Monthly Archives: March 2006

AUR#682 Second Cold War For Ukraine Has Begun; Free Elections, Kamikaze President; Adjustments To Constitution Required

THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR
An International Newsletter, The Latest, Up-To-Date
In-Depth Ukrainian News, Analysis and Commentary
 
Ukrainian History, Culture, Arts, Business, Religion,
Sports, Government, and Politics, in Ukraine and Around the World       
 
UKRAINE AND THE SECOND COLD WAR
The Second Cold War has already begun. If forced to be perfectly frank,
every diplomat, spy or banker from Boston to Baku would acknowledge this.
 
What awaits a vulnerable and embattled Ukrainian state during The Second
Cold War? The stakes in this conflict are great – either Ukraine will
survive as a nation-state or become a part of what Russian energy mogul
Anatoli Chubais envisions as a "liberal Russian empire." [Article One]
      
UKRAINE: FREE ELECTIONS, KAMIKAZE PRESIDENT
An "orange coalition" is still the most likely outcome of a Ukrainian
election won by the revolution’s opponent, says Taras Kuzio. [Article Four]
                      
THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR – Number 682
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor  
PUBLISHED FROM KYIV, UKRAINE, THURSDAY, MARCH 30, 2006 
              ——–INDEX OF ARTICLES——–
         Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.               
Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article
1.                       UKRAINE AND THE SECOND COLD WAR
OP-ED: By Roman Kupchinsky
Kyiv Post, Wednesday, Kyiv, Ukraine, Mar 29 2006

2 GAS DEAL ROILS UKRAINE & MAY HAVE CUT LEADER’S VOTE
          Even now, nearly three months after the deal was announced, the
              ownership and operations of RosUkrEnergo remain murky.
By Steven Lee Myers and Andrew E. Kramer
The New York Times, Thursday, March 30, 2006

3 UKRAINE’S NATIONAL OIL FIRM DEFAULTS ON TAX PAYMENTS
Vladimir Suprun, RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Wed, March 29, 2006

4.            UKRAINE: FREE ELECTIONS, KAMIKAZE PRESIDENT
         An "orange coalition" is still the most likely outcome of a Ukrainian
              election won by the revolution’s opponent, says Taras Kuzio.
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY:
By Taras Kuzio
Open Democracy, London, UK, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

5.    ADJUSTMENTS TO UKRAINE’S CONSTITUTION REQUIRED
By Evgenia Mussuri, Kyiv Post Staff Writer
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Mar 23 2006

6.    EX-PRIME MINISTER OF UKRAINE, YULIA TYMOSHENKO,
                    VOWS SOFTER APPROACH TO BUSINESS
By Tom Warner in Kiev, Financial Times
London, United, Kingdom, Thursday, March 30 2006

7 UKRAINE INVESTORS WORRY TYMOSHENKO MAY COME BACK
REUTERS, Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, March 27, 2006

8.        ECONOMIC ISSUES IN UKRAINE AT THE TIME VOTERS
  CHOOSE A NEW PARLIAMENT, GLOBAL INSIGHT PERSPECTIVE
ANALYSIS: By Dr Ralf Wiegert, Economist for Eastern Europe
Global Insight, London, United Kingdom, Friday, March 24, 2006

9.     PUTIN SAYS US DELAYING RUSSIA’S WTO MEMBERSHIP
Recent WTO accord between Ukraine and US rubbed salt into the wound,
  raising the prospect that Ukraine may join the trade body before Russia.
By Neil Buckley in Moscow and Frances Williams in Geneva
Financial Times, London, UK, Thursday, March 30 2006

10 U.S. MANEUVERS TO ENSURE UKRAINE JOINS WTO BEFORE

Interfax, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, March 29, 2006

12. DEMOCRACY FLOURISHES IN KIEV, BUT SMOTHERED IN MINSK
The Economist Global Agenda, The Economist

London, United Kingdom, Tuesday, March 28th 2006

13.                     A COUNTER-REVOLUTION IN UKRAINE?
       Just 16 months ago, the reformers were triumphant. What happened?
VIEWPOINT:
By Yuri Zarakhovich
TIME magazine website, NY, NY, Wednesday, Mar. 29, 2006

14.                                    THE ORANGE GLOW
EDITORIAL: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles, California, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

15 .       FORMER PRIME MINISTER LAUDS UKRAINE’S ‘FIRST
     HONEST ELECTIONS HELD IN 15 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE’
 Voice of America (VOA), Washington, D.C., Wed, March 29, 2006

Ukrayinska Pravda On-line, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 30, 2006
18OUR UKRAINE COUNCIL TO CONSIDER MEMORANDUM ON
    FORMATION OF PARLIAMENT COALITION ON FRIDAY, APRIL 7
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, March 29, 2006
19.                        NEW GOALS FOR JOHN HERBST
               US Ambassador to leave Ukraine for government post
By Mykola Siruk, The Day Weekly Digest in English, #10
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

20 .   JOINING EURO-ATLANTIC INSTITUTIONS WILL REQUIRE

Atlantic Council of the U.S., Washington, D.C., Thu, Mar 23, 2006
 
The Washington Group Cultural Fund (TWGCF)
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #682, Article 21
Washington, D.C., Thursday, March 30, 2006
 
                          EMPLOYMENT IN THE UNITED STATES
John A. Kun, Vice President/Chief Operating Officer
U.S.-Ukraine Foundation (USUF)
Washington, D.C., Thursday, March 30, 2006
========================================================
1
                  UKRAINE AND THE SECOND COLD WAR

OP-ED: By Roman Kupchinsky
Kyiv Post, Wednesday, Kyiv, Ukraine, Mar 29 2006

Ignore the broad smiles, firm handshakes, cheerful backslapping and toasts
raised to "everlasting friendship" between well-dressed, smiling Russians,
intense Germans, glib Americans and deceptive Brits.

The Second Cold War has already begun. If forced to be perfectly frank,
every diplomat, spy or banker from Boston to Baku would acknowledge this.

Anyone who reads the press or watches television must have noticed by now
that the most dynamic, aggressive and self-assured force in the world today
is Russia. Daily reports in the media announce that Russian state-controlled
gas giant Gazprom is buying a pipeline network here or a European gas
company there.

Russian President Vladimir Putin is shown pleased with himself in Budapest
as he offers Hungarians "reliable" gas supplies – but only if they buy from
Gazprom.

It’s part of his fuel diplomacy strategy, which allows Russia to influence
neighbors and more distant countries through energy supplies.

There is more to Putin’s arsenal. Russia is the ultimate salesman, offering
weapons to Algeria, gas and oil to Beijing, and nuclear reactors to Iran. By
supporting ill-fated democracies and separatist movements in Trandniester,
Ossetia and the dictator-ruled Belarus, Russia maintains a strong grip of
influence over neighboring countries.

Meanwhile, Russian television stations present Putin in a positive light,
ensuring him stable support within his own country of 140 million. Western
Europeans watch and worry, wondering whether they are doomed to cold
winters if Russia cuts off their gas supplies.

The leaders of the great Western alliance, in the meantime, assure their
citizens that the war in Iraq is almost won. Have patience, the masses are
told, all we need is for Jeffersonian democracy to ultimately triumph in the
slums of Baghdad.

Then there is Ukraine. With an indecisive chief executive who changes his
views on policy issues all too frequently, the country seems to be not
slipping, but tumbling back to its pre-Orange days. In Washington, London
and Berlin the unpleasant little words that nobody wants to utter aloud are
once again being whispered in the corridors of power – "A failed state."

Is there hope? Can Kyiv resist Putin’s "Drang nach Malorossiya" or will it
be trampled under the patent leather shoes worn by Russian oil and gas
executives, as they lead the Russian corporate state to battle? Things look
pretty grim.

Ukraine might not be a failed state, yet, but it is certainly beginning to
look like a failed dream. Recall the slogans shouted on the Maidan in
December 2004: "We Want to Be in Europe!" "Crooks Belong in Prison".

Now that the hype is over, it might be appropriate to remind ourselves that:

1) Europeans, for understandable reasons, are not ready to admit Ukraine
into their club.

2) The shadier elements of Ukraine’s elite are still at liberty, living very
comfortably in penthouse suites.

Furthermore, it should be very clear that Ukraine is not only a victim of
its geographic location but of its inability to conceptualize what is in its
own national interests. Apparently, each section of the country cares more
about its own regional interests than the well-being of the nation as a
whole. This will not do.

Then there is the question of the northern neighbor.

Every evil cannot be blamed on the Russians. This moth-eaten explanation

has been offered up by too many Ukrainian leaders as an excuse to cover
up their own inability to govern efficiently and honestly.

Having said this, there is no doubt that many of Ukraine’s problems can
still be tied to Russia’s imperial drive. Karl Marx, after all, once wrote
that "the guiding star of Russia is world domination." He may have been
right.

What awaits a vulnerable and embattled Ukrainian state during The Second
Cold War? The stakes in this conflict are great – either Ukraine will
survive as a nation-state or become a part of what Russian energy mogul
Anatoli Chubais envisions as a "liberal Russian empire."

Within this empire, Ukrainians would be allowed to keep the blue and yellow
flag, speak Ukrainian, keep their embassies, have an army and control their
own borders. But the real decisions, the hardcore work, would be done for
them in Moscow by hard-eyed Kremlin bosses.

During the First Cold War, Ukraine, by virtue of its membership in the USSR,
was an active participant on the side of Russia and the other "socialist"
republics in the ideological struggle with the West. They lost, and as a
result of this defeat, Ukraine became independent.

Independence became reality not as the result of a powerful national
liberation struggle with masses of oppressed Ukrainian workers and peasants
on the streets with pitchforks and clubs, but through a political deal made
in a forest in Belarus between two high-ranking communist internationalists,
Leonid Kravchuk and Boris Yeltsin.

Suddenly, Ukrainians found themselves in charge of their own country, a

role they were quite unprepared for.

It is possible that had they shed some blood for their freedom, things might
have worked out differently, but that is now only speculation.

Today, as Cold War II heats up, Ukraine is virtually alone, in need of
stronger leadership and without any meaningful friends, except Poland. The
U.S. is preoccupied with terrorism, Iraq, and so on. The Europeans may

look the other way as long as Russian gas keeps flowing.

Ukraine must rely on itself to survive. Whether it really wants to survive
as a sovereign nation is at the heart of the matter.

Some people warn me not to "dramatize the situation." Ukrainians often tend
to say this when they are uncomfortable with the possible end result of a
given problem. It is an escapist phrase; it soothes the intellect and tells
the subconscious that a solution is out there somewhere and all one need do
is to seek it out.

Cold War II, however, is not only dramatic; it is a question of real
survival.

Ukraine’s political establishment does not seem to understand this. Maybe
they don’t want to face the truth, and believe they can bluff their way out
of doing something preventive, the way that former President Leonid Kuchma
bluffed Washington for years by making promises to reform the economy.

The time has finally arrived for Ukraine to begin behaving as a real state
and not a playground for oligarchs. The victors of this high-stakes
geopolitical game will not spare the losers, and the time may come when
Uncle Sam will throw up his hands in frustration at the shenanigans played
in the Ukrainian capital.                            -30-
——————————————————————————————
NOTE: Roman Kupchinsky is the organized crime and terrorism analyst
for RFE/RL Online and the editor of "RFE/RL Organized Crime and
Terrorism Watch." He graduated from Long Island University in Brooklyn
with a degree in political science. He was the president of Prolog Research
and Publishing Corporation in New York prior to joining RFE/RL where
he was director of the Ukrainian Service for 10 years. He lives in Prague,

Czech Republic. Contact: Roman Kupchinsky, KupchinskyR@rferl.org.
AUR EDITOR.
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LINK: http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/oped/24131/
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[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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2. GAS DEAL ROILS UKRAINE AND MAY HAVE CUT LEADER’S VOTE
             Even now, nearly three months after the deal was announced, the
                 ownership and operations of RosUkrEnergo remain murky.

By Steven Lee Myers and Andrew E. Kramer
The New York Times, Thursday, March 30, 2006

KIEV, Ukraine, March 29 – The official residence of the managing director of
a company now set to control Ukraine’s supply of natural gas is a one-story,
clapboard house in a tumbledown village bordering a defunct collective farm
outside Moscow. A dirty rug covers the floor, a bare light bulb hangs from
the ceiling and scraps of plywood plug gaps in the wall.

Olga P. Sakharova, 49, lives there with her mother and a German fox terrier
called Lyusa and has never heard of the director, Oleg A. Palchikov, who
operates a business worth $7 billion a year.

"What boss would want to live here?" Ms. Sakharova asked, surprised to learn
that she occupied one of the few known addresses of any of the executives of
the shadowy gas trading company involved in a deal between Ukraine and
Russia that continues to roil politics here in Kiev, nearly 400 miles away.

The company, RosUkrEnergo, became a broker in a deal to resolve a New
Year’s confrontation between Russia and Ukraine over the price of natural
gas – a deal that has prompted accusations of corruption and almost certainly
contributed to President Viktor A. Yushchenko’s poor showing in
parliamentary elections last Sunday, when his party finished a distant
third.

The mysteries surrounding the company – ranging from the identity of its
owners and the circumstances of its selection, to even the places its
executives live and work – reflect the post-Soviet combustion of politics
and business that still afflicts Ukraine despite the significant progress
that Mr. Yushchenko and his allies have made in making the country a freer,
more democratic society.

Yulia V. Tymoshenko, Mr. Yushchenko’s erstwhile ally in the mass protests
that swept him to the presidency in 2004, campaigned fiercely against the
deal, citing it as an example of the corruption and untrustworthiness of the
leadership of Mr. Yushchenko’s party, Our Ukraine.

With her party having won significantly more votes than Mr. Yushchenko’s,
according to nearly complete results announced Wednesday, she has now
claimed the right to lead the coalition in Parliament representing the
reformist, Western-leaning forces who took part in what came to be known
as the Orange Revolution.

And she has promised that one of her first acts as prime minister, should
she return to the post she held for the first eight months of Mr.
Yushchenko’s presidency, would be "by all means" to scuttle the deal and
RosUkrEnergo’s part in it.

"These are the standards preached by Kuchmaism," she said of the deal in

an interview on Wednesday, referring to the scandal-tainted presidency of
Ukraine’s previous leader, Leonid D. Kuchma.

Ms. Tymoshenko’s fierce opposition to the deal echoes her zeal in revisiting
scandalous privatizations that took place during Mr. Kuchma’s tenure, and
could complicate efforts to reunite the coalition that swept Mr. Yushchenko
to power.

Already, Mr. Yushchenko and his aides have met with his bitter rival, Viktor
F. Yanukovich, whose party won the largest bloc of votes, 31 percent,
raising speculation that he would seek a parliamentary alliance that would
exclude Ms. Tymoshenko. Mr. Yushchenko’s party announced Wednesday
that it would not commit to any coalition until at least April 7.

Reopening the deal could provoke a new conflict with Russia over the supply
of natural gas, only months after the New Year’s showdown, which resulted in
a disruption of supplies across Europe, deeply rattling countries that rely
heavily on Russian and Central Asian gas that passes through Ukraine’s
pipelines.

"Any agreement that is unstable is one that is undesirable from the point of
view of Europe," said Thane Gustafson, a senior analyst at Cambridge

Energy Research Associates.

The deal’s critics say the instability comes from the murky nature of the
arrangement, which granted substantial control over Ukraine’s gas market to
a little-known company with links to Russia’s state energy monopoly,
Gazprom, and unknown investors.

Even now, nearly three months after the deal was announced, the ownership
and operations of RosUkrEnergo remain murky.

Registered in Zug, Switzerland, it is owned half by Gazprom and half by
Centragas, an umbrella corporation run by Austria’s Raiffeisen bank for a
group of investors whom the bank will not identify, despite pressure from
American and European officials.

Officials in Russia and Ukraine have accused one another of having
beneficiaries in the company and have provided contradictory accounts of
who suggested that RosUkrEnergo be included in the first place.

"This is the Ukrainian part and you need to ask them," President Vladimir V.
Putin of Russia told journalists earlier this month. Mr. Yushchenko, by his
own accounting, knows no more. "I have personally turned several times to
the Russian side to receive this information," he said at a news conference
earlier this month. "Unfortunately, as of today, I do not have any
information about the founders of this structure."

Executives of the company, some of whom also work for Gazprom itself,
declined to discuss the matter in detail. Aleksandr I. Medvedev, the
director of Gazprom’s export arm, Gazexport, and one of eight members of
he board of RosUkrEnergo, has denied knowing the unknown investors.

Konstantin A. Chuychinko, the head of Gazprom’s legal department and a
longtime associate of Mr. Putin, is a co-director of RosUkrEnergo with Mr.
Palchikov. The head of Gazprom’s banking subsidiary, Andrei I. Akimov,
also sits on the board.

Little else is known about the company. There is an office of a company
called RosUkrEnergo on Saksagansky Street here in Kiev, but it operates a
series of gas stations, and according to a woman there, has no connection to
the company with its name.

Wolfgang Putschek, a member of RosUkrEnergo’s board representing
Centragas, said in a telephone interview that the company had an office in
Moscow, but he referred questions about it to a public relations agency in
London, Merlin PR.

Michael Rummel, a spokesman for the agency, could not provide an address
for any office, and said officials would not comment. At the same time, he
defended the company’s role. Only a company like RosUkrEnergo, he said,
could handle the complicated transactions necessary to supply natural gas
from Russia and Turkmenistan to Ukraine and onward to Romania and
Hungary.

The vacuum of information has led to reports, so far unsubstantiated, that
RosUkrEnergo’s beneficiaries have links to Mr. Yushchenko’s top advisers.
Mr. Yushchenko himself was forced to deny any involvement by his brother,
Petro, who has been involved in the gas-trading business.

Although much remains unclear, there is little doubt the deal has weakened
Mr. Yushchenko politically, tarnishing his reputation as an uncorrupted
reformer. Mychailo Wynnyckyj, a professor of sociology at the University of
Kiev-Mohyla Academy, attributed the electoral failure of Mr. Yushchenko –
and Ms. Tymoshenko’s success – to the gas deal.

"Yushchenko came to power on the whole idea of transparency," he said.
"And he was pushing a deal that obviously had some corrupt aspect to it."
————————————————————————————————
Steven Lee Myers reported from Kiev for this article, and Andrew

E. Kramer from Moscow.
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http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/30/international/europe/30ukraine.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1
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[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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3. UKRAINE’S NATIONAL OIL FIRM DEFAULTS ON TAX PAYMENTS

 

Vladimir Suprun, RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Wed, March 29, 2006

 
KIEV – The finance minister of Ukraine accused Wednesday the country’s
state-run oil and gas company of failing to pay the correct level of taxes
due to the state.

"Naftogaz Ukrainy has failed to pay a considerable amount of taxes,"
Viktor Pynzenyk told a government meeting. "It has paid 42% [of the
amount] compared with January-March 2005."

According to the minister, Naftogaz has also failed to pay $12 million
in value-added tax. "In February-March 2006, Naftogaz did not pay a
kopek of the value-added tax declared by the company," Pynzenyk said.

An investigative commission of the Ukrainian parliament that audited
the books of Naftogaz Ukrainy recently said the company was on the
brink of bankruptcy.                         -30-

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[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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4.    UKRAINE: FREE ELECTIONS, KAMIKAZE PRESIDENT
       An "orange coalition" is still the most likely outcome of a Ukrainian
          election won by the revolution’s opponent, says Taras Kuzio.

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Taras Kuzio
Open Democracy, London, UK, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Ukraine held its fourth parliamentary elections on 26 March in an atmosphere
totally different to earlier elections. President Viktor Yushchenko can be
credited with ensuring that it has been Ukraine’s first free and fair poll
since the country became an independent state in January 1992. The
democratic breakthrough initiated by the orange revolution of November
2004-January 2005 has been consolidated.

This is in stark contrast to neighbouring Belarus, where the elections held
on 19 March confirmed that Alexander Lukashenko’s regime is indeed the last
dictatorship in Europe. Russia recognised the Belarusian election results
and the European Union, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in
Europe (OSCE) and the United States rejected them.

In the case of Ukraine, the opposite happened: Russia called the elections
"unfair" while the EU, OSCE and US described them in glowing and positive
terms.

Voting patterns in the 2006 elections have not dramatically changed from
those in the three rounds of the 2004 elections. Then, and now, the west and
centre was "pro-orange" while the east and south is "pro-blue" (with Viktor
Yanukovych and the Party of Regions the strongest forces).

There are though, two crucial differences. First, Yanukovych’s 44% vote on
26 December 2004 was not repeated in the 2006 election. With 60% of votes
counted at the time of writing, his Party of Regions has only 28.8% (less
than exit polls predictions of 31%).

Second, the turnout across Ukraine is generally far lower in the 2006
elections than in 2004. Traditionally, eastern Ukraine has a lower turnout
than western Ukraine and this remains the case in 2006. The relentlessly
negative election campaign of the Party of Regions also worked against a
high turnout.

The elections were a crushing defeat for the communists, who were last in
the list of political forces managing to pass the 3% minimum-vote threshold
and enter parliament. Their decline from 120 seats in 1998 to twenty in 2006
has been precipitous.

Two of Ukraine’s regional clans failed to enter parliament: Ne Tak! (Not
Like This!) headed by the Kyiv (Kiev) clan’s Social Democratic United Party,
and Labour Ukraine, the Dnipropetrovsk clan. The camp of former president,
Leonid Kuchma, voted for the Party of Regions.
                             THE POST-ELECTION DANCE
There was never any doubt that only five or six political forces would be
able to qualify for seats in parliament, even with such a comparatively low
threshold. Of these forces, three would be the "big players" – Party of
Regions, Our Ukraine and the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc. Any parliamentary
coalition will have to be created from two of these. As Yushchenko is the
honorary chairman of Our Ukraine, his bloc will inevitably be one of the two
coalition partners.

The likely election coalitions are in principle, therefore, twofold: Our
Ukraine plus Tymoshenko, or Our Ukraine plus Party of Regions. Ukraine’s
new parliamentary coalition, which will create a government and nominate a
prime minister, will most likely be a revived orange team of Our Ukraine
plus Tymoshenko plus the Socialists (SPU). Tymoshenko has energetically
campaigned for an orange coalition and has warned against the dangers of

any alliance with Yanukovych.

Two factors explain why an orange coalition will happen.

FIRST, an alliance with the Party of Regions would be political suicide for
Yushchenko. It would be seen as a "betrayal" of the orange revolution and
Yushchenko’s support would collapse.

Our Ukraine’s popularity support slumped after it signed a strategically
futile memorandum with the regions of Ukraine in late September 2005, a
memorandum that Yushchenko himself discarded in January 2006.

Yanukovych is not a reformed leader, and his Party of Regions followed the
communists in sending greetings to Lukashenko on his "victory" (Yushchenko
and Ukraine’s foreign ministry shared the western position of refusing to
recognise the official Belarus result).

Yanukovych has never acknowledged his defeat in 2004 and he still believes
he won the election but was then "betrayed" by then-president Leonid Kuchma.
Throughout the 2006 elections, the Party of Regions continued to denounce
the legitimacy of the orange revolution as an "illegal coup" and continued
to denigrate its supporters as "orange rats".

The Party of Regions is in favour of economic reform because it is dominated
by oligarchs and businessmen. Yet, it voted against World Trade Organisation
legislation in 2005. The Party of Regions opposes Nato membership, favours
full membership in the post-Soviet Common (or Single) Economic Space, and
supports the elevation of Russian to a second state language.

SECOND, such an alliance would send the wrong signal to the European

Union and Nato that the orange revolution is in retreat. The EU is already
passive in its attitudes towards Ukraine and an alliance with the Party of
Regions would give sustenance to those inside the EU who do not want
Ukraine inside.

An alliance with a political force hostile to Nato membership would also
lead to a postponement of Nato offering Ukraine a membership action plan
at its Riga summit in November 2006.

Tymoshenko’s second place, after quadrupling the number of seats she

won in the 2002 elections, puts her in a powerful position. Our Ukraine, in
contrast has fewer seats than in 2002 and is running a poor third.

Why has Our Ukraine fared badly when its honorary chairman is Ukraine’s
president, swept into office by people power? The answer is that

Yushchenko is a "kamikaze" president.

He made countless mistakes in 2005, including sacking the Tymoshenko
government and dividing the orange camp, signing a memorandum with
Yanukovych, mishandled the gas contract with Russia in a non-transparent
manner, and kept prosecutor Svyatoslav Piskun until October, thereby not
following through on instituting charges against high-level officials.

Yushchenko also wasted a year when he inherited Kuchma’s extensive

executive powers, failing to use them to stamp his authority on the country.

Yushchenko’s "kamikaze" mistakes led to an orange protest vote which
benefited Tymoshenko rather than the party of the youth movement that
played a prominent role in the 2004 events, Pora – Reform and Civic Order.
Our Ukraine proved to be arrogant, vis-à-vis both orange voters and
Yushchenko himself.

Senior orange businessmen accused of corruption in September 2005

refused to back down from standing in Our Ukraine, ignoring Yushchenko’s
advice. Meanwhile, political parties in Our Ukraine refused to merge into a
single pro-presidential party.

Yushchenko failed to understand perhaps the most important factor driving
the orange revolution – the widespread feelings of injustice against abuse
of office, corruption and the "bandits" running Ukraine.

Yuri Yekhanurov, the prime minister appointed in September after

Yushchenko sacked his cabinet, totally misunderstood this feeling, as seen
by his invitation to Ukraine’s oligarchs to a meeting in October where he
described them as "Ukraine’s national bourgeoisie".

The rule of law cannot move ahead in Ukraine without dealing with these
issues from the past – election fraud in 2004, corruption at senior levels,
the identity of those who ordered the Georgii Gongadze murder and the
attempted assassination (by poisoning) of Yushchenko.

Tymoshenko will become prime minister or parliamentary speaker. Much

of what Yushchenko/Our Ukraine have taken credit for economically was
initiated under her government. This time, foreign investors’ fears about
property rights will have to be assuaged.

But the free 2006 elections, followed by an orange coalition, will combine
to show the consolidation of Ukraine’s democratic progress after the orange
revolution. It is doubtful though that Ukraine’s parliament will last its
full term of five years.

The contradictions inherent in the Party of Regions between businessmen and
pro-Russian, ex-communist voters will lead it to implode. Then, Ukraine’s
citizens will have to do it all over again.                -30-
————————————————————————————————–
Taras Kuzio is visiting professor at the Institute for European, Russian and
Eurasian Studies, Elliott School of International Affairs, George Washington
University, Washington, DC. Contact: tkuzio@gwu.edu

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http://www.opendemocracy.net/democracy-ukraine/kamikazee_3398.jsp
 
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5. ADJUSTMENTS TO UKRAINE’S CONSTITUTION REQUIRED
        Bohdan Futey, a judge on the United States Court of Federal Claims
         who helped draft Ukraine’s first Constitution, says the amendments
                adopted in the midst of the Orange Revolution is flawed.

By Evgenia Mussuri, Kyiv Post Staff Writer
Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, Mar 23 2006

"The constitutional amendments, as adopted, do not yet … establish a
balanced and functional system of government."
– Venice Commission

Under amendments to Ukraine’s constitution, which kicks in after the new
parliament is elected on March 26, lawmakers will be invested with many
powers previously held by the president, such as the right to choose the
prime minister and cabinet ministers.

However, international experts say the country’s transition to a
parliamentary republic may not be as clear cut or smooth as the architects
of the amendments planned during the peak of the Orange Revolution.

After the votes have been counted at the end of this month, President Viktor
Yushchenko will lose significant authorities enjoyed by his predecessor,
Leonid Kuchma, who got the reform wagon rolling as he was about to leave
office. Yushchenko was forced to agree to the constitutional amendments in
order solidify his final bid for power in December 2004.

Supporters of the amendments, including parties that supported Yushchenko
for president like the Socialists, have argued that the extensive
presidential powers enjoyed by Ukrainian presidents had to be checked.

However, experts familiar with the issues say the changes are at best
unclear and might introduce even greater tension to relations between the
executive and legislature.
                                       INCOMPLETE
Bohdan Futey, a judge on the United States Court of Federal Claims who
helped draft independent Ukraine’s first constitution, described the
country’s main law, which is not even 10 years old, as "incomplete."

"Whenever you are trying to do something very hurriedly, under great
pressure and amidst political turmoil, you really do not finish what you
started to do," he said.

The first attempt to change the Ukrainian Constitution was initiated by
Kuchma, soon after he was re-elected as president in November 1999. In a
controversial referendum held in August 2000, Kuchma proposed introducing a
bicameral parliament and reducing the number of lawmakers from 450 to 300.

Kuchma would have also gained the right to dismiss the legislature if
lawmakers failed to create a majority or approve a state budget in a set
time period. Moreover, Kuchma wanted to strip lawmakers of their immunity
from prosecution. But in the end, lawmakers blocked the amendments.

Kuchma again proposed constitutional change in June 2003, the year before
his final term was due to end, calling for local, regional and national
elections to be held simultaneously. The opposition accused him of trying to
prolong his presidency, or stay on in power as prime minister. By April
2004, Yushchenko rallied enough lawmakers to shoot down the legislation.

Then, on Dec. 8 2004, when Yushchenko was about to face Kuchma’s
handpicked successor and prime minister at the time, Viktor Yanukovych,
in an unprecedented third tour, the future president was forced to support a
package of constitutional reforms hastily cobbled together on the basis on
early legislation.

According to Judge Futey, it is precisely the conditions under which the
amendments were passed that make them so sketchy and poorly thought out.

The European Commission for Democracy through Law, more commonly
known as the Venice Commission, has also criticized the changes.

"In general, the constitutional amendments, as adopted, do not yet fully
allow the aim of the constitutional reform of establishing a balanced and
functional system of government to be attained," reads a report by the
Venice Commission.

One of the Commission’s main concerns is over a restriction introduced,
which no longer allows lawmakers to leave the factions in which they were
elected to parliament. According to the Commission, this provision infringes
on the deputies’ right to a free and independent mandate, which they argue
should be explicitly guaranteed in the Constitution.

Some Ukrainian lawmakers had claimed that they were forced to change
factions under duress from former authorities, while others have long been
suspected of doing so for financial incentive.

Judge Futey doesn’t have a problem with the restriction, saying that
lawmakers frequently "sold" their votes, switching allegiance from faction
to faction based on personal financial interests rather than political
belief. Now this will no longer be possible.

Also, unlike in previous years, the next parliament will be elected strictly
according to party lists and not half according to single seat
constituencies.

Another concern about the amendments is exactly how lawmakers will go
about forming a majority among themselves. The new rules say they must
do so within 30 days after the new parliament convenes. If they don’t, the
president can dissolve the Rada and call new elections. But fine points like
how often such a turn of events could be repeated have not been spelled out.

The Venice Commission noted that Article 90 states that the inability of
parliament to form a coalition or the government will result in its
dissolution and extraordinary elections. However, paragraph 4 of the same
article introduces a one-year ban on the early termination of the re-elected
Parliament.

This lack of clarity lends itself to greater confusion in relations between
Parliament and the president. Futey suggests that this confusion has arisen
because Ukraine is caught in the middle of a transition from a presidential
to parliamentary system.
                                    TOO MUCH POWER
The increased powers of Ukraine’s Prosecutor-General as stipulated in the
amendments also raise concerns. Now, the Prosecutor-General has the power
to challenge court decisions. This provision practically puts the Prosecutor
General above both the executive and the judicial branches.

The prosecutor can now also oversee the observance of constitutional, human
and civil rights and freedoms, which overlaps with the obligations of the
Ombudsman. Rather than clearly delineating responsibilities, this provision
appears to undermine separation of powers, Futey said.

The additional powers of the Prosecutor General have also been criticized by
the Venice Commission. "In this respect, the Commission cannot but recall
once again that such an extension of the power of the Prosecutor General
goes against European standards in this field as well as against the
Ukrainian commitments made when acceding to the Council of Europe."

"All of that, in my view was adopted illegally, because it was not adopted
in conformity with the Constitution," Futey said.

According to the U.S. judge, the previous Constitution was pretty good as

it was, even though it needed some refinement in order to meet European
standards.

"So you have a system that is somehow approved in my view illegally, and
only time can tell how it is going to work," he added.

Vadim Karasyov, a political analyst running for parliament on the opposition
Viche Party’s list, said that overall the new amendments to the Constitution
make Ukraine’s political system more polycentric. But he agreed that some
provisions still need to be clarified and addressed.
                                      AFTER THE ELECTION
As Ukraine’s various blocs now brace to compete for a place in the newly
empowered parliament, President Yushchenko has long hinted that he may try
to change the country’ main law once again.

Yushchenko would have attempted before the March 26 poll but was prevented
from doing so by parliament, which is holding up the swearing in of new
Supreme Court justices. It is the Constitutional Court which could decide
whether the amendments had been introduced legally in the first place.

The president could also try to hold a referendum or attempt to get 300
lawmakers to change the constitution again; however, these would be more
difficult.

After the Verkhovna Rada flexed its new muscles in early January by ousting
Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov’s government, Yushchenko has seemed more
resolved to reverse the events of December 2004. The president’s Our Ukraine
party has said it plans to introduce legislation on holding a referendum
after the March 26 elections.

Futey said that if a pro-presidential coalition emerges with at least 300
votes after the election, Yushchenko has a good chance of reversing the
amendments.                                  -30-
————————————————————————————————
NOTE:  Article republished by the AUR with the permission of Judge
Bohdan Futey and Evgenia Mussuri. http://www.kyivpost.com/nation/24086/
————————————————————————————————

[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================      
6. EX-PRIME MINISTER OF UKRAINE, YULIA TYMOSHENKO,
                    VOWS SOFTER APPROACH TO BUSINESS

By Tom Warner in Kiev, Financial Times
London, United, Kingdom, Thursday, March 30 2006

Yulia Tymoshenko, former Ukrainian prime minister, promised a
business-friendly agenda yesterday if she succeeded in forming a ruling
coalition, following her bloc’s strong second-place showing in Sunday’s
parliamentary elections.

Ms Tymoshenko said she would radically lower corporate tax rates to
encourage investment. "A few points won’t make a difference. Only a radical
lowering of tax rates will bring business out of the shadows," she said.

She also sought to dispel anxiety among investors that she might again
challenge the legality of privatisations by the pro-Moscow administration
before the 2004 Orange revolution brought President Viktor Yushchenko to
power.

Investors were dismayed last year when Ms Tymoshenko, who served as Mr
Yushchenko’s prime minister until she was sacked in September, pursued
populist economic policies including attempts to reallocate privatised
assets and attacks on business oligarchs.

Ms Tymoshenko’s latest promises will not in themselves assuage business
people’s concerns. There is considerable worry in Kiev about how she can
reconcile her business-friendly remarks with campaign promises to boost
social spending and attacks on big business.

Ms Tymoshenko said the government should not try to reverse privatisations.
"My name was absolutely artificially connected with reprivatisation in order
to discredit me," she said.

"The main task to bring foreign investment is to make all business equal
before the law and no business more equal [than others]."

Ms Tymoshenko was speaking as the last votes were counted in an election
in which her bloc emerged as the largest of the three pro-west "Orange"
parties, ahead of Mr Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine and the much smaller
Socialist grouping.

Together, the three parties will take about 54 per cent of parliament’s
seats, ahead of Viktor Yanukovich, the former pro-Russia prime minister,
whose Regions party will have about 41 per cent.

Mr Yushchenko, who has hinted he could try to block Ms Tymoshenko’s

return, has little room to manoeuvre and is playing for time. His statement that
he wanted simultaneous talks with Ms Tymoshenko and Mr Yanukovich drew
fire yesterday from the Socialists and from Our Ukraine leaders.

Alexander Valchyshen, head of research at ING Bank’s branch in Ukraine, said
Kiev’s financial community was heatedly debating the pros and cons of Ms
Tymoshenko’s likely return.

He said the pros included her success in fighting tax evasion and closing
loopholes, while the cons included the uncertainty that was created by the
challenges to past privatisations, sudden changes to tax rules she pushed
through at the beginning of her term and the overall higher tax pressure.

"The widespread view of economists is that her policies decreased business
confidence and slowed investment," Mr Valchyshen said.    -30-
———————————————————————————————-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
7. UKRAINE INVESTORS WORRY TYMOSHENKO MAY COME BACK

REUTERS, Kiev, Ukraine, Monday, March 27, 2006

KIEV – The strong showing in Ukraine’s election by former Premier Yulia
Tymoshenko rang alarm bells on Monday with investors who remember

all too well the economic populism of her brief term in office last year.

Tymoshenko’s bloc stunned pundits by taking a strong second place in
Sunday’s vote, relegating the Our Ukraine party loyal to President Viktor
Yushchenko to a poor third and putting her in pole position to lead an
"Orange" coalition. "The poll results are arguably the worst case for the
market," said Tim Ash, an emerging markets economist at Bear Stearns in
London.

Tymoshenko and Yushchenko, allies in the popular "Orange Revolution"

of late 2004, quickly fell out and Tymoshenko lost her job as premier last
September.

"Even if Tymoshenko can re-form the Orange Coalition, it will leave the
investment community shaken and uncertain for some time," said Matthew
Vogel, head of emerging markets research at Barclays Capital.

During Tymoshenko’s nearly eight months in the job she committed what
markets saw as a series of policy blunders, imposing price freezes on meat
and petrol which caused supply shortages.
——————————————————————————————–

[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
         Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.
========================================================
8 .     ECONOMIC ISSUES IN UKRAINE AT THE TIME VOTERS
CHOOSE A NEW PARLIAMENT, GLOBAL INSIGHT PERSPECTIVE

ANALYSIS: By Dr Ralf Wiegert, Economist for Eastern Europe
Global Insight, London, United Kingdom, Friday, March 24, 2006

What are the economic issues in Ukraine as the voters head to the polls
for Sunday’s Parliamentary Elections ?

[1] Ukraine Trade Relations: Ukraine won a significant trade concession
from the United States yesterday (23 March) as President George W. Bush
approved a bill granting the Ukraine permanent normal trade relations
(PNTR).

The move is a significant boon for Ukrainian exporters, who until now have
been operating under the punitive trade restrictions of the Jackson-Vanik
amendment to the 1974 Trade Act.

The amendment, under which Russia and several other states continue to
operate, ensures higher import tariffs on goods exports entering the U.S.
market from countries considered to be antagonistic towards U.S. interests.
Essentially a Cold-War relic, the amendment was originally passed in order
to punish the USSR for blocking the emigration of its citizens.

Significance: Granting the Ukraine PNTR gives products from Ukraine
low-tariff access to US markets as other trading nations external to the
North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). It will also be considered

a pre-cursor to the United States and Ukraine agreeing a bilateral treaty on
the latter’s application for membership of the World Trade Organization.

[2] Currency Rates:  The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) continued to sell
U.S. dollars on the official foreign exchange market in Kiev this week,
following rising dollar demand ahead of the crucial parliamentary elections
on 26 March. The NBU exchanged hryvnia against U.S. dollars at a rate of
5.06 hryvnia/dollar, the upper ceiling of a target range that was announced
in August 2005 around the official (and de facto fixed) rate of 5.05; however,
the dollar even bought 5.10 hryvnia and more on the cash market.

The NBU usually keeps a very tight grip on the U.S. dollar rate of the
hryvnia, and has effectively imposed an almost-fixed rate since April 2005,
when it allowed the hryvnia to appreciate around 3.0% in a single trading
day. Pressure on the hryvnia was mounting following the controversial gas
price deal with Russia’s Gazprom in January, and rising political tensions
ahead of the parliamentary elections.

A still-weakening trade balance, with exports being dampened further by the
imposition of a Russian import ban for Ukrainian dairy products in January,
has also increased dollar demand. The NBU’s foreign reserves, amounting to
some US$18 billion at the end of February, have been more than sufficient so
far to defend the official hryvnia rate, as the monthly transaction volume
on the interbank foreign exchange market levelled at close to US$6 billion
in February, while NBU interventions netted US$179 million at the same time,
following US$938 million in January. However, Reuters reported that, as of
20 March, the NBU has sold dollars worth some US$1.5 billion in 2006 so far.

Significance: The NBU routinely defended the hryvnia/dollar-rate against
appreciation in 2005, and there is little doubt that it will do so against
modest depreciation tendencies as well. Following the Gazprom deal, however,
we had slightly downgraded our forecast profile for the hryvnia rate, and
now expect the rate of 5.05 hryvnia/U.S. dollar will hold until the end of
the year at least.

It should be noted, however, that the impressive merchandise trade balance
surplus that was prevalent in late 2004 has already collapsed and slipped
into deficit in 2005, a fact that weighs strongly against the hryvnia at
present. On the other hand, though, surpluses in the services and transfers
balances as well as high foreign direct investment inflows in 2005 enabled
to Central Bank to almost double the volume of foreign exchange reserves.

Nevertheless, if exports fail to recover – at least gradually – over the
course of the year, we would be forced to fundamentally alter our hryvnia
outlook for the short to medium term, with a modest depreciation becoming
almost inevitable.

[3] Energy Strategy to 2030 Approved
On March 16th the government approved a new energy strategy to 2030,
which plans for growth of power generations, and integration into European
power structures. Three priorities have been set: –

     to move towards energy-saving technology,
     to lower fuel import dependence
     to ensure reliability of supply to consumers.

Natural gas usage is to be cut from 76 billion cubic metres per year to 50
billion cubic metres, and annual gas production is to be tripled to 30
billion cubic metres by 2030. It hopes to increase electricity generation
through increased output from nuclear and thermal power plants that use
domestically sourced raw materials – uranium and coal.

Significance: Economy Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk noted that the strategy
would have to be worked on with the European Commission, and factor in the
European Union (EU) energy strategy, which has been under fierce debate in
recent months. He also acknowledged the need to account for Russian energy
strategy, with relations strained after a gas supply row in recent months.
As such the strategy needs to be fleshed out, with its main focus on
reducing import dependence and increasing Ukraine’s own energy security.

[4] Ukraine’s Current-Account Surplus Collapsed in 2005

With the commodities boom terminating precipitously and imports being
boosted by vibrant consumption, Ukraine’s current-account surplus collapsed
in 2005.
                                  Global Insight Perspective
Significance
— The reduction of the current-account surplus was driven by a
staggering slowdown in export growth, which was largely the result of more
adverse world-market conditions for a couple of key Ukrainian export
products – first of all, steel and other metals, which materialised in 2005
after the commodities boom that prevailed in 2003-04 lost momentum.

Implications — It was not a big surprise that exports slowed markedly in
2005, dragging the current account down.

Nevertheless, the speed and timing of changing patterns in Ukraine’s
external accounts was particularly bad for the new administration. External
stability should remain unaffected, however, the stark changes in trade
patterns notwithstanding.

Outlook — The deteriorating trend of external balances is projected to
prevail into the medium term, and Ukraine’s current account should even
post a small deficit in 2006. The current dollar-based exchange rate level
(5.05 hryvnia/U.S. dollar) is assumed to remain in place until the end of the

year at least.

The Ukrainian economy posted a current-account surplus of US$2.5 billion in
2005, according to the National Bank of Ukraine (NBU). While equalling 3.1%
of GDP, this compares to a surplus of US$6.8 billion, or 10.5% of GDP, in
2004. The root cause for the sharp reduction is located in merchandise
trade, which recorded a remarkable surplus of US$3.7 billion in 2004, but
swung into deficit in 2005, posting a US$1.1 billion shortfall. It was the
highest negative gap since 1998, in fact.

The marked slowdown of export growth, which is behind the sharp trade
balance deterioration, is largely the result of more adverse world-market
conditions for a couple of key Ukrainian export products – first of all,
steel and other metals, which materialised in 2005 after the commodities
boom that prevailed in 2003-04 lost significant momentum. Following a 40.8%
surge in 2004, merchandise exports thus grew a meagre 4.8% in 2005.

Imports by contrast, have been spurred by domestic consumption spending,
being boosted by rising social transfers and wage hikes. Indeed, a shift in
the fiscal budget, which resulted in a strong increase of consumption-

related spending against public investment expenditures, had a noticeable
impact on households’ real disposable incomes, which grew by 20.1% in
2005.

Merchandise trade had reported a surplus of US$1.0 billion still in the
first quarter, but second-quarter results slipped into deficit (US$236
billion) and deteriorated further thereafter. However, the deficit in the
fourth quarter, which amounted to US$0.8 billion, was lower again

compared to the third quarter (US$1.1 billion).

The modest improvement of merchandise trade in the final quarter
notwithstanding, the current account has stayed on the downward path
even in the final quarter, accounting for a tiny shortfall of US$96 million,
the first quarterly deficit in almost six years.

It should be noted, though, that a deficit of US$203 million was reported
earlier for the third quarter, but this has been revised to a US$404 million
surplus, apparently thanks to a revision on the accounting methodology of
travel services (mostly tourism) in the balance of payments.

Indeed, initial third-quarter results indicated US$463 million revenues
here, but the most recent release noted that revenues amounted to US$1,521
million. Services outflows in this category have been revised as well, but
changes were less significant.

As a result, the services balance, which was particularly favourable in the
third quarter with a surplus of US$1,035 million (this compares to surpluses
of around US$200-400 million for the other quarters of the year), cushioned

the impact of the trade balance deterioration. The revision, moreover, was also
the major reason why the current-account balance recorded an unexpectedly
high surplus. Our latest forecast estimated a deficit of 2.4% of GDP in
2005.

Current transfers, including remittances from abroad, have an important
mitigating role for Ukraine’s current account, hitting US$2.8 billion in
2005. Net income, meanwhile, slipped further into deficit, recording a gap
of almost US$1 billion after US$0.6 billion in 2004, reflecting on the
rising share of foreign direct investment in the country.

Regarding financial accounts, FDI inflows in the first half of 2005 were
sluggish initially, as the new government’s intentions and policy measures
irritated investors – domestic and foreign alike. The meagre FDI results got
a first significant boost as Austria’s Raiffeisenbank International
purchased Aval Bank from private investors for US$1.03 billion.

But this deal was dwarfed by the record sale in the repeat auction of the
93% stake in the Ukrainian steel mill Kryvorizhstal. International giant
Mittal Steel succeeded in the televised auction on 24 October, paying
down US$4.8 billion, the largest foreign investment ever. FDI inflows have
been boosted more than fourfold in 2005, amounting to US$7.8 billion.
                         OUTLOOK AND IMPLICATIONS
For a cautious observer, it was always clear that the commodities price boom
that took the current-account surplus to unprecedented heights in 2004 and
ignited record-high GDP growth that year would end sooner or later; and
given the very high base level, it was not a big surprise that exports
slowed markedly in 2005.

Nevertheless, the speed and timing of changing patterns in Ukraine’s
external accounts was particularly bad for the new administration under
President Viktor Yushchenko which took over the presidential palace in
January that year, and it is no coincidence that GDP growth slowed to
just 2.6% in 2005, after 12.1% in 2004, having the key importance of
commodities exports, in particular steel, in mind.

The deteriorating trend of external balances is projected to prevail into
the medium term, although the current consumption boom should slow
somewhat.

But as fixed investment will hopefully recover over the course of 2006,
import growth will remain fairly buoyant and outpace exports growth still.
That said, Ukraine’s current account should remain close to balance, and
eventually post a small deficit in 2006.

Changing patterns in external balances brought both relief and new
challenges to the NBU’s exchange-rate strategy, which held up a quasi-peg
against the U.S. dollar during 2005, including a moderate realignment in
April.

The dollar rate, which has been allowed to oscillate in a corridor
between 4.99 and 5.06 hryvnia since September (with 5.05 hryvnia/dollar as
the officially quasi-fixed dollar rate), was under constant pressure from
markets to appreciate, as excess supply of foreign exchange was abundant
during the export boom in 2004 and early 2005, but the situation of external
balances has now changed fundamentally.

Nevertheless, export revenues plus other foreign-exchange revenues
(including direct investment inflows) are still sufficient for the NBU to
maintain the current peg for a while, and the hryvnia might even become a
candidate for appreciation against the U.S. dollar again – a move we
continue to predict in the medium term, provided that growth momentum
accelerates again and investment stabilises. However, we think that the
current dollar-based exchange rate level will remain in place until the end
of the year at least.                             -30-
————————————————————————————————
Global Insight’s Economist for Eastern Europe, Dr Ralf Wiegert.
Tel: 49-69-20973-320.
———————————————————————————————–
AUR thanks Gavin Knight, Head of Communications – International
Global Insight, Inc, London, UK, Tel: 44 (0) 207 452 5183,

Mob: 44 (0) 7960 225 742; gavin.knight@globalinsight.com,
www.globalinsight.com for sending us their latest economic analysis
for Ukraine.  AUR EDITOR
——————————————————————————————-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
9.  PUTIN SAYS US DELAYING RUSSIA’S WTO MEMBERSHIP
   Recent WTO accord between Ukraine and US rubbed salt into the wound,
     raising the prospect that Ukraine may join the trade body before Russia.

By Neil Buckley in Moscow and Frances Williams in Geneva
Financial Times, London, UK, Thursday, March 30 2006

Russian president Vladimir Putin on Wednesday accused the US of
"artificially" holding back progress in talks on Russia’s accession to the
World Trade Organisation, adding to a chill in relations between the two
countries.

Mr Putin made his comments during an annual meeting with Russian

business leaders, otherwise largely devoted to domestic policy.

"Unfortunately we have received a list of questions from our American
colleagues that require additional agreements that we thought had been
settled long ago," the Russian president said, without specifying what areas
the US demands covered. "The negotiation process is being artificially set
back."

He added that Russia was still interested in WTO membership but "only on
economically beneficial conditions".

The US rejected Mr Putin’s claim. Robert Portman, US trade representative,
said: "The remaining issues with Russia’s accession…are not new problems
and they are not dissimilar to those issues addressed by others who have
acceded to the WTO."

President George W. Bush on Wednesday acknowledged pressure not to

attend the G8 summit in Russia later this year, but said that would be a mistake.
"I need to be in a position where I can sit down with him [Mr Putin] and be
very frank about our concerns.?I haven’t given up on Russia. I still think
Russia understands that it’s in her interest to be west, to work with the
west, and to act in concert with the west."

Moscow had hoped to wrap up its 13-year-old talks on joining the WTO by

the end of last year, then, after that deadline was missed, at least before it
hosted the summit of the G8 summit in St Petersburg in July.

But Alexander Shokhin, head of the Russian Union of Entrepreneurs and
Industrialists, a lobby group, said after the meeting with Mr Putin that the
July deadline looked doubtful. He said Mr Putin’s comments were "news both
for members of the government and for business".

Russia has become impatient over the past year or so as targets for WTO
entry have slipped. Moscow now says it is aiming for the end of 2006 – but
even this is threatened, not only by failure to wrap up bilateral market
access talks with the US but by sluggish progress in multilateral
negotiations dealing with Russia’s compliance with WTO rules.

Agreement with Washington has been held up over US demands for Moscow

to allow foreign banks to open direct branches, not just Russian subsidiary
companies as now. Russia says its financial sector could not withstand the
competition and that it has security concerns about foreign banks opening
branches. The US has also said Russia must clamp down on video and
software piracy and cut import duties on aircraft.

The recent WTO accord between Ukraine and the US has rubbed salt into

the wound, raising the prospect that Ukraine may join the trade body before
Russia.

Russia is the biggest economy not yet to be a member of the 149-nation

WTO, but has struck all necessary bilateral deals with other members apart
from  the US, Australia and Colombia.                    -30-
——————————————————————————————-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
10.  U.S. MANEUVERS TO ENSURE UKRAINE JOINS WTO BEFORE
      RUSSIA ACCORDING TO DUMA FOREIGN AFFAIRS LEADER 
 
Interfax, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006
MOSCOW – State Duma Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman
Konstantin Kosachyov suspects Washington is artificially dragging
out Russian accession to the WTO in order to ensure that Ukraine
enters first.

"The United States has been enticing us to join, we were promised
that the negotiations would be finished by the end of the year, there
were certain allusions at the Group of Eight summit. However,
nothing is happening because [Washington] has decided to prevent 
Russia from entering before Ukraine  does,"  he said on the Mayak
radio station on Wednesday.

"U.S.-Ukrainian negotiations have finished. Ukraine need only
finalize the technical details of its entry. Then it can join the
group of countries negotiating with Russia and begin dictating their
terms to us," he said.

"We have an impression that the U.S. is playing a ‘double game,’
artificially dragging out Russia’s accession, setting forth new
conditions as far as issues already coordinated are concerned,
waiting for the moment when it may step aside and leave this dirty
work, to set forth new terms, to be done by Ukrainian negotiators,"
Kosachyov said.                            -30-
——————————————————————————————-
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================

11.  TAX SERVICE SAYS MOST UKRAINIAN FUNDS FLOW OUT TO
BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS, CYPRUS, ISLE OF MAN OFFSHORE ZONES
 
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, March 29, 2006

KYIV – The State Tax Administration believes that the British Virgin Islands,
Cyprus, and the Isle of Man are the offshore zones, through which the most
of Ukraine’s funds flow out. State Tax Administration Chairman Oleksandr
Kireev made the statement to the press.

"We started blocking interior schemes, which raised the wish to skip control
by means of going to offshore zones. I have information about most used
zones: the British Virgin Islands with 51.6% of payments, Cyprus with

17.2%, and the Isle of Man with 9.7%," he said.

Among other such offshore zones Kireev named Saint Kitts and Nevis
(7.3% of payments), Belize (4%), Seychelles (3%), Panama (1.8%), and
Bahama Islands (1.8%).

"I think these names are little known to you and me… Somebody probably
likes to rest on these islands, hence transfers money there," he said.
Kireev spoke out in favor of introduction of finance monitoring of offshore
transactions.

As Ukrainian News reported earlier, at a meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers
on March 29, acting Finance Minister Viktor Pynzenyk reported reduction

of receipts to the national budget in March and intensification of shadow
transactions.

According to the Finance Ministry, 12 regions in March reduced the level of
budget receipts compared with last year. Pynzenyk especially pointed out
reduction of taxes in Donetsk region, which, as he put it, worsened this
indicator three times, including by profit tax six times compared with last
year.

The 2006 national budget envisages general fund receipts of UAH

96,564.400 million and costs of UAH 108,245.200 million (including
receipts of the general fund in January-February of UAH 12,172.600
million and outlays of UAH 11,092.7 million).          -30-
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12. DEMOCRACY FLOURISHES IN KIEV, BUT SMOTHERED IN MINSK
    The party of Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine’s president and the hero of 2004’s
    "Orange Revolution", has suffered a heavy defeat in parliamentary elections.
       It will only remain in office if it forms a coalition with old allies. But while
     democracy is flourishing in Ukraine, it is still being brutally stifled in Belarus.
 
The Economist Global Agenda, The Economist
London, United Kingdom, Tuesday, March 28th 2006

THE heavy defeat of Viktor Yushchenko’s ruling Our Ukraine party in
parliamentary elections on Sunday March 26th has cast into doubt the
leadership of his "Orange Revolution". A year ago, westward-leaning Mr
Yushchenko was a hero, swept to power by repeated demonstrations following
claims that supporters of his rival, the pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovich, had
rigged a presidential election late in 2004. Today the hero has nothing to
celebrate.

By Tuesday afternoon, with some 80% of ballots counted, Our Ukraine had
garnered a mere 15.1% of the vote, as the population grumbled about an
economic slowdown, party splits and allegations of corruption. Instead Mr
Yanukovich-previously a villain in the eyes of those on the streets-picked
up support.

His Regions Party won the largest share, more than 30% of all ballots cast.
Supporters of the party, who adopted the colour blue, have been celebrating
noisily. Orange clothing is now out of fashion.

Few close observers of Ukraine are surprised that the party of the
president-who is elected directly and will remain in office-failed to win
this election. Mr Yushchenko’s stock has been falling for many months, but
dipped particularly sharply after September 8th when he sacked his
revolutionary ally, Yulia Timoshenko, as prime minister, along with her
cabinet. She had been a volatile populist in office, but accusations that
she abused her position and misused government funds soured the political
atmosphere in Kiev.

Mr Yushchenko made a powerful enemy and voters were disenchanted. Several
others in government-all one-time allies of the president-were also accused
of corruption amid claims that many reformists were in the pockets of
powerful businessmen. The mud-slinging did nothing to reassure voters that
the orange clan would improve the lives of ordinary people.

Moreover, many voters were left unimpressed by the souring of relations

with Russia. Most notable was a stand-off at the beginning of the year, in
midwinter, when supplies of cheap gas piped to Ukraine (and then on to
western Europe) were reduced in a heavy-handed Russian effort to reassert
influence over its neighbour.

Although a compromise was eventually agreed, whereby Ukraine paid more

for its gas and other countries agreed to provide additional supplies, it was a
chilling reminder that bad relations with Moscow might prove costly for
Ukraine.

The president also seemed to mishandle the crisis, keeping details of the
new deal with Russia secret, though they were eventually divulged by Mrs
Timoshenko. In response to the crisis, parliament voted in January to bring
down the government. Those living closest to the Russian border delivered
the most comprehensive backing for Mr Yanukovich in Sunday’s poll.

The performance of photogenic Mrs Timoshenko’s party (named after

herself) was perhaps most striking, as it claimed second place with an
estimated 22.4% of the vote. By pushing the president’s party into third
place, she can now lay claim to joint leadership of the Orange Revolution.

She is also likely to return to the prime minister’s office as the head of a
reformist coalition composed, broadly, of the same politicians who surged

to office roughly a year ago.

On Sunday evening she said an agreement for a coalition was "practically
ready", though there was still no deal by Tuesday. A pact between the two
orange parties would keep the pro-Russian Regions Party out of power, and
allow reformers to continue pushing for closer ties with western Europe.

None of this suggests democracy in Ukraine is under threat-quite the
reverse. Sunday’s election saw 45 parties contesting seats in parliament,
with rival camps emerging from different parts of the country. Candidates
also competed for simultaneous elections at regional, district and mayoral
levels, with ballot papers offering a bewildering array of choices to the
voters.

International observers said campaigning and voting were free and fair, and
"a clear break with the past". The Organisation for Security and
Co-operation in Europe sent 900 observers to monitor polling stations and
concluded that the election had been managed well.
                                       MISERY IN MINSK
Sadly that is in direct contrast to next-door Belarus, where pro-democracy
campaigners and foreign observers say an election that returned President
Alyaksandr Lukashenka to power earlier this month with 83% of the vote was
unfair.

Though protests were tolerated for most of last week, a rally in Minsk, the
capital, was broken up on Saturday by truncheon-wielding police. They used
force of "bestial savagery", according to an opposition leader, Alyaksandr
Milinkevic; many protesters were detained.

Both the European Union and the United States decided late last week to
impose targeted sanctions against Belarus’s political leaders in response to
the dubious election. Now those leaders have accused the West of stirring up
"hysteria" while trying to "destabilise" the country.

As the numbers daring to protest in Belarus dwindle, and factions emerge in
the pro-democracy movement, it seems likely that Mr Lukashenka will hold on
to power. On Tuesday his inauguration, originally scheduled for Friday, was
delayed without explanation.

But this may simply be a way of ensuring that there is time for all protests
to be snuffed out before the ceremony takes place. Also on Tuesday, Mr
Lukashenka sounded a defiant note, telling ministers: "All political battles
are over…We have put the country back in order, just as it used to be
before."

The president’s re-election also counts as a victory for Russia, where the
government of Vladimir Putin sees the Belarusian strongman as an ally in the
face of encroaching western influence in central and eastern Europe.

The victory for Mr Yanukovich’s party in Ukraine, too, will be welcomed in
Moscow as another example of its renewed influence on neighbours that serve
as a buffer zone between Russia and the eastern edge of the European Union.
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13.                 A COUNTER-REVOLUTION IN UKRAINE?
       Just 16 months ago, the reformers were triumphant. What happened?

VIEWPOINT: By Yuri Zarakhovich
TIME magazine website, NY, NY, Wednesday, Mar. 29, 2006

As Belarus’s President Alexander Lukashenko continues his brutal crackdown
against protesters opposed to his internationally condemned fraudulent
election victory, Europe’s last dictator seems to some observers to be
running scared; he only showed his face to his countrymen on Tuesday, and
has already postponed his previously planned inauguration this coming
Friday.

But if Lukashenko is indeed feeling increasingly painted into a corner,
perhaps he can take comfort from recent elections in nearby Ukraine, where
at least one-third of the electorate retain strong support for the same
post-Soviet Moscow-favored autocratic leader the voters rejected just 16
months ago.

Who knows – maybe Lukashenko will even one day find himself being voted
into power in a legitimate election again, the way he did back in his first
race in 1994. After all, a good portion of people will always prefer guaranteed
rations and order to the messiness and uncertainty of freedom.

That in many respects explains the amazing tenacity and comeback of former
Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, who lost the Presidency in
December of 2004 to reformer Viktor Yushchenko after the people revolted
against a clearly fraudulent initial election in a non-violent surge of
people power.

In this past weekend’s parliamentary elections, Yanukovych’s Party of the
Regions (PR) led with over 31% of the votes, while Yushchenko’s Our
Ukraine (OU) party had a humiliating third place finish.

Yanukovych’s impressive showing may have been a surprise to Westerners
who thought his time and eastward-looking agenda had come and gone, but it
wasn’t to him. Over the past year and a half, he has remade himself, hiring
Western spin doctors rather than wasting funds on hapless Russian advisers.

He became available to the media, and toned down his allegiance to Moscow,
while still emphasizing the need to move to Europe "together with Russia."
He also promised to ease the burden of high gas prices by re-entering the
United Economic Space with Russia.

During those same 16 months since the victory of the so-called Orange
Revolution, the new regime of President Yuschenko and his prime minister,
the flamboyant Yuliya Tymoshenko, has delivered on many of its promises,
but also been plagued by infighting and mutual accusations of corruption.

On the one hand, business enjoyed the lifting of its tax burden and much red
tape, ordinary folks got better wages and pensions, and the freedom of
speech and the upheld rule of law made free elections feasible. But at the
same time, those achievements have been undercut by periodic shortages of
fuel and food and soaring inflation.

Even more harmful were allegations – never dealt with by the President in
any convincing way – that his son Andriy paid for his notoriously high
life-style of posh cars, penthouse apartments and expensive parties with
revenues from Orange revolution symbols, patented in his name as
trademarks and sold at the market like hot pies.

Yushchenko only added insult to injury last summer, when he lashed out
at the journalist Serhiy Leshchenko, 25, who wrote an expose of the
presidential son. "The most amazing thing is that Yushchenko himself
co-authored my story – and failed to realize this," Leshchenko told me at
the time. "It was only due to his Orange revolution that now a journalist
can write such stories in Ukraine – and stay alive."

The worst blow came last September, when Yushchenko and Tymoshenko
traded accusations of betrayal of the Orange revolution. The entire Orange
administration imploded within a couple of days: Yushchenko fired
Tymoshenko, and then fired his lieutenants who were most involved in the
war of words with her.

With the Orange coalition in tatters, the rifts are now being played out at
the ballot box, where Tymoshenko’s eponymous party came in second behind
Yanukovych. The new parliament turns out to be as split as society is –
which, among many other things, is a proof of an honest and fair election.

Since no single party, including the big winner Yanukovych, has the
majority, a coalition government, with all the accompanying horse trading
and compromises, will likely be formed.

It’s also proof of how messy democracy can be. In Belarus, just several days
before President Alexander Lukashenko ordered his storm troopers to meet
the flowers and colored balloons of a peaceful people’s march with clubs,
tear gas and stun grenades, I happened to overhear a Western observer.

The gentleman, apparently Italian, was admiring the impeccable organization
of Lukashenko’s election: all so orderly, just like in Switzerland, he
enthused.

Well, yes, order is admirable – didn’t the trains run on time under
Mussolini, which doesn’t always happen in Italy under democracy? That’s
the eternal problem: democracy is messy, dictatorship is orderly and
solemn – not unlike a cemetery.                -30-
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LINK: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1178220,00.html
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14.                                  THE ORANGE GLOW

EDITORIAL: Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles, California, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

JUST 16 MONTHS AGO, UKRAINE, one of Europe’s largest countries,
stood more or less where basket-case Belarus found itself last week – with
a thuggish president declared the victor in an election most every outside
observer not named Vladimir V. Putin considered unfree and unfair, while
thousands of demonstrators braved the cold, night after night, to demand
a new vote.

With four NATO member states on its border and a nuclear arsenal only
recently disbanded (at least in theory), this was no insignificant standoff,
either for the world or for Ukraine’s 47 million citizens.

But unlike Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko this week, Ukraine’s
leader at the time, Leonid D. Kuchma, grudgingly tolerated a new election –
and allowed the protesters to assemble in the streets without being clubbed
viciously by the regime’s cops.

Opposition leaders won the rerun vote, and though they quickly began
squabbling among themselves, the Orange Revolution they set in motion in
November 2004 reached its official fruition last weekend, ironically enough
with the numerical parliamentary victory for Kuchma’s handpicked successor,
Viktor Yanukovich.

How does that work? Simple. A free and fair election is free and fair,
regardless of who wins. And, fortunately enough, Yanukovich’s Party of
Regions doesn’t seem to have enough votes to form a working government,
meaning that the two splintered Orange Revolution parties – both at least
nominally inclined toward Western-oriented liberalism – probably will form a
coalition government.

It’s no wonder that President Viktor Yushchenko, whose party finished a
distant and disappointing third in the polling, nevertheless declared: "I’m
in a great mood. I’m sure that democratic elections in Ukraine are a victory
in themselves."

Ukraine’s firm step in the right direction is proof that even countries for
which few had high hopes a decade ago are capable of demanding, and
achieving, democratic self-governance. This is a backdrop of optimism to the
otherwise depressing scene last weekend of Lukashenko’s brutal crackdown

on peaceful demonstrators in Minsk, the Belarusian capital.

Police indiscriminately clubbed students, women and pensioners, locking up
hundreds, including the former Polish ambassador to Belarus, at least one
opposition leader, several international aid workers and some foreign
journalists.

The good news is that the virus of democracy, especially in post-communist
Europe, has a proven track record of spreading and solidifying.

It says something powerful that the Western country taking the lead role in
pressuring Lukashenko is Poland – and that the beleaguered protesters are
consciously drawing on a tradition that runs from Solidarity to
Czechoslovakia’s Charter 77 to the various "color" revolutions belatedly
percolating along Russia’s borders.

The protesters’ bravery deserves our applause and support, and the 10
million other residents of Belarus deserve the same opportunities finally
being embraced in neighboring Ukraine.                  -30-
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15.    FORMER PRIME MINISTER LAUDS UKRAINE’S ‘FIRST
   HONEST ELECTIONS HELD IN 15 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE’

 
Voice of America (VOA), Washington, D.C., Wed, March 29, 2006
 
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Former Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia
Tymoshenko told the Voice of America’s daily live Russian radio call-in
show today that Sunday’s parliamentary elections were significant because
they represented the "first honest elections held in 15 years of (Ukrainian)
independence."

The opposition party of Viktor Yanukovych and his allies won the most seats
on Sunday, claiming almost one-third, followed by Tymoshenko’s party, with
President Viktor Yushchenko’s party finishing third in the voting.  While
the leaders of Ukraine’s Orange Revolution claimed more votes overall, no
single party has enough seats to form a new government on its own.

Tymoshenko, who served as prime minister until being dismissed by President
Yushchenko last year, said the elections were a sign that people have become
"energized by politics since the Orange Revolution."  She added, "The people
have chosen and that choice was for the ideas of the Orange Revolution."
The former prime minister also expressed her hope that Ukraine becomes an
example for all former Soviet countries that wish to become democratic
societies.

In addition to its daily call-in show, VOA Russian broadcasts a daily
30-minute television program Obektiv (Focus); a daily, one-hour radio news
program Sobitiya i Razmyshleniya (Events and Opinions); and a weekly
30-minute TV show, Okno v Mir (Window on the World). Programs are also
available on the Internet at www.voanews.com/Russian.

The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia
international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the
Broadcasting Board of Governors.  VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of
news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an
estimated worldwide audience of more than 100 million people.  Programs are
produced in 44 languages. For more information, please contact Public

Affairs at (202) 203-4959, or publicaffairs@voa.gov.
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16.   PRESSURE MOUNTS ON UKRAINE LEADER TO REUNITE
                WITH FORMER ALLY YULIA TYMOSHENKO

 
Agence France-Presse (AFP), Kiev, Ukraine, Wed, March 29, 2006

KIEV – Pressure mounted Wednesday on President Viktor Yushchenko

to reunite with a former ally in order to continue Ukraine’s pro-Western
course after the Russia-friendly opposition won a parliamentary election.

After finishing a humiliating third place in the weekend vote, Yushchenko
must now choose between Moscow-friendly Viktor Yanukovych or estranged
"orange revolution" ally Yulia Tymoshenko in forming a new cabinet.

He is under pressure from supporters at home and abroad to mend ties with
Tymoshenko, whom he fired as prime minister last year, to continue driving
the ex-Soviet nation toward closer ties with the West.

"We would like to see a Ukraine that’s pursuing reform," a senior Western
diplomat said in Kiev Wednesday. "We think that the outcome which would
pursue reform most reliably across the board would be the team that won the
presidential elections in 2004."

Tymoshenko helped the Ukrainian president lead the "orange revolution"
protests that kept the Russian-backed Yanukovych out of office after a
fraudulent presidential ballot and catapulted reformist Yushchenko to power.

Russia and the West, which wrangled over the 2004 contest, are intently
watching the negotiations over the next cabinet in Ukraine as they fight to
influence the direction of the strategic country.

So is the "orange revolution" electorate, which backed the
Yushchenko-Tymoshenko duo during the 2004 protests but split after their
acrimonious breakup last September.

"Are we Going to Tie the Knot or What?" read a headline in one Kiev daily.
Another said that Tymoshenko and Yushchenko supporters were unlikely to
forgive a union with Yanukovych, who to them is the embodiment of the
corrupt, entrenched regime ousted during the "orange revolution" protests.

But the Ukrainian leader does not trust and disagrees on policy with
Tymoshenko and has so far refused to give her the nod.

On Tuesday, he met for more than an hour with each of his two rivals.
"Today’s goal is… to hold preliminary consultations around those
fundamental, national values that can form a coalition," he said prior to
the meetings.

Tymoshenko, who has demanded a return to the premiership under any

union, has piled on the pressure on Yushchenko to reunite again.

"The president has to choose: either me, or Viktor Yanukovych, as prime
minister. In the latter case, he would be sealing his own political
suicide," she told Italy’s La Repubblica paper.

Meanwhile election officials continued to count ballots from Sunday’s
election. With ballots tallied from nearly 95 percent of polling stations,
Yanukovych’s Regions Party in top place with 31.52 percent;

Tymoshenko’s bloc in second with 22.40 percent, and Yushchenko’s
Our Ukraine with 14.34 percent.

The Socialists and the Communists, who are also expected to make it into
the chamber, had 5.84 percent and 3.64 percent, respectively.

Comprehensive poll results are expected later Wednesday, officials said.
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17.  SOCIALIST PARTY WILL GO INTO OPPOSITION IF OUR
 UKRAINE PARTY JOINS YANUKOVYCH AND PARTY OF REGIONS

 
Ukrayinska Pravda On-line, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 30, 2006

KYIV – Yosyp Vinsky, a leading figure in the Socialist Party of Ukraine

(SPU), says his party will go into opposition if the Our Ukraine Bloc
enters a coalition with the Party of the Regions.

"If Our Ukraine wants to be with Regions, then this is not the socialists’
problem, but Our Ukraine’s. If they are with Regions, then we will be in the
opposition," Vinsky said in an interview with the BBC.

"At the Socialist Party political council, all possibilities of forming a
bloc with Regions were rejected. All possibilities. We did not even look
into this option. The first option is a coalition with the Tymoshenko Bloc,
Our Ukraine, and the SPU. The second option is opposition. The third

option is a dismissal of parliament. We did not look into any other options,"
he added.

According to him, forming a coalition with Yanukovych is impossible,

because "Regions are Kuchma 3, this is a prime minister of Kuchma, this
is a person Kuchma designated as his successor."

"There will not be any ‘orange’ coalition. This is a position of principle
for our party, I think we should stop these talks. The coalition will be
blue and yellow. Because the orange Our Ukraine, the white and red Yulia
Tymoshenko Bloc, and the ruby Socialists will form it," Vinsky said.

At the same time he stated that "no conversations about a concrete
distribution of positions have taken place."

"The memorandum only contains general mechanisms for holding power,

and a general outline of our mutual work… No specific names were discussed –
even for prime minister – during the preparation of this document. Though it
is true that he who gets the most votes has the right to choose," said the
SPU member.

"According to the scheme contained in the memorandum, there is the
possibility of choosing cabinet posts in turn… No concrete matters of
personnel were discussed. These will be discussed after the signing of a
formal memorandum on forming a coalition, as is required in the

Constitution and parliamentary procedures," he added.

Earlier BYuT leader Yulia Tymoshenko voiced the possibility of entering

the opposition if Our Ukraine formed a coalition with the Party of the
Regions.                                       -30-
 
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18.   OUR UKRAINE COUNCIL TO CONSIDER MEMORANDUM ON
    FORMATION OF PARLIAMENT COALITION ON FRIDAY, APRIL 7
 
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, March 29, 2006
 
KYIV – The council of the Our Ukraine People’s Union party (OUPU) will
consider the memorandum on formation of a parliamentary coalition on April
7. The press service of the party announced this in a statement, a text of which
Ukrainian News obtained. The presidium of the party made this decision on
March 28.

"We have never made an important decision behind the back," the statement
said. The political council of the party decided on March 28 to sign the
memorandum on formation of the parliamentary coalition after announcement

of the official results of the March 26 elections and that the decision on
formation of the coalition should be made by all the leadership organs of
the founding parties of the Our Ukraine bloc.

