for Washington should be Congress’s annulment of the
Cold-War era Jackson-Vanik amendment, which authorized trade restrictions
intended to pressure the Soviet authorities into letting Jews emigrate. This
goal has long been achieved.

The Senate removed Ukraine from the list last November. The bill has yet to
be approved by the House of Representatives. If the U.S. is serious about
helping Ukraine, be it for geopolitical reasons or honest desire to aid an
aspiring democracy, it should ensure that this is accomplished soon.
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Please fax letters to Congress now to graduate Ukraine from Jackson-Vanik

Ambassador Steven Pifer and Ambassador Williams Miller, Co-Chairmen
Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition, Washington, D.C., February, 2006

WASHINGTON – The Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition is pushing to
persuade the House of Representatives to pass legislation in February to
graduate Ukraine from the provisions of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment.
This is now a matter requiring URGENT action.

The Coalition is urging Congress to take action now, due to concern that,
with the approaching March 26 Rada elections, a failure by Congress to act
will be seen as a failure of the Ukrainian government’s foreign policy and
an indication of Western disinterest in Ukraine.

Congressional inaction thus could be used by opponents of the government’s
pro-reform, pro- West course in the run-up to the parliamentary elections.
The Coalition thus seeks passage of legislation by the House of
Representatives in February, to send a strong signal of U.S. support to

The Senate passed by unanimous consent legislation to graduate Ukraine in
November 2005, but the House of Representatives adjourned without taking
parallel action. The House returned to work on January 31.

Our understanding continues to be that there is no opposition per se to
graduating Ukraine in Congress; indeed, there is general agreement that
Ukraine has long met Jackson-Vanik’s freedom-of-emigration requirements.
However, the House Ways and Means Committee (the House committee
with primary jurisdiction for Jackson-Vanik) is reluctant to take up
legislation until it has the opportunity to review the U.S.-Ukraine bilateral

protocol on Ukraine’s accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Both U.S. and Ukrainian government sources report that significant progress
has been made on the protocol and that only a handful of issues remain, but
it is not known how soon the protocol will be finished.

The Coalition is urging members of Congress to support and co-sponsor H.R.
1053, introduced by Rep Gerlach of Pennsylvania. Of the three House bills
pending on Jackson-Vanik graduation for Ukraine, H.R. 1053 has the greatest
receptivity in the Ways and Means Committee. As of January 31, H.R. 1053
had almost 40 co-sponsors.

Coalition co-chairmen Steven Pifer and William Miller sent letters on
February 2 to members of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus who have not
yet co- sponsored H.R. 1053 urging them to do so and graduate Ukraine this
month (see text below). They also sent letters to the co-sponsors of H.R.
1053 and to members of the Ways and Means Committee urging action this


The Coalition urges all those who are interested in seeing Ukraine graduated
from Jackson-Vanik to fax letters NOW urging Congressional action THIS
MONTH to their members in the House of Representatives, to the members of
the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus, and to members of the House Ways and
Means Committee. The Coalition suggests faxing letters to district offices
as well as to the Representatives’ Washington offices.           -30-
                  Suggested points for use in letters or in calls to

                          Congressional offices follows below.

In November 2005, the Senate passed by unanimous consent legislation to
graduate Ukraine from the provisions of the Jackson-Vanik Amendment.
The House of Representatives now must take similar action, and pass the
graduation bill H.R. 1053 by the end of February.

Independent Ukraine fully meets the freedom-of- emigration requirements
of Jackson-Vanik, with an exemplary emigration record. This has been
acknowledged by Presidents Clinton and Bush.

Urgent action is required. Ukraine holds parliamentary elections in March.
Opponents of the Ukrainian government’s pro-reform, pro-West course will
seize on Congressional inaction as a failure of the Yushchenko government’s
foreign policy and an indication of Western disinterest.

Congress must act now to pass H.R. 1053 to graduate Ukraine and send a
positive signal of support for a democratic, market-oriented Ukraine that is
fully integrated into the Euro-Atlantic community. This is not just good for
Ukraine; it is in the U.S. national interest.

Moreover, graduating Ukraine from Jackson-Vanik is necessary to meet one
of the key U.S. commitments from the April 2005 Bush-Yushchenko Joint

Early action is supported by a broad coalition, which now numbers more than
250 Ukrainian- American groups, Jewish-American groups, American business
and NGOs.

For more information about the Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition, please
email and check website:
     Text of letter sent from JVGC to Congressional Ukrainian Caucus
               members who have not yet co- sponsored H.R. 1053:

Dear Congressional Ukrainian Caucus member,

We are writing to urge your support, as a member of the Congressional
Ukrainian Caucus, for graduating Ukraine from the provisions of the
Jackson-Vanik Amendment by the end of February. In particular, we ask
that you join now in co-sponsoring H.R. 1053.

The Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition, which currently represents more
than 250 businesses and Ukrainian-American, Jewish-American and other
non-governmental organizations, believes this is a matter of urgency.

Congressional action in February will send a critical signal of support for
strong U.S.- Ukrainian relations in the run-up to the very important March
26 parliamentary elections in Ukraine.

