Daily Archives: March 6, 2006

AUR#668 Judges, Politics & Elections; Jackson-Vanik Graduation For Ukraine This Week?; Sign WTO; Tarasyuk; Belarus Hearing

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

Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor  
Washington, D.C., Kyiv, Ukraine, MONDAY, MARCH 6, 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
          Despite legal prohibition some judges are running for Parliament
: by Judge Bohdan A. Futey
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #668, Article 1
Washington, D.C., Monday, March 6, 2006

        It is crucial and important to pass the needed legislation in the U.S.

     House prior to the upcoming March 26 Parliament elections in Ukraine
Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, March 1, 2006

Ken Bossong, Former Peace Corps Volunteer, Ukraine
Washington, D.C. , Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Co-sponsor H.R. 1053, Graduate Ukraine from Jackson-Vanik Amendment
Dear Colleague Letter: Office of Congressman Jim Gerlach (R-PA)
U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C., Feb 1, 2006

Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA)
Washington, D.C., Friday, February 24, 2006

                             AGREEMENT ON MARKET ACCESS
Office of the United States Trade Representative (STR)
Executive Office of the President

Washington, D.C., Wednesday, March 1, 2006


Economics minister to be honored at Ukraine-U.S. Business Council luncheon
E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #668, Article 6
Washington, D.C., Monday, March 6, 2006
                      How will Ukraine benefit from its new status?
By Natalia Huzenko, The Day Weekly Digest in English #6
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 28, 2006


E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #668, Article 9
Washington, D.C., Monday, March 6, 2006

                                    SEEKERS BY UKRAINE
           Human rights groups say asylum seekers face possible torture

USINFO.STATE..COM, Washington, D.C., Tue, Feb 28, 2006

Ferghana.ru news agency website, Moscow, in Russian 1136 gmt 3 Mar 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Friday, March 03, 2006


                               PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE 
Associated Press (AP), Washington, D.C., Thursday, March 2, 2006

      US Helsinki Commission holds hearing on absence of political freedom
               Thursday, March 9, 2006; 2:00-4:00 PM, Washington, D.C.
Senator Sam Brownback, Chairman
Rep. Christopher H. Smith, Co-Chairman
US Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE)
Washington, D.C., Friday, March 3, 2006

Jane’s Foreign Report, United Kingdom, Thursday, March 02, 2006

COMMENTARY: By Robert Harneis
Harneis Europe Column, French News, March Edition, 2006


Nick Paton Walsh, The Guardian, London, UK, Thu, Mar 02, 2006

    "Previous government didn’t let us perform, our equipment was smashed,
           our cars were searched and we were even accused of robbery!"
By Serhiy BOVKUN, Zhytomyr
The Day Weekly Digest in English #4
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 14, 2006

18.                      ORANGE REVOLUTION FOR EXPORT
Chicago Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art hosts exhibit by R.E.P. Group
By Olena SHAPIRO, Art Critic
The Day Weekly Digest in English #6
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 28, 2006

    Ukrainian Educational and Cultural Center, Ukrainian Federation of America
Andrea Porytko-Zharovsky, Phila UECC Press Committee
Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, Tuesday, February 27, 2006

    Will help celebrate 15th anniversary of independence from Soviet Union
The Day Weekly Digest In English #6, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, 28 Feb 2006

21.                            "TO UKRAINE I WILL RETURN"
       National Opera of Ukraine hosts concert by greats of classical music
                 and dance who have made successful careers abroad.
By Tetiana Polishchuk, The Day Weekly Digest in English #6
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 28, 2006
                           London, Thursday, March 9, 2006 at 18:30
Ukrainian-British Club, London, UK, Monday, March 6, 2006
          Despite legal prohibition some judges are running for Parliament

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: by Judge Bohdan A. Futey
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #668, Article 1
Washington, D.C., Monday, March 6, 2006

Over the past several months, there have been numerous newspaper

accounts of the upcoming elections and the crisis of the Constitutional
Court of Ukraine.  Despite the Constitutional and legal prohibition on
political activity by judges[1], some judges are nonetheless running for
Parliament on party lists in the upcoming election.

In addition, it appears unlikely that a quorum will exist in the
Constitutional Court before the parliamentary election on March 26.
Although these issues have been addressed before,[2] there are some

matters worth repeating because Parliament has not acted to remedy the

Under the Constitution and the law, in order to avoid potential conflicts of
interest, judges are prohibited from being members of political parties or
trade unions.[3]  This has often been ignored, however, by both judges and
political parties alike.

Of particular concern is the inclusion of a number of judges on party lists
for the upcoming March parliamentary elections, including the Chief Judge of
the Supreme Court and the Chief Judge of the Higher Commercial Court.

It is bewildering that none of the Verkhovna Rada deputies nor other judges
have raised objections to this obvious disobedience to the Law on the Status
of Judges and Constitution.[4]

The Constitution prohibits political activity by judges because the bedrock
principle of democracy and the Ukrainian Constitution is the separation of
powers on the three branches of government.  At the very least, a judge’s
inclusion on a party list gives the appearance of impropriety, at the worst,
political activism will effect a judge’s impartiality and decision making

Therefore, judges who seek public office on political party lists or voting
blocs should first resign from the bench.  This is not what is happening for
the upcoming elections.  Instead, party leadership approved the inclusion of
many judges’ names on the party lists for the upcoming elections.  Even the
Lytvyn People’s Bloc, the party of the Speaker of the Verkhovna Rada, has
included judges on its list.[5]  This should not go on.

It is the Rada deputies’ responsibility to uphold and promote adherence to
the law.[6]  Deputies and, in particular, the Parliament leaders should
publicly object to the inclusion of judges on the party lists and have them
removed unless they have first resigned from the bench.

It is often worth repeating that no one will respect judges, or Parliament
for that matter, until the judges and elected public officials respect
themselves.  Although high hopes followed the Supreme Court’s decision

in Yushchenko v. CEC on December 3, 2004, inclusion of judges on party
lists does not live up to those standards.

In addition, judges and deputies have shown a total disregard for the

Constitutional Court’s decision in In re Dual Mandates which specifically
declared members of Parliament holding two public offices unconstitutional.

Unfortunately, even at this date there are still some Rada deputies who hold
two positions.  What Ukrainian would believe he or she is living in a
democracy when elected representatives so blatantly flout the law?

Since mid-October 2005, the Constitutional Court has been unable to form

a quorum.  By way of background, there are eighteen judges on the
Constitutional Court.  The President, Council of Judges, and the Verkhovna
Rada each appoint or elect six members to the court.

Eleven judges constitute a quorum at a meeting for purposes of opening or
rejecting a case (at least six judges must vote to open a case), twelve
judges must participate in a plenary meeting, and ten judges must vote in
support of a decision or conclusion on the merits during a plenary meeting.

A crucial problem that has existed for some months is Parliament’s avoidance
of electing its share of judges to the Constitutional Court and the election
of the Verkhovna Rada’s share of judges to the Constitutional Court has been
postponed from one week to another.  On February 21, Ukrayinska Pravda
reported that a vote is not scheduled until March 15, less than two weeks
before the parliamentary elections.  As of right now, there are only five
judges on the court.

Pursuant to a questionable provision in the Law on the Constitutional Court,
each candidate, regardless of whether he or she was appointed by the
President, or elected by the Verkhovna Rada or the Council of Judges, must
take an oath of office before the Parliament.[7]  Although the Constitution
provides for the oath of office of the President and Rada deputies, the
Constitution does not have such requirements for judges of the
Constitutional Court.

The swearing-in requirement, in my view, therefore, is likely
unconstitutional itself because it allows the vitality of the Constitutional
Court to rest in the hands of the Verkhovna Rada B a clear violation of the
separation of powers. The Law on the Constitutional Court can not give
Parliament any oversight authority that the Constitution does not already
provide[8] and Article 153[9] of the Constitution can not be interpreted as
providing authority to require an oath.

Naturally, such a law could be applicable only to judges elected by the
Rada, but not by the President or the Council of Judges.  Since October,
however, there has been no Constitutional Court to consider the
constitutionality of the swearing in because the Verkhovna Rada did not
schedule a session to swear-in candidates appointed by the President or

the Council of Judges upon the expiration of certain judges’ terms.

Therefore, the Verkhovna Rada has effectively prevented the operation of

the Constitutional Court by not filling vacancies and not allowing the
appointees assume their seats on the court.  It is difficult to believe that
after the Orange Revolution and its ideals, the Parliament is so negligent
in its duties to have an acting Constitutional Court that is so vital and
crucial to the rule of law in a country.

As predicted in August 2005,[10] the battling factions currently within
Parliament had difficulty cooperating with each other and the lack of
consensus prevented the placing of a swearing-in ceremony on the
Parliament’s schedule and precluded the attainment of the 226 votes
necessary to schedule a swearing-in ceremony in the event a consensus
was not reached.[11]   To date, no swearing in ceremony has been
scheduled (which, as previously stated, is likely unconstitutional anyway)
and the fighting over appointees continues.

Since Ukraine’s independence, many of us served as advisors to a number

of institutions and committees on issues concerning the rule of law and
democracy in Ukraine.  Most importantly, we assisted the working group
on the drafting and passage of the Constitution.

Over the years, therefore, we have become acquainted with many of the

people about whom this article has expressed critical views.  It is not easy
to make such public statements, but a commitment to democracy, the rule
of law, the Constitution, and, most of all, Ukraine requires it.  -30-
Bohdan A. Futey is a Judge on the U.S. Court of Federal Claims in
Washington, DC, appointed by President Ronald Reagan in May 1987. 
Judge Futey has been active in various Rule of Law and Democratization
Programs in Ukraine since 1991.  He served as an advisor to the Working
Group on Ukraine’s Constitution, adopted June 28, 1996.
[1] Ukr. Const., art. 127; Law on the Status of the Judges, art. 5.
[2] See, e.g., Bohdan A. Futey, A Crisis in the Constitutional Court
of Ukraine:  A Court Without Judges?, August 18, 2005.
[3] Ukr. Const., art. 127; Law on the Status of the Judges, art. 5. 
In the United States, a federal judge is prohibited from engaging in any
political activity and must resign from the bench if he or she becomes a
candidate for political office.  Code of Conduct for U.S. Judges Canon 7
(1997).  State and local judgeships, however, are often elected position
and, therefore, candidates run for election and re-election as members of
a political party, just like any other public official.
[4] Id.
[5] In addition, the Regions of Ukraine Party, Bloc of Natalia Vitrenko,
Bloc of Oliynyk and Syrota, Third Force, and the nonpartisan bloc
The Sun all have judges on their party lists for the upcoming elections.
[6] Although the Rada may have legitimate concerns regarding the
performance of President Yushchenko’s government, the January 10
no-confidence vote raised uncertainty and confusion as well as questions
of whether the vote was in compliance with the Constitution.  Of course,
there is no Constitutional Court to evaluate the validity of the vote.
[7] Law on the Constitutional Court, art. 17.
[8] Ukr. Const., art. 6
[9] The procedure for the organization and operation of the
Constitutional Court of Ukraine, and the procedure for its review of
cases, are determined by law. Ukr. Const., art. 153.
[10] Bohdan A. Futey, A Crisis in the Constitutional Court of
Ukraine:  A Court Without Judges? August 18, 2005.
[11] Ukr. Const., art. 91 (A The Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopts
laws, resolutions, and other acts by the majority of its constitutional
composition . . . .).
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
        It is crucial and important to pass the needed legislation in the U.S.
     House prior to the upcoming March 26 Parliament elections in Ukraine

Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, March 1, 2006

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition representatives

met yesterday on Capitol Hill with members of the Congressional Ukrainian
Caucus to work out a definitive strategy to achieve the goal of their lengthy
and arduous campaign to graduate Ukraine from the restrictions of the
Jackson-Vanik Amendment.

The three co-chairs of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus, Congressman

Curt Weldon (R-PA), Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (R-OH), and
Congressman Sander Levin (D-MI) were joined by Congressman Lincoln
Diaz-Balart (R-FL), and Congressman Jim Gerlach (R-PA) to work out how
the graduation issue should be approached.