The presidium attributed the decision to make table the issue of formation
of the coalition to the OUPU council to the fact that regions are
represented in the presidium.

Moreover, the presidium said that the power to make political decisions
reverted from the presidium and election headquarters to the party’s council
when the election campaign ended on March 26.

"Since the elections ended on March 26 and the powers have returned to the
competence of the council accordingly, the signing of the memorandum on
formation of the coalition cannot take place without consideration of the
issue at a meeting of the council of Our Ukraine," the statement said.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, the political councils of the OUPU and
the Socialist Party have approved the memorandum on formation of a
coalition.                                     -30-
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19.                        NEW GOALS FOR JOHN HERBST
                US Ambassador to leave Ukraine for government post

By Mykola Siruk, The Day Weekly Digest in English, #10
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

In late spring US Ambassador John Herbst will leave Ukraine to head the
Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization at the US
Department of State. US State Secretary Condoleezza Rice recently
approved a corresponding decision.

Herbst will replace Carlos Pascual, who also served as US ambassador
to Ukraine and was the first to head the Office of the Coordinator for
Reconstruction and Stabilization two years ago.

There is nothing unusual about the fact that Herbst is ending his
ambassadorial stint in Kyiv: he has served in Ukraine for nearly three years
as envisioned by US diplomatic practice. The name of the new ambassador is
secret. Although The Day’s sources claim that a candidate for the vacancy
has been already selected, he must first finalize all the necessary
formalities before traveling to Kyiv.

According to some sources, the new ambassador will be a career diplomat,
who is familiar with the problems of the post-Soviet space. According to
American regulations, the ambassador’s name cannot be disclosed until his
appointment is final. This way the US government safeguards its prospective
ambassadors from coming under the influence of lobby groups.

The US has a complex mechanism for appointing ambassadors. First, a
candidate for the ambassador’s post is selected by the State Department, a
structure that is functionally similar to Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign
Affairs. Then a decision is approved by the president and the National
Security Council. At the same time, the FBI closely examines the future
ambassador’s biography to make sure it contains no "black spots."

Then the candidate addresses a session of the US Senate Committee on
Foreign Relations. Only then does the president sign an order to appoint the
ambassador. Clearly, such procedures take longer than a week. Judging by
this timeframe, it is clear that the name of the new ambassador is already
known, but only to a limited number of people.

Ukraine will remember John Herbst. The ambassador, who arrived in Kyiv
in the fall of 2003, will probably never forget the Ukrainian chapter of his
career either. During his first news conference the diplomat stressed: "My
main goal is to improve our bilateral relations in all aspects."

There is no denying that he has accomplished his goals. On Herbst’s watch in
Kyiv the Orange Revolution took place, President Yushchenko visited
Washington, the Jackson-Vanik Amendment was revoked, and our country was
granted market economy status. The ambassador has every right to be pleased
with his accomplishments. In a recent statement he said that the March 26
elections are the fairest elections in Ukraine’s history.

It has not been ruled out that Ukrainian government representatives will
continue to maintain contacts with Herbst, but in a different sphere, namely
during the process of rebuilding Iraq or Afghanistan. After all, the purpose
of the Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization is to
help countries through post-conflict periods of reconstruction.

COMMENTARY: Yuriy Shcherbak, former Ukrainian ambassador to the US:
"I have a high regard for the work of Ambassador John Herbst, who was
destined to serve during a dramatic period of Ukrainian history. Each of his
predecessors faced challenges that he had to overcome. But one of the
greatest challenges was probably the period of the Ukrainian presidential
elections in 2004 and the Orange Revolution.

I think that Ambassador Herbst responded to them in an adequate fashion.
Many people are aware of his efforts to prevent bloodshed during the Orange
Revolution. Accusations that he interfered in our internal affairs are
unacceptable. Ukraine itself proclaimed a democratic path of development. In
fact, the ambassador urged the Ukrainian leadership not to stray from this
path.

It is very good that Ukraine was not abandoned to its own devices, but
instead was kept safe from the influence of certain forces and states that
wanted to play out their own scenario and install their ‘own’ people. John
Herbst is an active ambassador. He is not reserved, as is often the case
with other diplomats.

Nearly every day he met with different social groups: members of the
opposition, pro-government structures, and public figures. Herbst deserves
high praise. I think that the Ukrainian government should thank him warmly."
                             INFORMATION OF THE DAY
John Edward HERBST is a career diplomat in the US Department of State.

He arrived in Kyiv on Sept. 13, 2003, in the capacity of US Ambassador to
Ukraine. Before that he served as US Ambassador to Uzbekistan.

His record of service includes a stint as general consul in Jerusalem,
advisor at the US Embassy in Tel-Aviv, and the US embassies in Moscow

and Saudi Arabia. He joined the diplomatic service in 1979.  -30-
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LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/159809/
 
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20.    JOINING EURO-ATLANTIC INSTITUTIONS WILL REQUIRE

 UKRAINE DRASTICALLY REVAMP ITS INTERAGENCY PROCESS
 
Atlantic Council of the U.S., Washington, D.C., Thu, Mar 23, 2006
WASHINGTON, DC – Without drastically improving its interagency
process, the Ukrainian government will find Euro-Atlantic integration
a slow and painful process, argues a new report issued by the
Atlantic Council of the United States. 
 
"In Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic Ambitions: Building an Effective Policy
Coordination Process," the authors argue that the Ukrainian government
needs to address a number of weaknesses in the current interagency
system or it will likely face significant setbacks in its bid to join NATO
and the EU.

These weaknesses include an overlap of responsibility for Euro-Atlantic
integration policies, too much coordination authority for the Foreign
Ministry (which is also an implementing agency), an unclear role for the
National Security and Defense Council, and the problem of a "top-down"
government culture. 

 
These problems are likely to be exacerbated by recent constitutional
changes which will give more authority to Ukraine’s prime minister vis-à-vis
the President.  In addition, Ukraine could soon have a co-habitation
government, depending on the outcome of the March 26 parliamentary
elections.

"The constitutional changes and a possible co-habitation government, where
the President supports Euro-Atlantic integration and the Prime Minister does
not, add another layer of complexity and increase the need for reforming
Ukraine’s interagency system," said Steven Pifer, former U.S. Ambassador

to Ukraine and co-author of the paper. 
 
"Ukraine’s integration into NATO is in serious trouble if the Alliance cannot
recognize a common vision of Euro-Atlantic integration among the Ukrainian
government," added Jeffrey Simon, a defense reform expert at the National
Defense University and co-author of the paper.

The report is based on the findings of an Atlantic Council delegation of
U.S. foreign policy analysts who met with key members of the Ukrainian
government in Kyiv as part of the non-governmental U.S.-Ukraine Policy
Dialogue which is managed by the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation. Along with

Steven Pifer, they include F. Stephen Larrabee of RAND, Jeffrey Simon
of the National Defense University, and Jan Neutze of the Atlantic Council. 
 
This report is part of the Atlantic Council’s ongoing project on Ukraine –
more information can be found at www.acus.org.  Founded in 1961, the
Atlantic Council of the United States is a non-profit public policy center
dedicated to promoting constructive U.S. leadership in international affairs
based on the central role of the Atlantic community.

Copies of the report are available on-line in English and Ukrainian at
http://www.acus.org/docs/0602-Ukraine_Euro_Atlantic_Ambitions.pdf
or by contacting Jan Neutze, Assistant Director of the Program on
Transatlantic Relations, at 202-778-4990 or jneutze@acus.org.
——————————————————————————————-
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21. WINNERS OF 2005 VLADIMIR HOROWITZ PIANO COMPETITION

         IN CONCERT IN WASHINGTON, DC AREA, SUNDAY, APRIL 9
 
The Washington Group Cultural Fund (TWGCF)
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #682, Article 21
Washington, D.C., Thursday, March 30, 2006
WHAT: Three laureates of the 2005 International Competition for Young
Pianists in memory of Vladimir Horowitz, including winners from Ukraine
(Antoniy Barysheskiy), Russia (Alexey Kurbatov), and Japan (Ryoma
Takagi) will perform in a joint concert.
 
They will perform works by J.S. Bach, Chopin, Liszt, Lysenko,
Rachmaninov, Stravinskiy, Skrjabin and Sousa.  This concert is
sponsored by TWGCF in cooperation with the Embassy of Ukraine.

WHEN: Sunday, April 9, 2006, 3:00 p.m.
WHERE: The Lyceum Theater, 201 South Washington Street
Alexandria, Virginia 22314
COST: Suggested donation of $20 per person.  Students free.

FOR MORE INFORMATION: Please call: Marta Zielyk at
202-244-8836 or Laryssa Courtney at 202-363-3964.
The Lyceum Theater can be reached at (703) 838-4994
http://www.thewashingtongroup.org; http://www.horowitzv.org
——————————————————————————————–
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
22.      UKRAINIAN UNIVERSITY STUDENTS SEEK SUMMER
                     EMPLOYMENT IN THE UNITED STATES

John A. Kun, Vice President/Chief Operating Officer
U.S.-Ukraine Foundation (USUF)
Washington, D.C., Thursday, March 30, 2006

WASHINGTON – If you are an employer here in the United States, you

have an outstanding opportunity to meet your Summer 2006 staffing needs
by hiring highly motivated university students from Ukraine!

Through a new program being implemented by the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation,

a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to building peace and prosperity
through shared democratic values, employers and sponsoring organizations
are being matched in their summer hiring needs with available, qualified
students by the Foundation.  There is no cost to employers in allowing the
U.S.-Ukraine Foundation help in this recruitment!

The Foundation currently has an application with the U.S. Department of
State in order to receive the designation of an official sponsor of Summer
Work/Travel exchange programs.  The Foundation hopes to become a

sponsor and to work directly with employers and students.

However, if the designation is not received on-time for this summer, the
Foundation will continue in its present course of matching the hiring needs
of employers with designated sponsors.

Ukrainian university students, who are eager to work and experience life in
the U.S., are seeking short-term (up to 4 months), entry-level, seasonal
positions with employers under the U.S. Department of State’s Summer

Work and Travel USA Program 2006.  The students qualify to work and
travel in the U.S. under a J-1 visa through a sponsoring organization.

Employers benefit in these ways:
   ·  They meet seasonal hiring requirements.
   ·  As students are allowed to work for 4 months during the period
   of May 1 through mid-October; employers will still have Ukrainian
   student workers when American students head back to school.
   ·  Students will be interviewed and tested for English proficiency.
   ·  Students will be prescreened and interviewed to meet employer
   expectations.
   ·  Students will have pre-paid health insurance; employers will not
   have this cost.
   ·  Students are not required to contribute to Social Security or
   Medicare; employers are therefore not required to contribute the
   employer portion.
   ·  Students will be working at the same wage level as other summer
   students.
   ·  Employers will find the students highly dedicated to their Summer
   Program.

An employer’s summer hiring needs may include a whole host of entry-

level positions, whether they be retail shop workers, cashiers, amusement
ride attendants, or short order cooks.  Whatever your needs are, the U.S.-
Ukraine Foundation is ready to be of assistance to you.

If you would like to learn more about hiring university students from
Ukraine for this summer, please contact the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation

through Mr. Bogdan Kovalchuk at 202-223-2228 or
bkovalchuk@usukraine.org.                        -30-
———————————————————————————————–
John A. Kun, Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, U.S.-Ukraine
Foundation 1701 K Street NW – Suite 903, Washington, DC 20006
Tel: 202-223-2228  Fax: 202-223-1224; E-mail: jkun@usukraine.org
——————————————————————————————–
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AUR#681 Principles For Coalition Govn’t Published; Trick To Understanding Ukraine; Ukraine’s Victors; Vie To Save Orange Vision

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

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

REGIONS PARTY MUST MEET THREE CONDITIONS
Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk said the possible coalition might start
a dialog with the Party of Regions if former prime minister and 2004
presidential candidate Yanukovych met three conditions.

“The first is to reject ideas of federalism, the second to reject state
status for the Russian language, and the third to recognize Ukraine’s
path toward European integration,” the minister said. [article 3]

THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR – Number 681
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor
PUBLISHED FROM KYIV, UKRAINE, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 29, 2006

——–INDEX OF ARTICLES——–
Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.
Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article

1. UKRAINE: LATEST VOTE COUNT AS OF 4:17 P.M. KYIV TIME

Regions 31.76%; Tymoshenko 22.35%, Our Ukraine 14.18%
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

2. SOCIALISTS PUBLISH PRINCIPLES FOR COALITION GOVN’T
Interfax-Ukraine news agency, Kiev, in Russian 0728 gmt 29 Mar 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Wed, Mar 29, 2006

3. PRO-PRESIDENTIAL PARTY BACKING “ORANGE”

PARLIAMENTARY COALITION
RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

4. YANUKOVYCH PARTY HAS RECIPE FOR A UNITED UKRAINE
RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

5. PRESIDENTS’ PARTY PASSES RESOLUTION LIMITING COALITION
Associated Press (AP), Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

6. THE TRICK TO UNDERSTANDING UKRAINE
COMMENTARY: By Anders Aslund
The Moscow Times, Moscow, Russia
Wednesday, March 29, 2006. Issue 3381. Page 10.

7. UKRAINE’S VICTORS
COMMENTARY: By Michael McFaul
The Wall Street Journal, New York, NY, Wed, March 29, 2006

8. UKRAINE’S 2006 PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION’S:

FIRST CONCLUSIONS
ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: By Tammy Lynch
Senior Research Fellow, Institute for the Study of Conflict,
Ideology & Policy, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #681, Article 8
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

9. ALLIES VIE TO SAVE ORANGE VISION
From Jeremy Page in Kiev, TimesOnLine

London, United Kingdom, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

10. ORANGE ELECTION
EDITORIAL: International Herald Tribune (IHT)
Paris, France, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

11. ORANGE II
REVIEW & OUTLOOK: The Wall Street Journal
New York, New York, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

12. THE ORANGE REVOLUTION
EDITORIAL: The Boston Globe
Boston, Massachusetts, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

13. UKRAINE BACK AT THE CROSSROADS
By Jonathan Gorvett in Kiev, Aljazeera, Tuesday 28 March 2006

14. SO WHAT WENT WRONG WITH THE ORANGE REVOLUTION?
EDITORIAL & OPINION: By Mary Dejevsky
The Independent, London, United Kingdom, Tue, Mar 28, 2006

15. A LOST REVOLUTION
EDITORIAL: Khallej Times Online,

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Wed, 28 March 2006

16. ORANGE TURNS SOUR IN THE UKRAINE
EDITORIAL: Bangkok Post
Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

17. A FOE IN NEED
COMMENTARY: By Alexander Kolesnikov, special correspondent
Kommersant, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

18. YUSHCHENKO CHOOSES THE PRIME MINISTER OF TWO EVILS
COMMENTARY: by Mikhail Zygar, Vladimir Solovyev
Kommersant, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

19. PRESIDENT YUSHCHENKO AND HIS ORANGE REVOLUTION
TRASHED AND HUMILIATED
ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey
PRAVDA.RU, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

20. THE REVOLUTION STILL BURNS IN UKRAINE
COMMENTARY: By Oksana Bashuk Hepburn, Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Saturday, March 25, 2006

21. UKRAINE: DEMOCRACY IS DEEPENING
ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: Olexiy Haran
Vice President of the Eurasia Foundation
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #681, Article 21
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 29, 2006
========================================================
1
. UKRAINE: LATEST VOTE COUNT AS OF 4:17 P.M. KYIV TIME

Regions 31.76%; Tymoshenko 22.35%, Our Ukraine 14.18.%

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

KYIV – As Central Election Commission is counting 96.95% of votes Party

of the Regions secures 31.76%, Our Ukraine falls to third place with just
14.18% of the vote beaten by Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko with 22.35%. This
announcement is posted on the Internet website of the commission. Socialist
Party of Ukraine enters the Verkhovna Rada with 5.77% and Communists with
3.65%.

The Central Election Commission says that the published data are operational
data obtained via a telephone poll from polling-station election commissions
and that the data are informational in nature and cannot be used as an
official document.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, on March 26 Ukraine elected the national
parliament, the Crimean Supreme Council with simultaneous regional, district
and mayoral polls. -30-
———————————————————————————————-

Website: Central Election Commission of Ukraine, Kyiv.

———————————————————————————————
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
2. SOCIALISTS PUBLISH PRINCIPLES FOR COALITION GOVN‘T

Interfax-Ukraine news agency, Kiev, in Russian 0728 gmt 29 Mar 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Wed, Mar 29, 2006

KIEV – The Socialist Party has published the text of the memorandum on
forming a coalition of Ukrainian democratic forces between the Socialists,
the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc and Our Ukraine. It sets down principles for the
coalition’s activities and the distribution of posts.

Currently only Socialist leader Oleksandr Moroz’s signature is on the
memorandum and it has the proviso that it comes into forces from the moment
a corresponding decision of the Socialists’ political council comes into
force. The council approved the memorandum 28 March and instructed Moroz
to sign it.

The memorandum envisages the signing of a coalition agreement between
factions on the day the new Supreme Council [parliament] opens its first
session.

The coalition members commit to agree on their programmes and programmes of
the Ukrainian president to ensure implementation of a balanced domestic and
foreign policy and the preparation and approval by the Supreme Council of a
set of Principles of Domestic and Foreign Policy.

The memorandum says that a programme of activity for the coalition
government should be drafted on the basis of the Principles of Domestic and
Foreign Policy and presented to parliament within 30 days from the moment
the agreement is signed.

A working group of 3 representatives of each party or bloc in the coalition
will be formed to achieve this. New members can join the coalition by
consensual decision by the signatories.

The coalition’s main principles and programme principles are defined as
continuing to deepen and improve political reform, passing amendments to the
constitution regarding reform of local self-government, preventing the
federalization of Ukraine, reforming the justice system and passing laws on
the cabinet, the president and the central bodies of the executive
authorities, normative acts, Supreme Council special investigative
commissions and amendments to electoral law.

Also, the programme principles envisage carrying out comprehensive reform
of the administrative set-up, abolition of general oversight [of courts and
other judicial agencies] by the prosecution bodies and reform of the
law-enforcement agencies, support for Ukrainian manufacturers, ensuring the
development of the market economy and Ukraine’s full participation in
international trade relations, defeating corruption and bribery, the full
and unconditional separation of business from power and the abolition of
immunity from prosecution for local council MPs.

Among other principles are named a strategic course toward integration with
Europe and stable good-neighbourly relations with Russia and all Ukraine’s
neighbours.

The coalition will distribute posts according to members’ share of the vote.
Lists of posts to be distributed will be compiled separately (lists of posts
in the Supreme Council, the central executive authorities and the regional
and district administrations).

Coalition members will take turns to choose posts. The number of posts will
be proportional to the election result (for each list [of posts]). The party
that gains the most votes to the Supreme Council and so on [other elections
took place at the same time, for example, for local councils] will get first
choice depending on the number of coalition members. [Passage omitted:
obscure formula for distributing posts]

The memorandum says that the coalition member with the most votes nominates
a candidate for prime minister. The other members and the president do not
have the right to veto this candidate. The members also don’t have the right
to veto other selected posts or nominated candidates.

Coalition members hold the posts they select for the entire lifetime of the
coalition and can change their candidate for a post. Deputy post-holders
(apart from first deputies) are selected and nominated by the heads of
ministries and agencies according to their professional and moral qualities.
The first deputy to heads of posts cannot belong to the same political force
as the head. First deputy heads are named in accordance with the quota
principle described above in line with a separate list.

The coalition members commit to support nominated candidates in parliament,
the cabinet and with the president.

Candidates for head of regional state administrations are nominated by the
cabinet and confirmed by the president by mutual agreement between the
coalition members under the quote principle. Candidates for posts appointed
by the president are also nominated according to this principle.

The president enters a candidate for defence minister unilaterally without
consulting the coalition, since he is Supreme Commander. Also, no coalition
member can ask for more than one leading post in the military and security
agencies (SBU [Security Service of Ukraine], Interior Ministry and
Prosecutor-General’s Office).

Ministers and heads of the corresponding Supreme Council committees cannot
belong to the same political force.

Coalition members commit to supporting candidates for Supreme Council
deputy chairman and parliamentary committee first deputy chairmen nominated
by the opposition forces that are not part of the majority. -30-
———————————————————————————————
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
3. PRO-PRESIDENTIAL PARTY BACKING “ORANGE”
PARLIAMENTARY COALITION

RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

KIEV – Leaders of the various parties in the pro-presidential Our Ukraine
bloc said Wednesday they were leaning toward an “orange” coalition in the
country’s newly elected parliament.

The Our Ukraine press service said the coalition – which would also include
former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s bloc and the Socialist Party –
could be joined by other parties and movements, including the Party of
Regions, currently leading the count from Sunday’s vote.

With 93.24% of Sunday’s vote counted, the Party of Regions currently has
31.26% of the vote, followed by Tymoshenko’s bloc (22.47%), Our Ukraine
(14.48%), the Socialist Party (5.87%) and the Communist Party (3.63%).
Parliamentary Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn’s bloc, with 2.45%, currently looks
unlikely to negotiate the 3% threshold necessary for party-list seats in the
450-seat Rada.
REGIONS PARTY MUST MEET THREE CONDITIONS
Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk said the possible coalition might start a
dialog with the Party of Regions if former prime minister and 2004
presidential candidate Yanukovych met three conditions.

“The first is to reject ideas of federalism, the second to reject state
status for the Russian language, and the third to recognize Ukraine’s path
toward European integration,” the minister said.

Party of Regions campaign head Yevgeniy Kushnarev said Wednesday his
party backed a form of “soft” federalism to unite the country and heal the
splits caused by the 2004 “orange revolution” that brought President Viktor
Yushchenko to power.

“We have an understanding or a formula for how to unite Ukraine and to make
it [unified],” Kushnarev said. “We speak of ‘soft’ federalism or European
regionalism, which is widely popular in Europe.”

He also said the party was willing to work with any groups in the new
parliament, and that it favored constructive relations with Russia, while
seeking European integration but not EU membership.

Speculation about a possible parliamentary coalition began after exit polls
on Sunday indicated the vote was likely to be split. Yushchenko Monday
instructed incumbent Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov to begin coalition
talks as the Party of Regions began opening up a substantial gap over its
rivals.

An “orange coalition” would reunite the various groups that backed
Yushchenko in 2004. The groups fractured after Yushchenko’s election,
and Tymoshenko was dismissed as prime minister by Yushchenko last
September after just seven months in office. -30-
——————————————————————————————–
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
4. YANUKOVYCH PARTY HAS RECIPE FOR A UNITED UKRAINE

RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

KIEV – A senior member of the pro-Russian party currently leading in
Ukraine’s parliamentary elections said the party would back “soft”
federalism to heal the country’s political rifts and was willing to listen
to any offers on forming a coalition in parliament.

“We have an understanding or a formula for how to unite Ukraine and to make
it [unified],” said Yevgeniy Kushnarev, campaign head for the Party of
Regions, led by former premier and defeated 2004 presidential candidate
Viktor Yanukovych. “We speak of ‘soft’ federalism or European regionalism,
which is widely popular in Europe.”

Kushnarev added that federalism had become a dirty word in Ukraine, as
political analysts have associated it with the opposing concept of
separatism, and was in need of rehabilitation. He said the Party of Regions
was willing to form a coalition with any party in the new Supreme Rada, the
Ukrainian parliament.

“We are ready to form a coalition, and open for dialogue with any [party]
represented in the parliament,” Kushnarev said. “Public and closed
discussions will be held at the second stage, to bring concrete results.”

With 93.24% of Sunday’s vote counted, the Party of Regions currently has
31.26% of the vote, followed by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s
bloc (22.47%), the pro-presidential Our Ukraine bloc (14.48%), the Socialist
Party (5.87%) and the Communist Party (3.63%). Parliamentary Speaker
Volodymyr Lytvyn’s bloc, with 2.45%, currently looks unlikely to negotiate
the 3% threshold necessary for party-list seats in the 450-seat Rada.

“The leaders of parties and political blocs should clearly understand that
they represent the interests of large groups of the country’s population, so
they should jointly find a formula to end a 15-month political standoff in
Ukraine,” Kushnarev said, referring to the “orange revolution” that brought
current President Viktor Yushchenko to power in late 2004. “We should not
make Ukraine mono-colored,” he said.

The latest results suggest that the Party of Regions is likely to end up
with about 176 seats of the total 450. Currently, Tymoshenko’s bloc would
take up 130 seats, Our Ukraine 89, the Socialists 36, and the Communists 21.

Kushnarev was critical of Tymoshenko’s ambitions in the parliamentary
elections, saying she was only interested in one thing. “Obviously, the post
of prime minister became her goal in itself,” he said. “This is clear to everyone.”

He was also skeptical that Yushchenko would dissolve the Rada should the
factions be unable to form a coalition and agree on a candidate for prime
minister.

“The president obviously can set obstacles for negotiations … but this
trick can be combated by a simple move,” he said. “We will make Yulia
Tymoshenko prime minister and look at Yushchenko’s expression.”
Tymoshenko was dismissed by Yushchenko last September, after just seven
months in office.

Kushnarev also said the Party of Regions would resume talks with Russia
on the formation of a common economic space, which would help settle
problems in the energy sector.

“The [high] price [on natural gas] has created a current catastrophic
situation in the Ukrainian economy, and leaves us no prospects for the
economic growth,” Kushnarev said. “A single energy tariff would be used
within the framework of the common economic space, and would be much
lower than today’s price on natural gas.”

Russian monopoly Gazprom hiked its price demands for natural gas supplies
in a bitter row over supplies that saw flows to Ukraine cut off in early
January. Moscow has accused Kiev of siphoning off gas meant for European
consumers.

Kushnarev said the pro-Russian Party of Regions should not be seen as a
Russian “fifth column” in Ukraine, but that the party sought a mutually
beneficial strategic partnership with its neighbor while seeking European
integration, but not EU membership.
———————————————————————————————
LINK: http://en.rian.ru/world/20060329/44936361.html
——————————————————————————————–
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5. UKRAINE PRES’ PARTY PASSES RESOLUTION LIMITING COALITION

Associated Press (AP), Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

KIEV – Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko’s party Wednesday notched up
the pressure on its leader to reunite the estranged Orange Team, passing a
resolution that put potential deal-breaking restrictions on the pro-Moscow
opposition leader.

State Security Council chief Anatoliy Kinakh said any parliamentary
coalition members must agree to confirm Ukraine’s pro-Western course, reject
the possibility of adopting Russian as a second state language and turn down
any calls to transfer significant central government powers to the regions.

“The priority for us is and will be Ukraine’s foreign policy course toward
European and Euroatlantic integration, while maintaining good-neighborly
relations with Russia and other countries,” said Foreign Minister Borys
Tarasiuk, according to a party statement.

But in a sign that the party was still reluctant to fully embrace former
prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who has demanded her old job back, the
statement declared: “We think today it is correct to talk not about
assigning jobs but about developing our country.”

Yushchenko held separate consultations Tuesday with Yanukovych and
Tymoshenko as the parties maneuvered over the formation of a possible
majority coalition in parliament.

If the Yushchenko and Tymoshenko can overcome their bitter falling-out,
their parties’ combined votes would put their total above Yanukovych’s and
give them a chance to rule together.

For Yushchenko, though, such a deal would be dangerous as well as
unpalatable. Tymoshenko’s ambitions make her a threat to the president, who
has seen his own sky-high popularity plummet due to public outrage over the
slow pace of reforms.

Viktor Yanukovych, whose pro-Moscow Party of the Regions attracted the
most votes in Sunday’s parliamentary election, supports European Union
membership, but he had also pushed for making Russian a second state
language. Members of his party, which has its support base in the east, had
been leading the call for making Ukraine a federal republic.

Yanukovych’s party has said it will dictate the make-up of the future
coalition, adding that it is too early to begin talks until the final
results are known.

The Central Election Commission’s lengthy vote count continued Wednesday,
with some 93.5% of the votes counted. Yanukovych’s party had 31.3%, followed
by Tymoshenko’s bloc with 22.4% and Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine with 14%.

While the statement from Our Ukraine ups the pressure on Yushchenko, it is
the president who will ultimately make the decision.

His presidency is not at risk, but his electoral defeat has left him
weakened. Under constitutional reforms, Yushchenko accepted during the tense
days of the 2004 protests, the president’s power to pick his prime minister
and much of the Cabinet passes to parliament, leaving Yushchenko at risk of
isolation.

Tymoshenko has argued that only a revived Orange Team can keep Yanukovych
out and safeguard the ideals she and Yushchenko championed in 2004. But
while the Orange parties won more votes combined, it remains unclear whether
they will be able to overcome deep personal animosity and forge a coalition
after months of trading insults. -30-
——————————————————————————————–
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
6. THE TRICK TO UNDERSTANDING UKRAINE

COMMENTARY
: By Anders Aslund
The Moscow Times, Moscow, Russia
Wednesday, March 29, 2006. Issue 3381. Page 10.

Ukraine has held its first elections after the Orange Revolution. Without
any qualification, they were free and fair with a high participation of 67
percent, showing that Ukraine has matured as a democracy.

At the same time, Ukraine has become a parliamentary system, which will
reinforce democracy in the country. The Communists have been further
marginalized, and party consolidation has proceeded well, with only five
parties likely to make it into parliament.

The main results of the vote reflect an amazing constancy. In December 2004,
Viktor Yushchenko defeated Viktor Yanukovych with a margin of 8 percentage
points, which will probably be the balance between the orange and blue, or
more accurately western and eastern, coalitions. The geographic dividing
line runs exactly where it did in 2004, or where it has gone for most of the
last 300 years.

International media have focused on Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions
becoming the largest single party, but what matters in proportional
elections is which parties can form a ruling majority, and that is the
Orange coalition.

The surprise is what happened within the Orange coalition, with Yulia
Tymoshenko’s bloc trouncing Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine. It is easy to
understand why that happened. Our Ukraine ran an inept campaign and put
its least popular representatives, such as discredited businessman Petro
Poroshenko, in the spotlight, while the president and his prime minister,
Yury Yekhanurov, kept a low profile.

Tymoshenko is an outstanding campaigner, and she seems to have chosen the
right political themes as well. Her main slogan was “justice,” reflecting
Yushchenko’s unfulfilled promise from 2004: “Bandits to prison!” Once again,
revenge against the old regime became the dominant line.

Her victory over Our Ukraine elevates moral issues over economic policy, and
her rhetoric looks backward to the Orange Revolution, further cementing the
east-west divide. She also defeated Pora-PRP, the new liberal bloc, which
tried to offer a decent alternative to Orange voters appalled by both
populism and corruption.

Since the campaign became a rehashing of the Orange Revolution, nothing but
an Orange coalition appears natural, that is, Tymoshenko’s bloc, Our Ukraine
and the Socialist Party. The Lytvyn Popular bloc will not enter parliament.
Today, nobody but Tymoshenko appears the natural prime minister. The job is
hers to lose.

All three potential coalition partners have already started to hold talks on
the formation of a new government, and one influential Our Ukraine deputy
predicted that an Orange coalition government would be formed within two to
three weeks. The uncertainty about the nature of the next government has
diminished.

The big question is what policy a Prime Minister Tymoshenko would pursue.
As deputy prime minister for energy in 2000, she surprised us positively by
going after other oligarchs and cleaning up the energy sector.

As prime minister last year, by contrast, she surprised us negatively by
focusing on re-privatization, which had not been part of her government
program. Now she has received a greater popular mandate than ever before,
so we can only wonder how she will amaze us this time.

The natural starting point is her bloc’s pre-election program. Even by the
standards of such documents, it is stunningly diffuse. The most substantial
part is the section on “just power.” It declares that under a Tymoshenko-led
government, judicial immunity for politicians would be immediately
abolished, regional governors would be elected and local self-government
would be strengthened.

Tymoshenko calls her economic credo “solidarism,” referring to a century-old
socialist creed, but its meaning remains fuzzy. Her section on economic
policy is small and empty. In a populist vein, it states that enterprises as
well as people “will pay taxes without any coercion.” Just in case, the
value-added tax is to be abolished as well. Fortunately, the social section
is suitably vague. The time of expensive social benefit promises appears
over.

Most important, re-privatization is not mentioned, though nor are property
rights guaranteed. After she was ousted as prime minister in September,
Tymoshenko declared that she had never advocated re-privatization, which is
not necessarily true but definitely helpful.

She is not likely to put herself in the same bind once again. Moreover, Our
Ukraine cannot possibly join a coalition with her without her giving
credible guarantees not to launch another re-privatization campaign.

One of Tymoshenko’s most successful campaign themes was her persistent
attacks on the Russian-Ukrainian gas deal of Jan. 4, which will undoubtedly
be undone.

RosUkrEnergo has never been accepted by the Ukrainian public, and the
existence of six attachments to the January agreement, purportedly giving
away Ukraine’s pipelines and gas reservoirs to RosUkrEnergo, appears
unacceptable to just about any Ukrainian.

Early Russian comments have emphasized the relative victory of the Party of
the Regions, but the Kremlin leaders will probably be all the more upset
when they realize that a new Orange coalition under Tymoshenko is budding.

The Kremlin reaction is likely to be all the greater if Tymoshenko sticks to
her election promise to break the gas agreement with Russia and render
RosUkrEnergo transparent. Though you never know with Yulia. On Ekho
Moskvy last September, she congratulated the Russians upon their
“wonderful”president.

Regardless of the exact train of events, Ukraine is a democracy, while
Russia is not. Therefore, the Kremlin finds it difficult to understand
Ukraine. Whatever the Ukrainian leaders do to satisfy one constituency or
another is incomprehensible to authoritarians, and if some Ukrainian action
does not suit the Kremlin, it will be perceived as dictated by Washington
and criticized accordingly.

Such Russian rhetoric can do nothing but drive Ukraine into the arms of the
West, and as the European Union is not open, Ukraine will have to run all
the faster toward NATO, not because of Western overtures, but because of
Russian intimidation.
———————————————————————————————
Anders Aslund is a senior fellow at the Institute for International
Economics in Washington, D.C.
———————————————————————————————-
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2006/03/29/006.html
——————————————————————————————–
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
7. UKRAINE’S VICTORS

COMMENTARY: By Michael McFaul
The Wall Street Journal, New York, NY, Wed, March 29, 2006

Since the 2004 Orange Revolution, most of the news from Ukraine has
emphasized the failures of the “revolutionaries.” President Viktor
Yushchenko and his first prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, could not sustain
the economic growth rates seen under the pre-Orange government.

Analysts in Moscow, London, Kiev and Washington blamed Ms. Tymoshenko’s
alleged populism for declining exports and depressed investment. Mr.
Yushchenko looked like a feckless leader who was then tainted with charges
of corruption over a gas deal between Russia and Ukraine, which delivered
windfall profits to a mysterious company in Switzerland.

Ahead of Sunday’s first elections since last winter, few Ukrainians seemed
to remember their last trip to the ballot box fondly. In opinion polls
conducted last month, only 19% believed that the country was going in the
right direction, 60% in the wrong. These numbers were cited in various
obituaries for the Orange Revolution.

Then came Election Day. The results of Sunday’s parliamentary poll and the
process that produced them underscore the exact opposite: The Orange
Revolution marked a democratic breakthrough in Ukraine that has not only
proved enduring but also been built upon.

The skeptics got a couple important things wrong. First off, the volatile
politics leading up to last weekend’s vote were an expression of democratic
politics, not their rejection. After criticizing Ms. Tymoshenko for her
performance, President Yushchenko dismissed her and her government. That’s
the way it’s supposed to work in democracies.

Accusations of corruption against Mr. Yushchenko’s administration, brought
to light by an aggressive independent press, forced resignations of other
officials from his staff. That’s also democracy in action.

Then, most amazingly, both Ms. Tymoshenko and her detractors from within
the Yushchenko inner circle had the chance to compete against each other for
votes. No one was jailed, no one was removed from the ballot, no one was
denied access to television, and no one was denied campaign financing from
private donors. All that has become the norm in regimes further east of
Ukraine.

Certainly, many Ukrainians may have been disappointed with the first results
of the Orange Revolution. There is always a letdown after a revolution as
high expectations often aren’t met. But Ukrainian citizens did not express
their disappointment by checking out of the political process. On the
contrary, the 70% turnout for a parliamentary election is truly remarkable.

During the Orange Revolution, Ukrainians came out on the streets of Kiev to
protect their vote. This week, they demonstrated yet again that they value
their right to decide who rules Ukraine.

And this vote was freer and fairer than recent elections in Ukraine, and a
vast improvement over the tainted and falsified presidential election in
2004. To be sure, there were organizational problems in the formation and
preparation of voter lists and local election commissions.

Likewise, some complained that the Regions of Ukraine party headed by
Viktor Yanukovych, who lost out in 2004, enjoyed unfair control of regional
media outlets in the east, and that Mr. Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine used state
resources for its campaign and enjoyed greater media coverage.

But compared to the 2004 election, the campaign atmosphere for this
parliamentary election was free of intimidation or gross bias on the
national television networks. Foreign and domestic electoral monitors gave
their stamps of approval to the process. Most importantly, participants in
the elections have accepted the results as legitimate.

Despite all the alleged failures of Ms. Tymoshenko, Mr. Yushchenko and the
Orange government, the basic distribution of votes between former Orange
coalition parties on the one hand (Yulia Tymoshenko’s bloc, Our Ukraine, the
Socialist Party and Pora) and the anti-Orange parties (Regions of Ukraine,
the Communist Party and the Vitrenko bloc) is roughly the same as it was in
the final (and fair) round of the presidential vote in December 2004.

Then, Mr. Yushchenko won 52% of the popular vote compared to 44% for Mr.
Yanukovych. On Sunday, parties formally affiliated with the Orange coalition
won 46% of the vote, while the anti-Orange parties won 36% altogether.

Despite all the bad news out of Ukraine since the Orange Revolution, Mr.
Yanukovych barely maintained his electoral base — 29.5% for Regions of
Ukraine last Sunday, after all, is significantly less than the 44% that Mr.
Yanukovych won in 2004 — and did not orchestrate some kind of “comeback”
in this election.

On the contrary, the real comeback kid is Yulia Tymoshenko. After her
dismissal as prime minister last year, her approval ratings plummeted and
conventional wisdom at the beginning of this year picked her party to finish
third. Instead, as a result of a tenacious campaign effort, she reclaimed
the Orange mantle, performing especially well in the central “swing”
regions.

While it remains unclear how negotiations over a new government will end,
what is clear is that Ms. Tymoshenko is now well-positioned to become the
next president of Ukraine.

A polarized electorate — a lingering legacy of the Orange Revolution —
helped to remobilize a significant number of Orange supporters. Voters did
not cast their ballots based on pocketbook issues, but instead were
motivated by more fundamental factors such as identity and support for or
opposition to the Orange Revolution. But supporters of the revolution did
not constitute a solid majority.

If based on a thin majority, Ukraine’s next government may not be stable,
and instead susceptible to defections from minority coalition members. To
forge a common national identity, Ukrainian leaders must eventually develop
political parties based on ideas (not simply personalities or linguistic
identities) capable of appealing to voters in all regions of the country.

Yet all things considered, Sunday’s outcome marks a major step toward
democratic consolidation in Ukraine. Overcoming or undermining regional
polarization can be addressed in the next electoral cycle. Building
democracy, after all, is a never-ending process — a process that Ukrainians
now seem to have fully embraced. -30-
————————————————————————————————
Mr. McFaul is a Hoover fellow and professor of political science at Stanford
University and an associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International
Peace. With Anders Aslund, he is editor of “Revolution in Orange: The
Origin’s of Ukraine’s Democratic Breakthrough” (Carnegie, 2006).
————————————————————————————————
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.
========================================================
8 . UKRAINE’S 2006 PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION’S:
FIRST CONCLUSIONS

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: By Tammy Lynch
Senior Research Fellow, Institute for the Study of Conflict,
Ideology & Policy, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #681, Article 8
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

With over 87% of the votes counted in Ukraine’s parliamentary elections, it
appears that early exit poll predictions were accurate. Former Prime
Minister Viktor Yanukovich’s Party of Regions should poll around 30-32%
when counting is complete, while former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s
eponymous bloc will place a strong second with 22-23%, and President Viktor
Yushchenko party Our Ukraine – which campaigned under the slogan “For
Yushchenko” – will trail in third with around 15% of the vote.

The extent, but not the fact of, the loss for Yushchenko is surprising.
While many in Ukraine have noted disillusionment with the president’s
policies and what has become known as “his environment,” there always was
uncertainty about where protest votes would go. It now appears that the
vast majority went to Tymoshenko.

It also appears that the combined votes of Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine, the
Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko (BYUT) and the Socialists would provide a workable
parliamentary majority of between 230 and 260 seats, depending on the
redistribution of votes for parties failing to pass the threshold. This
coalition would represent a return to the original revolution “orange
coalition.”

By virtue of BYUT’s placement well ahead of Our Ukraine and the Socialists,
under Ukraine’s new constitutional amendments creating a parliamentary –
presidential form of government, Tymoshenko is claiming the right to the
Prime Minister’s chair in this potential coalition.

However, in remarks to several journalists following her press conference on
27 March, Tymoshenko said that “those interested in mixing business with
politics” in Our Ukraine are “interested in a coalition with the Party of
Regions.” She continued, “They don’t want me as Prime Minister because they
know I won’t stand for that.”

Nevertheless, she expressed optimism about a return to an orange coalition
after a meeting on 28 March with the president, and it would appear that
public opinion supports this idea.

An examination of the election results leads to several conclusions:

President Yushchenko ensured that the election campaign would meet or
surpass international standards for a free and fair election. Despite
understanding for months that his party could be beaten, Yushchenko did
not resort to the tactics used by so many other leaders of former Soviet
republics.

Instead, he remained true to the democratic principles he has espoused
during his entire career. The campaign was vibrant, diverse, unencumbered
by administrative pressure, and chronicled by an uncensored media, according
to all accredited international election monitoring organizations. As
confirmed by the OSCE, it was a true democratic contest.

Several smaller parties have filed complaints about vote counting issues,
and both Our Ukraine and BYUT have charged that certain election officials
clinging to the old ways in Donetsk, Crimea and Luhansk conducted fraudulant
vote counts.

However, there is no question from any international monitoring mission that
this election constitutes a major step forward for Ukraine. President
Yushchenko should be congratulated.

Unlike some reports suggesting that these elections signify a “shift to
Russia,” in fact, they actually demonstrate a further consolidation of
support for the goals of the Orange Revolution. It is easy to forget that
Viktor Yanukovich won 44% of the vote during the third round of the
presidential election in December 2004 – an election deemed fair by
international observers. He will now receive about 32% of the vote.

Even when votes for the Communists (4%), the staunchly pro-Russian
opposition bloc of Natalia Vitrenko (around 3%), and a few other
anti-Yushchenko parties that will not enter the parliament are added to the
total for the Party of Regions, the views of Yanukovich do not appear to
have gained support. In fact, it may be that these views actually have lost
support.

The election results actually show a migration not from Yushchenko to
Yanukovich, but from Yushchenko to other more “radical” former orange
partners. Tymoshenko, of course, received the largest share of former
Yushchenko votes (increasing her bloc’s representation from slightly more
than 7% in 2002).

However, the Socialist Party also received about 6% of the votes that
supported Yushchenko in 2004, and the two former orange partners Reforms and
Order (in coalition with PORA) and the People’s Rukh (Kostenko) also will
gain over 4% together, even if their support will not be enough to keep them
in parliament.

The Green, Viche, and European Capital parties also seem to have secured
over three percentage points together – votes that likely would have gone to
Yushchenko in 2004.

The results should send a clear message to President Yushchenko that
“orange” voters want their two revolution leaders united. In the final
three weeks of the campaign, Tymoshenko repeatedly suggested that only
by voting for her could the orange team be reunited. Vote for her, she said,
to send a message to Our Ukraine, and “to reunite the team.”

Our Ukraine, in contrast, asked voters to support them to make it clear that
Tymoshenko “will be a junior partner in any coalition.” The voters seem to
have handily rejected this idea and embraced Tymoshenko’s suggestion that
the team would be reunited with her “victory.”

Voters rejected President Yushchenko’s repeated suggestions that most
everything wrong with the country in the last year was the fault of former
prime minister Tymoshenko. While Yushchenko was hoping for a mandate
for his programs, it was the former prime minister who actually received the
“thumbs up” from most orange voters.

Should President Yushchenko ignore the message that his core voters want him
to reunite with Tymoshenko, he risks undermining his political support even
further, possibly dooming his reelection campaign and catapulting Tymoshenko
into the office of president.

Yushchenko now can no longer count himself as the sole leader of the “orange
voters.” To maintain – or perhaps resurrect – his political career, he will
need to define himself in new ways, based on specific programs. So far, he
and Our Ukraine have been unable to do this. Simply campaigning under the
slogan “For Yushchenko” no longer gains the required result.

“Orange” voters continue to want “change” and “justice.” Tymoshenko’s
primary slogan throughout her entire campaign was, “It is necessary to fight
for justice.” It is important to remember that when protestors stood on the
Maidan, they did not chant in favor of standardizing customs procedures with
the EU. They chanted, “Bandits to jail!” and “Criminals Gone.”

Not one “orange” voter interviewed prior to this article or quoted in other
articles, has mentioned the economy as a motivating factor behind their
choice on 26 March, just as it was not a major motivating factor in 2004.
Living standards were already increasing under President Kuchma, and
continue to do so.

Instead, interviewees have noted that the organizers of the Gongadze murder
remain at large, that certain business interests have maintained control of
reportedly improperly privatized enterprises, and that no major figure has
been punished for the vote fraud that led to the revolution. Voters clearly
responded to Tymoshenko’s slogan, and her repeated calls for “justice.”

Voters responded to Tymoshenko’s admonition to choose their leaders “in the
interests of Ukraine,” and not other countries. The former Prime Minister
effectively used negative comments about her and her policies from both
Russian and Western analysts and economists during her campaign.

She particularly singled out former Carnegie Endowment for International
Affairs Director for Russia Anders Aslund, whose negative evaluations of
Tymoshenko, support for Yushchenko, and campaigning for a coalition between
Yushchenko and Yanukovich were carried extensively in the Ukrainian press.
One Tymoshenko voter interviewed suggested that she wanted “a leader for
Ukraine’s interests, not Russia’s or America’s.”

Voters have cleansed the parliament of individuals implicated in some of the
country’s most notorious crimes. Although the Party of Regions
parliamentary list contains over a dozen individuals said by the Interior
Ministry to be under investigation for various crimes, voters rejected the
return to parliament of the “Ne Tak” opposition bloc and the bloc of
parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn.

The “Ne Tak” bloc held many of the members of the former Kuchma party of
power, the Social Democratic Party (united), including former presidential
chief of staff Viktor Medvedchuk. It was led by former Ukrainian President
Leonid Kravchuk.

According to a Ukrainian parliamentary commission and the European Court of
Human Rights, Volodymyr Lytvyn may be implicated in the original plan to
kidnap Georgiy Gongadze (who then was killed), and is heard on the “Gongadze
tapes” advising President Kuchma to have the Interior Minister “handle”
Gongadze. These individuals have now lost their parliamentary immunity,
bringing up interesting questions for the next government, and the next
prosecutor general.

As this article is completed, Yushchenko, Tymoshenko and Socialist leader
Oleksandr Moroz all have stated their support for the “principle” of a new
“democratic coalition” based on the former orange parties. The country has
come far with the successful completion of its first truly free election.

Should majority coalition negotiations proceed effectively, which will not
be simple given the personal animosity between Yushchenko and Tymoshenko,
Ukraine truly will be able to say that it is on the path to Western-style
democracy. -30-
——————————————————————————————–
CONTACT: Tammy Lynch, tammymlynch@hotmail.com.
——————————————————————————————-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
9. ALLIES VIE TO SAVE ORANGE VISION

From Jeremy Page in Kiev, TimesOnLine
London, United Kingdom, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

KYIV – YULIYA TYMOSHENKO, the blonde-braided heroine of the
Orange Revolution in Ukraine, has almost as many nicknames as she does
designer suits.

She has been called the Gas Princess, Ukraine’s Joan of Arc, Iron Yuliya –
even the Samurai in a Skirt. But her sights are set firmly on reclaiming the
one title that she really covets – prime minister.

Mrs Tymoshenko, 45, met President Yushchenko yesterday for the first time
since the pro-Russian politicians they defeated in the Orange Revolution
made a comeback in parliamentary elections on Sunday.

It was also their first meeting since Mr Yushchenko dismissed her as Prime
Minister in September to quash infighting in the Orange team. Her message to
him was uncompromising: only she could lead a new Orange coalition to keep
Viktor Yanukovych, the man who tried to rig the 2004 presidential election,
out of government.

“We have full understanding and a firm desire to join in a coalition,” Mrs
Tymoshenko said afterwards. “We must continue along the path we set out
on during the presidential election. We will do everything to deal with
formalities within a week.”

With 80 per cent of votes counted, Mr Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions
is leading with 30.44 per cent, raising fears that he could slow Ukraine’s
integration with the EU and Nato and swing it back into Russia’s orbit.

Mrs Tymoshenko’s party is second with 22.38 per cent, and Mr Yushchenko’s
is third with a humiliating 15.1 per cent. The results indicate that Mrs
Tymoshenko has inherited the Orange mantle from Mr Yushchenko, whose
popularity slumped because of the power struggle in his Government and an
economic slowdown.

But opinion is divided on whether Mrs Tymoshenko is the solution to the
Orange team’s woes or the cause of them. Supporters see her as a fearless
revolutionary who was the main inspiration behind the movement and is now
bent on sweeping away the post-Soviet elite. They point to her record on
cleaning up the gas industry, where she made a fortune in the 1990s, and
reprivatising a massive steel plant last year.

“We won the battle because of the consistency and clarity of her position on
gas and on what needs to be done to fight corruption,” Hryhoriy Nemyria,
one of her top aides, said.

Critics say that she is a populist and an opportunist, whose personal
ambitions and business interests make any new coalition unworkable. They
say that the first Orange Government failed because of her rivalry with
Petro
Poroshenko, the “chocolate king” who co-financed the revolution.

They say that her economic policies are too radical – especially her pledge
to review 3,000 privatisation deals and tear up the agreement that ended a
gas crisis with Russia in January. Serhiy Hayday, a political strategist who
worked with Mr Poroshenko, said that making her Prime Minister again would
be disastrous.

“We’ve already seen a small rehearsal for failure,” he said. “That was the
first seven months of her work. The consequence will be not only the
people’s disillusionment with Tymoshenko. It may be disillusionment with
the possibility of making Ukraine a country to be proud of.”

Mr Yushchenko is keeping his options open, holding talks yesterday with
Mr Yanukovych as well. -30-
———————————————————————————————–
A POLITICAL POWERHOUSE
–Yuliya Tymoshenko made a fortune in the 1990s, becoming president of
United Energy Systems of Ukraine, one of the largest importers of natural
gas
–She brought this experience to bear as a minister from 1999 to 2001,
working in Victor Yuschenko’s government to reform the energy industry
–Despite being fired from that role after corruption allegations, she became
one of Mr Yuschenko’s most important allies during the 2004 Orange
Revolution
–In January last year Mr Yuschenko made her his Prime Minister and last
July, Forbes Magazine named her the third most powerful woman in the world
–After feuding with Mr Yuschenko’s aides, Ms Tymoshenko was dismissed
in September 2005. -30-
———————————————————————————————-
LINK: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,13509-2108400,00.html
——————————————————————————————-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
10. ORANGE ELECTION

EDITORIAL: International Herald Tribune
Paris, France, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Supporters of the Orange Revolution in Ukraine had one of their best
moments in recent months when they reacted to their stunning defeat in
Sunday’s parliamentary elections. President Viktor Yushchenko’s gracious
acceptance of the verdict of the polls was a far cry from the crude efforts
by his opponents to steal the presidential election from him in 2004.

It also stands in powerful contrast to the strong-arm tactics of Aleksandr
Lukashenko in neighboring Belarus. And the president’s backers were right
when they asserted that holding a truly free and fair election was in itself
a victory worth savoring.

Still, the fact is that Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine party, invariably depicted
as “pro-Western” and “pro-reform,” took a drubbing at the hands of Viktor
Yanukovich, the former prime minister who was so dramatically defeated in
2004, and of Yulia Timoshenko, Yushchenko’s erstwhile ally and prime
minister, who was ousted only slightly less dramatically last September. The
reforms pushed through by Yushchenko himself will now transfer many
presidential powers to the prime minister and Parliament.

Yushchenko was defeated for several reasons. The power struggle with
Timoshenko divided his supporters, and the well-publicized high-rolling
lifestyle of his son seriously undermined his image as a corruption-fighter.
The economy did not improve – Russia abruptly and sharply raised the price
of fuel in January in a maneuver that seemed intended, among other things,
to undermine Yushchenko. Ukraine, moreover, remains sharply divided along
geographic, political and linguistic lines between an anti-Russian,
nationalistic west and a more pro-Russian east.

Yushchenko must now decide whether to team up with Yanukovich or with
Timoshenko to form a government. Either way, a nasty power struggle is
certain. That is discouraging for those who thought the Orange Revolution
would soften Ukraine’s political divisions. But an honest election is meant
to give an honest snapshot of the electorate, and this one revealed Ukraine
as it really is.

Whatever government emerges will still have to cope with higher prices for
energy; it will still be torn between the uncertain enticements of Europe
and the familiar bonds with Russia; it will still have to contend with the
deep division of the country and with the corruption so prevalent in former
Soviet republics.

The Orange Revolution was a major milestone, but it is important to remember
that it was not waged in the name of the West, but in the name of Ukrainians
who demanded the right to choose their own leaders. So long as there’s
another free vote ahead, Ukraine is on the right path, and the West must be
at its side. -30-
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LINK: http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/03/28/opinion/edukraine.php
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11. ORANGE II

REVIEW & OUTLOOK: The Wall Street Journal
New York, New York, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The heroes of Kiev’s Independence Square scored another one for political
freedom Sunday — this time by holding a model parliamentary election. Their
own disappointing showing only reaffirms the original point of that outbreak
of popular democracy.

“It is already a big victory,” said President Viktor Yushchenko, casting his
vote in the first elections since last winter’s Orange Revolution. This
iconic leader from those days was putting a positive spin on his party’s
expected third-place showing after a difficult 14 months in power. But the
sentiment is true all the same.

A week after the sham presidential election next door in Belarus, which
ended when Alexander Lukashenko’s police cleared protesters from Minsk’s
central square in the dead of night, fellow Eastern Slavs in Ukraine showed
that aptitude for democracy isn’t a question of DNA. A bewildering array of
parties stood for the 450-seat Rada and local government posts.

The campaign debates were lively and the media free. The days of temnyky —
the instructions that journalists got from their rulers on how to report
stories — are a distant memory. Election Day didn’t pass without
organizational headaches, like overcrowded polling stations and incomplete
voting lists, but the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
said Ukraine passed with flying colors.

Only a free and fair election could have made it possible for Viktor
Yanukovych to stage a comeback. Back in the fall of 2004, he was the ancien
regime’s and the Kremlin’s presidential candidate on whose behalf — and
presumably with whose active participation — elections were rigged.

The popular uprising, christened the Orange Revolution, forced a rerun of
the vote that Mr. Yushchenko won handily. The new president didn’t
prosecute, much less persecute, Mr. Yanukovych for his possible role in
electoral fraud.

His party’s first-place showing Sunday with 27% of the vote is a lesson for
regional thugs who cling on to power by hook or by crook. Bolshevism, and
its offspring, is an all-or-nothing game. But there are second (and third
and fourth…) acts in democratic politics.

With the backing of eastern industrial oligarchs, and their television
networks, Mr. Yanukovych rebuilt his career. A free election also confers
something precious that can’t be rigged: legitimacy. Maybe Mr. Yanukovych
will let his friends in the Kremlin in on this little secret.

The two parties led by the now estranged Team Orange of Yulia Tymoshenko and
her former ally, Mr. Yushchenko, came in second and third place, getting 24%
and 16% with half the ballots counted. Who can blame the voters for this
mild rebuke? In power, the duo failed to put together a coherent governing
agenda.

While a decent man of great personal courage, Mr. Yushchenko suffers from
what can generously be called a self-discipline deficiency disorder. As
prime minister, Ms. Tymoshenko spent more time settling old scores than
running the government. The president fired her long after rumors of
corruption and proof of incompetence had ended the Orange honeymoon.

Sunday’s outcome does serve to show again that, contrary to the claims made
by Vladimir Putin and the Guardian newspaper among other skeptics, the
Orange Revolution was not about particular personalities or power blocks
cynically fighting for power in Kiev.

The hundreds of thousands in Independence Square were not there in 2004 out
of any great love for Viktor Yushchenko, whose face pockmarked by poison
came to symbolize those days in the world’s eyes. It was a popular uprising,
nothing more and nothing less, in which Ukrainians braved the cold to demand
to be governed, as their immediate western neighbors are, by people of their
own choosing.

So what did the voters decide on Sunday? The elections reflected a desire
for a strong economy and a secure place for Ukraine in Europe, free of overt
pressure from the Kremlin. In a detail lost amid all the wringing of hands
about Team Orange’s supposedly poor showing, the Tymoshenko and
Yushchenko parties combined won the most votes, not many less than in
the presidential election.

If the two can set aside old grievances and reach an agreement on a
coalition, they’ll get another shot at running this sprawling country of 48
million. Mr. Yanukovych held his base in the industrial east.

Though embarrassed by his last-place finish among the major parties, Mr.
Yushchenko, whose own job wasn’t on the line, can play kingmaker of the next
government. Mr. Yanukovych is wooing his Our Ukraine party and other
centrists by tempering his past Russophile utterances. Significantly, he
supports Ukrainian membership in the European Union.

Ms. Tymoshenko, who held out the olive branch yesterday to the president to
reform their previous coalition, would also love to be prime minister again.
In the coming weeks, deals and compromises need to be struck to create a new
government formed. It won’t always be pretty.

But such is the daily grind of competitive politics. The only remarkable
thing about this election is that, in another place and another time, it
would be completely unremarkable. -30-
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12. THE ORANGE REVOLUTION

EDITORIAL: The Boston Globe
Boston, Massachusetts, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

UKRAINE IS a divided country politically, geographically, and
linguistically, and the results of Sunday’s parliamentary elections there
are more a reflection of those divisions than a rejection of last year’s
Orange Revolution.

The electoral setback suffered by the Our Ukraine party of President Viktor
Yushchenko may be an embarrassment for that erstwhile hero of December
2004.

Nevertheless, if the voters were repudiating Yushchenko for failing to clean
up corruption and for permitting a schism in the ranks of the Orange
Revolution, they were not renouncing the principles or achievements of that
revolution.

Preliminary results suggest that, between them, Yushchenko’s party and the
bloc of his alienated ally, former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko received
about 40 percent of votes cast. The party of pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovich
garnered a plurality of about 26 percent. Hence the vote was a validation of
the Orange Revolution — even if Yushchenko’s party was punished for
permitting the split last September with Tymoshenko and her departure from
the government.

Their split-up resulted from a quarrel over corruption in the government. To
the extent that Yushchenko’s humiliating third-place finish on Sunday was
also due to his failure to purge corrupt officeholders, this was a case of
the leader of the Orange Revolution being chastised for failing to live up
to the ideals of that revolution.

The centrality of corruption was illuminated last month when Ukraine’s
interior minister published a list of former convicts and criminal suspects
running for Parliament. Eleven are wanted for questioning in criminal cases,
37 were facing criminal charges, 41 were implicated in cases being
transferred to court, and 10 have already been convicted of crimes. For
shady millionaire businessmen as well as Ukraine’s mafia bosses, the lure of
parliamentary immunity is hard to resist.

In the election’s aftermath, Yushchenko can perform two indispensable tasks
if he wishes to preserve the promise of the Orange Revolution. The first is
to form a governing coalition with his former ally, Tymoshenko, as she
requested yesterday. This means resisting a politically cynical coalition
with Yanukovich, the foe whom he supplanted thanks to those Ukrainians
who camped in Kiev’s wintry streets to protest the rigged election.

Then he must address corruption that became blatant in January, when he
resolved a quarrel over natural gas supplies from Russia by allowing a
shadowy company to receive a contract as an intermediary between Russian
suppliers and Ukrainian consumers.

A majority of Ukrainians has voted to continue the Orange Revolution. Now
Yushchenko must decide whether to vote with that majority or against it.
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13. UKRAINE BACK AT THE CROSSROADS
Timoshenko may be forced to form a government with rivals

By Jonathan Gorvett in Kiev, Aljazeera, Tuesday 28 March 2006

KIEV – Ukraine’s business community and political analysts are wondering
what the surprising electoral gains of Julia Timoshenko, the charismatic
former prime minister, will mean for the country’s pro-West tilt.

There are worries as to what a government led by her may mean for relations
with giant neighbour Russia, and with the domestic interests held by some
local business mandarins, known as the “oligarchs”.

Although her party, the Timoshenko Bloc, is running second in the count, the
leading group, the Party of the Regions, will almost certainly not have
enough votes to form a government.

This leaves a period of coalition-building ahead, with the most likely
outcome an alliance between Timoshenko and the party of the current
government, Our Ukraine, which is running third in the count.

These two led the Orange Revolution of December 2004, when protests
overturned a presidential election result found to be flawed. In the re-run,
Our Ukraine leader Viktor Yushchenko was elected president, and he then
appointed Timoshenko as prime minister. But the two Orange parties then fell
out last year, with Yushchenko firing Timoshenko and her entire government.
Differences buried?

The result of the parliamentary election may therefore see the two parties
forced to bury some bitter differences. “There are risks in such a
coalition,” says Vira Nanivska, director of the Kiev based International
Centre for Policy Studies. “There is a question over whether they will be
able to organise themselves coherently and speak with one voice.”

Both groupings have roughly similar ideas when it comes to Ukraine’s
overall orientation.

Both are in favour of opening up the country more to the West and seek
membership of Nato, the World Trade Organisation and, eventually, the
European Union. These policies have pitted both of them against the more
pro-Russia leaning Party of the Regions, which is based mainly in the east
of the country. Yet Timoshenko has made a name for herself pushing more
radical economic ideas than Yushchenko.

“They have very different ideas on reprivatisation,” says Nanivska.
Timoshenko has previously favoured taking back into state control many
companies that were sold off during the 1990s to the oligarchs for sums she
says were well below market value. These would then be sold off again in a
more transparent manner.
BUSINESS JITTERS
But this has caused great uncertainty in Ukraine’s business community and,
many say, deterred investments in the country. It is also opposed by Our
Ukraine. Market watchers now say that Timoshenko will likely moderate her
stance on this when in power.

“She was pushing these populist policies before,” says Tomas Fiala, managing
director of Kiev-based brokerage Dragon Capital. “But with no more elections
due for another four years, I think [reprivatisation] will be pushed into
the background.”

One other key area where a Timoshenko government could face controversy
will be in its relations with giant northern neighbour, Russia.

The Orange parties have most of their support in the Europe-leaning west of
the country, where Ukrainian nationalism has long been stronger and Russia
is looked upon with more suspicion.

Likewise, Moscow has long viewed Timoshenko with a wary eye, with Russian
observers in yesterday’s elections pointing out problems with the vote that
Western observers largely dismissed.

The election results so far have also confirmed the long-standing split
between the pro-European west and pro-Russian east, where many citizens
declare both Ukrainian and Russian identity.

“This is a very dangerous situation,” says Valeriy Khmelko, president of the
Kiev International Institute of Sociology. “Our studies show the Orange
parties got about 67% of their votes in the west, while the Party of the
regions got about 65% of its votes in the east. This hasn’t changed since
the Orange Revolution.”

“In the west, most people want the EU; in the east they want union with
Russia and Belarus. This is radically different geopolitical orientation in
the two halves of the country.”
GAS DEAL ISSUE
During the campaign, Timoshenko promised to cancel a key gas deal signed
with Moscow back in January by the current Our Ukraine government – a
move that may antagonise relations with Russia still further – and with her
coalition ally.

This deal came after Russia cut natural gas supplies to the Ukraine in
mid-winter, with Moscow insisting that Ukraine pay the full market price for
its supplies.

Ukraine is largely dependent on Russia for its gas, which heats many homes
and powers electricity plants and factories.

“In the west, most people want the EU; in the east they want union with
Russia and Belarus. This is radically different geopolitical orientation in
the two halves of the country”

Valeriy Khmelko, President, Kiev International Institute of Sociology
Previous pro-Russian governments had received Russian natural gas at a
much lower price.

The eventual deal turned the gas back on, but, according to Timoshenko,
Ukraine ended up paying too heavy a price.

Others agree. “The deal wasn’t a particularly good one,” Fiala says, “so if
Ukraine now becomes much tougher in negotiations over this, it will be a
positive step. Russia’s pipelines to Europe all go across Ukraine, so
Ukraine has quite a lot of leverage here.”

Ukraine has also recently fallen out with Russia over Russian bases in the
Crimea, part of Ukraine which has long been home to the Russian Black Sea
fleet and which has an ethnic Russian majority.

This nearly led to conflict over a series of Crimean lighthouses claimed by
both countries in February.
RHETORICAL DIFFERENCES
Yet others see Ukraine’s relations with Russia as far too important to be
worsened by a new government – of whatever political hue.

“You may get differences of rhetoric about Russia,” says Nanivska, “but
essentially, policy will be the same. Relations with Moscow have to get
better, it’s just not really an option but to get on with them.”

Foreign policy may also stay largely in the hands of the president, who
retains wide powers in this field.

With half the vote counted, negotiations have been going on since the
morning over the future shape of the coalition that will lead Ukraine.
“Whatever the outcome, and whichever coalition of parties emerges,” Nanivska
adds, “it seems the new government will have a difficult road ahead.” -30-
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http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/3BD5A054-2B40-4414-AEDF-90BC9F9B2ED3.htm
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14. SO WHAT WENT WRONG WITH THE ORANGE REVOLUTION?

EDITORIAL & OPINION: By Mary Dejevsky
The Independent, London, United Kingdom, Tue, Mar 28, 2006

Who did not cheer for Ukraine when crowds thronged Kiev’s Independence
Square and propelled the horribly disfigured Viktor Yushchenko to the
presidency? Ukraine, according to the Western consensus, had heroically
broken the bonds that tied it to Russia and earned itself a place on the
fast track to democracy. Membership of the European Union and Nato
could not be far behind.

Now, that same Western consensus is declaring itself shocked and
disappointed by the results of Ukraine’s parliamentary elections. Hopes that
the new parliament would bolster the President’s authority and speed the
introduction of Western-style market reforms have been dashed. The orange
revolution, we are told, has turned sour.

To condemn Ukraine for choosing a supposedly retrograde course now,
however, is just as wrong as it was to exalt Ukraine to the skies before.
Ukraine’s embrace of the orange revolution was never as unambiguous as
it was presented, just as the latest election results are nothing like the
unmitigated disaster we are now given to believe.

Contrary to popular mythology, Yushchenko was not elected by a landslide in
December 2004. He won 52 per cent of the vote, compared with the 44 per cent
won by his rival, Viktor Yanukovych. After the rigged second round,
Yanukovych’s vote held up relatively well, thanks to a combination of loyal
ethnic Russian voters and Ukrainians who feared the consequences of
Western-style economic reforms.

Preliminary figures for the latest election show that, proportionately, not
a great deal has changed. Yanukovych’s Regions Party is likely to end up
with most seats in the new parliament, having won one-third of the vote. But
his party is in first position only because the alliance that waged the
orange revolution has split.

The party of the former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko is on course to win
around 25 per cent of the vote, with Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine party around
15 per cent.

These figures show, first, that if the parties of Yushchenko and Tymoshenko
had campaigned as a bloc – as, essentially, they did for the presidency –
they would have the largest presence in the new parliament. They show,
second, that even if Yushchenko goes into coalition with Yanukovych, there
is still likely to be a reformist majority in parliament, albeit a small
one.

It is simply not true to say that the orange revolution has been defeated.
The truth is rather that its victory was never as sweeping as the stirring
images of banner-waving crowds in Independence Square suggested.

The truth is also that, although Yushchenko was the reformist candidate for
President, it was Tymoshenko’s populist rhetoric and drive that galvanised
the crowds in Independence Square. His popular appeal was always going to
suffer if, as happened last summer, she left the government.

The discrepancy between the presentation and reality of the orange
revolution is one reason why it ran into such trouble so soon. Swayed by the
seductive songs of their Western supporters, Ukraine’s orange
revolutionaries behaved as though their domestic support was far larger and
more homogenous than it actually was.

They seemed to take their cue from the so-called “rose” revolution in the
former Soviet republic of Georgia, where Mikhail Saakashvili came to power
on a wave of popular support for his anti-corruption campaign and
free-market philosophy. And even he has not had everything his own way.

In Ukraine, Yushchenko inherited the leadership of a country that was and
remains far more ethnically and ideologically divided than Georgia. These
divisions meant that his government found it hard to enact change, even with
the nominal support (initially) of the old parliament.

Yushchenko’s other difficulty was that he was swept to power on a
pro-Western idea, rather than specific policies for Ukraine. It was not long
before the cracks between his liberalism and Tymoshenko’s more doctrinaire
approach began to show.

The new parliament will be less reformist and less exclusively orientated
towards the West than out-and-out supporters of the orange revolution abroad
had hoped. Just because some people do not like the outcome, however, does
not mean that this poll does not represent a considerable achievement.

Ukraine has just conducted an election that was recognised by OSCE observers
as free and fair. It was an election that passed off peacefully, with no
overt Russian interference and no high-profile lobbying from the US
administration. It has produced a parliament that will be more
representative of Ukraine’s national aspirations, economic potential and
geographic constraints than its predecessor.

And this means that the next government should have a real chance to govern,
once the bargaining over a coalition is complete. Is this such a bad balance
sheet for the orange revolution 15 months on? -30-
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LINK: m.dejevsky@independent.co.uk
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15. A LOST REVOLUTION

EDITORIAL: Khallej Times Online,
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Wed, 28 March 2006

HOW times have changed in Ukraine in a very short time! Yesterday’s
revolutionaries are today’s Establishment. Yesterday’s villains are
reclaiming their status as heroes today. This is perhaps why they say
change is the only constant in politics.

If the party of President Viktor Yushchenko, the hero of the Orange
Revolution in 2004, has been reduced to a pathetic third place in Sunday’s
parliamentary vote (according to poll surveys), it is thanks to the profound
disillusionment of the Ukrainians with his leadership.

The man, who only a year and half ago brought the Ukrainians out on the
streets in freezing cold and kept them there until he brought down the
regime, stands completely discredited today.

And Viktor Yanukovich, who had been seen as the villain of the piece by the
world media including this newspaper in 2004, is seeking to reclaim his lost
place with this vote. According to exit polls, he has come out on the top of
the heap with the maximum number of votes and seats although a clear
majority may still elude him.

There are lessons in all this for leaders. You can bring about a revolution
and win a landslide. But if you do not deliver on the promises made to the
people, they wouldn’t hesitate to throw you out in no time. That is what
democracy is all about. Is it not? -30-
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16. ORANGE TURNS SOUR IN THE UKRAINE

EDITORIAL
: Bangkok Post
Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The pock-marked face of Viktor Yushchenko proudly waving a victory sign
over a sea of triumphant supporters all dressed in orange in a Ukraine square
remains vivid in many people’s minds.

But the winds of change blow quickly in politics. A little more than a year
has passed since those historic times when a ”people’s power” uprising
brought true democracy to the former Soviet nation.

In the nation’s first real ”free and fair” election which was held on the
weekend, Mr Yushchenko suffered a humiliating defeat. From the day he took
office, Ukrainians were expecting to see massive changes, a turnaround in
their disastrous economy, more jobs, a crackdown on government corruption
and unlimited freedoms. And they expected these changes to happen overnight.
In reality, Mr Yushchenko faced an impossible task.

The existing bureaucrats who would be implementing any new laws did not
change when the ”people’s power” broom swept the old Moscow-backed
government out. Their communist mentality, unwillingness to change and
entrenched corruption will take perhaps a generation to overcome, not one
year. And Mr Yushchenko’s close allies, in particular his orange
revolutionary mainstay, the pretty Julia Timoshenko, all wanted a nice slice
of the spoils.

While all of his allies, who quickly formed a coalition government, were
strongly united in the orange revolution with the aim of overthrowing the
communist government, once they gained power themselves, each had their
own agenda. After nine months as prime minister, it became clear that Ms
Timoshenko’s immediate priorities were not those of Mr Yushchenko and the
once-poisoned president sacked perhaps his coalition’s most popular asset.

But in those nine months, Ms Timoshenko’s anti-corruption net had tripped
other close allies who had then fallen. Much of Mr Yushchenko’s time was
being consumed by calming internal bickering and negotiating trade-offs to
ensure the passage of legislation.

While the coalition did introduce some excellent reforms and set the country
firmly on the road to joining the European Union, the economy remained
stagnant, job growth was minimal and many promises were yet to be addressed.

The ”orange” was turning sour, the pips had become stale and the promises
of the once full-of-juice revolution was slowly ebbing away. On the weekend,
the people spoke. Ironically the once-hated Moscow-backed Regions Ukraine
party appears set to win most seats in government when results are
announced. Ms Timoshenko’s bloc which held 25 seats in the last parliament,
appeared on track to capture about 150 of the 450 seats in the next
legislature.

Mr Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine party has been humiliated, garnering about
16% of the vote. This will mean it could lose up to 20% of the seats it held
in the pre-election parliament. With the Socialist Party and the Communist
Party, Mr Yushchenko and Ms Timoshenko will likely be forming another
coalition government with the Regions Ukraine posing a most powerful
opposition.

Coalition negotiations are expected to last weeks more than days but Ms
Timoshenko set the tone on Monday, stamping her new-found power. She
announced that unless she was appointed prime minister, her bloc would not
be participating in a governing coalition. Mr Yushchenko needs her bloc to
form a coalition so it is a fait accompli that Ms Timoshenko will be the
country’s next prime minister.