Lack of action, on the other hand, will be seized upon by opponents of
Ukraine’s pro-reform, pro-West government as both a failure of its foreign
policy and an indication of Western disinterest. Congressional action now
will have the optimum positive impact in Ukraine and promote the U.S.
national interest in integrating a democratic, market- oriented Ukraine into
the Euro-Atlantic community.

Ukraine fully merits graduation; it has long met Jackson-Vanik’s
freedom-of-emigration requirements. Moreover, it has created conditions in
which religious minorities can freely practice their beliefs. This has been
recognized by both Presidents Clinton and Bush. The Senate last November
passed by unanimous consent legislation to graduate Ukraine from
Jackson-Vanik. Action thus now lies with the House.

The Coalition supports H.R. 1053 as we have heard repeatedly that, of the
three House bills pending on Jackson-Vanik graduation for Ukraine, it has
the most receptivity in the Ways and Means Committee. As of January 31,
H.R. 1053 had almost 40 co-sponsors, double the number in November.

We urgently ask you to please support Ukraine’s graduation by joining now
as a co-sponsor of H.R. 1053 and urging your fellow members to take like
action, with the objective of passing legislation by the end of February.

Ambassador Pifer and Ambassador Miller
Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition Co-Chairmen

NOTE:  For complete information on the key members of the U.S.
House of Representatives the Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition
recommend you contact please go to the following link:
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                         MIGHT BE BEHIND HER STATEMENT

By Serhiy Kudelia, Ukrainian Service
Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL)
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, February 22, 2006

WASHINGTON – The accusations of Ukraine’s ex-Prime Minister Yulia

Tymoshenko against the U.S. company "Holtec International", contracted
to build a storage facility in Ukraine for the spent nuclear fuel, were absurd
and false. This is according to the company’s President Dr. Kris Singh,
interviewed by RFE/RL.

According to Dr. Singh, the contract signed on December 26, 2005 between
"ENERGOATOM" and Holtec provides that the storage will be used for the

spent fuel only from Ukrainian nuclear reactors, and not from the foreign ones,
as Tymoshenko asserted during her latest press-conference in Kyiv.

Dr. Singh also denied Tymoshenko’s claim that the U.S. government revoked
the company’s license. He thinks that with her statement, Tymoshenko might
have acted on behalf of certain business-interests within Ukraine. RFE/RL’s
Washington correspondent Serhiy Kudelia interviewed Dr. Singh for this

In the summer of 2003, Ukrainian state nuclear energy-generating company
"ENERGOATOM" announced an international tender to build a storage facility
for the used fuel from Ukraine’s nuclear stations. The main contenders for
the contract were the U.S. company "Holtec International" and Ukrainian
consortium, represented by the closed joint-stock company


At the beginning of October 2004, before the first round of the presidential
elections in Ukraine, the tender committee released its decision that the
Ukrainian offer should be viewed as preferable. However, already after the
Orange Revolution, in late December 2004, then head of "Energoatom" and
Ukraine’s minister of fuel and energy Serhiy Tulub announced that the
contract was awarded to the Holtec.

A year later, new head of "Energoatom" Yurii Nedeshkovskyi signed an
official contract with "Holtec International" for the construction of the
storage facility for the spent nuclear fuel. The contract value is
approximately $150 million, with 90% financed by Holtec. According to the
company’s press-release, this contract represents the largest investment in
Ukraine’s nuclear sector by a U.S. company.

On February 20, 2006, Yulia Tymoshenko, the leader of the opposition
election bloc "BYuT", called the signing of this contract a "fatal event"
since it could, allegedly, harm Ukraine’s security. Calling it a "nuclear
graveyard", Tymoshenko asserted that the projected storage facility would be
used to store the spent nuclear fuel not only from Ukraine, but also from
other countries. In the interview with RFE/RL, Holtec’s President Dr. Kris
Singh dismissed such an assertion:

"She (Yulia Tymoshenko) is misinformed. It’s not true. There is no foreign
fuel. The tender document did not mention any foreign fuel. And this
facility that we will be installing in Ukraine would not be for foreign
fuel. It is for the Ukrainian domestic reactor – fuel you burnt domestically
in Ukraine. It will be stored in the place, which is environmentally
acceptable, that pass the environmental impact statements and approved by
the government."

At the press-conference, Tymoshenko also questioned the business

reputation of the U.S. company. According to her, U.S. government revoked
the company’s license in May of 2005. "How can we choose as a contractor
a company, whose license was revoked in another country?", asked
Tymoshenko at the press-conference.
However, Dr. Kris Singh denies this accusation by Tymoshenko: "None of
our licenses has ever been revoked. Never mind 2005. There has never been
a revocation of the Holtec International license by the US Nuclear Regulatory
Commission, which is the license provider."

Dr. Kris Singh says that Tymoshenko’s statement regarding Holtec was

based on false facts and argues that there is "not an iota of truth in it." He
assumes that somebody might have misinformed Tymoshenko and presumes
that it could have been those politicians, who have been lobbying for the
interests of the Ukrainian consortium, represented by "Ukratomenergobud" –
business competitor of the U.S. company.