Representative Gerlach’s bill, H.R. 1053, urges the U.S. House to remove

Ukraine from the restrictions of the 1974 Jackson-Vanik Amendment, and
grant normal trade relations treatment to the products of Ukraine.  Currently,
the bill is in the House Ways and Means Committee, and has 44 co-sponsors.

All of the Congressmen concurred with Representative Weldon’s statement

that "the graduation of Ukraine from the Jackson-Vanik Amendment has
gone beyond rhetoric.  It is crucial to pass legislation in the House prior to
the upcoming March 26 Rada elections."

Also present at the February 28 meeting were former Congressman Charles
Dougherty and a number of Congressional staffers, representing the offices
of Representatives Robert Wexler (D-FL), and Representative Tim Holden

Among those representing the Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition were
Ambassador William Green Miller, co-chair of the Coalition; Nadia

McConnell, President of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation; Mark Levin,
Executive Director of NCSJ; Ihor Gawdiak, President of the Ukrainian
American Coordinating Council; Michael Bleyzer and Morgan Williams
of SigmaBleyzer; Dr. Zenia Chernyk and Vera Andryczyk of the Ukrainian
Federation of America; Robert McConnell, attorney, and John Kun,
Executive Vice President of the U.S.-Ukraine Foundation. 

The members of Congress and representatives of the Jackson-Vanik

Graduation Coalition expressed their great frustration at the failure of the
U.S. House of Representatives to take action on the bill, in particular
since the U.S. Senate passed such a bill in November 2005.

Although there were varied opinions on the tone that should be adopted in
removing the anachronistic Cold War restrictions, the members of Congress

and JVGC representatives agreed that the amendment is irrelevant today, and
that Ukraine has met all requirements for its graduation for many years.

Michael Bleyzer, President and CEO of SigmaBleyzer, and a Jewish

emigrant from Soviet-era Kharkiv, noted that he had benefited from the
original Jackson-Vanik Amendment, but emphatically stated that it is wholly
inappropriate today and should be lifted.

All present agreed on the urgency for passage of the bill before the March
26 parliamentary election in Ukraine, and rejected the idea that Ukraine’s
graduation should be tied to Russia’s.  If graduation is not achieved before
the upcoming Rada election, Ukrainian voters may take this as a sign of
failure on the part of the democratic forces in Ukraine.

The Jackson-Vanik Graduation Coalition, co-chaired by Ambassador

Steven Pifer, and Ambassador William Miller [former U.S. Ambassador’s
to Ukraine] is comprised of more than 250 businesses, and Ukrainian-
American, Jewish American, and other non-governmental organizations.
NOTE: For more information about the Jackson-Vanik Graduation
Coalition, please visit http://www.usukraine.org/jvgc.shtml or e-mail
Marta Matselioukh at martam@usukraine.org.
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Ken Bossong, Former Peace Corps Volunteer, Ukraine
Washington, D.C., Tuesday, February 28, 2006

WASHINGTON DC — In a letter delivered today to Members of the U.S.
House of Representatives, 85 former and current Peace Corps volunteers
who served in Ukraine urged the Congress to "graduate" Ukraine from the
provisions of the Jackson-Vanik amendment.

Jackson-Vanik is a 1974 Amendment that imposed trade restrictions on
the Soviet Union in response to its poor human rights policies,
particularly restrictions on the emigration of religious minorities.

However, as the letter notes, "Ukraine has clearly more than fulfilled
the requirements necessary for graduation from Jackson-Vanik.  Ukraine
has built a strong record of allowing open emigration and has created
conditions for religious minorities to pursue their beliefs freely.  As
such, Ukraine is a success story for Jackson-Vanik and it now merits
graduation from the Amendment’s provisions."

Following his January 2005 inauguration, Ukrainian President Victor
Yushchenko announced that Ukraine’s graduation from the provisions
of the U.S. Jackson-Vanik Amendment would be at the forefront of his
economic and foreign policy objectives for 2005.

Last April, following their Washington meeting, U.S. President George
Bush joined President Yushchenko in expressing support for "immediately
ending application of Jackson-Vanik to Ukraine."

Most recently, on November 18, the U.S. Senate approved repeal of the
Jackson-Vanik restrictions on Ukraine. The matter now lies entirely in the

hands of the Members of the U.S. House of Representatives.

The letter concludes that "politically, legally, and morally,
graduating Ukraine from the Jackson-Vanik provisions is the right thing
to do.  .  As Ukraine prepares for its parliamentary elections in late
March. [t]here is no better way for the United States to further
democracy and promote economic growth in Ukraine than to graduate it
from Jackson-Vanik as soon as possible.  .  We therefore urge you to
lend your full support to efforts to make this a reality."

The full text of the letter and list of signers follows:
  A Letter from 85 Former and Current U.S. Peace Corps Volunteers
                             Who Have Served in Ukraine

February 28, 2006
Member, U.S. House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515

Attn:  Staff Member Working on Ways & Means, or International

Dear Representative:
As Ukraine prepares for its parliamentary elections in late March, we
are writing to urge you to lend your support to efforts to reinforce
democratic and free-market developments in that country.

These efforts include working with Ukrainian officials in their quest
to eventually join the World Trade Organization, NATO, and the
European Union.

However, foremost among these efforts is an issue that is almost
entirely in the hands of the Members of the U.S. Congress.  That is
supporting legislation, such as H.R.1053, to graduate Ukraine from the
1974 Jackson-Vanik trade restrictions.

Ukraine has clearly more than fulfilled the requirements necessary for
graduation from Jackson-Vanik.  Ukraine has built a strong record of
allowing open emigration and has created conditions for religious
minorities to pursue their beliefs freely.  As such, Ukraine is a
success story for Jackson-Vanik and it now merits graduation from the
Amendment’s provisions.

Moreover, this step is urgently needed as a symbolic affirmation of
Ukraine’s successful democratization.  Graduating Ukraine from
Jackson-Vanik would provide powerful support for the Ukrainian
government’s efforts to stabilize and expand its economy, promote trade
and investment, and participate in the international marketplace.

Politically, legally, and morally, graduating Ukraine from the
Jackson-Vanik provisions is the right thing to do.  Furthermore, it
poses no economic or other costs to the United States.

There is no better way for the United States to further democracy and
promote economic growth in Ukraine than to graduate it as soon as
possible – preferably within the next few weeks – from Jackson-Vanik.

We therefore urge you to lend your full support to efforts to make this
a reality.  Sincerely,
1.) Shane Ahn (PC-Group 24; 2003-2005; Kyiv, Ukraine) Arlington, VA
2.) Carolyn Andrews (PC-Group 17; 2000-2002; Donetsk, Ukraine)
Warren, OH
3.) Travis Bailey (PC-Group 17; 2000-2002; Odessa, Ukraine)
San Antonio TX
4.) David Barrett (PC-Group 20; 2001-2003; Yaremcha/Berdyansk,
Ukraine) Carrollton, TX
5.) Adam Bartkoski (PC-Group 26; 2004-2006; Kharkov, Ukraine), Dallas, TX
6.) Joseph Bednarek (PC-Group 16; Chervonohrad, Ukraine) Indiana
7.) Ken Beishir (PC-Group 17; 2000-2003; Poltava, Ukraine) Houston, TX
8.) Somer Bessire (PC-Group 19, 2000-2002; Kalanchak, Ukraine)
New York, NY
9.) Ken Bossong (PC-Group 17; 2000-2003; L’viv, Ukraine)
Takoma Park, MD
10.) Donna Braden (PC-Group 14; 1999-2001; Kryvyi Rig, Ukraine)
Chicago, IL
11.) William Andrew Brady (PC-Group 24; 2003-2005; Dnipropetrovsk)
12.) Patrick Breiding PC-Group 16; 1999-2002; Mangush, Ukraine)
Washington, DC
13.) Tamar Campbell (Group 17; 2000-2002; Dnipropetrovsk), Las Vegas, NV
14.) Juan Carlos Campos (Group 17; 2000-2002) San Juan, PR
15.) Alice Chiu (PC-Group 11; 1998-2001; L’viv & Mykolayiv, Ukraine)
Washington, DC
16.) Ben Colmery (PC-Group 26; 2004-2006, Dobrotvir, Ukraine)
Riverton, NJ
17.) Maureen Corcoran (PCV; 2000-2002).  Bloomfield, NJ
18.) Randall Crow (PC-Group 8; 1997-1999; Uzhgorod, Ukraine)
(U.S. citizen now residing in Budapest, Hungary)
19.) Kevin Dahm (PC-Group 28; 2005-2007), River Falls, WI
20.) Mark DeTray (PC-Group 20; 2001; Ukraine) Federal Way, WA
21.) Teresa Devore (PC-Group 13; 1998-2001; Ukraine) Brooklyn, NY
22.) Clifford Worth Dixon (PCV; 2002-2004; Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine)
Washington, DC
23.) Elaine Donnelly (PC-Group 16; 1999-2001; Uzhhorod, Ukraine)
Somerville, MA
24.) Kay Edley (PC-Group 20; 2001-2003; Rivne, Ukraine) Lansing, MI
25.) Beth Eilers (PC-Group 8; 1997-1999; Vinnitsa, Ukraine)
26.) Burke Eilers (PC-Group 8; 1997-1999; Khmelnitsky, Ukraine)
Black Hawk, SD
27.) Judith Enders (PC-Group 13; 1998-2001; Ukraine) Seattle, WA
28.) Luise Faber (PC-Group 14; Kharkiv, Ukraine) Arizona
29.) Alissa E. Fiss (PC Group 19; 2000-2002; Belgorod-Dnestrovsky,
Ukraine) Tamarac, FL
30.) William Heath Forbes (PC-Group 19; Kaniv, Ukraine) Tulsa, OK
31.) Kelly (French) Fox (PC-Group 20;  2001-2003; Kobelyaky, Ukraine)
Westerly, RI
32.) Emily C. Frazier (PC-Group 17; 2000-2002; Sevastopol, Ukraine)
Milwaukee, WI
33.) Mark  C Hall (PC-Group 2; 1993-1995; Kyiv, Ukraine)
34.) Bruce Jay Hansen (PC-Group 21; 2001-2003; Saki, Crimea, Ukraine)
Philadelphia, PA
35.) Eric Hontz (PC-Group 27; 2004-2006; Severodonetsk, Ukraine)
Easton, PA
36.) Christopher Hunkins (PC-Group 4: 1995-1997; Poltava, Ukraine)
Tempe, AZ
37.) Robert Hurst (PC-Group 27; Chortkiv, Ternopliska, Ukraine)
Elwood, IN
38.) Thomas Hyde (PC-Group 6; 1996-2000; Rivne, Ukraine) Bend, OR
39.) Scott Jackson (PC-Group 17; 2000-2002; Chernivsti, Ukraine)
Brooklyn, NY
40.) Lenta Lynn Jarrett (PC-Group 20; 2001-2003; L’viv, Ukraine)
San Diego, CA
41.) David Johnson (PC-Group 24; 2003-2005; Kharkov, Ukraine)
Jacksonville, FL
42.) Cheryl (Sunnquist) Jones (PC-Group 8;  1997-1999; Drohobych,
Ukraine) Grand Rapids, MI
43.) Regine Kennedy (PC-Group 24; 2003-2005; Rivne, Ukraine)
St. Paul, MN
44.) Ann (Duncan) Kinsley (PC-Group 19; 2000-2002; Kalush, Ukraine)
Leverett, MA
45.) Elaine Kornbau (PC-Group 19; 2000-2001; Chernihiv, Ukraine)
Waltham, MA
46.) Rich Krauze (PC-Group 17; 2000-2002; Rivne, Ukraine) Seattle, WA
47.) Kenny Kurata (PC-Group 25; 2003-2005; Kherson, Ukraine), CA
48.) Scott Lasher (PC-Group 24; 2003-2005, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine)
Mullens, WV
49.) Doug Latham (PC-Group 5; 1995-1997; Chernivtsi, Ukraine)
Pelham, AL
50.) Thomas Lemley (PC-Group 4; 1995-1997; Lviv, Ukraine) St. Louis, MO
51.) Kern Lewis (PC-Group 8; 1997-1999; Mikolayev, Ukraine)
Castro Valley, CA
52.) Patricia Lozoya (PC-Group 27; 2004 +; Sevastopol, Crimea, Ukraine)
Bogata, TX
53.) Judith Mandel (PC-Group 20; 2001-2004; Artemovsk, Ukraine)
Resida, CA
54.) Brian T. Maye (PC-Group 10; 1997-1999; Nikolaev, Ukraine)
Chicago, IL
55.) Kevin McMahan and Natasha Volodymyrivnia McMahan
(PC-Group 24; 2003 – 2005; Kaniv, Ukraine) Cincinnati, OH
56.) Ellen Michelson (PC-Group 19; 2000-2002; L’viv, Ukraine)
Toronto, Canada (U.S. citizen)
57.) Jonathan Morris (PC-Group 26; 2004-present) Santa Rosa, CA
58.) Cristina T. O’Keeffe (PC-Group 24; 2003-2005; Ukraine)
Douglaston, NY
59.) Rob Paullin (PC-Group 21; 2001-2003; Kremenets, Ukraine) Pekin, IL
60.) Michael Pegues (PC-Group 2; 1993-1995; Poltava, Ukraine)
Montgomery, AL
61.) Lisa Pollak (PC-Group 25; 2003-2005; Smila, Cherkasy) New York
62.) Louis A. Richards (PC-Group 28; 2005-2007, Stakhanov, Ukraine)
Pacific Grove, CA
63.) Edward Roach (PC-Group 13, 1998-2000, Ivano-Frankivsk, Ukraine)
Centerville, OH
64.) Maureen Schau (PC-Group 12; 1998-2000; Mykolaiv, Ukraine)
Portland, OR
65.) Jerry Schoeberlein (PC-Group 24; 2003-2005; Cherkasy, Ukraine)
Mullens, WV
66.) Elsa Shartsis (PC-Group 14; 1999-2001; Lutsk, Ukraine)
67.) Jack Shartsis (PC-Group 14; 1999-2001; Lutsk, Ukraine)
Huntington Woods, MI
68.) John Joseph Sheetz (PC-Group 28; 2005-present; Drohobich, Ukraine)
Jupiter, FL
69.) Jeffrey Skarin (PC-Group 25; Sudak, Crimea – Ukraine) Ellicott City, MD
70.) Tommie Soileau (PC-Group 5; 1995-1997; Berdichev, Ukraine)
Normandy, TN
71.) John Soileau (PC-Group 5; 1995-1997; Berdichev, Ukraine)
Normandy, TN
72.) Chandler Harrison Stevens, Ph.D.
(PC-Group 14; 1999-2001; Kherson & Yalta, Ukraine) Austin, MN
73.) Sandra Tacina (PC-Group 17; 2000-2002; Fedosia, Ukraine) NY, NY
74.) John Theis (PC-Group 17; 2000-2002; Kharkiv, Ukraine) Houston, TX
75.) Lillian Thompson (PC-Group 24; 2003-2005; Simferopol, Ukraine)
Bethesda, MD
76.) James Tichenor (PC-Group 22; Zhytomyr, Ukraine) Washington, DC
77.) Stephen Tubbs (PC-Group 28; 2005; Lubny, Ukraine) New Mexico
78.) Suzanne Wagner-Budak (PC-Group 13; 1998-2001; Ladyzhin, Ukraine)
Chicago, IL
79.) Elizabeth L. Watson (PC-Group 16; 1999-2001; Pidvolochysk, Ukraine)
Sacramento, CA
80.) P. Jay Werner (PC-Group 28; Uzhgorod, Ukraine) Colo Spgs, CO
81.) Bob Wittig (PC-Group 1; 1992-1994; Dniepropetrovsk, Ukraine)
Washington, DC
82.) Judy H. Wong (PC-Group 24; Kherson, Ukraine) Alameda, CA
83.) Karen Wyman (PC-Group 3; Ukraine) New Hampshire
84.) Wini Yunker (PC-Group 17; 2000-2002; Kirovograd, Ukraine)
Nicholasville, KY
85.) John Zvosec (PC-Group 15; Ukraine) Minneapolis, MN
Contact: Ken Bossong, kbossong614@yahoo.com, +1-301-588-4741
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Co-sponsor H.R. 1053, Graduate Ukraine from Jackson-Vanik Amendment