But Mr Yushchenko should hold his head high. He has secured his name in
history as a person who led his people as they overthrew their undemocratic
and vehemently corrupt government. Even more important was that they
achieved their aim without a bomb from the West being dropped and without
an external invasion being mounted.

Ukrainians proved that if the will is firmly there within a nation, and the
majority are demanding the change, it can be achieved. With this in mind, in
future when pondering democracy, the world should take note of the early
years of this century, which clearly define the difference between oranges
and lemons. -30-
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LINK: http://www.bangkokpost.com/News/29Mar2006_news15.php
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17. A FOE IN NEED

COMMENTARY: By Alexander Kolesnikov, special correspondent
Kommersant, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Yulia Timoshenko won’t be Ukrainian Prime Minister. I mean, she may
become one someday but not this time. The point is that Viktor Yushchenko
really does not want it to happen. Two days ago, he called the head of Our
Ukraine’s election campaign Roman Bessmertny and excoriated him in the
presence of some of his subordinates.

The man had earlier voiced an idea that the leader of the Orange coalition
may become prime minister. Understandably, as Yulia Timoshenko’s Bloc
left behind Our Ukraine, she is considered the leader.

Ms. Timoshenko insisted following the voting day that the matter of the
Orange coalition should be decided upon within the next few hours. Later,
she set the deadline of the next two days. Now it is the next two weeks. She
understands that the time is passing or must have already passed for her.

However, it seemed yesterday that she was very close to the victory. Our
Ukraine could have signed a memorandum on a coalition with Yulia
Timoshenko’s Bloc and the Socialist Party. The decision between the
parties had already been made but it was announced that the president
opposes the idea.

As the head of the state, he is supposed to be impartial. Yet, it turned out
straight away that Our Ukraine will split if its leaders sign the
memorandum. For a start, a group of the party’s deputies will declare that
they disfavor this coalition.

Everyone pictured the split – it is what Our Ukraine fears the most now. The
deal has fallen through. Yulia Timoshenko was offered a new memorandum
which did not contain the name of the future prime minister. Surely, she did
not agree.

Moreover, Viktor Yushchenko would not even submit the candidacy of Yulia
Timoshenko for prime minister to the Rada, even if a united coalition
nominated her. No law obliges him to submit the nominee proposed by the
coalition.

The coalition can recommend the person and he may accept it. Or he may not.
You can’t find any law saying that it will be unlawful. No doubt, he will
use his hidden veto in case of Yulia Timoshenko’s nomination.

What will he do next, then? A union with the Party of Regions seems to be
the most logical answer. Anyway, it’s high time for Mr. Yushchenko to act as
the person who is uniting two Ukraines – eastern and western regions. I
suppose no one will get surprised if it happens.

It is more likely to happen than not to. Mr. Yushchenko is perfectly aware
of the fact that if Our Ukraine does not build a coalition with the Party of
Regions, Yulia Timoshenko will do it.

But who is going to be the prime minister after all? Almost anyone can,
because it is easier to say who will not become one – Viktor Yanukovich. I
don’t think he’ll like the news. But when the time comes, they will tell
Yanukovich because it is not with him that Yushchenko will negotiate with –
there are other more important people to deal with.

I’m curious about the following – what will Yulia Timoshenko think up in
this obvious stalemate. She’s got to cook up something! -30-
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LINK: http://www.kommersant.com/page.asp?idr=1&id=661559
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18. YUSHCHENKO CHOOSES THE PRIME MINISTER OF TWO EVILS
The coalition debate in Ukraine

COMMENTARY: by Mikhail Zygar, Vladimir Solovyev
Kommersant, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Four combinations of the governmental coalition are clearly seen ahead of
the official results of the Ukrainian parliamentary election. The coalition
can be formed either by the Orange forces (with Yulia Timoshenko’s Bloc and
Our Ukraine of Viktor Yushchenko) or by Viktor Yanukovich’s Party of
Regions (in case Socialists and Communists join him).

President Yushchenko is going to be on the losing end, anyway, whereas the
popularity of former Prime Minister Timoshenko will keep on growing even if
she is not called to head the government again.
RESULTS DELAYED
Ukraine’s Central Election Committee counted more than 87 percent of votes
by last night, Kiev time. The alignment of forces did not change
dramatically, according to the latest reports. Five political parties won
more than the necessary 3 percent and qualified to enter the Supreme Rada.

Viktor Yanukovich’s Party of Regions mustered a majority, though not an
outright one, Yulia Timoshenko’s Bloc was the runner-up and the
pro-presidential Our Ukraine came in third. The three parties will share 450
seats at the parliament.

The faction of Yanukovich’s Blue will be in a majority as they had some 30.7
percent of the vote, which will give Viktor Yanukovich a chance to secure at
least 178 seats for his people. At one point when all parties stopped to
grow during the counting of votes, the Party of Regions was still receiving
new percentage points.

It turned out later that the counting in eight eastern regions of the
countries, which traditionally support the party, was going slower than in
other areas. Only 70 percent of the vote has been counted there by
Wednesday.

President Viktor Yushchenko criticized the slow pace of the counting calling
the sluggishness of election commission in Blue regions “an intentional
effort to benefit a certain political force.” The president requested the
Prosecutor’s Office, the Interior Ministry and election authorities to
secure the fair counting of votes.

Strange as it may seem, Kiev is counting votes the slowest in the country.
Only the half of the votes has been checked by last night. Yulia
Timoshenko’s Bloc holds a steady lead in the capital and its yesterday’s
result of 22.5 percent may go up. However, the bloc can hope only for
130 seats, at most.

Our Ukraine, the third party in the election, has reached the finale with
modest 14.8 percent and can now get only 86 seats. The Socialist Party of
Alexander Moroz with 5.9 percent and the Communists with 3.6 percent
qualified to enter the new parliament to gain 35 and 21 seats, respectively.

Experts are still hesitant as to which parties will join which since all
parties are currently in talks with all others. In theory, the five parties
may form any alliances. Orange-Blue coalitions could become the strongest
ones. Should Yulia Timoshenko and Viktor Yanukovich overcome personal
animosity, they would create the Constitutional majority of 307 deputies and
be able to initiate the impeachment for the president. It takes 337 votes to
dismiss the president, though.

The union of the Party of Regions and Our Ukraine could gather 265 votes,
which is quite enough to shape the government together. The purely Orange
coalition (Yulia Timoshenko’s Bloc, Our Ukraine and the Socialist Party)
could have 251 seats. The fourth combination of the Regions Party, the
Socialists and the Communists could give them control over 233 seats and
enable them to shape the government on their own.
CLASHES OF AMBITIONS
Despite the variety of combinations to form coalitions, politicians discuss
only one – the one that will unite all Orange forces. After Yulia Timoshenko
and Alexander Moroz had one-on-one meetings with President Viktor
Yushchenko, they declared the coalition of the three political forces (Yulia
Timoshenko’s Bloc, Our Ukraine and the Socialist Party) is the only valid
option.

Yulia Timoshenko also noted that the people of Ukraine made its choice, so
he should become prime minister. Alexander Moroz said he has no ambitions to
occupy the prime minister’s seat and will agree to any way of choosing the
premier – either it will be the leader of the largest faction in the
coalition (i.e. Yulia Timoshenko) or a compromise person for all Orange
forces.

Talks inside the Orange camp have borne no fruit so far, despite all the
statements. What’s more, the debate may end up with nothing. People of the
president’s office have kept on repeating after the election that Yulia
Timoshenko must not be let to become prime minister again. Yulia
Timoshenko’s comeback will indeed be unpalatable for the president’s team.

She has never made a secret of her enmity against the majority of Viktor
Yushchenko’s allies. The former premier has insisted since the start of the
election campaign that the coalition with Viktor Yushchenko could be built
only in case he disbands his entourage. Should he do so, he will virtually
entrust his fate with Yulia Timoshenko giving up any personal political
ambitions.

Though this alliance will be exceptionally painful, Yulia Timoshenko does
not hesitate to harshly criticize the president and his team, which can
hardly help mend the relations. Ms. Timoshenko promised on Monday that in
case of her comeback to the premier’s seat, she will review the gas deal
with Russia.

The statement was made after Yury Ekhanurov was appointed to hold talks on
the coalition. Moreover, she called Viktor Yushchenko “opportunist clutching
at power” and labeled his aides “fake Orange”. She said that the good
performance of her bloc at the election was “a lesson given to the
president”.

Ms. Timoshenko’s arrival at talks with Viktor Yushchenko was very expressive
as well. She decided to use the central entrance of the president’s
secretariat which foreign heads of states normally use. Besides that, Yulia
Timoshenko decided that the driver should take her right to the entrance,
and she would not leave the car until the president’s security opened the
gate crossing Bankovskay street for her.

Yulia Timoshenko’s Bloc is the only one so far that has come up with schemes
to shape posts. Andrey Shkil, a deputy at the Supreme Rada, believes that
the head of Our Ukraine’s election campaign Roman Bessmertny may become
the parliament’s speaker while Alexander Moroz may be appointed Secretary of
National Security and Defense. Meanwhile, the party in office avoids
speculations about the government’s line-up and the prime minister
especially.

“We should speak about the development of the state, instead of discussing
sharing seats,” Prime Minister Yury Ekhanurov retorted yesterday. Our
Ukraine’s political council urged to sign a memorandum last night to create
a democratic coalition.

Yulia Timoshenko’s bold stance at the talks is no accident. Her position is
exceptionally auspicious. She will benefit even if her bloc does not join
the coalition and she is not chosen prime minister.
POLITICAL SUICIDE
Yulia Timoshenko has been adamant since the election campaign saying that
an alliance with Viktor Yanukovich is unacceptable for her. She is not
exaggerating the point, and the reason is not in the ideological
controversy. The union with the Party of Unions is extremely unfavorable for
her.

First, she would be playing the role of a junior partner in the coalition
with Viktor Yanukovich, which she can’t agree to. Second, the alliance with
the Blue would deal a serious blow to her image. Yulia Timoshenko her
success to owes Orange voters, the people who voted for Viktor Yushchenko
at the presidential election in 2004. She managed to convince them that she
is the true bearer of values of the Maydan revolution while the president
betrayed them by signing a memorandum with Viktor Yanukovich a few months
earlier.

Should the new ruling coalition be built between the Party of Regions and
Our Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko will lose his last advocates, his rating will
plummet and Yulia Timoshenko will acquire new followers – those who used to
support the incumbent president. A coalition with Viktor Yanukovich will
become the political suicide for Viktor Yushchenko, Yulia Timoshenko said
yesterday.

The president had talks with the leader of the Party of Regions yesterday
but the form of the future coalition was not discussed, Viktor Yanukovich
reported. More detailed talks are apparently conducted. Boris Tarasyuk, the
Interior Minister and Our Ukraine’s leader, even pointed yesterday to the
conditions under which the party in office could discuss a coalition with
the Party of Regions.

These are the denial of the idea of the federal state, the denial to give
the Russian language an official status and the acknowledgement of the Euro
integration path of Ukraine.

The union of former enemies will play right into Yulia Timoshenko’s hands.
The coalition is likely to become very fragile. Should the new Supreme Rada
be dissolved, the result at a new election will be more auspicious for Yulia
Timoshenko who has already mastered the art of a successful opposition
fight. -30-
———————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://www.kommersant.com/page.asp?id=661639
——————————————————————————————-
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
19. PRESIDENT YUSHCHENKO AND HIS ORANGE REVOLUTION
TRASHED AND HUMILIATED

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey
PRAVDA.RU, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Party of the Regions, led by Viktor Yanukovich, has clearly won the
Ukrainian legislative elections, with around 33% of the vote – twice that of
Viktor Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine, beaten into third place behind Yulia
Timoshenko’s Bloc (20.4%). The Communist and Socialist Parties will both
be represented in Parliament, having obtained the minimum 3% necessary.

So, how popular the Orange Revolution is barely a year after its promises of
a wonderful new Ukraine. Where are the NGOs, where are the claims that the
vote was rigged, where are the crowds of hooligans, the darlings of the
west, defying law and order, thronging the streets, spreading litter and
committing acts of vandalism? Where is the Revolution?

It has dissipated into a dull, befuddled muddle of half-promises and
pseudo-pledges, sold down the river by a bewildered, unable, inept and
inefficient clique of wannabe politicians whose sole purpose to exist is to
sell the Ukraine and its interests to Washington in particular, the West in
general and NATO, that spear in the side, the constant thorn in the crown
Yanukovich?

Yushchenko, in a position of political check, now understands that playing
politics involves more than being the pawn of Washington and that however
novel the call of the west may be, the fact of the matter is that the
Ukraine is going through a serious identity crisis. More and more people
realise that the idea of independence is a romantic concept but the reality
is that the Ukraine is dependent upon, and not independent from, the Russian
Federation, de facto.

Therefore President Yushchenko will look to the largest opposition parties
and their leaders (Yanukovich or Timoshenko) to form a government of
national stability, albeit possibly in a period of uncomfortable
cohabitation. At present the most likely scenario is an alliance with Yulia
Timoshenko, who Yushchenko dismissed as Prime Minister last year. She has
declared that she would expect that post back and also that she would favour
cancelling the gas deal signed with the Russian Federation.

Timoshenko’s pro-presidential party, which was swept to power during the
events of 2004 when Yanukovich’s Presidential election victory was
overturned amid a popular uprising and generalised lawlessness in central
and western Ukraine, has stated it favours a coalition with President
Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine.

Timoshenko has, however, already revealed her true mettle, the cause for
her unceremonial sacking last September: she is a political opportunist of
the
most naive kind, who confuses the beauty parlour and chit-chat in
hairdressers’ salons with the real business of government. Basically, she is
all hot air, pretty pictures on websites…and no action or substance.

An unlikely government duo would be Yushchenko as President and Yanukovich
as Prime Minister, due to the camps that both men represent. However, would
a Yushchenko/Yanukovich cohabitation be such a bad deal for the Ukraine? For
some reason Yanukovich today is far more popular than the frivolous
Timoshenko and the incapable Yushckenko.
————————————————————————————————
LINK: http://english.pravda.ru/world/ussr/29-03-2006/77991-Ukraine-0

——————————————————————————————-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
20. THE REVOLUTION STILL BURNS IN UKRAINE

COMMENTARY: By Oksana Bashuk Hepburn, Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Saturday, March 25, 2006

I returned to Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, 14 months after the Orange
Revolution when, as the world cheered, millions stood their ground beside
their choice, Viktor Yushchenko. His face, mutilated by an assassination
attempt, served as a visible badge for democratic change: a pro-West
direction; control of bureaucratic corruption; return of state wealth by
stolen by oligarchs; and punishment for those who ran fraudulent elections.

The banners, ribbons and posters that galvanized the city during the cold
weeks of protests are gone from the squares. Given the tumultuous year
Ukraine has lived through, I wondered as I walked about whether the Orange
spirit had faded as well.

“The Orange Revolution was more than just a free election. It was a
psychological transformation from oppressed ‘yes-men’ to democrats,” said
Volodymyr Vitrovych, a former Tent City organizer, now involved in
tomorrow’s parliamentary election. “We found a new confidence.”

Mykola Posivnych, a doctoral candidate in history from the western
Ukrainian city of Lviv, is spending a few months in Kyiv’s central KGB
archives, researching the notorious excesses of the Russia-run secret
police. “The event broke our passivity,” he said. “We stood up to abuses
of power, and to Russia’s will.”

He listed other benefits: “There is greater freedom of the press. The
media remain concentrated in oligarch hands, however the blatant
fabrications are rare now.”

He pointed to a surge of investment interest: “Over $7 billion was
invested in foreign direct investments this year, nearly triple from 2004.”

What does Russia say to this new spirit in Ukraine? Vitrovych is candid.
“They’re pissed off and want to regain power over us. Putin wants be an
emperor. He can’t be one without Ukraine.”

This winter Russia cut off natural gas supplies to Ukraine. These same
pipelines feed Europe which cried foul. Russia pulled back with egg on its
face.

But all has not gone perfectly for President Yuschenko. “Russia had a
five-year agreement in gas delivery with Ukraine. It broke the contract,”
says one western consultant on condition of anonymity. “Had it joined WTO
in the summer, instead of squabbling in parliament, WTO would have been on
Ukraine’s side arguing its case. Yuschenko missed an opportunity to deliver
on his promise to turn Ukraine to the West.”

Critics point to other undelivered promises. No clean-up of corruption.
And only one of the state business acquired by oligarchs at ridiculous
prices has been returned to the private sector, while Yulia Tymoshenko was
prime minister. The public auctioning of the business put some $4.8 billion
U.S. into Ukraine’s treasury. She wanted to have more returned. The
oligarchs demanded her head. The president fired her and the cabinet; his
government was in disarray; the pro-West Orange force split between the
president and his former prime minister.

Posivnych says more time is required to deal with these problems, “but
the Orange Revolution made us more mature politically. Rhetoric is no longer
enough. People want concrete proposals on issues like health, education and
tax reforms.”

Walking down the slushy streets, I wondered about parliamentary
coalitions if there is no clear winner. Will Yuschenko shake hands with a
former arch-enemy, Viktor Yanukovych? Or reach out to the prime Minster
he fired and then bring in others from the 45 parties fielding candidates to
form a majority government?

Is there enough juice in the pro-Russian parties to pump up Yanukovych’s
30 per cent? Or will he try to force a win by, again, resorting, to fraud?

Perhaps the pollsters will be proven wrong and one of the three leading
parties will become a runaway winner?

I see that Kyiv has returned to the day-to-day life of a metropolis of
some four million. Building cranes are everywhere. Global brands fill store
windows. Children play in school yards, and students smoke in cafés near
Shevchenko University. And the women, regardless of age and style, maintain
a legendary beauty.

On Khreschatyk, the main street, an old woman is selling the first spring
pussy-willows. I buy some and turn the talk to politics. “He betrayed us. He
fired Yulia, while the crooks are still warming their seats and stealing our
money.”

So, whose party will she support? “Yulia’s. She will win. I don’t believe
the polls.”

In the Bessarabian Market, the scent of flowers and smoked delicacies
reminded me how much I loved this place. While I bargained for some kobassa
sausage a group of vendors gathered around. The elections were a natural
ice-breaker. Irina, my sausage trader, offered: “We’re voting for the
woman’s party. We’ve had enough of the men. They talk, then cave.”

Ukrainian women have a dignified way of slipping hands into sleeves,
leaning back and eyeing one full force. It can be coquettish or defiant, as
need be. These women mean business.

Does she mean Tymoshenko’s Bloc? “Who else is there? Yushchenko
betrayed her and Yanukovych is (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s
man. What good will that do us? … She will work with the West and not
shake hands with that Yanukovych and his oligarchs”

I thanked them for their views and packed up my sausage. “Come back,
if the kobassa pleases you.”

The vendors know bad quality means no return business. The same holds
true for politics. The Orange Revolution has taught them that when it comes
to elections, they hold the power and they seem ready to wield it. -30-
———————————————————————————————–
OKSANA BASHUK HEPBURN was among the Canadian team of
election observers that watched over the Ukrainian elections.
——————————————————————————————-
LINK: http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/index.html
——————————————————————————————-
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21. UKRAINE: DEMOCRACY IS DEEPENING

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: Olexiy Haran
Vice President of the Eurasia Foundation
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #681, Article 21
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

No matter how observers of East European politics assess the situation in
post-orange Ukraine, they would agree that the parliamentary elections of
March 26, 2006 were held in a free and fair manner.

This is a dramatic change from the presidential elections of 2004, which
were held under then President Leonid Kuchma and infused with massive
falsifications, rude campaigning against democratic opposition and
restricted access to the mass media. This newly-born freedom is the main
result of the orange revolution.

It is obvious that Ukrainian post-orange developments were not even. The
anti-Kuchma coalition consisted of different forces with dissimilar views on
economic reform. One of the main impediments for Yushchenko’s course arose
from a contradictory compromise reached in the Ukrainian parliament on
December 8, 2004 (between the fraudulent second round and the run off).

The adoption of constitutional changes decreased the fears of pro-Kuchma
forces over Yushchenko’s victory and thus eased the path to the run off. The
constitutional alterations became effective January 1, 2006, ensuring that
the new prime minister would rely on a parliamentary majority and that he or
she cannot be removed by Presidential whim, as has happened before.

Furthermore, the new parliamentary election system awards seats on the basis
of proportional representation with a three percent threshold. This is a
measure to strengthen a multi-party system. Both steps were demanded by
democratic forces for many years and, now enacted, are leading the country
in the right direction.

One the other hand, the reforms appear to be hectic and inconsistent. One
could mention, as an example, the ability of parliament to dismiss any
minister by a simple majority, which would make ministers dependent on
lobbyist groups with the government. One of the tasks of the newly elected
parliament would be to identify such flaws and endorse improvements.

The fact is that the role of the parliament has been increased between
exhaustive electoral campaigns. The growing populism in Ukrainian politics
on the eve of the elections and the diverse views on economic policies has
complicated the course of reform and has led to the split within the orange
coalition-between President Yushchenko and his first prime minister Yulia
Tymoshenko, both charismatic leaders. Ultimately, democracy is a learning
process.

What are the first results of the March 26 elections? Despite fears to the
contrary, the turnout appeared quite high, 67%. The Party of Regions led
by Kuchma’s last prime minister, Viktor Yanukovich, benefited from a
Yushchenko-Tymoshenko rivalry and gained the plurality of the votes.

Tymoshenko’s anti-oligarchic and anti-corruption rhetoric resulted in
increased electoral support for her party. The pro-presidential party, Our
Ukraine, landed third place as votes were tabulated.

Despite the Yushchenko-Tymoshenko divide, both forces may create a
coalition government post-election, which will have an absolute majority
with the possible addition of the Socialists, who remain part of the orange
coalition. According to most analysts, this scenario appears to be the most
likely variant.

Another important factor is evident. If the Party of the Regions tries to
represent itself in a modernized and civilized European manner, there will
be a certain differentiation and reconfiguration of forces within it (if not
in the short term, then in the medium term), which would enable them to
become a respectable political player.

In any case, no matter the exact configuration of the cabinet and the form
of cohabitation between President Yushchenko-who despite the constitutional
changes will certainly remain one of the most influential players in the
arena-and the new coalition government, the Ukrainian political system will
be less authoritarian. The increased clarity of the division of powers moves
Ukraine closer to European standards.

Achieving western standards in the conduct of free and fair election is a
positive undercurrent of the current situation. This is shared by the
people, pro-civil non-government organizations, the revitalized press and
even many politicians.

In a state that is struggling to become a full-fledged member of the
European family, it is important to continue striving for transparency in
all governance matters, institutionalize the rule of law across the country
and persist with democratic reformation. -30-
——————————————————————————————–
NOTE: Dr. Haran is the regional vice president covering Ukraine, Belarus and
Moldova for the Eurasia Foundation, which has invested over $335 million
since 1992 into development projects in the countries of the former Soviet
Union. Dr. Haran is a member of the consultative board of NGOs under the
Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He has lectured at numerous U.S. think tanks and universities. Before
joining the Eurasia Foundation in 2005, Dr. Haran had a distinguished career
at and was one of the founders of the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla
Academy (NaUKMA). He is author and editor of several books on Ukrainian
politics and a frequent commentator in Western media on Ukraine.
——————————————————————————————–
CONTACT: Gabor Beszterczey, Director of External Relations
The Eurasia Foundation, e-mail: gabor@eurasia.org; www.eurasia.org
——————————————————————————————–
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AUR#681 Principles For Coalition Govn’t Published; Trick To Understanding Ukraine; Ukraine’s Victors; Vie To Save Orange Vision

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

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

REGIONS PARTY MUST MEET THREE CONDITIONS
Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk said the possible coalition might start
a dialog with the Party of Regions if former prime minister and 2004
presidential candidate Yanukovych met three conditions.

“The first is to reject ideas of federalism, the second to reject state
status for the Russian language, and the third to recognize Ukraine’s
path toward European integration,” the minister said. [article 3]

THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR – Number 681
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor
PUBLISHED FROM KYIV, UKRAINE, WEDNESDAY, MARCH 29, 2006

——–INDEX OF ARTICLES——–
Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.
Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article

1. UKRAINE: LATEST VOTE COUNT AS OF 4:17 P.M. KYIV TIME

Regions 31.76%; Tymoshenko 22.35%, Our Ukraine 14.18%
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

2. SOCIALISTS PUBLISH PRINCIPLES FOR COALITION GOVN’T
Interfax-Ukraine news agency, Kiev, in Russian 0728 gmt 29 Mar 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Wed, Mar 29, 2006

3. PRO-PRESIDENTIAL PARTY BACKING “ORANGE”

PARLIAMENTARY COALITION
RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

4. YANUKOVYCH PARTY HAS RECIPE FOR A UNITED UKRAINE
RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

5. PRESIDENTS’ PARTY PASSES RESOLUTION LIMITING COALITION
Associated Press (AP), Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

6. THE TRICK TO UNDERSTANDING UKRAINE
COMMENTARY: By Anders Aslund
The Moscow Times, Moscow, Russia
Wednesday, March 29, 2006. Issue 3381. Page 10.

7. UKRAINE’S VICTORS
COMMENTARY: By Michael McFaul
The Wall Street Journal, New York, NY, Wed, March 29, 2006

8. UKRAINE’S 2006 PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION’S:

FIRST CONCLUSIONS
ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: By Tammy Lynch
Senior Research Fellow, Institute for the Study of Conflict,
Ideology & Policy, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #681, Article 8
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

9. ALLIES VIE TO SAVE ORANGE VISION
From Jeremy Page in Kiev, TimesOnLine

London, United Kingdom, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

10. ORANGE ELECTION
EDITORIAL: International Herald Tribune (IHT)
Paris, France, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

11. ORANGE II
REVIEW & OUTLOOK: The Wall Street Journal
New York, New York, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

12. THE ORANGE REVOLUTION
EDITORIAL: The Boston Globe
Boston, Massachusetts, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

13. UKRAINE BACK AT THE CROSSROADS
By Jonathan Gorvett in Kiev, Aljazeera, Tuesday 28 March 2006

14. SO WHAT WENT WRONG WITH THE ORANGE REVOLUTION?
EDITORIAL & OPINION: By Mary Dejevsky
The Independent, London, United Kingdom, Tue, Mar 28, 2006

15. A LOST REVOLUTION
EDITORIAL: Khallej Times Online,

Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Wed, 28 March 2006

16. ORANGE TURNS SOUR IN THE UKRAINE
EDITORIAL: Bangkok Post
Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

17. A FOE IN NEED
COMMENTARY: By Alexander Kolesnikov, special correspondent
Kommersant, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

18. YUSHCHENKO CHOOSES THE PRIME MINISTER OF TWO EVILS
COMMENTARY: by Mikhail Zygar, Vladimir Solovyev
Kommersant, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

19. PRESIDENT YUSHCHENKO AND HIS ORANGE REVOLUTION
TRASHED AND HUMILIATED
ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey
PRAVDA.RU, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

20. THE REVOLUTION STILL BURNS IN UKRAINE
COMMENTARY: By Oksana Bashuk Hepburn, Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Saturday, March 25, 2006

21. UKRAINE: DEMOCRACY IS DEEPENING
ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: Olexiy Haran
Vice President of the Eurasia Foundation
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #681, Article 21
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 29, 2006
========================================================
1
. UKRAINE: LATEST VOTE COUNT AS OF 4:17 P.M. KYIV TIME

Regions 31.76%; Tymoshenko 22.35%, Our Ukraine 14.18.%

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

KYIV – As Central Election Commission is counting 96.95% of votes Party

of the Regions secures 31.76%, Our Ukraine falls to third place with just
14.18% of the vote beaten by Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko with 22.35%. This
announcement is posted on the Internet website of the commission. Socialist
Party of Ukraine enters the Verkhovna Rada with 5.77% and Communists with
3.65%.

The Central Election Commission says that the published data are operational
data obtained via a telephone poll from polling-station election commissions
and that the data are informational in nature and cannot be used as an
official document.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, on March 26 Ukraine elected the national
parliament, the Crimean Supreme Council with simultaneous regional, district
and mayoral polls. -30-
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Website: Central Election Commission of Ukraine, Kyiv.

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2. SOCIALISTS PUBLISH PRINCIPLES FOR COALITION GOVN‘T

Interfax-Ukraine news agency, Kiev, in Russian 0728 gmt 29 Mar 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Wed, Mar 29, 2006

KIEV – The Socialist Party has published the text of the memorandum on
forming a coalition of Ukrainian democratic forces between the Socialists,
the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc and Our Ukraine. It sets down principles for the
coalition’s activities and the distribution of posts.

Currently only Socialist leader Oleksandr Moroz’s signature is on the
memorandum and it has the proviso that it comes into forces from the moment
a corresponding decision of the Socialists’ political council comes into
force. The council approved the memorandum 28 March and instructed Moroz
to sign it.

The memorandum envisages the signing of a coalition agreement between
factions on the day the new Supreme Council [parliament] opens its first
session.

The coalition members commit to agree on their programmes and programmes of
the Ukrainian president to ensure implementation of a balanced domestic and
foreign policy and the preparation and approval by the Supreme Council of a
set of Principles of Domestic and Foreign Policy.

The memorandum says that a programme of activity for the coalition
government should be drafted on the basis of the Principles of Domestic and
Foreign Policy and presented to parliament within 30 days from the moment
the agreement is signed.

A working group of 3 representatives of each party or bloc in the coalition
will be formed to achieve this. New members can join the coalition by
consensual decision by the signatories.

The coalition’s main principles and programme principles are defined as
continuing to deepen and improve political reform, passing amendments to the
constitution regarding reform of local self-government, preventing the
federalization of Ukraine, reforming the justice system and passing laws on
the cabinet, the president and the central bodies of the executive
authorities, normative acts, Supreme Council special investigative
commissions and amendments to electoral law.

Also, the programme principles envisage carrying out comprehensive reform
of the administrative set-up, abolition of general oversight [of courts and
other judicial agencies] by the prosecution bodies and reform of the
law-enforcement agencies, support for Ukrainian manufacturers, ensuring the
development of the market economy and Ukraine’s full participation in
international trade relations, defeating corruption and bribery, the full
and unconditional separation of business from power and the abolition of
immunity from prosecution for local council MPs.

Among other principles are named a strategic course toward integration with
Europe and stable good-neighbourly relations with Russia and all Ukraine’s
neighbours.

The coalition will distribute posts according to members’ share of the vote.
Lists of posts to be distributed will be compiled separately (lists of posts
in the Supreme Council, the central executive authorities and the regional
and district administrations).

Coalition members will take turns to choose posts. The number of posts will
be proportional to the election result (for each list [of posts]). The party
that gains the most votes to the Supreme Council and so on [other elections
took place at the same time, for example, for local councils] will get first
choice depending on the number of coalition members. [Passage omitted:
obscure formula for distributing posts]

The memorandum says that the coalition member with the most votes nominates
a candidate for prime minister. The other members and the president do not
have the right to veto this candidate. The members also don’t have the right
to veto other selected posts or nominated candidates.

Coalition members hold the posts they select for the entire lifetime of the
coalition and can change their candidate for a post. Deputy post-holders
(apart from first deputies) are selected and nominated by the heads of
ministries and agencies according to their professional and moral qualities.
The first deputy to heads of posts cannot belong to the same political force
as the head. First deputy heads are named in accordance with the quota
principle described above in line with a separate list.

The coalition members commit to support nominated candidates in parliament,
the cabinet and with the president.

Candidates for head of regional state administrations are nominated by the
cabinet and confirmed by the president by mutual agreement between the
coalition members under the quote principle. Candidates for posts appointed
by the president are also nominated according to this principle.

The president enters a candidate for defence minister unilaterally without
consulting the coalition, since he is Supreme Commander. Also, no coalition
member can ask for more than one leading post in the military and security
agencies (SBU [Security Service of Ukraine], Interior Ministry and
Prosecutor-General’s Office).

Ministers and heads of the corresponding Supreme Council committees cannot
belong to the same political force.

Coalition members commit to supporting candidates for Supreme Council
deputy chairman and parliamentary committee first deputy chairmen nominated
by the opposition forces that are not part of the majority. -30-
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3. PRO-PRESIDENTIAL PARTY BACKING “ORANGE”
PARLIAMENTARY COALITION

RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

KIEV – Leaders of the various parties in the pro-presidential Our Ukraine
bloc said Wednesday they were leaning toward an “orange” coalition in the
country’s newly elected parliament.

The Our Ukraine press service said the coalition – which would also include
former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s bloc and the Socialist Party –
could be joined by other parties and movements, including the Party of
Regions, currently leading the count from Sunday’s vote.

With 93.24% of Sunday’s vote counted, the Party of Regions currently has
31.26% of the vote, followed by Tymoshenko’s bloc (22.47%), Our Ukraine
(14.48%), the Socialist Party (5.87%) and the Communist Party (3.63%).
Parliamentary Speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn’s bloc, with 2.45%, currently looks
unlikely to negotiate the 3% threshold necessary for party-list seats in the
450-seat Rada.
REGIONS PARTY MUST MEET THREE CONDITIONS
Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk said the possible coalition might start a
dialog with the Party of Regions if former prime minister and 2004
presidential candidate Yanukovych met three conditions.

“The first is to reject ideas of federalism, the second to reject state
status for the Russian language, and the third to recognize Ukraine’s path
toward European integration,” the minister said.

Party of Regions campaign head Yevgeniy Kushnarev said Wednesday his
party backed a form of “soft” federalism to unite the country and heal the
splits caused by the 2004 “orange revolution” that brought President Viktor
Yushchenko to power.

“We have an understanding or a formula for how to unite Ukraine and to make
it [unified],” Kushnarev said. “We speak of ‘soft’ federalism or European
regionalism, which is widely popular in Europe.”

He also said the party was willing to work with any groups in the new
parliament, and that it favored constructive relations with Russia, while
seeking European integration but not EU membership.

Speculation about a possible parliamentary coalition began after exit polls
on Sunday indicated the vote was likely to be split. Yushchenko Monday
instructed incumbent Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov to begin coalition
talks as the Party of Regions began opening up a substantial gap over its
rivals.

An “orange coalition” would reunite the various groups that backed
Yushchenko in 2004. The groups fractured after Yushchenko’s election,
and Tymoshenko was dismissed as prime minister by Yushchenko last
September after just seven months in office. -30-
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[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
4. YANUKOVYCH PARTY HAS RECIPE FOR A UNITED UKRAINE

RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

KIEV – A senior member of the pro-Russian party currently leading in
Ukraine’s parliamentary elections said the party would back “soft”
federalism to heal the country’s political rifts and was willing to listen
to any offers on forming a coalition in parliament.

“We have an understanding or a formula for how to unite Ukraine and to make
it [unified],” said Yevgeniy Kushnarev, campaign head for the Party of
Regions, led by former premier and defeated 2004 presidential candidate
Viktor Yanukovych. “We speak of ‘soft’ federalism or European regionalism,
which is widely popular in Europe.”

Kushnarev added that federalism had become a dirty word in Ukraine, as
political analysts have associated it with the opposing concept of
separatism, and was in need of rehabilitation. He said the Party of Regions
was willing to form a coalition with any party in the new Supreme Rada, the
Ukrainian parliament.

“We are ready to form a coalition, and open for dialogue with any [party]
represented in the parliament,” Kushnarev said. “Public and closed
discussions will be held at the second stage, to bring concrete results.”

With 93.24% of Sunday’s vote counted, the Party of Regions currently has
31.26% of the vote, followed by former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s
bloc (22.47%), the pro-presidential Our Ukraine bloc (14.48%), the Socialist
Party (5.87%) and the Communist Party (3.63%). Parliamentary Speaker
Volodymyr Lytvyn’s bloc, with 2.45%, currently looks unlikely to negotiate
the 3% threshold necessary for party-list seats in the 450-seat Rada.

“The leaders of parties and political blocs should clearly understand that
they represent the interests of large groups of the country’s population, so
they should jointly find a formula to end a 15-month political standoff in
Ukraine,” Kushnarev said, referring to the “orange revolution” that brought
current President Viktor Yushchenko to power in late 2004. “We should not
make Ukraine mono-colored,” he said.

The latest results suggest that the Party of Regions is likely to end up
with about 176 seats of the total 450. Currently, Tymoshenko’s bloc would
take up 130 seats, Our Ukraine 89, the Socialists 36, and the Communists 21.

Kushnarev was critical of Tymoshenko’s ambitions in the parliamentary
elections, saying she was only interested in one thing. “Obviously, the post
of prime minister became her goal in itself,” he said. “This is clear to everyone.”

He was also skeptical that Yushchenko would dissolve the Rada should the
factions be unable to form a coalition and agree on a candidate for prime
minister.

“The president obviously can set obstacles for negotiations … but this
trick can be combated by a simple move,” he said. “We will make Yulia
Tymoshenko prime minister and look at Yushchenko’s expression.”
Tymoshenko was dismissed by Yushchenko last September, after just seven
months in office.

Kushnarev also said the Party of Regions would resume talks with Russia
on the formation of a common economic space, which would help settle
problems in the energy sector.

“The [high] price [on natural gas] has created a current catastrophic
situation in the Ukrainian economy, and leaves us no prospects for the
economic growth,” Kushnarev said. “A single energy tariff would be used
within the framework of the common economic space, and would be much
lower than today’s price on natural gas.”

Russian monopoly Gazprom hiked its price demands for natural gas supplies
in a bitter row over supplies that saw flows to Ukraine cut off in early
January. Moscow has accused Kiev of siphoning off gas meant for European
consumers.

Kushnarev said the pro-Russian Party of Regions should not be seen as a
Russian “fifth column” in Ukraine, but that the party sought a mutually
beneficial strategic partnership with its neighbor while seeking European
integration, but not EU membership.
———————————————————————————————
LINK: http://en.rian.ru/world/20060329/44936361.html
——————————————————————————————–
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========================================================
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5. UKRAINE PRES’ PARTY PASSES RESOLUTION LIMITING COALITION

Associated Press (AP), Kiev, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

KIEV – Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko’s party Wednesday notched up
the pressure on its leader to reunite the estranged Orange Team, passing a
resolution that put potential deal-breaking restrictions on the pro-Moscow
opposition leader.

State Security Council chief Anatoliy Kinakh said any parliamentary
coalition members must agree to confirm Ukraine’s pro-Western course, reject
the possibility of adopting Russian as a second state language and turn down
any calls to transfer significant central government powers to the regions.

“The priority for us is and will be Ukraine’s foreign policy course toward
European and Euroatlantic integration, while maintaining good-neighborly
relations with Russia and other countries,” said Foreign Minister Borys
Tarasiuk, according to a party statement.

But in a sign that the party was still reluctant to fully embrace former
prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who has demanded her old job back, the
statement declared: “We think today it is correct to talk not about
assigning jobs but about developing our country.”

Yushchenko held separate consultations Tuesday with Yanukovych and
Tymoshenko as the parties maneuvered over the formation of a possible
majority coalition in parliament.

If the Yushchenko and Tymoshenko can overcome their bitter falling-out,
their parties’ combined votes would put their total above Yanukovych’s and
give them a chance to rule together.

For Yushchenko, though, such a deal would be dangerous as well as
unpalatable. Tymoshenko’s ambitions make her a threat to the president, who
has seen his own sky-high popularity plummet due to public outrage over the
slow pace of reforms.

Viktor Yanukovych, whose pro-Moscow Party of the Regions attracted the
most votes in Sunday’s parliamentary election, supports European Union
membership, but he had also pushed for making Russian a second state
language. Members of his party, which has its support base in the east, had
been leading the call for making Ukraine a federal republic.

Yanukovych’s party has said it will dictate the make-up of the future
coalition, adding that it is too early to begin talks until the final
results are known.

The Central Election Commission’s lengthy vote count continued Wednesday,
with some 93.5% of the votes counted. Yanukovych’s party had 31.3%, followed
by Tymoshenko’s bloc with 22.4% and Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine with 14%.

While the statement from Our Ukraine ups the pressure on Yushchenko, it is
the president who will ultimately make the decision.

His presidency is not at risk, but his electoral defeat has left him
weakened. Under constitutional reforms, Yushchenko accepted during the tense
days of the 2004 protests, the president’s power to pick his prime minister
and much of the Cabinet passes to parliament, leaving Yushchenko at risk of
isolation.

Tymoshenko has argued that only a revived Orange Team can keep Yanukovych
out and safeguard the ideals she and Yushchenko championed in 2004. But
while the Orange parties won more votes combined, it remains unclear whether
they will be able to overcome deep personal animosity and forge a coalition
after months of trading insults. -30-
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========================================================
6. THE TRICK TO UNDERSTANDING UKRAINE

COMMENTARY
: By Anders Aslund
The Moscow Times, Moscow, Russia
Wednesday, March 29, 2006. Issue 3381. Page 10.

Ukraine has held its first elections after the Orange Revolution. Without
any qualification, they were free and fair with a high participation of 67
percent, showing that Ukraine has matured as a democracy.

At the same time, Ukraine has become a parliamentary system, which will
reinforce democracy in the country. The Communists have been further
marginalized, and party consolidation has proceeded well, with only five
parties likely to make it into parliament.

The main results of the vote reflect an amazing constancy. In December 2004,
Viktor Yushchenko defeated Viktor Yanukovych with a margin of 8 percentage
points, which will probably be the balance between the orange and blue, or
more accurately western and eastern, coalitions. The geographic dividing
line runs exactly where it did in 2004, or where it has gone for most of the
last 300 years.

International media have focused on Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions
becoming the largest single party, but what matters in proportional
elections is which parties can form a ruling majority, and that is the
Orange coalition.

The surprise is what happened within the Orange coalition, with Yulia
Tymoshenko’s bloc trouncing Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine. It is easy to
understand why that happened. Our Ukraine ran an inept campaign and put
its least popular representatives, such as discredited businessman Petro
Poroshenko, in the spotlight, while the president and his prime minister,
Yury Yekhanurov, kept a low profile.

Tymoshenko is an outstanding campaigner, and she seems to have chosen the
right political themes as well. Her main slogan was “justice,” reflecting
Yushchenko’s unfulfilled promise from 2004: “Bandits to prison!” Once again,
revenge against the old regime became the dominant line.

Her victory over Our Ukraine elevates moral issues over economic policy, and
her rhetoric looks backward to the Orange Revolution, further cementing the
east-west divide. She also defeated Pora-PRP, the new liberal bloc, which
tried to offer a decent alternative to Orange voters appalled by both
populism and corruption.

Since the campaign became a rehashing of the Orange Revolution, nothing but
an Orange coalition appears natural, that is, Tymoshenko’s bloc, Our Ukraine
and the Socialist Party. The Lytvyn Popular bloc will not enter parliament.
Today, nobody but Tymoshenko appears the natural prime minister. The job is
hers to lose.

All three potential coalition partners have already started to hold talks on
the formation of a new government, and one influential Our Ukraine deputy
predicted that an Orange coalition government would be formed within two to
three weeks. The uncertainty about the nature of the next government has
diminished.

The big question is what policy a Prime Minister Tymoshenko would pursue.
As deputy prime minister for energy in 2000, she surprised us positively by
going after other oligarchs and cleaning up the energy sector.

As prime minister last year, by contrast, she surprised us negatively by
focusing on re-privatization, which had not been part of her government
program. Now she has received a greater popular mandate than ever before,
so we can only wonder how she will amaze us this time.

The natural starting point is her bloc’s pre-election program. Even by the
standards of such documents, it is stunningly diffuse. The most substantial
part is the section on “just power.” It declares that under a Tymoshenko-led
government, judicial immunity for politicians would be immediately
abolished, regional governors would be elected and local self-government
would be strengthened.

Tymoshenko calls her economic credo “solidarism,” referring to a century-old
socialist creed, but its meaning remains fuzzy. Her section on economic
policy is small and empty. In a populist vein, it states that enterprises as
well as people “will pay taxes without any coercion.” Just in case, the
value-added tax is to be abolished as well. Fortunately, the social section
is suitably vague. The time of expensive social benefit promises appears
over.

Most important, re-privatization is not mentioned, though nor are property
rights guaranteed. After she was ousted as prime minister in September,
Tymoshenko declared that she had never advocated re-privatization, which is
not necessarily true but definitely helpful.

She is not likely to put herself in the same bind once again. Moreover, Our
Ukraine cannot possibly join a coalition with her without her giving
credible guarantees not to launch another re-privatization campaign.

One of Tymoshenko’s most successful campaign themes was her persistent
attacks on the Russian-Ukrainian gas deal of Jan. 4, which will undoubtedly
be undone.

RosUkrEnergo has never been accepted by the Ukrainian public, and the
existence of six attachments to the January agreement, purportedly giving
away Ukraine’s pipelines and gas reservoirs to RosUkrEnergo, appears
unacceptable to just about any Ukrainian.

Early Russian comments have emphasized the relative victory of the Party of
the Regions, but the Kremlin leaders will probably be all the more upset
when they realize that a new Orange coalition under Tymoshenko is budding.

The Kremlin reaction is likely to be all the greater if Tymoshenko sticks to
her election promise to break the gas agreement with Russia and render
RosUkrEnergo transparent. Though you never know with Yulia. On Ekho
Moskvy last September, she congratulated the Russians upon their
“wonderful”president.

Regardless of the exact train of events, Ukraine is a democracy, while
Russia is not. Therefore, the Kremlin finds it difficult to understand
Ukraine. Whatever the Ukrainian leaders do to satisfy one constituency or
another is incomprehensible to authoritarians, and if some Ukrainian action
does not suit the Kremlin, it will be perceived as dictated by Washington
and criticized accordingly.

Such Russian rhetoric can do nothing but drive Ukraine into the arms of the
West, and as the European Union is not open, Ukraine will have to run all
the faster toward NATO, not because of Western overtures, but because of
Russian intimidation.
———————————————————————————————
Anders Aslund is a senior fellow at the Institute for International
Economics in Washington, D.C.
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http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2006/03/29/006.html
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========================================================
7. UKRAINE’S VICTORS

COMMENTARY: By Michael McFaul
The Wall Street Journal, New York, NY, Wed, March 29, 2006

Since the 2004 Orange Revolution, most of the news from Ukraine has
emphasized the failures of the “revolutionaries.” President Viktor
Yushchenko and his first prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, could not sustain
the economic growth rates seen under the pre-Orange government.

Analysts in Moscow, London, Kiev and Washington blamed Ms. Tymoshenko’s
alleged populism for declining exports and depressed investment. Mr.
Yushchenko looked like a feckless leader who was then tainted with charges
of corruption over a gas deal between Russia and Ukraine, which delivered
windfall profits to a mysterious company in Switzerland.

Ahead of Sunday’s first elections since last winter, few Ukrainians seemed
to remember their last trip to the ballot box fondly. In opinion polls
conducted last month, only 19% believed that the country was going in the
right direction, 60% in the wrong. These numbers were cited in various
obituaries for the Orange Revolution.

Then came Election Day. The results of Sunday’s parliamentary poll and the
process that produced them underscore the exact opposite: The Orange
Revolution marked a democratic breakthrough in Ukraine that has not only
proved enduring but also been built upon.

The skeptics got a couple important things wrong. First off, the volatile
politics leading up to last weekend’s vote were an expression of democratic
politics, not their rejection. After criticizing Ms. Tymoshenko for her
performance, President Yushchenko dismissed her and her government. That’s
the way it’s supposed to work in democracies.

Accusations of corruption against Mr. Yushchenko’s administration, brought
to light by an aggressive independent press, forced resignations of other
officials from his staff. That’s also democracy in action.

Then, most amazingly, both Ms. Tymoshenko and her detractors from within
the Yushchenko inner circle had the chance to compete against each other for
votes. No one was jailed, no one was removed from the ballot, no one was
denied access to television, and no one was denied campaign financing from
private donors. All that has become the norm in regimes further east of
Ukraine.

Certainly, many Ukrainians may have been disappointed with the first results
of the Orange Revolution. There is always a letdown after a revolution as
high expectations often aren’t met. But Ukrainian citizens did not express
their disappointment by checking out of the political process. On the
contrary, the 70% turnout for a parliamentary election is truly remarkable.

During the Orange Revolution, Ukrainians came out on the streets of Kiev to
protect their vote. This week, they demonstrated yet again that they value
their right to decide who rules Ukraine.

And this vote was freer and fairer than recent elections in Ukraine, and a
vast improvement over the tainted and falsified presidential election in
2004. To be sure, there were organizational problems in the formation and
preparation of voter lists and local election commissions.

Likewise, some complained that the Regions of Ukraine party headed by
Viktor Yanukovych, who lost out in 2004, enjoyed unfair control of regional
media outlets in the east, and that Mr. Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine used state
resources for its campaign and enjoyed greater media coverage.

But compared to the 2004 election, the campaign atmosphere for this
parliamentary election was free of intimidation or gross bias on the
national television networks. Foreign and domestic electoral monitors gave
their stamps of approval to the process. Most importantly, participants in
the elections have accepted the results as legitimate.

Despite all the alleged failures of Ms. Tymoshenko, Mr. Yushchenko and the
Orange government, the basic distribution of votes between former Orange
coalition parties on the one hand (Yulia Tymoshenko’s bloc, Our Ukraine, the
Socialist Party and Pora) and the anti-Orange parties (Regions of Ukraine,
the Communist Party and the Vitrenko bloc) is roughly the same as it was in
the final (and fair) round of the presidential vote in December 2004.

Then, Mr. Yushchenko won 52% of the popular vote compared to 44% for Mr.
Yanukovych. On Sunday, parties formally affiliated with the Orange coalition
won 46% of the vote, while the anti-Orange parties won 36% altogether.

Despite all the bad news out of Ukraine since the Orange Revolution, Mr.
Yanukovych barely maintained his electoral base — 29.5% for Regions of
Ukraine last Sunday, after all, is significantly less than the 44% that Mr.
Yanukovych won in 2004 — and did not orchestrate some kind of “comeback”
in this election.

On the contrary, the real comeback kid is Yulia Tymoshenko. After her
dismissal as prime minister last year, her approval ratings plummeted and
conventional wisdom at the beginning of this year picked her party to finish
third. Instead, as a result of a tenacious campaign effort, she reclaimed
the Orange mantle, performing especially well in the central “swing”
regions.

While it remains unclear how negotiations over a new government will end,
what is clear is that Ms. Tymoshenko is now well-positioned to become the
next president of Ukraine.

A polarized electorate — a lingering legacy of the Orange Revolution —
helped to remobilize a significant number of Orange supporters. Voters did
not cast their ballots based on pocketbook issues, but instead were
motivated by more fundamental factors such as identity and support for or
opposition to the Orange Revolution. But supporters of the revolution did
not constitute a solid majority.

If based on a thin majority, Ukraine’s next government may not be stable,
and instead susceptible to defections from minority coalition members. To
forge a common national identity, Ukrainian leaders must eventually develop
political parties based on ideas (not simply personalities or linguistic
identities) capable of appealing to voters in all regions of the country.

Yet all things considered, Sunday’s outcome marks a major step toward
democratic consolidation in Ukraine. Overcoming or undermining regional
polarization can be addressed in the next electoral cycle. Building
democracy, after all, is a never-ending process — a process that Ukrainians
now seem to have fully embraced. -30-
————————————————————————————————
Mr. McFaul is a Hoover fellow and professor of political science at Stanford
University and an associate at the Carnegie Endowment for International
Peace. With Anders Aslund, he is editor of “Revolution in Orange: The
Origin’s of Ukraine’s Democratic Breakthrough” (Carnegie, 2006).
————————————————————————————————
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8 . UKRAINE’S 2006 PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION’S:
FIRST CONCLUSIONS

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: By Tammy Lynch
Senior Research Fellow, Institute for the Study of Conflict,
Ideology & Policy, Boston University, Boston, MA, USA
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #681, Article 8
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

With over 87% of the votes counted in Ukraine’s parliamentary elections, it
appears that early exit poll predictions were accurate. Former Prime
Minister Viktor Yanukovich’s Party of Regions should poll around 30-32%
when counting is complete, while former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko’s
eponymous bloc will place a strong second with 22-23%, and President Viktor
Yushchenko party Our Ukraine – which campaigned under the slogan “For
Yushchenko” – will trail in third with around 15% of the vote.

The extent, but not the fact of, the loss for Yushchenko is surprising.
While many in Ukraine have noted disillusionment with the president’s
policies and what has become known as “his environment,” there always was
uncertainty about where protest votes would go. It now appears that the
vast majority went to Tymoshenko.

It also appears that the combined votes of Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine, the
Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko (BYUT) and the Socialists would provide a workable
parliamentary majority of between 230 and 260 seats, depending on the
redistribution of votes for parties failing to pass the threshold. This
coalition would represent a return to the original revolution “orange
coalition.”

By virtue of BYUT’s placement well ahead of Our Ukraine and the Socialists,
under Ukraine’s new constitutional amendments creating a parliamentary –
presidential form of government, Tymoshenko is claiming the right to the
Prime Minister’s chair in this potential coalition.

However, in remarks to several journalists following her press conference on
27 March, Tymoshenko said that “those interested in mixing business with
politics” in Our Ukraine are “interested in a coalition with the Party of
Regions.” She continued, “They don’t want me as Prime Minister because they
know I won’t stand for that.”

Nevertheless, she expressed optimism about a return to an orange coalition
after a meeting on 28 March with the president, and it would appear that
public opinion supports this idea.

An examination of the election results leads to several conclusions:

President Yushchenko ensured that the election campaign would meet or
surpass international standards for a free and fair election. Despite
understanding for months that his party could be beaten, Yushchenko did
not resort to the tactics used by so many other leaders of former Soviet
republics.

Instead, he remained true to the democratic principles he has espoused
during his entire career. The campaign was vibrant, diverse, unencumbered
by administrative pressure, and chronicled by an uncensored media, according
to all accredited international election monitoring organizations. As
confirmed by the OSCE, it was a true democratic contest.

Several smaller parties have filed complaints about vote counting issues,
and both Our Ukraine and BYUT have charged that certain election officials
clinging to the old ways in Donetsk, Crimea and Luhansk conducted fraudulant
vote counts.

However, there is no question from any international monitoring mission that
this election constitutes a major step forward for Ukraine. President
Yushchenko should be congratulated.

Unlike some reports suggesting that these elections signify a “shift to
Russia,” in fact, they actually demonstrate a further consolidation of
support for the goals of the Orange Revolution. It is easy to forget that
Viktor Yanukovich won 44% of the vote during the third round of the
presidential election in December 2004 – an election deemed fair by
international observers. He will now receive about 32% of the vote.

Even when votes for the Communists (4%), the staunchly pro-Russian
opposition bloc of Natalia Vitrenko (around 3%), and a few other
anti-Yushchenko parties that will not enter the parliament are added to the
total for the Party of Regions, the views of Yanukovich do not appear to
have gained support. In fact, it may be that these views actually have lost
support.

The election results actually show a migration not from Yushchenko to
Yanukovich, but from Yushchenko to other more “radical” former orange
partners. Tymoshenko, of course, received the largest share of former
Yushchenko votes (increasing her bloc’s representation from slightly more
than 7% in 2002).

However, the Socialist Party also received about 6% of the votes that
supported Yushchenko in 2004, and the two former orange partners Reforms and
Order (in coalition with PORA) and the People’s Rukh (Kostenko) also will
gain over 4% together, even if their support will not be enough to keep them
in parliament.

The Green, Viche, and European Capital parties also seem to have secured
over three percentage points together – votes that likely would have gone to
Yushchenko in 2004.

The results should send a clear message to President Yushchenko that
“orange” voters want their two revolution leaders united. In the final
three weeks of the campaign, Tymoshenko repeatedly suggested that only
by voting for her could the orange team be reunited. Vote for her, she said,
to send a message to Our Ukraine, and “to reunite the team.”

Our Ukraine, in contrast, asked voters to support them to make it clear that
Tymoshenko “will be a junior partner in any coalition.” The voters seem to
have handily rejected this idea and embraced Tymoshenko’s suggestion that
the team would be reunited with her “victory.”

Voters rejected President Yushchenko’s repeated suggestions that most
everything wrong with the country in the last year was the fault of former
prime minister Tymoshenko. While Yushchenko was hoping for a mandate
for his programs, it was the former prime minister who actually received the
“thumbs up” from most orange voters.

Should President Yushchenko ignore the message that his core voters want him
to reunite with Tymoshenko, he risks undermining his political support even
further, possibly dooming his reelection campaign and catapulting Tymoshenko
into the office of president.

Yushchenko now can no longer count himself as the sole leader of the “orange
voters.” To maintain – or perhaps resurrect – his political career, he will
need to define himself in new ways, based on specific programs. So far, he
and Our Ukraine have been unable to do this. Simply campaigning under the
slogan “For Yushchenko” no longer gains the required result.

“Orange” voters continue to want “change” and “justice.” Tymoshenko’s
primary slogan throughout her entire campaign was, “It is necessary to fight
for justice.” It is important to remember that when protestors stood on the
Maidan, they did not chant in favor of standardizing customs procedures with
the EU. They chanted, “Bandits to jail!” and “Criminals Gone.”

Not one “orange” voter interviewed prior to this article or quoted in other
articles, has mentioned the economy as a motivating factor behind their
choice on 26 March, just as it was not a major motivating factor in 2004.
Living standards were already increasing under President Kuchma, and
continue to do so.

Instead, interviewees have noted that the organizers of the Gongadze murder
remain at large, that certain business interests have maintained control of
reportedly improperly privatized enterprises, and that no major figure has
been punished for the vote fraud that led to the revolution. Voters clearly
responded to Tymoshenko’s slogan, and her repeated calls for “justice.”

Voters responded to Tymoshenko’s admonition to choose their leaders “in the
interests of Ukraine,” and not other countries. The former Prime Minister
effectively used negative comments about her and her policies from both
Russian and Western analysts and economists during her campaign.

She particularly singled out former Carnegie Endowment for International
Affairs Director for Russia Anders Aslund, whose negative evaluations of
Tymoshenko, support for Yushchenko, and campaigning for a coalition between
Yushchenko and Yanukovich were carried extensively in the Ukrainian press.
One Tymoshenko voter interviewed suggested that she wanted “a leader for
Ukraine’s interests, not Russia’s or America’s.”

Voters have cleansed the parliament of individuals implicated in some of the
country’s most notorious crimes. Although the Party of Regions
parliamentary list contains over a dozen individuals said by the Interior
Ministry to be under investigation for various crimes, voters rejected the
return to parliament of the “Ne Tak” opposition bloc and the bloc of
parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn.

The “Ne Tak” bloc held many of the members of the former Kuchma party of
power, the Social Democratic Party (united), including former presidential
chief of staff Viktor Medvedchuk. It was led by former Ukrainian President
Leonid Kravchuk.

According to a Ukrainian parliamentary commission and the European Court of
Human Rights, Volodymyr Lytvyn may be implicated in the original plan to
kidnap Georgiy Gongadze (who then was killed), and is heard on the “Gongadze
tapes” advising President Kuchma to have the Interior Minister “handle”
Gongadze. These individuals have now lost their parliamentary immunity,
bringing up interesting questions for the next government, and the next
prosecutor general.

As this article is completed, Yushchenko, Tymoshenko and Socialist leader
Oleksandr Moroz all have stated their support for the “principle” of a new
“democratic coalition” based on the former orange parties. The country has
come far with the successful completion of its first truly free election.

Should majority coalition negotiations proceed effectively, which will not
be simple given the personal animosity between Yushchenko and Tymoshenko,
Ukraine truly will be able to say that it is on the path to Western-style
democracy. -30-
——————————————————————————————–
CONTACT: Tammy Lynch, tammymlynch@hotmail.com.
——————————————————————————————-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
9. ALLIES VIE TO SAVE ORANGE VISION

From Jeremy Page in Kiev, TimesOnLine
London, United Kingdom, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

KYIV – YULIYA TYMOSHENKO, the blonde-braided heroine of the
Orange Revolution in Ukraine, has almost as many nicknames as she does
designer suits.

She has been called the Gas Princess, Ukraine’s Joan of Arc, Iron Yuliya –
even the Samurai in a Skirt. But her sights are set firmly on reclaiming the
one title that she really covets – prime minister.

Mrs Tymoshenko, 45, met President Yushchenko yesterday for the first time
since the pro-Russian politicians they defeated in the Orange Revolution
made a comeback in parliamentary elections on Sunday.

It was also their first meeting since Mr Yushchenko dismissed her as Prime
Minister in September to quash infighting in the Orange team. Her message to
him was uncompromising: only she could lead a new Orange coalition to keep
Viktor Yanukovych, the man who tried to rig the 2004 presidential election,
out of government.

“We have full understanding and a firm desire to join in a coalition,” Mrs
Tymoshenko said afterwards. “We must continue along the path we set out
on during the presidential election. We will do everything to deal with
formalities within a week.”

With 80 per cent of votes counted, Mr Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions
is leading with 30.44 per cent, raising fears that he could slow Ukraine’s
integration with the EU and Nato and swing it back into Russia’s orbit.

Mrs Tymoshenko’s party is second with 22.38 per cent, and Mr Yushchenko’s
is third with a humiliating 15.1 per cent. The results indicate that Mrs
Tymoshenko has inherited the Orange mantle from Mr Yushchenko, whose
popularity slumped because of the power struggle in his Government and an
economic slowdown.

But opinion is divided on whether Mrs Tymoshenko is the solution to the
Orange team’s woes or the cause of them. Supporters see her as a fearless
revolutionary who was the main inspiration behind the movement and is now
bent on sweeping away the post-Soviet elite. They point to her record on
cleaning up the gas industry, where she made a fortune in the 1990s, and
reprivatising a massive steel plant last year.

“We won the battle because of the consistency and clarity of her position on
gas and on what needs to be done to fight corruption,” Hryhoriy Nemyria,
one of her top aides, said.

Critics say that she is a populist and an opportunist, whose personal
ambitions and business interests make any new coalition unworkable. They
say that the first Orange Government failed because of her rivalry with
Petro
Poroshenko, the “chocolate king” who co-financed the revolution.

They say that her economic policies are too radical – especially her pledge
to review 3,000 privatisation deals and tear up the agreement that ended a
gas crisis with Russia in January. Serhiy Hayday, a political strategist who
worked with Mr Poroshenko, said that making her Prime Minister again would
be disastrous.

“We’ve already seen a small rehearsal for failure,” he said. “That was the
first seven months of her work. The consequence will be not only the
people’s disillusionment with Tymoshenko. It may be disillusionment with
the possibility of making Ukraine a country to be proud of.”

Mr Yushchenko is keeping his options open, holding talks yesterday with
Mr Yanukovych as well. -30-
———————————————————————————————–
A POLITICAL POWERHOUSE
–Yuliya Tymoshenko made a fortune in the 1990s, becoming president of
United Energy Systems of Ukraine, one of the largest importers of natural
gas
–She brought this experience to bear as a minister from 1999 to 2001,
working in Victor Yuschenko’s government to reform the energy industry
–Despite being fired from that role after corruption allegations, she became
one of Mr Yuschenko’s most important allies during the 2004 Orange
Revolution
–In January last year Mr Yuschenko made her his Prime Minister and last
July, Forbes Magazine named her the third most powerful woman in the world
–After feuding with Mr Yuschenko’s aides, Ms Tymoshenko was dismissed
in September 2005. -30-
———————————————————————————————-
LINK: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,13509-2108400,00.html
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[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
10. ORANGE ELECTION

EDITORIAL: International Herald Tribune
Paris, France, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Supporters of the Orange Revolution in Ukraine had one of their best
moments in recent months when they reacted to their stunning defeat in
Sunday’s parliamentary elections. President Viktor Yushchenko’s gracious
acceptance of the verdict of the polls was a far cry from the crude efforts
by his opponents to steal the presidential election from him in 2004.

It also stands in powerful contrast to the strong-arm tactics of Aleksandr
Lukashenko in neighboring Belarus. And the president’s backers were right
when they asserted that holding a truly free and fair election was in itself
a victory worth savoring.

Still, the fact is that Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine party, invariably depicted
as “pro-Western” and “pro-reform,” took a drubbing at the hands of Viktor
Yanukovich, the former prime minister who was so dramatically defeated in
2004, and of Yulia Timoshenko, Yushchenko’s erstwhile ally and prime
minister, who was ousted only slightly less dramatically last September. The
reforms pushed through by Yushchenko himself will now transfer many
presidential powers to the prime minister and Parliament.

Yushchenko was defeated for several reasons. The power struggle with
Timoshenko divided his supporters, and the well-publicized high-rolling
lifestyle of his son seriously undermined his image as a corruption-fighter.
The economy did not improve – Russia abruptly and sharply raised the price
of fuel in January in a maneuver that seemed intended, among other things,
to undermine Yushchenko. Ukraine, moreover, remains sharply divided along
geographic, political and linguistic lines between an anti-Russian,
nationalistic west and a more pro-Russian east.

Yushchenko must now decide whether to team up with Yanukovich or with
Timoshenko to form a government. Either way, a nasty power struggle is
certain. That is discouraging for those who thought the Orange Revolution
would soften Ukraine’s political divisions. But an honest election is meant
to give an honest snapshot of the electorate, and this one revealed Ukraine
as it really is.

Whatever government emerges will still have to cope with higher prices for
energy; it will still be torn between the uncertain enticements of Europe
and the familiar bonds with Russia; it will still have to contend with the
deep division of the country and with the corruption so prevalent in former
Soviet republics.

The Orange Revolution was a major milestone, but it is important to remember
that it was not waged in the name of the West, but in the name of Ukrainians
who demanded the right to choose their own leaders. So long as there’s
another free vote ahead, Ukraine is on the right path, and the West must be
at its side. -30-
————————————————————————————————-
LINK: http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/03/28/opinion/edukraine.php
——————————————————————————————-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
11. ORANGE II

REVIEW & OUTLOOK: The Wall Street Journal
New York, New York, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The heroes of Kiev’s Independence Square scored another one for political
freedom Sunday — this time by holding a model parliamentary election. Their
own disappointing showing only reaffirms the original point of that outbreak
of popular democracy.

“It is already a big victory,” said President Viktor Yushchenko, casting his
vote in the first elections since last winter’s Orange Revolution. This
iconic leader from those days was putting a positive spin on his party’s
expected third-place showing after a difficult 14 months in power. But the
sentiment is true all the same.

A week after the sham presidential election next door in Belarus, which
ended when Alexander Lukashenko’s police cleared protesters from Minsk’s
central square in the dead of night, fellow Eastern Slavs in Ukraine showed
that aptitude for democracy isn’t a question of DNA. A bewildering array of
parties stood for the 450-seat Rada and local government posts.

The campaign debates were lively and the media free. The days of temnyky —
the instructions that journalists got from their rulers on how to report
stories — are a distant memory. Election Day didn’t pass without
organizational headaches, like overcrowded polling stations and incomplete
voting lists, but the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
said Ukraine passed with flying colors.

Only a free and fair election could have made it possible for Viktor
Yanukovych to stage a comeback. Back in the fall of 2004, he was the ancien
regime’s and the Kremlin’s presidential candidate on whose behalf — and
presumably with whose active participation — elections were rigged.

The popular uprising, christened the Orange Revolution, forced a rerun of
the vote that Mr. Yushchenko won handily. The new president didn’t
prosecute, much less persecute, Mr. Yanukovych for his possible role in
electoral fraud.

His party’s first-place showing Sunday with 27% of the vote is a lesson for
regional thugs who cling on to power by hook or by crook. Bolshevism, and
its offspring, is an all-or-nothing game. But there are second (and third
and fourth…) acts in democratic politics.

With the backing of eastern industrial oligarchs, and their television
networks, Mr. Yanukovych rebuilt his career. A free election also confers
something precious that can’t be rigged: legitimacy. Maybe Mr. Yanukovych
will let his friends in the Kremlin in on this little secret.

The two parties led by the now estranged Team Orange of Yulia Tymoshenko and
her former ally, Mr. Yushchenko, came in second and third place, getting 24%
and 16% with half the ballots counted. Who can blame the voters for this
mild rebuke? In power, the duo failed to put together a coherent governing
agenda.

While a decent man of great personal courage, Mr. Yushchenko suffers from
what can generously be called a self-discipline deficiency disorder. As
prime minister, Ms. Tymoshenko spent more time settling old scores than
running the government. The president fired her long after rumors of
corruption and proof of incompetence had ended the Orange honeymoon.

Sunday’s outcome does serve to show again that, contrary to the claims made
by Vladimir Putin and the Guardian newspaper among other skeptics, the
Orange Revolution was not about particular personalities or power blocks
cynically fighting for power in Kiev.

The hundreds of thousands in Independence Square were not there in 2004 out
of any great love for Viktor Yushchenko, whose face pockmarked by poison
came to symbolize those days in the world’s eyes. It was a popular uprising,
nothing more and nothing less, in which Ukrainians braved the cold to demand
to be governed, as their immediate western neighbors are, by people of their
own choosing.

So what did the voters decide on Sunday? The elections reflected a desire
for a strong economy and a secure place for Ukraine in Europe, free of overt
pressure from the Kremlin. In a detail lost amid all the wringing of hands
about Team Orange’s supposedly poor showing, the Tymoshenko and
Yushchenko parties combined won the most votes, not many less than in
the presidential election.

If the two can set aside old grievances and reach an agreement on a
coalition, they’ll get another shot at running this sprawling country of 48
million. Mr. Yanukovych held his base in the industrial east.

Though embarrassed by his last-place finish among the major parties, Mr.
Yushchenko, whose own job wasn’t on the line, can play kingmaker of the next
government. Mr. Yanukovych is wooing his Our Ukraine party and other
centrists by tempering his past Russophile utterances. Significantly, he
supports Ukrainian membership in the European Union.

Ms. Tymoshenko, who held out the olive branch yesterday to the president to
reform their previous coalition, would also love to be prime minister again.
In the coming weeks, deals and compromises need to be struck to create a new
government formed. It won’t always be pretty.

But such is the daily grind of competitive politics. The only remarkable
thing about this election is that, in another place and another time, it
would be completely unremarkable. -30-
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========================================================
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========================================================
12. THE ORANGE REVOLUTION

EDITORIAL: The Boston Globe
Boston, Massachusetts, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

UKRAINE IS a divided country politically, geographically, and
linguistically, and the results of Sunday’s parliamentary elections there
are more a reflection of those divisions than a rejection of last year’s
Orange Revolution.

The electoral setback suffered by the Our Ukraine party of President Viktor
Yushchenko may be an embarrassment for that erstwhile hero of December
2004.

Nevertheless, if the voters were repudiating Yushchenko for failing to clean
up corruption and for permitting a schism in the ranks of the Orange
Revolution, they were not renouncing the principles or achievements of that
revolution.

Preliminary results suggest that, between them, Yushchenko’s party and the
bloc of his alienated ally, former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko received
about 40 percent of votes cast. The party of pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovich
garnered a plurality of about 26 percent. Hence the vote was a validation of
the Orange Revolution — even if Yushchenko’s party was punished for
permitting the split last September with Tymoshenko and her departure from
the government.

Their split-up resulted from a quarrel over corruption in the government. To
the extent that Yushchenko’s humiliating third-place finish on Sunday was
also due to his failure to purge corrupt officeholders, this was a case of
the leader of the Orange Revolution being chastised for failing to live up
to the ideals of that revolution.

The centrality of corruption was illuminated last month when Ukraine’s
interior minister published a list of former convicts and criminal suspects
running for Parliament. Eleven are wanted for questioning in criminal cases,
37 were facing criminal charges, 41 were implicated in cases being
transferred to court, and 10 have already been convicted of crimes. For
shady millionaire businessmen as well as Ukraine’s mafia bosses, the lure of
parliamentary immunity is hard to resist.

In the election’s aftermath, Yushchenko can perform two indispensable tasks
if he wishes to preserve the promise of the Orange Revolution. The first is
to form a governing coalition with his former ally, Tymoshenko, as she
requested yesterday. This means resisting a politically cynical coalition
with Yanukovich, the foe whom he supplanted thanks to those Ukrainians
who camped in Kiev’s wintry streets to protest the rigged election.

Then he must address corruption that became blatant in January, when he
resolved a quarrel over natural gas supplies from Russia by allowing a
shadowy company to receive a contract as an intermediary between Russian
suppliers and Ukrainian consumers.

A majority of Ukrainians has voted to continue the Orange Revolution. Now
Yushchenko must decide whether to vote with that majority or against it.
———————————————————————————————–
http://www.boston.com/news/globe/editorial_opinion/editorials/articles/2006/03/28/the_orange_revolution/
————————————————————————————————————————————
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========================================================
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13. UKRAINE BACK AT THE CROSSROADS
Timoshenko may be forced to form a government with rivals

By Jonathan Gorvett in Kiev, Aljazeera, Tuesday 28 March 2006

KIEV – Ukraine’s business community and political analysts are wondering
what the surprising electoral gains of Julia Timoshenko, the charismatic
former prime minister, will mean for the country’s pro-West tilt.

There are worries as to what a government led by her may mean for relations
with giant neighbour Russia, and with the domestic interests held by some
local business mandarins, known as the “oligarchs”.

Although her party, the Timoshenko Bloc, is running second in the count, the
leading group, the Party of the Regions, will almost certainly not have
enough votes to form a government.

This leaves a period of coalition-building ahead, with the most likely
outcome an alliance between Timoshenko and the party of the current
government, Our Ukraine, which is running third in the count.

These two led the Orange Revolution of December 2004, when protests
overturned a presidential election result found to be flawed. In the re-run,
Our Ukraine leader Viktor Yushchenko was elected president, and he then
appointed Timoshenko as prime minister. But the two Orange parties then fell
out last year, with Yushchenko firing Timoshenko and her entire government.
Differences buried?