"There are political interests within Ukraine, who opposed this project. The
consortium, which filed a law suit, has, as I was told, some politicians in
their country involved. And it may not have been entirely their altruistic
interests for their country that they are protecting. But I don’t know their
names. And now may be they are looking at Ms. Tymoshenko as unwitting ally
to something that would harm their country."

Although Dr. Singh does not mention the names of the interested politicians,
it is not hard to guess whose political and business interests are at stake.
Ukrainian participant in the tender "Ukratomenergobud" acted as an official
representative of the consortium.

In reality, it acted on behalf of Novokramatorsk machine-building plant
(NKMZ), which submitted an application to participate in the tender process.
The president of NKMZ has been Georgiy Skudar, who is the member of

"Regions of Ukraine" faction in the Ukrainian parliament and number three
on the party list of the "Party of Regions" in this year’s election.

Dr. Singh says that he does not know anything about Ukrainian politics. But
he emphasizes that Ukraine is losing $7 million to $9 million a month due to
the lack of a storage facility for the spent nuclear fuel.

However, even political experts would probably be surprised by the fact that
Yulia Tymoshenko, the strong opponent of Viktor Yanukovich, makes
statements, which might benefit the business interests of the prominent
members of Yanukovich’s "Party of Regions."

Dr. Singh adds that her attempts to prevent Holtec from executing the
contract would only be harmful to Ukraine: "We are bringing to the country a
technology, which is significantly safer than anything they have their now.
We are bringing in the capital to deploy the technology. We are bringing in
the resources to employ Ukrainian people to build the equipment and

And we are bringing in the technology that represents the best in the United
States. And we are a company with the flawless performance record. If all of
this does not make sense to people, who have power in Ukraine and they
decide to cancel the contract, it would be an act of foolishness on their

The commissioning of the facility has been scheduled for 2008. However, as
election-fueled political controversy in Ukraine over the contract ensues,
its construction might be further delayed, costing Ukraine annually close to
$100 million.                                       -30-
NOTE: The original version of this report can be accessed here:
Serhiy Kudelia, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (Ukrainian Service)
Washington, DC, email:; phone: 202-457-6935 (work),
202-413-4887 (cell); fax: 202-457-6974.
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

             Run on stores & markets from Moscow to the Ural Mountains

Associated Press (AP), Moscow, Russia, Wed, February 22, 2006

MOSCOW – When fears of a shortfall in salt deliveries from Ukraine gathered
pace last week, the result was a run on stores and markets from Moscow to
the Ural Mountains.

Experts say the panic, that saw producers scramble to meet demand, was
fueled as much by the deep-seated worries of elderly Russians – whose
memories of the bread-lines of the Soviet Union have not been dispelled by
Russia’s newfound prosperity – as tense relations between Moscow and Kiev.

Salt underpins the Russian diet in a major way: experts estimate its
citizens consume as much as 20 grams per day – or four times the amount
recommended by the World Health Organization.

"The conditions for a deficit simply do not exist," Dmitry Yanin, head of
the international confederation of consumer societies, said in an interview
with The Associated Press.

According to Yanin, a major Ukrainian producer had changed the distribution
company it was working with in central Russia, leading to temporary
disruptions last week.

But the fact that a Ukrainian supplier was involved only fueled the panic.
Relations between the Kremlin and its western- leaning neighbor are
strained: Russia temporarily cut off Ukraine’s gas supplies in a New Year’s
price spat, while Russian officials have since imposed a ban on Ukrainian
dairy and meat imports.

"There followed a reaction typical to post-Soviet countries," said Yanin.
"The rumors spread, and the older generation remembers the years when salt,
sugar, soap and matches were in deficit. So they ran out, forgetting that a
person can only eat two packs of salt in a year, and bought 20 kilograms. Of
course traders started to raise prices."

Ultimately the only supply problems were to do with arranging transport to
cope with the extra demand. Ukraine doubled its exports to 35 rail wagons
per day. Producers delivered salt in unbranded plastic bags to some Moscow
stores, such was the rush to meet demand, according to Yanin.

Pickling vegetables, while contributing to the high levels of salt in
Russian’s diets, is something of a cottage industry. Many rely on the
gardens of their country allotments to supplement their often meager incomes
as well as their diets in the long winter months.

Stalls laden with buckets of pickled cucumbers, peppers and apples amid
mounds of sauerkraut can be found in any of Moscow’s food markets. Other
salty favorites include pungent dried fish – typically consumed with beer –
and salami.

Some 98% of Russia’s salt consumption – between 800,000 and 1 million

metric tons – is provided from local plants and imports from Ukraine and
Belorussia. While the two former Soviet republics mostly supply much of the
central Russian regions, plants in the cities of Astrakhan, Orenburg, Perm
and Irkutsk cover the rest of the country.

With the panic over, Russia’s anti-monopoly agency has said it will conduct
an investigation of the salt market for evidence of abuses by retailers.

