AUR#680 Coalition Buildling Starts In Kyiv; IRI Says Election Met International Standards; Power Game Starts; Yushchenko Between Rock And Hard Place

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

 

Ukrainian History, Culture, Arts, Business, Religion,
Sports, Government, and Politics, in Ukraine and Around the World       
 
 
THE ACTION UKRAINE REPORT – AUR – Number 680
Mr. E. Morgan Williams, Publisher and Editor  
REPORTING FROM KYIV, UKRAINE, TUESDAY, MARCH 28, 2006 
              ——–INDEX OF ARTICLES——–
         Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.               
Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article
            Regions 30.08%; Tymoshenko 22.45%, Our Ukraine 15.24%
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 28, 2006
 
2UKRAINIAN ELECTIONS MEET INTERNATIONAL STANDARDS
International Republican Institute (IRI)
Washington, D.C., Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 27, 2006

3  UKRAINE: TYMOSHENKO STAKES HER CLAIM TO POWER
                         AFTER PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION 

By Stefan Wagstyl and Tom Warner in Kiev
Financial Times, London, UK, Tuesday, March 28 2006

4. AFTER VOTE, UKRAINE FACES UNCERTAINTY OVER COALITION
By Steven Lee Myers, The New York Times
New York, New York, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

5.     POWER GAME STARTS AS POLL FAILS TO GIVE UKRAINE

                                            A CLEAR LEADER
Chris Stephen in Kiev, Scotsman
Edinburgh, Glasgow, Scotland, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

6.            UKRAINE’S DIVIDED ORANGE REVOLUTION TEAM

                        AT LOGGERHEADS OVER COALITION
Vladimir Isachenkov, AP Worldstream, Kiev, Ukraine, Tue, Mar 28, 2006

7.         RIVALS WEIGH UP OPTIONS AFTER UKRAINIAN POLL

                 Yushchenko forced between a rock and a hard place
Tom Parfitt in Kiev, The Guardian
London, United Kingdom, Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006

8REVOLUTION IS REVERSED WITH A LITTLE SPIN FROM THE WEST
U.S. advisors Paul Manafort & Rick Aheran helped shape Yanukovych campaign
From Jeremy Page in Kiev, TimesOnLine
London, United Kingdom, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

9.                                  PIECE ORANGE TOGETHER
EDITORIAL COMMENT: Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

10 UKRAINE AND BELARUS SHOW LIMITS OF EU INFLUENCE
OP-ED: Quentin Peel, Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, Tuesday, March 28 2006

11.  U.S.: PRO-WESTERN PARTIES IN UKRAINE REMAIN STRONG
George Gedda, AP Worldstream, Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006

12 FORMER UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER TYMOSHENKO SAYS

Daryna Krasnolutska in Kiev, Bloomberg
New York, New York, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

13.                              THE FUTURE’S STILL ORANGE
         The Ukrainian president’s lacklustre showing in the parliamentary

        elections need not endanger progress made since 2004’s revolution
COMMENTARY: By Gwendolyn Sasse, The Guardian
London, United Kingdom, Monday, March  27, 2006

14.                            WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH KIEV?

Sunday’s vote wasn’t a rejection of orange revolution, was proof of its success.
COMMENTARY
: By Scott MacMillan, in Slate
Online magazine of news and commentary on culture and politics
Washington, D.C., New York, Monday, March 27, 2006

15.                                    YUSHCHENKO LOSES

                               To a former rival and to a former ally
By Aleksey Nikolskiy, Vasiliy Kashin
Vedomosti, Moscow, Russia, March 27, 2006
16ORANGE UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT WOULD NOT BE STABLE"
                     SAYS RUSSIAN EXPERT GLEB PAVLOVSKY
RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Monday, March 27, 2006

17.                                   DIVIDED REVOLUTION
                 Russia playing key role as Ukrainians go to the polls
ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY
: By Oksana Bashuk Hepburn
The Winnipeg Free Press, Winnipeg, Canada, Friday, March 24th, 2006

18.                     UKRAINE AND UNITED STATES POLICY
INTERVIEW: With Celeste A. Wallander
Director and Senior Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Program
Center for Strategic and International Studies, Wash, D.C.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta in Russian, Moscow, Russia, Fri, Mar 24, 2006
Published by The Action Ukraine Report in English #680, Article 18
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