The result of the parliamentary election may therefore see the two parties
forced to bury some bitter differences. “There are risks in such a
coalition,” says Vira Nanivska, director of the Kiev based International
Centre for Policy Studies. “There is a question over whether they will be
able to organise themselves coherently and speak with one voice.”

Both groupings have roughly similar ideas when it comes to Ukraine’s
overall orientation.

Both are in favour of opening up the country more to the West and seek
membership of Nato, the World Trade Organisation and, eventually, the
European Union. These policies have pitted both of them against the more
pro-Russia leaning Party of the Regions, which is based mainly in the east
of the country. Yet Timoshenko has made a name for herself pushing more
radical economic ideas than Yushchenko.

“They have very different ideas on reprivatisation,” says Nanivska.
Timoshenko has previously favoured taking back into state control many
companies that were sold off during the 1990s to the oligarchs for sums she
says were well below market value. These would then be sold off again in a
more transparent manner.
BUSINESS JITTERS
But this has caused great uncertainty in Ukraine’s business community and,
many say, deterred investments in the country. It is also opposed by Our
Ukraine. Market watchers now say that Timoshenko will likely moderate her
stance on this when in power.

“She was pushing these populist policies before,” says Tomas Fiala, managing
director of Kiev-based brokerage Dragon Capital. “But with no more elections
due for another four years, I think [reprivatisation] will be pushed into
the background.”

One other key area where a Timoshenko government could face controversy
will be in its relations with giant northern neighbour, Russia.

The Orange parties have most of their support in the Europe-leaning west of
the country, where Ukrainian nationalism has long been stronger and Russia
is looked upon with more suspicion.

Likewise, Moscow has long viewed Timoshenko with a wary eye, with Russian
observers in yesterday’s elections pointing out problems with the vote that
Western observers largely dismissed.

The election results so far have also confirmed the long-standing split
between the pro-European west and pro-Russian east, where many citizens
declare both Ukrainian and Russian identity.

“This is a very dangerous situation,” says Valeriy Khmelko, president of the
Kiev International Institute of Sociology. “Our studies show the Orange
parties got about 67% of their votes in the west, while the Party of the
regions got about 65% of its votes in the east. This hasn’t changed since
the Orange Revolution.”

“In the west, most people want the EU; in the east they want union with
Russia and Belarus. This is radically different geopolitical orientation in
the two halves of the country.”
GAS DEAL ISSUE
During the campaign, Timoshenko promised to cancel a key gas deal signed
with Moscow back in January by the current Our Ukraine government – a
move that may antagonise relations with Russia still further – and with her
coalition ally.

This deal came after Russia cut natural gas supplies to the Ukraine in
mid-winter, with Moscow insisting that Ukraine pay the full market price for
its supplies.

Ukraine is largely dependent on Russia for its gas, which heats many homes
and powers electricity plants and factories.

“In the west, most people want the EU; in the east they want union with
Russia and Belarus. This is radically different geopolitical orientation in
the two halves of the country”

Valeriy Khmelko, President, Kiev International Institute of Sociology
Previous pro-Russian governments had received Russian natural gas at a
much lower price.

The eventual deal turned the gas back on, but, according to Timoshenko,
Ukraine ended up paying too heavy a price.

Others agree. “The deal wasn’t a particularly good one,” Fiala says, “so if
Ukraine now becomes much tougher in negotiations over this, it will be a
positive step. Russia’s pipelines to Europe all go across Ukraine, so
Ukraine has quite a lot of leverage here.”

Ukraine has also recently fallen out with Russia over Russian bases in the
Crimea, part of Ukraine which has long been home to the Russian Black Sea
fleet and which has an ethnic Russian majority.

This nearly led to conflict over a series of Crimean lighthouses claimed by
both countries in February.
RHETORICAL DIFFERENCES
Yet others see Ukraine’s relations with Russia as far too important to be
worsened by a new government – of whatever political hue.

“You may get differences of rhetoric about Russia,” says Nanivska, “but
essentially, policy will be the same. Relations with Moscow have to get
better, it’s just not really an option but to get on with them.”

Foreign policy may also stay largely in the hands of the president, who
retains wide powers in this field.

With half the vote counted, negotiations have been going on since the
morning over the future shape of the coalition that will lead Ukraine.
“Whatever the outcome, and whichever coalition of parties emerges,” Nanivska
adds, “it seems the new government will have a difficult road ahead.” -30-
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http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/3BD5A054-2B40-4414-AEDF-90BC9F9B2ED3.htm
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========================================================
14. SO WHAT WENT WRONG WITH THE ORANGE REVOLUTION?

EDITORIAL & OPINION: By Mary Dejevsky
The Independent, London, United Kingdom, Tue, Mar 28, 2006

Who did not cheer for Ukraine when crowds thronged Kiev’s Independence
Square and propelled the horribly disfigured Viktor Yushchenko to the
presidency? Ukraine, according to the Western consensus, had heroically
broken the bonds that tied it to Russia and earned itself a place on the
fast track to democracy. Membership of the European Union and Nato
could not be far behind.

Now, that same Western consensus is declaring itself shocked and
disappointed by the results of Ukraine’s parliamentary elections. Hopes that
the new parliament would bolster the President’s authority and speed the
introduction of Western-style market reforms have been dashed. The orange
revolution, we are told, has turned sour.

To condemn Ukraine for choosing a supposedly retrograde course now,
however, is just as wrong as it was to exalt Ukraine to the skies before.
Ukraine’s embrace of the orange revolution was never as unambiguous as
it was presented, just as the latest election results are nothing like the
unmitigated disaster we are now given to believe.

Contrary to popular mythology, Yushchenko was not elected by a landslide in
December 2004. He won 52 per cent of the vote, compared with the 44 per cent
won by his rival, Viktor Yanukovych. After the rigged second round,
Yanukovych’s vote held up relatively well, thanks to a combination of loyal
ethnic Russian voters and Ukrainians who feared the consequences of
Western-style economic reforms.

Preliminary figures for the latest election show that, proportionately, not
a great deal has changed. Yanukovych’s Regions Party is likely to end up
with most seats in the new parliament, having won one-third of the vote. But
his party is in first position only because the alliance that waged the
orange revolution has split.

The party of the former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko is on course to win
around 25 per cent of the vote, with Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine party around
15 per cent.

These figures show, first, that if the parties of Yushchenko and Tymoshenko
had campaigned as a bloc – as, essentially, they did for the presidency –
they would have the largest presence in the new parliament. They show,
second, that even if Yushchenko goes into coalition with Yanukovych, there
is still likely to be a reformist majority in parliament, albeit a small
one.

It is simply not true to say that the orange revolution has been defeated.
The truth is rather that its victory was never as sweeping as the stirring
images of banner-waving crowds in Independence Square suggested.

The truth is also that, although Yushchenko was the reformist candidate for
President, it was Tymoshenko’s populist rhetoric and drive that galvanised
the crowds in Independence Square. His popular appeal was always going to
suffer if, as happened last summer, she left the government.

The discrepancy between the presentation and reality of the orange
revolution is one reason why it ran into such trouble so soon. Swayed by the
seductive songs of their Western supporters, Ukraine’s orange
revolutionaries behaved as though their domestic support was far larger and
more homogenous than it actually was.

They seemed to take their cue from the so-called “rose” revolution in the
former Soviet republic of Georgia, where Mikhail Saakashvili came to power
on a wave of popular support for his anti-corruption campaign and
free-market philosophy. And even he has not had everything his own way.

In Ukraine, Yushchenko inherited the leadership of a country that was and
remains far more ethnically and ideologically divided than Georgia. These
divisions meant that his government found it hard to enact change, even with
the nominal support (initially) of the old parliament.

Yushchenko’s other difficulty was that he was swept to power on a
pro-Western idea, rather than specific policies for Ukraine. It was not long
before the cracks between his liberalism and Tymoshenko’s more doctrinaire
approach began to show.

The new parliament will be less reformist and less exclusively orientated
towards the West than out-and-out supporters of the orange revolution abroad
had hoped. Just because some people do not like the outcome, however, does
not mean that this poll does not represent a considerable achievement.

Ukraine has just conducted an election that was recognised by OSCE observers
as free and fair. It was an election that passed off peacefully, with no
overt Russian interference and no high-profile lobbying from the US
administration. It has produced a parliament that will be more
representative of Ukraine’s national aspirations, economic potential and
geographic constraints than its predecessor.

And this means that the next government should have a real chance to govern,
once the bargaining over a coalition is complete. Is this such a bad balance
sheet for the orange revolution 15 months on? -30-
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LINK: m.dejevsky@independent.co.uk
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[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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15. A LOST REVOLUTION

EDITORIAL: Khallej Times Online,
Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Wed, 28 March 2006

HOW times have changed in Ukraine in a very short time! Yesterday’s
revolutionaries are today’s Establishment. Yesterday’s villains are
reclaiming their status as heroes today. This is perhaps why they say
change is the only constant in politics.

If the party of President Viktor Yushchenko, the hero of the Orange
Revolution in 2004, has been reduced to a pathetic third place in Sunday’s
parliamentary vote (according to poll surveys), it is thanks to the profound
disillusionment of the Ukrainians with his leadership.

The man, who only a year and half ago brought the Ukrainians out on the
streets in freezing cold and kept them there until he brought down the
regime, stands completely discredited today.

And Viktor Yanukovich, who had been seen as the villain of the piece by the
world media including this newspaper in 2004, is seeking to reclaim his lost
place with this vote. According to exit polls, he has come out on the top of
the heap with the maximum number of votes and seats although a clear
majority may still elude him.

There are lessons in all this for leaders. You can bring about a revolution
and win a landslide. But if you do not deliver on the promises made to the
people, they wouldn’t hesitate to throw you out in no time. That is what
democracy is all about. Is it not? -30-
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http://www.khaleejtimes.com/DisplayArticle.asp?xfile=data/editorial/2006/March/editorial_March63.xml&section=editorial&col=
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16. ORANGE TURNS SOUR IN THE UKRAINE

EDITORIAL
: Bangkok Post
Bangkok, Thailand, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The pock-marked face of Viktor Yushchenko proudly waving a victory sign
over a sea of triumphant supporters all dressed in orange in a Ukraine square
remains vivid in many people’s minds.

But the winds of change blow quickly in politics. A little more than a year
has passed since those historic times when a ”people’s power” uprising
brought true democracy to the former Soviet nation.

In the nation’s first real ”free and fair” election which was held on the
weekend, Mr Yushchenko suffered a humiliating defeat. From the day he took
office, Ukrainians were expecting to see massive changes, a turnaround in
their disastrous economy, more jobs, a crackdown on government corruption
and unlimited freedoms. And they expected these changes to happen overnight.
In reality, Mr Yushchenko faced an impossible task.

The existing bureaucrats who would be implementing any new laws did not
change when the ”people’s power” broom swept the old Moscow-backed
government out. Their communist mentality, unwillingness to change and
entrenched corruption will take perhaps a generation to overcome, not one
year. And Mr Yushchenko’s close allies, in particular his orange
revolutionary mainstay, the pretty Julia Timoshenko, all wanted a nice slice
of the spoils.

While all of his allies, who quickly formed a coalition government, were
strongly united in the orange revolution with the aim of overthrowing the
communist government, once they gained power themselves, each had their
own agenda. After nine months as prime minister, it became clear that Ms
Timoshenko’s immediate priorities were not those of Mr Yushchenko and the
once-poisoned president sacked perhaps his coalition’s most popular asset.

But in those nine months, Ms Timoshenko’s anti-corruption net had tripped
other close allies who had then fallen. Much of Mr Yushchenko’s time was
being consumed by calming internal bickering and negotiating trade-offs to
ensure the passage of legislation.

While the coalition did introduce some excellent reforms and set the country
firmly on the road to joining the European Union, the economy remained
stagnant, job growth was minimal and many promises were yet to be addressed.

The ”orange” was turning sour, the pips had become stale and the promises
of the once full-of-juice revolution was slowly ebbing away. On the weekend,
the people spoke. Ironically the once-hated Moscow-backed Regions Ukraine
party appears set to win most seats in government when results are
announced. Ms Timoshenko’s bloc which held 25 seats in the last parliament,
appeared on track to capture about 150 of the 450 seats in the next
legislature.

Mr Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine party has been humiliated, garnering about
16% of the vote. This will mean it could lose up to 20% of the seats it held
in the pre-election parliament. With the Socialist Party and the Communist
Party, Mr Yushchenko and Ms Timoshenko will likely be forming another
coalition government with the Regions Ukraine posing a most powerful
opposition.

Coalition negotiations are expected to last weeks more than days but Ms
Timoshenko set the tone on Monday, stamping her new-found power. She
announced that unless she was appointed prime minister, her bloc would not
be participating in a governing coalition. Mr Yushchenko needs her bloc to
form a coalition so it is a fait accompli that Ms Timoshenko will be the
country’s next prime minister.

But Mr Yushchenko should hold his head high. He has secured his name in
history as a person who led his people as they overthrew their undemocratic
and vehemently corrupt government. Even more important was that they
achieved their aim without a bomb from the West being dropped and without
an external invasion being mounted.

Ukrainians proved that if the will is firmly there within a nation, and the
majority are demanding the change, it can be achieved. With this in mind, in
future when pondering democracy, the world should take note of the early
years of this century, which clearly define the difference between oranges
and lemons. -30-
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LINK: http://www.bangkokpost.com/News/29Mar2006_news15.php
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[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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17. A FOE IN NEED

COMMENTARY: By Alexander Kolesnikov, special correspondent
Kommersant, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Yulia Timoshenko won’t be Ukrainian Prime Minister. I mean, she may
become one someday but not this time. The point is that Viktor Yushchenko
really does not want it to happen. Two days ago, he called the head of Our
Ukraine’s election campaign Roman Bessmertny and excoriated him in the
presence of some of his subordinates.

The man had earlier voiced an idea that the leader of the Orange coalition
may become prime minister. Understandably, as Yulia Timoshenko’s Bloc
left behind Our Ukraine, she is considered the leader.

Ms. Timoshenko insisted following the voting day that the matter of the
Orange coalition should be decided upon within the next few hours. Later,
she set the deadline of the next two days. Now it is the next two weeks. She
understands that the time is passing or must have already passed for her.

However, it seemed yesterday that she was very close to the victory. Our
Ukraine could have signed a memorandum on a coalition with Yulia
Timoshenko’s Bloc and the Socialist Party. The decision between the
parties had already been made but it was announced that the president
opposes the idea.

As the head of the state, he is supposed to be impartial. Yet, it turned out
straight away that Our Ukraine will split if its leaders sign the
memorandum. For a start, a group of the party’s deputies will declare that
they disfavor this coalition.

Everyone pictured the split – it is what Our Ukraine fears the most now. The
deal has fallen through. Yulia Timoshenko was offered a new memorandum
which did not contain the name of the future prime minister. Surely, she did
not agree.

Moreover, Viktor Yushchenko would not even submit the candidacy of Yulia
Timoshenko for prime minister to the Rada, even if a united coalition
nominated her. No law obliges him to submit the nominee proposed by the
coalition.

The coalition can recommend the person and he may accept it. Or he may not.
You can’t find any law saying that it will be unlawful. No doubt, he will
use his hidden veto in case of Yulia Timoshenko’s nomination.

What will he do next, then? A union with the Party of Regions seems to be
the most logical answer. Anyway, it’s high time for Mr. Yushchenko to act as
the person who is uniting two Ukraines – eastern and western regions. I
suppose no one will get surprised if it happens.

It is more likely to happen than not to. Mr. Yushchenko is perfectly aware
of the fact that if Our Ukraine does not build a coalition with the Party of
Regions, Yulia Timoshenko will do it.

But who is going to be the prime minister after all? Almost anyone can,
because it is easier to say who will not become one – Viktor Yanukovich. I
don’t think he’ll like the news. But when the time comes, they will tell
Yanukovich because it is not with him that Yushchenko will negotiate with –
there are other more important people to deal with.

I’m curious about the following – what will Yulia Timoshenko think up in
this obvious stalemate. She’s got to cook up something! -30-
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LINK: http://www.kommersant.com/page.asp?idr=1&id=661559
———————————————————————————————-
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========================================================
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18. YUSHCHENKO CHOOSES THE PRIME MINISTER OF TWO EVILS
The coalition debate in Ukraine

COMMENTARY: by Mikhail Zygar, Vladimir Solovyev
Kommersant, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Four combinations of the governmental coalition are clearly seen ahead of
the official results of the Ukrainian parliamentary election. The coalition
can be formed either by the Orange forces (with Yulia Timoshenko’s Bloc and
Our Ukraine of Viktor Yushchenko) or by Viktor Yanukovich’s Party of
Regions (in case Socialists and Communists join him).

President Yushchenko is going to be on the losing end, anyway, whereas the
popularity of former Prime Minister Timoshenko will keep on growing even if
she is not called to head the government again.
RESULTS DELAYED
Ukraine’s Central Election Committee counted more than 87 percent of votes
by last night, Kiev time. The alignment of forces did not change
dramatically, according to the latest reports. Five political parties won
more than the necessary 3 percent and qualified to enter the Supreme Rada.

Viktor Yanukovich’s Party of Regions mustered a majority, though not an
outright one, Yulia Timoshenko’s Bloc was the runner-up and the
pro-presidential Our Ukraine came in third. The three parties will share 450
seats at the parliament.

The faction of Yanukovich’s Blue will be in a majority as they had some 30.7
percent of the vote, which will give Viktor Yanukovich a chance to secure at
least 178 seats for his people. At one point when all parties stopped to
grow during the counting of votes, the Party of Regions was still receiving
new percentage points.

It turned out later that the counting in eight eastern regions of the
countries, which traditionally support the party, was going slower than in
other areas. Only 70 percent of the vote has been counted there by
Wednesday.

President Viktor Yushchenko criticized the slow pace of the counting calling
the sluggishness of election commission in Blue regions “an intentional
effort to benefit a certain political force.” The president requested the
Prosecutor’s Office, the Interior Ministry and election authorities to
secure the fair counting of votes.

Strange as it may seem, Kiev is counting votes the slowest in the country.
Only the half of the votes has been checked by last night. Yulia
Timoshenko’s Bloc holds a steady lead in the capital and its yesterday’s
result of 22.5 percent may go up. However, the bloc can hope only for
130 seats, at most.

Our Ukraine, the third party in the election, has reached the finale with
modest 14.8 percent and can now get only 86 seats. The Socialist Party of
Alexander Moroz with 5.9 percent and the Communists with 3.6 percent
qualified to enter the new parliament to gain 35 and 21 seats, respectively.

Experts are still hesitant as to which parties will join which since all
parties are currently in talks with all others. In theory, the five parties
may form any alliances. Orange-Blue coalitions could become the strongest
ones. Should Yulia Timoshenko and Viktor Yanukovich overcome personal
animosity, they would create the Constitutional majority of 307 deputies and
be able to initiate the impeachment for the president. It takes 337 votes to
dismiss the president, though.

The union of the Party of Regions and Our Ukraine could gather 265 votes,
which is quite enough to shape the government together. The purely Orange
coalition (Yulia Timoshenko’s Bloc, Our Ukraine and the Socialist Party)
could have 251 seats. The fourth combination of the Regions Party, the
Socialists and the Communists could give them control over 233 seats and
enable them to shape the government on their own.
CLASHES OF AMBITIONS
Despite the variety of combinations to form coalitions, politicians discuss
only one – the one that will unite all Orange forces. After Yulia Timoshenko
and Alexander Moroz had one-on-one meetings with President Viktor
Yushchenko, they declared the coalition of the three political forces (Yulia
Timoshenko’s Bloc, Our Ukraine and the Socialist Party) is the only valid
option.

Yulia Timoshenko also noted that the people of Ukraine made its choice, so
he should become prime minister. Alexander Moroz said he has no ambitions to
occupy the prime minister’s seat and will agree to any way of choosing the
premier – either it will be the leader of the largest faction in the
coalition (i.e. Yulia Timoshenko) or a compromise person for all Orange
forces.

Talks inside the Orange camp have borne no fruit so far, despite all the
statements. What’s more, the debate may end up with nothing. People of the
president’s office have kept on repeating after the election that Yulia
Timoshenko must not be let to become prime minister again. Yulia
Timoshenko’s comeback will indeed be unpalatable for the president’s team.

She has never made a secret of her enmity against the majority of Viktor
Yushchenko’s allies. The former premier has insisted since the start of the
election campaign that the coalition with Viktor Yushchenko could be built
only in case he disbands his entourage. Should he do so, he will virtually
entrust his fate with Yulia Timoshenko giving up any personal political
ambitions.

Though this alliance will be exceptionally painful, Yulia Timoshenko does
not hesitate to harshly criticize the president and his team, which can
hardly help mend the relations. Ms. Timoshenko promised on Monday that in
case of her comeback to the premier’s seat, she will review the gas deal
with Russia.

The statement was made after Yury Ekhanurov was appointed to hold talks on
the coalition. Moreover, she called Viktor Yushchenko “opportunist clutching
at power” and labeled his aides “fake Orange”. She said that the good
performance of her bloc at the election was “a lesson given to the
president”.

Ms. Timoshenko’s arrival at talks with Viktor Yushchenko was very expressive
as well. She decided to use the central entrance of the president’s
secretariat which foreign heads of states normally use. Besides that, Yulia
Timoshenko decided that the driver should take her right to the entrance,
and she would not leave the car until the president’s security opened the
gate crossing Bankovskay street for her.

Yulia Timoshenko’s Bloc is the only one so far that has come up with schemes
to shape posts. Andrey Shkil, a deputy at the Supreme Rada, believes that
the head of Our Ukraine’s election campaign Roman Bessmertny may become
the parliament’s speaker while Alexander Moroz may be appointed Secretary of
National Security and Defense. Meanwhile, the party in office avoids
speculations about the government’s line-up and the prime minister
especially.

“We should speak about the development of the state, instead of discussing
sharing seats,” Prime Minister Yury Ekhanurov retorted yesterday. Our
Ukraine’s political council urged to sign a memorandum last night to create
a democratic coalition.

Yulia Timoshenko’s bold stance at the talks is no accident. Her position is
exceptionally auspicious. She will benefit even if her bloc does not join
the coalition and she is not chosen prime minister.
POLITICAL SUICIDE
Yulia Timoshenko has been adamant since the election campaign saying that
an alliance with Viktor Yanukovich is unacceptable for her. She is not
exaggerating the point, and the reason is not in the ideological
controversy. The union with the Party of Unions is extremely unfavorable for
her.

First, she would be playing the role of a junior partner in the coalition
with Viktor Yanukovich, which she can’t agree to. Second, the alliance with
the Blue would deal a serious blow to her image. Yulia Timoshenko her
success to owes Orange voters, the people who voted for Viktor Yushchenko
at the presidential election in 2004. She managed to convince them that she
is the true bearer of values of the Maydan revolution while the president
betrayed them by signing a memorandum with Viktor Yanukovich a few months
earlier.

Should the new ruling coalition be built between the Party of Regions and
Our Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko will lose his last advocates, his rating will
plummet and Yulia Timoshenko will acquire new followers – those who used to
support the incumbent president. A coalition with Viktor Yanukovich will
become the political suicide for Viktor Yushchenko, Yulia Timoshenko said
yesterday.

The president had talks with the leader of the Party of Regions yesterday
but the form of the future coalition was not discussed, Viktor Yanukovich
reported. More detailed talks are apparently conducted. Boris Tarasyuk, the
Interior Minister and Our Ukraine’s leader, even pointed yesterday to the
conditions under which the party in office could discuss a coalition with
the Party of Regions.

These are the denial of the idea of the federal state, the denial to give
the Russian language an official status and the acknowledgement of the Euro
integration path of Ukraine.

The union of former enemies will play right into Yulia Timoshenko’s hands.
The coalition is likely to become very fragile. Should the new Supreme Rada
be dissolved, the result at a new election will be more auspicious for Yulia
Timoshenko who has already mastered the art of a successful opposition
fight. -30-
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LINK: http://www.kommersant.com/page.asp?id=661639
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[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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19. PRESIDENT YUSHCHENKO AND HIS ORANGE REVOLUTION
TRASHED AND HUMILIATED

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: Timothy Bancroft-Hinchey
PRAVDA.RU, Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

The Party of the Regions, led by Viktor Yanukovich, has clearly won the
Ukrainian legislative elections, with around 33% of the vote – twice that of
Viktor Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine, beaten into third place behind Yulia
Timoshenko’s Bloc (20.4%). The Communist and Socialist Parties will both
be represented in Parliament, having obtained the minimum 3% necessary.

So, how popular the Orange Revolution is barely a year after its promises of
a wonderful new Ukraine. Where are the NGOs, where are the claims that the
vote was rigged, where are the crowds of hooligans, the darlings of the
west, defying law and order, thronging the streets, spreading litter and
committing acts of vandalism? Where is the Revolution?

It has dissipated into a dull, befuddled muddle of half-promises and
pseudo-pledges, sold down the river by a bewildered, unable, inept and
inefficient clique of wannabe politicians whose sole purpose to exist is to
sell the Ukraine and its interests to Washington in particular, the West in
general and NATO, that spear in the side, the constant thorn in the crown
Yanukovich?

Yushchenko, in a position of political check, now understands that playing
politics involves more than being the pawn of Washington and that however
novel the call of the west may be, the fact of the matter is that the
Ukraine is going through a serious identity crisis. More and more people
realise that the idea of independence is a romantic concept but the reality
is that the Ukraine is dependent upon, and not independent from, the Russian
Federation, de facto.

Therefore President Yushchenko will look to the largest opposition parties
and their leaders (Yanukovich or Timoshenko) to form a government of
national stability, albeit possibly in a period of uncomfortable
cohabitation. At present the most likely scenario is an alliance with Yulia
Timoshenko, who Yushchenko dismissed as Prime Minister last year. She has
declared that she would expect that post back and also that she would favour
cancelling the gas deal signed with the Russian Federation.

Timoshenko’s pro-presidential party, which was swept to power during the
events of 2004 when Yanukovich’s Presidential election victory was
overturned amid a popular uprising and generalised lawlessness in central
and western Ukraine, has stated it favours a coalition with President
Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine.

Timoshenko has, however, already revealed her true mettle, the cause for
her unceremonial sacking last September: she is a political opportunist of
the
most naive kind, who confuses the beauty parlour and chit-chat in
hairdressers’ salons with the real business of government. Basically, she is
all hot air, pretty pictures on websites…and no action or substance.

An unlikely government duo would be Yushchenko as President and Yanukovich
as Prime Minister, due to the camps that both men represent. However, would
a Yushchenko/Yanukovich cohabitation be such a bad deal for the Ukraine? For
some reason Yanukovich today is far more popular than the frivolous
Timoshenko and the incapable Yushckenko.
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LINK: http://english.pravda.ru/world/ussr/29-03-2006/77991-Ukraine-0

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[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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20. THE REVOLUTION STILL BURNS IN UKRAINE

COMMENTARY: By Oksana Bashuk Hepburn, Ottawa Citizen
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, Saturday, March 25, 2006

I returned to Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, 14 months after the Orange
Revolution when, as the world cheered, millions stood their ground beside
their choice, Viktor Yushchenko. His face, mutilated by an assassination
attempt, served as a visible badge for democratic change: a pro-West
direction; control of bureaucratic corruption; return of state wealth by
stolen by oligarchs; and punishment for those who ran fraudulent elections.

The banners, ribbons and posters that galvanized the city during the cold
weeks of protests are gone from the squares. Given the tumultuous year
Ukraine has lived through, I wondered as I walked about whether the Orange
spirit had faded as well.

“The Orange Revolution was more than just a free election. It was a
psychological transformation from oppressed ‘yes-men’ to democrats,” said
Volodymyr Vitrovych, a former Tent City organizer, now involved in
tomorrow’s parliamentary election. “We found a new confidence.”

Mykola Posivnych, a doctoral candidate in history from the western
Ukrainian city of Lviv, is spending a few months in Kyiv’s central KGB
archives, researching the notorious excesses of the Russia-run secret
police. “The event broke our passivity,” he said. “We stood up to abuses
of power, and to Russia’s will.”

He listed other benefits: “There is greater freedom of the press. The
media remain concentrated in oligarch hands, however the blatant
fabrications are rare now.”

He pointed to a surge of investment interest: “Over $7 billion was
invested in foreign direct investments this year, nearly triple from 2004.”

What does Russia say to this new spirit in Ukraine? Vitrovych is candid.
“They’re pissed off and want to regain power over us. Putin wants be an
emperor. He can’t be one without Ukraine.”

This winter Russia cut off natural gas supplies to Ukraine. These same
pipelines feed Europe which cried foul. Russia pulled back with egg on its
face.

But all has not gone perfectly for President Yuschenko. “Russia had a
five-year agreement in gas delivery with Ukraine. It broke the contract,”
says one western consultant on condition of anonymity. “Had it joined WTO
in the summer, instead of squabbling in parliament, WTO would have been on
Ukraine’s side arguing its case. Yuschenko missed an opportunity to deliver
on his promise to turn Ukraine to the West.”

Critics point to other undelivered promises. No clean-up of corruption.
And only one of the state business acquired by oligarchs at ridiculous
prices has been returned to the private sector, while Yulia Tymoshenko was
prime minister. The public auctioning of the business put some $4.8 billion
U.S. into Ukraine’s treasury. She wanted to have more returned. The
oligarchs demanded her head. The president fired her and the cabinet; his
government was in disarray; the pro-West Orange force split between the
president and his former prime minister.

Posivnych says more time is required to deal with these problems, “but
the Orange Revolution made us more mature politically. Rhetoric is no longer
enough. People want concrete proposals on issues like health, education and
tax reforms.”

Walking down the slushy streets, I wondered about parliamentary
coalitions if there is no clear winner. Will Yuschenko shake hands with a
former arch-enemy, Viktor Yanukovych? Or reach out to the prime Minster
he fired and then bring in others from the 45 parties fielding candidates to
form a majority government?

Is there enough juice in the pro-Russian parties to pump up Yanukovych’s
30 per cent? Or will he try to force a win by, again, resorting, to fraud?

Perhaps the pollsters will be proven wrong and one of the three leading
parties will become a runaway winner?

I see that Kyiv has returned to the day-to-day life of a metropolis of
some four million. Building cranes are everywhere. Global brands fill store
windows. Children play in school yards, and students smoke in cafés near
Shevchenko University. And the women, regardless of age and style, maintain
a legendary beauty.

On Khreschatyk, the main street, an old woman is selling the first spring
pussy-willows. I buy some and turn the talk to politics. “He betrayed us. He
fired Yulia, while the crooks are still warming their seats and stealing our
money.”

So, whose party will she support? “Yulia’s. She will win. I don’t believe
the polls.”

In the Bessarabian Market, the scent of flowers and smoked delicacies
reminded me how much I loved this place. While I bargained for some kobassa
sausage a group of vendors gathered around. The elections were a natural
ice-breaker. Irina, my sausage trader, offered: “We’re voting for the
woman’s party. We’ve had enough of the men. They talk, then cave.”

Ukrainian women have a dignified way of slipping hands into sleeves,
leaning back and eyeing one full force. It can be coquettish or defiant, as
need be. These women mean business.

Does she mean Tymoshenko’s Bloc? “Who else is there? Yushchenko
betrayed her and Yanukovych is (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s
man. What good will that do us? … She will work with the West and not
shake hands with that Yanukovych and his oligarchs”

I thanked them for their views and packed up my sausage. “Come back,
if the kobassa pleases you.”

The vendors know bad quality means no return business. The same holds
true for politics. The Orange Revolution has taught them that when it comes
to elections, they hold the power and they seem ready to wield it. -30-
———————————————————————————————–
OKSANA BASHUK HEPBURN was among the Canadian team of
election observers that watched over the Ukrainian elections.
——————————————————————————————-
LINK: http://www.canada.com/ottawacitizen/index.html
——————————————————————————————-
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21. UKRAINE: DEMOCRACY IS DEEPENING

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: Olexiy Haran
Vice President of the Eurasia Foundation
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #681, Article 21
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 29, 2006

No matter how observers of East European politics assess the situation in
post-orange Ukraine, they would agree that the parliamentary elections of
March 26, 2006 were held in a free and fair manner.

This is a dramatic change from the presidential elections of 2004, which
were held under then President Leonid Kuchma and infused with massive
falsifications, rude campaigning against democratic opposition and
restricted access to the mass media. This newly-born freedom is the main
result of the orange revolution.

It is obvious that Ukrainian post-orange developments were not even. The
anti-Kuchma coalition consisted of different forces with dissimilar views on
economic reform. One of the main impediments for Yushchenko’s course arose
from a contradictory compromise reached in the Ukrainian parliament on
December 8, 2004 (between the fraudulent second round and the run off).

The adoption of constitutional changes decreased the fears of pro-Kuchma
forces over Yushchenko’s victory and thus eased the path to the run off. The
constitutional alterations became effective January 1, 2006, ensuring that
the new prime minister would rely on a parliamentary majority and that he or
she cannot be removed by Presidential whim, as has happened before.

Furthermore, the new parliamentary election system awards seats on the basis
of proportional representation with a three percent threshold. This is a
measure to strengthen a multi-party system. Both steps were demanded by
democratic forces for many years and, now enacted, are leading the country
in the right direction.

One the other hand, the reforms appear to be hectic and inconsistent. One
could mention, as an example, the ability of parliament to dismiss any
minister by a simple majority, which would make ministers dependent on
lobbyist groups with the government. One of the tasks of the newly elected
parliament would be to identify such flaws and endorse improvements.

The fact is that the role of the parliament has been increased between
exhaustive electoral campaigns. The growing populism in Ukrainian politics
on the eve of the elections and the diverse views on economic policies has
complicated the course of reform and has led to the split within the orange
coalition-between President Yushchenko and his first prime minister Yulia
Tymoshenko, both charismatic leaders. Ultimately, democracy is a learning
process.

What are the first results of the March 26 elections? Despite fears to the
contrary, the turnout appeared quite high, 67%. The Party of Regions led
by Kuchma’s last prime minister, Viktor Yanukovich, benefited from a
Yushchenko-Tymoshenko rivalry and gained the plurality of the votes.

Tymoshenko’s anti-oligarchic and anti-corruption rhetoric resulted in
increased electoral support for her party. The pro-presidential party, Our
Ukraine, landed third place as votes were tabulated.

Despite the Yushchenko-Tymoshenko divide, both forces may create a
coalition government post-election, which will have an absolute majority
with the possible addition of the Socialists, who remain part of the orange
coalition. According to most analysts, this scenario appears to be the most
likely variant.

Another important factor is evident. If the Party of the Regions tries to
represent itself in a modernized and civilized European manner, there will
be a certain differentiation and reconfiguration of forces within it (if not
in the short term, then in the medium term), which would enable them to
become a respectable political player.

In any case, no matter the exact configuration of the cabinet and the form
of cohabitation between President Yushchenko-who despite the constitutional
changes will certainly remain one of the most influential players in the
arena-and the new coalition government, the Ukrainian political system will
be less authoritarian. The increased clarity of the division of powers moves
Ukraine closer to European standards.

Achieving western standards in the conduct of free and fair election is a
positive undercurrent of the current situation. This is shared by the
people, pro-civil non-government organizations, the revitalized press and
even many politicians.

In a state that is struggling to become a full-fledged member of the
European family, it is important to continue striving for transparency in
all governance matters, institutionalize the rule of law across the country
and persist with democratic reformation. -30-
——————————————————————————————–
NOTE: Dr. Haran is the regional vice president covering Ukraine, Belarus and
Moldova for the Eurasia Foundation, which has invested over $335 million
since 1992 into development projects in the countries of the former Soviet
Union. Dr. Haran is a member of the consultative board of NGOs under the
Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He has lectured at numerous U.S. think tanks and universities. Before
joining the Eurasia Foundation in 2005, Dr. Haran had a distinguished career
at and was one of the founders of the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla
Academy (NaUKMA). He is author and editor of several books on Ukrainian
politics and a frequent commentator in Western media on Ukraine.
——————————————————————————————–
CONTACT: Gabor Beszterczey, Director of External Relations
The Eurasia Foundation, e-mail: gabor@eurasia.org; www.eurasia.org
——————————————————————————————–
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AUR#680 Coalition Buildling Starts In Kyiv; IRI Says Election Met International Standards; Power Game Starts; Yushchenko Between Rock And Hard Place

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

 

Ukrainian History, Culture, Arts, Business, Religion,
Sports, Government, and Politics, in Ukraine and Around the World       
 
 
THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR – Number 680
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor  
REPORTING FROM KYIV, UKRAINE, TUESDAY, MARCH 28, 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
            Regions 30.08%; Tymoshenko 22.45%, Our Ukraine 15.24%
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 28, 2006
 
2UKRAINIAN ELECTIONS MEET INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS
International Republican Institute (IRI)
Washington, D.C., Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 27, 2006

3  UKRAINE: TYMOSHENKO STAKES HER CLAIM TO POWER
                         AFTER PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION 

By Stefan Wagstyl and Tom Warner in Kiev
Financial Times, London, UK, Tuesday, March 28 2006

4. AFTER VOTE, UKRAINE FACES UNCERTAINTY OVER COALITION
By Steven Lee Myers, The New York Times
New York, New York, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

5.     POWER GAME STARTS AS POLL FAILS TO GIVE UKRAINE

                                            A CLEAR LEADER
Chris Stephen in Kiev, Scotsman
Edinburgh, Glasgow, Scotland, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

6.            UKRAINE’S DIVIDED ORANGE REVOLUTION TEAM

                        AT LOGGERHEADS OVER COALITION
Vladimir Isachenkov, AP Worldstream, Kiev, Ukraine, Tue, Mar 28, 2006

7.         RIVALS WEIGH UP OPTIONS AFTER UKRAINIAN POLL

                 Yushchenko forced between a rock and a hard place
Tom Parfitt in Kiev, The Guardian
London, United Kingdom, Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006

8REVOLUTION IS REVERSED WITH A LITTLE SPIN FROM THE WEST
U.S. advisors Paul Manafort & Rick Aheran helped shape Yanukovych campaign
From Jeremy Page in Kiev, TimesOnLine
London, United Kingdom, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

9.                                  PIECE ORANGE TOGETHER
EDITORIAL COMMENT: Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

10 UKRAINE AND BELARUS SHOW LIMITS OF EU INFLUENCE
OP-ED: Quentin Peel, Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, Tuesday, March 28 2006

11.  U.S.: PRO-WESTERN PARTIES IN UKRAINE REMAIN STRONG
George Gedda, AP Worldstream, Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006

12 FORMER UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER TYMOSHENKO SAYS

Daryna Krasnolutska in Kiev, Bloomberg
New York, New York, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

13.                              THE FUTURE’S STILL ORANGE
         The Ukrainian president’s lacklustre showing in the parliamentary

        elections need not endanger progress made since 2004’s revolution
COMMENTARY: By Gwendolyn Sasse, The Guardian
London, United Kingdom, Monday, March  27, 2006

14.                            WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH KIEV?

Sunday’s vote wasn’t a rejection of orange revolution, was proof of its success.
COMMENTARY
: By Scott MacMillan, in Slate
Online magazine of news and commentary on culture and politics
Washington, D.C., New York, Monday, March 27, 2006

15.                                    YUSHCHENKO LOSES

                               To a former rival and to a former ally
By Aleksey Nikolskiy, Vasiliy Kashin
Vedomosti, Moscow, Russia, March 27, 2006
16ORANGE UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT WOULD NOT BE STABLE"
                     SAYS RUSSIAN EXPERT GLEB PAVLOVSKY
RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Monday, March 27, 2006

17.                                   DIVIDED REVOLUTION
                 Russia playing key role as Ukrainians go to the polls
ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY
: By Oksana Bashuk Hepburn
The Winnipeg Free Press, Winnipeg, Canada, Friday, March 24th, 2006

18.                     UKRAINE AND UNITED STATES POLICY
INTERVIEW: With Celeste A. Wallander
Director and Senior Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Program
Center for Strategic and International Studies, Wash, D.C.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta in Russian, Moscow, Russia, Fri, Mar 24, 2006
Published by The Action Ukraine Report in English #680, Article 18
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

19 ELECTIONS FAIR, DESPITE ORGANIZATIONAL CHALLENGES

        European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations (ENEMO)
Iryna Davydenko, Press-service of ENEMO Mission
Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 27, 2006

20    INITIAL THOUGHTS ON THE UKRAINIAN 2006 ELECTIONS
ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: By Taras Kuzio
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #680, Article 20
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 28, 2006
========================================================
1
 UKRAINE: LATEST VOTE COUNT AS OF 12:30 P.M. KYIV TIME

           Regions 30.08%; Tymoshenko 22.45%, Our Ukraine 15.24%

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

KYIV – As Central Election Commission is counting 71.3% of votes Party of
the Regions secures 30.08%, Our Ukraine falls to third place with just
15.24% of the vote beaten by Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko with 22.45%. This
announcement is posted on the Internet website of the commission. Socialist
Party of Ukraine enters the Verkhovna Rada with 6.28% and communists with
3.55%.

The Central Election Commission says that the published data are operational
data obtained via a telephone poll from polling-station election commissions
and that the data are informational in nature and cannot be used as an
official document.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, on March 26 Ukraine elected the national
parliament, the Crimean Supreme Council with simultaneous regional, district
and mayoral polls.
———————————————————————————————-

Website: Central Election Commission of Ukraine, Kyiv.
———————————————————————————————-

[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
2. UKRAINIAN ELECTIONS MEET INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS

International Republican Institute (IRI)
Washington, D.C., Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 27, 2006

KYIV, Ukraine — The International Republican Institute (IRI) election
observation delegation determined that Ukraine’s March 26 parliamentary
elections met international standards and were carried out in accordance
with Ukrainian election law.  The elections were the most open and
transparent in Ukraine’s post-Soviet history and reflected the will of the
Ukrainian people.

Ukraine’s successful conduct of elections should be commended and should

be considered an important step in the consolidation of democracy in Ukraine.

IRI found that improvements in election administration contributed to
continued increases in transparency and fairness in the election process.
These improvements in turn provided an atmosphere which allowed citizens

to freely exercise their right to vote, without fear or intimidation.

I. FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Conducting parliamentary elections, along with elections for oblast, region,
city and mayor, creates an undue burden on polling station officials.  In
addition, voters were sometimes confused by the number of ballots, which
varied from four to six depending on the oblast.

As a result, some voters were forced to wait in long lines to receive their
ballots and then again for a voting booth.  Also contributing to long lines,
was the small size of some polling stations.  To avoid long lines in the
future, IRI recommends that parliamentary and local elections be held
separately and that larger polling stations be provided.

The CEC has worked in a professional and transparent manner.   In
particular, the CEC has taken concrete steps to improve the voter lists,
resulting in a much improved process of checking the lists prior to Election
Day.   Despite the good faith efforts of the CEC, the voter lists do contain
some inaccuracies, some a result of the transliteration of names.

These inaccuracies did result in some problems for voters.  In an effort to
address these issues, IRI recommends that parliament consider the
appropriate legislation that would allow the CEC to create a national,
computerized database of voters.

The CEC, as well as lower level commissions, should be commended for
providing a calm, peaceful environment on Election Day, in sharp contrast to
previous elections.  The various political parties were fairly represented
as members of polling stations and district election commissions and the
parties should be commended for their efforts.

During the campaign period preceding Election Day, IRI found the a lively
campaign among the parties.  An Independent Ukrainian media played a vital
role in covering the campaigns and the candidates, providing voters with
informed commentary and coverage.  Notably, IRI found the use of
administrative resources by national and local officials basically absent, a
tremendous improvement over the presidential elections of 2004.

II. BACKGROUND

IRI delegates monitored more than 100 polls in Chernihiv, Dnipropetrovsk,
Donetsk, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Kyiv, Luhansk, Odesa, Ternopil, and the
Autonomous Republic of Crimea oblasts.  In addition, through a grant from
IRI the Democracy Development Foundation (DDF), a domestic Ukrainian
nongovernmental organization, monitored an estimated 2,600 polling sites
with more than 150 observers.

DDF was the only Ukrainian elections monitoring organization that conducted
and coordinated both domestic and international election observation for the
parliamentary and local election.

IRI’s delegation was led by The Honorable Michael Trend, former member of
Britain’s parliament.

Other delegates were Steven Berry, President, Steven K. Berry, LLC; Thomas
Carter, President, Commonwealth Consulting Corp.; Marjorie Finkelnburg,
Director of Government Relations, Pfizer; The Honorable Bohdan Futey, U.S.
Court of Federal Claims; Charles Greenleaf, former Assistant Administrator,
U.S. Agency for International Development; Lilibet Hagel, Trustee, Meridian
International Center; Reuben Jeffery III, Chairman, Commodity Futures
Trading Commission; Patricia Morgan, State Chairman for Rhode Island,
Republican National Committee; Gardner Peckham, Managing Partner, BKSH

& Associates; Roman Popadiuk, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine; Bob
Schaffer, former Congressman representing Colorado’s 4th District; and
Morgan Williams, Director of Government Affairs, SigmaBleyzer.

IRI staff also served as observers and assisted in the mission.  IRI staff
were led by Georges Fauriol, Senior Vice President of IRI, Stephen B. Nix,
Regional Director for IRI’s Eurasia division and Chris Holzen, IRI’s Country
Director for Ukraine.

Since 1993, IRI has worked to help strengthen political parties and good
governance in Ukraine at both national and local levels.  IRI also works
with youth, women and civil society to increase their participation in the
political process.  In preparation for the March 2006 parliamentary
elections, IRI carried out trainings on campaign management, voter
education, youth mobilization, and political party poll watching.

IRI has monitored more than 140 elections since 1983.     -30-
——————————————————————————————–
Contact: Chris Holzen, +380 (44) 278-2825, cholzen@iri.org, in Kyiv.
International Republican Institute, Suite 700, 1225 Eye St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20005, (202) 408-9450, (202) 408-9462 FAX
www.iri.org
———————————————————————————————

[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
3.  UKRAINE: TYMOSHENKO STAKES HER CLAIM TO POWER
                        AFTER PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION 
By Stefan Wagstyl and Tom Warner in Kiev
Financial Times, London, UK, Tuesday, March 28 2006

Yulia Tymoshenko, the populist Ukrainian political leader, yesterday staked
her claim to head the government following her surprise success in Sunday’s
parliamentary election.

Ms Tymoshenko, who was sacked as prime minister last summer, was putting
pressure on President Viktor Yushchenko, her Orange Revolution ally, to
allow her back into office.

Mr Yushchenko has been put on the defensive by Ms Tymoshenko’s success at
the polls, where preliminary results indicated her grouping came out far
ahead of his Our Ukraine bloc.

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe yesterday judged
the elections free and fair – the first time in a decade it has given such a
positive verdict in the former Soviet Union outside the Baltic states.

However, the new government will face many challenges, including economic
reform, integration with the European Union and tense relations with Russia.

According to preliminary figures (with 51 per cent of the vote counted),
Sunday’s poll was a double defeat for Mr Yushchenko. The man who enjoyed
overwhelming support a year ago, saw Our Ukraine fall to third place with
just 16 per cent of the vote. He was beaten by both Ms Tymoshenko, with 23
per cent, and by Viktor Yanukovich, his Russian-backed rival in the disputed
2004 presidential elections.

By an ironic twist, Mr Yanukovich, who was widely condemned for allegedly
rigging the 2004 poll, emerged as the clear winner in Ukraine’s first free
elections, with his Regions party securing 27 per cent.

Mr Yanukovich’s camp fared best in its eastern stronghold, notably in the
Russian-speaking industrial Donbass region. Mr Yushchenko and Ms

Tymoshenko split the vote in the Ukrainian-speaking Orange heartlands in
the west. But Ms Tymoshenko beat her former ally in the centre, particularly
in the Kiev region, and made inroads in the east.

There was no sign last night when the coalition talks may start. But with
her glamour, her public-speaking skills and her tough line on corruption, Ms
Tymoshenko has managed to bridge Ukraine’s traditional east-west divide.
Andry Shevchenko, a Tymoshenko parliamentary candidate, says: "Her

message is clear. Black and white. The others talk in shades of grey."

Together with their allies in the Socialist party, Mr Yushchenko and Ms
Tymoshenko look certain to secure a parliamentary majority because the seat
distribution formula gives parties entering parliament a bigger share of
seats than their share of the vote.

But first they must settle their differences. The two leaders share their
Orange heritage, a commitment to EU integration and scepticism about the
Kremlin’s intentions. Mr Yushchenko is more positive about Nato than Ms
Tymoshenko. Far more important, however, are personal animosities and
divisions over the economy.

Ms Tymoshenko is ready to boost welfare spending and attack big business.

As prime minister she planned the reprivatisation of assets acquired by
business oligarchs under the corrupt rule of Leonid Kuchma, former
president. Now she is determined to renegotiate a controversial gas supply
deal struck with Russia that she says is expensive.

Mr Yushchenko’s policies have been less clear. As a former central banker,
he espouses market-oriented reform, but in the last year he has pursued
votes through public spending increases. He initiated reprivatisation, but
then stopped it and now insists it must stay off the agenda. He defends the
gas deal as the best Ukraine could squeeze from Russia.

The president is increasingly seen as a political pragmatist, who might
prefer to work with Regions party members, if not with Mr Yanukovich , than
establish an unworkable coalition with Ms Tymoshenko.

Moderate Orange Revolution supporters appreciate his dilemma. Inna Pidluska,
president of Europe XXI Foundation, a liberal think-tank, says: "Personally,
I would prefer an Orange coalition. But as an analyst, I see a coalition
with shades of blue [the Yanukovich campaign colour] might be more stable."
——————————————————————————————–
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

========================================================
4. AFTER VOTE, UKRAINE FACES UNCERTAINTY OVER COALITION

By Steven Lee Myers, The New York Times
New York, New York, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

KIEV, Ukraine – Ukraine was in political gridlock on Monday as the parties
that led in parliamentary elections jockeyed for advantage to appoint a
newly empowered prime minister and government under President Viktor A.
Yushchenko.

Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minister, said she hoped for an alliance
among the groups that rode the 2004 uprising to power.

With no clear winner – and one clear loser – in an election that
international observers on Monday declared the country’s freest since its
independence from the Soviet Union nearly 15 years ago, there appeared to

be little chance that a compromise would be found soon.

Mr. Yushchenko, who led the protests in 2004 against a fraudulent
presidential election, appeared to have been stunned by the election
results, which showed his party trailing in distant third place. With 55
percent of the ballots counted late Monday, his party, Our Ukraine, had

only 16 percent of the votes.

In brief remarks, he praised the vote as a victory for Ukraine’s infant
democracy. But neither he nor his aides discussed in detail the negotiations
under way – behind closed doors – over forming a government whose
composition could be decisive in carrying out the domestic and foreign
policy that Mr. Yushchenko promised when he became president. Among his
pledges were to integrate Ukraine into NATO and the European Union and to
revive the economy.

Yulia V. Tymoshenko, his former partner and prime minister whose bloc
outpolled Mr. Yushchenko’s, said on Monday that she remained confident

that an alliance could still be formed among what she called the democratic
forces that rode the popular uprising of 2004 to power. That coalition
splintered last year over policy disputes, ego clashes and mutual
accusations of corruption.

"The coalition had and continues to have a chance to be formed," said Ms.
Tymoshenko, whose party received 23 percent of the votes, according to the
partial results.

The Party of Regions, led by Mr. Yushchenko’s rival, Viktor F. Yanukovich,
so far has the largest number of votes, at 28 percent. The results
underscored the fractured nature of Ukraine’s ethnic, social and geographic
divisions, as well as the remarkable erosion of support for Mr. Yushchenko,
whose popularity has suffered from economic decline and infighting.

In a sign of the bitterness between him and Ms. Tymoshenko, one of her
advisers, Hryhory M. Nemyrya, said that Ms. Tymoshenko had called the
president after surveys of voters leaving the polls predicted her
second-place finish, but that he had not returned the call.

Instead, Mr. Yushchenko’s office announced in a terse statement that he
would meet with the leaders of all the major parties on Tuesday, leaving
open the possibility of a coalition that could include Mr. Yanukovich but
exclude his erstwhile ally.

At the headquarters of Mr. Yushchenko’s party, a spokesman announced at
midday that there would be no more announcements or briefings and that the
building would close early.

Ms. Tymoshenko warned against any parliamentary coalition that would include
Mr. Yanukovich, whose government was accused of rigging the presidential
election that Mr. Yushchenko ultimately won after a repeat second round. She
said that would be a return "to square one."                    -30-

—————————————————————————————————————–
http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/28/international/europe/28ukraine.html?_r=1&oref=slogin
—————————————————————————————————————–
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5.  POWER GAME STARTS AS POLL FAILS TO GIVE UKRAINE
                                            A CLEAR LEADER

Chris Stephen in Kiev, Scotsman
Edinburgh, Glasgow, Scotland, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

KIEV – INTENSIVE efforts to build a workable coalition government were
taking place in Ukraine last night as early election results showed no one
party with an absolute majority.

Favourite to win was the charismatic Julia Tymoshenko, whose Party of Julia
Tymoshenko gained 23 per cent of the vote. The largest single grouping was
expected to be Viktor Yanukovich’s Party of Regions, which won 25 per cent
support, mostly through the votes of ethnic Russians.

"Today’s victory is a revelatory moment for both myself and the Party of
Regions," he said. "The people have managed to show their great support of
our political force."

But Mr Yanukovich’s policy of turning Ukraine away from talks with the EU
and NATO, in favour of alliance with Russia, has left him seemingly without
potential partners.

Instead, the focus is on whether Ms Tymoshenko can patch up her differences
with the Our Ukraine Party of president Viktor Yushchenko.

Mr Yushchenko, hero of the 2004 Orange Revolution, was punished by voters
for a listless first year in office, getting only 17 per cent of the votes
as the "orange vote" switched to Ms Tymoshenko.

Ideologically, little separates the parties, but the two leaders have a deep
antagonism after Mr Yushchenko sacked Ms Tymoshenko as prime minister.

Ms Tymoshenko has promised to get tough with tycoons with murky pasts,
threatening far-reaching anti-corruption moves.

With the small Socialist Party already declaring itself part of a
Tymoshenko-led coalition, she is hoping Mr Yushchenko will agree to join
forces.

"Together with the socialists and Our Ukraine we have the absolute
majority," she said. "People want those promises given after the
presidential elections [of 2004] to be fulfilled.

Ms Tymoshenko’s officials say calls for a coalition have gone unanswered.
"We have asked them to join us in a coalition, but we have not yet received
an answer," party official Nikola Tomenko told The Scotsman. Mr Yushchenko’s
party officials said no "formal agreement" was likely for days or weeks.

Western officials in Kiev say Mr Yushchenko wants to avoid becoming the
junior partner to a woman he dislikes. Yet he may have no choice. The only
other option open is for him to join Mr Yanukovich.

But such a deal would infuriate many of Mr Yushchenko’s supporters, many of
whom suspect Mr Yanukovich was behind the plot to poison him in 2004.

Mr Yanukovich, meanwhile, said his votes were stolen in election violations,
despite the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe saying the
elections were "free and fair".

On the streets of Kiev, celebrations by Tymoshenko supporters were muted by
day-long rain, freezing wind and uncertainty on whether she will manage to
form a government.

"She is my favourite," said secretary Anna, 25. "I don’t like Yushchenko any
more. He listened too much to other people, his own ideas were lost. I think
we need a tough leader. That’s why I voted for Tymoshenko."

On Maidan, the square in Kiev that was the centre of the Orange Revolution,
Larissa, a 30-year-old stallholder, was selling scarves for the leaders –
white and red for Ms Tymoshenko, blue and yellow for Mr Yanukovich and
orange for Mr Yushchenko.

"Everyone wants Tymoshenko scarves," she said. "I sold out hours ago, I

need to order more. I didn’t vote for her. I do not trust Tymoshenko."
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[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================      
6.          UKRAINE’S DIVIDED ORANGE REVOLUTION TEAM
                          AT LOGGERHEADS OVER COALITION

Vladimir Isachenkov, AP Worldstream, Kiev, Ukraine, Tue, Mar 28, 2006

KIEV – Ukraine’s fiery former prime minister has called on her estranged
Orange Revolution allies to rejoin her in a coalition, insisting it is the
only option to protect the pro-Western and democratic ideals that formed the
basis of the 2004 mass protests.

Yulia Tymoshenko said President Viktor Yushchenko – smarting from his
party’s third place finish in Sunday’s parliamentary elections – agreed to
meet with her Tuesday, when full preliminary results are expected to confirm
that their pro-Moscow foe is the top vote-winner.

"I have not seen the president for a long time, and we have a lot to
discuss," Tymoshenko said Monday, adding that she believed they could reach
agreement that would pave the way for their parties to form a coalition in
parliament.

Yushchenko’s office later said in a terse statement that the president would
meet with leaders of all parties that made it to parliament, including the
party of opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych, whose ballot-stuffing attempt
to win the presidency triggered the 2004 Orange Revolution that forced a new
vote.

Yushchenko has said he would favor an Orange coalition, but he seemed
reluctant to accept the idea of Tymoshenko returning to the No. 2 job as
prime minister. He fired her in September, accusing her of waging a
behind-the-scenes battle for power that caused the much-vaunted Orange Team
to implode in a volley of allegations and recriminations.

With just more than 50 percent of the ballots counted Monday evening, the
Central Election Commission put the party of pro-Kremlin leader Yanukovych
ahead with 27.4 percent. Tymoshenko’s bloc came in second with 23.4 percent,
and Yushchenko was a distant third with about 16 percent.

Yanukovych was dominating in the Russian-speaking east and south, and
Tymoshenko led in the Ukrainian-speaking west and center. Yushchenko was
ahead in only two of Ukraine’s 25 regions.

Yushchenko’s job was not at stake, but the newly elected parliament will
enjoy vast new powers under reforms that give it the right to name – and
dismiss – the prime minister and much of the Cabinet. With no party getting
enough votes to dictate its will, the next step will be forming a
parliamentary majority of at least 226 of the parliament’s 450 seats to form
the government.

Both Tymoshenko and Yanukovych want the prime minister’s job. Neither,
however, seems to be a very inviting option for Yushchenko.

Analysts have suggested that Yushchenko might find it more palatable to
strike a deal with Yanukovych. But they warn such a union could erode
Yushchenko’s support base – handing more power and votes to the ascendant
Tymoshenko.

Tymoshenko challenged Yushchenko to quickly build an Orange coalition. 

She took a tough stance before the coalition talks, saying that her party would
also demand to take charge of at least one law-enforcement agency and
continue its push for reviewing privatization deals that violated the law.

Her pledge to review 3,000 privatization deals shook business confidence and
helped fuel the political infighting that led to her dismissal.

Yushchenko put Prime Minister Yuri Yekhanurov in charge of coalition talks –
a clear signal that the president was not ready to accept Tymoshenko’s
conditions, since Yekhanurov wants to keep his job.

Yushchenko, who retains the right to set the nation’s foreign policy and
appoint the foreign and defense ministers, pledged that Ukraine would
continue on its West-leaning path. Yanukovych has called for closer ties
with Moscow and an end to Ukraine’s bid to join NATO, but he supports
European Union membership. (Associated Press Writer Natasha Lisova
contributed to this report.)                       -30-
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[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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7.    RIVALS WEIGH UP OPTIONS AFTER UKRAINIAN POLL
            Yushchenko forced between a rock and a hard place

Tom Parfitt in Kiev, The Guardian
London, United Kingdom, Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006

President Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine was forced between a rock and a

hard place last night as his two chief detractors closed in on the country’s
premiership.

The party of Viktor Yanukovich, who was deposed during the orange revolution
led by Mr Yushchenko, is predicted to have scored highest in parliamentary
elections on Sunday, putting him in a strong position to claim the post.

But the bloc of Yulia Timoshenko, whom Mr Yushchenko sacked as prime
minister, seems to have come a close second. The result gives her the chance
to dictate terms in the event of a new coalition and even to insist on
retaking the post of prime minister. The president’s party came third.

Negotiations over a revived orange pact were under way yesterday, although
Mr Yushchenko hinted that no quick decisions would be made. His caution
suggested that a "marriage of convenience" between his party and the
pro-Russian Mr Yanukovich was still possible.

The orange uprising against a falsified presidential election in 2004
prompted high hopes for a pro-western future. But infighting and a stumbling
economy quickly led to disenchantment and a split.

Mr Yanukovich capitalised on his tormentors’ woes while nurturing bedrock
support in the Russian-speaking east and south. With 40% of votes counted
yesterday, his Party of the Regions had 27.5% of the vote, with Ms
Timoshenko’s party on 23.6%. President Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine bloc won
about 16%.

Parliament has one month from the publication of final results to convene,
another month to form a majority, and a third to nominate a cabinet.

While a pact with Mr Yanukovich would be humiliating for the president, it
could be sold as an act of national reconciliation in a deeply divided
country. Mr Yushchenko might find working with the interventionist Ms
Timoshenko more troublesome after their split in the autumn. Ms Timoshenko
ruled out any cooperation with Mr Yanukovich’s party in a recent interview
with the Guardian.  ( www.guardian.co.uk/ukraine)
——————————————————————————————-

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8 . REVOLUTION IS REVERSED WITH A LITTLE SPIN FROM THE WEST
U.S. advisors Paul Manafort & Rick Aheran helped shape Yanukovych campaign

From Jeremy Page in Kiev, TimesOnLine
London, United Kingdom, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

KIEV – WELCOME to the Blue Revolution!" joked a Russian reporter yesterday
as staff at Viktor Yanukovych’s campaign headquarters celebrated their
electoral comeback. Around the refurbished press room, aides in blue scarves
networked slickly beneath plasma screens showing images of massive crowds
waving blue flags.

It is ironic enough that Mr Yanukovych’s pro-Russian Party of the Regions
won a third of the seats in parliament with the sort of Western-style
campaign that the Orange Revolution leaders used to unseat him in 2004. But
a greater irony is that the spin doctors behind this image revamp were not
Russian or Ukrainian but American.

Last year the Party of the Regions hired Davis Manafort, a top US political
consultancy and lobbying company, to help to shape its electoral campaign.

Spearheading the project was Paul Manafort, a veteran Republican adviser

who worked in the White House under President Ford and helped to manage
campaigns for Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

Alongside him was Rick Ahearn, who was event planner for Mr Reagan and
organised his funeral in 2004. They were hired to replace the Russians who
managed Mr Yanukovych’s disastrous attempt to rig the 2004 presidential
election.

"What happened was that (Mr Yanukovych’s camp) felt ill-used and very
aggrieved by what happened last time and clearly went in the opposite
direction," a Yanukovych campaign source told The Times.

Critics say that the Party of the Regions is still a front for Russia-linked
businessmen and criminals in eastern Ukraine, pointing to Mr Yanukovych’s
criminal convictions as a young man. The man who called in the Americans is
Rinat Akhmetov, a reclusive steel and coal tycoon who is considered Ukraine’s
richest man.

But the decision to bring in the Americans shows how the Orange Revolution
forced the Party of the Regions to evolve into a more legitimate political
force. It also suggests that Mr Yanukovych, while still pro-Russian, has
become more independent and open to co-operation with the West.

That, some analysts say, could lead to the biggest irony of all – a
coalition between him and President Yushchenko. "There are areas where they
could find a modus operandi," said Markian Bilynskyj, deputy head of the
US-Ukraine Foundation, "if the Orange team fails to resolve its
 differences."

Orange Revolution leaders are locked in talks on reforming a coalition but
no decision is expected until after official results are announced today.

The American advisers are wary of discussing their work – not least because
of strong anti-Western sentiment in Russian-speaking eastern and southern
Ukraine.

When The Times asked Mr Yanukovych about them in February, he said

only that he used a number of consultants from different countries. But their
influence is unmistakeable. He has abandoned the funereal black suits and
white shirts he wore for the 2004 campaign in favour of blue or grey suits
with co-ordinated shirts and ties.

He has given up addressing supporters in prison slang, and now speaks in
Ukrainian as well as Russian. His wife, who accused Mr Yushchenko’s
supporters of being high on "psychotropic" oranges, has been conspicuously
silent.He still says that he opposes joining Nato, but now backs EU
integration.

"Ukraine must become a bridge between Russia and Europe," is his new
catchphrase. But importantly, he has made between 40 and 50 trips around
Ukraine since January, meeting tens of thousands of voters. "He’s still the
same guy," said one Western diplomat. "but he is behaving like a real
politician."                                       -30-
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[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

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9.                               PIECE ORANGE TOGETHER

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

It is a shock to see Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko, the Orange
Revolution leader, humbled in his country’s parliamentary elections. A year
ago he was counted among modern Europe’s heroes for his peaceful triumph
over an authoritarian regime. Now he is struggling to hold his own in the
post-revolutionary turmoil.

Mr Yushchenko’s party seems certain to have come a poor third in the polls,
behind the groupings headed by Yulia Tymoshenko, his former ally, and Viktor
Yanukovich, his opponent in the disputed 2004 presidential elections.
Although she came second to Mr Yanukovich, Ms Tymoshenko, the charismatic
populist whom Mr Yushchenko sacked from his government last summer, is the
real winner and the likely new prime minister.

But things are not as bad as they seem for Mr Yushchenko. Outside the tiny
Baltic states, the elections were the first in the former Soviet Union to be
free and mostly fair. The forces of democracy have consolidated the gains
made in the Orange Revolution.

Ukrainians have proved they can change their government through an election,
without going out on the streets. The point will not be lost in Russia,
Belarus and other states where authoritarian governments are suppressing
liberty. Nor are Mr Yushchenko’s pro-west policies threatened. Ms Tymoshenko
is equally keen on integrating with the European Union, though less so on
joining Nato.

But the country still faces serious difficulties. Mr Yushchenko is a former
central banker committed to liberal economic reform. Ms Tymoshenko is a
populist ready to increase welfare spending and to attack big business,
especially oligarchs who profited from the corrupt rule of Leonid Kuchma,
the former president. They must try to bury their differences, and Ms
Tymoshenko should forget about reprivatisation and focus on taming oligarchs
through the rule of law, fair taxes and good corporate governance.

She would almost certainly complicate Ukraine’s fraught relations with
Moscow. She has pledged to tear up the controversial gas contract signed
this year and has singled out Russian business for criticism.

If attempts to rebuild an Orange alliance fail, Mr Yushchenko may have
little choice but to hold his nose and look to Mr Yanukovich or at least
others in his Regions party who might make acceptable partners. Ukraine
needs an effective coalition to deal with pressing problems such as gas
supply.

The European Union and the US should encourage the formation of a solid
government, and maintain aid for Ukraine’s modernisation. Ukrainians would
love a signal, however faint, of possible future EU membership. If this is
impossible, Brussels should at least improve its current support by easing
trade and visa regimes. Nothing does more to cut off ordinary Ukrainians
from the European mainstream than the barriers to business and travel.
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10. UKRAINE AND BELARUS SHOW LIMITS OF EU INFLUENCE

OP-ED: Quentin Peel, Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, Tuesday, March 28 2006

First Belarus, then Ukraine. Elections in the two former Soviet republics
that are the closest eastern neighbours of the European Union have produced
uncomfortable results for those who believe in peaceful democratic
revolutions.

In Belarus, the liberal opposition failed to make any inroad on the ruthless
machine of Alexander Lukashenko, the country’s irascible and autocratic
ruler. His massive security machine – employing an estimated one in 10 of
the population – ensured that the entire electoral process was heavily
skewed in his favour. Even if it had not, most observers reckon that the
maverick dictator would have won.

On Sunday, Ukraine offered a far more democratic alternative in its
parliamentary elections. They produced a predictable defeat for Our Ukraine,
the party supporting President Viktor Yushchenko and his platform of liberal
economic reform and ever-closer relations with the EU. His party came a poor
third, paying the price for his failure to deliver much progress with those
reforms, or bring the country appreciably closer to the EU.

The results in both Belarus and Ukraine demonstrate that the influence of
the European Union on its "near abroad" is distinctly limited. It can easily
be exaggerated – not least by suspicious Russians fearing interference in
their own backyard.

Take the Ukraine election. On one level, the result is rather good for
democracy in that country. Top of the poll was Viktor Yanukovich, the
candidate backed last time by the Russian government, and second was Yulia
Tymoshenko, the populist prime minister whom Mr Yushchenko sacked

last year. There was no attempt to fix the result in Our Ukraine’s favour.

On the other hand, the slump in Mr Yushchenko’s popularity raises the
question whether the EU could or should have done more to help him. Ever
since he came to power in January 2005, he has been unable to show many
tangible gains from his pro-EU attitude.

The answer is that the EU probably should have done more, but the politics
of the 25 member states make it almost impossible to do so.

For ordinary Ukrainians, the most relevant part of the relationship with the
EU is visa policy: the ability to travel more freely is a liberation in
contrast to the old days of Soviet rule. It is also an opportunity for
travellers and above all students to see what the rest of Europe is like,
including its institutions, its market economy, and its rule of law.

Progress in negotiating a more liberal visa regime has been painfully slow.
There is a danger that instead of getting cheaper and easier, visas will be
more expensive: EU ministers are debating raising the price from Euro35 to
Euro60.

Perhaps more ominously for the 2m-odd Ukrainians who cross the border on
visa-free shopping trips to Poland every year, that country wants to become
a full member of the Schengen zone from October next year: from then, full
Schengen visas will be required of Ukrainians.

Yet liberalising visas looks very different from a west European
perspective. Ukraine is seen as a notorious source of cross-border people
trafficking into the EU. When Germany relaxed its visa regime in the late
1990s, the government was accused of causing an upsurge in prostitution,
although many probably came with false documents, not valid visas.

Ukraine will only be allowed an easier visa regime if it signs a readmission
agreement to accept back any illegal immigrants coming from or through its
territory. That is taking months to negotiate.

In the meantime Russia has succeeded in signing a much more favourable
arrangement.

The problem is even more difficult for Belarus, thanks to the frozen state
of relations between the government and Brussels. There is little chance of
an easier visa regime in the near future for the benighted Belarusans. At
least Ukraine is moving slowly in the right direction.

Poor Belarus looks likely to be lumbered with Mr Lukashenko for the
foreseeable future.                          -30-

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[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
11. U.S. SEES PRO-WESTERN PARTIES IN UKRAINE REMAINING STRONG

George Gedda, AP Worldstream, Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006

WASHINGTON – A State Department analysis says the Orange Revolution in
Ukraine remains a vital force despite a strong showing by the chief
pro-Russia party in Sunday’s parliamentary elections.

Offering that view to reporters on Monday, a senior department official said
the division in Ukraine between pro-Western parties and parties loyal to
Moscow is roughly where it was 16 months ago at the time President Viktor
Yushchenko, a U.S. ally, was elected.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of what was
described as "ongoing diplomacy." The State Department said the official’s
comments reflected department thinking.

The pro-Russia party of Viktor Yanukovych won the most votes of the three
main parties but had less support than the combined vote of parties aligned
with the Orange Revolution.

The election was the latest example of a foreign election falling short of
what the administration would consider an ideal outcome of a newly
democratic country’s voting. Others that have gone badly in Washington’s
thinking include Bolivia, the Palestinian territories and Egypt, where an
Islamic fundamentalist group showed surprising strength in elections last
year.

President George W. Bush sought to give the Yushchenko’s party a boost last
week, signing into law the repeal of Cold War-era trade restrictions on
Ukraine. The move opened the way for the former Soviet republic to join the
World Trade Organization.

The State Department official would not predict the political leaning of the
next cabinet because he said bargaining over the makeup of the coalition
government is just beginning.

The White House commended on Monday the conduct of the elections,
contrasting it to the police crackdown on opposition groups in Belarus
during presidential elections there on March 19.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack called the elections a "vast
improvement" over the flawed elections held in 2004 that touched off
Ukraine’s revolution.

He did not comment on the voter rebuke delivered to Yushchenko’s "Our
Ukraine" party. Voters appeared to have been dissatisfied with continuing
corruption and economic stagnation.

Yushchenko has received steadfast backing from Washington since he took
office in January 2005, but there was no outward display of State Department
disappointment over his poor showing.

Celeste Wallander, an expert on Eastern Europe at the Center for Strategic
and International Studies, said Ukraine’s voters "sent a message of
disappointment and criticism to the Yushchenko government."

But, she said, the vote was "certainly not a reversal of voter sentiment
away from the parties that advocate reform, modernization and a European
integration course for Ukraine."
 

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12.  FORMER UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER TYMOSHENKO SAYS

       SHE WILL MEET PRESIDENT YUSHCHENKO ON COALITION 
 
Daryna Krasnolutska in Kiev, Bloomberg News
New York, New York, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

KIEV – Former Ukrainian Premier Yulia Timoshenko said she will meet
President Viktor Yushchenko today to discuss creation of a coalition
government after parliamentary elections failed to give any party a
majority.

Yushchenko, whose party lay in third place with 15.6 percent, according to
official results, may have to turn to Timoshenko to form a government. With
63 percent of the vote counted, Timoshenko’s bloc had 23 percent, trailing
only the Regions Party of Viktor Yanukovych with 30 percent.

Five of 45 parties represented in the vote will probably enter the 450-seat
parliament after March 26 elections, results show. Timoshenko, who was

fired by Yushchenko six months ago after the two fell out over policy and
allegations of corruption within Timoshenko’s team, said she would welcome
a coalition with the president’s Our Ukraine party.

"I will make every attempt to create a coalition,” Timoshenko, 45, said
yesterday evening, according an interview broadcast on television station 5.
A coalition between Our Ukraine, the Socialists and her alliance would have
about 255 seats in the parliament, more than the minimum 226 needed for a
majority, Timoshenko said.

There was no announcement about what time or where the two would meet

and Yushchenko’s office had no comment on her remarks.
                                   REGIONS PARTY
Regions Party lawmaker Ihor Shkyria said in an interview with channel 5 his
party is prepared to told talks “with everybody.” He estimated Regions
will have more than 200 seats and would accept a coalition with Yushchenko’s
party. Any cabinet that doesn’t include Regions won’t be stable, he said.