But Yanin suggests that the root of the salt shortage lies in the public’s
conviction that – despite the much touted political and economic stability
under President Vladimir Putin, every one looks out for his own interests.
"Its a bad signal – if people are so sensitive to rumors it means they don’t
believe in the authorities’ ability to solve such problems," he said. "Trust
is minimal."   -30-

[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
    If you are receiving more than one copy of the AUR please contact us.
12.                  WILL UKRAINE’S NATO HOPES STALL?

Jane’s Intelligence Digest, United Kingdom, Friday, February 17, 2006

Ukrainian ministers continue to be publicly optimistic about their country’s
chances of future NATO membership. However, their timetables show
considerable variation. JID’s CIS correspondent reviews the current

Ask Ukrainian officials for their estimate on when their country will be
ready to join NATO and different dates are likely to be offered, ranging
from 2008 to 2010. Recently, Volodymyr Khandohiy, deputy foreign minister,
stated that Ukraine hoped to be included among the countries invited to join
at the NATO summit in 2008. This gathering is expected to have the further
enlargement of the alliance on its agenda. Three other countries could be
included in this phase: Croatia, Albania and Macedonia.

Being included on the 2008 enlargement list could see Ukraine and the three
other current candidates join NATO in 2010. Politically, this would be good
timing for Kiev, as the move would follow the October 2009 presidential
elections. However, such a scenario presupposes the re-election of pro-NATO
Viktor Yushchenko as President or, failing that, the election of a successor
who also favours membership.

Meanwhile, NATO General Secretary Jaap de Hoop Scheffer supports the view
that the 2008 NATO summit will have an enlargement agenda focusing on the
western Balkan states and Ukraine. However, he has so far declined to offer
a concrete date by which the four aspirant countries could actually become

For his part, Ukrainian Defence Minister Anatoliy Grytsenko believes Ukraine
could obtain a membership action plan (MAP) at the NATO summit in Riga in
November 2006. This will be first of the alliance’s summits to be held in a
former Soviet republic. If this forecast proves accurate, it would offer
Ukraine the opportunity to complete two annual cycles of MAP before being
formally invited to join NATO.
                              SUPPORT FROM WASHINGTON
Given that the current US administration is also committed to supporting
democratisation abroad, there is support in Washington for including Ukraine
and Georgia in NATO. US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has voiced
support for Ukraine’s membership. As one Ukrainian newspaper observed
recently: "The US will support it in every possible way and call on the
other allies to help Ukraine integrate into the alliance."

The present climate of unilateralism in the US could work in Ukraine’s
favour by reducing the need for Washington to take notice of continuing
Russian objections to Ukraine’s entry into NATO. This is especially true at
a time when there are serious concerns over the apparent ‘regression’ away
from democracy in Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

The territorial conflict with Russia over Tuzla island near the Crimea in
2003, the 2005-2006 winter gas crisis and the ongoing dispute over the Black
Sea Fleet’s illegal occupation of Crimean naval facilities have all served
to convince Ukraine’s leaders of the need to achieve NATO membership.

Yushchenko told a joint meeting in Kiev of Ukraine’s National Security and
Defence Council and NATO’s North Atlantic Council that NATO membership

would provide the necessary external guarantees for Ukraine’s national security.

Another key issue is the extent to which NATO membership is likely to impact
Ukraine’s future ambitions to join the EU. As de Hoop Scheffer has noted,
joining NATO may also be seen as a stepping stone to EU membership. At
present, the EU is inclined to offer ‘enhanced partnership’ to Ukraine
rather than full membership.

As the ‘carrot’ of eventual EU membership was crucial in encouraging
post-communist states to undertake painful and unpopular economic reforms,
the absence of such a promise could have a negative impact on reforms in

Although Kiev has a good chance of being invited into NATO’s MAP process

in 2006, the timeframe for achieving full membership could be delayed beyond
the 2008 NATO summit because of the widely held view among European
members of NATO that Ukraine is not yet ready for membership.

Of course, Yushchenko is correct in stating that no country invited into
NATO’s Intensified Dialogue on Membership (which Ukraine was invited to join
in May 2005) has not ultimately joined NATO. However, the short timeframe
that has been allotted to agree on a membership action plan before Kiev can
be invited into NATO (2006-2008) could delay the country’s invitation until
after 2008.
NATO and the Bush administration expect three conditions to be met before
Kiev’s membership will become a viable future option.

[1] The first of these is the holding on 26 March 2006 of ‘free and fair
elections’, as defined by the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in
Europe (OSCE) and the Council of Europe. This objective is very likely to be
met when Ukraine holds what is expected to be its first free election since

[2] The second condition is the continuation of political, economic and
defence reforms. Although the pace of reform since Yushchenko’s election

has been slower than initially hoped, it has been recognised internationally
that progress has been made.

US-based Freedom House, an independent organisation that tracks the progress
of civil freedoms around the world, upgraded Ukraine’s status to ‘free’ this
year. Kiev was also granted market economic status by both the EU and the
US. Meanwhile, the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) on money-laundering
has now halted its monitoring of Ukraine.