Dear Colleague Letter: Office of Congressman Jim Gerlach (R-PA)
U.S. House of Representatives, Washington, D.C., Feb 1, 2006

Dear Colleagues,

On March 26 of this year, parliamentary elections will take place in Ukraine
and it is imperative that Congress acts to support its current democratic,
pro-reform, pro-West administration by graduating Ukraine from Jackson-

Vanik trade restrictions.  It is one of President Yushchenko’s primary foreign
policy objectives and, if the restrictions are not lifted before March, it
could severely hurt his party’s chances for victory.

If the pro – Yushchenko officials are defeated the United States would lose
an important ally in the region and Ukraine’s democratic future would become
less certain.

The U.S. Congress adopted the Jackson-Vanick legislation in 1974. It banned
the United States from maintaining normal trade relations with countries,
that restricted free emigration, especially for persons of the Jewish

Some 30 years later, many believe, including the Bush Administration,
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and U.S. Trade Representative Rob
Portman, Ukraine’s record on freedom of emigration and religious freedom

and tolerance is good.

Furthermore, in the last year, Ukraine has demonstrated enough improvement
in its enforcement and protection of intellectual property rights that USTR
has announced it will reinstate Generalized System of Preferences (GSP)
benefits for Ukraine.

It is vitally important to Ukraine’s democratic future that Congress acts
prior to the March parliamentary elections.  That is why I am asking that
you cosponsor H.R. 1053.  My legislation will authorize the President to
extend nondiscriminatory treatment (normal trade relations treatment) to
Ukraine, and lift the unnecessary and outdated Jackson – Vanik restrictions.

If you would like to cosponsor this legislation please contact Bryan Kendro
in my office at (202) 225-4315.


Jim Gerlach, Member of Congress

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Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA)
Washington, D.C., Friday, February 24, 2006

WASHINGTON, DC – With nearly four weeks left before the Ukrainian
parliamentary elections, the Ukrainian Congress Committee of America
(UCCA) has appealed to Rep. William Thomas, Chairman of the House
of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, to expedite passage of
HR1053, a bill introduced by Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-PA) to "graduate"
Ukraine from the Jackson-Vanik amendment.

In a letter dated February 22, 2006 to Chairman Thomas, the UCCA
mentions the numerous reforms which Ukraine has accomplished since
the "Orange Revolution," most notably battling corruption, money
laundering, and focusing on accession to the World Trade Organization

The UCCA letter reaffirmed the increased bilateral cooperation between
Ukraine and the United States as evidenced by "the United States
[government], as recently as last week, recognizing Ukraine as a market
economy and is supporting Ukraine as it aspires for WTO membership."

What remains troublesome, however, is the lingering issue of the
Jackson-Vanik amendment for Ukraine and its ultimate "graduation" in the
United States Congress.  The UCCA’s letter also acknowledges that there is
"wide bi-partisan support [in the House of Representatives], as well as the
support of the Administration" for its successful passage.

An endorsement from the U.S. House of Representatives to "graduate"
Ukraine from the Jackson-Vanik amendment "would give a significant boost
to the pro-democracy forces vying for parliamentary seats in Ukraine’s
elections on March 26, 2006," stated the UCCA letter to Chairman Thomas.

Time remains a critical aspect of the U.S. Congress’ resolution of this
issue.  In concluding its letter to the Chairman, the UCCA emphasized:
"Let us extend our support to Ukraine at this critical juncture and assist
in securing its democratic future."

With Congress returning to session on Tuesday, February 28th after the
Presidents’ Day recess, the UCCA also sent a letter to all members of the
House of Representatives who haven’t yet supported HR1053.

In an urgent appeal to Members of Congress, the UCCA highlighted

President Yushchenko’s address to the Joint Session of the United States
Congress where he reiterated the need to repeal the Jackson-Vanik

"Repealing the [Jackson-Vanik] amendment is a critical step that will
demonstrate to the Ukrainian government that the United States welcomes
the changes Ukraine has implemented and trusts in the future of that
country," stated the UCCA letter.

The UCCA’s Washington bureau, the Ukrainian National Information
Service (UNIS), also issued an urgent Action Item to the Ukrainian
community and all friends of Ukraine to write to their respective Members
of Congress to support HR1053.

The Action Item is critical at this juncture as Congress returns from the
Presidents’ Day recess and will be in session only through March 17th – a
few days prior to Ukraine’s March 26th parliamentary elections. -30-
Contact: Serhiy Zhykharev, Ukrainian National Information Service
(UNIS), 311 Massachusetts Avenue, NE, Washington, DC 20002
tel:  (202) 547-0018, fax:  (202) 543-5502, e-mail:  unis@ucca.org,
Web at:  http://www.ucca.org

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                          AGREEMENT ON MARKET ACCESS

Office of the United States Trade Representative (STR)
Executive Office of the President

Washington, D.C., Wednesday, March 1, 2006

NEW DELHI – The United States and Ukraine have concluded bilateral
negotiations on market access issues related to Ukraine’s World Trade
Organization (WTO) accession.  Trade Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk will
join U.S. Trade Representative Rob Portman in Washington on March 6,
2006 to formally sign the agreement. 

"This agreement marks a milestone for both countries in our bilateral
trade relations.  It confirms Ukraine’s commitment to broad-based reform
and economic liberalization.  It also demonstrates Ukraine’s resolve to
join the international trading system," said U.S. Trade Representative
Rob Portman. "As a result of these negotiations, we can expect greater
bilateral cooperation on economic issues, and a strong boost to
Ukraine’s efforts to complete the accession negotiations."
Over the course of the negotiations, the Administration has consulted
closely with the Congress about America’s concerns and interests, most
particularly Members and Staff of the House Ways and Means Committee,
the Senate Finance Committee and the House and Senate Agriculture
Committees.  Congressional action is necessary to grant Permanent Normal
Trade Relations (PNTR) to Ukraine.  This will clear the way for the two
countries to apply the WTO Agreement between them when Ukraine
becomes a WTO member.

Ukraine has been negotiating its terms of accession to the General
Agreement on Tariff and Trade (GATT), and then to the WTO, since
1994.Ukraine is still negotiating bilateral market access agreements with
eight other countries.  To complete its accession bid, Ukraine must
complete those bilateral market access negotiations and also the
multilateral negotiations on a Working Party Report and Protocol of
Accession.   Ukraine is also still in the process of enacting
legislation that will enable it to apply WTO provisions after its

The United States is continuing to work with other accession candidates,
including Russia and Vietnam, and hopes to conclude these bilateral
agreements in the near future.
Scott R. Elmore, Public Affairs Assistant, Office of the United States

Trade Representative. Executive Office of the President
600 17th Street, NW, Washington, DC  20508, P: (202) 395-3230;
F: (202) 395-6121, www.ustr.gov
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

    Economics minister honored at Ukraine-U.S. Business Council luncheon
E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #668, article 6
Washington, D.C., Sunday, March 5, 2006
WASHINGTON – The U.S.-Ukraine Bilateral WTO Market Access
Agreement signing ceremony will be held in Washington on Monday,
March 6, at 4:00 p.m. at the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative
The signing ceremony will feature remarks by Ambassador Rob
Portman, United States Trade Representative and by His Excellency
Arseniy Yatenyuk, Minister of Economics, Ukraine. 
Ukraine’s Minister of Economics Yatenyuk will be the guest of honor
at a luncheon Monday sponsored by the Ukraine-U.S. Business
Council. Other guests at the luncheon will be Deputy Minister of
Economy Pyatnytskyi, Chief Trade and Economic Section, Embassy
of Ukraine, Yevgen Burkat and Deputy Chief Trade and Economic
Section, Embassy of Ukraine Yuriy Karpenko. 
Members of the Council who will be in attendance include: The
Boeing Company; Cape Point Capital; Cargill; Deere & Company;
Russian-Ukrainian Legal Group, PA; SALANS; SigmaBleyzer and
The Bleyzer Foundation. 
The Economics minister and his deputy are having a series of
meetings in Washington while they are here for the signing of the
historic WTO bilateral agreement.  Ukraine and the U.S. have been
working for several years to reach all the agreements necessary for
the completion of the WTO Market Access Agreement.  Ukraine is
making a strong effort to join the WTO in 2006.       -30-
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         Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.
                      How will Ukraine benefit from its new status?