Yushchenko, who swept to power 15 months ago in the Orange revolution along
with Timoshenko, lost the confidence of many voters who say he failed to
match promises to root out corruption and boost living standards.

With parliament being given the power for the first time to name a premier
and cabinet, Yushchenko must make a deal with one of the opposition parties
if he wants to retain a strong voice in government, said Katya Malofeeva,
analyst at Renaissance Capital in Moscow, in an interview yesterday.

"This is wrong to delay signing a coalition, even by an hour, because that
increases chances for a grand coalition between Our Ukraine and the Regions
Party,” Timoshenko said. "I understand that Our Ukraine is in deep shock
after the results were released. And still I would like to warn the powers
not to play with such things.”

Timoshenko wants to join the European Union and the World Trade Organization
and reverse some former state-asset sales conducted by former President
Leonid Kuchma. She has said today she wants to work with Yushchenko and not
Yanukovych, who favors closer ties with neighboring Russia.

Given Timoshenko’s problems with Yushchenko, 52, and her proposals to
regulate some consumer prices, some economists said it would be better if
the president looked past his former ally and reached out instead to the
55-year-old Yanukovich.

Yushchenko beat Yanukovich in a re-run of disputed presidential elections in
December 2004 that sparked massive street protests.         -30-

————————————————————————————————
To contact the reporter on this story: Daryna Krasnolutska in Kiev, through
the Moscow newsroom at greynolds1@bloomberg.net
Halia Pavliva in Moscow at  hpavliva@bloomberg.net.
————————————————————————————————-
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========================================================
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========================================================
13.                          THE FUTURE’S STILL ORANGE
           The Ukrainian president’s lacklustre showing in the parliamentary
          elections need not endanger progress made since 2004’s revolution
COMMENTARY: By Gwendolyn Sasse, The Guardian
London, United Kingdom, Monday, March  27, 2006

On the day after the Ukrainian election, with the official final results
still pending, there is widespread disappointment and an air of disbelief
among western observers. At first glance, the orange revolution seems to
have been turned upside-down.

President Yushchenko appears to have lost badly as his Our Ukraine party
polled only about 17% of the vote, while the Party of the Regions, headed by
Yanukovich, has emerged the main victor with about 26% of the vote so far.
The result suggests that the orange revolution has changed colour within a
little over a year.

However, just as the euphoria and expectations of 2004 in Ukraine and in the
west were disproportionate and unrealistic, the current feeling of disbelief
at the results misunderstands Ukrainian politics.

The immediate achievements of the orange revolution still stand: the
outburst of civic mobilisation; the exit of the corrupt and authoritarian
regime of former president Leonid Kuchma and his oligarch cronies; the
landmark decision of the supreme court to annul the rigged second round of
the elections; a notable increase in media freedom; a considerable personnel
turnover in the administration; and the first steps at limiting corruption
by simplifying business regulations.

Undoubtedly, the move from street activism to the nitty-gritty of normal
politics has proved difficult, as the rivalries and disagreements within the
orange alliance have demonstrated over the last year. But let’s pause to
celebrate the fact that none of the parties or election observers has spoken
of falsification in yesterday’s election – an important improvement compared
with previous elections in Ukraine.

In the run-up to the elections, fingers were pointed at candidates with a
criminal record or pending charges. Given that a seat in parliament
guarantees legal immunity, this is not a new occurrence, but what is
different is that this time these issues were publicised and discussed in
Ukraine during the election campaign, with the culprits spotlighted – surely
a positive development.

Despite apparent surprise among observers today, the election results were
not unexpected. Yanukovich’s party performed as predicted by the opinion
polls in recent months; it is misleading to talk about his "comeback". He
never lost his hold on the stable support base in the south-east of Ukraine
which he had during the orange revolution.

Yanukovich’s Party of the Regions, however, is far from being united. It is
still best described as a loose coalition, or a conglomerate of interests,
with a regional focus on Donetsk.

Overall, the only surprise in yesterday’s election was the underperformance
of Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine. What had looked like a neck-and-neck race with
Timoshenko’s bloc for second place ended in a clear victory for Timoshenko,
who polled about 23%. The result will strengthen her claim on the post of
prime minister in coalition-talks with Yushchenko.

What is most disappointing is that the election campaign remained as
personalised and populist as ever, despite a switch to a fully proportional
electoral system. The three main contenders and their respective parties
used the orange revolution for rhetoric rather than to commit themselves to
concrete policies. The election campaign avoided a number of fundamental
issues.

Among them is the uncertainty surrounding the new constitution that entered
into force on January 1 but can only be implemented in the aftermath of the
parliamentary elections. The constitutional reforms, hastily put together as
part of the deal to end the crisis after the 2004 elections, have not been
reviewed by the constitutional court.

Presidential powers are supposed to be transferred to the prime minister,
but the appointment of the prime minister and the cabinet (with the
exception of the foreign and defence ministers) have to be based on a
parliamentary majority. Such a majority has to be formed within 30 days of
the elections, otherwise the president can dissolve parliament.

This deadline should provide an additional incentive for Timoshenko and
Yushchenko to build a coalition and come to a mutually acceptable government
arrangement. Although Yanukovich will try to form a coalition with
Yushchenko, the most likely outcome at the moment is a second attempt at
making the orange coalition of 2004 work – this time with Yulia Timoshenko
in the driver’s seat.                                  -30-
———————————————————————————————–
Dr Gwendolyn Sasse is a senior lecturer in comparative European politics
at the London School of Economics.
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http://www.guardian.co.uk/ukraine/story/0,,1740833,00.html
 

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14.                        WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH KIEV?
Sunday’s vote wasn’t a rejection of orange revolution, was proof of its success.

COMMENTARY: By Scott MacMillan, in Slate
Oneline magazine of news and commentary on culture and politics
Washington, D.C., New York, Monday, March 27, 2006

It’s past midnight, and my hosts in Kiev have served up salmon and beluga
caviar chased with copious amounts of vodka. A crowd dominated by young
Eastern Europeans, including two ebullient Lithuanians and a gaggle of
Ukrainian women, has gathered in the flat.

After some jazz standards, the Lithuanians join the singing with a drunken
rendition of "Svetit Neznakomaya Zvezda" ("A Foreign Star Is Shining"), an
old Soviet folk song about being in a foreign city far away from your
beloved.

Everybody but me joins in-they all know the words, even though none were
adults when the Soviet Union collapsed-and for a moment I’m back in the
U.S.S.R.

This is the new Kiev, polyglot and approaching something almost like
cosmopolitanism. To be sure, the Ukrainian capital still has a dated and
provincial feel to it-it’s how I’ve always imagined East Germany must have
been in the Katarina Witt era-but foreign investors are pouring in, hoping
that post-orange-revolution Ukraine, neglected and mismanaged throughout the
1990s, will soon follow the growth path of new European Union members like
the Czech Republic and Poland.

I spent two weeks here in February, observing the mood in the run-up to
Sunday’s parliamentary vote-billed as the country’s first free and fair
European-style election.

For all the hype, I found too many people believing the orange revolution
changed nothing. Ukraine’s leaders are singing the same Bolshevik tunes,
they say-and not with the apparent irony of my reveling companions. The head
of a securities company that set up shop in Ukraine last year told me
Ukraine is liberalizing in a big way. More and more companies are playing by
Western rules so they can issue shares in London and New York.

It’s not geopolitical reorientation, he said, it’s because the high price of
Russian gas has forced major Ukrainian industries to restructure and look
for cash on international capital markets. When I asked the businessman what
he thinks of all the political changes going on, he replied, "What political
changes?"

The deadpan was so dry, it took a few seconds before I realized he’d just
answered my question. Ukraine’s economy might be going in a Western
direction, but its politics are still stuck in the corrupt post-Soviet era.

The hero of the orange revolution, President Viktor Yushchenko, has fallen
from grace, placing third in Sunday’s vote, with the party of his old
nemesis Viktor Yanokovich-a former petty criminal whom outgoing President
Leonid Kuchma tried to appoint as his successor in 2004-getting the most
votes.

Then there’s Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minister fired last year by
Yushchenko. She fared surprisingly well in Sunday’s election and might well
return as prime minister. Much of the outside world is smitten with
Tymoshenko, if only because she’s a babe. (Admit it: She’s totally hot.)

The problem is: Nearly everybody within the political elite-and much of the
general population, too-seems to agree that she’s a self-centered,
self-promoting control freak who is generally unpleasant to have around. "I
have yet to talk to a single politician who likes her," one lobbyist told
me.

Oddly enough, you’ll find almost nobody actually admitting to disappointment
with President Yushchenko. Most Ukrainians will tell you that most other
Ukrainians have been let down by the orange revolution-but not me, they’ll
say. (You’ll hear: Yes, I was out there on subzero Independence Square in
December 2004, but I didn’t actually think anything would change.) After two
weeks, this reluctance to concede disappointment was starting to make me
suspicious.

On one of my last days in Ukraine, I had drinks with political observer
Peter Dickinson, who edits a local English-language magazine. As an
outsider, Dickinson has little patience with those who dismiss the
revolution-and having spent most of the last 10 years in Prague, and thus
knowing a thing or two about the dour Eastern European disposition, I was
inclined to agree.

Sure, Yushchenko could have done a better job of investigating the murder of
journalist Gyorgi Gongadze, a crime linked to Kuchma himself, and he could
have done more to root out corruption. And Tymoshenko, well, she could be
nicer.

But politicians weren’t the real heroes of the revolution. Everyday
Ukrainians were. Political speech has been set free under the new regime,
and perhaps more important, Ukrainians are finally beginning to craft their
national identity. "They were passive and shit on for years," Dickinson told
me. "Finally they stood up, and they won. That’s ingrained in the history of
the nation."

Chalk the negativity up to the national temperament, but there’s no denying
things have changed. Sunday’s vote received a clean bill of health from
international observers and went off without a hitch.

Yes, corrupt politicians and sleaze-ridden oligarchs will likely remain as
easy to find in Ukraine as four-inch stiletto heels, but there’s no going
back to the stifling days of Kuchma and his cronies. Give them enough

vodka, and you can probably get Ukrainians to sing about that.
———————————————————————————————
Scott MacMillan is a freelance journalist who lives in Cairo.
———————————————————————————————
LINK: http://www.slate.com/id/2138756/
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[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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15.                             YUSHCHENKO LOSES

                          To a former rival and to a former ally
 
By Aleksey Nikolskiy, Vasiliy Kashin
Vedomosti, Moscow, Russia, March 27, 2006
 
The parliamentary elections in Ukraine has ended with a predictable
victory for Viktor Yanukovich. President Viktor Yushchenko has
already declared the start of talks on establishing an orange
coalition in the parliament – but the election results cast doubt on
these intentions.

The parliamentary elections in Ukraine has ended with a
predictable victory for Viktor Yanukovich. President Viktor
Yushchenko has already declared the start of talks on establishing
an orange coalition in the parliament – but the election results
cast doubt on these intentions.

There are 45 parties and blocs participating in the elections
for the Ukrainian Supreme Rada, held according to the proportional
system, competing for 450 seats. The prime minister will be
nominated by the parliamentary coalition. According to exit polls
done by the Public Opinion Foundation (Russia), as at 3 p.m. Moscow
time, the Ukrainian Regions Party got 31.4% of the, the Yulia
Timoshenko Bloc got 22.4%, and Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine party got
17%. According to exit polls done at 5 p.m. Moscow time by the
VTsIOM polling agency, the Regions Party got 31%, the Yulia
Timoshenko Bloc got 22%, and Our Ukraine got 14%. According to
preliminary information, other forces that made it past the 3%
threshold were the Communist and Socialist parties, the People’s
Bloc led by Speaker Vladimir Litvin, and the People’s Opposition
Bloc led by Natalia Vitrenko.
As at 6 p.m. Moscow time, turnout was 40%; but there were still
queues near many polling stations. According to Central Electoral
Commission Chairman Yaroslav Davidovich, the Supreme Rada election
cost candidates about $200 million.
Russian companies, according to a senior executive from a
Russian oil company, "assisted" all candidates. Though, the Regions
Party, in the list of which there is billionaire Rinat Akhmetov,
according to executive, "is not poor" itself, Our Ukraine did not
have any problems with money due to the administrative resource,
while the Yulia Timoshenko Bloc was funded by assets acquired during
Timoshenko’s time as prime minister.
According to a source in the Regions Party, which all forecasts
indicate will be the winner, after the elections, there will
probably be an attempt to establish a coalition between Viktor
Yanukovich’s party and Our Ukraine, regardless of whether Our
Ukraine finishes ahead of the Yulia Timoshenko Bloc. The starting
contenders for the post of prime minister would be: Nikolay Azarov,
former manager of the State Taxation Administration, from the
Regions Party, and Economics Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk from Our
Ukraine.
Yushchenko declared that talks about establishing an orange
coalition would begin on Monday. His advisor Boris Bespaliy admits
that the declaration was made paying attention to the expectations
of the Orange voters. He explains that Our Ukraine would not agree
with Yulia Timoshenko taking the post of prime minister. But,
according to a source in Timoshenko’s campaign team, if her bloc
gets more votes than Our Ukraine, "in the orange coalition, Yulia
Timoshenko would then claim this post." (Translated by Denis
Shcherbakov)                                      -30-
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16.  "ORANGE" UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT WOULD NOT BE STABLE"
                     SAYS RUSSIAN EXPERT GLEB PAVLOVSKY

RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Monday, March 27, 2006

MOSCOW – A Ukrainian government formed by former allies in the "orange
revolution" is unlikely to survive until fall, a Russian political scientist
said Monday.

"An ‘orange’ government in Ukraine, which would comprise the Yulia
Tymoshenko Bloc, Our Ukraine bloc and the Socialist Party led by Oleksandr
Moroz would be the least viable option," Gleb Pavlovsky, president of the
Effective Policy Foundation, told a news conference. The three blocs would
likely grow to hate each other and would split by autumn, Pavlovsky said.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko’s spokesman said earlier Monday that
Yushchenko had called on the country’s prime minister to start talks on
creating a parliamentary coalition, even though official results of the vote
are not expected until Tuesday.

Tymoshenko, the president’s flamboyant ally in the late 2004 "orange
revolution" and an ex-prime minister, said Monday she intended to sign a
memorandum establishing an "orange coalition" to include the three parties.

Pavlovsky, however, suggested Tymoshenko was open to coalition talks with
any party. "She is not tying her hands and is open to talks with any party,
including the one led by [Viktor] Yanukovych. She might use him to secure
more concessions from Yushchenko," Pavlovsky said.

Yanukovych and his Party of Regions represent largely industrial and
pro-Russian eastern Ukraine, and he was Yushchenko’s main rival in the
disputed presidential elections in late 2004. Latest preliminary reports
have put the Party of Regions out in front.

With 19.12% of the Sunday vote counted, Ukraine’s Central Election Committee
said Monday the Party of Regions was leading with 25.6% of the vote,
followed by the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc ( 23.6%) and Our Ukraine Bloc with
17.22%. The Socialist Party has garnered 7.71% and the Communist Party
3.41%.

In any event, Pavlovsky said the future government would largely conduct
"reconnaissance" to assess the scale of economic problems facing the former
Soviet republic and find finance to tackle them.                  -30-

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LINK: http://en.rian.ru/world/20060327/44856047.html
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17.                                DIVIDED REVOLUTION
                   Russia playing key role as Ukrainians go to the polls

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: By Oksana Bashuk Hepburn
The Winnipeg Free Press, Winnipeg, Canada, Friday, March 24th, 2006

RUSSIA will be a key player in Sunday’s election for the Rada, Ukraine’s
parliament. Its objective? Nothing less than control of Ukraine’s
government.

This was Russia’s goal some 14 months ago, when the people took to the
streets of Kyiv demanding Viktor Yushchenko for president rather than
Russia’s choice, Viktor Yanukovych. The people won by staging the Orange
Revolution. This time the choice is more complicated.

Although the pro-Russian Yanukovych defrauded Ukrainians twice in the
presidential elections of 2004, his Party of Regions stands to be one of the
biggest winners in the parliamentary election. It has the support of about
30 per cent of voters, according to the polls. The other two main parties — 
President Victor Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine, and Yulia Tymoshenko’s Bloc — 
are tied at around 20 per cent each. About 45 parties are competing for 450
seats in the parliament.

Tymoshenko was Yushchenko’s prime minister until he fired her last year.
Their breakup split the Orange supporters, forcing them to pick sides.
Tymoshenko led the protests that brought Yushchenko to power.

Yushchenko had promised to deliver what the people of the Orange Revolution
had demanded: An end to corruption, reprivatization of state assets amassed
through questionable means by fabulously rich oligarchs, and after nearly a
century of brutal Russian control, a decisive tilt to the West.

Why, then, is the party that wants to undermine all this, in the lead?

Unfortunately, the ideals of the revolution did not translate into political
success. The move towards the West fumbled during the summer parliamentary
session, preventing Ukraine’s entrance into the World Trade Organization.
There were several postponements of promises to clean up corruption.

Re-possession of acquired state property by oligarchs was halted after
Tymoshenko, as prime minister, reprivatized Ukraine’s largest steel mill
from wealthy businessman Renat Akhmetov, who is now running for parliament.
Tymoshenko delivered $4 billion into Ukraine’s meager coffers from the
resale at more realistic prices.

The oligarchs demanded her head. There were whispers that representatives of
Simeon Mohilevic, a notorious Russian oligarch with an Israeli passport and
on the FBI’s most wanted list, was talking with authorities. Yushchenko
fired Tymoshenko and eventually the entire cabinet.

Then Russia struck openly for control. In January, when temperatures dipped
to -30, Russia cut-off gas supplies. Had Ukraine succeeded in becoming a
member of the WTO, Russia might not have dared. Or, it might have backed off
had Ukraine threatened legal action for breaking a five-year energy delivery
contract. Russia played to the world’s media accusing Ukraine of
siphoning-off Europe’s gas from pipelines crossing its territory.

As the furor subsided, a new hush-hush energy deal between Ukraine and
Russia emerged. It was incredibly favourable to Russia and the go-between
company RosUkrEnergo. The owners were undisclosed, but they are believed to
be among the richest people in Ukraine and Russia. Despite an uproar, little
clarity was provided by Ukraine’s government.

Yanukovych is running a diverse and odd group of candidates. There’s the
discredited former head of the Central Elections Commission, who falsified
the presidential elections two years ago, thus precipitating the Orange
Revolution. Renat Akhmetov, Ukraine’s richest oligarch — Forbes names him
among the 100 richest people in the world — is on the party slate. Supreme
court justices are running, too, even though it’s un-constitutional.

Orest Rebman, a Kyiv journalist, says with the pro-democracy forces divided,
Russia sees a clear opportunity to exert influence and control in Ukraine.

"You can bet that Russia is in there with both feet," Rebman says. "It will
do everything to control Ukraine. It will use power, influence, money, gas
and whatever other means to manipulate Ukraine away from the West." "With
Ukraine, Russia is an empire, without it, a vast under-developed state with
vast energy resources."

Yet, despite all this and Ukraine’s complex parliamentary elections,
politically it is further ahead and more independent from Russia than it
ever was. The Orange Revolution was a tremendous political maturation
process. The people are no longer passive. They will be making difficult
choices, but the results of Sunday’s vote will probably reflect Ukraine’s
political reality — a pro-West tilt, with a pro-Russia tug.

In this scenario, it will be imperative for the West to support Ukraine’s
inroads into its institutions and cement the considerable interest in
foreign investments. Canada can help by being a close friend to Ukraine and
encouraging others, like the United States and Britain, to be likewise.
————————————————————————————————-
Oksana Bashuk Hepburn, president U-CAN, a consulting firm brokering
interests between clients and Ukraine, is finishing a novel set in Winnipeg
and the Ukraine about the Orange Revolution.

————————————————————————————————–
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========================================================
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18.               UKRAINE AND UNITED STATES POLICY

INTERVIEW: With Celeste A. Wallander
Director and Senior Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Program
Center for Strategic and International Studies, Wash, D.C.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta in Russian, Moscow, Russia, Fri, Mar 24, 2006
Published by The Action Ukraine Report in English #680, Article 18
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

[QUESTION] How could you assess Moscow’s stance as far as the elections
in Ukraine are concerned? Why is Russia so careful about showing its
preferences now?

Russians officials have signaled a clear preference for the Party of Regions
led by former Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, and Ukrainian
oligarch Rinat Akhmetov.

This preference is rooted in several understandable factors:  the Party of
Regions is based in eastern Ukraine, which has close economic, cultural, and
social ties with Russia; the party leadership is on balance more interested
in developing economic and political relations with Russia than with Europe,
especially in the context of  the Single Economic Space involving customs
union and other mechanisms for reducing economic barriers between Russia

and Ukraine; and leaders of the Party of Regions are less committed to
transatlantic integration for Ukraine, and are not strong supporters of
Ukrainian membership in NATO and the EU.

However, I think we cannot forget that for the Russian Kremlin the other
parties competing in the Rada elections – those of the Orange coalition that
won the presidential election in December 2004 after the fraudulent results
of November 2004 were overturned – symbolize the failure of the Kremlin’s
attempts to aid the Kuchma/Yanukovych regime in carrying out a fraudulent
election process so that the regime would not have to give up power.

Since the Russian political leadership under Putin rules Russia by virtue of
similar fraudulent political technologies which deny Russian citizens the
opportunity to choose their leaders in free and fairs elections, and to hold
the leadership accountable for its actions and policies, the Kremlin sees
such failures in Ukraine and Georgia as a threat to its own rule.

While factors such as commercial and cultural ties between Russia and
Ukraine are, in my view, legitimate national interests which should be the
basis for Russian foreign policy, the Kremlin’s fear of free and fair
elections in the post-Soviet countries is purely a narrow interest of the
Putin regime, and does not serve the interests of Russia’s citizens.

That said, the Kremlin has been more restrained in its stance and policy on
the current elections than it was in 2004.  While it has expressed a
preference, it is not intervening as directly or massively in the current
elections as it did in the fall of 2004.  This is in part because of limited
opportunity:  its preferred leadership is not in office and so it cannot
work with it on actions to conduct fraudulent elections.

But it is also a matter of learning the lessons of 2004:  direct
interference in the election caused a backlash against Russia within Ukraine
and may have motivated Ukrainian citizens to oppose the fraudulent results.
That is, Russia’s actions far from preventing the Orange Revolution helped
to create the conditions for it.  Recognizing this, the Putin leadership and
its circles of political technologists have adopted a more low-key approach,
not wanting to motivate higher voter turn-out for the Orange parties.

[QUESTION] What results of the elections would the West be satisfied with?
What about Moscow?

The West’s hopes for the elections are in two areas.  The first and most
important is that the elections be conducted in a free and fair manner, that
international observers and domestic election monitors can freely observe
and report on their conduct, and that all Ukrainian election laws and
international standards are met.

To the extent that the United States has a long term interest in Ukrainian
development and Euro-Atlantic integration, that interest is served only if
and as Ukraine develops the institutions and procedures of a stable
democracy.  On this level – the level of American strategic interests in the
European and Eurasian region – who wins the Ukrainian elections is
irrelevant, just as who wins the German elections, or the British elections,
or the Polish elections, is irrelevant.

The U.S. has interests in and relations with countries first and foremost,
not with this or that leader.  As long as Ukraine continues on the path of
democratic transformation and therefore has a government chosen by and
supported by its citizens, long-term U.S. interests in the region are
served.

That said, of course it is the case that different democratically elected
governments matter for U.S. interests.  While it is enough for U.S.
interests that Ukraine be democratic, it is better if that democratic
Ukraine chooses to be globally and transatlantically integrated.  It is fair
to say that from the policy and campaign statements of Mr. Yanukovych, it is
unlikely that if he were Ukraine’s next Prime Minister that he would support
a strong policy for Ukraine’s global and transatlantic integration.

Although that would be an obstacle for closer economic, political, and
military relations, as long as the elections which might bring him to power
were truly free and fair, the U.S. would have to recognize that the
resulting government is the choice of Ukrainian citizens.

It is not clear to me that the Russian government cares whether the
elections are free and fair.  This perhaps seems harsh, but given that
President Putin immediately congratulated Alyaksandr Lukashenka for winning
presidential elections in Belarus which were so egregiously fraudulent and
which so obviously violated all the conditions of free and fair elections, I
think there is plenty of evidence that the Russian leadership only cares
about results.

However, I do think that the Russian government, while it would prefer a
Ukrainian government headed by the Party of Regions, would reconcile itself
to working with a new Orange Prime Minister.  After all, it was President
Viktor Yushchenko’s government that signed the gas deal this past January
2006 which was so beneficial to Gazprom and Russia.

[QUESTION] How do you assess the pre-election campaign in Ukraine, the
situation in the country in general?  Do you expect the elections in Ukraine
to be free and fair?

The conduct of the election campaign in the run-up to the March 26 election
has been very open and fair.  The Party of Regions and other parties out of
government (including, I might note, the party of Yuliya Tymoshenko, a
strong critic of President Yushchenko) have been able to campaign freely.
They have had access to media, they have been able to meet with voters,
their representatives will serve on election commissions and as election
monitors.

There may be instances of local failures to meet the rules for election-day
procedures, but there is no systematic, nationwide use of "administrative
resources" to create unfair advantages for the governing party, as there was
in 2004.  Unlike in Belarus, people can meet the candidates, candidates can
hold rallies, and political leaders are not being arbitrarily arrested or
detained.

If there are instances of violations of the rules, I very much hope that
international and domestic monitors will document and publicize them,
whoever is the guilty party, and whoever is the party that benefits.
Election monitoring is about keeping the government honest and accountable,
and that applies as much to President Yushchenko’s government as it did,
belatedly, to former President Kuchma’s government.

The situation in the country is positive in that citizens are interested,
active, and informed about their choices.  There is a great deal of
criticism of the current government for its policy failures of the last
year, of which there are many.

While I very much regret the failures of the government – primarily for
failure to create transparency, create the conditions for foreign investment
and economic growth, and attack corruption in the government and in
business – I think that there is no question in the long run that the
ability of Ukrainian citizens to criticize and hold their government
accountable will help Ukraine to develop as a prosperous and successful
country.

[QUESTION] What impact might the external factors (the gas crisis, the
elections in Belarus, the US and Europe’s constant signals of support
towards Kyiv) have on the elections in Ukraine?

External factors that you mention may have some affect on the elections, but
through their affect on the attitudes of Ukrainian voters toward their
leaders and their policies.  Some Ukrainian voters blame Russia for the gas
war, but others blame their own president.  Some Ukrainians are drawn to the
idea of Ukraine being an integrated European country, and therefore support
the Yushchenko government for progress toward NATO membership.

But many Ukrainian citizens do not want Ukraine to become more integrated
with Europe, and this is a source of their lack of support for the
government’s policies.  Many Ukrainians – perhaps more than many Russians
understand – do not favor policies that would harm Russian-Ukrainian
relations, and President Yushchenko has to find a way to assure those voters
that his support for Ukraine’s development does not have to harm the
country’s relations with Russia if he wants their vote.

At this point in time, my sense is that there still a divide between the
Ukrainian voters who see their choice as between Europe and Russia.  That is
very regrettable – I do not think that there is any such necessary choice –
but it is also understandable given the atmosphere of the Orange Revolution,
the very unfortunate confrontation over gas pipelines, and the rhetoric of
western "interference" in the "color revolutions."

However, as in elections anywhere, in every democracy, the most important
issues affecting voters in Ukraine are their hopes and beliefs about the
policies of their government and the opposition challengers on their
everyday lives:  the economy, social services, employment, schools, and
their hopes for a better life.

The big foreign policy questions affect those primary concerns of voters,
but they are not the keys issues for voters.  Leaders have to get their
domestic policies right, first and foremost, if they want the support of
their citizens.

[QUESTION] From your perspective, after these elections what would
be Kyiv’s foreign policy towards both Russia and the West?

To some extent, there will be little change in Ukrainian foreign and
military relations after the Rada elections.  Under the new constitutional
arrangement, the Rada will choose the prime minister and most of the cabinet
ministers, but the minister of defense and the minister of foreign affairs
will continue to be chosen by the president of Ukraine, and to be
accountable to him (or her).

So it is likely, although not certain, that President Yushchenko will keep
Anatoly Grytsenko as defense minister and Borys Tarasyuk as foreign
minister, and thus there will be continuity in Ukraine’s foreign and defense
policies.  Since both of those leaders are very strong and successful
advocates of Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration, we should expect that
Ukraine’s progress toward global and transatlantic integration will
continue, whatever the outcome of the Rada elections.

That said, of course it will matter for Ukraine’s foreign relations who the
prime minister will be.  In order for Ukraine to join Europe, whether
through NATO, the EU, or some other route, there will have to be serious
and difficult reforms in its political institutions and economic policies.
These are the responsibility of the prime minister and his (or her)
Government.

If the Party of Regions were to win a sufficient plurality to form a
government without any of the Orange parties, the Prime Minister
(Yanukovych?) would have the power to block progress toward Euro-Atlantic
integration, if he (she) chose to use that power.

On the other hand, if the Orange coalition parties receive enough votes to
attain a majority in the Rada and thus choose the next prime minister, we
should expect a re-affirmation of the current government’s policies of
global and Euro-Atlantic integration.

Furthermore, I think it likely that the Orange coalition parties will learn
an important lesson for their failures over the past year:  that their
failure to live up to their promises to their voters from December 2004
nearly lost them this election, and thus nearly lost them the right to rule.

That should, I would hope, teach the current Ukrainian leadership that it
has to get serious about the reforms that it has promised in order to begin
to deliver the better lives that Ukraine’s citizens expect.  If they fail to
learn that lesson, and to act on it, they may have friendly relations with
the U.S. and Europe (and I hope with Russia), but there will be little basis
for strong integration or partnership with the transatlantic community in
the next few years.                             -30-
———————————————————————————————
CONTACT: Celeste Wallander: CWallander@CSIS.org
LINK: http://www.ng.ru/ideas/2006-03-24/10_ukraina.html
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19.  ELECTIONS FAIR, DESPITE ORGANIZATIONAL CHALLENGES

        European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations (ENEMO)
Iryna Davydenko, Press-service of ENEMO Mission
Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 27, 2006

KYIV – ENEMO’s observation of the pre-election period and Election Day
on March 26 has shown significant improvements from the 2004 presidential
elections, with Ukrainian voters to exercise their right to vote freely.

The election environment surrounding the 2006 parliamentary elections was
generally free of pressure, intimidation or harassment against any political
party or bloc or any specific groups of voters. In stark contrast to 2004,
there were no reports of centralized misuse of administrative resources.

However, ENEMO reported significant organizational problems concerning
late opening of polling stations and violations or irregularities resulting
from overcrowding in the polling stations and missing citizens on the voter
lists.

"Having been in Ukraine during the 2004 Presidential elections" Peter
Novotny, Head of the ENEMO Mission stated "it is heartening to see the
radical improvement in the transparency of the election environment."

Novotny also noted "the only concerns we have are of a technical nature.
While those are significant, they should not cloud a genuinely competitive,
free and fair election. Ukraine has in effect proven its commitment to
European democratic values."

For the Ukrainian 2006 parliamentary elections, ENEMO deployed 42 long-
term observers covering all oblasts of Ukraine to monitor the pre-election
environment including the political campaign and preparation activities of
the election administration ahead of the March 26th parliamentary election.

For Election Day ENEMO deployed 389 election observers to 2040 polling
stations throughout all oblasts of Ukraine.
———————————————————————————————
CONTACT: Irina Davydenko irina@enemo.org.ua; 380 66 819 0481
(Russian, Ukrainian) or Peter Novotny +380 66 819 04 96 (English)

Website: www.enemo.org.ua for more information.
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20.    INITIAL THOUGHTS ON UKRAINE’S 2006 ELECTIONS

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: By Taras Kuzio
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #680, Article 20
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

1. The elections will be declared to have been held in a free and fair
manner, the first in Ukraine since 1994. This will be contrasted to
elections in Belarus and the generally poor democratic situation in the CIS.
The OSCE/Council of Europe/EU have given high remarks to the elections.

2. Yushchenko can take great credit for this progress.

3. The holding of free and fair elections will put pressure on the EU to
change its passivity which is in place since Yushchenko’s election.

4. Voting patterns resemble 2004, except Yanukovych will not obtain 44% as
he did then. But, its still early as only 20% of the votes have been
counted.

5. Yushchenko (and thereby Our Ukraine) is a "kamikaze" president. He made
countless mistakes in 2005, including sacking the Tymoshenko government and
dividing the Orange camp, signing a Memo with Yanukovych and keeping
Prosecutor Piskun until October, thereby not following through on
instituting charges against high level officials, and he mishandled the gas
contract.  Yushchenko also wasted a year when he had Kuchma’s powers and
failed to use them to stamp his authority on the country.

6. Tymoshenko came second because of Yushchenko’s "kamikaze" mistakes
that led to a Orange protest vote going to her, rather than to Pora. Our
Ukraine proved to be arrogant, both vis-a-vis Orange voters and vis-a-vis

Yushchenko himself.

Senior Orange businessmen accused of corruption in September refused to back
down from standing in Our Ukraine, ignoring Yushchenko’s advice. Political
parties in Our Ukraine refused to merge into a single pro-presidential
party.

7. Economics never did, and did not in these elections, drive Ukrainian
voters. Whether Ukraine has 2% or 12% GDP is not something that guides
Ukrainian voters.Negative voting s always a major factor in Ukraine’s
elections.

8. An Orange coalition was always the most realistic choice for Ukraine for
two reasons:

a) to send a signal to the West and Russia about the sustainability of the
Orange Revolution and democratic change

b) any deal with Yanukovych/Regions would have been the political death for
Yushchenko. This is what I have been saying for weeks and it is echoed by
comments from Lytvyn, Tymoshenko, Ryabchuk and others. Our Ukraine
coming in third have no political strength to do a deal with Regions which
have a lot more votes.

9. Yushchenko failed to understand an important, perhaps most important,
factor driving the Orange Revolution – the sense of feelings of injustice
against abuse of office, corruption and "Bandits" running Ukraine. Prime
Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov totally misunderstood this feeling, as seen by his
invitation to Ukraine’s oligarchs to a meeting in October where he described
them as "Ukraine’s national bourgoiese".

The Rule Of Law cannot move ahead without dealing with these issues from
the past – election fraud in 2004, high level corruption, who ordered the
Gongadze murder and Yushchenko’s assassination.

10. Yanukovych is not a reformed leader:
a) he sent greetings to Lukashenko on his "victory". Yushchenko and the
Ministry Foreign Affairs followed the Western position on the Belarus
elections.

b) he has never acknowledged his defeat in 2004. The top five in Regions
included Yanukovych, the crazy Taras Chornovil, separatist Yevhen
Kushnariov, and others who were a poor choice if Yanukovych wanted to
show a conciliatory position. Throughout the elections they have continued
to denounce the legitimacy of the Orange Revolution as a "illegal coup",
"Orange rats", etc, etc.

c) US comment on Regions is confusing: should we take their program for its
face value (Anders Aslund) or should we ignore the program as there are
pro-European businessmen ready to change the face of Regions (Adrian
Karatnycky).

If it is the former then Regions is (in addition to economic reform) against
NATO membership, for full membership in the CIS Single Economic Space,
and Russian as a state language. Regions voted against WTO legislation.

d) Regions will vote with the government on certain issues dealing with
economics.

11. Tymoshenko might become Prime Minister or Rada speaker. Her record in
office is mixed, not purely black. Much of what Yushchenko/Our Ukraine have
taken credit for economically was initiated under her government.

12. These elections show Ukraine’s democratic progress has consolidated
after the Orange Revolution. The choice of an Orange coalition makes it more
likely Ukraine will obtain a MAP in Riga in November. Judgments about
Ukraine’s democratic progress should not be influenced negatively by dislike
of the ensuing parliamentary coalition.

13. I doubt parliament will last its full term of five years. The
contradictions inherent in particular insides the Party of Regions will lead
it to implode.                                         -30-
—————————————————————————————–
NOTE:  Taras Kuzio is a Visiting Professor at the Institute for European,
Russian and Eurasian Studies, George Washington University
Washington, D.C., CONTACT: tkuzio@gwu.edu
——————————————————————————————-
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AUR#679 Is The Orange Sun Setting?; Our Ukraine Pledges To Form "Orange" Coalition In Parliament; "Choice Between Past And Future" Says President

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

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

 
                   ELECTION DAY IN UKRAINE
         YUSHCHENKO: UKRAINE’S PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION A
                         CHOICE BETWEEN PAST AND FUTURE 
                    Called on Ukrainians to vote for democratic forces
 
      OUR UKRAINE PLEDGES TO DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO
                FORM AN "ORANGE" COALITION IN PARLIAMENT

       We believe only an "orange" coalition should be formed in Parliament.
      
THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR – Number 679
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor  
REPORTING FROM CHERNIHIV, UKRAINE, SUN, MAR 26, 2006 
              ——–INDEX OF ARTICLES——–
         Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.               
Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article
1.                          IS THE ORANGE SUN SETTING?
        Viktor Yushchenko’s achievement must be understood in context.
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Robert McConnell
National Review Online, New York, NY, Friday, March 24, 2006

2.         UKRAINE SET TO TOSS THE DIE OF DEMOCRACY
OP-ED: By Myron Wasylyk, The Moscow Times
Friday, March 24, 2006. Issue 3378. Page 8.

3 OUR UKRAINE PLEDGES TO DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO
                FORM AN "ORANGE" COALITION IN PARLIAMENT

    We believe only an "orange" coalition should be formed in Parliament.
RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 24, 2006

4.        OUR UKRAINE PARTY RULES OUT COALITION WITH
                                        PARTY OF REGIONS 
INTERVIEW: With Roman Bezsmertnyy, Campaign

Manager, Propresidential Our Ukraine Bloc
By Yuliya Lymar, Glavred, Kiev, in Russian, 20 Mar 06
BBC Monitoring Service – United Kingdom; Mar 25, 2006

5 YUSHCHENKO: UKRAINE’S PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION A

                 CHOICE BETWEEN PAST AND FUTURE               
             Called on Ukrainians to vote for democratic forces
Natasha Lisova, AP Worldstream, Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Mar 24, 2006
 
6.                   UKRAINE: A TALE OF TWO ELECTIONS
COMMENTARY: Douglas Alexander, Britain’s Minister for Europe
International Herald Tribune (IHT), Paris, France, Sat, Mar 25, 2006

7.                       UKRAINE: AFTER THE WATERSHED
BOOK ESSAY: By Stefan Wagstyl, Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, Saturday, March 25 2006 

 
8WILL PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION SEE RUSSIA’S ‘STOOGE’
                         BECOME UKRAINE’S COMEBACK KID?
Andrew Osborn in Kiev, The Independent
London, United Kingdom, Saturday, Mar 25, 2006

9 UKRAINE BUSINESSES HOPE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION

                            WON’T TURN BACK THE CLOCK 
By Alex Nicholson, The Associated Press
Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, March 24, 2006

10. BIG CHOICE FOR UKRAINE IN COLOURFUL, CONFUSING POLL 
Oliver Bullough, Reuters, Donetsk, Ukraine, Saturday, March 25, 2006

11 MARKET OF ELECTORAL APPEALS, ELECTORAL HYPNOSIS:
           ADVERTISING LANDSCAPES OF THE PARLIAMENTARY 

                               CAMPAIGN IN UKRAINE 2006
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: Lyudmilla Pavliuk & Adrian Erlinger
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #679, Article 11
Washington, D.C., Sunday, March 26, 2006
 
1                        IS THE ORANGE SUN SETTING?
        Viktor Yushchenko’s achievement must be understood in context.

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Robert McConnell
National Review Online, New York, NY, Friday, March 24, 2006

As Ukraine’s parliamentary and local elections approach this weekend, there
have been a number of stories offering analysis of that country’s complex
political situation.

Whether the stories talk about the tarnishing of the promises of the Orange
Revolution, or the sharp-elbowed scramble of many – from oligarchs to
petty criminals – to secure parliamentary seats with their guaranteed
immunity from the law, or whether they discuss the Viktor Yushchenko and

Yulia Tymoshenko political divorce, almost all of the stories express
disappointment after the great promise of what had happened in Kiev’s
Independence Square, the Maidan.

A lot of these reports make fair and valid and true points about internal
Orange turmoil. But many of these reports miss some critical elements of the
Ukrainian political scene.

The Orange Revolution was dramatic and captured the attention of the world.
The citizens of the Ukraine, demanding change and freedom, faced down the
entrenched and corrupt Kuchma government, Russian money and operatives,
and oligarch clans. The citizens on Kiev’s Independence Square kept alive
Yushchenko’s candidacy after his life had nearly been taken by poison in the
middle of the campaign, and then again after the original election was so
badly manipulated as to be a farce.

Yet, despite all of the joy and celebration over this profound democratic
expression in the Ukraine, the Orange Revolution was primarily a combination
of forces united against the Kuchma regime, Russian interference, and
oligarch domination. It was not a movement united behind a unitary and
focused vision and common positive goals. Yushchenko’s objectives and
approach were not shared by all of those who surrounded him on the stage
of the Maidan.

Those tenuous alliances were from the very beginning destined to unravel.
There were too many hyperactive egos and widely divergent objectives, along
with too little commitment to Yushchenko and the program he had presented
the country. The internal turmoil was easily visible even as the Yushchenko
government was being formed.

As a result, the single biggest political dynamic casting its dark shadow
over this weekend’s parliamentary elections is the disappointment of the
citizens who anticipated immediate results that far exceeded anything
possible in the short-term. Dashed expectations lead to harsh criticisms,
and harsh criticisms can lead to major shifts in political alliances.

Polling and analysis suggest that the party likely to win the largest
percentage of seats in the parliament under the new and troublesome election
rules is the Party of the Regions. This is the party led by Viktor
Yanukovych, the ex-con, former Kuchma prime minister who was defeated

by President Yushchenko and the Orange Revolution less than a year and a
half ago.

But rather than an indication of the wizardry of American public-relations
agents, or the reformation of a hard-line throwback, the perceived
ascendancy of Yanukovych is really an indication that he and his supporters
have essentially held onto his 2004 base while the fragmentation of the
Orange alliances has divided the strength of the 2004 majority.

Most troubling is the common suggestion that Yushchenko has let down his
supporters, who are now following others away from the Maidan stage. What

is lacking is an appropriate discussion about what faces the president. Surely
the missteps of the government under Yushchenko have disappointed many
and are clearly a greater influence on the broad sweep of Ukrainian voters
than is a revitalized Yanukovych.

But with the election before us, it is critically important that voters and
observers face the reality that has been visited upon Yushchenko and the
Orange promises from the very beginning.

FIRST, Yushchenko has never fully recovered from the poisoning that
grabbed world’s attention, and this is a disgusting legacy to the cruel and
evil ways of Yushchenko’s 2004 opponents. The side-by-side pictures of
Yushchenko, the strikingly handsome candidate, and Yushchenko, the facially
disfigured and discolored survivor, have long since disappeared from
newspapers and televisions screens. But the poison has not completely left
the president’s body. It continues to sap his strength and the strength of
the Orange cause.

When the analysis of the poisoning became public in late 2004, experts were
amazed that Yushchenko lived. Even more astonishing was that he continued
to campaign, and demanded that his body allow him to lead the democratic
uprising of Independence Square.

This perseverance was a courageous act, but it has cost him, and this cost
has not been adequately taken into account in the calculations of the
government’s missteps and struggles. There can be no question that
Yushchenko, the promises of the Maidan, and the Ukraine continue to bear

the heavy cross placed upon them by the cowards who tried to replace the
ballot box with lethal poison.

SECOND, with very few exceptions Viktor Yushchenko has not been

surrounded in government by people committed to his vision and programs
for Ukraine.
Even in mature democracies a new administration must have legions of fully
committed supporters if a new leader’s programs and promises are to be
implemented successfully. Viktor Yushchenko never had such support.

Even before the polling stations opened on December 26, 2004, those
surrounding Yushchenko were competing for positions, undermining the
Yushchenko vision, and abandoning the leader selected by Ukraine’s voters.
It was Yushchenko and his vision, not a collection of widely divergent
visions, that was elected to office.

Nevertheless, even poisoned and surrounded by competing egos with narrow
self-interests and agendas, Viktor Yushchenko remains a symbol of a new
Ukraine, an independent Ukraine, with a desire to shed its corrupt and
Communist past. Whether it is fully appreciated in his country or around the
world, Viktor Yushchenko has literally put his life on the line and has not
given up.

Whatever happens in Sunday’s elections, the Ukraine will have a nationwide
campaign with an open and free media, and cities full of colored tents with
information on the various political parties and campaigns. Under
Yushchenko, everyone can express his own viewpoint. The contrast with
2004, or, for that matter, with last week’s elections in Belarus, is as
stark as it can be.

Flaws and setbacks and all, Yushchenko has ushered in a new era of Ukrainian
openness that is already so accepted that it is taken for granted. Analysts
of Sunday’s balloting will be well advised not to count him out. What came
together on the Maidan still lives in the hearts of the people of Ukraine
and in the soul of Viktor Yushchenko.
————————————————————————————————
Robert A. McConnell is co-founder of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation

and vice president of Hawthorne & York International Ltd.
————————————————————————————————-
LINK: http://www.nationalreview.com/comment/mcconnell200603241316.asp
————————————————————————————————
FOOTNOTE:  Bob McConnell has been working in Washington, mostly
behind the scenes, on behalf of a free, independent, democratic, prosperous,
market driven Ukraine for many years, long before independence in 1991. 
He has spent countless hours over the years contacting people in the power
structure in Washington on behalf of Ukraine receiving strong support from
the U.S. government always indicating why such a policy was the right one 
for the strategic interests of Ukraine and the United States. Bob is to be
thanked and congratulated for his untiring support of Ukraine. EDITOR
————————————————————————————————
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
2.         UKRAINE SET TO TOSS THE DIE OF DEMOCRACY

OP-ED : By Myron Wasylyk, The Moscow Times
Friday, March 24, 2006. Issue 3378. Page 8.

Millions of Ukrainians will cast votes on Sunday for dozens of political
parties running for the 450-seat parliament. They also will choose the
deputies to regional and municipal councils. The thousands of newly elected
officials, while expected to continue moving Ukraine in a pro-European
direction, will change the face of government throughout the country.

Opinion polls show six political parties easily passing the 3 percent
threshold for seats in the parliament, the Verkhovna Rada. Voters appear to
be lining up behind the same political forces that battled for the
presidency in 2004. Then, pro-Russian supporters of Viktor Yanukovych,

who was the prime minister, acquired the blue label.

Pro-democracy supporters of the election winner, Viktor Yushchenko, became
known as the orange bloc. While both blue and orange represent the dominant
political forces in the country, more than 40 parties are competing for
voter sympathy and support.

International attention will focus on how Kiev handles this election. Much
like the presidential election held in Belarus last weekend, past elections
in Ukraine have been less than democratic. In the 2004 presidential race,
the government censored journalists, denied the opposition access to the
mass media, and broke up peaceful gatherings.

Opposition leaders and activists complained about being followed and
harassed by police. Law enforcement agencies were mobilized to falsify the
vote results at local election committees. Evidence of the fraud was
compiled during a later investigation, and close to 5,000 people were
eventually punished.

After the runoff vote, millions of people came out onto the streets of Kiev
to defend their rights and freedoms against a discredited regime that had
falsified the election results. For weeks, they stood in freezing
temperatures demanding justice, until a Supreme Court ruling annulled the
results and ordered a new vote, the results of which were widely recognized
by society and international observers as a fair expression of voter will.

Ukraine withstood an important and peaceful test of freedom and democracy
during the Orange Revolution. Since then, the new leaders have begun to show
that government in Ukraine can be made to serve its citizens, that its
police can be custodians of the law, not of power.

Steps have been taken to untangle the web of government favors and crony
business practices to help create a more level playing field for business.
While much remains to be done in the battle against corruption, there has
been some progress toward ending the pillaging of state assets.

A key step in the battle to rebuild public trust in government has been
ending government censorship of journalists and ensuring freedom of the
press. During this election campaign, the media have shown that they can be
objective and fair. Evening television news programs present various points
of view, giving airtime to opponents of the current government as well as to
its proponents. Commentators weigh in on all sides. It’s up to readers and
viewers to decide who they believe is right and who is wrong.

Major changes are occurring in the country. Recent decisions by the United
States and the European Union to recognize Ukraine as a market-based economy
reflect the impressive economic developments that have occurred since the
Orange Revolution.

Ukraine’s record in securing individual freedoms and democracy led the U.S.
Congress to lift the decades-old Jackson-Vanik trade restrictions, and
joining the World Trade Organization this year appears within reach.

But the most telling sign of change is this: No one knows how Sunday’s
elections will go. No one can predict how political forces will align after
the elections to form a parliamentary majority and a new coalition
government. Everything depends on voter turnout.

For the first time in independent Ukraine’s 14-year history, free, fair and
transparent elections are being held. Campaigning and political rallies are
occurring without interference. Censorship and the suppression of press
freedoms are things of the past.

Law enforcement agencies have not created an environment of fear or
hysteria, and instead have offered rewards to citizens who blow the whistle
on officials who break the law. Borders are open, and the incumbent
government has welcomed election monitors.

During the Orange Revolution, Ukrainians firmly chose the course of
democracy, economic freedom and political compromise. Political competition
has been the tool used to stimulate discussion in society so voters can
chose the party that best represents their views. And while election
shenanigans occur everywhere, this round of elections appears to be void of
official interference or intervention.

While not all agree on the meaning of the Orange Revolution, one thing’s for
certain: Normalcy is in the air in Ukraine. And this bodes well for
democracy and regional stability.    -30-
———————————————————————————————–
Myron Wasylyk is senior vice president of the Kiev office of The PBN
Company, an international communications consultancy. In the past, he

has advised a number of candidates and parties in Ukraine. The opinions
expressed are his own.
———————————————————————————————-
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2006/03/24/006.html
———————————————————————————————
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
3.  OUR UKRAINE PLEDGES TO DO EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO
                FORM AN "ORANGE" COALITION IN PARLIAMENT
    We believe only an "orange" coalition should be formed in Parliament.

RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Friday, March 24, 2006

KIEV – Ukrainian Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov said Friday that the
pro-presidential election bloc would do everything possible to form an
"orange" coalition after Sunday’s parliamentary elections.

"We gathered under orange banners at the most difficult time for Ukraine
during the [2004] presidential elections," Yekhanurov told a news conference
at Our Ukraine headquarters. "And we believe that only an "orange" coalition
should be formed in the Parliament."

He said Our Ukraine was willing to extend an invitation to join the
coalition to "all who stood with us on Maidan [the capital’s main square],"
including former Ukrainian PM Yulia Timoshenko.

Yekhanurov said formation of the coalition was inevitable, with a subsequent
election re-run, because "the Ukrainian mentality is such that we quickly
adopt decisions without thinking too long."

"I think the newly-elected deputies will discuss the issue for 58 days [the
deadline to form the coalition is 60 days from the election according to the
Constitution], adopt the decision on the night of the 58th day, and on the
59th day they will approach [the incumbent president] Yushchenko and plead
with him to accept the coalition that they managed to form," Yekhanurov
said, adding that this scenario would be possible only if the "orange"
coalition fails to garner a majority of mandates in the first place.

With one day left before the election, the pro-presidential Our Ukraine
election bloc seemed to dominate among political activists in the center of
the capital, Kiev, although the Party of the Regions, led by Viktor
Yanukovich, the incumbent president’s main rival during the last
presidential elections, is thought to be leading the plethora of parties,
blocs and movements involved in the election race.     -30-

——————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://en.rian.ru/world/20060324/44774263.html
——————————————————————————————–
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
4.   OUR UKRAINE PARTY RULES OUT COALITION WITH
                                        PARTY OF REGIONS 

INTERVIEW:
With Roman Bezsmertnyy, Campaign
Manager, Propresidential Our Ukraine Bloc
By Yuliya Lymar, Glavred, Kiev, in Russian 0000 gmt 20 Mar 06
BBC Monitoring Service – United Kingdom; Mar 25, 2006

Roman Bezsmertnyy, the campaign manager of the propresidential Our Ukraine
bloc, has ruled out a coalition with the opposition Party of Regions in the
new parliament. Speaking in an interview, he said that such an alliance
would cause deep conflict in society. The new parliamentary majority will be
based on the partners in the Orange Revolution, he believes.

The following is an excerpt from the interview Bezsmertnyy gave to Yuliya
Lymar posted on the Ukrainian website Glavred on 20 March; subheadings have
been inserted editorially:

It will not be possible to tug Roman Bezsmertnyy, the leader of the
[propresidential] Our Ukraine election headquarters, by the beard in the
political sense. It seems that he has grown somewhat tired of questions
about the future parliamentary coalition, and so states without appeal:
"Either with us or not at all". [Passage omitted: Bezsmertnyy found the
election campaign interesting]

[Lymar] Let’s talk about specifics. What is your forecast for the campaign?
Will Our Ukraine emerge in second place, and will tiny Orange forces get
through, in particular the Kostenko-Plyushch Bloc and Pora-Reforms and Order
Party?
[Bezsmertnyy] I have no doubt that Our Ukraine will come second and that it
will get more than 20 per cent. I have huge doubts about whether the
so-called tiny Orange projects will get into parliament.
Although, honestly speaking, we have a great interest in them getting into
parliament, since by collecting 1.5-2 per cent of the vote, they will have
taken it from us, and those votes will be divided between us and the
[opposition Party of] Regions.

[Lymar] Will Our Ukraine’s theory that a coalition can be formed only around
the president [Viktor Yushchenko] and around his programme "10 steps towards
people" remain unchanged? After all, such an approach makes an alliance with
the Regions, who have their own programme and their own leader, absolutely
impossible?
[Bezsmertnyy] This position is not my personal whim; it is dictated by the
situation of the current moment.

[Lymar] That’s not convincing. After all, you yourself are consciously
rejecting the possibility of an alliance with the Regions, an alliance that,
in many people’s opinion, will help heal the wounds on the country’s
lacerated body, figuratively speaking.
[Bezsmertnyy] Let’s approach it from the reverse. Let’s analyse the
possibility of unifying Ukraine by means of unification of the Party of
Regions with Our Ukraine in a coalition. This will not mean unification of
Ukraine, but conflict.

[Lymar] ?!
[Bezsmertnyy] Because in that case the supporters of both sides will call
their leaders traitors. And the discussion being conducted at the level of
the leaders, Yushchenko and [Viktor] Yanukovych will descend to the level of
the voter. And so conflict will not be extinguished, but will flare up with
new strength and will become a conflict of public groups.
Therefore, I don’t see an option, I simply can’t imagine one, whereby Our
Ukraine will form a bloc with the Party of Regions. It would be electoral
ruin. And I don’t look like a political suicide, do I?
And there’s another point. In choosing an ally today, we must remember that
sooner or later 2009 will come (presidential election – editor). Tell me,
what sort of result can be expected in 2009 if a treaty is concluded now
between Our Ukraine and the Party of Regions?

[Lymar] The birth of a new leader or the strengthening, for example, of
Yuliya Tymoshenko.
[Bezsmertnyy] The answers are obvious. So you don’t need to rack your brains
to understand that we now have two options for the development of the
situation: either restoration of the Orange coalition or, if it’s not
possible to form that coalition, the dissolution of parliament. I don’t
think there is a third way. [Passage omitted: new rules make vote-switching
in parliament difficult]
  GOOD PROSPECTS FOR PROPRESIDENTIAL MAJORITY 
[Lymar] Have you already written out a list of where you will get the 226
votes [needed to create a parliamentary majority], if there is no split?
[Bezsmertnyy] It’s very simple to gather them. The thing is that Our
Ukraine, the YTB [Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc and the Socialists will have
230-232 vote between them. And the difference between the factions will not
be large, somewhere in the area of 10-15 votes.
Therefore, we simply need to renew the accords between those forces. But why
did I always say that it should be consecrated before the election? Because
it would raise the chances of forming a normal government and would very
much simplify the situation.

[Lymar] Since we have got right into the question of a coalition, let’s get
to the bottom of it. Have the socialists’ appetites increased?
[Bezsmertnyy] The socialists, apart from taking responsibility for education
reform, agrarian sector reform and reforming departments of security and law
and order, have started offering their services in sorting out industrial
policy and some other areas. In other words, we have evidence that their
appetites have grown.

[Lymar] Will they be satisfied?
[Bezsmertnyy] Unlike the previous election, the power of the socialists is
waning. Where did they go wrong? The socialists dismounted from their
"horse" – the countryside – and gave away that sector to be bought up by the
People’s Party of [speaker Volodymyr] Lytvyn, thereby losing that niche.
But they won’t join the system of industrial lobbying through [Republican
Party leader Yuriy] Boyko, through the Illich plant or through the slogan
"We’ll build Europe in Ukraine", since neither the Illich plant nor Boyko
himself are examples of building Europe.
                              TYMOSHENKO’S FUTURE JOB
[Lymar] The problem of Yuliya Tymoshenko. Does Our Ukraine have the name of
even one person for whom the YTB faction might vote as prime minister?
[Bezsmertnyy] If Our Ukraine gets more votes than the YTB, and it will, then
the YTB will vote for any prime minister proposed by Our Ukraine.

[Lymar] Are you sure of this?
[Bezsmertnyy] I am convinced of it.

[Lymar] Where does such confidence come from?
[Bezsmertnyy] Full stop. End of question.

[Lymar] What will Ms Tymoshenko want in exchange for such a service?
[Bezsmertnyy] More than anything, as we know, she wants the premiership. The
thing she will least of all lay claim to, I think, is the parliamentary
budget committee. We’ll meet somewhere in the middle (laughs)

[Lymar] In the middle – is that the Finance Ministry?
[Bezsmertnyy] That’s your suggestion.

[Lymar] There are two other jobs that we have not mentioned. One of them is
that of speaker and the second is leader of the parliamentary majority.
Which of those two jobs is more attractive in conditions of political
reform? And can Our Ukraine give one of those jobs to pay off Yuliya
Tymoshenko?
[Bezsmertnyy] It’s clear that the leader of the majority is more important.
Since the position of the head of parliament henceforth is that of a
technical figure who has to arrange sittings, prepare for them and so on.
If we’re talking about people, everything will depend on what decisions are
taken by the presidium and council of the party.
I have already said several times at meetings at various levels: "Since I am
responsible for ensuring the operation of the party’s council, if anyone has
any ideas or proposals, they should go through the party’s leading bodies
and should then be discussed at the political council and only then will we
be able to open our mouth and say that Our Ukraine as a political bloc is
proposing a specific person."
I want to tell you that I will do all I can to see that this rule is adhered
to. I will do all I can to ensure that Ukraine does not return to the format
in operation before September of last year, when the attitudes and positions
of these or those figures determined the state’s policy, its strategy and
tactics. Enough!

[Lymar] Can [speaker] Volodymyr Lytvyn lay claim to some major job after the
election?
[Bezsmertnyy] It seems to me that he has grounds for such claims.

[Lymar] But his party will barely scrape through the threshold barrier.
[Bezsmertnyy] The basis is Lytvyn’s former status. By tradition the former
head of the Supreme Council [parliament] is a player on the field, and a
fairly serious one, despite the fact that he may well not have a big faction
in parliament. Apart from that, when analysing that small advantage of 15-20
votes today, it must be understood that Lytvyn may receive the golden share.
And the position of his political force will be very important.

[Lymar] Does that sort of set-up suit you personally?
[Bezsmertnyy] I stress once more: I will do all I can to ensure that the
procedure is carried out as it should be. But my personal game here will be
exactly to the extent that the party and president need.
                   HOW ELECTION LISTS WERE COMPILED
[Lymar] Let’s go back to the procedure, the need for whose observance you
stress so much. At one time you tried to stick to a procedure during the
formation of election lists.
And, so far as I recall, the regions gave their proposals, the party’s
political council gave its proposals and then somehow at night on Bankova
[Street, where presidential secretariat is located] the president of Ukraine
re-wrote the lists.
Are you not afraid that the party will decide on its government candidates,
but the president will scrap it all, to put it mildly, and do it his own
way?
[Bezsmertnyy] First, nobody today can say that the Our Ukraine list was not
approved by the congress. And God knows about any brain-washing. And as for
the decisions taken, I can say that we are almost the only political force
where decisions are taken by the following bodies: the presidium, the
council and the party.
But there is a super-important factor: we have an honorary party leader –
the president. Why was it necessary to consider the position of presidium
members and why was it not necessary to consider the position of the
honorary leader?
Naturally, we considered the position of everybody. I can say that everyone
gained from such an approach and nobody can be upset with anybody, since the
decisions were taken by the congress. And we did not hide the problems that
existed, we were not afraid of them.

[Lymar] Allow me to disagree that everyone gained from such an approach, as
you say. It is obvious that one person lost – [Prime Minister] Yuriy
Ivanovych Yekhanurov, who at that time wanted to deprive the party of
so-called "dear friends".
His lobby then was weaker and, as a result, the bloc that the prime minister
is leading is not 100 per cent with him. Was the prime minister being used?
[Bezsmertnyy] This is a question for Yuriy Ivanovych, although I don’t think
that he’d go along with your logic. These days I am constantly asking
myself: "If Bezsmertnyy, [former first aide to Yushchenko, Oleksandr]
Tretyakov, [former Emergencies Minister Davyd] Zhvaniya, [head of Our
Ukraine parliamentary faction Mykola] Martynenko and [former Justice
Minister Roman] Zvarych had not been on the list in October, who would then
have been in charge of the election?" Nobody.
It is already obvious now that what was said in September regarding all
those people has absolutely no significance. And in actual fact the main
result of that row is that the party has become stronger. We discussed,
quarrelled and pulled each other’s hair, but now we are working. This is
very important.
There has to be discussion in the party, but the discussion should not be a
reason for ruining the party, it should strengthen the party. Therefore,
even if there had been a discussion between Yuriy Ivanovych (Yekhanurov –
editor) and Oleksandr Yuriyovych (Tretyakov – editor) or someone else, today
both of them have only gained from that discussion.
I am extremely pleased that I managed to find instruments with whose
help the shortcomings and accusations were turned into something positive.
And I also feel satisfaction that it was I who did it. That’s the only thing
that I can say about my part in that discussion.
                       PARTY RIVALS NOW COOPERATING
[Lymar] Today how should we describe relations between Yuriy Ivanovych and
Petro Oleksiyovych [Poroshenko – former National Security and Defence
Council secretary] or Oleksandr Yuryovych – a "discussion" or "cold war"?
[Bezsmertnyy] Today it is cooperation. Stability on the one hand of the
prime minister’s position and support for the prime minister on the part of
the party’s leading bodies is very important.

[Lymar] But Petro Poroshenko in an interview with Glavred said that he
believed that party discipline should be strengthened, since Yuriy Ivanovych
did not always turn up to party meetings and did not always take heed of
personnel proposals that the party made to him, for example. Is there maybe
something that you don’t know?
[Bezsmertnyy] It is possible that there is something that I don’t know, but
my position is this: I consider party proposals only those that come from
the party presidium, rather than, say, wishes expressed to the prime
minister privately.
The prime minister has the right to take decisions collegially, at cabinet
meetings. But Yuriy Ivanovych hears the official position of the party
leadership.

[Lymar] What names has the party leadership already heard regarding
candidates for the new prime minister?
[Bezsmertnyy] The party has heard the name of Yuriy Ivanovych Yekhanurov
from the president twice. Apart from that, in the party presidium, in the
strategy council, there is a whole list of people that are being proposed by
this or that section of work in the Supreme Council, the government and
local administrations.
I don’t have the right to give out that information, but we are carrying out
personnel work in the party in the direction of helping the president to
implement his programme in this or that direction.

[Lymar] Governors’ jobs: are there proposals in the party to replace
governors?
[Bezsmertnyy] We have already stated that we are not happy with the activity
of the administration heads of Donetsk and Rivne regions. We are ready to
propose our candidates for those jobs, and I will present these party
decisions for the consideration of the president and prime minister.
[Passage omitted: Bezsmertnyy’s aim is to work for the party and to carry
out local government reform]
       DISSOLUTION OF THE NEW PARLIAMENT LIKELY
[Lymar] Returning to the future parliament, you said that there would
be a prime minister from Our Ukraine or dissolution. At the same time,
politicians from other camps are convinced that there will be neither a
prime minister from Our Ukraine nor dissolution.
[Bezsmertnyy] Everyone has the right to their own opinion. But the point is
that the constitution now in force sets the condition that there will either
be a majority formed or parliament will be dissolved. Therefore, the way out
here is obvious. In connection with the "castrated nature" of the
constitutional reform, the key role in the further development of events
will be played by the president.
The president is Our Ukraine, and Our Ukraine is the president. And any
diktat of positions or ultimatum to Our Ukraine will mean an ultimatum to
the president. In other words, an emergency brake will operate.
If anyone now thinks of launching ultimatums like "there should be no ‘dear
friends’ anywhere", it means that whoever proclaimed the ultimatum to the
president or Our Ukraine immediately switches on the question of dissolution
of parliament.

[Lymar] Will the president be strong enough and, excuse me, will his
secretariat hold its nerve not to make proposals for the jobs of security
officials on the first day of the new parliament, thereby leaving juridical
possibilities for dissolution?
[Bezsmertnyy] It’s not a matter of the nature of the participants in the
game; it’s a matter of the provisions of the constitution, where it is
written in black and white what will be done and how, and there will be no
other option.

[Lymar] So, what do you think – new elections or not?
[Bezsmertnyy] New elections. A minority government will operate for half a
year and after that, elections will have to be called. Although there are
still possibilities for such a scenario not to be launched.

[Lymar] Six months ago Our Ukraine started writing a new constitution. Are
you planning that a new parliament is necessary, because the coming one is
unlikely to pass it?
[Bezsmertnyy] That’s one reason, but not the main one. Now it is a matter of
forming a majority. If there is a majority and a government, there will be a
parliament. If not, everyone will sink together.

[Lymar] At what stage is work on the new fundamental law? When will we see
the results?
[Bezsmertnyy] A few days ago at a seminar devoted to the question of the
future of local government, we presented the results of work on the first
hundred articles of the new constitution. We have already developed the text
of constitutional reform and presented it to the court of the public.

[Lymar] Will the administrative territorial reform that you were dealing
with in the government serve as the basis for the new constitution?
[Bezsmertnyy] Yes. Material on administrative territorial reform, budget
reform, fiscal reform, municipal reform, reforms of bodies of the executive
and administrative reform has all been envisaged in the skeleton of the new
constitution.
                       PROPOSED NEW CONSTITUTION
[Lymar] Can you name the key theories that are now being bandied about in
the election campaign? How will Crimean issues be decided in this
constitution? The question of Ukraine’s bloc status? The question of the
Russian language?
[Bezsmertnyy] The issue of Crimea is under discussion. As for the language
question, we favour the status of Ukrainian as the state language.
We have always had a firm position regarding the status of the state
language, and we have never dealt in double standards for political
purposes. We have expressed our opposition to holding a referendum in Crimea
to give Russian the status of a state language.
As far as bloc status is concerned, there is no mention in the constitution
of the country’s bloc status, which allows Ukraine to join various blocs,
associations and so on.

[Lymar] How are you planning to adopt the constitution? Is the idea of a
referendum serious?
[Bezsmertnyy] We had very long discussions about this, and I’d like to dwell
on two aspects. The first is that it should not be a new edition of the
constitution, but amendments to the existing one.
The second is that in accordance with the existing constitution, the Supreme
Council of Ukraine has to introduce amendments.

[Lymar] When Tymoshenko left the Cabinet of Ministers, there were very
varied evaluations of her work. And Yuliya Tymoshenko herself said that it
was the best government of all times and peoples, while the word
"catastrophe" was heard from your lips. How do you rate Yekhanurov’s Cabinet
of Ministers? Is it a Robin Hood government?
[Bezsmertnyy] First, it is very difficult to assess the activity of a
government after five or six months; too little time has passed to give an
answer and not be mistaken. Second, this government has not prevented the
economy from developing and the market from forming – and that’s a very good
thing.
                                  RELATIONS WITH RUSSIA
[Lymar] In an interview with Glavred Yuriy Yekhanurov said that he was not
calling relations between Ukraine and Russia "a war" only so as not to
frighten the people. What word would you use to describe the relations
between Ukraine and Russia?
[Bezsmertnyy] Stability. Relations between Ukraine and Russia over the past
12 years have not changed seriously. That’s the first thing.
Second, no change took place in Ukraine’s attitude to Russia before 2004 and
after 2004. There was a change in ways of cooperation, and whereas before
2004 individual personal contacts predominated, a new system of relations
has now been launched. I would describe it like this: institutional.
Both sides still need to learn how to work in such a system. If there was a
[former President Leonid] Kuchma-[Russian President Vladimir] Putin
commission set up, then Kuchma and Putin worked, but the commission did not.
If a Yushchenko-Putin commission was set up, then the commission should
work, while Yushchenko and Putin should approve the achievements of the
commission.
So the task is very simple: to make it work as an institution. Moreover,
this applies not only to commissions and working groups, but also to
cooperation at the level of public organizations, political parties, state
institutions and so on. It means that we must systematize our relations. We
must stop playing dinner table diplomacy and move to institutional steps of
cooperation.
                                PROMISES BEING FULFILLED
[Lymar] Coming back to the results, your party and the president have not
fulfilled the key promises that they gave the Maydan [Kiev’s Independence
Square, heart of the Orange Revolution]. One of them was "Gangsters will go
to jail". The president says that they will go to jail. You have never been
opposed to radicalism. How do you plan to get out of this conflict with
public opinion?
[Bezsmertnyy] A year of the presidency is too little to say whether
Yushchenko has fulfilled his promises or not. He is fulfilling them. The
fact that he has not done everything is because he is not magician, but a
human being, and Ukraine is a country with a population of 50 million.
As for gangsters going to jail, I once saw a video clip where in Kabul in
our time on the central square they hanged four criminals. And I also saw
how in the Ukrainian House [exhibition centre in central Kiev] during the
Orange Revolution a man was brought in with a sign around his neck saying
that he had stolen money and mobile phones.
So what I want to say is that gangsters should go to jail, but not through
kangaroo courts. I am vehemently opposed to running around with placards
reading "Crush the vermin!", "Execute the enemies of the people!" and so
forth.
Everything has to be done within the framework of the law. And society is
waiting precisely for such decisions. Let Rome fall, but the law must rule.

[Lymar] From the viewpoint of the leader of the election campaign who
started his interview with information policy, tell me if you will, is the
president’s team capable of living in conditions of the new information
policy and freedom of speech?
[Bezsmertnyy] The president’s team is continuing the stage of establishment.
I think that the changes that took place with the change of leadership of
the secretariat made a major improvement to the work. But that does not mean
that there is no room for improvement.
I am convinced that power resides in flows of information. And so to master
those information flows with the use of new technologies and new approaches
to the president’s activity in conditions of the amended constitution as
well is not an easy question. But there is no catastrophe here.

[Lymar] How often to you see the president these days? Is [presidential
secretariat head] Oleh Rybachuk a go-between at your meetings?
[Bezsmertnyy] I haven’t seen the president for a very long time, but we have
constant dialogue, true, by telephone. I speak directly with the president.
I have no problems here.

[Lymar] Doers that fact that it’s only by telephone mean the president has
lost interest in the party, the bloc?
[Bezsmertnyy] No. The president is constantly interested. He phones up and
sometimes gives advice, so his interest is fairly high both in the party and
in the bloc.
All the more so because Anatoliy Kyrylovych [Kinakh], as secretary of the
National Security and Defence Council and leader of the Party of
Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, also makes his contribution in support of
that interest, as do Anatoliy Serhiyovych Martynenko as leader of the
Republican Party Sobor and Borys Ivanovych Tarasyuk as leader of the
People’s Movement of Ukraine. So the president’s interest cannot go to
sleep, because there are people to rouse it.                -30-
——————————————————————————————–

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5.  YUSHCHENKO: UKRAINE’S PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION A
                     CHOICE BETWEEN PAST AND FUTURE 
                 Called on Ukrainians to vote for democratic forces
Natasha Lisova, AP Worldstream, Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, Mar 24, 2006

KIEV – President Viktor Yushchenko declared Friday that Sunday’s

parliamentary election is a choice between the past and the future, and
called on Ukrainians to vote for democratic forces.

Speaking in a nationally televised address two days ahead of the key
election, Yushchenko also pledged to hold Ukraine’s most democratic election
ever and he vowed it would differ significantly from the fraud-marred 2004
presidential election which triggered the Orange Revolution protests that
ushered in Yushchenko’s victory.

"Today, society faces a very simple choice: it is a choice between the past
and the future," Yushchenko said. "It is a pity that those who yesterday
were rigging the election and humiliating citizens, today are calling for
revenge. But I believe in the wisdom of Ukrainian people.

"For the first time in the history of Ukraine, the absolute majority of the
citizens believe the results will be defined by their vote," he said.

Sunday’s vote could determine how aggressively this ex-Soviet republic
maintains the pro-Western course set by Yushchenko.
In the polls, Yushchenko’s party is trailing that of his Orange Revolution
rival, Viktor Yanukovych, who promised to restore ties with the Kremlin that
were frayed under Yushchenko.

Yanukovych on Friday criticized the Orange Revolution as a seizure of

power, which resulted in nothing but hardship for Ukrainians.

Yanukovych’s pro-Russian Party is unlikely to win enough to capture a
majority in the 450-seat parliament. This will require Ukraine to form its
first ever coalition government, and many analysts predict that Yushchenko
will seek an uneasy union with his one-time foe.

"We, the citizens of Ukraine, support different political forces, but it
must not divide us," Yushchenko said in the 10-minute taped address.
Yushchenko called on Ukrainians to be united and to overcome the split
between the country’s Russian-speaking east and its more nationalistic west.