In addition, there is an ongoing reform of the Interior Ministry and the
military under Interior Minister Yuri Lutsenko and Defence Minister
Grytsenko. The latter has called for greater co-ordination among Ukraine’s
security forces, where duties often overlap. NATO is set to assist in this
process by extending its long-standing co-operation with Ukraine’s military
to the country’s security forces, Interior Ministry and Ministry for
Emergency Situations.

[3] The third – and potentially the most contentious issue – is addressing
the problem of regional opposition to NATO membership, as well as low public
support for the move. Ukraine is not unique in this. Some other
post-communist states, such as Slovenia and Hungary, also had relatively low
public support for their membership. Ukraine’s populist bloc, led by former
premier Yulia Tymoshenko, has recently reiterated its opposition to joining
NATO if the move is not supported within Ukraine.

Ukraine is also different from other post-communist countries that have
joined NATO in that it would be the first truly former Soviet republic to be
invited to join. In contrast, the three Baltic states never joined the CIS.
Meanwhile, only around ten per cent of Ukrainians appear to understand what
NATO is and why their country should join, a legacy which some observers
attribute to decades of Soviet anti-NATO propaganda.

A positive information campaign on NATO was also lacking during the
presidency of Leonid Kuchma. This has left a vacuum into which the
opposition has launched its anti-NATO membership campaign. In January 2006,
the Central Election Commission registered a total of 92 initiative groups
calling for a referendum on membership of both NATO and the CIS Single
Economic Space.

The anti-NATO campaign is being led by the Ne Tak! (Not This Way!) election
bloc, which is grouped around the United Social Democratic Party headed by
Viktor Medvedchuk, former head of the presidential administration during
Kuchma’s final years in power.

An important financial source for the Ne Tak! bloc and the anti-NATO
campaign is the Republican Party, led by former Naftohaz Ukrainy CEO Yuriy
Boyko, a key player in the Rosukrenergo company set up in July 2004 and
involved in the controversial new gas contract with Russian energy giant

The major hurdle to be overcome in Ukraine will be the attitude of the Party
of Regions, which is set to be the largest faction in the newly elected
parliament. The Party of Regions is dominant in eastern Ukraine, where
opposition to NATO membership is highest.

Without converting this group into a pro-NATO force – or at least one
neutrally disposed towards membership – after the March 2006 elections, it
is difficult to see how Ukraine will be able to move beyond a MAP into
membership by 2008-2010 as Yushchenko and other top Ukrainian officials

are claiming.  -30-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
             Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.
    Sasha Cohen proves this new-world concept, too. Her parents emigrated
              from Ukraine after it opened up. She was born in California.

COMMENTARY: By Dave Hyde, South Florida
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, Wednesday, February 22. 2006

TURIN, Italy — Do you believe in miracles again? Yes?

Because when Sasha Cohen’s scores went up Tuesday, it had the feel of
1980 again. American flags waved proudly. The chant of, "U-S-A" shook
the night. Cohen punched the air with a fist, and yelled to her
figure-skating coach, "Give me a hug!" as she shot into first place by the

thinnest of margins over … (Man, don’t the Olympics miss this?) … a

And not just any Russian. The coolest, coldest, most calculating, most
decorated Russian sphinx that Leonid Brezhnev could invent. Irina Slutskaya
doesn’t just skate toe loops around most women. She talks from behind an
iron curtain, even to the most harmless of questions, like how she arrived
to the skating rink this night.

"I did what I do all the time," she said. OK, but were you nervous? "It’s
competition," she said. "I don’t want to tell you." What was she thinking on
the ice? "If I tell you, everyone will know my secrets, and everyone will do
great," she said.

She then turned and walked off into the night after placing second in
Tuesday’s short program. This woman is tough, folks. And good. And
experienced enough, at 27, to be in her third Olympics and the first person
to win seven European titles.

In another time, and another world, you could work up a real
U.S.-against-them mentality to it all and — aw, what the heck, why not do
it for this Super Bowl event of the Olympics?

It’s the Cold War again, for old time’s sake. And let’s be honest: That’s
what the Games miss most. People can say TV ratings are down in America
because the sports are silly, the Internet age changes everything or the
stars have flopped. That’s all true to a point. But what they really miss is
a good Evil of Empire to work into a lather against.

The world is such a different place now. All of the Russian pairs collecting
gold at these figure-skating Games live in America (Slutskaya, bless her,
lives in Moscow).

Sasha Cohen proves this new-world concept, too. Her parents emigrated
from Ukraine after it opened up. She was born in California. She lists
among her hobbies "collecting Beanie Babies" and says she was inspired
read college-basketball legend John Wooden’s "Pyramid of Success."

Now she’s America’s Last Great Hope, too. Most of the other top names
have fizzled. Bode Miller. Apolo Ohno. Michelle Kwan got hurt. The
women’s hockey team got upset. You can keep going down the list and find
that about all we’re winning in are snowboard and men’s speedskating.

Cohen, 21, is a star in her own right. That’s where the miracle theme of
1980 cracks. But this won’t be easy for her, going against a champ like
Slutskaya. At halftime, Cohen leads, 66.73 to 66.70. But she has a
reputation for not finishing well.