By Natalia Huzenko, The Day Weekly Digest in English #6
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 28, 2006

The last bastion has fallen on the road to Ukraine’s recognition as a market
economy. Although the United States issued this recognition on Friday, Feb.
17, the European Union recognized Ukraine as a market economy on Dec.

21, 2005.

Ukraine’s president Viktor Yushchenko believes that this event is important
primarily as proof that "the world, our partners are aware of changes in
Ukraine and that the reforms that have begun are irreversible."

He adds that this decision indicates the high level of strategic partnership
between Ukraine and the US, and that it will boost economic contacts and
trade between the two countries, particularly by allowing Ukrainian goods
access to one of the world’s largest markets.

Prime Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov is more restrained. In his opinion, market
status will help Ukraine’s accession to the WTO.

Ukraine’s foreign minister Borys Tarasiuk was right on the mark when he said
that after obtaining this status Ukraine can expect better loan ratings and
hence an influx of investments. However, the main thing is that the
long-awaited status will ease the activity of Ukrainian business people with
regard to antidumping investigations. According to Tarasiuk, they cost our
businesses 300 million dollars a year.

The only thing left to do is to sign a bilateral agreement with the US
concerning mutual access to commodity and services markets. David A.
Sampson, Deputy Secretary of the US Department of Commerce, announced

that the American government plans to sign it in the next couple of weeks, and
that Ukraine has proved that the market model has defeated the planned
administrative one.

In the eyes of the US, Ukraine’s guarantors are the World Bank, IMF, OECD,
and EBRD. As a result, all antidumping proceedings against Ukraine will be
considered on the basis of its new status as of Feb. 1, 2006.

However, Oleh Riabokon, executive partner in the law firm Mahistr & Partners
(he represented Ukraine in the US in this matter), says that Ukraine
obtained market status through the concerted action on the part of the
government, leading metallurgical enterprises of Ukraine, and law firms. He
says that the Ukrainian government was more concerned about the political
aspect, overlooking the legal component.

As a result, the Ukrainian state adopted the required laws but did not
determine who would be protecting its interests. Meanwhile, they had to work
with leading lawyers from various US corporations. As a result, Ukraine’s
legal expenses were paid for by its metallurgical combines for whom the
antidumping investigations were a terrible thorn in their side.

Riabokon noted that US recognition of Ukraine as a market economy will have
a positive effect primarily on metallurgical and chemical enterprises, for
now they will be able to increase supplies of their products to the US. As
reported earlier by The Day, the bulk of products falling under antidumping
investigations come from these two industries. Now all previous
investigations can be revised.

As a result the antidumping duties imposed on imported Ukrainian goods

(from 42 percent to 168 percent) can be changed. The usual 10 percent
import tax cannot be compared to this, of course. In order to have these
duties revised, Ukrainian businessmen will have to apply to the US
Department of Commerce. According to Riabokon, the US did not
automatically lift restrictions on Ukrainian supplies.

Dmytro Bilokurov, director general of the Ukrainian Association of Ferrous
Metallurgical Enterprises, believes that the revision procedures will be
applied first to the Illich Metallurgical Combine of Mariupil (Donetsk
oblast), Zaporizhstal, and Mittal Steel Kryvyi Rih (formerly Kryvorizhstal).

He added that "the revision procedures will be applied to all metallurgical
combines whose products were subjected to restrictions." Obviously, this
will not be done free of charge. Riabokon noted that the cost of a single
restriction revision procedure in the US costs "several hundred thousand US
dollars" and that it takes about 12 months. But this question is definitely
worth the effort.

Bilokurov noted that 80 percent of metallurgical products are for export.
However, whereas in 2004 only 200,000 out of 674,000 tons of mining and
metallurgical products exported to the United States were semi-finished
products, in 2005 such products made up half of Ukrainian exports. Bilokurov
said that antidumping investigations resulted in exports shifting toward raw
materials, which are not research intensive. The new status is expected to
cardinally change the situation.

Metallurgists are also hoping that the revision of restrictions will allow
them to increase their exports and thus raise the profitability level, which
is important in the context of the new gas prices. These hopes are
encouraged by Riabokon, who states convincingly that a level playing field
will give Ukrainian business an extra option.

However, he also says that market economy status does not mean that there
will never be any more antidumping investigations. The new status only
removes quotas.

But if the antidumping measures that were applied to Ukraine in the past
"used artificial price indices established by the US Department of Commerce
proceeding from data on Third World countries, not all investigations will
be conducted exclusively according to prime cost and set prices of specific
Ukrainian manufacturers."

Therefore, this lawyer notes, it will be very difficult to prove that
Ukraine is dumping. The main thing is for business people not to assume

that market economy status is a green light for dumping.

In any case, there are preconditions for such assumptions. Business people
note some negative aspects of the new status, but agree that there are more
pluses. So far, though, they are virtual. Everything will depend on whether
our lawyers can win disputes concerning specific enterprises.  -30-
LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/158335/
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]


E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #668,  Article 9
Washington, D.C., Monday, March 6, 2006

WASHINGTON – Borys Tarasyuk, Foreign Minister of Ukraine, will
make a quick trip to Washington on Thursday and Friday, March
9 & 10th.  He will have a series of meetings with high level government
officials and meet with some private organizations.

Many observers of Ukrainian matters in Washington hope the U.S.
House of Representatives will quickly pass the legislation needed to
graduate Ukraine from the Jackson-Vanik amendment next week, now
that the bilateral WTO Accession Agreement on Market Access between
the US and Ukraine has been agreed to and will be signed on Monday.

While the foreign minister is in Washington he will attend a private

meeting sponsored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and give a
major foreign policy speech at The Brookings Institution at 5 p.m. on
Thursday, March 9th. Information about the Brookings speech from
their website can be found below.              
Minister Tarasyuk will also participate in the commemoration of the
192nd anniversary of the birthday of Taras Shevchenko organized
by The Embassy of Ukraine.  The laying of flowers at the Shevchenko
monument in Washington will be at 10:00 a.m. in the square near the
monument on the corner of 22nd and P streets, NW.  Taras Shevchenko
was born on March 9, 1814.  He became Ukraine’s most famous poet,
strong defender of Ukrainian interests and hero of Ukraine.    -30-
            A Brookings Institution Foreign Policy Studies Briefing
                                 Ukrainian Foreign Policy:
          A Discussion with Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk

Featured Speaker: Borys Tarasyuk, Foreign Minister, Ukraine
Introduction: Carlos Pascual, Vice President
Foreign Policy Studies, The Brookings Institution

Thursday, March 09, 2006; 5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Falk Auditorium, The Brookings Institution
1775 Massachusetts Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20036

On March 9, Borys Tarasyuk, Foreign Minister of Ukraine, will deliver a
speech at the Brookings Institution addressing several notable Ukrainian
foreign policy issues including: European-Atlantic strategy; relations with
Russia; and the upcoming parliamentary elections in late March and their
potential impact on foreign policy.

Carlos Pascual, vice president and director of the Brookings Foreign Policy
Studies program [and former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine], will introduce
Foreign Minister Borys Tarasyuk and moderate an audience question and
answer session which will follow the presentation.

Contact: Brookings Office of Communications.Phone: 202/797-6105
Link: http://www.brookings.edu/comm/events/20060309ukraine.htm
Link: http://www.brookings.edu/comm/event_reg/event_regform.htm
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                                      SEEKERS BY UKRAINE
           Human rights groups say asylum seekers face possible torture

USINFO.STATE..COM, Washington, D.C., Tue, Feb 28, 2006

WASHINGTON – The United States has condemned the February 14
forcible return of 10 Uzbek asylum seekers to Uzbekistan by Ukrainian

Nine of the Uzbeks had registered as asylum seekers with the United Nations
High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which issued a statement
February 16 deploring the forced return of the entire group.

According to UNHCR, the Uzbek extradition request alleged that the men
were involved in the events on May 13, 2005, in Andijan, Uzbekistan.
Human rights groups are concerned that the asylum seekers face torture
and abuse on their return to Uzbekistan.

State Department deputy spokesman Adam Ereli February 28 called on
Ukrainian authorities to cooperate fully with UNHCR and to honor their
treaty commitments whenever they are confronted with claims of asylum.

In January, the United States called on Krygyzstan to allow four Uzbek
asylum seekers safe passage to a third country.  Numerous people fled
Uzbekistan following a bloody crackdown on demonstrators in the city
of Andijon in May 2005, and others have been put on trial by the Uzbek
government. (See related article
http://usinfo.state.gov/eur/Archive/2006/Jan/20-811167.html )

A UNHCR statement, which includes links to earlier statements on the
asylum seekers, is available on its Web site:

Following is the text of the State Department statement:
U.S. Department of State
Office of the Spokesman, February 28, 2006
Statement by Adam Ereli, Deputy Spokesman


The United States condemns the forcible return of ten Uzbek asylum
seekers to Uzbekistan by Ukrainian authorities on February 14.

These individuals apparently were returned to Uzbekistan without passing
through the full asylum application process under Ukrainian law, including
the ability to appeal their asylum determinations.  Ukrainian authorities
also ignored the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees’ (UNHCR)
request for official guarantees not to forcibly return any of them until
after proper Ukrainian asylum application procedures had been followed.

Ukraine, like the United States, is a State Party to the 1967 Protocol
Relating to the Status of Refugees.  We call on the Government of Ukraine
to cooperate fully with UNHCR and to honor their treaty commitments
whenever they are confronted with claims of asylum.   -30-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]


Ferghana.ru news agency website, Moscow, in Russian 1136 gmt 3 Mar 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Friday, March 03, 2006

Uzbek opposition leaders have appealed to Ukrainian President Viktor
Yushchenko over the incident involving the detention of 11 Uzbek refugees
and the extradition of 10 of them to their home country by Ukraine’s
security services, the Moscow-based Fergana.ru website reported on 3 March.

The Ukrainian authorities’ decision has prompted strong criticism from
leading international human rights watchdogs and some Western countries, who
said the extradition ran counter to the 1951 UN Refugee Convention, to which
Ukraine was a signatory.

Tashkent accuses the 11 Uzbeks of allegedly taking part in the May 2005
Andijon disorders and of having links to the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan
terrorist organization, which the men rigorously deny.

The opposition leaders’ letter to the Ukrainian president, among other
things, said: "Mr President, we hope that this action was not a deliberate
move made to please dictator [Uzbek President Islom] Karimov but a mistake
on the part of your subordinates, who have acted ignorantly and committed
violations against the 11 Uzbek refugees.

"We hope that you will come to appropriate conclusions and the officials
guilty of wrongdoing will be punished. We also hope that relatives of the
victims will hear words of apology from you for the conduct of your

Only strong personalities have the ability to admit their mistakes. The
whole world knows you as a strong person, who had managed to bring down

the authoritarian post-Communist system without bloodshed," the letter said.
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                                 PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE 

Associated Press (AP), Washington, D.C., Thursday, March 2, 2006

WASHINGTON – The U.S. strongly Thursday condemned the beating and

detention of an opposition presidential candidate in Belarus and warned that the
former Soviet republic would face consequences if elections scheduled this
month are not free and fair.