While Yushchenko tried to portray himself as above the country’s political
battles, he also cautioned citizens of this ex-Soviet nation of 47 million
to think carefully before casting their ballots.

"Before giving your vote to one or another party or bloc, think what kind of
Ukraine you would like to see in five years _ if we will move forward or
stay put, losing time and our possibilities," he said.
 

——————————————————————————————–
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================      
6.                    UKRAINE: A TALE OF TWO ELECTIONS

COMMENTARY: Douglas Alexander, Britain’s Minister for Europe
International Herald Tribune (IHT), Paris, France, Sat, Mar 25, 2006

LONDON – Ukraine votes again.

Ukraine’s voters go to the polls on Sunday to elect a new Parliament. With
Viktor Yushchenko’s erstwhile rival for the presidency, Viktor Yanukovich,
leading in the campaign, and his party looking to become the largest in the
new Parliament, some Western commentators are already predicting a defeat
for the "Orange Revolution."

But this misses the point. The Orange Revolution of 2004 was not a movement
to get a particular party or individual into power in Ukraine. It was a
popular movement that brought together people of different political
persuasions united by one powerful idea – to end lies and falsification and
to defend the freedom to choose their leaders.

The Ukrainian people chose a new direction that winter, one that took them
toward a genuine European democracy. In that objective they have been and
will be successful, whoever wins these elections.

We often forget that making such radical changes and reforms takes time. A
new democratic system does not appear overnight.

Prime Minister Tony Blair summed up the view of the wider international
community at the EU- Ukraine Summit in Kiev on Dec. 1 when he said, "I

hope people in Ukraine are in no doubt of what a difference the last year has
made to the way that the Ukraine is viewed in the world."

A lot has already changed in Ukraine since the winter of 2004. The
international observers will give their verdict on Monday, but their initial
reports show that the campaign has been free and lively. There has been
debate and discussion among all the protagonists in Ukraine’s news media,
and rallies have been held by parties across the country. Ukraine’s cities
are festooned with the bright colors – blue, orange, green, white, yellow,
red – of Ukraine’s competing parties.

What a contrast with Ukraine before the Orange Revolution! The campaign for
the 2004 presidential elections was a very different story. The opposition
could not campaign in many areas of the country. It was excluded from most
television channels.

Its leader was poisoned in the middle of the campaign. But ultimately the
old regime in Kiev proved no match for the determination of ordinary people
to express their choice freely and democratically. The rest, as they say, is
history.

But it is also history in the making. Whatever the result in Sunday’s
election, Ukraine will have taken another step forward in its democratic
development and therefore in its integration into the modern Europe.

Pluralism in politics, freedom in the media and the conduct of free and fair
elections are key indicators in Ukraine’s action plans with NATO and the EU.

A free election in Ukraine will have a profound effect on the region too. We
have just seen the most appalling travesty of democracy in Ukraine’s
neighbor, Belarus. The conduct of the election there was characterized by
the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe monitors as showing
"a disregard for the basic rights of freedom of assembly, association and
expression."

Yet depressing as it is to see Aleksandr Lukashenko securing another term as
president with an implausible 83 percent of the vote, there is still reason
to be optimistic for Belarus. These elections showed that there are people
in Belarus who are ready to unite in the fight for democratic values.

Lukashenko blames that on external interference. But in doing so, he
misreads his people. Belarussians are not so different from people the world
over. They expect honesty and accountability from their government. They
expect to have the choice of who governs them. No government that ignores
that can be sustainable. There’s no place for dictatorship in Europe.

Ukraine’s elections will be followed by a normal democratic tussle as
parties seek to form a new coalition government. We look forward to working
with whatever government emerges. We hope it will remain committed to
President Yushchenko’s reformist course, that it will vigorously pursue the
fight against corruption and that it will continue Ukraine’s remarkable
democratic development.

As for Belarus, we won’t forget the Belarussian people and their attempt to
make their voice heard. We need to stand by them, as we did the people of
Ukraine.                                          -30-
————————————————————————————–
Douglas Alexander is Britain’s minister for Europe.
http://www.iht.com/articles/2006/03/24/opinion/edalex.php
——————————————————————————————–
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
7.                      UKRAINE: AFTER THE WATERSHED

BOOK ESSAY: By Stefan Wagstyl, Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, Saturday, March 25 2006 

Standing in the crowds in central Kiev during the Orange Revolution it was
hard to avoid the sense that this was history in the making. With up to
500,000 people jamming into Independence Square and the surrounding streets,
the demonstrators were united in the conviction that something extraordinary
was happening. Strangers greeted each other like old friends. Old friends
embraced as if they had not met for years. The police reported that people
suddenly felt so upbeat that crime levels went down.

Fifteen months later, the mood in Kiev is quite different. Among the Orange
Revolution’s supporters there is widespread disappointment with president
Viktor Yushchenko who raised so many hopes when he took power. The new
administration, which overthrew the corrupt rule of Leonid Kuchma,
Yushchenko’s predecessor, has been racked by divisions. Yushchenko has

split with Yulia Tymoshenko, his great Orange Revolution ally and then prime
minister, and alienated other close supporters.

He has tried to shore up his position by doing deals with political
enemies – even Viktor Yanukovich, the rival candidate in the disputed
presidential election that led to the revolution. There is little progress
with the promised investigation of the serious crimes of the Kuchma era,
including the murder of campaigning journalist Georgy Gongadzde, fraud in
the 2004 presidential election and corruption. Even the inquiry into
Yushchenko’s own poisoning seems to have run into a snowdrift.

The president will get the measure of the disillusionment in tomorrow’s
(Sunday’s) parliamentary elections – the first national polls to be held
since the revolution. Whatever the result, the new government will struggle
to restore confidence in the nation’s politics.

Amid the gloom, it is easy to forget how much has been achieved. Whatever
the disappointments of the past 15 months, Ukraine today is a different
country – a democracy with genuine competition among parties, a free press
and a growing respect for the courts. Ukrainians no longer feel beholden to
Moscow. Above all, they have learnt they are not condemned to permanent
political passivity.

As Askold Krushelnycky writes in "An Orange Revolution," "The greatest and
most lasting legacy of the Orange Revolution is that it was a psychological
watershed for the Ukrainian people where they learned that their voices
counted and they could have a say in their country’s destiny."

Krushelnycky’s is one of three recently published instant histories of the
Orange Revolution. The others are Andrew Wilson’s "Ukraine’s Orange
Revolution" and "Revolution in Orange," edited by Anders Aslund and Michael
McFaul. All focus on the heady days of the revolution itself and are largely
free of the doubts that multiplied in its aftermath, although Krushelnycky
manages to squeeze in a short epilogue.

Krushelnycky’s account is the most personal. The son of Ukrainian refugees
who arrived in Britain after the second world war, Krushelnycky was brought
up in London in an expatriate household in which thoughts of the lost
homeland were never far away. A journalist specialising in eastern Europe,
he covered the Orange Revolution for London’s Independent with a passion
which he has now poured into this book.

The strength of his work lies in eyewitness accounts of the revolution and
face-to-face interviews with participants. He describes how the
demonstrations that brought down the Kuchma regime developed a life of their
own as thousands spent day after day in Independence Square in November

and December of 2004.

The mornings began with breakfast cooked in field kitchens, the smoke
curling above the demonstrators’ tents. The ranks of those who slept on site
were augmented by many more who trudged into the square during the day,
including thousands from abroad. Americans, Canadians, Italians, Poles and
Georgians rubbed shoulders with native Ukrainians.

The crowds were deadly serious in their intent, but rarely short of humour,
as Krushelnycky recalls. "One prominent gangster from the western city of
Ivano-Frankivsk… drove hundreds of miles to the capital in his swish
four-wheel drive with a convoy of his gang members in other vehicles to
deliver warm clothing to the protesters. He told a friend of mine who
travelled with him, ‘Yes, I might be a criminal but that doesn’t mean I want
my country to be run by criminals. And certainly not Russian criminals.’"

Journalists, especially those in state-run television, are deservedly given
credit for disobeying the official line and broadcasting balanced news
reports. Krushelnycky singles out Natalia Dmytruk, a sign-language
interpreter, who was among the first to break the taboo and report the true
result of the disputed November 25 election round, in which Yanukovich was
fraudulently declared the official winner.

She signalled to her deaf viewers: "I am addressing everybody who is deaf in
Ukraine. Our president is Viktor Yushchenko. Do not trust the results of the
Central Election Commission. They are all lies… And I am very ashamed to
translate such lies to you."

Krushelnycky rightly argues that Kuchma contributed hugely to his own demise
and the electoral failure of Yanukovich, his hand-picked successor. His
account concentrates on a story which he reported as a journalist – and
which had great resonance for journalists everywhere – the death of Georgy
Gongadze. Gongadze, a prominent Kuchma critic, went missing on September

16 2000. His headless body was unearthed near Kiev on November 3.

The authorities tried to suppress information about the case but on November
28 they were shocked by the extraordinary news that Major Mykola
Melnychenko, a presidential bodyguard, had fled the country, taking with him
secret tape recordings he had made in Kuchma’s office. These showed the
president had fumed for months about Gongadze and had urged his officials to
punish him.

As Krushelnycky shows, Kuchma, who denies wrong-doing, never recovered

from these allegations. As well as the smell of corruption, the stench of death
now hung over his administration. Krushelnycky recounts his own role in this
affair: he obtained a copy of the prosecutor-general’s secret file on the
scandal and summarised the contents in a story in the Independent in
mid-2004 – just weeks before the crucial presidential elections.

Krushelnycky’s account never lacks energy but is at times sweeping in its
judgments. This is particularly true in the historical introduction, where
Ukrainians are the heroes, Poles and Russians get short shrift and there is
little mention of the country’s Jewish inhabitants.

In the account of the Orange Revolution, Krushelnycky does not provide
sources, notably for the controversial reports of the authorities’ plans for
a possible armed assault on the demonstrators. There is also no index and
the bibliography lists only three books and two websites.

Wilson, a senior lecturer at London University’s School of Slavonic and East
European Studies, provides a more scholarly, though no less lively, account.
He is particularly strong on the interplay between politics and business
before and during the Orange Revolution. He shows how the Ukrainian
parliament was taken over by wealthy business people for whom a key
attraction was a deputy’s legal immunity.

Kuchma was surrounded by oligarchs who grew rich from untransparent
privatisations and who, in return, contributed generously to campaign
financing. Yushchenko also relied on the backing of wealthy businessmen –
without money he could never have started a campaign, let alone led a
revolution. But, as Wilson argues, Yushchenko’s financial backers were
genuine entrepreneurs not the recipients of crooked government favours.

Wilson, a specialist in the fake democracies of the former Soviet Union,
writes with relish about the Kuchma regime’s multiple efforts to fix the
presidential election. The key evidence was secret tape recordings made by
security services officers eavesdropping on an illegal computerised
vote-fixing cell.

Results sent by computer from regional election commissions to the central
election commission in Kiev were secretly diverted to this cell with the
knowledge of senior election commission officials. The cell’s experts
massaged the data before transmitting it to the central election commission
to ensure the numbers came out right for Yanukovich.

A nagging question about the crisis is whether Yushchenko could have
extracted bigger concessions from the Kuchma regime. We know Kuchma
considered using interior ministry troops against the demonstrators but gave
up the idea when confronted by the scale of the protests, western pressure
and splits in his security forces. He was then forced to negotiate a deal
with Yushchenko under which power would be transferred from the presidency
to parliament in a process that will be completed after tomorrow’s
elections.

It is now obvious that Yushchenko has failed in the last year to push
through as many reforms as he had hoped. Wilson suggests Yushchenko should
have secured a better deal with Kuchma. "It was far from clear, however,
that the package was the best that could have been negotiated or even
whether improvements could not have been made under the existing system."

Writing in the Aslund/McFaul book, Adrian Karatnycky disagrees. "This
bargain made sense," he says, because it was the best chance to create the
basis for a secure democracy.

The three books agree that Russia involved itself deeply in the Yanukovich
campaign – with disastrous results. In Aslund/McFaul, Nikolai Petrov and
Andrei Ryabov make the point succinctly: "The problem is not that the
Kremlin gambled on a candidate who lost but that the Kremlin’s involvement
was so conspicuous and crude." After Yushchenko’s success, wise heads in
Moscow suggested a more subtle approach in relations with former Soviet
states – for example, developing ties with opposition groups.

But the Kremlin has ignored this advice and generated an even cruder policy
of dividing former Soviet republics into allies (such as Uzbekistan) and
enemies (such as Georgia and Ukraine). The strategy is to support
authoritarian incumbents and prevent revolutions at almost any cost.

The three books present a far more positive view of western engagement in
the Orange Revolution. The writers comprehensively demolish the
Kremlin/Kuchma lie that the revolution was an American plot carried out with
Polish assistance. Wilson shows US democracy- related aid for Ukraine was
actually declining in 2002-2004 because of disappointment with Kuchma and
that a large slice correctly went to the government to support institutions
such as the Central Election Commission.

Perhaps the decisive western input was in providing observers who helped to
ensure that the fraud could not be hidden: 2,455 people in the disputed
second round and 13,644 in the rerun, the largest number of foreign
observers ever deployed anywhere.

As Wilson says: "On the whole the west was doing exactly what it should have
been doing in Ukraine, though arguably not doing enough. The west was
promoting its own values. It may not always live up to them itself, but that
does not mean it is wrong to try to help other countries live up to these
values." Of course, it favoured Yushchenko, but at least the west saw a
distinction between the man and the message. Russia had no time for such
niceties.

The utter cynicism of the Kremlin’s approach is revealed in remarks by Gleb
Pavlovsky, a Russian spin-doctor assisting Yanukovich. Quoted in
Aslund/McFaul, he says: "If we had had the power to consult our Ukrainian
partners on preventing counter-revolution and not on the elections, then
this misfortune would never have happened."               -30-
——————————————————————————————–
Stefan Wagstyl is the FT’s East European editor.
——————————————————————————————–
AN ORANGE REVOLUTION: A Personal Journey Through Ukrainian

History by Askold Krushelnycky
Harvill Secker £8.99, 360 pages
UKRAINE’S ORANGE REVOLUTION
by Andrew Wilson
Yale University Press £18.95, 256 pages
REVOLUTION IN ORANGE: The Origins of Ukraine’s Democratic
Breakthrough edited by Anders Aslund and Michael McFaul
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace $16.95, 180 pages
——————————————————————————————–
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
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========================================================
8 .   WILL PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION SEE RUSSIA’S ‘STOOGE’
                         BECOME UKRAINE’S COMEBACK KID?

Andrew Osborn in Kiev, The Independent
London, United Kingdom, Saturday, Mar 25, 2006

The "Russian stooge" who spectacularly lost Ukraine’s orange revolution and
saw his dream of becoming president shattered by hundreds of thousands of
street protesters has staged a remarkable comeback that could bring his
party a win in crunch elections tomorrow.

In an improbable turn of events, the party of Viktor Yanukovych, the Party
of the Regions, is forecast to win more votes than any other.

In December 2004, Mr Yanukovych looked like a broken man who had been
overtaken by the march of democracy and the political fashion of the moment:
velvet revolutions. His campaigners were exposed as electoral cheats who had
tried to rig the vote in his favour and he was denounced as President
Vladimir Putin’s puppet.

The hero of the revolution, Viktor Yushchenko, was hailed as a progressive
pro-Western champion of justice and went on to become President.

It seemed inconceivable that Mr Yanukovych would again be a contender to
rule Ukraine. Effigies of him were burnt in the street, his youthful
criminal record was dug up, and there were calls for him to be jailed.

But if a week is a long time in politics, a year and three months appear to
be an age. Yesterday Mr Yanukovych’s supporters massed on a central Kiev
square to chant his name as he promised them victory after a poll predicted
his party would win just over 30 per cent of the vote. The same poll gave Mr
Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine party some 17 per cent.

No matter how well he does, 55-year-old Mr Yanukovych will not become
Ukrainian president, because the elections are parliamentary not
presidential.

But his comeback could give him a big say in the formation of a new
government and in the appointment of a new prime minister, because it is the
new parliament and not the president that will choose who gets which job.

Perhaps more tellingly, Mr Yanukovych’s unlikely political resurrection
shows how sorely Mr Yushchenko and his orange team have disappointed, and
how damaging a split at the heart of the revolutionary team has proved. Last
September, Mr Yushchenko sacked his entire government including his prime
minister and heroine of the orange revolution, the charismatic Yulia
Tymoshenko. Mr Yushchenko cited infighting in the cabinet, personality
clashes, and corruption.

Ms Tymoshenko, known to her fans as "the orange princess" and "Ukraine’s
Joan of Arc", was devastated. The glamorous 45-year-old is looking for a
comeback in Sunday’s election which she is contesting under the banner of
her own political movement, Yulia’s Bloc.

Her party is forecast to win about the same number of votes as Mr
Yushchenko’s and her hope is that he will make her his prime minister again,
and that the orange revolution will be back on track.

If Ms Tymoshenko and Mr Yushchenko reunite, she believes they might be able
to keep the resurgent Mr Yanukovych from wielding too much influence. She
insists she has not got a bad word to say about the man who effectively
ditched her, President Yushchenko.

"Our support for the President is guaranteed because we did a lot to make
him President," she says. "I would like to return to power to strengthen his
position." Though she concedes that the orange revolution has disappointed
many, Ms Tymoshenko is passionate that it has changed Ukraine irrevocably
and for the better.

If she wins back power, she promises to root out the unscrupulous oligarchs
and officials she failed to sack first time round.             -30-
 

——————————————————————————————-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
9.    UKRAINE BUSINESSES HOPE PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION
                            WON’T TURN BACK THE CLOCK 

By Alex Nicholson, The Associated Press
Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, March 24, 2006

KIEV, Ukraine – Banking deals worth billions. The privatization of a massive
steel plant. A boom in construction. Ukraine’s Orange Revolution did plenty
to invigorate business in this former Soviet republic, so much so that
business leaders say there’s no turning back, and certainly no reason to
fear uncertainty in Sunday’s parliamentary elections.

"There has been a flood of investment into the market," said Darko Skulsky,
an advertising entrepreneur originally from Philadelphia. "We hope that it
can’t go back. We can’t see that it would go back."

That optimism comes despite the resurgence of a pro-Kremlin candidate who
was the nemesis of the Orange uprising – Victor Yanunkovych. He is widely
expected to ride into a coalition government on the back of public
dissatisfaction at the slow pace of change under President Viktor
Yushchenko.

Skulsky, who has produced music videos for Australian pop star Natalie
Imbruglia and commercials for Vodafone, calls the precarious days of the
Orange Revolution the "scariest period" in his company’s short history.

"We didn’t know if we’d still exist … we were worried the Donetsk guys
would physically take our business," Skulsky recalls, referring to Ukraine’s
industrial heartland and the eastern support base for Yanukovych.

But Skulsky and other entrepreneurs say the Orange revolt has re-branded
Ukraine in the eyes of Western investors, cleared a path to membership in
the World Trade Organization, fostered a free media, and sowed the seeds

for an emerging middle class among the young and educated.

"What happened was the middle class started growing, which never existed

in this country," he said. "We are the middle class – people like us."
Skulsky, 32 and sporting a shaggy goatee, said he has felt Ukraine’s promise
since he arrived in Kiev to open a local office for ad agency Leo Burnett in
1998.

Forging out on his own after the financial crash that rolled in from Russia
that year, Skulsky set up a production company – Radioaktive Film – that
today is the largest in Ukraine.

From a cramped two-room apartment, Radioaktive has expanded to fill 6,400
square feet of airy office space in western Kiev. The company has access to
one of the biggest sound stages in Europe – the colossal 27,000 square feet
Soviet-era Dovzhenko Studio – as well as separate casting and equipment
divisions.

Last year, Kiev served as a moody backdrop for Imbruglia’s video for the
single "Shiver." San Francisco rock trio BRMC, Vodafone and Germany’s

Chupa Chups have had Radioaktive produce videos or commercials.

The company made its first foray into film production that year – with a
horror flick in Los Angeles featuring "A Nightmare on Elm Street" star
Robert Englund, and, back in Kiev, a romance set against the backdrop of the
Orange Revolution.

Competition has hotted up. Skulsky notes, and not without some pride, that
all 19 production companies now working in Kiev were set up by alumni of his
firm. Skulsky is not the only entrepreneur upbeat about Ukraine.

Arthur McCallum of MG Capital Ukraine, adviser to an equity fund with over
$70 million dedicated to investments in Ukraine – insists a strong showing
by Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions, and a subsequent alliance with
Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine would not be a major blow to the Ukrainian
investment climate.

"Investors seek stability and predictability, and if that coalition could
remain stable, even with a moderate tempo of reforms, investors would see
that as generally positive," he said.

McCallum concedes there is plenty that needs reforming – numerous taxes and
a bureaucracy that remain the chief bugbears to doing business in Ukraine.

However, "it is highly unlikely that Ukraine will return to the centralized
rules of control under the system of (former President Leonid) Kuchma and
Co.," the private equity financier said, adding "the lock on the box has
been broken."                                        -30-
——————————————————————————————-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
10.  BIG CHOICE FOR UKRAINE IN COLOURFUL, CONFUSING POLL 

Oliver Bullough, Reuters, Donetsk, Ukraine, Saturday, March 25, 2006

 
DONETSK, Ukraine – Ukrainian voters will have a wide array of options
when they choose a parliament on Sunday in one of the most open,
colourful and unpredictable polls the former Soviet Union has seen.

Some 45 parties are standing at all levels from the national parliament
down, with interest piqued by new rules giving the legislature the power to
name the prime minister.

Bright colours and slogans pioneered by President Viktor Yushchenko’s
supporters, brought to power in the Orange Revolution more than a year ago,
have spread across the political spectrum.

Donetsk, eastern Ukraine’s main industrial centre, forms the bedrock of
support for Viktor Yanukovich and his Regions Party, tipped by opinion
surveys to win the most seats on Sunday — ahead of the Yushchenko’s Our
Ukraine party.

Tents erected to shelter activists in the city centre came in red, orange,
yellow, green, blue, two shades of pink, white, cream and multiple colour
combinations.

Voting is by national party list — meaning it will take at least two days
to establish how many seats each party has won. Ballot papers are 80 cm (2
1/2 feet) long — the size of three A4 sheets of paper stuck end to end.
They, too, come in different colours for the different elections. And each
party in each contest has a randomly assigned number.

One party published a helpful aide-memoir telling voters it could be found
next to numbers 2, 27, 20, 14, 28, 21, 28 again, 3, 13, 22 and 9 — 
depending on the ballot paper.

"Democracy is young, and there are personal differences between many party
leaders," Yuri Pavlenko, sports minister and a candidate from Yushchenko’s
party, told Reuters when asked why there were so many parties.
                        FEWER PARTIES IN FUTURE
He thought only five or six parties would remain in future elections as
groups sharing similar ideologies — the three ecological parties, for
example — merge.

Parties hurled accusations of dirty tricks at each other. But most agreed
the Orange Revolution, in which protests forced a re-run of a rigged
election and catapulted Yushchenko to victory over Yanukovich, had

shered in a period of freedom. And that allowed more parties to take part
in elections.

"Despite the socio-economic difficulties, there is freedom," said Oleksandr
Ivashchenko, a spokesman for the Socialist Party. "If there is freedom, that
is the basis for everything, The rest can come later."

Sergei Solovin, a mechanic in Donetsk, took the government’s promises at
face value and decided to run for mayor of the major industrial centre.

He conceded that his platform — which includes raising prices, banning
smoking and insisting people regularly honour the Welshman who opened

the first coal mines in the region in the 19th century — was unlikely to win
him any votes. But no one, at least, had tried to stop him.

"I’m an example of the country being more liberal. An ordinary person could
become a candidate," he told Reuters. "The most difficult thing was to talk
to the electoral commission because they could not understand what I was
doing. But they couldn’t refuse me."                      -30-
——————————————————————————————-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================

11. MARKET OF ELECTORAL APPEALS, ELECTORAL HYPNOSIS:
           ADVERTISING LANDSCAPES OF THE PARLIAMENTARY 
                            CAMPAIGN IN UKRAINE 2006

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: Lyudmilla Pavliuk & Adrian Erlinger
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #679, Article 11
Washington, D.C., Sunday, March 26, 2006

During the 2004 presidential elections, Ukrainian electoral campaigns
demonstrated an enormous amount of neo-Soviet features, so much that the
"democracy in transition" seemed to be a straightforward transition to
autocracy. With control of the mass media, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovich
used his position of power and the full support of incumbent president
Leonid Kuchma as an advantage to control electoral outcomes.

University rectors pressured students to vote for Yanukovich, while factory
bosses threatened to fire workers if they did not vote for the "correct"
candidate. Television, the primary source of information for voters,
presented ample positive coverage for the prime minister. Meanwhile,
opposition presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko was physically prevented
from campaigning in Odessa and Donetsk, strongholds of Yanukovich and his
Party of Regions.

Given the amount of governmental pressure on voters experienced during the
presidential campaign, this year’s parliamentary campaign is being closely
monitored for its democratic legitimacy in Ukraine and outside of the
country. Although the current opposition Party of Regions and its allies
claim that Nasha Ukraina has used administrative pressure to manipulate the
elections for its benefit, there is little evidence that Yushchenko’s party
has applied the same heavy-handed methods to manipulate public perception as
seen in the 2004 campaign.

The state of the mass media is not ideal, yet quite normalized. And perhaps
the main change can be observed in the realm of individual psychological
perception of the political reality: there is no strict division of good and
evil; there is less romanticism, and more pragmatism.

The spectrum of parliamentary colors has broadened from the extreme bipolar
representation of political forces of 2004, when appeals of "protecting" the
Russian language or "put the bandits in jail" compelled voters on an
emotional level. Rather than a choice between "blue" or "orange," new colors
have appeared in the parliamentary campaign offering different flavors of
ideology, symbols and techniques.

Politicians are utilizing the forces of marketing and branding to attract
votes in the 2006 parliamentary campaign. Instead of two choices, voters
will choose from 47 political parties and blocs, which will be represented
on the ballot lists for the Verkhovna Rada. This fragmentation indicates the
pragmatic and complex nature of the current political situation in Ukraine.

On the other hand, the quantitative diversity is a mere decoration. It
disguises the "qualitative" basic polarization between pro-presidential and
anti-presidential camps. As in every campaign in Ukraine since 1991, the
multi-ideological set of partisan propositions can be reduced to some basic
value alternatives. The differences between parties are often related only
to situational details, personalities and style of campaigning.

With regard to the inner polarity of the 2004 contest, the 2006 campaign
remains focused on affirming or rejecting the values of the Orange
Revolution. The main political forces in the current parliamentary
campaign-Nasha Ukraina, Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko (BYuT) and Party of
Regions-all reiterate and reinvent established slogans of the previous
election, a move intended to uphold or dismiss the "orange" leadership.

President Yushchenko has expressed the rather modest hope of creating a
parliamentary coalition that would be supported by 60% of the population, a
consolidation of pro-presidential forces rather than the creation of a new
parliamentary entity.

This article attempts to point out trends in a brief overview of
advertisements that each block and party has employed during the
parliamentary campaign. We will center on the parties that have the best
chances of passing the parliamentary threshold of 3% of total votes.

With this low percentage of votes required to enter parliament, several
structurally insignificant yet ideologically symptomatic groups with
eccentric, extreme, aggressive and perhaps scandalous strategies, have
entered the mainstream political discourse. They will not play a significant
role on 26 March 2006, but they play "technical" roles, as well as enhancing
the atmosphere of electoral festivities. Let us look what they, the
politicians, do to make us choose them.
                               THE SPECTRUM OF ORANGE
One shade of the spectrum-orange-clarified much of the future vector of
Ukrainian politics, although it serves only a limited set of values for
Ukrainian society as a whole. Thus, in terms of currently circulating
political appeals, the Verkhovna Rada election looks to a large extent as a
mandate on the Orange Revolution. The Ukraine People’s Union (Nasha

Ukraina Bloc) attracts the electorate using the image of Maidan as a
"collective symbolic creature."

Images of the euphoric crowds of 2004 were the best appeal that Nasha
Ukraina could have utilized in the parliamentary campaign. Nasha Ukraina ads
on local radio stations express an established pathos: "Yushchenko,"
"revolution," "remember, you said ‘TAK’ and you won." For many Ukrainians
the Orange Revolution is a diminished flame, but it has not turned to ashes.
Thus, it is natural to maintain the desire for freedom, to recapture the
beauty, glory and victory of Maidan.

Billboards with orange crowds and the Nasha Ukraina symbol of the horseshoe
read: "Do not betray Maidan!" The image of the traitor is one of the most
negative alternatives to positive national heroic mythology. The Nasha
Ukraina ads act as the superego, voicing a seemingly unattractive
perspective onto voters whose ids may rationalize an alternative scenario.

Opinion polls over the past few months point to the reality that Nasha
Ukraina will not secure a sure-fire majority in parliament. For the
unengaged outsider, it seems confusing-or a failure of the Orange
Revolution-that the hero of Maidan in the course of one year will not be
able to secure the mandate of millions who supported him on the frozen
streets of autumn 2004. Given the polarized nature between "orange" versus
"blue" on the ballot sheet, voters in fact expressed a variety of choices
through political protest.

According to a poll taken by Democratic Initiatives in August 2005, the
majority of Yushchenko voters (59%) took to the streets to demonstrate
against election fraud. While 36% of "orange" voters protested to protect
democratic values, only 30% protested to express explicit support for
Yushchenko’s candidacy.

It is quite possible (although not necessary) to separate Maidan from the
authorities who rode to power on the orange wave, but later ended up making
so many mistakes. According to the opinion polls taken in March 2006, Nasha
Ukraina is expected to receive 17.1% of the votes, an unimpressive result
that reflects 1) the significant role of Yushchenko’s allies during and
after the Orange Revolution 2) the public’s dissatisfaction with discrepancy
between desired and real outcomes in the activities of the new authorities.

An opinion poll conducted by Kyiv International Institute of Sociology from
27 October to 7 November 2005 indicated that 68.5% of Ukrainians were
"disappointed with the new leadership." One year after Maidan, to support
Yushchenko’s Nasha Ukraina party in the parliamentary elections means that
the loyal "orange" voter is a hard optimist.

The Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc (BYuT) has chosen a red heart as the logo for the
outdoor advertisements of her block. Appealing to the emotional and the
feminine, the red heart forms the shape of a check mark, to choose Valentine’s
Day forever on election day. Despite Tymoshenko’s female sex appeal, her
politics are tough enough to make the powerful band of oligarchs feel
furious.

Yulia’s eponyms have taken on duel masculine/feminine attributes of power:
"Gas Princess," "Iron Lady," "Goddess of  the Revolution," "Kung-Fu

Master," "Queen of the Government," and "Samurai in a Skirt." As to
operate the traditional stereotypes, Tymoshenko’s will for power is strictly
masculine while her extremely controversial and plastic nature is her most
salient feminine feature.

Although the "Goddess of the Revolution" is still loved by many Ukrainians
in the western regions, their rational sides tell them that there is
something dangerous and sinful in loving the beauty of BYuT. In conservative
Galicia, many will think of Yulia, but vote for Yushchenko – because of the
fear of "adultery" and the unwillingness to be a "traitor."

Support for Yulia in Lviv dropped in March compared to February, whereas it
is on the rise in Ukraine as a whole. Tymoshenko’s main electoral basis lies
in the center regions, especially Kyiv, where voters admire her for her past
victories as "Goddess of the Revolution."

Sociological polls promise that BYuT will receive up 17% of the total vote
and this is tremendous considering that BYuT began running paid television
advertisements late in the campaign. Pro-Yulia optimists are sure that a
dozen well-placed advisers is enough to transform her into a liberal leader.
The block is framing the 2006 parliamentary campaign as a vote for the new
prime minister.

At first such idea was disseminated through modest campaigning newspapers
and leaflets, but since the beginning of March, BYuT billboards with the
portrait of the former "orange" prime minister state: "The 2006 elections
are elections for the prime minister."

Voters know that this election will determine the new course of the
government, but many are still unclear on Tymoshenko’s ideological stance
with her former allies. Yulia and Yushchenko worked together to form the
opposition against Kuchma in 2002, and ascended to power after mutual
victory on Maidan. In the current ultra-competitive atmosphere of the
electoral campaign, one-time allies appear as contenders, and perhaps almost
enemies.

In February 2006, Prime Minister Yurii Yekhanurov and a leader of Nasha
Ukraina bloc sustained a vote of no confidence by BYuT and other opposition
forces over the handling of the gas crisis with Russia. The dispute has
emerged as a political issue during the campaign, and Yekhanurov remarked
ironically, "It is not possible to cancel our decision concerning gas prices
and to warm the country by the heat of the heart on [Tymoshenko’s]
billboards."

Yushchenko’s current colleagues have no choice but to criticize her, because
the game of the parliamentary elections is serious and Yulia has already
successfully diminished a portion of Yushchenko’s electorate.

As part of her campaign, Tymoshenko encourages Ukrainians who are
disappointed with social matters to vote for BYuT: "Fairness exists, it is
worth to struggle for it." Such terms as "conscientiousness" or "fairness"
have gained an exceptionally mystical and enigmatic aura during long period
of cultivating populism and idealism in totalitarian times. Yet if one tries
to convert the word into practical activities such as reducing inflation,
raising steel production or offsetting high global energy prices, the
results often lead to disappointment.

"Fairness" is politically charged and relevant, as demonstrated by the
former Prime Minister’s controversial re-privatization campaign, when
fairness directed at some social and political groups turned into unfairness
in regard to the other groups. Many people consider Tymoshenko an innocent
victim of the politics of social obligations of the new authorities – she
did what she was expected to do and was fired when the socially accentuated
politics had brought unexpected poor results instead of expected positive
ones.

Public perception toward the figure of Tymoshenko is as controversial as the
"gas princess" herself. Her supporters would like to believe in their
beloved leader, but the hero does not provide enough reasons for that. In
fact, this remains true about all of the "orange" team. One personal
anecdote reflects this. In L’viv, the deputy director of a small publishing
house said: "In this parliamentary campaign, I believe nobody, just nobody.
But Yulia is at least attractive…"

His office walls are decorated with portraits and posters of Yulia
Tymoshenko. During the 2004 presidential campaign, the former authorities
openly warned the man that if he did not print materials for Yanukovich, he
would have problems with the tax administration.

If one wants to see any progress in the 2006 campaign compared to 2004
campaign, it should be noted that the director has not experienced
administrative pressure. His problem is rather existential – the absence of
enough reasons to believe. Beliefs often stand close to illusions and are
mixed with them and in the process, society becomes more sober and
pragmatic.

Pora-Reforms and Order was launched with a powerful brand – the activism of
the young generation, the true vanguard of the Orange Revolution. Their
appeal is that activism is based on concrete steps rather than verbal
arguments. Ironically, they have institutionalized themselves along with the
rest of the political parties they opposed.

World-famous boxer Vitaly Klychko is on the list of candidates. The athlete’s
image in the campaign overshadows the Pora brand in campaigning and on
billboards, let alone the Reforms and Order party. Advertisements featuring
the boxer read "The honesty of everyone is the power of the state."

Recently Borys Olijnyk, a poet and politician who is campaigning with his
own national-democratic bloc, was asked at his promotional meeting what he
thinks about the Ukrainian political elite. He responded that now he feels
optimistic about it: when Klychko comes to parliament, Ukrainian politicians
will fight more professionally. They already do this with much enthusiasm,
yet in a very amateur way.

Although Pora’s project is politically correct and inspirational, it will
not produce the expected results of formulating a new Ukrainian vanguard
free from the corruption of previous governments. Opinion polls indicate
support of only 2.3%, quite unexpected for a high-profile party. This can be
attributed to the fact that the party’s leaders remain anonymous by a large
extent to the public, whereas the charismatic Klychko does not yet fully
belong to the realm of mainstream politics.

The average voter feels rather uncertain about his role in the political
arena instead of the usual boxing ring: what is he going to do there, in
dirty Ukrainian politics? Despite these problems, Klychko inspires society
and responds to its demands – recently he began to publicly speak Ukrainian,
a requirement for presidential and parliamentary candidates.

The Kostenko-Plyushch bloc represents a traditional "national-democratic"
political line that is vanishing like many positive things that have already
finished playing their role. Yet it is good that the KP bloc maintains this
niche and still is focused on "national-democratic" colors of the political
spectrum. Their billboards are blue and yellow – beautiful noble colors of
the flag Ukraine shares with Nordic Sweden.

Orange turned out to be the successor to blue and yellow in the short
history of Ukrainian independence. The slogans of the KP bloc once again
remind Ukrainians about geopolitics, strategic values, and other visionary
concepts: "We are moving towards Europe."

As a national-democratic party, the KP accentuates national economic
priorities: ".France.China. Russia.Mexico.82% of the goods that are sold in
Ukraine are not made in Ukraine. Let’s protect our national producers!"
Despite these positive, forward-thinking slogans, the block’s chance for
success in impacting the political scene is minimal – they may not pass the
3% threshold.
              PINK, GREEN AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN
As former head of Kuchma’s For a United Ukraine bloc in 2002 and the current
Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, Volodymyr Lytvyn is not a stranger to
Ukrainian politics. His Lytvyn Bloc is directly connected with the ancien
régime, yet serves as a "third column" to Orange Revolution agnostics.
Despite showing a low percentage of support in the opinion polls ( 3.4%), the
Lytvyn Bloc began campaigning early with plenty of financial and mass media
resources in its grasp.

The block’s brand color, green, appears as a mild alternative to orange and
blue-and-white, a brand addressing voters who were viewed as not satisfied
with the "revolutionary" polarity of the 2004 campaign. Since nobody can
tell for sure how numerous the block of "neutral citizens" is, Lytvyn’s
party started active construction of the target audience – in a rather
cultural than political way – by appealing to nostalgic feelings of the
middle generation.

Photos from the Soviet era – kindergarten celebrations, university student
groups, working collectives, and family gatherings – were used extensively
on billboards. The purpose of the branding campaign is to show the seemingly
inclusive nature of the party in face of the divided nature of Ukrainian
politics. Another part of the Lytvyn brand is the simple slogan "We."

Yet this name "We" has a double meaning – it invites one to become a member
of the group yet makes one question the identity of the neutral "we." This
paradigm evokes a joke from the communist era: a lecturer-ideologue while
talking to an audience of ordinary people says, "Very soon we will live
under communism." An old man in the back row stands up and asks: "You will
live under communism. Well, but what about us?"

The Socialist Party of Ukraine (SPU) expects to garner around 5.4% of the
vote.  With the changing of the political landscape in the past decade,
Oleksandr Moroz has remained at the forefront of the SPU. Moroz’s party
served as a key ally for Yushchenko during the critical days of the Orange
Revolution.

Socialist ministers monopolized spheres of education, health, and militia.
FM station ads accentuate the political significance of the Socialists by
describing their personal contribution into Ukraine’s social developments:
due to Lutsenko, crime decreased by 25%; due to Nikolayenko, teachers’

wages were raised.

A mutual tolerance marks any cooperation in the tenuous coalition between
"orange" and "pink" (i.e. socialist) forces. Yet it does not mean true love
and real support in all parts of the society. Mailboxes across Ukraine are
regularly packed with the SPU newspaper "Tovarysh" ("Comrade"). A cynical,
but typical, response to this type of campaigning would be to say, "Tambovs’kyj
vovk tobi tovarysh" – slang for "Don’t call me your comrade!"

In fact, the socialist idea in post-Soviet space is greatly compromised by
collisions of the Soviet past, especially in the eyes of western Ukrainian
citizens. On the other hand, the mission of SPU is justified and legitimized
by the socialist experiences of the Western European democracies. In this
sense, the party of Moroz has obviously joined the mainstream ideology.

Naturally, the party now feels anxious to explain that its socialism has
nothing to do with the former Soviet rule. Instead, they are next of kin to
European socialism: "Citizens of many European countries are looking with
confidence into the future because they voted for the socialists. Let us
build Europe in Ukraine."

Leader of the party Viche is Inna Bogoslovs’ka, a successful lawyer and part
of the business elite. Many Ukrainians remember that she was one of the
judicial consultants who early on saw the legal prospects of the Orange
Revolution. Later, she positioned herself against many in government by
opposing the re-privatization of the Nikopol’ metallurgical plant.

Having employed a team of intellectuals, her television spots and FM ads
reached out to sophisticated, intellectual and egocentric voters: "We will
have a great country – as the greatness of each individual," "The country is
indivisible in such a way as each ego is valuable and complete."

Her campaign used a creative trick of a magic nature to grab the attention
of the electorate. Advertisers played with the words viche (a gathering of
people) and vich-na-vich (eye-to-eye). Only the eyes of Inna Bogoslovs’ka
were shown on billboard and in TV ads, hypnotizing people for many weeks
precluding the verbal, conceptual part of the team’s campaign. It is not
likely that "Viche" will pass the 3% barrier to parliament and if they fail,
it will probably show that technologically ideal and financially secure
campaigning has little to do with results.

Green parties play an important role in European countries like Germany, and
they carry a large responsibility in post-Chernobyl Ukraine. Voters in this
campaign should be careful not to confuse three green parties: Green Party
of Ukraine, Eco+ 25%, and Green Planet. They all are vital and welcome, but
unfortunately, more examples of "virtual" parties.

Previously, Vitaliy Kononov’s Green Party earned the negative reputation of
being a non-independent part of oligarchs’ games, which was one reason that
this political force failed to enter parliament in 2002. Now it is
attempting to appeal to the protest vote for apathetic or disenfranchised
electorate: "Let us tie a green ribbon of protest against ecological
pollution." The Green Party managed to enlist pop star in drag Vierka
Serdiuchka to tour in major Ukrainian cities.

Sadly, this is the only selling point for the party. Kononov’s unwelcome
competitor, Eco+25, boosts its green slogans with the promise that
Ukrainians will receive a 25% of wages bonus in ecologically troubled zones.
As a result of joint efforts of some parties, Ukrainians enjoy intense
layers of thousands of green leaflets on poles and walls.

Someone pays for them, someone publishes them, young people receive some
money for spreading them, and so everyone seems to be satisfied. Yet one
more paradox appears: leaflets are good for politics, but bad for the
environment.
               THE SPECTRUM OF BLUES AND REDS
One would have expected Party of Regions to launch a massive rebranding
campaign for the Verkhovna Rada elections. After losing the presidential
elections in part by relying too much on administrative resources, party
leader Viktor Yanukovich recycled the same themes of the 2004 campaign that
secured him 44% of the popular vote. For the March ballot, voters are
subjected to the déjà vu of traditional electoral weapons.

For western Ukrainians, a pastoral Yanukovich appears on TV screens as a
specter from a virtual reality; for eastern Ukrainians, the images connect
extremely well. Economic and social problems are given equal treatment with
issues of identity: "Life is getting worse and worse" runs alongside the
motto of "Russian language as a second state language." On 22 February, the
Crimean parliament proposed a resolution to hold a referendum to make the
Russian language the second state language in Crimea.

Party of Regions has monopolized the right for representation of the
potential and cultural needs of the eastern regions. Compared to the
national-democratic idea of Ukrainian statehood which was born in western
Ukraine in the 1990s, the "regional" idea now has become the exclusive
ideological property of the eastern and southern politicians. At the same
time, from the viewpoint of necessity of some moral progress in society,
Yanukovich is an accidental and inappropriate figure for the easterners’
ideological worship.

The eastern electorate, disgraced by the failure of their identity project
during the Orange Revolution, continues to stubbornly maintain loyalty to a
weak and suspicious leader. According to Slavoj Zizek, the Slovenian
philosopher and psychoanalyst, such behavior of the masses looks like
participation in the ritual of masking the falsehood of a leader.

Given the prospect that timely self-diagnosis means proper cure and change,
self-criticism in Yushchenko’s team and honest discontent among his
electorate is more promising than the inert political scene in the eastern
and southern regions.

At the last minute, Yanukovich tried to promote oligarch and head of the
Party of Regions Rinat Akhmetov as his protégé, successor, and even a future
presidential candidate. This is risky because mentality of many southern and
eastern voters is able to prevent them from rallying around an oligarch,
their nemesis on the social level. On the other hand, the eastern and
southern electorate can choose to ignore social matters for the sake of the
regional solidarity and consolidation.

The Social-Democratic Party (in coalition with Women for the Future, Center
and the Republican Party of Ukraine) constitutes the group of hardline
opposition party Ne TAK. The group has deployed a simplistic strategy of
saying "no" rather than presenting positive solutions. Their advertising
logo is "Ne TAK!" (Not Right!).

It’s understandable: they are enemies of Yushchenko whose political capital
is based upon pointing out the failures of the new authorities. This idea is
metaphorically visualized on their billboards. A worker in an orange T-shirt
and blue-and-white robe covers Yushchenko’s presidential slogan "We can, we
know.

TAK! Yushchenko" with dense layers of paint. This slogan of Yushchenko’s
2004 campaign is modified and adapted to fit 2006 realities: "They couldn’t
do it. Enough. No to TAK!" Their television ads make the clear statement
that "The orange leaders have led the country toward political and economic
crisis."

Unlike the "neutral" opposition of the Lytvyn Bloc, theirs is a
non-compromising opposition. It includes odious figures such as Leonid
Kravchuk, Viktor Medvedchuk, and Hryhoriy Surkis. Ironically, former
president Kravchuk – who failed himself to win reelection for his government’s
mistakes – has found company in people who unceasingly blame the current
president for Ukraine’s problems.

Ne TAK clearly indicates its geopolitical priorities in its ads: against
NATO, against the European Union; for the official status of the Russian
language, for the proposed Common Economic Space, and for a union with
Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. At this point, Ukrainian membership into
Euro-Atlantic institutions seems less tenuous than entry into an amorphous,
ill-defined "common economic space."

While Ne TAK advocates a return to past economic structures, Ukraine under
Yushchenko received market economy status by the European Union and the
United States.

Allied with the Social-Democratic Party umbrella is the Republican Party of
Ukraine led by Yurii Boiko, former head of Naftohaz Ukrainy during Kuchma’s
presidency. A marginal force in Ukrainian politics, the party launched an
ambitious advertising campaign in the United States. Using neutral green
colors, RPU published a series of ads in the Washington Post in October
2005.

Branding themselves as "a party of democratic values for Ukraine," the RPU
does not promote an image of hard opposition. Its slogan "sometimes you can’t
see the tree for the forest" is an attempt to draw attention away from Nasha
Ukraina, BYuT and Party of Regions-a classic technique of the "technical" or
"virtual parties."

Block For the Union is one of those virtual formations that function mostly
for propaganda purposes. It can be considered as a populist shadow for the
Party of Regions’ ideology. Its most frequent television ad on the Inter
channel is stylistically one of the most sado-masochistic in the Rada
campaign, and the most explicit in terms of pro-Russian ideology.

The ads are presented for everyday mass consumption rather than serious
political discourse: president Yushchenko is represented as a pitiful orange
bunny rabbit near a gas pipe. The hare is freezing cold and he screams over
and over again, "Think in Ukrainian." The ad parodies Yushchenko’s patriotic
style, in particular his recent electoral slogan "Think in Ukrainian."

The tiny humiliated hare is contrasted to three giants – characters from
Russian heroic epics that in this context represent the union of Russia,
Belarus and Ukraine. At the end of the ad one giant spanks the orange hare
on his orange backside. The viewers either enjoy or are disgusted in the ad,
depending on their ideological orientations or sado-masochistic
inclinations.

The Communist Party (with a poll rating of 3.7% at the beginning of March)
recruited extremely creative spin-doctors to rebrand an obsolete and
outdated CPU into a modernized Communist Party. PR-programs on television
depict communists and the communist idea (which is essentially selective
memory and nostalgia) with a "human face." Moreover, they go much further
than that. One clip shows curvy, long-legged girls in swimming suits that
are going somewhere.

Where are they going? Toward communism. A young man with the clothes,
hairstyle, and accessories of a modern (and ironically, capitalist) guy
makes a V-sign with his hand and says that communism is fashionable.

What do you think of communism now?

However, the Communists’ serious statements do not leave any doubts
concerning their ideology. Party leader Petro Symonenko outlines clear
strategic visions in the Ukrainian Communist’s Party outlet "Kommunist."
Slogans read: "We will do everything so that our land does not turn into a
NATO firing range," and "The Black Sea Fleet base in Sevastopol is a
guarantee of our stability."

The same newspaper in its 4 January 2006 issue combined a Christmas
greeting, the slogan "Workers of the World, Unite!", a picture of Lenin, a
photo and message of Symonenko, as well as a picture and message from
Orthodox patriarch Volodymyr on its front page. Recently, Symonenko harshly
attacked Black American religious missionaries, saying "Black Americans
preachers come here and teach our Orthodox people how to live."

These all represent astounding metamorphosis and excellent examples of
campaign rebranding. In Soviet times, religion was the worst enemy of
communism, and now the party seeks to protect religion by "saving"
Ukrainians from foreigners who represent a different type of Christianity.

Progressive Socialist Bloc of Natalia Vitrenko was not inventive enough to
purchase a clip with a band of appealing guys. She has developed a different
image specialization, that of an unstoppable socialist populist. Expected to
barely meet the 3% barrier, Vitrenko labels herself as the "people’s
opposition" on TV ads, a term abused after millions of people demonstrated
on Maidan.

She has always been a mouthpiece for the open hatred of the West and a

love for Russia. Aggression and extreme rhetoric is her usual tool for
maintaining public interest. Young Progressive Socialists recently marched
in the streets of Kyiv, chanting in Russian that "NATO is worse than the
Gestapo."

Vitrenko’s television spots show how threatened the Russian language is by
humiliating the representatives of pro-Ukrainian language policies. One clip
shows an angry gloomy schoolteacher (a typical vehicle of social
suppression) that does not let a schoolgirl go to the restroom until the
girl expresses her wish in Ukrainian. Issues of preserving a Soviet-Russian
identity take center stage.

Party of Putin’s Politics. Employing the same trick as in the case of Viche,
Putin’s eyes stare at pedestrians from the leaflets in the streets of
Ukrainian cities (the number of parties seem to be more than the creative
ideas for their ads). After Inna’s series of ads, Putin’s magic appeal does
not look equally as thrilling. Another advertisement features the party
leader in a judo uniform.

Yet the fact of promotion of Putin’s politics in Ukraine is fascinating for
the political reasons. Is there any example in the world of a politician
from the other country serving as a brand for a parliamentary political
force in another country? This concept proves be very Ukrainian, and very
Russian as well.
                   HYPNOSIS OR ELECTORAL FATIGUE?
Political campaigning is traditionally conceptualized through different
metaphors: campaigns as hypnosis, campaigns as serving meals, campaigns

as interpersonal appeals. The most important thing for the consumer of
propaganda, whatever this propaganda is called, is to take some
precautionary measures – in order not to swallow some poison mixed up with
some seemingly benign soup.

The voters now seem to be well equipped in order not to become victims of
verbal overfeeding. The main political forces have remained almost the same,
but on the part of society their perception has become less ideological,
more healthy, and mature.

On the other hand, parliamentary elections season produces a ripe harvest of
obscure and obsolete advertising campaigns that voters must digest. Thus,
the result of the parliamentary campaign of 2006 is that Ukrainians are
becoming a nation of philosophers and political vegetarians.    -30-
————————————————————————————————
N.B. Results of opinion polls are conducted by Democratic Initiatives
(http://uv.ukranews.com)
————————————————————————————————
Lyudmilla Pavliuk is a professor of journalism at Ivan Franko University

in Lviv, Ukraine. As a Kennan-Fulbright scholar in 2005, she investigated
extreme rhetoric in the media space during the Ukrainian presidential
elections. Adrian Erlinger is an analyst and journalist of European and
Eurasian Affairs in Washington, DC. He edits Leopolis, a blog of Ukraine
and the CIS (http://leopolis.blogspot.com).
——————————————————————————————-
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AUR#678 Faded Orange, Old Guard Feared To Return, President Did Not Put Bandits In Jail; IRI Election Delegation Receives Briefings;

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

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

 
                          FADED ORANGE
       WHY THE HERO OF KIEV FACES PERIL AT THE POLLS

       YUSHCHENKO SUPPORTERS SEE HOPES OF A NEW DAWN
   CRUSHED IN UKRAINE, RETURN OF THE OLD GUARD FEARED
           Resentment, frustration, disappointment, anger and a feeling of
        betrayal at President Yushchenko for not putting bandits in jail, not 
     cleaning up corruption and living up to his promise during the Orange
             Revolution runs deep in Kyiv and is the first and foremost
                     complaint heard from the citizens on the streets.
 
          We did not expect economic miracles, one person said, but we
      did expect the President to put the bandits in jail. Now many of them 
              are going to be back in power and in the new Parliament.
 
"A glance at the list of election candidates shows a motley crowd of criminal
    suspects, chancers and businessmen scrambling to get into parliament."
                        
THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR – Number 678
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor  
REPORTING FROM KYIV, UKRAINE , FRIDAY, MARCH 24, 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
  CRUSHED IN UKRAINE, RETURN OF THE OLD GUARD FEARED
Tom Parfitt in Kiev, The Guardian
London, United Kingdom, Friday March 24, 2006
          WHY THE HERO OF KIEV FACES PERIL AT THE POLLS
COMMENT AND ANALYSIS: By Stefan Wagstyl and Tom Warner
Financial Times, London, Friday, March 24 2006

3. VIKTOR YANUKOVICH ON VERGE OF REMARKABLE POLITICAL

                                    COMEBACK IN UKRAINE
By Tom Warner in Kiev and Stefan Wagstyl in London
Financial Times, London, United Kingdom, Friday, March 24 2006 

4.       PRO-RUSSIAN LEADER IN UKRAINE PREPARES FOR

                   MASSIVE COMEBACK IN SUNDAY’S VOTE
By Mara D. Bellaby, AP Worldstream, Kiev, Ukraine, Fri, Mar 24, 2006

5EASTERN UKRAINE BACKS ITS NATIVE SON YANUKOVYCH,
                ANTICIPATING LONG-AWAITED REVENGE
By Natasha Lisova, AP Worldstream, Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006

6.       ORANGE PAST PEELS AWAY AS UKRAINE POLL LOOKS

                                 LIKELY TO AVOID DRAMAS
By Tom Warner in Kiev, Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, Wednesday, March 22 2006

7 UKRAINE POLL MAY ROLL BACK ORANGE REVOLUTION IDEALS
By Ron Popeski, Reuters, Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, March 23, 2006

8.                               UKRAINE FACING A CHOICE
OPINION & ANALYSIS: By Alexander Oryol in Kyiv
RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 23, 2006

9 .         ETHNIC AND CULTURAL DIVISIONS HAUNT UKRAINE

                              BEFORE PARLIAMENTARY VOTE
By Steven Lee Myers, The New York Times
New York, New York, Friday, March 24, 2006

10.                   UKRAINE BETTER OFF THAN IT SEEMS
OP-ED: by Adrian Karatnycky, Kyiv Post
Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 23 2006

11.        UKRAINE’S VIKTOR YUSHCHENKO MAY LOSE KEY
                        PARLIAMENTARY VOTE, POLL SHOWS
Bloomberg News, New York, New York, Friday, March 24, 2006

12 INTERNATIONAL REPUBLICAN INSTITUTE PARLIAMENTARY
              ELECTION MONITORING TEAM ARRIVES IN KYIV

                  PREPARES FOR THE ELECTION ON SUNDAY
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #678, Article 12
Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, March 17, 2006

13.    MAJOR POLITICAL PARTIES COMPETING IN UKRAINE’S

                                   PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION 
AP Worldstream, Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Mar 23, 2006

14KEY PLAYERS IN UKRAINE’S PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS
AP Worldstream, Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Mar 23, 2006

15.                              UKRAINE: A NEW ELECTION
ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: By Ivan Lozowy
THE UKRAINE INSIDER, Vol. 6, No. 2
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 22, 2006

16UKRAINE: FREEDOM OF CHOICE, ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2006
ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: By Tammy Lynch
THE ISCIP ANALYST, Formerly The NIS Observed,
An Analytical Review. Volume XII, Number 3
Boston, Massachusetts, Monday, March 20, 2006

17REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AT SIGNING OF H.R. 1053, TO
        AUTHORIZE THE EXTENSION OF NONDISCRIMINATORY
                 TREATMENT TO THE PRODUCTS OF UKRAINE
THE WHITE HOUSE: Office of the Press Secretary
Washington, D.C., Thursday, March 23, 2006

18.     COLD WAR TRADE RESTRICTIONS ON UKRAINE ENDING
AP Worldstream, Washington, DC, Thursday, Mar 23, 2006

19.        I ONLY KNOW WHO WON’T BE THE PRIME MINISTER
        Viktor Yushchenko on what will happen to Ukraine after the election
INTERVIEW: With President Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine
BY: Mikhail Zygar, Mustafa Naijem, Sergei Sidorenko
Kommersant, Moscow, Russia, March 23, 2006
========================================================
1
.   YUSHCHENKO SUPPORTERS SEE HOPES OF A NEW DAWN

   CRUSHED IN UKRAINE, RETURN OF THE OLD GUARD FEARED
     
Tom Parfitt in Kiev, The Guardian
London, United Kingdom, Friday March 24, 2006

KIEV – Resplendent in a traditional embroidered shirt with tassels at the
neck, Andriy Shkil would strike anyone as a Ukrainian patriot. His office is
decorated with a ceremonial sword and a painting of a Cossack charging into
battle. The 40-year-old candidate in Ukraine’s parliamentary elections
speaks passionately about the future of his country, "on the crossroads of
Europe and Asia".

Yet there is a blot in Mr Shkil’s otherwise faultless copybook. When the
interior minister, Yuri Lutsenko, published a blacklist last month of almost
100 former convicts and criminal suspects among candidates to this Sunday’s
parliamentary elections, he was on it. "I know I’m innocent," he protested.
"It’s the rest of them I’m worried about."

Fifteen months after the orange revolution brought President Viktor
Yushchenko to power on a wave of street protests, the ideals of that
people-power uprising are under threat.

A glance at the list of election candidates shows a motley crowd of criminal
suspects, chancers and businessmen scrambling to get into parliament

Mr Yushchenko’s supporters fear that Ukraine is on the brink of slithering
back into the murky days of the 1990s when corruption was rife. In late 2004
and early 2005 they camped for weeks on Kiev’s main boulevard, fired up by
his promises to slough off the post-Soviet Ukraine of bent bureaucrats and
businessmen meddling in politics.

Yet the bad old ways were never shed and the party of their nemesis, Viktor
Yanukovich – Mr Yushchenko’s political enemy from the time of the
revolution – is poised to seize an increased share of parliament.

Mr Yanukovich, a former prime minister who represents the majority in the
pro-Russian east and south of the country, has promised to slow Ukraine’s
integration into Europe, and reject entry into Nato. His Party of the
Regions wants to improve ties with Moscow that were battered by a dispute
over gas prices earlier this year.
                                          HEAVY BLOW
Meanwhile, Yulia Timoshenko, Mr Yushchenko’s ally during the revolution,

has led her party into opposition, splitting the orange vote. For the hundreds
of thousands of protesters who poured into central Kiev to support Mr
Yushchenko in the disputed presidential election in 2004, it is a heavy
blow.

"Our heroes fell out and now the old guard is on the march," said Vova
Zakharov, 25, a veteran of the revolution, who camped for 75 days in central
Kiev during the orange protests.

Disappointed at Mr Yushchenko’s failure to fulfil his vow of a democratic
future, he and his friends have pitched six military tents in front of the
cabinet of ministers building, half a mile from Independence Square.

Their main complaint is the agreement signed in January on supplies of
Russian gas that benefited a shadowy intermediary company thought to be
part-owned by senior Ukrainian officials. "We soon saw that the corruption
went on just as before," said Mr Zakharov. "Nothing really changed."

Many Yushchenko supporters are incensed at hints that his Our Ukraine party
may enter into a marriage of convenience with the resurgent Party of the
Regions after the elections.

According to the latest polls the Party of the Regions has about 30%,
trailed by Our Ukraine with about 20%, and Ms Timoshenko’s bloc with 15%.

No team is likely to win the majority needed to form a government, raising
the spectre of intense bargaining between the bigger players.

Andrew Wilson of University College London, the author of Ukraine’s Orange
Revolution, said that "odious individuals" from all parties were likely to
get a toehold in parliament.

The colourful Mr Shkil is an exception: a victim of political persecution,
he spent 13 months in prison after leading a protest against the former
president, Leonid Kuchma, in 2000. But many suspect figures remain on the
ballots.

Underworld bosses prize a spot on parliament’s benches because it gives them
immunity from prosecution, while shady businessmen hope to protect their
ill-won deals.

Mr Lutsenko called for candidates on his blacklist to abandon their scramble
for the 450 seats in parliament. The interior minister discovered that 11
candidates were wanted for questioning, 37 had criminal cases opened against
them, 41 were involved in cases that were being transferred to court and 10
were convicted criminals.

But although eight of the latter have been struck off and the other two will
soon go, no other person has heeded the call to quit.

One leading candidate – not on the blacklist – is the secretive billionaire
Rinat Akhmetov, a metals and mining magnate from the eastern Donetsk region
who is thought to be the real power behind its former governor, Mr
Yanukovich. He has been repeatedly accused by his critics of manipulating
politics in his favour.

"The Party of the Regions is not just a political force; it’s a structure
that provides cover to the business clan of Donetsk," said Mr Shkil, who is
running in Ms Timoshenko’s bloc.

Mr Yanukovich, his fortunes rising and his increasingly statesmanlike image
polished by US consultants, has let such accusations roll off him. Workers
at his Party of the Regions headquarters are quietly confident ahead of the
weekend vote. They know their party has huge support and has benefited from
the troubles of the orange clan.
                                               SQUABBLING
Yevgeny Kushnaryov, head of the campaign, said that many of his candidates
were only investigated as revenge after the orange revolution. The
finger-pointing, he said, had got to stop. "There is something which can
unite us – the need to create a strong, respected state with a growing
economy," he said. "If we try, we can do that together."

It is a measured tone that has contrasted sharply with the squabbling of the
orange leaders.

"We must learn the lessons of why the orange coalition collapsed," the
president said during a recent talkshow. "It was the failure to recognise
the position of one’s partners, it was insincere behaviour, it was
behind-the-scenes intrigue."

Yet the taint of corruption is never far away. Senior figures who were
accused last year of nepotism by Mr Yushchenko’s chief of staff, Oleksandr
Zinchenko, have re-emerged as candidates for Our Ukraine.

"He tried to purge the bad guys from his party but he failed," said Dmytro
Sennychenko, a former aide to the president. "And now they’re at the top of
his list."

For Mr Zakharov, the protest veteran, it is another sign of the bitter
letdown that followed the heady days of the revolution. "We stood in the
street for weeks to change our country, not to keep it the same old way it
was."
                                       THEN AND NOW
· Opposition leader and presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko in 2004:
"The people of Ukraine have managed to determine their future without
resorting to violence. The will of the people has triumphed and the old
administration now understands that it has lost."

· Mr Yushchenko now: "We must learn the lessons of why the orange

coalition collapsed. It was the failure to recognise the position of one’s
partners, it was insincere behaviour, it was behind-the-scenes intrigue."

· Prime minister and presidential candidate Viktor Yanukovich in 2004, to Mr
Yushchenko: "If you win the vote you will only be the president of part of
Ukraine. I am not struggling for power. I am struggling against bloodshed."

· Party leader Mr Yanukovich now: "The orange revolution was a putsch,

plain and simple. And it caused the people real suffering."
———————————————————————————————-
LINK: http://www.guardian.co.uk/ukraine/story/0,,1738611,00.html
———————————————————————————————
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
2.                                    FADED ORANGE:
       WHY THE HERO OF KIEV FACES PERIL AT THE POLLS

COMMENT AND ANALYSIS: By Stefan Wagstyl and Tom Warner
Financial Times, London, Friday, March 24 2006

Viktor Pynzenyk, Ukraine’s finance minister, is quietly explaining the finer
points of tax reform when suddenly the sound of pop music comes booming
through the windows of his office.

It is so loud that Mr Pynzenyk has to raise his voice to explain: "They go
on all day. In principle, they should not disrupt the work of the government
but they try. I’m used to it."

"They" are a crowd of about 100 demonstrators who are taking advantage of a
new-found freedom of expression to brave the cold and camp outside the main
government building in central Kiev. The protesters, in place since early
February, intend to stay until after Sunday’s parliamentary elections.

Yuri Baibula, a 32-year-old protester, says their complaints centre on an
unfavourable contract for gas supplies from Russia. But the underlying
sentiment is disappointment with the Orange Revolution that 15 months ago
brought president Viktor Yushchenko to power. Mr Baibula says: "We still
support Yushchenko but we do not support his government."

For Mr Yushchenko, the polls are a crucial test of his efforts to build a
stable democracy and open economy, to counter Russian influence by

promoting ties with the west, and to ease the country’s deep social and
political divisions. The results could shape Ukraine for years: under a
constitutional deal completed during the upheaval, much of the president’s
authority is being transferred to parliament, including the power to appoint
the government.

Unlike in neighbouring Belarus, where the dictatorial Alexander Lukashenko
was re-elected president by a landslide in a fraudulent election last
Sunday, Ukraine’s polls offer voters a free choice and the prospect of an
honest ballot, although some abuses are expected at local levels.

Yet democracy means Mr Yushchenko can take nothing for granted. A year

ago, the country was captivated by the Orange Revolution hero. Yulia
Tymoshenko, his formidable prime minister, was preparing a political assault
on associates of Leonid Kuchma, the authoritarian former president.

Viktor Yanukovich, Mr Yushchenko’s rival in the disputed 2004 presidential
election, and his aides faced investigation for electoral fraud. Mr
Yushchenko’s supporters seemed assured of a landslide win in the coming
parliamentary polls.

But things have turned out differently. Remarkably, Mr Yanukovich leads the
election race. According to opinion polls, his Party of the Regions, a
conservative group that wants to preserve post-Soviet traditions and return
to a close relationship with Russia, has about 30 per cent of the vote.
Meanwhile, Mr Yushchenko’s supporters are split into competing factions

with varying economic programmes.

Mr Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine bloc, which has about 20 per cent support,
favours careful budgets and cautious market-oriented reforms that take
account of big business interests. Ms Tymoshenko, whose bloc has about 15
per cent, courts voters with populist promises to rein in business oligarchs
and increase public spending.

These and smaller "Orange" parties are together almost certain to win a
majority in the new parliament. But it is unclear whether Mr Yushchenko and
Ms Tymoshenko, who split last year when he removed her as prime minister,
can form a new coalition.

If not, Mr Yushchenko may be forced to consider a deal with Mr Yanukovich.
From the outside, it seems unbelievable that a man whose campaign managers
orchestrated blatant electoral fraud only 16 months ago could be the main
beneficiary of what is likely to be Ukraine’s first-ever free democratic
election. Ukrainians themselves struggle to explain how this has happened.

One answer lies in Mr Yushchenko’s patchy record in power and the collapse
of the alliance that defeated Mr Kuchma. As prime minister, Ms Tymoshenko
wanted a far-reaching review of the Kuchma era, including the reversal of
numerous untransparent privatisations.

Mr Yushchenko was more circumspect. He announced judicial probes of serious
crimes including the election fraud, his own poisoning and the murder of
Georgy Gongadze, a campaigning journalist, but did not press prosecutors too
hard. He also limited the privatisation review to a few egregious cases,
chief of which was Kryvorizhstal, the steel mill, which Mr Kuchma sold for
$800m (£461m, ?667m) to Viktor Pinchuk, his son-in-law, and Rinat Akhmetov,
Mr Yanukovich’s financial backer and Ukraine’s richest man.

Mr Yushchenko won back control of the company and re-sold it for $4.8bn to
Mittal Steel, the global steel group. The authorities have also tried to
recover ownership from Mr Pinchuk of Nikopol Ferroalloy, another metals
plant.

But the president showed no sign of wishing to take the attack further.
After dismissing Ms Tymoshenko in September, he restored communications

with Mr Yanukovich and won his support for Yuri Yekhanurov, Ms Tymoshenko’s
moderate successor. Mr Yushchenko argued that it was more important to focus
on the future.

A second reason why Mr Yanukovich has leapt back to the political centre
stage is that he has held on to most of the 44 per cent of voters who
supported him in the presidential election. Mr Yanukovich has worked hard

on the campaign trail, promising stability and criticising the turmoil of Mr
Yushchenko’s rule in speeches that particularly appeal to older Ukrainians.
The east of the country – above all his home territory, the coal-and-steel
region of Donetsk – has remained loyal.

The failure of Mr Yushchenko and Ms Tymoshenko substantially to improve
their low support there leaves the country divided between supporters of the
Orange Revolution concentrated in Kiev and the Ukrainian-speaking west, and
opponents gathered in the Russian-speaking east. While inter-regional
conflict is not on the horizon, Ukrainians worry about the fragmentation of
their young nation. It is no surprise that moderate Orange politicians want
to bridge the divide, even if it means talking to Mr Yanukovich.

Meanwhile, there is a campaign to fight and politicians are investing huge
resources in the race, with spending going on television advertising,
billboards, speeches, rallies and the internet. For the first time, media
reporting is mostly free – a benefit of the Orange Revolution that is
appreciated even in the Yanukovich camp.

Voters face a bewildering range of choices, with simultaneous parliamentary,
regional, and local polls. Candidates include pop star Ruslana, boxing
champion Vitaly Klychko and scores of people involved in criminal
proceedings, notably Pavlo Lazarenko, a former prime minister convicted of
money-laundering in the US and currently under house arrest in his
California mansion, the former home of film star Eddie Murphy.

The new parliament’s most pressing task will be forming a coalition.
Attempts at a pre-election pact between Mr Yushchenko’s and Ms

Tymoshenko’s parties have failed, though the two blocs will almost certainly
try again after the poll.

But the divisions run deep. Ms Tymoshenko still wants to bring the Kuchma
regime and its oligarchs to account. Mr Yushchenko wants to win support from
established elites for reforms. She is a populist, given to lavish social
spending and improvised decisions that disorient investors. He is a former
central banker with a long-term view.

Members of Our Ukraine suggest that a non-party technocratic administration
might reduce clashes. But why would Ms Tymoshenko accept a solution that
would limit her influence, especially if her party does well at the polls
and she insists on the premiership?

Her supporters, including many of the demonstrators camping in central Kiev,
do not want her to compromise. As Mr Baibula says: "She is the one with the
trust of the Maidan" – referring to Kiev’s independence square, where crowds
gathered during the Orange Revolution.

A Yushchenko-Tymoshenko impasse would open the door for Mr Yanukovich

and his financial backer, Mr Akhmetov, who is also running for parliament.
Mykola Martynenko, an Our Ukraine leader, insists Mr Yanukovich himself
could not be a minister but says: "We can’t legitimise the system that
falsified the 2004 elections but there are enough professional politicians
in the Regions party with whom we could deal if the talks with Yulia are
blocked."

Every effort will be made to secure a coalition because few politicians want
another election after spending huge sums on this poll – contributing up to
$500,000 to party funds for a place on a party election list high enough to
offer a good chance of landing a parliamentary seat. But political
uncertainty could hold up policymaking for weeks and the delays could affect
both foreign policy and the economy.

Efforts by Mr Yushchenko to improve ties with the west and integrate with
the European Union will continue. World Trade Organisation membership, which
Kiev hoped to acquire last year, is now on the agenda for 2006, following
decisions by the EU and, recently, the US to grant Ukraine market economy
status.

Ukraine hopes to secure a hint of future EU accession but will concentrate
for now on practical measures including boosting investment and trade and
relaxing visa rules. Mr Martynenko says: "Ukraine’s European choice will not
be changed whatever the result of the election."

At the same time, Kiev faces deteriorating relations with Russia. The
Kremlin remains hostile to the Orange Revolution victors and their efforts
to promote ties with the west. Tensions came to a head this winter when
Moscow briefly turned off gas supplies in a contract dispute that eventually
ended with a six-month settlement under which average import prices rose
from $60 to $95 per thousand cubic metres. Mr Yushchenko has faced heavy
criticism both for the price and for his decision to accept Russia’s demand
that Ukraine channel imports through an opaque intermediary company called
RosUkrEnergo.

Whatever the details of any future deals, gas prices are expected to rise
again when the contract is renegotiated and to keep rising until they match
world prices, currently around $230. Not for nothing have the Kiev
demonstrators singled out the contract for attack in their noisy protests –
accusing the government of betrayal.

Mr Yanukovich argues that he would be better placed to negotiate with Moscow
than the Orange politicians. He sees Ukraine as a bridge between Russia and
the EU, contributing to regional stability. But Mr Yushchenko’s supporters
say Mr Yanukovich would be politically unacceptable in the west.

Meanwhile, the government will face economic challenges. Gross domestic
product growth slowed from 12.1 per cent in 2004 to 2.6 per cent last year,
due to weakening world prices for steel, Ukraine’s main export, as well as
flat agricultural output and political uncertainty. Inflation has stayed
high, boosted by huge politically inspired increases in public pay, pensions
and welfare payments.

The Yushchenko administration financed spending by big increases in the tax
take, achieved by an assault on tax privileges and corruption. It also
encouraged foreign investment by creating a more open business atmosphere.

Last year’s foreign direct investment of $7.3bn was almost as much as the
$9bn the country attracted during the previous 14 years. The inflow includes
Mittal’s steel mill purchase and the $1bn takeover of Aval Bank by Austria’s
Raiffeisen International.

However, hopes of economic recovery have been hit by the gas price rise.
Forecasts for growth in 2006 have been cut to only about 2 per cent, leaving
the government with little room for manoeuvre. The International Monetary
Fund argues that structural reforms are urgent, including an overhaul of
public spending, privatisation and moves to boost energy efficiency.