Still, she has reasons why this finish should be different. "The experience,
the constant work," she said. "It’s definitely going to be tough for
everyone to do great (long programs) with the pressure … But I’m going to
believe in myself and expect the best.

"Everything that has happened to me has taught me along the way. It’s
brought me to where I am today."

Slutskaya could say the same. In Salt Lake four years ago, she felt judges
unfairly gave the gold to America’s Sarah Hughes and then stuck to the
Russian party line in discussing it.

"I’m obviously not the only Russian who has suffered here," she said. Four
years later, this worthy Russian is back and talking as cold as ever. And
Thursday, she’s going sit-spin-to-sit-spin against another American for the
gold.  Ain’t it grand?   -30-

NOTE:  Information found on the internet sent to us yesterday by
Mark Rudkin, of SigmaBleyzer in Houston: "Morgan, I didn’t realize
it until tonight but Olympic figure skater Sasha Cohen is of Ukrainian
descent. Her mother was born in Odessa, Ukraine.
Arts and music play a big role in the Cohen family. Her mother, Galina, 
plays a role in the artistry and music selection to her routines. Her father,
Roger, grew up around classical music. Her sister, Natasha, is a concert
Her grandfather, who emigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine in the 1970’s,
once performed in a children’s gymnastics troupe for Soviet dictator
Josef Stalin.  Also notable was the fact that Sasha Cohen’s short
program was Ukrainian music and her costume was Ukrainian blue and
yellow."                                                 -30-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
    Authorize Government of Ukraine to establish memorial on federal land

Written Testimony of H.E. Dr. Oleh Shamshur
Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States
Submitted at hearing held by the Subcommittee on National Parks
US Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
Washington, D.C., Thursday, February 16, 2006

                    Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States
                 Washington, D.C., Thursday, February 16, 2006

Hearing on a bill [H.R. 562] to authorize the Government of Ukraine to
establish a memorial on Federal land in the District of Columbia to honor
the victims of the manmade famine that occurred in Ukraine in 1932-1933

Mr. Chairman,
Distinguished members of the Subcommittee

First of all, let me express my deep gratitude for the attention you are
paying to the issue of raising a memorial to the victims of the manmade
Famine in Ukraine in 1932-33.

In Ukrainian language this tragedy is referred to as "Holodomor", meaning
"Total Starvation". Holodomor is an unparalleled disaster in the history of
my nation, similar to Holocaust in scale, cruelty and cynicism of its
perpetrators. A crime officially recognized by US Congress in 1986 as an

act of genocide against Ukrainian people.

Although Holodomor has taken away from 7 to 11 million innocent lives, it
remains barely known to the world. Stalin and the Soviet regime employed
every possible tool in order to make this atrocious crime fall into
oblivion. And yet, as the Gospel says "there is nothing hidden, except that
it should be made known; neither was anything made secret, but that it
should come to light".

The truth about the cold-blooded starving to death of millions of human
beings in the centre of Europe, in the midst of the 20th century has been
revealed, although it is yet to receive a due historical tribute. The pain
and bitter memory of Holodomor are alive in practically every Ukrainian
family, they make our hearts ache and remind us what a monster died when
the Soviet empire fell apart 15 years ago.

There is at least one thing that has been always well known about Ukraine:
its richness in agricultural resources that earned it the name of the "bread
basket of Europe". In early 1930s Ukraine was still largely an agricultural
country. It was inhabited by hard working, peaceful and diligent people.

The state forced them into so-called kolhospy, collective farms where they
toiled to satisfy the agricultural appetites of the Soviet regime. They were
natural born farmers deprived of earth and instruments of production.

Yet, even after 15 years of the communist rule they still knew how to grow
wheat, breed cattle, plow their fertile land. Respect to private property
and independent spirit were in their blood. This was their crime in the eyes
of the tyrant who ruled the country. This was the reason why Ukraine and
its people were considered dangerous by Stalin and his henchmen.

I shall be honored to provide you with some background information to
explain what a horrible tragedy occurred in my country 73 years ago and why
it deserves to be commemorated in the capital of the US. In my testimony I
will rely upon the book "Harvest of Sorrow" by British historian Robert
Conquest, works of the British researcher James E. Mace, Canadian scholar
Roman Serbyn and British journalist Askold Krushelnycky.

The disaster started in 1932 when the Soviet authorities increased the grain
procurement quota for Ukraine by 44%. They were aware that this
extraordinarily high quota would cause grain shortage, resulting in the
inability of the Ukrainian peasants to feed themselves. Soviet law was quite
explicit: no grain could be given to feed the peasants until the state quota
was met.