Deputy Assistant Secretary of State David J. Kramer, who visited Minsk last
week, would provide no details of what the U.S. might do except that Belarus
officials would find "life more difficult and confined." He said the U.S.
was working closely with its European allies to coordinate any actions to be
taken against Belarus.

"We strongly condemn the beating and detention of Alexander Kozulin and
strongly criticize arrests" of 60 opposition activists in Minsk, Kramer

He said these events and others like them "suggest the scales are tipping
against free and fair elections" March 19, which are expected to return
authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko to power.

Kramer said in his talks with Belarus officials, opposition groups and civil
society organizations, he made clear that violence was unacceptable. He said
the government should respect freedom of expression and human rights in the
run-up to the elections.

He said it was "ridiculous, groundless, baseless" to charge that civil
society groups in Belarus were plotting a coup against Lukashenko, whom

he referred to as a tyrant.

Kramer also said Belarus, as a member of the 42-nation Organization for
Security and Cooperation in Europe, is obliged to allow outsiders to monitor
the election, and there was no need to wait until March 19 for them to start
their work.

Kramer said the Belarus situation would be among topics the U.S. would

raise next week in talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in
Washington. He said he hoped that Russia, also a member of OSCE, would
stress to Belarus the need to meet its obligations to the organization. He
said the U.S. also expects free and fair parliamentary elections in Ukraine
on March 26.                                -30-
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             Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.
       US Helsinki Commission holds hearing on absence of political freedom
                Thursday, March 9, 2006; 2:00-4:00 PM, Washington, D.C

Helsinki Commission News:
Senator Sam Brownback, Chairman
Rep. Christopher H. Smith, Co-Chairman
US Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE)
Washington, D.C., Friday, March 3, 2006

WASHINGTON – Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), Chairman of the United
States Helsinki Commission, announced that the Commission will hold a
hearing to discuss the complete absence of political freedom in Belarus and
the implications this has on its upcoming elections.

             Freedom Denied: Belarus on the Eve of the Elections
                         Thursday, March 9, 2006; 2:00-4:00 PM
                       Room 138, Dirksen Senate Office Building

Testifying before the Commission will be:

[A] Representative of the U.S. Government:
      [1] David J. Kramer, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and
Eurasian Affairs, U.S. Department of State

[B] Witnesses from NGOs:
      [1] Stephen B. Nix, Regional Program Director, Eurasia, International
Republican Institute [IRI]
      [2] Rodger Potocki, Senior Program Officer for East Central Europe,
National Endowment for Democracy [NED]
      [3] Iryna Vidanava, Belarusian Activist, Editor-in-Chief, Students’
      [4] Celeste A. Wallander, Director of the Russia and Eurasian
Program,Center for Strategic and International Studies [CSIS]

Presidential elections in Belarus are scheduled to be held March 19, against
the backdrop of stepped up repression by the regime of Alexander
Lukashenka – Europe’s last dictator. The Belarusian strongman’s power grab,
begun a decade ago, has included liquidation of the democratically elected
parliament, a string of fundamentally flawed elections and manipulation of
the country’s constitution to maintain power.

A climate of fear following the disappearance of leading opposition figures
in 1999 has continued with the harassment and arrests of opposition
activists and the forced closure of independent newspapers. Rights
violations in Belarus have intensified in the aftermath of the Orange
Revolution in neighboring Ukraine, as the regime seeks to squelch dissent.

The repressive environment has made it difficult for opposition candidates
to engage in normal campaign activities. Meanwhile, administration of the
elections at all levels remains firmly in the hands of Lukashenka loyalists.

The Commission hearing will examine developments in Belarus in the lead up
to the elections, including the pre-election crackdown, efforts to foster
democracy and civil society, the international community’s increased focus
on the country as well as post-election policy options.

The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the
Helsinki Commission, is a U.S. Government agency that monitors progress
in the implementation of the provisions of the 1975 Helsinki Accords. The
Commission consists of nine members from the United States Senate, nine
from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the
Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.  -30-
Media Contact: Sean Woo, 202 225 1901; 234 Ford House Office
Building, Washington, D.C. 20515-6460; www.csce.gov
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Jane’s Foreign Report, United Kingdom, Thursday, March 02, 2006

President Aleksandr Lukashenka is set to be re-elected on 19 March in an
election likely to be controversial.  Although a handful of opposition
candidates have been registered, Lukashenka will not wish to enter into a
second-round race where he would face only one opponent.

The EU and US have recently adopted a co-ordinated strategy regarding
Belarus that includes supporting non-governmental organisations, opposition
candidates and independent media. Meanwhile, Moscow’s attitude towards
Lukashenka remains critical.

Belarus will hold its presidential elections on 19 March with an amended
constitution that permits sitting President Aleksandr Lukashenka to begin a
third term. Back in 2004, Lukashenka organised a controversial referendum to
enable himself to continue in office. Belarus therefore has a President set
on remaining in office indefinitely, spearheading a regime that has become
increasingly autocratic since 1994.
                                     FEEBLE RESISTANCE
Opposition candidates have been allowed to register to give the March
elections some air of legitimacy. The Organisation for Security and
Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) has been invited to send observers, as has

the CIS Election Observation Mission, which invariably reaches the opposite
conclusion as to the fairness of an election. The US ambassador to Belarus,
George Krol, has already stated that the OSCE will conclude that the
elections were not free and fair.

Only a few opposition representatives have been allowed to sit on election
commissions, which will have the important task of counting the vote.
Although it proposed 1,000 candidates, the united opposition was granted
just two places out of the 74,100 officials who will monitor the elections.

Alyaksandr Milinkevich, who is backed by the majority of opposition parties,
is the most well known challenger to Lukashenka, both inside and outside
Belarus. Alyaksandr Kazulin, supported by the opposition Social Democratic
Party (Hramada), has refused to pull out and back the united opposition

Candidate Syarhey Haydukevich, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, is,
in fact, an ally of Lukashenka and the Belarusian representative of Vladimir
Zhirinovsky, the leader of Russia’s pro-Vladimir Putin Liberal Democratic

The opposition candidates have faced numerous obstacles in their campaigns.
Their collected signatures were refused by territorial election commissions,
they lacked access to the media, particularly television, and they faced
harassment by law enforcement officials.

Opposition publications printed in Russia and Lithuania are routinely
confiscated when brought into Belarus. The opposition has been forced to
rely on the internet and samizdat (underground publications), thereby
limiting their ability to reach voters.
Since the democratic revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine in 2003 and 2004,
Lukashenka has sought to undermine his opposition ahead of the upcoming 2006
elections. He has had the strong backing of Russia, which also feels
threatened by what both countries view as US-backed conspiracies. Both
countries have introduced legislation making it difficult for
non-governmental organisations (NGOs) to operate and obtain Western funding.

State media outlets in both countries have portrayed NGOs as agents of
Western espionage agencies. Western intelligence agencies are demonised as
acting against the national security interests of Belarus and Russia. New
legislation in Belarus allows foreigners to be deported if "their stay in
Belarus poses a threat to national security, public order or the health of
the nation".

Belarus opposition activists have also been banned from travelling abroad.
In February, a high-level visit to Belarus by EU and US officials was
cancelled after the regime refused them visas.

In January, Lukashenka publicly warned that his government "will not let any
destabilisation of the situation happen". Lukashenka claimed that the West
was fomenting riots for the post-election period, using Soviet rhetoric to
link the opposition to Western paymasters. Later, he pledged to step up
pre-election "ideological work".

On 10 January, Lukashenka appointed Aleh Pralyaskowski to serve as a
presidential aide and chief of the main ideological department of the
presidential administration. The appointment came as part of a broader
reshuffle of the powerful presidential administration that also included a
specific instruction by the President for his government to step up efforts
against corruption among senior officials.

The reshuffle and Lukashenka’s populist rhetoric, rather than indicating
that the he has any doubts about his prospects in the forthcoming elections,
are likely to be calculated moves by the President to preserve maximum
political influence following the March elections.
                         HALF-HEARTED WESTERN POLICY
Western policy towards Minsk has been half-hearted and lacking in unity. The
US was always the staunchest critic of Lukashenka, and George W Bush’s
administration pushed for Congress to adopt the Belarus Democracy Act, which
imposes sanctions on Belarus and provides aid to NGOs, in October 2004.
Washington has also opened its doors to Belarusian opposition leaders.

The EU has not tended to follow the US line. Brussels has been preoccupied
with enlargement, Turkey and the proposed new EU constitution. Ultimately,
both the US and the EU have failed to deliver the knockout punch to
Lukashenka because they have been unwilling to deal with the regime’s main
subsidiser, Russia.

Without Russian support, the Lukashenka regime would not be able to

remain in place. It is this factor that undermines the West’s position on

Both the US and the EU have either refused to criticise democratic
regression in Russia or have ensured that criticism has been mellow. This
has made criticising Russia’s actions in supporting Lukashenka difficult.

Meanwhile, while the US and increasingly the EU are in favour of a hardline
position towards Lukashenka, post-communist Europe, especially Ukraine and
Poland, oppose sanctions and isolation and are in favour of more engagement
with Belarus.

There is little doubt that Lukashenka will be elected in the first round
with a large majority. Official polls give him between 55 and 75 per cent
support. Protests from the West against Lukashenka’s desire to become
President for life are important but will ultimately be meaningless unless
Washington and Brussels are willing to tackle Russia, Lukashenka’s main
source of external support.  -30-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

COMMENTARY: By Robert Harneis
Harneis Europe Column, French News, March Edition, 2006

                     CRUNCH TIME IN EASTERN EUROPE
Vital elections take place in Belarus and Ukraine this month. Belarus is to
elect a President on March 19th  and Ukraine a new parliament on March
26th. Both elections will decide whether pro-Russian or pro-Western
governments are in power.

They may also decide whether the two countries are allowed to develop
along peaceful lines. They are crucial for the peaceful development of

In Belarus President Lukashenko, described by President Bush as "the
last remaining dictatorship in Europe" has been in office since 1994. He is
heavily criticised by Western countries for his cavalier attitude to fair
elections and press freedom.

The 10 million Belarussians achieved independence at the time of the break
up of the Soviet Union. There is a scheme to reunite with Russia but
Lukashenko, although pro Russian is shy of giving up his independence
even to his friends.

The Russians regard Belarus as part of Russia and are desperately anxious
for it to remain in their orbit. As President Putin has freely admitted it
is of great geo-political importance to them. After losing the Baltic states and
being cut off from their territory in Kaliningrad they fear being pushed any
further east.

There is not much likelihood that Lukashenko will allow himself to be
defeated. The problem is what happens if there are demonstrations about
the fairness of the poll. After seeing the Orange Revolution in Ukraine and
the Rose revolution in Georgia install pro western governments by taking
to the streets he is not likely to be gentle.

There is little doubt that the Belarus President is an embarrassment to the
Russian government but they need him. Therefore they will support him
come what may.
                               THE FIRST DEMOCRAT
The opposite situation exists in the Ukraine. President Yushenko won
power in the Orange Revolution a year ago and has gone bald headed
for membership of Nato and the EU. He is very close to the United
States but has become increasingly isolated in government.

His chief supporter was the charismatic Julia Timoshenko, herself a one
time oligarch with a  sulphorous reputation. His first government has
disintegrated and Timoshenko is now in opposition and apparently on
good terms with the Russians again.

His defeated rival Yanukovych is leading in the opinion polls. A clear
majority of Ukrainians want good relations with Russia rather than the
West and they do not want the rows over gas, meat, light houses and
the Russian Black Sea fleet that have recently hit the headlines.

Many who supported the Orange revolution thought it would be a quick
fix to win instant prosperity. If anything things are worse. The country is
badly split between east and west.

The Crimea is 80% Russian and only part of the Ukraine since 1954. It
is said that Nikita Khrushchev gave it to them to celebrate 300 years
of unification, when he was drunk.  It is the home of the Russian Black
Sea fleet.