But for the moment it is unclear when the new government might even be
formed. The longer the delay, the greater the prospect of further public
disenchantment. If the new ministers prove as disappointing as the current
government, they too could face demonstrators playing loud music outside
their offices. Genuine political stability is still some way off.  -30-
———————————————————————————————

[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
3. YANUKOVICH ON VERGE OF REMARKABLE POLITICAL COMEBACK

By Tom Warner in Kiev and Stefan Wagstyl in London
Financial Times, London, United Kingdom, Friday, March 24 2006 

When Viktor Yanukovich’s bid for Ukraine’s presidency was stopped by the
Orange Revolution, he was widely written off as a spent political force. But
the big man of eastern Ukraine is back with a vengeance and heading for
electoral success in this Sunday’s parliamentary polls.

Regional loyalties, money and political expediency all play a role in the
remarkable recovery of the 55-year-old former prime minister, who 12

months ago faced political ruin and an investigation into his role in alleged
electoral fraud in the disputed 2004 presidential election.

Mr Yanukovich grew up in poverty in the industrial Donetsk region of eastern
Ukraine, where he was imprisoned in his youth for robbery and assault. He
worked as a driver and transport manager before going into politics and
becoming regional governor.

In 2002, former President Leonid Kuchma appointed him prime minister and
two years later chose him to run in the presidential poll as his hand-picked
favourite.

He gained broad support in the traditionally pro-Russian regions of eastern
and southern Ukraine by promising close ties to Russia, state support for
heavy industry, generous social benefits and strong personal leadership. But
Ukraine’s Supreme Court found that his campaign also relied on
ballot-stuffing and ordered a rerun, which was won by his pro-western rival,
Viktor Yushchenko.

Mr Yanukovich seemed finished, with even close colleagues deserting him. But
he retained the support of many of the 44 per cent of voters who backed him
in the rerun.

This time, Mr Yanukovich is campaigning on similar themes and is expected to
beat Mr Yushchenko fairly at the polls. Opinion surveys show Mr Yanukovich’s
Regions party with about 30 per cent support, while Mr Yushchenko’s Our
Ukraine bloc, hit by divisions, corruption claims and a faltering economy,
is struggling with about 20 per cent support.

If undecided voters and other factors go his way, Mr Yanukovich’s party
could end up with more than 40 per cent of parliament’s seats.

In a recent interview with the Financial Times, Mr Yanukovich credited his
political comeback to Mr Yushchenko’s "unprofessionalism" in government and
a weak economy, which expanded by only 2.6 per cent last year after growing
by 12.1 per cent in 2004, when Mr Yanukovich was prime minister.

Pointing to the dispute earlier this year with Russia over natural gas
prices, Mr Yanukovich said Mr Yushchenko relied on "very low- level" people
to handle the negotiations and ended up getting a bad deal. As prime
minister he would re-open talks with Moscow.

However, Mr Yanukovich conceded the Orange Revolution had brought some
improvements, including more freedom of speech.

"I won’t deny there have been positive changes, although in my view they are
still very small. That journalists are stating their point of view about
press freedom – that’s very good, that means we’re moving ahead," he said.

Analysts attribute Mr Yanukovich’s rise to continued support from the
Kremlin and from a softening of Mr Yushchenko’s attitude towards him. In the
first months after the Orange Revolution, several of Mr Yanukovich’s allies
were arrested or charged and others fled the country. But Mr Yushchenko
backed off last autumn after a split with his former prime minister, Yulia
Tymoshenko, which forced him to turn to Mr Yanukovich for support in
parliament.

Mr Yushchenko is still hoping to foil Mr Yanukovich’s bid for power by
re-uniting with Ms Tymoshenko. There is also the possibility of Mr
Yushchenko forming a coalition with the Regions party, which may deprive

Mr Yanukovich of the prime minister’s job because of negative attitudes
towards him in central and western regions of Ukraine.  -30-
——————————————————————————————–
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
4.       PRO-RUSSIAN LEADER IN UKRAINE PREPARES FOR
                  MASSIVE COMEBACK IN SUNDAY’S VOTE

By Mara D. Bellaby, AP Worldstream, Kiev, Ukraine, Fri, Mar 24, 2006

KIEV – The pro-Russian politician whose political future was written off
after being accused of trying to steal Ukraine’s 2004 presidential election
is poised to make an amazing comeback when Ukrainian voters go the polls

in Sunday’s parliamentary election.

While Ukraine’s Orange Revolution team looks set to fail its first major
electoral test, analysts say it will win another exam: proving that this
ex-Soviet republic can conduct a vote free of government meddling.

President Viktor Yushchenko’s job is not at stake, but those of his prime
minister and Cabinet are, as new constitutional reforms come into effect
that give parliament more powers in shaping the government. With Viktor
Yanukovych’s resurgence, the pro-Western path adopted by Yushchenko

could be slowed, with goals such as membership in NATO by 2008
dropping off the radar screen in favor of closer ties with Moscow.

"We might see an attempt made to roll back the public perception that the
Orange Revolution was a people-power uprising, and start hearing more that
it was a coup," said Ivan Lozowy, president of the Kiev-based Institute of
Statehood and Democracy.

Much will depend, though, on the final vote count and which parties combine
to form a coalition, since none are expected to win a majority in the
450-seat house on their own.

Yushchenko’s huge drop in popularity – from highs of around 70 percent just
over a year ago to around 20 percent today – has left him with little room
to maneuver. He needs a coalition partner, and has two choices: either reach
out to the man whom he called a criminal just 16 months ago, or make peace
with Yulia Tymoshenko, his feisty former Orange Revolution ally whose very
name makes him cringe after last year’s bitter falling-out. In either case,
Yushchenko risks letting in someone who could outmaneuver him in his own
government.

"None of the options probably holds much appeal for Viktor Yushchenko at
this moment," said Mykhailo Pohrebinsky, head of the Center for Political
Research and Conflict Studies.

Ukraine’s 36 million registered voters will be choosing from 45 parties to
fill the single-chamber parliament, checking off their choice on a
78-centimeter (31-inch) ballot. Some 7,605 candidates are running, but only
about six parties are expected to make it over the 3 percent threshold.

Pollsters predicted that Yanukovych’s Party of the Regions, which dominates
in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking east and south, will win about 30 percent of
the vote, trailed by Yushchenko’s bloc and Tymoshenko’s. Tymoshenko wants
back her job as prime minister, which Yushchenko sacked her from last year,
if she scores more votes than his party.

Both Orange parties have been handicapped by the fierce competition between
them, and the widespread disappointment with the Orange Revolution’s failed
promises, particularly in the Orange team’s western Ukrainian base.

Yanukovych, who was stripped of his fraud-marred presidential run,
meanwhile, hired American election consultants and spent the past year
courting voters, promising to improve ties with Ukraine’s biggest trade
partner, Moscow, and return the country to the 12 percent GDP growth levels
it enjoyed under his stewardship. Last year, GDP growth fell to just 3
percent.

Yushchenko’s bid to earn Ukraine a place in the European Union and to raise
its international profile also kept him under pressure to ensure that his
political opponents enjoyed free rein. This campaign has been markedly
different from Ukraine’s past elections: Ukrainians can tune in nightly to
opposition politicians taking political shots at the president in live
debates and slick television advertisements. Colorful banners, flags and
ribbons – promoting everything from the fiercely anti-American People’s
Opposition to nationalistic parties – fill the country’s streets and trees.

"I will not comment on the people’s choice," Yushchenko told journalists
last week. "If they decide to support this or that political force I, as the
president, will ensure that their choice is fulfilled."

Analysts warn that the real test for Ukraine will come after the official
results are announced when the behind-the-scenes coalition talks speed up.
The newly elected lawmakers have one month from taking office in mid-May

to put together a majority, and then another month to name the government.
——————————————————————————————–
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
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5.  EASTERN UKRAINE BACKS ITS NATIVE SON YANUKOVYCH,
                  ANTICIPATING LONG-AWAITED REVENGE

By Natasha Lisova, AP Worldstream, Wednesday, Mar 22, 2006

DONETSK – Blue-and-white flags, ribbons and tents in Viktor Yanukovych’s
campaign colors engulf the main Lenin Square, squeezing out the competition
and leaving little doubt about where this eastern city’s sympathies lie
ahead of Sunday’s parliamentary election.

For 16 months, Donetsk has been biding its time under what residents here
call "the Orange Horde" – but now it has the look of a city decked out and
ready to party.

Yanukovych, its native son, appears headed for a comeback victory, ushering
his pro-Russian Party of the Regions to a first-place finish in the ballot.
A win for the former prime minister would be a humiliating blow to Orange
Revolution leader Viktor Yushchenko and the hundreds of thousands whose

2004 street protests helped keep Yanukovych from claiming the presidency
of this ex-Soviet republic.

But for this industrial city of a million, it would be a sweet turn of
fortune. "This time we will return our stolen victory," said Oleksandr
Domashchenko, a 23-year-old worker at the Zacyadko coal pit, one of the
Donbass region’s premier high-technology mines. "It will be our revenge."

Yushchenko’s job isn’t on the line, but new constitutional reforms are
transferring many presidential powers to the parliament, including the right
to name the prime minister and many Cabinet members. Yanukovych’s expected
strong showing would make his Party of Regions the biggest faction in the
450-member parliament but still short of a majority, which means he is not
guaranteed a role in forming the new government.

Analysts suggest that Yanukovych’s only shot at entering the government is
via an uneasy coalition with Yuschenko’s Our Ukraine party.

Here in Donetsk, where Yanukovych won 94 percent of the vote in 2004,
Yushchenko’s party seems to have already conceded defeat. While other
parties have sprinkled their campaign tents around the city’s big central
square, the sole Our Ukraine tent cuts a lonely figure.

Yushchenko’s party has concentrated its campaign in central and western
Ukraine, where it is also being squeezed by his Orange Revolution
ally-turned-rival, former prime minister and opposition leader Yulia
Tymoshenko.

Tymoshenko, who is from the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk,
ventured into Donetsk to campaign, but joked "it’s a little like
hand-to-hand combat" trying to win votes in Yanukovych’s stronghold.

Yanukovych isn’t universally loved here, but loyalties run deep. "All of
them are criminals, but Yanukovych is our criminal," said 69-year-old
retiree Olha Abdulova, who was begging for money in downtown Donetsk. She
said she was pinning her hopes on Yanukovych to "improve the life of his
Donbass compatriots."

Donetsk is the heart of Ukraine’s mining and industrial belt. Residents chat
to each other in Russian, not Ukrainian, and many prefer to look east to
Moscow rather than west toward the European Union. They want Russian to
become a second state language, the government to drop plans to join NATO
and to restore frayed ties with the Kremlin.

The region’s pro-Russian sentiment is so pervasive that when the usually
Ukrainian-speaking Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov visited last week, he
switched to Russian.

Yanukovych is credited with raising living standards, protecting mines, and
getting salaries paid on time during his time as prime minister and also as
Donetsk governor. In contrast, residents now complain that under Yushchenko,
mines and factories have been closed and a backlog of unpaid salaries has
built up again.

"Yushchenko is not a president, he was a bad choice who messed up the
economy," said miner Oleksandr Shubin, 43.

Helping Yanukovych is also a party list packed with prominent Donetsk
figures. No. 7 is Rinat Akhmetov, a billionaire businessman who has poured
money into this once drab Soviet center, giving it a luxurious five-star
hotel and turning the Donetsk Shakhtar soccer team into one of Ukraine’s
best.

Yanukovych "is our guy, he is a native .. To whom else we can appeal to
solve our problems?" said retiree Vasyl Shevchenko, 80, as he crossed Lenin
Square together with his wife Mariya, listening to a new Yanukovych election
march blaring from loudspeakers. "Why did the orange government put

pressure on us, lie about us?" the song repeated.

"We are ready to become your servants," Yanukovych said on Donetsk
television in appeal to voters in several eastern cities. "You are deciding
the country’s destiny: Will it remain on a path to catastrophe, chosen by
the orange government, or will we take a power into our hands?

Wearing a blue-and-white cap and scarf, Natalya Kaverina, a 21-year-old
student, had no doubt about the answer. "Our revenge is coming," she

warned.                                            -30-
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[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================      
6.      ORANGE PAST PEELS AWAY AS UKRAINE POLL LOOKS
                                 LIKELY TO AVOID DRAMAS

By Tom Warner in Kiev, Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, Wednesday, March 22 2006

As Ukrainians gear up for parliamentary elections on Sunday, the controversy
over last weekend’s election in their northern neighbour Belarus has given
rise to feelings of nostalgia.

Scenes of opposition demonstrators in Minsk have evoked memories of the
"Orange Revolution" of late 2004 when thousands of Ukrainians took to the
streets in protest against alleged vote-tampering by their own authoritarian
president and succeeded in overturning what many judged to be a rigged
contest.

While this Sunday’s election may not be as dramatic, the outcome is arguably
just as decisive in terms of the future direction of the biggest country in
eastern Europe after Russia. The contest could decide whether Ukraine
accelerates its efforts to integrate further with the rest of Europe or
moves back to a closer relationship with Russia.

Viktor Yushchenko, the pro-west president brought to power in the Orange
Revolution, faces the uncomfortable prospect of seeing his rival Viktor
Yanukovich, the pro-Russian leader who lost out in the re-run of the 2004
presidential race, emerging victorious in Sunday’s vote. Mr Yanukovich’s
Regions party leads in the opinion polls with about 30 per cent support,
ahead of the president’s Our Ukraine party.

The president has made clear he will respect Sunday’s result. With the
choice of the future prime minister to be decided by the new parliament,
speculation is now focused on the possible coalition. The two most
talked-about options are a new coalition between Mr Yushchenko and his
populist former prime minister, Yulia Tymoshenko, or a so-called "grand
coalition" between Mr Yushchenko and Mr Yanukovich.

The campaigning is lively, with more than a dozen parties spending heavily
on national advertising campaigns and many more focusing on local contests.
The opposition is campaigning hard on the theme of economic hardship, an
issue underscored earlier this year by Russia’s decision to cut gas supplies
to Ukraine, while the government is trying to keep alive the spirit of the
Orange Revolution.

And yet there is none of the intensity of 2004. As Ukrainians watch the much
smaller but still similar uprising in Belarus, many worry the spirit of the
Orange Revolution, which saw thousands of people occupy central Kiev in
protest at the first, contested vote won by Mr Yanukovich, has faded.

Olena Kornichenko, a student who spent yesterday manning a Yushchenko
campaign tent in central Kiev, said: "When we stood on the square [in
central Kiev] it was such a spiritual moment. I just hope when people watch
the news in Belarus they remember and, despite all the disappointment with
Yushchenko, they don’t betray the square."

Every evening Ukrainian television channels start with coverage of the local
campaign, replete with coloured balloons and other attention-grabbing
gimmicks. Then the tone turns somber as the correspondent from Minsk comes
on, reporting by telephone because live video is not permitted.

Despite Belarus’s hardline tactics, Mr Yanukovich’s Regions party and other
pro-Russian groups are strongly promoting closer ties to the country through
the Russia-led Common Economic Area, which also includes Kazakhstan.

The economic union was announced in 2004 but has not been implemented,
partly because Mr Yushchenko will not commit to the level of integration
sought by other members.

Mr Yanukovich’s support for the union has a strong economic logic: Belarus
and Russia are Ukraine’s fastest-growing export markets, mainly because of
Russia’s rising income from oil and gas and the preferential oil and gas
prices Belarus enjoys. By comparison, Ukraine’s economy is groaning under
the weight of increased prices for Russian gas and from repeated increases
in pensions, social benefits and public salaries. Gross domestic product
growth in January-February was just 1.5 per cent, one of the lowest rates in
eastern Europe.

Some western diplomats argue a Yushchenko-Yanukovich coalition would be

the best result for the economy, since it might allow Mr Yushchenko to improve
ties with Russia and avoid further gas price increases. But Mr Yushchenko
would be hard pressed to explain the move to his supporters.

Ms Kornichenko said she and her friends would take to the streets against
any Yushchenko-Yanukovich government. "If Yushchenko did that it would

ruin him politically," she said.
 
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[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
7. UKRAINE POLL MAY ROLL BACK ORANGE REVOLUTION IDEALS

By Ron Popeski, Reuters, Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, March 23, 2006

KIEV – Ukraine holds a crucial election this weekend that could decide
whether a resurgence of those backing renewed links with Russia could
threaten the pro-Western ideals of President Viktor Yushchenko’s "Orange
Revolution."

With the party of Yushchenko’s old nemesis, Viktor Yanukovich, well ahead in
surveys for Sunday’s parliamentary vote, the "Orange" liberals in charge
since the heady street protests of late 2004 seem likely to lose much
ground.

Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine party lies second in surveys for the outcome of the
election to decide the make-up of an assembly endowed with new powers and
able to choose the prime minister.

Lying third is Yushchenko’s estranged ally Yulia Tymoshenko, sacked as

prime minister last year, and now running separately.
The only real certainty is that a coalition will be needed — with a
marriage of convenience between Yushchenko’s party and Yanukovich’s
Regions Party a strong possibility.

With 45 parties running in all, long talks on various permutations seem
inevitable. People are talking months rather than weeks before a new
government is formed.

Yushchenko, his dream of integrating quickly with the West battered by
months of government infighting, held out hope that the election would patch
together the liberal camp. "I believe the ideal option would be a renewed
‘Orange’ team," the president told Kommersant Ukraine daily.

"Amazing things could happen if we are talking about implementing aims and
ideals. The breath of fresh air people have had means no going back to
living like two years ago."

Yushchenko’s election turfed out a Moscow-backed establishment and ushered
in what liberals hoped would be a drive to membership of the
                               EUROPEAN UNION AND NATO.
Within months, his government split into factions accusing each other of
corruption. Tymoshenko’s dismissal left voters wondering out loud why they
had stood for days on end in the snow in Kiev’s Independence square.

Slow export markets and fright over Tymoshenko’s calls for of a mass review
of privatizations sent the economy into a slowdown, compounded by a deal
raising the price of Russian gas.
                               YANUKOVICH RIDING HIGH
Yanukovich, humiliated by his 2004 loss in the re-run election, is now
riding high as the pivotal figure in talks. He told Reuters one option was
getting back his job as prime minister, this time with more powers, to
rebuild ties with Russia and correct "errors made by those now in power."

The president has asked supporters to wait and see what coalition deal might
be struck but has not ruled out an "Orange-Blue" power-sharing combination
with Yanukovich.

For some, a deal with the man linked to the "criminal authorities" removed
by the revolution is too much to stomach. "I ask the president: Has he any
intention of forming a coalition with the Regions Party? I consider the
absence of a reply silent endorsement of this union," Tymoshenko, a key
figure who roused crowds in Independence Square, said this week.

Yushchenko’s retort to his former ally was unequivocal — and exposed the
reduced chances of healing the "Orange Team." "We must learn the lessons of
why the orange coalition collapsed," he told a television talk show. "It was
the failure to recognize the position of one’s partners, it was insincere
behavior, it was behind-the-scenes intrigue."
——————————————————————————————–

[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
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========================================================
8 .                             UKRAINE FACING A CHOICE

OPINION & ANALYSIS: By Alexander Oryol in Kyiv
RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Thursday, March 23, 2006

MOSCOW – The March 26 parliamentary elections in Ukraine will take place
in conditions of a deep political and economic crisis, which have replaced
the hopes and romanticism of the Orange revolution.

In my opinion, the main reason for this is that the new regime did not know
what to do with the country. It thought the revolutionary achievements were
enough for Europe to open its door for Ukraine and for Russia to start
paying its neighbor’s expenses of rapprochement with the West.

The Kiev authorities naively thought that Ukraine’s success in the West
depended on the speed of its movement away from Russia. Instead,
confrontation with Russia has provoked a deep political crisis in Ukraine,
which has not abated to this day.

To overcome this crisis and regain the trust of key foreign policy players,
Kiev should stop trying to use the Cold War rules in its foreign policy.
Ukraine needs a predictable and pragmatic policy based not on illusions but
on objective capabilities of Ukraine and its real national interests.

It should revise its European policy that rests on the illusion of Ukraine’s
accelerated admission to the European Union as an instrument of geopolitical
divorce from Russia.

This does not mean that Ukraine should abandon its European choice. But it
need not be based on an anti-Russian platform. Moreover, tensions and
mistrust in Russo-Ukrainian relations will considerably complicate Ukraine’s
rapprochement with Europe.

The models of such rapprochement may differ, from a gradual creation of a
common Ukraine-EU market (modeled on the agreements between the EU

and the European Free Trade Association, EFTA) to the implementation of
joint projects in various spheres, as the EU and Russia are doing.

Kiev should ponder possible involvement in EU-Russia cooperation formats.

It should not just participate in them but also scrutinize them creatively to
gear them to common interests. Despite the many years of Kiev’s European
integration rhetoric, Russia has advanced farther than Ukraine in the
majority of key fields of cooperation with the EU.

Moreover, Ukraine simply needs Russia to create effective forms of dialogue
with the EU in the spheres of energy security, migration, and readmission,
as well as a common market.

Whatever form Ukraine chooses for implementing its European choice, it must
consistently apply the fundamental rule, according to which Kiev should be
an equally reliable partner of Washington, Moscow, Rome, Berlin, Brussels,
and Beijing.

Kiev should do everything possible to normalize dialogue and cooperation
with Russia without neglecting the national interests of Ukraine. This is
truly a matter of life or death of the Ukrainian state.

One of the main tasks of the new Ukrainian government, which will be formed
on the results of the March 26 parliamentary elections, is to do its best to
stop Ukraine from becoming the frontline of a new Cold War. The country
should use the rare chance to strengthen security and build up trust in
eastern Europe.

Despite deep differences between them, the West and Russia are two
indivisible parts of one civilization based primarily on Christian values.
Ukraine cannot associate itself with only one of these parts of the common
civilization and turn its back on the other. This would tear the country in
two.

The geopolitical location of Ukraine is a unique chance to become a link in
the European civilization by promoting dialogue and rapprochement and
smoothing over contradictions.                           -30-
——————————————————————————————
LINK: :  http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20060323/44728595.html
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[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

========================================================
9.     ETHNIC AND CULTURAL DIVISIONS HAUNT UKRAINE
                          BEFORE PARLIAMENTARY VOTE

By Steven Lee Myers, The New York Times
New York, New York, Friday, March 24, 2006

SIMFEROPOL, Ukraine – There are few obstacles to speaking Russian

here in Crimea since, after all, practically everyone speaks it at home, at
school, at work.

Still there are those who complain that the language is under assault, that
the courts issue rulings in Ukrainian, that Russian classics are now taught
in schools as "foreign" literature, that a repressive government in the
capital, Kiev, is bent on imposing a nationalistic identity on a place that
was part of Russia until Nikita S. Khrushchev decreed otherwise in 1954
(and, to some here, should be again).

"Whatever we receive from Kiev is all in Ukrainian!" Yevgeny G. Bubnov, a
member of Crimea’s regional Parliament, complained in an interview as he
explained why he sponsored a proposal to hold a referendum on whether to
elevate Russian to official status in a country where, constitutionally,
Ukrainian is the language of the land.

The federal government fiercely opposed Mr. Bubnov’s proposal and

ultimately rejected it. But the constitutional clash it threatened to create
highlighted the stark ethnic and cultural divisions that continue to haunt
Ukraine with the approach of the March 26 parliamentary elections – the
first since the Orange Revolution a little more than a year ago.

The referendum even raised questions about the status of Crimea itself – a
lush peninsula of seaside resorts, vineyards and a largely Russian populace,
whose political, economic and cultural affiliations are closer to Moscow
than to Kiev. And that, its critics say, was exactly the point.

"It is playing with the sentiments of the population that is still nostalgic
for Soviet times, those who reacted painfully to the breakup of the Soviet
Union," said Vladimir B. Shklar, the Crimean leader of Our Ukraine, the
political party of the country’s president, Viktor A. Yushchenko.

The parliamentary elections are the first electoral test of Mr. Yushchenko’s
policies since he took office in January 2005, after mass protests against a
fraudulent presidential election. According to the polls, at least, he is
faring badly, with his bloc trailing the party led by the man he defeated,
Viktor F. Yanukovich.

As in the presidential race, the main issues revolve around Russia, namely
Ukraine’s relations to Russia, its larger neighbor. Nowhere are those issues
more charged than in Crimea, home not only to a majority of ethnic Russians
but also to Russia’s Black Sea Fleet, a source of tensions for nearly a
decade.

As the election campaign began in earnest in January, a group of young
people gathered with shovels on the isthmus that connects Crimea to the
mainland to dig a symbolic trench. Few openly call for separatism, which is
a federal crime, but several smaller parties and blocs are running on
platforms calling for closer cooperation with Russia and even reunification.

One party based in Crimea even calls itself the Party of Putin’s Politics.
Its billboards show President Vladimir V. Putin’s steely eyes fixed on the
rugged Crimean landscape, promising a united future.

Mikhail Y. Pushia stood on a square the other day in Sevastopol, the
deep-water port city on Crimea’s southern bulge, campaigning for Natalia M.
Vitrenko, the leader of a fiercely anti-American and anti-European bloc of
parties that advocate a new union among the Slavic nations of Russia,
Belarus and Ukraine. With a union, he said, "all the problems would be
solved."

The problems between Russia and Ukraine, of course, are considerable,
largely because the ties that once united them are now a source of tension.

A New Year’s dispute over the price of Russian natural gas, on which

Ukraine is heavily dependent, prompted Russia to shut down supplies briefly,
infuriating many Ukrainians.

Mr. Yushchenko’s deal with Mr. Putin to end the crisis – with a complicated
pricing system and a murky trading company – proved equally unpopular,
however. Mr. Yanukovich argues that he could have negotiated lower prices
because of his friendly relations with Russia.

In the wake of the gas dispute, Ukraine responded with threats to charge
higher rent for the base in Sevastopol that houses the Black Sea Fleet’s
dozens of ships and 14,000 sailors under a lease set to expire in 2017.
Russia now pays roughly $98 million a year; some Ukrainian officials have
suggested that billions would be more appropriate.

In January, Ukraine occupied one of the fleet’s lighthouses in Yalta, saying
Russia was using it illegally, provoking a war of words and a new round of
negotiations to defuse the confrontation. When student protesters began
demonstrating at eight other lighthouses, the fleet bolstered security
around them.

Russia’s defense minister, Sergei B. Ivanov, warned that revising the terms
of the lease would reopen a separate treaty that fixed the borders, which is
what many here say they would like to see happen.

"This is a Russian city," said Aleksandr N. Mironov, an ethnic Russian who
settled in Sevastopol after serving in the Soviet border troops.

Mr. Yanukovich’s Party of Regions does not openly endorse such sentiments,
but he has promised to make Russian a second official language and to
improve economic and political relations with Russia, which have been
strained since Mr. Yushchenko took office.

Mr. Yushchenko’s supporters say that the language issue and the tensions
over the naval base have been exaggerated with the intent to divide
Ukrainians and ethnic Russians, who account for roughly two-thirds of
Crimea’s nearly two million people, as well as large majorities in the
eastern Ukraine regions of Donetsk and Lugansk. Another predominately
Russian city, Kharkiv, voted on March 6 to adopt Russian as a second
official language in municipal affairs.

Khrushchev’s decision to cede Crimea to Ukraine mattered little during
Soviet times, but immensely after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991 and
internal administrative borders became international boundaries. It was not
until 1997 that Russia and Ukraine reached agreement on how to divide the
fleet and to accept the current borders.

Despite impassioned oratory on each side, the prospects of an open conflict
appear slight. But Mr. Yushchenko’s supporters warn that Russia continues to
interfere in Ukrainian politics on the hope that a friendlier government led
by Mr. Yanukovich as a newly empowered prime minister could result in better
terms for the fleet and for the Russians living here.

"This is not going to be solved until after the election," a Russian naval
officer in Sevastopol said in an interview, speaking on condition of
anonymity because he was not authorized to comment on what has become a
diplomatic matter.

Petro O. Poroshenko, a tycoon closely allied with Mr. Yushchenko, complained
recently that proponents of the language referendum were trying to turn
Crimea into a client state of Russia.

"Look what happened in Abkhazia with Russian support," Mr. Poroshenko

said, referring to the Black Sea region in Georgia that became a separatist
enclave with Russian help after a bloody war in the early 1990’s. "The land
is almost as beautiful as the Crimea, and they have hundreds of thousands of
refugees. There is no development."

Although the language issue has been defused for now, it has resonated
deeply in Crimea, hardening support for Mr. Yanukovich, who won 81

percent of the vote here in the repeated second round of the disputed 2004
presidential race, and fanning resentments against Kiev.

The election, warned Vasily A. Kiselyov, the acting chairman of Crimea’s
Parliament and a Yanukovich stalwart, could lead to a new wave of large
street protests, even tent camps, only this time against Mr. Yushchenko’s
government.
————————————————————————————————-

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/24/international/europe/24crimea.html
——————————————————————————————-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
10.                  UKRAINE BETTER OFF THAN IT SEEMS

OP-ED: by Adrian Karatnycky, Kyiv Post
Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 23 2006

Anyone who wants to understand Ukraine from afar is in big trouble. I came
to a very different country when I revisited Ukraine four months ago, having
visited many times in earlier years.

Politics and society are changing at a lightning pace. Keeping track is
harder than maintaining a scorecard at a basketball game.

After the first ruptures in the Orange camp, the dismissal of Prime Minister
Yulia Tymoshenko and the onset of the age of Orange acrimony, the
conventional wisdom from abroad has been that a great opportunity to advance
reform was squandered.

But nothing I had read or been told in recent months prepared me for what I
found. Certainly no reading of the Western press captures the essence of
current events or trends.

From the outside, the story is simple. Personal ambitions have undone the
Orange camp, slowed reforms and opened the door for the potential return

of the old order. But the reality is just a little bit different.

Myth One: The Orange camp is irreconcilably divided and incapable of
reconciling.

In point of fact, Our Ukraine, the bloc loyal to President Viktor
Yushchenko, and the Tymoshenko bloc may not be as divided as it seems.

Much of the harsh rhetoric between them is a fight for the hearts and minds of
the Yushchenko electorate.

Polls among the most reputable polling agencies have for months shown pretty
much the same thing: two irreconcilable camps; one pro-Orange, commanding
roughly 52 percent support, the other, scornful of the Orange Revolution and
attracting roughly 44 percent support.

This is a divide identical to the results of the December 2004 presidential
elections. Voters simply aren’t crossing over. And that means that the only
way the Orange parties can increase their share is by going after one
another. It does not mean that the Orange parties won’t be able to shape a
government after March 26.

Indeed, off the record, leading politicians in Tymoshenko’s Byut bloc and
Our Ukraine are confident of a modus vivendi, and some say that a formula
for power sharing is already in place.

Myth Two: While the Orange parties are hopelessly divided, the opposition
Regions of Ukraine bloc, led by Viktor Yanukovych, are unified and cohesive.

In point of fact, there are deep fissures in the Regions bloc. The Regions
are full of politicians who veer toward Russia and want the restoration of a
Donetsk-dominated authoritarian regime. But the party also has more
pragmatic politicians who understand that the Orange Revolution has led to
irrevocable changes in the consciousness of many Ukrainians. They know that
the constant political struggle of the last two years needs to be followed
by a period of stability, if not outright cooperation.

While the Regions have many political troglodytes who seek revenge and the
restoration of authoritarian rule, there is also a group influenced by
business lobbies, such as tycoon Rinat Akhmetov, that wants stability,
European integration, a prosperous economy and the diminishing of the
political and regional divide.

Myth Three: There is a danger of a so-called "revanche," or tilt toward
Russia.

Wrong again. While it is regrettable that the Regions have so many
politicians who have questionable democratic credentials, and many are
alleged to be implicated in the efforts to falsify the presidential
elections of 2004, "revanche" is hardly possible.

First, in Viktor Yushchenko, Ukraine has an honest and democratic president
who retains considerable power in the areas of national security and foreign
policy, and who will influence government through the Our Ukraine bloc.
Second, power is now dispersed within the state and between the state and
society. No one can acquire unchecked powers.

Myth Four: The lack of consensus on economics inside the Orange camp

and the absence of a stable majority will result in policy zigzags that will
discourage Western investment and hold back economic growth.

Wrong again. Nearly all politicians make extravagant, budget-busting
promises in election campaigns. That is one of the unfortunate
characteristics of democratic contestation. But once in power, the need to
maintain budgetary discipline leads many populist promises to be toned down
or forgotten.

Because oligarchs and leading businessmen are dispersed across the spectrum
of political parties, they are likely to cooperate in pressing to reduce
taxes and control inflation, which threaten to erode profits. Ukraine’s
emerging business elite are likely to influence most parties and
parliamentarians to promote pro-business policies.

So, with a parliament in which no single group will dominate; power divided
between the president, parliament, government and Constitutional Court; a
differentiated business elite; and an active civil society and media that
showed their mettle in December 2004, Ukraine may be headed for a soft
landing.

Then there is the Russia factor. Russia’s energy pressures on Ukraine this
winter may well have been an effort to destabilize Ukraine, but it’s
important that such moves would primarily serve as a blow to the economic
interests of Ukraine’s industrial east.

Russia’s moves have helped focus the minds of Ukraine’s eastern magnates

on the fact that economic sovereignty requires diversification, cooperation
with a wide array of neighbors in the West and Central Asia, not necessarily
integration with Moscow.

Political analysts run a great risk in predicting. But unless the pollsters
are fabulously wrong, on March 27 Ukraine will have an Orange government led
by Our Ukraine, Tymoshenko’s Byut and the Socialists, with a prime minister
from Our Ukraine, and Yulia Tymoshenko as parliament speaker.

If Tymoshenko moves away from the sharp political intramural fight to a
coalition approach (not a sure thing), the new Orange alignment will be
stable and effective over the long haul.

Whatever path Tymoshenko takes on issues such as tax relief and energy
policy, there is likely to be a clear parliamentary majority made up of a
coalition of politicians who answer to pragmatic economic interests.

Readers and investors visiting Kyiv to try and make sense of the storm
shouldn’t worry: Ukraine will have a soft landing.

The post-Communist era is over. The authoritarian era is done. Divided
power, multiple interests, snarky media, powerful lobbies, intrusive civic
organizations and individual ambitions rule. And that means the Orange
Revolution has triumphed and that Ukraine is now much like the democratic
world that views and misunderstands it from afar.    -30-
———————————————————————————————
Adrian Karatnycky is president and founder of the Orange Circle, a New
York-based international nongovernmental organization that promotes
Ukraine’s integration into Europe and the democratic community of nations

through conferences, briefings, research and the facilitation of investment
and business and contacts.
—————————————————————————–==————-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
11.     UKRAINE’S VIKTOR YUSHCHENKO MAY LOSE KEY
                     PARLIAMENTARY VOTE, POLL SHOWS

Bloomberg News, New York, New York, Friday, March 24, 2006

KIEV – Ukraine’s President Viktor Yushchenko, swept to power in the Orange
Revolution of 2004, may be the loser in this weekend’s parliamentary
elections, thwarting plans to forge closer ties with the European Union and
NATO.

Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine party ranked second in the last poll conducted
before the vote, 13 percentage points behind the Regions Party of Viktor
Yanukovych. Yanukovych, who lost to Yushchenko in a re-run of the
disputed presidential election that sparked the November 2004 street
protests, supports closer ties with Russia.

Optimism fostered by the revolution has dissipated amid slowing economic
growth, accelerating inflation and a split between Yushchenko and his first
prime minister, Yulia Timoshenko, after allegations of corruption. The
president and his erstwhile ally may be forced to overcome their
differences, said Ariel Cohen, senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation in
Washington.

"The revolution-era allies will agree on a coalition in the new parliament
as any alliance between Yushchenko with Yanukovych isn’t possible,” Cohen
said on March 22. “If Yanukovych becomes prime minister, there is no way
Ukraine will enter NATO at all.”

The Regions Party was backed by 30.4 percent of voters in a Feb. 26-March 6
survey by the Kiev-based Democratic Initiative Fund of 2009 eligible voters.
Yushchenko’s party ranked second, with 17.1 percent. Timoshenko’s party had
17 percent support. The survey had a margin of error of 2.2 percentage
points.
                                      RULING CLOWNS
Polls open at 7 a.m. on March 26 and close at 10 p.m. Local media will issue
exit polls, with the first official results expected to be released on March
27. The new parliament may hold its first session two weeks after the
results are published.

A cabinet must be formed within 30 days of the first session. If a
government isn’t formed on time, Yushchenko has the right to dissolve
parliament and call new elections.

Investors haven’t been impressed by the decline in support for Yushchenko.
Ukraine’s 10-year Eurobond maturing in 2013 declined to 106.11 as of March
22 from 109.16 on Nov. 28, when the election campaign started, according to
Bloomberg data. The yield rose to 6.569 on March 22, compared with 6.104
on Nov. 28, 2005.

Many voters have lost confidence in Yushchenko after he promised to boost
living standards and end corruption. "I thought that Yushchenko and his team
will put things in order in the country, will fight corruption,” said
Olesia Semenyuk, 26, an accountant in Kiev.

"Instead, there were scandals after scandals about corruption in
Yushchenko’s own team and it seems to me now that clowns instead of
professionals rule the country.”
                                         DISAPPOINTMENT
Semenyuk, who backed Yushchenko’s bid for the presidency and took part
in the street protests in 2004, will vote for Yanukovych. Yushchenko and his
allies "haven’t done what they promised,” she said. "The Orange Revolution
made other countries respect my nation. Yushchenko’s team ruined that
respect.”

Yanukovych will probably win 190 seats in the 450-seat parliament, short of
a majority, while Yushchenko is expected to get about 100 seats and
Timoshenko’s party may take 80 seats, Moscow-based Renaissance Capital
analyst Katya Malofeeva estimated in a March 21 report. As many as six
parties may enter parliament, she said.

Yanukovych, 55, who draws much of his support from the Russian-speaking
regions in the east of the country, seeks closer ties with Russia.
                                    YUSHCHENKO PROGRAM
Yushchenko, 52, has pledged to sell more of the country’s biggest companies,
such as national phone company VAT Ukrtelecom and win membership in the
World Trade Organization, the EU and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

U.S. President George W. Bush signed a measure yesterday giving Ukraine
permanent normal trade relations, a prerequisite for that country to join
the WTO.

The Bush administration and the Ukraine government worked out terms for
joining the WTO earlier this year. Yushchenko was cited by members of the
U.S. Congress as a key reason to support the measure. The measure passed
Congress earlier this month.

Yuriy Yekhanurov, Ukraine’s acting Prime Minister and leader of Yushchenko’s
party, said in a March 19 interview it may take as long as two months to
agree on a new prime minister and cabinet.

Ukraine attracted a record $7.86 billion in foreign direct investment 2005
after the sale of the country’s biggest steelmaker and the second-largest
bank. Still, the average monthly wage was about $150 in 2005, compared with
$300 in Russia, $770 in Poland and $4,500 in Germany, according to Bloomberg
data.

Growth of the $80 billion Ukrainian economy slowed to 2.6 percent last year
from 12.3 percent the previous year after companies delayed expansion planes
following Timoshenko calls for revision of the property rights.
                                       SLOWING GROWTH
The economy may slow even further this year to 2.1 percent because of a
widening trade deficit, as imports rise faster than exports, after Russia
more than doubled price for gas supplies to Ukraine in January, the Economy
Ministry said on March 13.

Ukraine, which depends on Russia for 80 percent of its energy needs, battled
with the Russian government over pricing of natural gas imports earlier this
year. A new government must reach a new agreement with Russia on prices
for the second half of 2006 and the future, after the current agreement
expires at mid-year.

"The new government will have to deal with a whole range of issues, for
which there doesn’t appear to be any solutions that will satisfy everyone,”
Malofeeva at Renaissance Capital Group wrote in her report. "Those also
include maintaining acceptable budget spending on the back of a slowing
economy and finalizing WTO accession.”

The new government will enjoy expanded powers. Under a change in the
Constitution, the parliament will have the right to nominate and appoint the
prime minister, whose powers will also include for the first time some
responsibilities now held by the president, including the appointment of
most cabinet members.                            -30-
=======================================================
To contact the reporter on this story: Daryna Krasnolutska in Kiev, through
the Moscow newsroom at  greynolds1@bloomberg.net. Halia Pavliva in
Moscow at hpavliva@bloomberg.net
—————————————————————————————————-
http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=10000087&sid=a41AIQF31N3s
——————————————————————————————-
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========================================================

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========================================================
12. INTERNATIONAL REPUBLICAN INSTITUTE PARLIAMENTARY
                ELECTION MONITORING TEAM ARRIVES IN KYIV

                     PREPARES FOR THE ELECTION ON SUNDAY
 
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #678, Article 12
Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, March 17, 2006

KYIV – The International Republican Institute’s (IRI) international election

monitoring delegation has arrived in Kyiv and is preparing for Ukraine’s 
important parliamentary election on Sunday, March 26. The delegates will
monitor voting and ballot counting throughout the country.  Following the
voting, IRI will issue a statement on the findings of the delegation at 1 p.m.
on Monday, March 27 at the UNIAN press conference room.
 
On Thursday the IRI delegation received an intensive round of briefings.
U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine John Herbst made a presentation to the
delegation about, "Ukrainian Elections, Possible Outcomes, Ramifications
for Ukraine’s Future."
 

Representatives of major political parties in Ukraine, most of them members
of Parliament, briefed the election monitors on their view of how
the election process is going, and especially about problems and major
issues they feel are a concern, such as the preparation of voter lists. 
Those who made briefings included: (1) Representative of Political Bloc
PORA – Reforms & Order, Deputy Campaign Manager Ostap Semerak
and the Board Chairman of the Reforms & Order Party; (2) Representative
of Party of Regions, Member of Parliament (MP) Raisa Bohatyryova and
Head of the Party of Regions Faction in Parliament; (3) Representative of
the Socialist Party, MP Halina Harmash; (4) Representative of the Bloc of
Yuliya Tymoshenko, MP Mykhailo Volunyets, President of the Independent
Trade Unions of Ukraine; (5) Representative of the President of Ukraine in
the Parliament and Representative of the Our Ukraine People’s Union, MP
Yuriy Klyuchkovskiy and (7) Representative of Ukrainian Media, Andriy
Shevchenko, President of Public Media Center.

The delegation also receiving a briefing about Ukraine’s election law and

the rights and responsibilities of international observers. The election law
briefing was given by the Honorable Bohdan Futey, U.S. Federal Judge
and Ellie Seats, USAID Elections Specialist, USAID Mission in Kyiv.

Delegates are now being deployed throughout the country where they will

monitor polling stations and identify and evaluate strengths and weaknesses
in Ukraine’s election system, including campaign regulations, the balloting
process, vote tabulation and reporting.
 
The polls are open in Ukraine on Sunday from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.  The
delegates will visit various polling stations throughout the day.  Each
delegate will then stay at one polling station in the area they are covering
to watch and monitor the ballot count. 
 
IRI’s delegation is led by The Honorable Michael Trend, former member
of Britain’s parliament.  Other delegates are Steven Berry, President,
Steven K. Berry, LLC; Thomas Carter, President, Commonwealth Consulting
Corp.; Marjorie Finkelnburg, Director of Government Relations, Pfizer; The
Honorable Bohdan Futey, U.S. Court of Federal Claims; Charles Greenleaf,
former Assistant Administrator, U.S. Agency for International Development;
Lilibet Hagel, Trustee, Meridian International Center; Reuben Jeffery III,
Chairman, Commodity Futures Trading Commission; Patricia Morgan, State
Chairman for Rhode Island, Republican National Committee; Gardner

Peckham, Managing Partner, BKSH & Associates; Roman Popadiuk,
former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine; Bob Schaffer, former Congressman
representing Colorado’s 4th District; and Morgan Williams, Director of
Government Affairs, Washington Office, SigmaBleyzer.

IRI staff will also serve as observers and assist in the mission.  IRI staff
will be led by Georges Fauriol, Senior Vice President of IRI, Stephen B.
Nix, Regional Director for IRI’s Eurasia division and Chris Holzen, IRI’s
Country Director for Ukraine.

In addition, through a grant from IRI the Democracy Development Foundation
(DDF), a domestic Ukrainian nongovernmental organization, will monitor an
estimated 2,600 polling sites with more than 150 observers.  DDF is the only
Ukrainian elections monitoring organization conducting and coordinating both
domestic and international election observation for the parliamentary and
local election.

Since 1993, IRI has worked to help strengthen political parties and good
governance in Ukraine at both national and local levels.  IRI also works
with youth, women and civil society to increase their participation in the
political process.  In preparation for the March 2006 parliamentary
elections, IRI carried out trainings on campaign management, voter
education, youth mobilization, and political party poll watching.  -30-

——————————————————————————————–
FOOTNOTE:  Your AUR editor has been deployed by IRI to go
to Chernihiv for the parliamentary election observation mission. I will be
heading out to Chernihiv on Saturday morning.  On Saturday we will be
meeting with local election and party officials. Polls open at 7 a.m. on
Sunday and do not close until 10:00 p.m.  Everyone is then in for a
long night of counting the paper ballots.   AUR EDITOR.
——————————————————————————————–
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========================================================
             Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.
========================================================
13 .    MAJOR POLITICAL PARTIES COMPETING IN UKRAINE’S
                                   PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION 

AP Worldstream, Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Mar 23, 2006

KIEV – Forty-five parties and blocks are competing in the Sunday

parliamentary vote, but only about six are expected to make it over the
3-percent barrier. They are Our Ukraine, Bloc Yulia Tymoshenko, Party of
Regions, Communist Party, Socialist Party and People’s Bloc of Lytvyn.

PARTY OF REGIONS – Headed by Orange Revolution foe Viktor Yanukovych.

Has pledged to make Russian a second state language, drop plans to join NATO
and restore frayed ties with Moscow. Mostly supported in eastern Ukraine and
Crimea. Polls suggest 30-34 percent.

OUR UKRAINE – Headed by President Viktor Yushchenko. Initially enjoyed

huge popularity, but has suffered dwindling support since split with revolution
ally Yulia Tymoshenko and country’s economic slowdown. Put Ukraine on path
toward the European Union and NATO, taking it away form Moscow’s influence.
Mostly supported in western and central Ukraine. Polls suggest about 17-20
percent.

BLOC YULIA TYMOSHENKO – Headed by former Prime Minister Yulia

Tymoshenko. Trying to woo Orange voters disappointed by Yushchenko’s
government. Has accused government of betraying Orange Revolution aims
of justice and separation of business from power. Polls suggest 14-20 percent.

SOCIALIST PARTY – Headed by Oleksandr Moroz. Initiated constitutional

reform that handed presidential powers to parliament. Supported Orange
Revolution, and holds positions in Yushchenko’s government. Polls suggest
5-7 percent.

COMMUNIST PARTY – Headed by Petro Symonenko. Mostly composed

of elderly and those nostalgic for Soviet Union. Tried to attract young voters
with slogan "It is cool to be a Communist." Polls suggest 4-6 percent.

PEOPLE’S BLOC of LYTVYN – Headed by parliamentary Speaker

Volodymyr Lytvyn, who played a role as mediator during the Orange
Revolution. Could become kingmaker in coalition talks, and analysts suggest
he favors Yushchenko. Polls suggest 3-5 percent.

BLOC NE TAK – Headed by first Ukrainian President Leonid Kravchuk.

Main party of former President Leonid Kuchma’s allies. Pledged to change
direction of country’s foreign policy toward Moscow. Has warned of massive
vote fraud. Not expected to make it over 3-percent barrier.

BLOC PORA-PRP– Headed by former heavyweight champion Vitali Klitschko.
Believed to be pro-presidential. Partly composed of Pora members, youth
movement that played key role in 2004 Orange Revolution. Not expected to
make it over 3 percent.                                 -30-

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[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
14. KEY PLAYERS IN UKRAINE’S PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS

AP Worldstream, Kiev, Ukraine, Thursday, Mar 23, 2006

KIEV – Major players in Ukraine’s parliamentary elections:

VIKTOR YANUKOVYCH: 55, Leader of the Party of the Regions; former

prime minister and chief nemesis of the Orange Revolution; With bedrock
support in Ukraine’s Russian-speaking east and south, Yanukovych’s party
is expected to be top vote-getter, but still to fall short of a majority.

VIKTOR YUSHCHENKO: 52, Ukraine’s president and leader of the Our

Ukraine Party; Yushchenko came to power in 2004 after hundreds of thousands
protested for weeks in the streets to dispute the results of presidential
elections that international observers deemed fraudulent; the longtime
leader of the opposition, he promised to speed up Ukraine’s integration with
the West, but has been criticized for failing to raise living standards. His
once huge popularity has dropped amid widespread disappointment.

YULIA TYMOSHENKO: 45, leads her own opposition bloc; former

Yushchenko ally; one of the driving forces behind Kiev’s street protests,
Tymoshenko was fired from her post as prime minister after Yushchenko
accused her of betraying the ideals of the Orange Revolution; Known for her
glamour and charisma, a strong showing would give Tymoshenko the upper
hand in talks aimed at restoring the Orange Team and in her bid to return to
her former job.                                          -30-
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[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
15.                               UKRAINE: A NEW ELECTION

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: By Ivan Lozowy
THE UKRAINE INSIDER, Vol. 6, No. 2
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, March 22, 2006

ITEM A.: IRRESISTIBLE LADY… NOT
With the results pretty well known in advance (See The Ukraine Insider,
vol. 5, no. 2 from February 28), the important question in the upcoming
general elections on March 26 in Ukraine is what will be the coalition,
which will in turn form the new government.

According to new rules, not only are these elections purely proportional,
with voters voting for party lists compiled by party bosses, but the new
government will be formed by whoever wins or builds a parliamentary
majority.

Intrigue is added by the fact that three large election blocks are slated
to dominate the new Rada, or parliament.  President Viktor Yushchenko’s
Our Ukraine coalition will have to step aside for former presidential
hopeful Viktor Yanukovych’s Party of Regions, the clear leader in the polls.
Meantime, the erstwhile Yulia Tymoshenko and her block, BYT, are hoping
for a second-place finish.

Tymoshenko’s hopes of outdistancing Our Ukraine are bolstered by what
promises to be an election heavily influenced by the protest vote. Many
voters are disgruntled by the lack of progress after a year of Yushchenko’s
rule, whose campaign ads have a plaintive edge: "Don’t Betray the
Revolution," as if Ukrainians are about to stampede.

For her part, Tymoshenko is rightly known as a no-nonsense lady. Not only
does she individually super-micro-manage her own party and coalition, she
has made no bones about wanting to assume the Prime Minister post once
again. Tymoshenko even issued new billboards last week entitled: "Elections
of the Prime Minister."

Tymoshenko was late in making a strong run. After being fired from the post
of Prime Minister by Yushchenko on September 8, 2005, the President openly
criticized Tymoshenko. She, however, kept mum and, hoping for
reconciliation, insisted that her problems were not with Yushchenko, but
rather with his entourage, or "dear friends" as she calls them these days.

In early February, Tymoshenko’s aides, panicked at her lackadaisical
campaign and pandering to Yushchenko, called an emergency meeting and
moved to a more visible, and aggressive, campaign. But aggressive continued
to exclude direct criticism of Yushchenko, because Tymoshenko is well aware
that whether she becomes Prime Minister depends on her taking face-to-face
with Yushchenko. This, in turn, means that whether or not Yushchenko join
Tymoshenko in a coalition will turn on a dime. Since Yushchenko’s entourage
is deathly afraid of Tymoshenko’s rising popularity and is well aware of
their leader’s susceptibility to influence from the strong-willed
Tymoshenko, he will be kept well away.

Ironically, if Tymoshenko does edge out Our Ukraine to take second place
after Yanukovych, her chances of becoming Prime Minister will decrease.
Such a result will send additional danger signs to the Our Ukraine team of
"the Tymoshenko threat."

Herself aware of these goings-on, Tymoshenko has been screaming about
secret negotiations between Our Ukraine and the Party of Regions for
months. And with good reason.

You know, you just know, that when Roman Bessmertny looks the camera
straight in the eye and swears that Our Ukraine is not interested in a
coalition with Regions, that they are, well, interested.

Practically everyone in the political game has warned of an impending
coalition between Our Ukraine and Regions, including former President
Leonid Kravchuk, parliamentary speaker and former President Leonid

Kuchma’s honcho Wolodymyr Lytvyn and even the weasel-y Stepan Havrysh
from the "Ne Tak!" coalition, spearheaded by Kuchma’s former "Prince of
Darkness" Viktor Medvedchuk.

In the meantime, relations between Our Ukraine and BYT have gone from worse
to much worse. When a scuffle erupted in the Rada a week and a half ago, it
was between Yushchenko’s and Tymoshenko’s adherents, who take their cues
from their leaders.

Tetiana Mokridi, Bessmertny’s press secretary and on the Our Ukraine
election list, recently spoke of Tymoshenko in very disparaging terms,
doubtless echoing her boss’ real sentiments.

If Our Ukraine and the Party of Regions team up, the Donetsk clan will be
back in power in top form. As first place finishers, they will demand a lot
in terms of ministerial posts. After all, this is not a crowd accustomed to
being in opposition. Their main goal is to get back to the "trough," as the
state budget is commonly referred to.

For Yushchenko, teaming up with Yanukovych has several seeming advantages.
One is that he will keep his opponents close. A general misunderstanding of
the "grand coalitions" seen from time to time in Western Europe leads some
to view such a result as providing stability. In fact, of course, such a
coalition will sound the death knell of Yushchenko’s own, not so lengthy,
political career.

Riding into the Rada "on a horse," as they saying goes, will provide the
Donetsk clan, which stands behind Regions, a powerful stimulant. Their
leaders, such as former tax service head Mykola Azarov, bandied about as
a potential Prime Minister, are already talking big, insisting on rights
over the core of any future governing coalition. Others, such as their

campaign chief Yevheny Kushnariov, are threatening the orange crowd for
alleged abuses in shuttling him in and out of the prosecutor’s office during
a year over separatist speeches he made during the Orange Revolution in
2004.

Whether the "Donchany," as the Donetsk clan is known in its home fiefdom
of the Donbas region in eastern Ukraine, form a coalition or not with Our
Ukraine, is not really relevant. The point is, they’re back.        -30-
———————————————————————————————
Correspondence should be addressed to: lozowy@gmail.com.
THE UKRAINE INSIDER – is distributed via the Internet free of charge

to all interested parties as a source of in-depth information on political
events in Ukraine, including behind-the-scenes coverage of significant
current issues, the positions of policy-makers, tactics and strategy
information on Ukraine’s ongoing struggle toward a free and democratic
society.
——————————————————————————————-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
16.  UKRAINE: FREEDOM OF CHOICE, ELECTION CAMPAIGN 2006

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: By Tammy Lynch
THE ISCIP ANALYST, Formerly The NIS Observed,
An Analytical Review. Volume XII, Number 3
Boston, Massachusetts, Monday, March 20, 2006

In the Orange Revolution of 2004, Ukrainian citizens rose up to demand
justice and truth: They demanded that an overtly rigged presidential
election be overturned and their opinions counted. And they won. This  year,
as Ukrainians prepare to vote in the first parliamentary election  since
their revolution, they do so in a new atmosphere of freedom and  fairness.

While many voters may be disappointed that, following the  revolution,
change didn’t come as quickly as they anticipated in a  number of areas, the
parliamentary campaign of 2006 clearly  demonstrates the impressive level of
political freedom and debate that  has blossomed in Ukraine in just over one
year.

In 2004, then-presidential candidate Viktor Yushchenko was refused time  to
advertise or appear on the primarily state-controlled Ukrainian  media. He
was routinely attacked by "journalists," as numerous dubious,  intensely
negative "documentaries" appeared all over Ukraine’s  television channels.
At the same time, Yushchenko was refused permits  to hold rallies, denied
airplane landing rights to campaign in certain  regions, followed by
security service personnel, threatened, and  finally, poisoned.

Those supporting Yushchenko were bullied, subjected to "investigations"
by tax and police officials, followed, and, along with Yushchenko,  placed
under a constant state of siege. Media found to be critical of  the
administration in power simply were shut down, journalists were  threatened
(threats which were taken seriously given the earlier murder  of journalist
Georgiy Gongadze and the disappearances of several  others), and an
atmosphere of oppression prevailed against those not  supportive of the
regime in power.

Alternatively, Yushchenko’s opponent, then-Prime Minister Viktor
Yanukovich – the chosen successor of President Leonid Kuchma – was 

praised at every turn on Ukrainian television and radio, and in state  controlled
newspapers. Certain journalists were rewarded for their  support of
Yanukovich, as most news distribution followed restrictive  orders issued
directly from the presidential administration (there  were, of course, brave
exceptions). Yanukovich received massive  assistance from the state
apparatus in holding rallies and "contacting"  voters, state workers were
threatened with the loss of jobs if they did  not vote for him, and students
were told they would lose their stipends  and housing. Moreover, this
assistance continued throughout the  now-discredited first round of voting.

My, how things have changed.

In 2006, advertisements for parties taking part in the parliamentary
elections – even those overtly opposing President Yushchenko – appear
regularly on all media outlets without restriction. Candidates travel,  hold
rallies and appear on media talk programs without problem or  constraint.
Although some candidates have complained of obstruction by  officials at the
local and regional level, complaints are aired loudly,  and generally,
problems are corrected. Even in Donetsk, the region of  the country with the
highest level of election fraud and violence in  2004, and the region where
officials still cling to many of the old  ways, candidates from all parties
are allowed – if not welcomed – to  campaign and speak to the press.

During one week on Ukrainian television, viewers could watch hour-long
press conferences with former revolution leader and prime minister  Yulia
Tymoshenko, who is running separately from Yushchenko’s Our  Ukraine party
in these elections, Socialist Party leader and former  Orange Revolution
partner Oleksandr Moroz, and Prime Minister Yuriy  Yekhanurov, the political
leader of Our Ukraine. Additionally, they  could see lengthy interviews with
the leaders of the smaller PORA and  Viche parties, a political debate on
possible parliamentary coalitions,  regular news reports on the activities
of all parties, and enough  political advertising to irritate even seasoned
Western political  analysts.

In fact, so many parties have bought advertising (47 are running) that
state-controlled Channel 1 is running at least five minute-long blocs  of
political advertising several times each hour. Cursory observation  suggests
that Yanukovich’s Party of Regions has purchased the largest  amount of
advertising time, and unlike what happened to candidate  Yushchenko in 2004,
all channels are running these advertisements.

On Independence Square, the site of the largest Orange Revolution  protests
in 2004, all parties can, and often do, maintain booths to  distribute
campaign material, and on weekends, set up small soundstages  to conduct
rallies. There is no greater sign of the new freedom in the  country than
the fact that on 11 March, Yanukovich’s Party of Regions  held a rally for
hundreds of voters almost on the same site where  hundreds of thousands
protested against him slightly more than one year  earlier. The rally was
not obstructed, not watched by security  personnel videotaping attendees,
and not barred from coverage by the  media.

This is particularly impressive given that Yanukovich seems poised to  win
the greatest number of seats in the next parliament (25-30%).  President
Yushchenko and those around him have not responded as most  leaders of
the former Soviet Republics have done when faced with  similar political
challenges, rather they simply have campaigned  harder, and challenged
Yanukovich to debates. They have accepted that –  as during the third round
of the 2004 presidential election when  Yanukovich received 44% of the
votes – there is a portion of the  citizenry that supports the former Prime
Minister’s pro-Russia,  anti-NATO program. In other words, they have
responded as any Western  political party would do.

There are, of course, individuals within Our Ukraine who have suggested
that Yanukovich should not be allowed to run in this election, because  past
crimes committed in his youth and his alleged involvement in  2004’s
election fraud should disqualify him. Yushchenko, however, has  shied away
from this idea, as he has shied away from pursuing Kuchma  for his past
alleged crimes (including alleged involvement in the  murder of Gongadze).
For better or for worse, Yushchenko has chosen to  allow his opponents to
rehabilitate themselves. Perhaps this is not the  justice demanded during
the orange revolution, but it is freedom – and  a level of freedom unknown
in that part of the world.

It is also worth highlighting that President Yushchenko and Our Ukraine
face challenges not only from Yanukovich but from his former revolution
partner, Yulia Tymoshenko. A poll released on 10 March by the respected
Democratic Initiatives Foundation found Yanukovich with 30.4%,  Yushchenko’s
Our Ukraine Bloc at 17.1% and the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc  with 16.9% of
voter support. Yushchenko’s decision to break from Soviet  and post-Soviet
electioneering practices has allowed his party to face  the possibility of
placing third in the election, but should also prove  to his citizens – and
the West – that it is possible to hold a fair and  free election in the
former Soviet region.
                      PROBLEMS FACED ON ELECTION DAY
The poll itself will present additional problems for the government, as  the
country implements new laws and procedures designed to limit fraud  and
increase accountability. Most observers agree with the government’s  own
assessment that the sheer volume of choices faced by voters will  mean long
lines and an exceptionally long vote counting period. The  national
parliamentary ballot will have 47 party choices and be so long  that it will
not fit on the table provided to mark it. Moreover, voters  could receive up
to an additional four ballots, as they vote  simultaneously for the first
time in regional, municipal, district and  local elections. Parties on each
ballot may be different and in a  different order than on the national
parliamentary ballot. Needless to  say, voters will have more choice than
they thought possible in 2004,  and election workers who likely have never
participated in a free  election will face counting challenges.

There is little worry, however, of vote tampering or rigging.  Yushchenko’s
message of non-interference seems to have been clearly  delivered to
election workers. These workers complain that they are  afraid to make
mistakes for fear of being charged with fraud. This fear  has contributed to
difficulty filling election positions throughout the  country, but it speaks
volumes about the tone being set by the  presidential administration.
                                    COALITION BUILDING
Whether the pluralism of a campaign can be carried over into a  pluralistic,
diverse, and inclusive government also is a major test for  this new
Western-oriented government.

The incoming parliament will be tasked by new constitutional amendments
with creating a majority coalition and choosing a prime minister and
cabinet. Previously, the president named the prime minister, who was  then
confirmed by parliament. Now, the country has moved in the  direction of a
parliamentary republic (although the president will  maintain more power
than most presidents possess under this form of  government).

Numerous majority coalition scenarios exist, including agreements  between
Yanukovich and Yushchenko and between Yushchenko and  Tymoshenko.
Should the parliament fail to reach a majority coalition  agreement within
30
days after opening its session, the president has  the right to disband the
body and call new elections. It is unclear  whether this is a scenario being
considered by Yushchenko, but it is  hard to believe that the president
would embrace this idea over a  coalition with his former partners,
especially following a difficult  campaign, having made such progress on
political freedom and with such  unpredictable consequences.

It is also hard to believe that Yushchenko would choose to unite with
former Prime Minister Yanukovich, the man who was complicit in the
oppression of him and his associates in 2004. Even more, Yanukovich  leads

a party that voted in 2005 to oppose joining NATO, oppose reforms  needed
to join the WTO, oppose joining the EU without a special  agreement with
Russia, and oppose anti-monopoly free-market reforms  that might have
threatened the control some party members hold in  certain industries.
Clearly, Yushchenko has many decisions to make in  the next month or two.

Also clearly, Ukraine has come far in slightly over one year. The
atmosphere on the streets is cautious but hopeful, and the campaign
resembles some of the most hotly contested in the West. For over one  year,
Viktor Yushchenko has said that his country is part of Europe.  And there
can be no doubt that the president has given Ukrainians two  of their most
important demands during the revolution, and two of the  fundamental rights
of European nations – the freedom to choose their  own political leaders and
the freedom to learn about them from an  uncensored press.
————————————————————————————————–
Contact: Tammy Lynch in Kyiv – mobile 8-079-336-3837 or by
e-mail tammymlynch@hotmail.com; link: www.bu.edu/iscip
—————————————————————————————————

[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
17. REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AT SIGNING OF H.R. 1053, TO
        AUTHORIZE THE EXTENSION OF NONDISCRIMINATORY
                 TREATMENT TO THE PRODUCTS OF UKRAINE

THE WHITE HOUSE: Office of the Press Secretary
Washington, D.C., Thursday, March 23, 2006

REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT AT SIGNING OF H.R. 1053,

TO AUTHORIZE THE EXTENSION OF NONDISCRIMINATORY
TREATMENT TO THE PRODUCTS OF UKRAINE

Room 350; Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building, 11:01 A.M. EST

THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Pleased be seated.  (Applause.) Ambassador,

good to see you.  Please be seated.  Welcome.  Appreciate you all coming.  In
a few minutes I’m going to sign a bill that authorizes permanent normal trade
relations between the United States and Ukraine.  It’s a good bill, and it’s
going to strengthen our ties with our friend, Ukraine.  It’s going to create
new opportunities, economic opportunities, for both our countries.

I really want to thank the Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations
Committee, a man who knows what he’s talking about when it comes to the
world, and that’s Chairman Lugar from Indiana.  Thank you for coming, sir.
(Applause.)  I thank the bill sponsor, Congressman Jim Gerlach, and his wife
Karen is here today.  Thank you for coming, Mr. Congressman.

Congressman Tom Lantos is with us.  He’s the Ranking Member of the House
International Relations Committee.  Congressman Curt Weldon, a cosponsor

of the bill, is with us.  Congresswoman Candice Miller from Michigan, a
cosponsor, is with us, as well as a cosponsor, Congressman Mike Fitzpatrick.
Thank you all for being here.  (Applause.)

I welcome you all here.  I especially welcome the Ambassador from Ukraine,
Ambassador Shamshur.  Welcome, Mr. Ambassador.  Appreciate you coming.
(Applause.)  This is the third time we’ve been together in the last 30 days.
(Laughter.)  I’m better for it.  (Laughter.)

 The bill I sign today marks the beginning of a new era in our history with
Ukraine.  During the Cold War, Congress passed the Jackson-Vanik Amendment
as a response to widespread communist deprivation of human rights.  The law
made American trade with communist nations contingent on those countries’
respect for the rights of their own people.

At the time, the law served an important purpose — it helped to encourage
freedom and the protection of fundamental rights, and penalized nations that
denied liberty to their citizens.  Times have changed.  The Cold War is
over, and a free Ukraine is a friend to America and an inspiration to those
who love liberty.

The Orange Revolution was a powerful example of democracy for people

around the world.  The brave citizens who gathered in Kiev’s Independence
Square demanded the chance to determine their nation’s future, and when
they got that chance, they chose freedom.

In the past two years, Ukraine has held free elections, and the people of
Ukraine and its President, Viktor Yushchenko, are deeply committed to
democratic reform.  On Sunday, the Ukrainian people will again have the
chance to cast a ballot in parliamentary elections, and they have a chance
to continue to shape their own future.

Ukraine is also working to expand its market economy and produce

measurable improvements in the lives of the Ukrainian people.  America
supports these efforts, and this bill is an important step.  By eliminating
barriers to trade between the United States and Ukraine, the bill will help
Ukraine grow in prosperity.

As we’ve seen over the past 50 years, trade has the power to create new
wealth for whole nations and new opportunities for people around the world.
By expanding trade with Ukraine, this bill will open new markets for
American products and help Ukrainians continue to build a free economy

that will raise the standard of living for families across their land.

 As Ukraine embraces democracy and more open trade, our nation’s friendship
will grow.  President Yushchenko has made reforms to increase transparency
and provide intellectual property protection and strengthen the enforcement
of the rule of law.

These reforms have taken great conviction.  And earlier this month, our two
nations signed a bilateral agreement that will establish the terms of trade
between our nations when Ukraine joins the World Trade Organization.  We
support Ukraine’s goal of joining the WTO, and we will help resolve the
remaining steps required for entry as quickly as possible.

As the Ukrainian government continues to build on a record of progress at
home, we will help Ukraine joins the institutions that unite free nations
and become a part of Europe that is whole, free, and at peace.

The growth of economic freedom and ownership in countries like Ukraine
reinforces the habits of liberty and democracy, and gives citizens a stake
in the success of their nation.  Ukrainian people have shown the world they
are committed to the ideals of economic freedom and democratic progress

and open trade, and that gives them a promising future.

The United States is proud to call Ukraine a friend, and I’m honored to sign
this important piece of legislation into law.  (Applause.)
(The bill is signed.)                       

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18.  COLD WAR TRADE RESTRICTIONS ON UKRAINE ENDING

AP Worldstream, Washington, DC, Thursday, Mar 23, 2006

WASHINGTON – President George W. Bush was signing legislation Thursday

that would end Cold War-era trade restrictions on Ukraine, opening the way for
the former Soviet republic to join the World Trade Organization.

The measure frees Ukraine from a 1974 law called the Jackson-Vanik Amendment
that links trade benefits to the emigration and human rights policies of
former or current communist states. Both houses of Congress passed the
legislation earlier this month.

Ukraine hopes to join the 148-nation WTO this year and removal of U.S. trade
restrictions is necessary for that to happen. Since 1993, the United States has

granted Ukraine normal trade relations on a temporary annual basis.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yuschenko, whose pro-Western government was
elected in January, has welcomed the U.S. legislation, saying "consistent
U.S. steps in support of Ukraine on the way of reform are evidence of
strategic partnership between the countries."

U.S. exports to Ukraine, including poultry and agriculture machinery totaled
$531.7 million (A441 million) in 2005. Imports from Ukraine, including steel
and coke used in making steel, totaled $1.1 million (A910,000).

Sen. Richard Lugar, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee,

said Ukraine has demonstrated a commitment to greater freedom and free
market principles.                                     -30-
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[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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19.    I ONLY KNOW WHO WON’T BE THE PRIME MINISTER
      Viktor Yushchenko on what will happen to Ukraine after the election

INTERVIEW: With President Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine
BY: Mikhail Zygar, Mustafa Naijem, Sergei Sidorenko
Kommersant, Moscow, Russia, March 23, 2006

[The parliamentary election in Ukraine will take place on March 26.
President Viktor Yushchenko discuses the campaign situation, the
chances of his party, his own plans for after the election, and
Russian-Ukrainian relations.]

      Question: One frequently hears speculations in Russia that the
"Yushchenko era" in Ukraine is drawing to its end. There is the
widespread opinion that the triumph of Viktor Yanukovich’s Party of
Regions is a foregone conclusion and that it will put an end to the
Orange Period in Ukrainian politics.

      Viktor Yushchenko: I’d say that this is an erroneous
assumption, or rather a deliberately cultivated myth. A legend if
you prefer that doesn’t have anything to do with the actual state of
affairs.

      Yesterday is gone for good. Ukraine will never return to the
lawlessness of shadow economy, to the criminal regime, to the
decisions quietly made by oligarchs in the halls of power…

      The processes that are taking place in Ukraine are approved by
millions.

      Question: But democracy doesn’t necessarily mean democrats in
the halls of power. You will surely admit that Yanukovich may win
and become prime minister again.

      Viktor Yushchenko: I only know who won’t be the prime
minister… As for who will be in the Cabinet, the answer to this
question will be given on March 26. I’m convinced that a harmony

of interests will be found. Extremes will never promote the public
interest.

      Question: Results of opinion polls show the Party of Regions
ahead of all other political forces. Do you accept that this party
could form a coalition? Or will Our Ukraine provide the nucleus, no
matter what?

      Viktor Yushchenko: Let’s put it this way. The political
majority will probably be formed with the positions of three
political forces taken into consideration. These political forces
I’m talking about are Our Ukraine, Party of Regions, and Yulia
Timoshenko’s Bloc. That’s all by way of the nucleus. Some other
political forces may decide to join the coalition, the ones that
will have been elected into the parliament.

      The coalition should promote the policy of national interests,
both domestically and in international affairs.

      That a coalition will be formed is I think clear. What forces
may join it is immaterial at this point. In my view, there may be up
to six combinations. I’d prefer a renovated Orange Team of course. I
hope that the talks over establishment of the coalition in the wake
of the election will be successful.

      Question: What do you think Yanukovich’s party owes its high
rating to? Split in the Orange Camp?
      Viktor Yushchenko: Of course. And I would like the architects
of this split to understand it.
      Question: And who are they?

      Viktor Yushchenko: Those who were dismissed. Some people
dramatically changed as soon as they found themselves in the halls
of power, and that was the worst conceivable strike at the Orange
Revolution and the camp of Independence square supporters. I mean
the people who stood by my side on Independence Square. I considered
it my duty to elevate them to the positions of power. I hoped that
they would be as faithful to Ukraine and ideals of the team as they
had been before the election. I thought that national interests
would be their first priority in everything.

Unfortunately, devaluation of these values began practically at once.
Personal gains, personal aspirations, plans, and business ventures
moved into the foreground. Consider the Nikopol Ferrous Alloys Plant,
here the conflict was fomented by intrigues. Unfortunately, it was not
just an isolated episode. There were others as well. Dismissing them all
was the only means of preventing devaluation of the team and decline
of national economy left me.

      Question: You thought you might be at the top of Our Ukraine’s
list of candidates, until late summer. You changed you mind
afterwards. Why is that?

      Viktor Yushchenko: I didn’t rule out this possibility, but I
never said it was decided. We still had some time before the
election in the middle of 2005. We knew we would have to decide one
way or another closer to the election. As for me personally, there
is only one thing that concerns me. I want the upcoming election to
solidify the victory the forces of democracy scored in 2004.
Ukrainian democracy is still fragile… So, I gradually decided
against having my name at the top of Our Ukraine’s list.

      Question: But you are a party member!

      Viktor Yushchenko: I’m president and therefore put as much
distance between me and parties as possible. As for Our Ukraine, I
have trust in it. It already changed Ukraine and (I know) it will do
a lot for Ukraine yet. I decided nevertheless that having my name on
top of the list of candidates would be a collision with principles
of democracy.

      Question: Has anyone on your team ever proposed using
administrative resources?
      Viktor Yushchenko: The matter has never even been proposed.