Communist party officials with the aid of military troops and NKVD secret
police units were used to move against peasants who may be hiding grain
from the Soviet government. An internal passport system restricted movement
of Ukrainian peasants so that they could not travel in search of food.
Ukrainian grain was collected and stored in grain elevators that were
guarded by military units & NKVD while Ukrainians were starving in the

After it turned out in 1932 that Ukraine couldn’t fulfill the quota set by
Moscow, draconian measures were taken. On the highest level, the grown
wheat was declared inviolate "socialist property" and anyone who gleaned
even an ear of wheat or bit off a sugar beet was declared an "enemy of
people" and could be executed or sentenced to not less than 10 years in


In Ukraine, the decree of December 6, 1932 singled out six villages that
allegedly sabotaged the grain procurement campaign. They were placed on
the "blacklist", which was soon extended in a wholesale fashion.

The blacklist meant a complete economic blockade of the villages listed,
including an immediate closing of stores with all the food therein; a
complete ban on trade in the village, including trade in most essential
goods; immediate halting and calling in of all credits and advances; combing
neighborhood for so-called "foreign agents" and "saboteurs". At that time it
was equivalent to a sentence of death by starvation.

Only those who survived famine can describe adequately what it was like.
They tell of the entire village population swelling up from starvation. They
tell of the "dead wagons" day after day picking up dead bodies to dump them
later in pits. They tell of whole villages becoming deserted, of homeless
children roaming the country in search for food and of railroad stations
flooded with starving peasants who had to beg lying down for they were too
weak to stand.

Many tried to cross the border to the Russian Federation where bread was
available. But the secret police established border check-points to prevent
anyone from carrying food from Russia to Ukraine. This meant de facto
blacklisting of entire Ukraine.

Graphic portraits of the horrors of village life during Holodomor emerge
from testimonies of eyewitnesses gathered by British journalist Askold

Oleksa Sonipul was 10 in 1933 and lived in a village in northern Ukraine.
She said by the beginning of that year, famine was so widespread people had
been reduced to eating grass, tree bark, roots, berries, frogs, birds, and
even earthworms. Desperate hunger drove people to sell off all of their
possessions for any food they could find.

At night, an eerie silence fell over the village, where all the livestock
and chickens had long since been killed for food and exhausted villagers
went to bed early. But requisition brigades looking to fulfill the
impossibly high grain quotas continued to search even those villages where
inhabitants were already dying from starvation.

Brigade members, fueled by Soviet hate campaigns against the peasants,
acted without mercy, taking away the last crumbs of food from starving
families knowing they were condemning even small children to death. Any
peasant who resisted was shot. Rape and robbery also took place.

Sonipul described what happened when a brigade arrived at her home.

"In 1933, just before Christmas, brigades came to our village to search for
bread. They took everything they could find to eat. That day they found
potatoes that we had planted in our grandfather’s garden, and because of
that they took everything from grandfather and all the seeds that
grandmother had gathered for sowing the following autumn. And the next day,
the first day of Christmas, they came to us, tore out our windows and doors
and took everything to the collective farm."

As villages ran out of food, thousands of desperate people trekked to beg
for food in towns and cities. Food was available in cities, although
strictly controlled through ration coupons. But residents were forbidden to
help the starving peasants and doctors were not allowed to aid the skeletal
villagers, who were left to die in the streets.

Fedir Burtianski was a young man in 1933 when he set out by train to
Ukraine’s Donbas mining area in search of work. He says thousands of
starving peasants, painfully thin with swollen bellies, lined the rail track
begging for food. The train stopped in the city of Dnipropetrovsk and
Burtianski says he was horrified by what he saw there.

"At Dnipropetrovsk we got out of the carriages. I got off the wagon and I
saw lots of people swollen and half-dead. And some who were lying on the
ground in convulsions. Probably they were going to die within a few minutes.
Then the railway NKVD quickly herded us back into the wagons."

Grain and potatoes continued to be harvested in Ukraine, driven by the
demand of Stalin’s quotas. But the inefficiency of the Soviet transportation
system meant that tons of food literally rotted uneaten – sometimes in the
open and within the view of those dying of starvation.

The scene Burtianski described was repeated in towns and cities all over
Ukraine. In the countryside, entire villages were being wiped out. The
hunger drove many people to desperation and madness. Many instances of
cannibalism were recorded, with people living off the remains of other
starvation victims or in some instances resorting to murder. Most peasant
families had five or six children, and some mothers killed their weakest
children in order to feed the others.

Burtianski said at one point, he avoided buying meat from a vendor because
he suspected it was human flesh. When the authorities heard about the
incident, he was forced to attend the trial of a man and his two sons who
were suspected of murdering people for food. Burtianski says during the
trial one of the sons admitted in chilling terms to eating the flesh of his
own mother, who had died of starvation.

He said, "Thank you to Father Stalin for depriving us of food. Our mother
died of hunger and we ate her, our own dead mother. And after our mother
we did not take pity on anyone. We would not have spared Stalin himself."

Mykhaylo Naumenko was 11 years old in 1933. His father was executed for
refusing to join a nearby collective farm. Mykhaylo was left with his mother
and siblings to face the famine without a provider. He said people were shot
for trying to steal grain or potatoes from the local collective farm, which
was surrounded by barbed wire and guarded by armed men. He said people
were executed even for trying to pick up a few loose seeds dropped on the

"A tragedy developed. People became swollen, they died by the tens each
day.The collective farm authorities appointed six men to collect and bury
the dead. From our village of 75 homes, by May 24 houses were empty

where all the inhabitants had died."