The Ukrainian economy is closely integrated with Russia. Yushencko’s
move towards EU and Nato membership is perceived by the Russians as
an blatant threat to their vital interests and an American inspired
                                       RUSSIAN FEARS
From the Baltic to the Black Sea, Russia is faced with NATO or would be
NATO states and, as a much invaded country, it makes them nervous for
the future. Paradoxically in this situation the best result for the people
in both countries, at least in the short term would seem to be a vote against
the Western tendency.

That would give time for the soft power of the EU, combined with an
increasingly prosperous Russia, to lift the two countries out of the grim
poverty in which they currently live, without the dangerous factor of
Russian defensiveness.

Any heavy handed American attempt to interfere with this result will lead
inevitably to the Russian equivalent of the remark by President Hugo
Chavez to Condoleezza Rice the other day. "No te metas conmigo chica" –
Don’t mess with me sweetie.  -30-
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

In Belarus, an authoritarian, often forgotten corner of Europe, criticising the
president can still land you in jail. So it’s no surprise that the forthcoming
elections are already rumoured to have been fixed. Nick Paton Walsh 
reports from the land where the Soviet Union never really went away.

Nick Paton Walsh, The Guardian, London, UK, Thu, Mar 02, 2006

Nikolai Statkievich shares the foul stench of his tiny cell with five other
prisoners. After their 6am wake-up call, the men form a line along the
corridor outside, their backs to the wall. As the commandant calls out their
surnames, each man answers with his first and middle name and steps

forward two paces until his nose touches the wall on the opposite side of the

Statkievich has to start his forced labour by 8am. This gives him the next
hour to drop by his 75-year-old father’s flat for a shower, breakfast and to
change out of the lavatory grime of his prison clothes. Then Statkievich,
49, a former lieutenant-colonel in the Soviet army – who has the equivalent
of a PhD in science – reports for duty at a local shop. He spends his days
fixing kettles, irons and radios, and is paid around pounds 35 a month for

His crime, under article 232 of the criminal code, is: "The organisation of
mass events that concern disobedience of the authorities and interference
with public transportation." This means he organised a demonstration and it
briefly stopped the traffic. For this he was sentenced to three years of
forced labour in June last year.

Statkievich’s story reads like a footnote to the works of Alexander
Solzhenitsyn, the Nobel-prize-winning chronicler of the Soviet "gulag"
prison camps of the 1950s. His punishment is known as khimiya (chemistry);
it was, he tells me during his lunch break, created "in Khrushchev’s times,
when the gulag was dismantled, because there was no one to do the dirty
jobs, like work in chemical factories".

But Statkievich is no 50s dissident. He is one of the last political
prisoners in 21st-century Europe, an internal exile in the authoritarian –
and often forgotten – state of Belarus. Here, the Soviet Union never really
went away.

Baranavichy, population 400,000 – the town that Statkievich is not allowed
to leave – is only 150km from Poland, the latest part of the old Soviet bloc
to join the European Union. But life here seems worlds apart from the
democratic west. On October 18 2004, Statkievich led a protest against a
referendum held over plans to change the Belarusian constitution so that
President Alexander Lukashenko, in power since July 1994, had a right to a
third term.

The poll’s positive result was as predictable as the raft of allegations of
fraud and illegality that followed from the west. Statkievich’s protest,
obviously, failed to overturn the results and so for this he got three years
of khimiya .

Belarus’s 10 million people live sandwiched between the Baltics and the
Ukraine, with their former imperialist master, Russia, to the east, and have
learned not to expect too much from history, or from their masters. For
centuries Belarus was a bargaining chip between European empires. It first
existed as an independent state in 1918, only to be swallowed up by the USSR
a year later.

Stalin’s purges in the 1930s led to at least 100,000 of its citizens being
executed and thousands more sent to labour camps. The Nazi occupation and
the second world war led to the death of three million Belarusians – a third
of its population, a higher proportion of losses during that time than any
other country.

The survivors were purged again by a victorious Stalin. Belarus was then to
bear the brunt of the Soviet empire’s ungracious collapse: a fifth of its
farmland was rendered unusable by radiation from the Chernobyl disaster in

Lukashenko, 51, has played on the country’s troubled history. He frequently
extols the "stability" that his regime has created. In 2003, he told
Belarusian radio: "An authoritarian ruling style is characteristic of me,
and I have always admitted it. Why? We could spend hours talking about this.
You need to control the country and the main thing is not to ruin people’s

In a fortnight’s time, after months of careful preparation and repression,
Lukashenko, the man the Bush White House has dubbed "Europe’s last
dictator", will stage a third presidential election, in an attempt to extend
his rule to a total of 15 years, making him Europe’s longest-serving head of

There is a stability of sorts here. Pensions are good enough, the general
standard of living is manageable for some. The rest are isolated enough from
the outside world not to know better. Nikolai Kazaryan, a part-time driver,
lives on pounds 40 a month in a squalid farmhouse outside the capital of
Minsk, just down the road from a lavish ski resort where the president has
his own luxury chalet. But despite the immense gulf between him and his
president, Kazaryan has only this to say about Lukashenko: "Great guy," he
grins, raising a thumb.

After the political upheaval and privatisations of the turbulent 90s, Russia
enjoys an improved standard of living. Belarus has seen no such changes:

80% of the economy is still controlled by the state, and the state is

"He’s a former collective farm manager, still running the collective farm,"
says a senior western diplomat, who asks not to be named. "I don’t think
he’s in it for the money, but for the power." The diplomat describes victory
in this month’s elections as "Lukashenko’s big prize, this total
dictatorship he wants".

The opposition has pledged to hold massive demonstrations at 8pm on March
19, election day. They say the election has been fixed in advance and hope
that by taking to the streets they will spark a repeat of the protest-led
regime changes that swept neighbouring Ukraine in November 2004.

Their hopes have been bolstered by expressions of support from both America
and the European Union, but Moscow – desperate not to see another part of
the former Soviet Union turn irrevocably to the west – is backing
Lukashenko. The lines are drawn for yet another showdown between east and

Lukashenko is said to be nervous about the election, and has more openly
been taking steps to isolate Belarus from the viral contagion of democracy.
Belarusians have long needed a stamp in their passport to travel abroad; now
students need clearance for every foreign study trip.

It’s part of a slow clampdown on Belarusian society, one that ranges from
the Orwellian to the comical. While "slandering the president" has for years
been an offence that carries a prison sentence, in December Lukashenko felt
it necessary to introduce a three-year sentence for anyone who "passes false
information harmful to the state of Belarus to a foreign state". Meanwhile,
fears as to the insidious nature of foreign rock music have led to a law
that means 75% of music on radio stations must be Belarusian.

All models that appear in advertisements inside Belarus are, according to a
new law, supposed to be Belarusian citizens.

An instinctive reaction to such batty Soviet excess is to snigger. But in
Belarus it is no joke. Underpinning the wackiness is a coarse current of

When I try to watch the first televised speech of Alexander Milinkevich, the
main opponent to Lukashenko in the presidential vote, in a popular
restaurant in the centre of Minsk, two young women next to me tell me it is
spoiling their conversation. Eighteen minutes into the 30-minute speech, the
manager appears and asks me to turn it off. Despite my arguing that the
speech is on state-run television, so cannot really be the "political
agitation" he suggests it is, he insists I hand him the remote control.

"In his heart, maybe he wanted to watch me," Milinkevich later tells me, in
the back of his campaign minibus. "But business is so tightly controlled
here that he might have feared losing money. Self-censorship is the
strongest weapon."

For the most part excluded from the media, Milinkevich has resorted to
travelling Belarus in a white minivan with his wife Inna and a few of his
20-strong campaign staff by his side. The day we meet, he is driving three
hours to a campaign meeting in the eastern town of Orsha, where about 100
supporters and a handful of police await him in the snow.

He has little choice but to campaign at a grassroots level. The only
remaining opposition paper in Belarus, Narodnaya Volya, has been forced to
print in Russia and is now distributed in blank, brown paper envelopes to
prevent it being intercepted.

State TV is prone to depicting the outside western world in outlandish
diatribes. (One recent TV documentary, according to BBC Monitoring, accused
the US of funding Nazi Germany, adding that Coca-Cola had dreamed up the
Fanta recipe to "quench the thirst of German invaders".) Domestic news is
almost as heavily distorted, with Lukashenko seen as the great benefactor of
his people, pushing a land of plenty to new heights. Yet Milinkevich
believes that the electorate, home-schooled in the Soviet era to trust
nothing that state TV offers, can see through it all.

The streets of the capital, Minsk, are almost unnaturally clean and
conspicuously devoid of advertising. A few token placards flog international
brands, but are matched by government information adverts. (A typical police
poster says, "We are always near you" – something any former Soviet citizen
will read as a veiled threat.)

The price of even mild dissent here can be high. Lubov Kuchinskaya says she
was a veterinary student on a scholarship until February 7. Then police
searched her dormitory, and found opposition posters. She started failing
her exams for the first time and was thrown out of university. In
Baranavichy, where Statkievich is exiled, Alexander Dolmut tells me he lost
his job as deputy director of a sewing factory because of his politics.

State workers – the vast majority of people – are now employed under
contracts that have to be renewed each year: naturally, this tends to
enhance their political loyalty. "Sack three people and 100,000 are scared,"
says Statkievich.

Alexander Svirid is deputy chairman of the parliament’s committee on human
rights, and the only official put forward to meet me during my four-day
visit. He says he has received many calls since Milinkevich’s TV speech from
angry voters asking why the state allowed such "slander of the president" to
be broadcast.

From inside the hushed and dusty corridors of Minsk’s parliament, it is hard
to see what change the ballot box could bring about. Asked to define
democracy, Svirid says: "I learned at school that democracy was power to the
people. In my understanding, democracy means the authorities must come to
power by democratic means, fulfil the will of the people, and direct
society. There is no talk of opposition."

He says the opposition courting foreign support and finance "was essentially
a form of terrorism, interference in the internal affairs of another
country. Today you support the opposition, tomorrow you’re fostering

I ask if he means that the jovial, mild-mannered Professor Milinkevich is in
fact a terrorist, and he quickly recants. "No, no. He is not even a
hooligan. He is a good, normal, obedient guy." But, he says, "constructive
criticism" of Lukashenko is the way forward. "If people are patriots and
love their country, they should not support the opposition, but their

So far, so ominous. But there are areas of Minsk where dissent is thriving.
A queue is forming on a Tuesday night outside the city Orange Club – named
after the colour of Ukraine’s revolution. Owner Pavel Kashirin lets people
in one by one, checking their surnames off on a list. Inside, young people
drink, smoke and, quite probably, if they are sure no one is listening in,
talk revolution.

Lyavon Volski is usually lead singer of the opposition-minded band NRM, but
tonight is moonlighting with the group Krambambula. Their songs boast lyrics
such as "tanks are on the streets, and [a statue of the founder of the KGB,
Felix] Dzherninsky is in the square", warning of a backslide into

There’s no official ban on NRM, but it only takes a phone call from the
police for the director of the concert hall to cancel a gig, says Volski.
"This country reminds me of the USSR in miniature. Now is the time for
people who got C-grades at school. Everyone talented has gone abroad. But

if I did not think democratic forces could triumph, I would have left long
ago," he says.

I ask if Lukashenko’s crackdown may work against him. "I don’t think it was
a genius move, as only in one year this popular culture" – he gestures
around him – "has produced a lot of seeds." He stops himself, grinning.
"Sorry, I am taking a risk here because of a law on the defamation of the
state. I would not want to damage the honour of our president."

Others have less to lose. Svetlana Zavadskaya’s husband Dmitry, a journalist
for the Russian channel ORT, is one of four people known as Belarus’s
disappeared. In 2000, he vanished after reporting that the Belarusian
authorities might have been aiding Chechen separatists, and she has not seen
him since.

Three other men, a former interior minister and two politicians, also
disappeared at the same time. Now her life is devoted to their son, Yuri,
14, and to exposing Lukashenko’s authoritarianism to the outside world. "I
have one message for Putin," she tells me. "Your historic, dangerous support
for such a regime is a shame that compromises Russia internationally."