      Question: Do you think someone might go ahead and use them
anyway?
      Viktor Yushchenko: I can’t rule it out, of course. First and
foremost, the matter concerns local government bodies. Free and fair
elections are like a new culture. It is understood and accepted by
80% while 10% more need to think it over yet and the remaining 10%
do not want anything but what life was like two years ago. There is
only one way of winning elections. That is winning voters over to
your side. At the very least, it is necessary to invoke the hope
that the country is moving in the correct direction. The
administrative resource will only bring harm here. Tactically, it
may actuate victory. Strategically, however, it is always more
damaging than helpful.

      Question: What if some political force finds itself
disappointed with the outcome of election? What if it sets up tents
on Independence Square again, accuse you of tampering with the
election, and demands cancelling the election result. What will you
do then?

      Viktor Yushchenko: Protests on Independence Square require a
motive, and evidence that the election was rigged. You have my
solemn promise that there will be no such motive.

      Let us consider what was improved since a year ago. We revised
the work with voters lists. First and foremost, we completed their
inventory and run them by registries to update the lists. In short,
I believe that in the upcoming election we will have the most
precise lists of voters in the history of Ukraine. I’d say that this
is a guarantee of democratic nature of the election.

      Question: Many problems have arisen in Russian-Ukrainian
relations: gas supplies, the Black Sea Fleet, cheese, lighthouses.
What do you think all this means? Moscow’s vengeance for your
2004 triumph?

      Viktor Yushchenko: Relations between Ukraine and Russia have
never been simple. On the contrary, the legacy of the my team
included a host of unsolved problems. A number of bilateral treaties
and documents weren’t even functioning, but raising that issue was
taboo. In my view, the time has come to bring up all these matters
and – more importantly – finally resolve them.

Ukraine is being run by a team of pragmatists. Where foreign policy is
concerned, we are guided by quite simple and understandable principles.
They boil down to promotion of national interests of Ukraine, to honesty,
predictability, and responsibility to partners. Ukraine has proclaimed
Euro-Atlantic integration as its strategic objective.

This course remains unchanged. I always emphasize meanwhile that
Ukraine’s rapprochement with European structures doesn’t mean
friendship against someone else. On the contrary, Kiev has always
stood for advancement of mutually beneficial, equal, strategic
relations with all its neighbors and primarily with Moscow.

      I disagree with the assumption that 2005 was a bad year for
bilateral relations between Ukraine and Russia. On the contrary, the
Yushchenko-Putin panel was set up and its committees are already
working. The committee for the Black Sea Fleet has already met.

      As for economic matters, we abandoned the practice of barter
deals in the gas sector, and that’s fine by us and an important
achievement. The trade turnover between our countries rose 12% in
2005. Not bad, but not nearly as good as it could have been.

      Question: Has Moscow tried to exert any influence on the
parliamentary election in Ukraine?

      Viktor Yushchenko: I’d say this will be the first parliamentary
election in Ukraine whose outcome depends solely on Ukrainian
voters. It is here that the outcome of the election will be decided
– not in Washington, Brussels, or Moscow. If I my say so, our
neighbors understand it too.

      Question: Your opponents criticize the authorities for the gas
accord with Russia that makes RosUkrEnergo, a dubious structure at
least, a monopolist. What is the purpose of RosUkrEnergo?

      Viktor Yushchenko: You’d better ask someone else. Somebody has
been given a monopoly on gas transit across Russian territory. Why?
I don’t know why! I cabled the prime minister and requested another
appeal to Gazprom and Reifferizerbank for an official explanation.

These aren’t Ukrainian companies! We approached the third entity,
saying that we want to know what this company is and its history. We
want to know who its shareholders are, and so on. Had the matter
concerned a company registered in Ukraine or partly Ukrainian-owned,
I’d have perceived some logic in it, perhaps. And you are asking me
now why this company handles Russian gas. Is the gas Russian? It is.

So go ask Gazprom, or some other entity.   -30-

——————————————————————————————
Translated by A. Ignatkin
——————————————————————————————-
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AUR#677 Ukraine’s Future In The Balance; Economic Performance On Trial; U.S. Campaign Advisors; Yushchenko Interview

THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR
An International Newsletter, The Latest, Up-To-Date
In-Depth Ukrainian News, Analysis and Commentary
 
 
Ukrainian History, Culture, Arts, Business, Religion,
Sports, Government, and Politics, in Ukraine and Around the World       
                        
THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR – Number 677
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor  
Washington, D.C., TUESDAY, MARCH 21, 2006 
              ——–INDEX OF ARTICLES——–
         Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.               
Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article
1.                       UKRAINE’S FUTURE IN THE BALANCE
Jane’s Intelligence Digest, UK, Friday, March 10, 2006

2.             KIEV’S ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE ON TRIAL AS
                   KEY PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS LOOM
Alex Nicholson, AP Worldstream, Moscow, Russia, Mon, Mar 20, 2006

3.    UKRAINE: HE WAS BORN SKVORTSOV, ON THE ELECTION
                                    ROLLS HE’S SHPAK
By Oksana Yablokova, Staff Writer, The Moscow Times
Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, March 21, 2006

4.                   A FAIRER FIGHT IN UKRAINE CAMPAIGN
                      Candidates Look to West, Away from Russia,
                             as Guide In Parliamentary Election
THINKING GLOBAL: OP-ED
By Frederick Kempe
The Wall Street Journal, NY, NY, Monday, March 20, 2006

5 UKRAINIAN REGIONAL MEDIA PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION
                       HIGHLIGHTS FOR MARCH 13-17, 2006
Source: BBC Monitoring research in English 20 Mar 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Monday, Mar 20, 2006

6 .      VIKTOR YUSHCHENKO: ‘THE BASIS FOR UNIFICATION IS
                     THE NATIONAL INTERESTS OF UKRAINE’"
INTERVIEW: With Viktor Yushchenko, President of Ukraine
BY: Oleksandr Cherevko, Silski Visti, Kiev, in Ukrainian 17 Mar 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Saturday, Mar 18, 2006

7US AMB HERBST PRAISES UKRAINE’S DEMOCRATIC PROGRESS;
        URGES CONTINUED COMMITMENT TO HONEST ELECTIONS
Public Affairs Section, United States Embassy, Kyiv
Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 20, 2006

 
   FOR THE OFFICE OF RECONSTRUCTION AND STABILIZATION
                           Currently U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine
Office of the Spokesman, U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC, Monday, March 20, 2006

9   SEC RICE JOINS NATO TALKS ON UKRAINIAN MEMBERSHIP

By Mark John, Reuters, Vilnius, Lithuania, Tuesday, March 21, 2006
10U.S. SAYS FRAUDULENT PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION IN BELARUS
Statement by Sean McCormack, Spokesman
U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C., Monday, March 20, 2006

11.      REVOLUTION IN UKRAINE MAY NOT BE TEMPLATE FOR

                                   AN UNRISING IN BELARUS 
Jim Heintz, AP Worldstream, Monday, March 20, 2006
 
12WINNIPEG’S WORLD-RENOWNED RUSALKA UKRAINIAN DANCE
        ENSEMBLE PREMIERING "THE LEGEND OF THE RUSALKA"
      Teaming with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra for new original work
By Cheryl Binning, Winnipeg Free Press
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, Friday, March 17, 2006
 
                               FORUM IN KYIV, MARCH 23-24
BIZPRO and American Chamber of Commerce in Ukraine
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 21, 2006
========================================================
1
                    UKRAINE’S FUTURE IN THE BALANCE

Jane’s Intelligence Digest, UK, Friday, March 10, 2006

Ahead of crucial parliamentary elections in Ukraine, JID’s regional
correspondent reviews the implications of a new electoral law and assesses
the extent to which the poll will determine the country’s future
orientation.

Following the elections scheduled to take place on 26 March, Ukraine will
have new parliament with a five year mandate. Significantly, the poll will
also make use of a fully proportional election system for the first time.

Despite the low election threshold of three per cent (the European standard
is five per cent), the new system is not expected to result in parliamentary
representation for many of the smaller parties.

Moreover, many electors are likely to consider this election as the second
round of the 2004 presidential poll. The contest will once again be a battle
for power between President Viktor Yushchenko and his pro-Moscow rival,
Viktor Yanukovych.

Although 45 parties and blocs have been registered by the Central Election
Commission, only six or seven of these are expected to win seats in
parliament. These can be divided into three principal political forces
representing the divisions following the 2004 election: Yanukovych’s Party
of Regions and two factions of the Orange Revolution – Our Ukraine and

Yulia Tymoshenko’s bloc.

Of the remainder, between three and four of the smaller political groups
will be left wing or supporters of former president Leonid Kuchma.
                       DEMOCRATIC REFORM IN QUESTION
The forthcoming elections will also feature a range of constitutional
changes accepted by Yushchenko during the Orange Revolution. The most
important of these has transformed Ukraine from a presidential to a
parliamentary republic and are set to have positive, long-term effects on
Ukraine’s democracy.

This makes the chances of sustained democratic development in Ukraine more
likely than in Serbia, Georgia or Kyrgyzstan where similar revolutions took
place.

Following the elections, the coalition that is created will have a direct
impact upon the choice of Prime Minister and on the future government’s
direction. Two of the three principal political groups elected to parliament
will be needed to form a viable governing coalition. As president,
Yushchenko is expected to play a key role in influencing the final political
map of the next parliament, although this role is highly risky.

Since the Our Ukraine bloc is the President’s main political power base, it
is likely to hold the trump card in choosing which of the other two main
political groups will enter the anticipated coalition. Our Ukraine and the
rival bloc headed by former Prime Minister Tymoshenko have already agreed
that whichever of the two parties holds more seats will propose the new
premier.

This is vitally important as the powers of the Prime Minister have been
greatly enhanced by constitutional reforms. However, there is little
enthusiasm within Ukraine’s elites – and especially in the Yushchenko camp –
for these new powers to go to the more populist Tymoshenko. For this reason,
Our Ukraine’s strategy will focus on successfully denying the former Prime
Minister’s return to office.

The determination to thwart Tymoshenko is expected to result in a coalition
with Our Ukraine only if her bloc is the junior partner – and she is not
poised to become premier. If it tops the poll, Our Ukraine will be in a
position to retain the incumbent Prime Minister Yuri Yekhanurov. However,
should that strategy fail, Yushchenko will face the prospect of forming an
uneasy coalition with his 2004 election rival, Yanukovych.

The second scenario is that if Our Ukraine trails behind Tymoshenko’s bloc,
they will be forced into striking a coalition deal with Yanukovych’s Party
of Regions. If so, then there is likely to be a period of political
horse-trading before a candidate for the premier’s post can be agreed. The
most likely compromise would see Yekhanurov staying on as Prime Minister,
while Yanukovych appoints senior Party of Regions personnel to the two first
deputy premier posts.
                  REVERSING YUSHCHENKO’S DECLINE
The choice of coalition partner will have important strategic ramifications
for Ukraine’s domestic and foreign policies. A re-united Orange Revolution
coalition could reinvigorate Yushchenko’s presidency and reverse his opinion
poll ratings which have been declining during the past six months.

However, a coalition between Our Ukraine and Yanukovych’s bloc can be
expected to leave Yushchenko as a lame duck president, hopelessly
compromised by his political association with his arch-rival. Such a move
would leave him open to charges that he has ‘betrayed’ the Orange
Revolution.

There are also other high risks in adopting this strategy. Yanukovych’s
close allies include senior officials from the Kuchma era. Some of these are
alleged to have been implicated in election fraud back in 2004 and even of
involvement in Yushchenko’s poisoning.

Such a move can be expected to hit the President’s popularity further. After
Yushchenko signed a memorandum of understanding with the Party of Regions
back in September, his personal poll ratings – and that of Our Ukraine –
have plummeted.

One likely outcome is that Yushchenko’s support base in western and central
Ukraine could defect en masse to join Tymoshenko. Should this occur,
Yushchenko is unlikely to be re-elected for a second term in 2009.

Yushchenko’s manoeuvres in the aftermath of the parliamentary elections will
send a signal to both Russia and the West over the prospects for the future
of reform in Ukraine. Kiev is expected to pass the first test set by the
Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), the EU and

NATO by holding free and fair elections for the first time since 1994.

A second key test will rest on whether the parliamentary coalition and
resulting government will be committed to reform by consolidating the
democratic progress made since the Orange Revolution. While a re-united
Orange coalition would send a positive signal to the West, a political
alliance with Yanukovych would be regarded negatively as a potential victory
for the Kremlin.

Whether Ukraine will be invited to sign up for NATO’s Membership Action Plan
(MAP) at the forthcoming summit in Riga in October is expected to depend on
the outcome of this poll. If Yanukovych remains in opposition, Kiev is
likely to be included alongside Albania, Croatia and Macedonia in the third
wave of NATO enlargement which will be approved at its 2008 summit.

Ukraine would then join NATO in 2010. The process is more likely to go

ahead if Yushchenko is re-elected for a second presidential term in 2009.

On the other hand, an alliance with the pro-Moscow bloc risks sending the
signal to the West that the Orange Revolution is in retreat. Such a
coalition deal could result in NATO postponing its decision to invite
Ukraine into the MAP. Kiev would then merely continue with the yearly

Action Plans first instituted in 2003, thus missing out in the third round of
enlargement.

In the event that Yushchenko fails to be re-elected to the presidency in
2009, this postponement could well become indefinite. Ongoing political
interference by Moscow is highly likely since derailing Ukraine’s membership
of NATO will remain one of the Kremlin’s top priorities for the remainder of
this decade.                                       -30-
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2.         KIEV’S ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE ON TRIAL AS
                  KEY PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS LOOM

Alex Nicholson, AP Worldstream, Moscow, Russia, Mon, Mar 20, 2006

MOSCOW – For the leaders of Ukraine’s Orange Revolution, who inherited

a US$6 billion (A5 billion) budget hole and an impoverished population
impatient to see corruption eradicated, getting a handle on the economy was
never going to be simple.

And 15 months later, with parliamentary elections looming, Ukrainian voters
have shifted their focus from regime change to how the government has
handled the economy. Their votes March 26 will help determine whether the
changes need ed to modernize the economy and open it further to the West are
pushed through or founder amid political infighting. The popular mood isn’t
encouraging for proponents of reform.

Alexander Ivanov, a 43-year-old electrician, says salaries have failed to
keep pace with rising prices for daily items. "Workers now buy their sausage
for 30 hryvna (US$6, A5) and wages haven’t gone up," he said. "I don’t think
people in politics pay any attention to the ordinary people."

Still, investors are bullish. Construction cranes dot Kiev’s skyline and
BMWs speed down its elegant boulevards, while a mix of languages can be
heard in restaurants packed with foreign executives who are rushing to cut
deals in a huge market largely free of competition.

"The government doesn’t get involved in the day-to-day affairs of ordinary
businessmen," said Alex Frishberg, a veteran Kiev-based lawyer, adding that
politicians were too busy with "constant infighting." "What you have in Kiev
is the purest form of capitalism," he said.

The economy has taken plenty of hits. Erratic policies under firebrand
former Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko in the early months of the Orange
government _ compounded by a 30 percent decline in late 2004 in
international prices for steel, Ukraine’s key export _ squashed economic
growth from 12.1 percent in 2004 to just 2.6 percent in 2005.

President Viktor Yushchenko’s opponents have hammered a January gas deal
with Russia, which saw the price of gas imports nearly double to US$95 (A80)
per 1,000 cubic meters, as potentially lethal for Ukraine’s gas-intensive
and inefficient industries.

The agreement came after Moscow demanded Kiev pay nearly five times more

for its gas and temporarily halted supplies, also causing interruptions in
European deliveries. Observers called Moscow’s stance punishment for
Yushchenko’s pledges to bring Ukraine closer to Europe and out of Russia’s
orbit.

And corruption remains entrenched. If a clique of oligarchs wielded power
under former President Leonid Kuchma, analysts and businessmen say the
Orange Revolution has simply expanded the pool of tycoons with ties to
power.

On the other hand, foreign direct investment came in at a record US$7.9
billion (A6.6 billion) in 2005 _ nearly as much as had entered the country
since its independence in 1991. That jump came almost solely through the
reprivatization of the Kryvorizhstal steel plant, which Mittal Steel Co.,
bought last fall for a jaw-dropping US$4.8 billion (A4.02 billion).

The auction was a huge vote of business confidence for Yushchenko, who had
promised during his campaign to smash the nepotistic excesses of the old
regime. The plant, which accounts for 20 percent of Ukraine’s metals output,
had been sold to Kuchma’s billionaire son-in-law in 2004 for a fifth of what
Mittal paid.

Then came a series of acquisitions of Ukraine’s top banks. Within the last
six months, Austria’s Raiffaisen bought a controlling stake in Aval Bank for
over US$1 billion (A830 million), France’s BNP Paribas snapped up 51 percent
of Ukrsibbank for about US$500 million (A419 million) and Italy’s Banca
Intesa acquired more than 85 percent of Ukrsotsbank for just over US$1
billion.

Further support came from the European Union _ which Yushchenko has

pledged to join _ when it granted Ukraine market economy status, began talks
on easier visa rules and agreed to sign a free trade deal after Kiev joins the
World Trade Organization. Last week, Ukraine and the United States agreed
on a deal on Ukraine’s accession to the WTO.

That has gone a long way to calm the nerves of local and foreign investors
after the roller-coaster stewardship of Tymoshenko, who was fired and
replaced in September by Yuriy Yekhanurov, who is seen as more
business-friendly.

As part of an anti-corruption drive under Tymoshenko, foreign investors were
left smarting after the sudden termination of the tax havens provided by
free economic zones. Her bombshell pledge to review some 3,000 questionable
privatizations shook faith in property rights and contributed to a dramatic
drop in domestic investment, while her decision to cap gasoline prices ahead
of the spring sowing season prompted production cuts at Ukraine’s
Russian-controlled refineries _ sending prices soaring.

But there were successes. The anti-corruption campaign saw tax revenues rise
by about 70 percent _ plastering over the 32 billion hryvna (US$6.4 billion;
A5.3 billion) budget deficit opened by the populist spending policies of
former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych before the presidential election.

Still, many Ukrainians have been disillusioned with Yushchenko’s promises

of prosperity through closer ties to the EU, and analysts predict a strong
showing by Yanukovych’s pro-Moscow Party of the Regions bloc.

There are high expectations of a parliamentary majority formed between
Yushchenko and his rival Yanukovych, who is bankrolled by powerful business
magnate Rinat Akhmetov, a former Kryvorizhstal shareholder who today is
worth US$1.7 billion (A1.4 billion) according to Forbes magazine. Considered
the real force behind Yanukovych, Akhmetov is running for parliament and is
rumored to have his eye on the prime minister’s office.

While some analysts have said that union could pull Ukraine further back
into Russia’s orbit, others see Akhmetov as a realist whose metals
businesses stand to benefit from the removal of antidumping restrictions,
which WTO membership would eventually lead to.

Some suggest he would also be averse to Russian companies encroaching on his
business activities, which could be a consequence of Kiev’s membership in a
planned "common economic space" between Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and
Kazakhstan.

Kamen Zahariev, country director for the European Bank for Reconstruction
and Development [EBRD]  noted that Ukraine has had 11 prime ministers in the
past 15 years and said that above all, political stability would be key to
Ukraine’s economic progress.

"Really, our hope is for a clear result and for a majority to be formed that
would allow a government to stay in place for a year or 18 months," Zahariev
said.                                                -30-
———————————————————————————————

[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
3.         UKRAINE: HE WAS BORN SKVORTSOV, ON THE
                            ELECTION ROLLS HE’S SHPAK

By Oksana Yablokova, Staff Writer, The Moscow Times
Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, March 21, 2006

CHERNOVTSY, Ukraine — Thousands of Ukrainians with Russian last
names may not recognize their names on voters’ rolls when they try to
vote in parliamentary elections Sunday. Their names have been translated
into Ukrainian.

Central Elections Commission officials are urging regional officials to
recheck the rolls, and lawmakers have taken steps to allow voters to
challenge the spelling of their names in court. But opposition politicians
are warning that many voters in the country’s east and south could end up
disenfranchised.

Taras Chernovil, the deputy campaign chief of the pro-Moscow Party of the
Regions and a leading candidate, accused local election officials of
intentionally making mistakes while translating voters’ Russian names into
Ukrainian.

Chernovil, a current lawmaker and No. 4 candidate on the Party of the
Regions list, said mistakes had included changing Medvedev to Vedmidev and
Skvortsov to Shpak. Skvorets and shpak mean "starling" in their respective
languages.

The translations will make it impossible for people to vote because the
names in their passports will not correspond with the ones on voters’ rolls,
he said in a recent interview while campaigning in Chernovtsy, in western
Ukraine. He said local election officials were following orders from the
Central Elections Commission in Kiev.

Commission officials could not be reached for comment. But Tatyana Makridi,
a spokeswoman for the ruling bloc, Our Ukraine, said regional and local
administrations in the eastern and southern regions were responsible for the
voters’ rolls and any mistakes on them. "These are authorities who were
elected under the previous regime before the 2004 [presidential] election,"
Makridi said.

She refused to comment on why it was necessary to translate Russian voters’
names into Ukrainian, saying it was a question for the Central Elections
Commission.

Critics say the effort to translate the rolls into Ukrainian is part of a
so-called Ukrainization campaign aimed at strengthening national identity.
The drive took off in earnest after President Viktor Yushchenko’s
Western-leaning team came to power in 2004 during the Orange Revolution. It
has encountered fierce resistance in the eastern and southern regions, where
most people speak Russian.

As part of the drive, parliament last year passed legislation that ordered
television stations to run Russian-language shows and movies in Ukrainian.
Russian-language schools have been closed, prompting a wave of protests last
summer and fall in the Crimean Peninsula. Party of the Regions leader Viktor
Yanukovych addressed a pro-Russian language rally of about 10,000 supporters
in the Crimean city of Simferopol on Sunday.

Vasily Stoyakin, director of the Center for Political Marketing in Kiev,
said translations of voters’ rolls and the obligatory translation of Russian
programs on television shows that the Ukrainization campaign has gotten out
of hand. "This is a foolish campaign that can be characterized as one of
Yushchenko’s failures," Stoyakin said.

But Igor Popov, head of the Ukrainian Voters’ Committee, a nongovernmental
group, suggested that the translation mistakes on the rolls had nothing to
do with the campaign. "This is an issue of the elections being poorly
organized. These are not translations by people. The names were translated
by a computer program," Popov said, adding that blocks of names had also
fallen out of the rolls due to a failure by the computer program.

He estimated that 5 percent to 10 percent of all rolls were either
incomplete or contained mistakes. "I personally had to go verify and correct
my wife’s name three times," he said.

Election officials have acknowledged problems with the rolls but insisted
that they were working to correct them. Yaroslav Davydovich, head of the
Central Elections Commission, urged local officials earlier this month to
check the rolls without waiting for voters to complain. "It is their
responsibility," Davydovich said, Ukrainian news agencies reported.

Yushchenko has called on voters to check their names on voters’ rolls in
advance. Also this month, the parliament approved amendments to the
federal election law that will give voters the right to appeal mistakes made
in their names in court up to three hours before polling stations close on
election day.

Chernovil was skeptical that the legislation would help people vote on
Sunday. "In this situation, courts won’t be able to handle all the
complaints," he said. He also complained about entire apartment blocks
and streets being excluded from voters’ lists.

His Party of the Regions is expected to lead Sunday’s elections with at
least 27 percent of the vote, according to the latest poll released by
Razumkov Center, a polling agency. Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine is expected
to place second, with 17 percent, while a bloc led by former Prime Minister
Yulia Tymoshenko is expected to receive 13 percent.

However, it appears that the Party of the Regions will need need a coalition
ally to form a majority in the new parliament, which under a 2004
constitutional reform will receive unprecedented powers, including the right
to name the prime minister and most of the Cabinet.
———————————————————————————————–
LINK: http://www.themoscowtimes.com/stories/2006/03/21/002.html
———————————————————————————————-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

========================================================
4.                 A FAIRER FIGHT IN UKRAINE CAMPAIGN
                        Candidates Look to West, Away from Russia,
                                as Guide In Parliamentary Election

THINKING GLOBAL: OP-ED By Frederick Kempe
The Wall Street Journal, NY, NY, Monday, March 20, 2006

Those concerned by news reports that Ukraine’s democratic, pro-Western
trajectory is in trouble may want to study a wealth of contrary evidence —
including the opposition leader’s decision to replace his Russian election
advisers with a team assembled by U.S. Republican Party campaign virtuoso
Paul Manafort.

With Mr. Manafort’s help, Former Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and his
Party of Regions have executed a remarkable comeback after their apparent
presidential victory was nullified a little more than a year ago amid
election fraud — and suspicion of complicity in his opponent’s poisoning.
Mr. Yanukovych has traveled the country in a Western-style campaign to win
votes in Sunday’s parliamentary elections rather than rig them.

The man who brought Mr. Manafort to the Ukrainian field was the country’s
richest person, Rinat Akhmetov, who hired the American early last year to
advise him on preparing his company, SCM Holdings, for a Western stock
listing. Mr. Akhmetov, a Russian-speaking Tatar from eastern Ukraine, is
fighting against his own image of ill-gotten wealth as he runs for a
Parliament seat on his party’s Republican-like platform of pro-business
growth policies and patriotism aimed at creating "the best country in
Europe."

None of this makes Ukraine a stable, liberal democracy. But it is part of a
mosaic of evidence that contradicts a widely held perception that 2004’s
Orange Revolution has failed and dark, anti-democratic, pro-Russian forces
are again rising. What is true is that Ukraine’s revolutionary leaders have
been unimpressive in power, fighting among themselves while the economy
has declined.

Yet, Ukraine’s nascent democratic system has strengthened. Saints don’t
become sinners overnight, yet Mr. Yanukovych’s shift shows even retrograde
politicians need to play by a new set of rules. Mr. Yanukovych has
complained to allies that former President Leonid Kuchma and his Russian
allies dictated his prior campaign and that this time he wanted to "hire the
best the West had to offer" in remaking his party and his own image.

Mr. Manafort, who has done campaign work from President Ford to the current
President Bush, among others, qualifies as top talent; so does Rick Ahearn,
a former lead Reagan advance man who has been a central figure on the
Yanukovych team.

At the same time, Ukraine’s democratic revolution has spawned other positive
change, from a blossoming of independent interest groups to a lively if
sometimes irresponsible media. Major political actors are generally playing
by democratic rules.

Even Russian-speaking eastern Ukrainian businessmen, who once thought it
might be better to divide the country, now tend to see their economic
interests are best protected by national unity, eventual European Union
membership and independence from Russia.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decision to cut off natural-gas supplies
to Ukraine earlier this year only accelerated this evolution in thinking.

"Ukraine has turned the corner in terms of statehood and national identity,"
says Alexander Motyl, a Ukraine expert at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
"The question of whether it will continue to exist as a state has been put
to rest."

Polls ahead of Sunday’s elections indicate none of the three main parties
will be able to form a government without coalition negotiations. Mr.
Yanukovych, at some 30%, scores consistently better than his two primary
rivals. Our Ukraine Party, led by Orange Revolution leader and current
President Viktor Yushchenko, has fallen to 15%-20%.

His former ally, Yulia Tymoshenko, whom he fired as prime minister in
September, has similar backing. The question is whether Mr. Yushchenko puts
aside his animosity toward Ms. Tymoshenko and revives the Orange coalition
or joins Mr. Yanukovych and argues that Ukraine is better served by bringing
together parties representing its eastern and western regions.

In the end, however, the electoral outcome will be of less importance than
whether Ukrainians and international observers view it as a fair fight. The
vote has the chance to be Ukraine’s first clean parliamentary election with
open competition after 70 years of Soviet rule and another 14 years of
corrupt, autocratic rule.

"You have a system of democratic rules and practices beginning to
consolidate," Mr. Motyl says. "There is a pro-business, pro-market,
pro-Western-integration majority now in all the major political parties.
There is no unchecked power left in Ukraine. It almost doesn’t matter who
wins."

The three personalities fighting for votes naturally feel otherwise, and
their personalities have made the election fight as operatic as it is
historic.

The tragic hero is Mr. Yushchenko, a central banker whose face was
disfigured by a would-be killer’s poison. He bravely led the Orange
Revolution to victory thereafter but has seen his popularity decline amid
charges of indecision, mismanagement and failure to prosecute past political
crimes. He will continue as president until 2009 and will keep the right to
name his defense and foreign ministers, but constitutional changes dictate
that he share power with whichever prime minister is chosen by the
parliament elected Sunday.

His foil is Ms. Tymoshenko, the erstwhile ally he fired in September. Called
the "Gas Queen" for the riches she earned as a player in Ukraine’s energy
trade, she has made herself the darling of nationalists with her outspoken
populism and striking appearance, with blonde peasant-style braids.

Mr. Yanukovych is a hard-scrabble, two-time convict who was orphaned as
a teenager and who has been ridiculed by some in the media for misspelling
words — including "professor" — in a document said to confirm a bogus
university degree. Yet he is betting his approach is smartest, creating a
party with a sustainable platform and ideology that will allow him to
outlast even a reunified Orange coalition beset by personal and ideological
differences.

Don’t be surprised if any outcome Sunday isn’t long-lasting. Ukraine may
suffer a period of shifting and unstable coalition governments for some
time, which might not be good for effective governance but doesn’t need to
be bad for democracy.

"What looks like chaos is democracy in action," Mr. Motyl says. "Ukraine
has changed more deeply than most people understand."
————————————————————————————————-
The Thinking Global column runs every Tuesday on WSJ.com. Is democracy
safe in Ukraine? Do American campaign advisers help or hurt? Write to
Frederick Kempe at Thinkingglobal@wsj.com with your thoughts.
————————————————————————————————-
                                  ABOUT FRED KEMPE
Frederick Kempe, an assistant managing editor of The Wall Street Journal,
has spent his career tracking global political, economic and business
issues. Until recently, he was the editor and associate publisher of the
Wall Street Journal Europe. As a correspondent he covered stories including
the rise of Solidarity in Poland, the unification of Germany and the
collapse of the Soviet Union, and he reported on wars in Afghanistan, Iraq
and Lebanon.

He is the author of three books: "Father/Land, a Personal Search for the New
Germany," "Siberian Odyssey, a Voyage into the Russian Soul" and

"Divorcing the Dictator: America’s Sordid Affair With Noriega." He is a
graduate of University of Utah and Columbia University. Write to Frederick
Kempe at thinkingglobal@wsj.com.
————————————————————————————————–
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========================================================
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========================================================
5.  UKRAINIAN REGIONAL MEDIA PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION
                      HIGHLIGHTS FOR MARCH 13-17, 2006

Source: BBC Monitoring research in English 20 Mar 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Monday, Mar 20, 2006

This week some outlets of the regional media focused on possible problems on
election day itself. Two outlets discussed comments by the previous prime
minister, Yuliya Tymoshenko, and in one interview she mentioned her merger
plans.

Parliamentary speaker Volodymyr Lytvyn attacked the track record of the
authorities and the usual battle between Our Ukraine and the Party of
Regions continued.

However, many outlets reflected the views of politicians and others who are
now looking forward to life after the election and the shape of the new
cabinet. One outlet even mentioned the mayoral election in the eastern
industrial city of Kharkiv.

This week saw the regional media praise various candidates. One such
recipient of praise was the People’s Bloc led by Volodymyr Lytvyn.

The private Kharkiv-based daily Vecherniy Kharkov, founded by the Rehion
television and radio company wrote in its issue of 16 March that "for
Volodymyr Lytvyn’s team how the country lives after the election is
important, as is whether we have responsible and honest authorities, … we
want to unite all the citizens of Ukraine who want their country to flourish
and to have peace and goodness".

However, Lytvyn was critical of the authorities. On 11 March the private
regional paper Luganskaya Pravda reported on his visit to Luhansk.

It quoted him saying: "Today, the prime minister is saying that inflation
will not be more than 10 per cent this year. I do not understand this, as it
is over three per cent for the first two months of the year. The cabinet
does not want to carry out thorough analysis of what is taking place in the
country. The lives of ordinary Ukrainians have not improved… People do not
have any trust in what tomorrow will bring."

The media also looked ahead to election day itself and predicted that there
could well be problems. In fact, one theme, that of problems with the
accuracy and completeness of the electoral roll, could be a national one. It
is a recurring theme of the 2004 presidential election.

The Donetsk paper Salon Dona i Basa, connected to Donetsk magnate Rinat
Akhmetov, said as much on 17 March. It quoted an official as saying that
"problems with the electoral roll are identical in Donetsk, western Ukraine,
Crimea and in the capital.

However, speculation over this issue is being stirred up intentionally in
Donetsk Region… as the region is home to 10 per cent of the Ukrainian
electorate and everyone is fighting for them in any way they can".

The Chernihiv-based pro-authorities newspaper Desnynanska Pravda continued
the theme. In its issue of 16 March it said that "there will be problems on
election day. The ballot paper is 78 centimetres long. The voter will need
to know in advance who he intends to vote for and the appropriate number.
The more so as local council elections are also taking place on this day. In
Chernihiv a voter will receive five different ballot papers."

The opposition Ne Tak bloc continued to express its anti-NATO views this
week. Speaking in the Dnipropetrovsk-based paper Litsa, which is an
opposition paper critical of the authorities, MP Leonid Kravchuk said that
NATO membership would be harmful.

In its issue of 15 March, the paper quoted him as saying that "we are
neither here nor there. European Union officials don’t want Ukraine, and
joining NATO would result in the bankruptcy of weapons companies and

mass unemployment".
                             ORANGE VERSUS BLUE
The fight between the orange and blue camps, Our Ukraine and the Party of
Regions, continued this week. On 13 March the popular Cherkasy daily
Vechirni Cherkasy wrote very critically of the Party of Regions and warned
people what to expect if it comes to power: "The Party of Region’s
parliamentary election list contains tens of ‘criminals’. Their leader has
two criminal convictions.

Their adverts promise ‘an improvement in life right today’ but the forced
advance payment of taxes, blatant election bribes in the form of higher
pensions, the privatization of the Kryvorizhstal steel plant for a pittance
and calls to send troops against protesters on Maydan, are still fresh in
the mind.

Today, they say that they will save Ukraine, but continue to divide it into
‘various types’, enflaming ethnic hatred and setting brother against
brother. Today, they attack Our Ukraine campaign tents, tomorrow they will
‘attack’ free journalists and get involved in racketeering."

The battle between the two is also taking place at the level of promises.
The Zaporizhzhya-based TV channel Aleks, which is funded by the head of
Motor Sich, Vyacheslav Bohuslayev, who is running for the Party of Regions,
quoted a Party of Regions MP, Yaroslav Sukhyy, outlining its first steps if
it gets into power.

On 13 March it showed him saying that "we shall adopt a strategy on the
country’s economic development, return professional people to power and
review the unrealistic state budget. These first steps by the Party of
Regions in the new parliament will enable us to lead the country out of
crisis."

The private Luhansk weekly Molodogvardeets reported on the economic strategy
of Our Ukraine. In its edition of 15 March it quoted parts of its strategy:
"Information technology will become the driving force of progress. We will
assist in developing innovation. We shall develop our own energy and will
introduce alternative sources of energy… We will ensure respect towards
business people. We will simplify procedures for registration, reporting and
inspections."

This week the Party of Regions accused the authorities of wanting to rig the
election. The Zhytomyr-based regional community and business weekly Ekho
quoted Party of Regions MP Vitaliy Khomutynnyk reported on a forum of the
Party of Regions in Zhytomyr.

In its issue of 16-22 March he said that "we are, without doubt, the leaders
of the race, and that is why disruption ofd the election or the annulment of
the result in those constituencies where the Party of Regions will
definitely win will be a convenient scenario for the orange forces".
                BATTLE FOR INDUSTRIAL HEARTLAND
A new theme this week is the importance being placed on the Donbass region,
the industrial heartland of the country, which consists of the Donetsk and
Dnipropetrovsk regions. The popular Donetsk paper Donbass, which is
independent, quoted one of the party’s senior figures, Mykola Azarov, as
saying that the region should have a role in the formation of the future
cabinet.

In its issue of 14 March it said: "Azarov believes that there is a need to
do everything possible to make sure that the results of the election ensure
that Donbass gets the right to form the cabinet and a hand in bringing basic
order to the country, to reviewing the state budget, which clearly has a
hidden deficit, and to calling officials to account for their actions. And
our party’s economic development strategy is, like the economic policy, able
to become the basis for all those who, together with the Party of Regions,
would like to create a parliamentary coalition".

The theme was echoed by Our Ukraine in Donetsk. The popular, politically
unaffiliated newspaper Donechchyna reported on the recent presentation of a
programme by Our Ukraine’s regional organization which focuses on its
development.

On 17 March it wrote: "’We have not issued slogans, but real things that we
shall do so that Donetsk Region becomes democratic and starts to flourish,
so it is strong and people live well’, one of its authors, V. Kypen, wrote.
He also reminded that a great deal has to be done as the region, according
to indictors, is last in terms of human development."
                                       KHARKIV RACE
Some of the media focused on the scale of the election process on 26 March,
on which local and mayoral elections will also be held. This theme was taken
up by the private Kharkiv-based daily Vecherniy Kharkov, founded by the
Rehion television and radio company.

 In its issue of 16 March it said that "a total of 29 parties and 14
political blocs are testing their strength on the political arena in Kharkiv
Region. A total of 1,415 candidates are running for the 150 deputy posts in
the regional council". The same issue also praised current Kharkiv mayor
Volodymyr Shumilkin, the Our Ukraine candidate in the mayoral election.

It wrote about positive changes, saying that "today, thanks to the work of
professionals in Shumilkin’s team, planned road surface repairs are being
carried out. The rejuvenated Lenin Prospect is the pride of Kharkiv. The
main highways are fully lit, as are the entrances to residential flats".
                  YULIYA TYMOSHENKO ATTACKS MP,

      SAYS UNLIKELY TO UNITE WITH BLUE OR ORANGE
This week saw former Prime Minister Yuliya Tymoshenko attack the current
prime minister, Yuriy Yekhanurov. The Zhytomyr weekly 20 khvylyn, founded by
the Vinnytsya television and radio company Somyy kontynent and partly funded
by USAID, quoted her saying this in its issue of 15 March: "Yekhanurov was
the eye of the previous president, Leonid Kuchma, and I would even say that
he was his two eyes and ears in the Yushchenko cabinet. He was 100-per-cent
Kuchma’s man, who made big efforts to ruin Yushchenko’s political career. It
seems to me that Yekhanurov never severed his ties with the Kuchma family".

The Kirovohrad based weekly Politikan, which is connected to a local senior
member of the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc, printed an interview with her in its
issue of 17 March. Asked about whether her bloc would unite with the party
of Regions, she replied that "there would simply be no sense to do this. I
believe that this political force will try, through various means, to
introduce inequality into business".

Asked about whether she would work with Our Ukraine, she said that she would
not work with several senior figures. Her reply was that "I am not prepared
to work with Roman Bezsmertnyy, Petro Poroshenko, Mykola Martynenko, Davyd
Zhvaniya, Yevhen Chervonenko and Oleksandr Tretyakov. Why? Because these
people destroyed the respect of the new authorities. I am ready to unite
with those MPs who did not discredit the people’s trust in the orange team."
                               LIFE AFTER THE ELECTION
The media focused this week on life after the election and what may happen.
Opposition politician Stepan Havrysh of the Ne Tak bloc predicted that
President Viktor Yushchenko would become a peripheral figure in Ukrainian
politics.

The Donetsk-based paper Vechernyy Donetsk, connected to Donetsk magnate
Rinat Akhmetov, quoted him saying in its issue of 14 March that "that the
orange forces have no chance of forming a majority in the new parliament.

The polls show this regardless of who owns the polling organization. This
means that the president will not be a key figure in the new parliament and
there will be no grounds for him to say that he is at the center of the
political situation".

The 14 March issue of the Zaporizka Sich paper, which is published by the
Zaporizhzhya city council, quoted Hryhoriy Omelchenko, an MP of the Yuliya
Tymoshenko Bloc, is confident that the orange camp will be in power after
the election.

It quoted him as saying that "the Party of Regions will, without doubt, get
into parliament. However, there will be no revenge. The parliamentary
coalition will be formed by the Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc, Our Ukraine and the
Socialist Party."

Views differ on the future though. Yuriy Kostenko, the head of the
propresidential Ukrainian People’s Party, believes there will be a stalemate
which will restrict Viktor Yushchenko.

Kostenko visited Zhytomyr last week and the private Zhytomyr-based weekly
Subota quoted him in its issue of 15 March as saying that "there will be a
propresidential coalition formally, but it will not be able to implement the
president’s programme with which he stood at the 2004 election, neither in
terms of creating the new face of the Ukrainian authorities nor on the
European choice".

Parliamentary speaker Volodoymyr Lytvyn also has his concerns. The Zhytomyr
based regional community and business weekly Ekho quoted him in its issue of
16-22 March saying that "I am concerned only by the fact that after the
election Ukraine will be split into two camps and without understanding,
and, therefore, without a future."

Uncertainty was also echoed by the words of Oleksandr Moroz, the head of the
Socialist Party of Ukraine. The Chernihiv-based weekly Hart, which supports
the party, quoted him in its issue of 16 March as saying that "today we
cannot talk about a specific person for the post of next prime minister, or
say that the election for prime minister is taking place. Only a utopian or
adventurer could make such statements".
 

————————————————————————————————-
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================      
6.  "VIKTOR YUSHCHENKO: ‘THE BASIS FOR UNIFICATION
               IS THE NATIONAL INTERESTS OF UKRAINE’"

INTERVIEW: With Viktor Yushchenko, President of Ukraine
BY: Oleksandr Cherevko, Silski Visti, Kiev, in Ukrainian 17 Mar 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Saturday, Mar 18, 2006

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has told a Ukrainian daily that any
talks that his Our Ukraine bloc holds on the future coalition in parliament
will not involve distribution of ministerial portfolios. Yushchenko defended
his previously signed memorandum with the opposition Party of Regions and
said that he must consider the opinion of influential political forces.

He did, however, criticize opposition leaders for what he called speculating
on the language issue and attempting to split the country. Yushchenko said
that Ukraine’s membership in the WTO will bring definite economic benefits
and open new markets to Ukrainian products. Yushchenko said that solving the
Gongadze murder case was still a matter of honour to him and added that the
investigation is making progress.

The following is an excerpt from Yushchenko’s interview with Oleksandr
Cherevko, published in the Silski Visti newspaper on 17 March under the
title "Viktor Yushchenko: `The basis for unification is the national
interests of Ukraine’", subheadings have been inserted editorially:

Viktor Yushchenko has had an invitation to visit Silski Visti from the
moment of his victory in the presidential election in December 2004.
Long-time readers of our newspaper probably remember his special and
insightful interviews as the head of the National Bank, the prime minister,
the head of the Our Ukraine bloc, the leader of an opposition faction in
parliament and presidential candidate.

Mr Yushchenko has always respected the ideas of rural population and valued
their trust. In order to win this trust, he explained complex financial
formulas and laws using simple language. Difficult things became clear, and
the reader had a chance to look at the mystery of statecraft. In addition,
after 2002 the number of those [media] willing to talk to Yushchenko and
bring his real position to the people was rather low.

Then there was Maydan [Orange Revolution], the awakening of the nation, the
victory in the presidential election, which gave hope to Ukraine and the
world. Later many events occurred, which dampened those hopes. We are not
going to list well-known things, but many people are once again beginning to
feel mistrust and fear that this hard-fought chance may be lost again\
[ellipsis as published]

Therefore, we wanted to ask many question directly to the president,
face-to-face. Neither we nor Mr Yushchenko tried to avoid any tough
questions. We began with politics and went on to everything else related to
that.
                                          SHORTCOMINGS
[Cherevko] Mr Yushchenko, a few days ago you said that you do not watch
political advertising on TV. But probably you will not deny that the format
of the confrontation is almost unchanged since the presidential election.
Sometimes we have a feeling that it is not March 2006 but December 2004. Why
is it so?

[Yushchenko] In my opinion there are two main reasons, if we follow your
question exactly. The first reason is that for 14 years Ukraine had been
lead towards shadow, criminal policy. The policy which did not contain the
national interests. Many big decisions political, economic and social
resulted in not just a model but a whole system of teams working to
implement this policy.

The result of that policy was logical: the objective assessment of that
administration as criminal and malfeasant one. Ukraine almost lost the
freedom of speech, switched to the domination of shadow economy (54 per cent
of the GDP was produced in the shadow).

Ukraine became a country where the judiciary and the law-enforcement bodies
could not protect human rights. I am not even talking about other details.
But that policy had its key players, placed from the village councils all
the way to the highest offices.

In December 2004 the people elected a new, democratic president. But, let’s
be honest, look at the system of local governments. It remained the same as
four years ago. Meaning, the system which, in terms of specific players,
clearly fitted in specific offices for the purpose of serving that model.
Speaking about the Supreme Council [parliament], you probably remember the
role that the former Bankova [presidential administration] played in forming
the structure of the current parliament.

I am not going to reproach specific individuals in the current parliamentary
corps, but you understand that the current make-up does not reflect the real
feelings of the nation. It happened so that today that a majority controls
the formation of the state budget and the powerful and organized
representative axis. It was not created in the past 12 months.

In this system, as one deputy noted, nobody sells out one of their own. Just
in the past six months, the prosecutors sent about 400 requests for
permission to institute criminal proceedings against members of local
councils, but only about one-tenth of those have been granted. We cannot
disregard the existence of this collective code. I sent a request to the
Constitutional Court concerning the MPs’ immunity from prosecution, but this
parliament blocked the oath-taking ceremony of the judges.

Or another issue. Bribery was not created by the Orange Revolution. It was
inherited from the previous authorities. The revolution simply allowed to
talk about this evil. History does not know any examples of a country, even
with an authoritarian system of power, where this problem could be resolved
fully within a year. There is enough work for many years.

We have replaced several thousand officials, hoping that a new person who
comes in will steal less because of different morals. To some extent, it
worked, even though not always. Then we made an attempt to strip officials
of their excessive regulatory powers. We submitted five bills to parliament,
two of which were passed, resulting in the need for a review of several
thousand of legal documents and by-laws. Here we are still to put a full
stop.

In short, we inherited a country not only with a flawed concept of domestic
and foreign policy but also with many mutations which have nothing to do
with the values of freedom of speech and democracy. This problem is much
deeper than an average reader can imagine.

Another explanation reproaches for the fact of the state of relations in the
orange camp. When we had Maydan, and we are talking about dozens of
political forces, the people were united by fairly clear aims and goals. For
example, preventing falsification. At that time, we did not discuss the
vision for the development of specific sectors of the economy.

The same way, outside the brackets, there were discussions of how certain
people were professionally and morally fit to serve in certain positions.
With time, in many cases, private and self-serving interests, not foreseen
at that time, became stronger than the interests of the state.

And when I witnessed some actions which had nothing to do with national
interests (meaning exclusively selfish, power-seeking and inappropriate
intentions in relation to the interests of the nation), this brought
disappointment to millions of people. At the same time, it devalued the
status of the orange team.

But the restoration of the team was successful, and nothing irreparable
happened. We had to respond to this challenge honestly, and not engage in
opportunism and populism. Because populism can work for only a few days, and
then one has to pay for it.

That is why the monthly crises and constant fighting with someone resulted
in serious isolation of Ukraine and the loss of the momentum. Very specific
but miscalculated actions resulted in business and public disillusionment.
The people who were supposed to be responsible for team spirit and teamwork
began to play their own games and gather at night for secret meetings. It is
these two positions that led to the current state of affairs.
                             COALITION IN NEW PARLIAMENT
[Cherevko] Nonetheless, it does not look like the situation will change
significantly with the new parliament’s make-up. There will be no single
winner of the election, and recent allies became mortal enemies. There will
be need for unity again.

Actually, as if following the wishes of the voters, the former orange team
attempted to unite even before the election. Nothing came out of that
though, because the participants allegedly could not divide the portfolios.

[Yushchenko] First of all, I want to say that we have had no talks on
portfolios. I gave a clear directive to the Our Ukraine People’s Union:
political talks on consolidation of the orange forces before the election
cannot centre around any portfolios, including the post of prime minister.
Because if we don’t have specific goals, we cannot decide who will take
posts in which territories or ministries.

There is a number of previously taken key decisions, after which we can talk
about the Cabinet of Ministers. I give you my word that no-one from Our
Ukraine has held any talks on the division of portfolios. This issue can be
resolved only after the election.

Then a big role will be played by the percentages of the vote gained. When
some force has the right to put forward an initiative, then we can begin
real dialogue.

Previously good relations within the team were ruined by the selfish desires
of one or two people concerning official posts. I will not enter the same
river twice. That is why during the negations we talked about defining five
or six key principles, which can unite the team in the pre-election
disposition.

For example, concerning the principles of domestic economic policy, foreign
policy and other high-profile issues. This would give us an opportunity to
say clearly that these lads and girls are carrying out this specific task.
This would be the best signal to the nation. But now this issue has been
postponed until after the election.

[Cherevko] There have been many theories about the possible coalition of the
Our Ukraine People’s Union and the Party of Regions in the new parliament.
Are you considering this possibility and on what conditions? How strong will
this "union" be, taking into account that some of the people on the possible
partner’s election list have lost a billion dollars or 500m dollars in the
year that the new team has been in power?

Finally, you have already attempted to unite the East and West by signing
the infamous memorandum on cooperation. No understanding was reached. You
became the target of accusations of being weak.

[Yushchenko] Clearly, a new format of the orange team would look ideal. And
I hope that we can have this coalition after the election. On the other
hand, I, as president of Ukraine and not some part of it, have to take into
account all the influential political forces.

It is another matter that the leadership of the Party of Regions is
dominated by principles that are unacceptable and not understandable to me.
These principles I will never share.

Moreover, with its current position, this force presents a serious threat to
Ukraine. Even though what I just said does not in any way concern ordinary
supporters of this party. I am convinced that they are just as worried as
the people in Halychyna [in western Ukraine] or in my native Sumy Region.

It is another matter that there are zombie-like propaganda themes, which
distract from this main thing. They are consciously building a policy of
splitting the country, while any union is possible on the principles of
consolidation of the state and the nation.

Let us go back to the beginning of last year. Then we also had a heated
debate on whether or not we should bring the Socialists into the government
team, as they have a different ideology from other allies. I fully supported
this cooperation. Today we have similar debates concerning the party of
Volodymyr Lytvyn. I am convinced that we need to bring him into this union.

In this situation, we can learn from the experience of our neighbours. After
the break-up of the Soviet Union the Baltic states also had multi-polar
parliaments. But, after several years of conflict, the sides sat down to
talk, defined the main priorities of development, what is called national
interests, and what every party should definitely stand for in those
countries.

For us, there is no solution other than to talk and define our interests.
That is why I definitely would like the Party of Regions and other parties
to take the position of statecraft during the votes in parliament, at least
on key issues.

As for the memorandum, I am ready to confirm all the points stated there
right now. But today we see the process of substitution of notions. For
example, voters are being urged to vote in a referendum on the Single
Economic Space [economic union of Ukraine, Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan],
of which we are already a member.

However, the constitution forbids us to join any supranational bodies and
partially hand over our own powers to them. Even Kuchma signed those
agreements with reservations.

Or the anti-thesis of Ukraine and the EU. Why is that? Today our trade with
Europe is double what we have with Russia. Why should we lose this economic
interest? Concerning NATO, not a single country joined or will join NATO
without a referendum. Today an issue is raised which is not really on the
agenda.

NATO is a distant perspective, linked to the analysis of our own defence
capabilities, the real combat readiness of the army and defence spending. We
will have an open discussion on that, taking into account the provisions of
the Tashkent treaty, the neutral status and the NATO membership. When the
people have all the information, then they can make an educated choice.

What is happening today? There is speculation on imaginary problems language
or foreign policy priorities which are not really on the agenda. They are
just using the imaginary and secondary issues to hide their intellectual
nakedness and lack of new ideas on the unification and development of the
state.

This actually concerns the declared memorandum on the principle of honest
election. Following this provision would in fact prevent speculation on
imaginary issues and rocking society with artificial problems.

[Cherevko] One of the candidates for parliament today said the following:
after the election the president will not be able to influence anything in
this country. The country will be ruled by a coalition of any format, which
will not take into account the existence of the president’s programme. Do
you accept this role and agree to any coalition?

[Yushchenko] The president is elected by the people and he remains the
guarantor of the constitution and the head of state. As for the election, it
is obvious that no-one will muster 51 per cent of the vote. Clearly, we will
have a coalition. The president will take the most active part in forming
this coalition. This is my duty to the country and my responsibility for its
future.

This is not a dominating issue but a formula of political harmony, which
lies in the search for real national interests. If a coalition cannot be
formed because of ambitions, then maybe it would be better for the country
to simply drift for some time. This will probably be a lesser evil than
haphazard policy.

[Cherevko] How would you assess the performance of Socialist ministers in
the cabinet? There are some completely opposite views. Some consider their
work to be effective while others blame all the failures on them.

For example, [Agricultural Minister Oleksandr] Baranivskyy finally buried
the agriculture, [Interior Minister Yuriy] Lutsenko is a provocateur and a
populist, [Education Minister Stanislav] Nikolayenko is ruining the science,
while [State Property Fund chief Valentyna] Semenyuk is totally not where
she belongs.

[Yushchenko] Simply speaking, we have questions to everyone, and everyone
has made his own mistakes. But every person who you have just listed has
brought improvement to his area of work. The interior minister is not the
type of person who needs to be pushed to do something. On the contrary,
sometimes we even have to stop his initiative.

The same is true about the agriculture minister. It is this sector where we
see the biggest gain of the GDP. I am happy with the work of [Prime Minister
Yuriy] Yekhanurov’s cabinet. This cabinet did not create crises but stopped
negative trends in the economy. [Passage omitted: Yushchenko praises
achievements in education and agriculture]
                               WTO TO BENEFIT ECONOMY
[Cherevko] We have recently been recognized as a country with market
economy, and a few days ago the discriminative Jackson-Vanik amendment was
cancelled. In fact, new markets have opened for us, but at the same time we
see that at this point we don’t have much to offer except for steel and some
raw materials.

At the same time, having joined the WTO we will fully open our own market.
For many reasons, including because the new owners of companies invested
little into modernization, we will not be able to compete, and not only in
agriculture. Can this blow be even harder that the rising price of gas?

[Yushchenko] There are certain basics that can be proven even without
comment. Widening of markets is always a good thing. Because the more narrow
the market, the more risks we have. There are many models proposed by
experts, beginning with GDP growth and export-import duties which show that
the WTO entry will give us 1.9-2.5 per cent of economic growth. Speaking
about the economics of certain industries, we can recall some of the
concerns that our neighbours had when entering the WTO.

Ask someone in Poland today, what has he lost? To be completely open, he
gets 10 times more in subsidies. If we introduce the same principles, our
agriculture will become competitive in just a few years. There are still
some discussions on this. But even in Lithuania, which has only 18
administrative districts, the volume of agricultural subsidies is higher
than in Ukraine.

It is worth mentioning that we gain access to markets which were previously
closed. Here is just a small example. Today we already have the world price
on grain. There is a shortage of this product on the international market.
So there is no problem with selling grain or barley for 120 dollars
anywhere. As long as we have something to sell.

We also have new opportunities in the sugar market. Even though the sugar
beet is usually more labour-intensive than cane, we have a unique chance to
fully revitalize this industry. We are not talking just about the sugar but
also about alternative fuels. The new price creates new motivation.

In addition, not a single Ukrainian producer will face the risk of
anti-dumping investigations. Before there were claims against anyone, taking
into account the costs of our labour, electricity or coal. Today we have
this immunity. So, let’s not talk about a slowdown. Trade will increase by
at least 2bn dollars.

The radical change of trade rules will only benefit Ukraine. It is also
worth noting that the current policy of barriers is not easing but
tightening by a few points. Some details may not be taken into account. But
this is a matter of special attention from the state to those sectors.
                                      GONGADZE CASE
[Cherevko] What can you say about prospects for the court case on the murder
of [journalist] Heorhiy Gongadze? Can you share something we don’t know?
Will we ever learn the name of the person who ordered the killing?

[Yushchenko] I am convinced that we will definitely learn that. But let us
start from the beginning. One year ago the Gongadze case consisted of
basically blank pages. Lots of effort, especially on the part of the
prosecutors, was made to bury this case forever. I still consider it a
matter of honour for me to name those who ordered and carried out the
killing.

On the one hand, this murder is high-profile, on the other hand, whoever did
that (and it was the authorities who did it) very carefully covered their
tracks. Much has been done by now. Unfortunately, some people have already
passed away. This is all part of covering the tracks.

When we received information that we, with certain guarantees to some
individuals, can obtain new testimonies, which have not been part of the
case and may reverse it 180 degrees, we pumped out ponds in the middle of
winter to find two things and we found them! We melted the frozen ground and
found the place where Heorhiy was initially buried.

There were some international steps to return testimonies and witnesses. At
some moments we lost not because we took the wrong path, but because we
spend too much effort on publicity by the Security Service of Ukraine. One
thing was delayed, which could add some dynamics to the investigation.

[Cherevko] You mean the escape of [former police general Oleksiy] Pukach?

[Yushchenko] That too. True, we had a good chance of having one of the key
witnesses detained. Unfortunately, today I have no-one to point at, except
for the Ukrainian side, who fell short here. After that, the work of the
Interior Ministry was especially effective, we obtained some testimony which
can lead us to the suspects who carried out this murder. Now we know how
everything happened. Their case has been sent to court.

I think we are talking about those who actually carried it out, but we can
say for sure only after the court makes its decision. But this is the
smaller part of this case, because the nation will always ask who gave the
order? Without a doubt, this was a high-ranking official. And this question
is much more important.

Today we are bothering some influential people who are able to resist the
investigation, to be dishonest and to cover their tracks. But all of this is
not making me a pessimist.  [Passage omitted: Yushchenko praises his family
and urges support or Ukrainian culture]
                                     LANGUAGE ISSUE
The same goes for the language problem, which does not exist. The state and
the government are pursuing a policy which gives opportunities for Tatars,
Jews or Azeris not to forget their native language here, not to forget the
fairly-tales that their parents told them in their childhood, their songs
and traditions. But our language is our identity.

The presidents of other countries often ask me whether there are schools in
Ukraine which teach in this or that language. For the most part, I give a
positive answer. At the same time, against the background of all the talk on
the discrimination of the Russian language in our country, we cannot obtain
a permission to open a Ukrainian-language group let alone a Ukrainian school
in Moscow.

I am not even talking about Tyumen and the Far East. That is why the very
definition of the language issue in its current version is meant to create
only a new line of conflict and division of the nation. [Passage omitted:
closing pleasantries]
 

——————————————————————————————–
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
7. US AMB HERBST PRAISES UKRAINE’S DEMOCRATIC PROGRESS;
       URGES CONTINUED COMMITMENT TO HONEST ELECTIONS

Public Affairs Section, United States Embassy, Kyiv
Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 20, 2006

KIEV – United States Ambassador to Ukraine John E. Herbst today told
students at the Wisconsin International University in Ukraine that the
Parliamentary election campaign, thus far, had been the most free in Ukraine’s
short history since independence.

He noted the campaign to date had been conducted in an environment of lively
political debate that had been covered by a largely unfettered media.
Nevertheless, he called on the Ukrainian authorities to address reported
problems with the voter lists and urged all Ukrainians to be vigilant
regarding their democratic rights.

The United States, Ambassador Herbst stated, will work with whomever the
Ukrainian people choose in a free and fair election.  A full text of his
prepared remarks appears below.

The University invited the Ambassador to speak on the topic of "Democracy
and Free Elections" and afterwards presented him with an honorary degree.

Remarks by John E. Herbst
United States Ambassador to Ukraine
Wisconsin International University In Ukraine
Kyiv, Ukraine,  March 20, 2006

Thank you Rector Romanovsky for your gracious invitation for me to be here
today to speak on the topic of "Democracy and Free Elections."

I especially enjoy speaking with students in Ukraine because yours is a
generation that has grown up since Independence.  Your views of the world
and of the possibilities the future holds for you are fundamentally
different from those of your parents, who were raised and educated under the
former Soviet Union.

You will have much more control over your own destiny than earlier
generations.  With this new freedom, however, you will need to take on
greater responsibility – not only for your own actions, but also for the
actions of your government and leaders.

In the nearly three years that I have had the honor to represent the United
States in Ukraine, I have witnessed a profound change in the level of
freedom here.  From the beginning I realized Ukraine had a well-developed
civil society that is perhaps stronger than in any other former Soviet
republic.

Well before the events of last year, Ukrainians throughout the country were
actively engaged in efforts to strengthen democratic values and
institutions.  They advocated for their basic human rights and when
necessary stood up and demonstrated in defense of freedom of speech,
religious tolerance, rule of law, and honest government free of corruption.

Statements of public protest on Maidan Nezalezhnosti are not new to Ukraine.
Yet something extraordinary happened in November and December of 2004.
Hundreds of thousands of people poured into the Maidan to demand that the
result of the election reflect the will of the Ukrainian people.

Recall for a moment what had been happening at the time.  The authorities
controlled nearly every major national television station and limited the
access to TV of opposition candidates.  They gave the world a shameful new
word – temnyky – directions from the authorities to journalists on what
should be covered and what should be suppressed.

News organizations and journalists who ignored these directives were subject
to pressure from unwarranted tax and health code inspections, suspension of
licenses, libel suits, seizure of assets, destruction of property, threats,
physical assault and, in some cases, death.

In addition to a controlled and hostile media environment, opposition
candidates faced challenges such as cancelled meeting halls, power outages
during campaign rallies, roadblocks, cancelled flights, ransacked offices
and even poisoning.

The first two rounds of voting in October and November 2004 were marred by
ballot stuffing and ballot stealing by elections officials.  Police
disappeared from polling stations minutes before gangs of thugs showed up to
disrupt the counting.  Groups of voters traveled from polling place to
polling place, voting numerous times.  Plant workers and students were
threatened if they did not vote a certain way.

It is no wonder that the Ukrainian people were so outraged that they poured
into the streets – not only in Kiev – but also in many cities in Ukraine to
protest the theft of their vote.  What is extraordinary is that they stayed
for 17 days in the bitter cold until the Supreme Court acknowledged the
widespread fraud and ordered that the runoff vote be repeated, effectively
asserting the rule of law over power.  This round was finally conducted in a
largely free and fair manner according to international standards.

These events changed the underlying dynamic between Ukrainian citizens and
their government, creating the possibility for rule of law to put down roots
in Ukraine, a pre-requisite for sustainable political and economic reform.
It is a tribute to all sides – including then-President Kuchma – that
ultimately these events remained peaceful.

I know there are some people inside and outside Ukraine who now wonder if it
was all in vain, but in my opinion, they are the people who do not
understand the value of what happened in Ukraine in November/December of
2004.

The Orange Revolution – as it is now known around the world – was not so
much a victory for a certain political party or coalition, as it was a
victory for the Ukrainian people, who took back control of their country.
Viktor Yushchenko was elected President, but it was the people of Ukraine
and the country’s democratic institutions that gained power.

Indeed, the fruits of last year’s democratic struggle can be seen most
dramatically this week, as Ukraine prepares itself for parliamentary and
local elections.  Fifteen months to the day after the free and fair third
round of the 2004 presidential elections, Ukrainian voters will again go to
the polls.

This election campaign is being conducted in a much more open and
transparent way than the last one was.  If you turn on almost any Ukrainian
television channel you will see candidates and campaign advertisements from
across the political spectrum.

Opposition candidates have been able to organize and campaign without
harassment.  There is a vibrant political dialogue going on in the country
about what direction Ukraine should take, and the news media is largely free
to report all positions.  Temnyky and pressure on journalists — at least
from the national government – has ceased.

Even former Kuchma chief of staff Medvedchuk, a figure often linked with
repressive measures against the media in the past, has publicly admitted the
media is much more free today than when he worked at Bankova.

That is not to say that all media is independent in Ukraine.  Journalists
and advocates of media freedom here say self-censorship or political
posturing ordered by media owners still pose an obstacle to free speech.
For you, as consumers of news and responsible citizens of a democratic
Ukraine, it is important to seek out a range of information sources and take
media ownership and political affiliation into account as you evaluate the
source’s quality and objectivity.

Unfortunately media ownership in Ukraine, especially of the broadcast media,
is still shrouded in mystery.  This is a shame because the broadcast
spectrum is among a nation’s most precious resources, and it should be used
for the public good, not for private or political gain.

And I would not be truthful if I said all problems in the election process
had been eliminated.  There are still problems associated with the formation
of some election commissions.  Voter lists, while improved, remain
problematic.  The Central Election Commission reports it has removed from
voter lists the names of 800,000 people who have died.

It is suspected but not confirmed that many of these dead souls miraculously
managed to vote from the grave in 2004.  Removing the dead from the voter
rolls is a tremendous step forward, but until a national voter registry is
created, inaccuracies in voter lists will continue to threaten to
disenfranchise voters.

For instance, there are credible reports that whole buildings or city blocks
of voters do not appear on the lists for Donetsk and Zhytomyr.  And there
are credible reports about the problem created by the transliteration of
voter names from Russian to Ukrainian.  It is essential that the authorities
do everything possible to address these and all other problems with the
voter lists.   It is likewise essential that all voting precincts be
adequately staffed with commissioners.

There have also been reports of improper use of administrative resources by
local officials in some parts of the country.  The reports I have heard do
not indicate widespread or systematic abuse as we saw in 2004, and
complaints emanate from a broad range of political parties.  That said,
citizens, the media and civil society organizations need to continue to be
vigilant and must act to expose undemocratic practices.

Free and fair elections and a transparent process for forming a new
government that represents the will of the people are critical to
solidifying Ukraine’s democratic credentials in the world.  Honest elections
will not only strengthen Ukraine but also have a positive impact on Ukraine’s
neighborhood.

Free and fair elections are essential if Ukraine wants to further integrate
into the Euro-Atlantic community.   But honest elections are also in Ukraine’s
interest even if the Ukrainian people choose to pursue a different strategic
path.

As we did during the 2004 elections, the United States is providing
non-partisan assistance in support of a democratic process.  As part of our
overall assistance to Ukraine, the U.S. is providing approximately $13.3
million to support free and fair elections.

This is part of a broader United States government democracy assistance
effort in Ukraine that is working to promote independent media, local
government reform, rule of law, civil society development, and open and
transparent political processes.

As in 2004, we advocate for no preferred candidate, party, bloc or outcome.
The U.S. government will work with whomever the Ukrainian people choose

in a free and transparent, democratic process.

Our election assistance programs are aimed at increasing civic participation
in the electoral process by working with media and non-governmental
organizations to publicize election issues to ensure people have adequate
information to make an informed choice on election day.

We are working with elections officials to improve election administration.
We are providing non-partisan training for all political parties and
candidates who have chosen to participate on message development and
constituent outreach.

Again this year we are supporting the work of domestic and international
election monitors, who will be scattered around Ukraine to observe the
balloting and vote tabulation process.  At this point, we can say that the
election campaign has been the freest and fairest in independent Ukraine’s
young history, but we also want to help insure that this is an honest
election.

Ukrainian voters must bear and have borne the bulk of the responsibility for
holding free and fair elections.  We are particularly interested in getting
more young voters engaged and involved in the political process in Ukraine.
In the United States, university students are very active in political
campaigns.  Their enthusiasm and vitality are valuable assets to any party,
and they often volunteer to work long hours without pay.

As an outside observer and with the election so close it would be
inappropriate for me to discuss polling numbers or speculate on who might
win.  Let me just say that one sign of the strength of Ukrainian democracy
is the fact that no one can predict with accuracy who will prevail in the
elections or who will become the next Prime Minister.  This decision still
rests with the people of Ukraine — where it rightly belongs.

Let me contrast this with some polling data from September of 2004.  A
Razumkov Center poll published that month reported that a majority of those
polled said they expected that fraud would determine the election’s winner.
According to the poll, the belief that falsification would occur was
prevalent in every part of the country.

People feared their vote would not matter.  There is no such widespread fear
this time around.   Despite this expectation, people should be vigilant.
Honest elections are too precious to be taken for granted.

I mentioned at the beginning of my remarks that you will have to take on
greater responsibility in exchange for this freedom.  On March 26 you will
vote for delegates to the Verkhovna Rada, who under new constitutional
provisions will chose a prime minister empowered with more authority than
any predecessor.

You must take destiny into your own hands by carefully choosing whom you
want to lead your country during the coming years.  As responsible citizens
and voters, it is incumbent on you to ensure that your name is on the voter
list at your polling station.  It is incumbent on you to research relevant
issues and learn the positions of the various parties on those issues.

You must look beyond the party leaders to see who else is on the party lists
and assess their qualifications and reasons for running.  These people will
be making important choices over the next five years that will directly
affect you, so your choice on election day must be well informed.  For our
part, we will be happy to work with whatever government you elect.

Ukraine has taken a huge step forward in its democratic development since
the events of last year, but democracy is not a one-time event.  Democracy
is a continuing process that must be protected and nurtured to keep it
strong.  That is the task your generation has inherited.

Thank you and I would be happy to answer any questions you might have.
————————————————————————————————–
http://kiev.usembassy.gov/infocentral_eng.html
Public Affairs Section, United States Embassy Kyiv
4 Hlybochytska St.. Kyiv  04050  Ukraine
(380 44) 490-4026, 490-4090; Fax (380 44) 490-4050
http://kiev.usembassy.gov/; info@usembassy.kiev.ua
————————————————————————————————–

[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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8 . AMB  JOHN E. HERBST NAMES TO NEW POST – COORDINATOR
    FOR THE OFFICE OF RECONSTRUCTION AND STABILIZATION
                             Currently U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine

Office of the Spokesman, U.S. Department of State
Washington, DC, Monday, March 20, 2006

WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has appointed
Ambassador John E. Herbst as Coordinator for the Office of
Reconstruction and Stabilization (S/CRS). Mr. Herbst, currently U.S.
Ambassador to Ukraine, will take up his new position in late spring.

The Coordinator supports the Secretary by leading U.S. planning efforts
forcountries and regions of concern, and coordinating the deployment of
U.S. civilian resources to respond to conflict. In concert with other State
Department bureaus and agencies, the Coordinator builds strong civil-
military partnerships, and promotes coordination with international and non-
governmental colleagues on reconstruction and stabilization activities and
prevention strategies.

Mr. Herbst is a career member of the Senior Foreign Service, and holds the
rank of Minister-Counselor. Prior to his appointment to Ukraine, he served
as Ambassador to Uzbekistan from 2000-2003. Mr. Herbst previously worked
as the U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem; Principal Deputy to the Ambassador
at Large for the Newly Independent States; the Director of the Office of
Independent States and Commonwealth Affairs; and as the Director of
Regional Affairs in the Near East Bureau of the State Department.

Mr. Herbst’s awards in government include the Presidential Distinguished
Service Award and the State Department’s Distinguished Honor Award. He
received a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown
University’s School of Foreign Service, Phi Beta Kappa, and a Master of
Law and Diplomacy, with Distinction, from the Fletcher School. He also
attended the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International
Studies Bologna Center. Mr. Herbst is married to Nadezda Christoff Herbst.
The couple has five children.                        -30-
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See http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/ for all press statements.
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[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

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9. SEC RICE JOINS NATO TALKS ON UKRAINIAN MEMBERSHIP

By Mark John, Reuters, Vilnius, Lithuania, Tuesday, March 21, 2006

VILNIUS  – U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other NATO
foreign ministers hold the alliance’s first major meeting on former Soviet
soil on Thursday, planning to offer Ukraine fast-track membership talks.

But NATO officials said the ministers would stop short of setting a target
entry date at their talks in the Lithuanian capital Vilnius for fear of
annoying Russia.

"NATO is an important forum for transatlantic dialogue on political issues,
it is the premier forum," Rice told reporters on Wednesday, after visiting
Moscow where she criticised Russian President Vladimir Putin for having too
much personal power.

But Russia will take part in the Vilnius talks and NATO officials said they
saw Moscow as a partner. The meeting in Lithuania, a former Soviet republic
which joined NATO last year, underlines how the world has changed since the
Cold War ended.

NATO has made it no secret that the victory of pro-Western Viktor Yushchenko
in Ukraine’s rerun presidential elections last December after a rigged first
poll had boosted the membership chances of Kiev, which also wants to join
the European Union

"The government in Ukraine has made its aspirations clear and is in a better
position to fulfil its aspirations for reform," NATO spokesman James
Appathurai told a news briefing, contrasting Yushchenko with his pro-Moscow
predecessor.
                                  "ENHANCED DIALOGUE"
Appathurai said 26-nation NATO would offer Ukrainian Foreign Minister Borys
Tarasyuk a "form of enhanced dialogue, together with a package of practical
and political elements". The ministers would also offer Ukraine help to
revamp its national army and pursue Western democratic reforms.

A senior U.S. State Department official travelling with Rice said the NATO
proposals were an "effort to move a little step further" in response to
Ukraine’s membership goal.

To boost Ukraine’s entry chances, Washington wanted Kiev to do more to

fight corruption, exert more civilian control over its army and restructure its
"top heavy" forces to reduce the number of generals, said the official, who
requested anonymity

There have been calls, notably in the United States, for Ukraine to be given
NATO membership within five years. But alliance diplomats fear a rush
towards entry would not only raise tensions with Russia but alienate many
Ukrainians in the former Soviet republic’s pro-Moscow east.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is due to sign an accord at the
Vilnius talks codifying NATO troops’ transit rights through Russia. This is
widely seen as a step to make it easier for NATO and Russia to conduct joint
exercises.

"Russia might feel it has reasons to be nervous about NATO. But NATO’s
message is that it wants to regard Russia as a partner," said one NATO
diplomat, who requested anonymity.

On