Many people met their deaths with quiet resignation, praying and comforting
their starving children with fairy tales.

Teodora Soroka, who lost nearly every member of her family to
"dekulakization" and famine, says such memories can never be erased.

Nor does she want to forget them.

"My baby sister died of hunger in my arms. She was begging for a piece of
bread, because to have apiece of bread in the house meant life. She pleaded
for me to give her a bit of bread. I was crying and told her that we didn ‘t
have any. She told me that I wanted her to die. Believe me, it’s painful
even now. I was little myself then.

I cried, but my heart was not torn to shreds because 1 couldn’t understand
why this was all happening. But today, and ever since I became an adult, I
haven’t spent a day in my life when I haven’t cried. I have never gone to
sleep without thinking about what happened to my family."

Let us think about this little girl. Visualize this Ukrainian martyr forced
to see her dear ones die one after another from starvation. Multiply her
suffering by at least 7 million – those are the most modest estimates of
human losses Ukraine suffered during Holodomor.

Today I am adding my voice to many others who ask you to provide
Ukrainians with an opportunity to commemorate the immeasurable
suffering and horrid death of millions of their kin and to condemn this act
of genocide by erecting a solemn memorial in the heart of America which
has always been so attentive to pain and injustice inflicted upon the

By doing so you will also pay tribute to over one million Ukrainian
Americans making an outstanding contribution to the prosperity of this
country. This memorial will be yet another sign of the developing
partnership between Ukraine and the United States now standing together
for democracy and against tyranny and oppression.

Thank you.
               [Written Testimony of H.E. Dr. Oleh Shamshur
                 Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States]
NOTE: The next step towards final passage of HR562 is to bring it to a
vote in the U.S. Senate during the 2nd Session of the 109th Congress.
The bill has already passed the U.S. House of Representatives. EDITOR
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                    "The Dream Life of Sukhanov" by Olga Grushin
Superbly realised depiction of the claustrophobia and madness of Soviet
communism as contradictions within the system spiralled towards collapse.

BOOK REVIEW: By Michael Thompson-Noel
Financial Times, London, UK, Saturday, February 18, 2006

by Olga Grushin, Viking Pounds 14.99, 368 pages

Born in Moscow in 1971, Olga Grushin was apparently the first Russian
citizen to enrol, in 1989, for an American college degree course following
the end of the cold war – a minor claim to fame that has been eclipsed,
spectacularly, by her emergence as the next big thing in American literary

Grushin now lives in Washington D.C. English is her third language. Yet so
accomplished are her skills – so hauntingly assured – that more than one US
critic has greeted her as the next great American novelist.

Her debut novel, The Dream Life of Sukhanov, is a superbly realised
depiction of the claustrophobia and madness of Soviet communism as the
contradictions within the system spiralled towards collapse.

Moscow, 1985. Anatoly Pavlovich Sukhanov has much to be grateful for:
large, central apartment; beautiful, high-born wife; two intelligent,
ambitious children. Above all, Sukhanov basks in the acclaim deriving from
his position as a member of the privilegentsia.

He is editor-in-chief of The Art of the World, an exquisitely named state
organ in which he lauds the socialist-realist role of Soviet art while
providing conclusive evidence of the way sick western "isms", such as
impressionism and surrealism, show capitalist insolvency.

Grushin has much fun with the absurdities of late-Soviet art appreciation.
Sukhanov, for example, learns from his assistant editor that an article on
Dali on which he has been labouring is being pulled from the magazine to
make room for one on Chagall.

This horrifies Sukhanov. "The difference between Dali, outrageous by virtue
of his foreign birth and viewed therefore as a mere curiosity… and
Chagall, who had come from Russia’s own backyard, been appointed

Commissar of Fine Arts after the Revolution, taught in a Soviet art academy
and then chosen to leave Russia… in order to become foreign and outrageous,
was (simply) impassable." To publish such an article would be an act of

Sukhanov realises that this challenge to his authority follows a faux pas
he committed at the opening of an exhibition to celebrate his esteemed
father-in-law’s 80th birthday, an act of mere unthinkingness that swiftly
starts the unravelling of his career, his life, his sanity.

Present and past collide. Dream and nightmare converge. Yet all the time,
Grushin’s virtuosity – especially sensuous descriptiveness, iron control of
structure and immaculate pacing – carry her past one challenge after

A wonderful example of her skill occurs towards the end, when Sukhanov
starts to observe the other passengers on his train: people in drab clothes
with stony faces, vacant eyes, features devastated by grotesque
deformities, sunken mouths, broken noses, monstrous warts.

His unease becomes fear when he notices freakish objects protruding from
baskets or draped in yawning bags – a severed bovine leg, a bird’s neck, a
rusty cemetery cross with clumps of reddish earth still attached – and it
strikes him he has stumbled on some alien, nocturnal world, the unseen
bowels of Russia.

To write a novel as good as this you need to be very talented.

And Grushin is.                               -30-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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