Her campaign is gathering steam. Last year she met Condoleezza Rice, the US
secretary of state, and the EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana. On
February 27, Zavadskaya and another widow of one of the disappeared met
George Bush at the White House.

Spokesman Scott McClellan said the US president had expressed "his personal
support for their efforts to seek justice for the disappeared and for all
those who seek to return freedom to Belarus". He added that the US had
concluded that the Lukashenko regime had murdered Dmitry Zavadsky.

Zavadskaya has experienced both the government’s brutality and absurdity. At
6pm on July 7 last year, she and dozens of others gathered in October Square
in central Minsk to commemorate the fifth anniversary of her husband’s
disappearance. The riot police attacked the demonstration.

One policeman ran into her, another punched her in the face, she says. Then
prosecutors were told that she had attacked the two riot policemen. The case
against her, or the police, was never pursued, but she is still subjected to
regular, silent phone calls.

"My son, Yuri, gets ideological lessons at school," she says. "They make his
class watch films that show Lukashenko as the father of the people, in the
farm fields. But I don’t worry. Yuri says the class all laugh. My son sees
everything here with his own eyes so there’s not much need to explain
anything to him."

Yet not all the bleak absurdity can be instinctively laughed off. One day
she will have to explain what happened to Yuri. "I think he understands that
his father is not coming back. But we have never spoken about this, and that
conversation will be hard."                            -30-

[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
    "Previous government didn’t let us perform, our equipment was smashed,
            our cars were searched and we were even accused of robbery!"

By Serhiy BOVKUN, Zhytomyr, Ukraine
The Day Weekly Digest in English #4
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Hugging each other in a friendly fashion, Moroz and Vitrenko, Tymoshenko
and Lytvyn, Yushchenko and Yanukovych, and other Ukrainian political
figures are briskly dancing in the middle of a snow-covered city square. All
around are hundreds of onlookers.

The spectators laugh heartily in response to the politicians’ familiar
remarks. This jolly bunch may soon visit our city, too, for they are actors
from the satirical street theater "Political Vertep Theater" now touring

"This project was conceived 18 months ago, on the eve of the presidential
elections," says Zhytomyr-based actor Serhiy Rohov. "The idea was
conceived by Kyiv writer Volodymyr Danylenko, who is originally from
Zhytomyr. Dozens of volunteer actors traveled around to various cities and
villages in Ukraine, putting on street shows.

The previous government really stood in our way: they didn’t let us perform,
our equipment was smashed, ours cars were searched, and we were even
accused of robbery! But, in spite of everything, people liked our street
shows, and this year we have launched a new season of political vertep."

About 40 professional actors from various cities of Ukraine agreed to take
part in "Political Vertep-2." They all gathered in Zhytomyr to rehearse for
a few days. Recently, 10 teams of actors spread out to all regions in
Ukraine to entertain city and village residents with their open-air

"In our shows we do not campaign for any political force; we make fun
of all the characters. After all, our shows are satirical," Rohov says.

"Ukrainian politicians often don attractive ‘masks,’ trying to win over
voters. Meanwhile, our masks are in fact unmasking the politicians!"

The street-based "Political Verteps" will be touring the country until the
end of March. The actors promise to visit every city and large village.
LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/157443/
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
     You are welcome to send us names for the AUR distribution list.
18.                     ORANGE REVOLUTION FOR EXPORT
  Chicago Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art hosts exhibit by R.E.P . Group

By Olena SHAPIRO, Art Critic
The Day Weekly Digest in English #6
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Ukrainian viewers got to know these works in December 2004, when the

Center for Contemporary Art in Kyiv staged an exhibit in the aftermath of
the Orange Revolution (as reported in The Day). The display in Chicago
is only part of a large-scale project in which various art actions played an
important role.

Our hushed respect for everything foreign, which we have maintained since
the Soviet period, has only strengthened the cliche "an exhibit overseas
means the artist is good." As for what kind of exhibit it was, whether
viewers visited it, whether it was covered well by the foreign press – all
these nuances somehow pale into insignificance. It often happens that no one
knows about a certain gallery; it has no name, no weight, and belongs to
"our people," that is yesterday’s emigrants.

But the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art in Chicago is something entirely
different. Unlike fly-by-night galleries, this institute has held exhibits
by celebrated Ukrainian artists, who made their names in Europe and the
United States and took part in resonant alternative projects, and whose
works are displayed not only in private galleries but museums of modern

art and at prestigious international biennales.

Today, somewhat belatedly, residents of the Ukrainian Village in
northwestern Chicago, a 15-minute drive from the city center of towering
skyscrapers, can familiarize themselves with the art born of the revolution.
Kyiv and Chicago have been Sister Cities since Soviet times, so our exhibits
in the halls of the UIMA and the Ukrainian National Museum of Chicago

have long since become part of a large international cultural program.

With its rich cultural funds the exhibit illustrates the Ukrainian
re-election of 2004 from the perspective of art, as seen by the direct
participants of the revolution, young artists. Without a doubt an exhibit by
young artists (not 30-40 year-olds) of the R.E.P. Group (acronym of
Revoliutsiino-Eksperymentalnyi Prostir, or Revolutionary Experimental

Space) is a breakthrough, as in the past individual exhibits have been held
from time to time for a narrow circle of colleagues.

It is another question how this exhibit at the Chicago institute, with its
broad range of genres, artists, and quality, will give the American viewer
an idea about the Orange Revolution in general and contemporary Ukrainian
art in particular. Journalists have often written that exhibits by the
R.E.P. Group, which quickly rose to prominence on the crest of the political
wave, are not always interesting from the standpoint of creativity.

They give the impression of hastily prepared projects, references to well
known conceptual discoveries of the past century, and playing around with
post-Soviet cliches.

There are also works that clearly do not belong in the exhibit, like Artur
Bilozerov’s "Victory," a work that hints either at the conditional nature of
the victory, when one year after the revolution confidence among the
president’s supporters has split into TAK! and NE TAK! (SIC ET NON,

like the Greek philosopher Anaxagoras once wrote), or simply the artist’s
style whose paintings could be successfully submitted to any other exhibit,
regardless of the theme.

Oleksandr Semenov’s installation "Crowd," featuring dirty mattresses from
the Maidan, hastily rolled and bound with electrician’s tape, is a bit of an
obtuse metaphor of pandemonium and leaves one with the impression of
short-lived pseudocreativity. Political topicality does not rule out

An object found on the street is not necessarily a happy discovery for art;
it reflects not so much reality as the thinking and psychological type of an
artist whose paintings are daubed by rivers of dirty glaze coatings and have
not been displayed anywhere for a long time except in a rather paradoxical
place, the former Young Pioneers’ Palace.

At the same time, the very heterogeneity of the artists from the R.E.P.
Group allows us to single out works by individual artists.

The ironic nature of two excellent acrylic paintings by Ksenia Hnylytska,
"Altar," complete with Ukrainian fatback and a loaf of bread, and the
embroidery "Vyhrai mene!" (the title in English sounds even better: "Take
Me!"), is proof that the younger generation is not that neutral, despite the
accusations of some Ukrainian media.

On the contrary, irony has its own view and this is always an artist’s
salvation; once s/he stops being an aloof marginalist, a happy period of
sensible and individual creativity begins.

Feeble, pseudoabstract, almost anonymous paintings based on the "strangers
passing in the night" principle hardly catches anyone’s eye these days.
However, neither Hnylytska nor Zhanna Kadyrova (creator of the "Diamonds"
project recently displayed at the Center for Contemporary Art) displays any
such sluggishness.

As symbols, Kadyrova’s orange-and-blue "Compass" and "Stadium" –

Zhanna Kadyrova’s Testing Ground are somewhat aggressive but at the
same time very significant; her paintings are juicy and rough, and thus
perfectly in keeping with the spirit of the revolution.

In "Unity" Viktor Kharkevych has created easily recognizable portraits of
his fellow citizens, despite the Rembrandt-like key. Lesia Khomenko also
depicts columns of Maidan activists. There is no doubt that in time the
commercial value of these pictures now in private collections will increase
in geometric progression.

The intellectual, refined, and very solid Mykyta Kadan is a phenomenon of
the R.E.P. Group, proving that a thinking artist is always something more
than a simple artist. And if he is also capable of being an organizer and
ideologue of a movement, he is guaranteed an Olympian future.

By submitting his artist’s clothing to the exhibit, including a robe with
beautiful colored stripes, and adding text to this installation, Kadan has
launched a bold, new era in the interpretation of the Orange Revolution.

A broader look at the activity of the one-year-old R.E.P. Group reveals that
among its members’ best projects is a resonant work entitled "Ukrainian
Hermitage," a creative effort to find the weighty equivalent of the "raw
meat of reality."

Unfortunately, the exhibit "Ukrainian Artists and the Orange Revolution"
lacks serious professional preparation. They have ignored such a factor as
basic "manpower" filtration, which is by no means the least important in
collective creativity.

From time to time the Kyiv artistic milieu has given rise to its own art
groups, like the perestroika- era Pohliad, Zhyvopysnyi Zapovidnyk, and
Paryzka Komuna, and every time the artists had their own reasons for
uniting. Most of the 17 members of the R.E.P. Group joined blind, on the
level of a rave, as Kostiantyn Doroshenko noted correctly. Only a few R.E.P.
activists are genuine creators, without an iota of irony so often present in
this word.

Considering that at one time the level of our Ukrainian art attracted the
attentions of art collector Prince Nikita Lobanov-Rostovsky, historian of
avant-garde art Jean-Claude Marcade, millionaire George Soros, and a

number of others, it makes sense not to drop standard but maintain it on
this level.

After all, it is a good thing that the younger generation now has an
opportunity to act independently within the framework of international
projects. The Venice Biennale is just around the corner. -30-

LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/158343/
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
   Ukrainian Educational and Cultural Center, Ukrainian Federation of America

Andrea Porytko-Zharovsky, Phila UECC Press Committee
Jenkintown, Pennsylvania, Tuesday, February 27, 2006

JENKINTOWN, PA – The Ukrainian Educational and Cultural Center (UECC)
and the Ukrainian Federation of America (UFA) welcomed the newly appointed
Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States, Dr. Oleh Shamshur, on February
26, 2006 at the UECC.

The informative meeting included many representatives of local Ukrainian
organizations and friends of the Ukrainian community including former U.S.
Rep. Charles Dougherty, Rep. Jim Gerlach and Rep. Allyson Schwartz.

The Alexander B. Chernyk Gallery of the UECC provided the perfect setting
for the intimate gathering with the new representative of Ukraine to the
U.S. and the Ukrainian Philadelphia Diaspora.  In native Ukrainian costumes,
Voloshky Ensemble dancers greeted Ambassador Shamshur with the traditional
Ukrainian greeting of bread and salt, representing hospitality and

Representatives of the Ukrainian organizations were introduced to Ambassador
Shamshur and had opportunity to discuss their thoughts and concerns with the
Ambassador. Mrs. Vera Andryczuk, President of UFA, and Mr. Borys

Zacharczuk, President of the UECC, welcomed everyone present. Bishop-elect
John Bura, newly appointed by the Holy Father as an auxiliary bishop for the
Ukrainian Catholic Archeparchy of Philadelphia, led opening prayers.

Former Congressman Charles Dougherty, who has a long history of working
closely with the Philadelphia Ukrainian community, including being a
founding member of the Action Ukraine Coalition, whose aim is to advance a
democratic Ukraine by developing more effective channels of communication
between the U.S. Congress and the Ukrainian-American community, introduced
Congressman Jim Gerlach, of the 6th District of Pennsylvania, to those

Rep. Gerlach is sponsor of H.R.1053, one of six bills introduced in the
109th Congress to graduate Ukraine from the 1974 Jackson-Vanik Amendment,
which imposed trade restrictions on the Soviet Union in response to its poor
human rights policies, particularly restrictions on the emigration of
religious minorities.

Rep. Gerlach spoke about the legislation and his commitment to seeing H. R.
1053 passed and the trade restrictions. Congresswoman Allyson Schwartz, of
the 13th District of Pennsylvania, shared her thoughts on Ukraine and the
Ukrainian-American community.

Ambassador Oleh Shamshur, appointed by the President of Ukraine Viktor
Yushchenko, a former Deputy Foreign Minister, as Ukraine’s Extraordinary

and Plenipotentiary Ambassador to the USA on December 19, 2005.

In his opening remarks, he thanked everyone present for such a warm welcome
and proceeded to focus on a few key issues including: the graduation of
Ukraine from the Jackson-Vanik amendment; the commemoration of the 20th
anniversary of the Chornobyl nuclear disaster; the 75th anniversary of the
Ukrainian Genocide of 1932-1933 and the building of a monument in
Washington, DC to its victims; and, the upcoming Ukrainian parliamentary

His Excellency Shamshur then responded to various questions posed by

members of the gathered community, including questions about voting for
Ukrainian citizens in future elections of Ukraine, the first Ukrainian
Ambassador to the United States, Ukraine and NATO, and Ukraine’s
relationship with the United States and Russia.

In closing, Mr. Bohdan Korzeniowski, Chairman of the Board of the UFA,
quoted the famous Ukrainian writer Bohdan Lepky as he presented Ambassador
Shamshur an Encyclopedia Set of Ukraine. V. Rev. Frank Estocin, of St.
Vladimir Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of Philadelphia, said a moving closing
prayer for Ambassador Shamshur, for Ukraine and its people, and the gathered

Ambassador Oleh Shamshur again mingled and spoke to individuals and small
groups of people who expressed their thoughts, concerns and appreciation for
his visit.

The Ukrainian Educational and Cultural Center would like to thank the
Ukrainian Federation of America and all involved with organizing the event.
Thank you to all the Ukrainian organizations that sent representatives to
meet Ambassador Shamshur.

A heartfelt thank you to the Ukrainian Selfreliance Credit Union of
Philadelphia for its financial support. Please visit our website
http://www.ukrainiancenterphila.org for photographs and video of this event.
The Ukrainian Educational and Cultural Center, founded in 1980, is a
non-profit organization whose objective is to preserve and promote

awareness of Ukrainian heritage throughout the Philadelphia community. 
The UECC is located at 700 Cedar Road in Jenkintown, PA 19046 and
can be reached at 215-663-1166, fax 215-663-8572 or e-mail at
contact@ukrainiancenterphila.org. Contact for additional information:
Andrea Porytko-Zharovsky, UECC Press Committee, E-mail:
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
    Will help celebrate 15th anniversary of independence from Soviet Union

The Day Weekly Digest In English #6, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, 28 Feb 2006

KYIV – The Fourth World Congress of Ukrainians will take place on Aug.
18-20 in Kyiv. This date was approved at the first meeting of the organizing
committee presided over by Deputy Prime Minister Vyacheslav Kyrylenko,
the governmental press service reports.

According to Kyrylenko, Ukrainians residing on the territory of the former
Soviet Union will have the largest representation at the Congress. He said
that the Ukrainian delegation from Russia is expected to be especially
large. The Congress will be organized and take place under the
government’s financial sponsorship.

Kyrylenko gave his word that the Congress will not be affected by any
political changes that might take place after the parliamentary elections.

Also present at the meeting were the chairman of the Ukrainian World
Coordination Council Mykhailo Horyn, the president of the European
Congress of Ukrainians Dmytro Dovhovych, government members,
parliamentarians, and representatives of various civic organizations,
reports Interfax-Ukraine.

Representatives of Ukraine’s foreign ministry say that the World Congress
of Ukrainians will become an important means of informing the international
community about changes in Ukraine and the efforts of the president and

According to Vasyl Filipchuk, head of the ministry’s press service, the
Congress will be one of the main events during the celebrations of the
15th anniversary of Ukrainian independence. It will serve to promote the
development and strengthening of relations with ethnic Ukrainians abroad.
LINK:   http://www.day.kiev.ua/158336/
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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21.                         "TO UKRAINE I WILL RETURN"
       National Opera of Ukraine hosts concert by greats of classical music
                   and dance who have made successful careers abroad.

By Tetiana Polishchuk, The Day Weekly Digest in English #6
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, February 28, 2006

KIEV – Last Sunday the National Opera of Ukraine hosted a high-profile
concert featuring Ukrainian vocalists, ballet dancers, and musicians who
have made successful careers abroad.

Opening the concert entitled "To Ukraine I Will Return," its author
Oleksandr Bystrushkin, who heads the Main Culture and Arts Department at
Kyiv City Hall, said: "Today is the first time in Kyiv that we have managed
to gather on the same stage a host of prominent performers who make
Ukraine famous with their art, performing on the world’s most prestigious

We are proud of their talent, but we would like them to remember that they
have their native land and home where they are loved and awaited. Organized
by Kyiv City Hall, the project ‘To Ukraine I Will Return’ will be repeated
annually to give Kyiv’s theater-going public an opportunity to enjoy the
talent and mastery of our famous compatriots – stars of international

It was truly a parade of stars. Directed by Anatoliy Solovyanenko, the
concert opened with an overture to the opera Taras Bulba, performed by the
Symphony Orchestra of the National Philharmonic (conductor Mykola

The audience was electrified by a compelling performance of Andriy
Shkurhan, who came to Kyiv from the Czech Republic and sang arias from
the operas Nazar Stodolia and Don Juan.

The Kyiv audience heard for the first time a concert fantasy based on the
motifs of Hulak- Artemovsky’s opera Zaporozhian Cossack Beyond the
Danube, which Oleksandr Bezborodko composed exclusively for the violinist
Dmytro Tkachenko (Great Britain), who performed it with genuine inspiration
and virtuosic mastery.

Music lovers delighted in the performance by Volodymyr Kuzmenko
(Germany). The audience responded with thunderous applause to his
performance of the arias of Kalaf from the opera Turandot and Andriy from
Zaporozhian Cossack Beyond the Danube, which he sang together with
Liudmyla Shemchuk. Incidentally, last year Liudmyla met the man of her
dreams in Donetsk and returned from Austria to perform in Ukraine.

Dancers staged a no less dizzying performance. Prima dancers of the Kyiv
Opera troupe Yelena Filipyeva and Serhiy Sidorsky gave their trademark
performance of Carmen Suite by Bizet and Shchedrin, which received high
acclaim from the famous ballerina Maya Plisetskaya.

That many Ukrainian dancers perform on stages across the globe is evidence
of the Ukrainian ballet school’s leading positions in world choreography.
Notably, our dance maestros are strong in both classical and modern

Suffice it to say that soloists of the National Opera of Ukraine walked away
with eight top prizes from the recent International Ballet Competition in
Moscow. Among the winners were participants of this concert: Denys and
Anastasia Matviyenko, Natalia Matsak, Ivan Kozlov, and Yaroslav Salenko.

The famous pianist Volodymyr Kraynev flew over from Hanover especially
for the concert in Kyiv and gave a fantastic performance of Chopin’s

The appearance onstage of the legendary bass singer Anatoliy Kocherha raised
a cheer from the audience. He performed the aria of Aleco from the
same-titled opera by Rachmaninoff.

The concert ended with a performance by the choir Dumka, which sang "A
Prayer for Ukraine." The other performers onstage and spectators sang along.

"The concert evoked mixed feelings in me," said singer Gizella Tsypola. "On
this stage I saw performers whom I know very well. With many of them we
were partners in plays, which is why I know what they are really capable of,
no matter how they performed today, better or worse.

I was glad to hear Anatoliy Kocherha. Volodymyr Kuzmenko gave a wonderful
performance. He has made tremendous progress as a vocalist. I am grateful to
the organizers for inviting those of our performers who rarely appear in

Still the question as to why they left needs to be answered. For example,
Kocherha left after Stefan Turchak passed away. He decided that he would
not accomplish anything without a good conductor. I doubt it that Anatoliy
Kocherha’s career would turn out as successful and luminous as it is now,
had he remained in Ukraine. Unfortunately, talented people are not treasured
in Ukraine."

"The concert ‘To Ukraine I Will Return’ has a nostalgic title, and many
spectators received it with trepidation," said Volodymyr Rozhok, rector of
the Tchaikovsky National Musical Academy of Ukraine. "I felt proud, since
many concert participants are graduates of our academy. Dmytro Tkachenko
is a marvelous musician. This year we invited him to give classes at our
Violin Department.

Half a year ago I was honored to attend the Benjamin Britten International
Violin Competition in London, which is directed by Tkachenko. I consider
Volodymyr Kraynev a wonderful pianist and pedagogue. He is doing a great
deal to discover new talents, and holds a piano competition and festival
named after himself.

He brings brilliant musicians to perform in Ukraine, and teaches many of our
musicians in his class in Germany. I think such concerts have to be staged
regularly. I talked to many performers, and they admit that they are
prepared to give performances in Ukraine and do so with great pleasure."

"Such concerts should be broadcast during the Eurovision contest to make
our performers known beyond Ukraine," says conductor Ivan Hamkalo. "I
would like to see our maestros on the cast of the National Opera, but this
is a complex issue. After all, our theater cannot afford to pay them what they
earn abroad.

We talk of Kyiv’s aspirations to become a European capital, but we are a
long way off from European living standards. Just compare how singers and
musicians live here and there. The performers have left because they saw no
future for themselves in Ukraine.

Abroad they have earned a name for themselves, not to mention the money.
They work hard but are rewarded adequately for their work. We have to
create conditions for creative people to enable them to work normally in
Ukraine instead of trying to find a better life abroad."       -30-

LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/158320/
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                              Thursday, March 9, 2006 at 18:30

Ukrainian-British Club, London, UK, Monday, March 6, 2006

LONDON: The Ukrainian-British City Club is pleased to present to you
the UBCC/YCC panel discussion "Outlook for Ukraine’s Economy in 2006"
(with a special emphasis on the recent Gas Agreements).

The event will be taking place at Millennium Bridge House, 2 Lambeth Hill,
London EC4V 4AJ on Thursday 9 March 2006, hosted by Salans.
Admission is by invitation only. Registration is at 18:30 with the program
beginning at 19:00.

[1] Timothy Ash, Managing Director, Emerging European Sovereign
Fixed Income Research, Bear Stearns
[2] Sergei Voloboev, Director, Emerging Market Economics Research
Group, Credit Suisse
[3] Dmitri Shemetilo, Director, Emerging Markets Strategy, West LB

Cost of attending the event: UBCC members (including Young City Club
members): free Non-members: 15 GBP per person. Please respond to
info@ubcc.co.uk.  The event is coordinated by Oleksiy Soroka, Chairman
of the Young City Club

Due to the limited capacity of the venue, the invitations will only be
guaranteed to Patrons and Sponsors of the UBCC. The remaining invitations
will be allocated on the first come first served basis. The UBCC members
will receive an invitation immediately upon responding to this email
(subject to availability). The invitations for non-members will be allocated
only upon receipt of the payment. The payment can be made by cheque or
bank transfer; for details of the UBCC bank account see
http://www.ubcc.co.uk/eng/Join_Us.aspx .
Any non-members who join the UBCC before 5 March 2006 will be entitled
to attend this event free of charge.   -30-
The Ukrainian-British City Club is a non-profit organisation set out in the
United Kingdom for promotion of trade and business between Ukraine and
the United Kingdom. The initiative to create such an entity belongs to a
group of the young Ukrainian professionals in the fields of investment banking,
law, accounting, marketing and the information technology who are settled in
the United Kingdom. The initiative has support of the Ukrainian Embassy in
London, the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain and British Members
of the House of Commons with long-standing interest in Ukraine.

For the details of membership, sponsorship and patronship benefits, and

how to become a member of the UBCC, please see our website on
www.ubcc.co.uk .

To become a sponsor or a patron of the UBCC, please contact Taras

Chaban on +44 207 475 1512, email taras.chaban@ubcc.co.uk , or Irina
Tymczyszyn on +44 207 429 6168, email irina.tymczyszyn@ubcc.co.uk.
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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