19 ELECTIONS FAIR, DESPITE ORGANIZATIONAL CHALLENGES

        European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations (ENEMO)
Iryna Davydenko, Press-service of ENEMO Mission
Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 27, 2006

20    INITIAL THOUGHTS ON THE UKRAINIAN 2006 ELECTIONS
ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: By Taras Kuzio
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #680, Article 20
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 28, 2006
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1
 UKRAINE: LATEST VOTE COUNT AS OF 12:30 P.M. KYIV TIME

           Regions 30.08%; Tymoshenko 22.45%, Our Ukraine 15.24%

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

KYIV – As Central Election Commission is counting 71.3% of votes Party of
the Regions secures 30.08%, Our Ukraine falls to third place with just
15.24% of the vote beaten by Bloc of Yulia Tymoshenko with 22.45%. This
announcement is posted on the Internet website of the commission. Socialist
Party of Ukraine enters the Verkhovna Rada with 6.28% and communists with
3.55%.

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

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

International Republican Institute (IRI)
Washington, D.C., Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 27, 2006

KYIV, Ukraine — The International Republican Institute (IRI) election
observation delegation determined that Ukraine’s March 26 parliamentary
elections met international standards and were carried out in accordance
with Ukrainian election law.  The elections were the most open and
transparent in Ukraine’s post-Soviet history and reflected the will of the
Ukrainian people.

Ukraine’s successful conduct of elections should be commended and should

be considered an important step in the consolidation of democracy in Ukraine.

IRI found that improvements in election administration contributed to
continued increases in transparency and fairness in the election process.
These improvements in turn provided an atmosphere which allowed citizens

to freely exercise their right to vote, without fear or intimidation.

I. FINDINGS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Conducting parliamentary elections, along with elections for oblast, region,
city and mayor, creates an undue burden on polling station officials.  In
addition, voters were sometimes confused by the number of ballots, which
varied from four to six depending on the oblast.

As a result, some voters were forced to wait in long lines to receive their
ballots and then again for a voting booth.  Also contributing to long lines,
was the small size of some polling stations.  To avoid long lines in the
future, IRI recommends that parliamentary and local elections be held
separately and that larger polling stations be provided.

The CEC has worked in a professional and transparent manner.   In
particular, the CEC has taken concrete steps to improve the voter lists,
resulting in a much improved process of checking the lists prior to Election
Day.   Despite the good faith efforts of the CEC, the voter lists do contain
some inaccuracies, some a result of the transliteration of names.

These inaccuracies did result in some problems for voters.  In an effort to
address these issues, IRI recommends that parliament consider the
appropriate legislation that would allow the CEC to create a national,
computerized database of voters.

The CEC, as well as lower level commissions, should be commended for
providing a calm, peaceful environment on Election Day, in sharp contrast to
previous elections.  The various political parties were fairly represented
as members of polling stations and district election commissions and the
parties should be commended for their efforts.

During the campaign period preceding Election Day, IRI found the a lively
campaign among the parties.  An Independent Ukrainian media played a vital
role in covering the campaigns and the candidates, providing voters with
informed commentary and coverage.  Notably, IRI found the use of
administrative resources by national and local officials basically absent, a
tremendous improvement over the presidential elections of 2004.

II. BACKGROUND

IRI delegates monitored more than 100 polls in Chernihiv, Dnipropetrovsk,
Donetsk, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Kyiv, Luhansk, Odesa, Ternopil, and the
Autonomous Republic of Crimea oblasts.  In addition, through a grant from
IRI the Democracy Development Foundation (DDF), a domestic Ukrainian
nongovernmental organization, monitored an estimated 2,600 polling sites
with more than 150 observers.

DDF was the only Ukrainian elections monitoring organization that conducted
and coordinated both domestic and international election observation for the
parliamentary and local election.

IRI’s delegation was led by The Honorable Michael Trend, former member of
Britain’s parliament.

Other delegates were Steven Berry, President, Steven K. Berry, LLC; Thomas
Carter, President, Commonwealth Consulting Corp.; Marjorie Finkelnburg,
Director of Government Relations, Pfizer; The Honorable Bohdan Futey, U.S.
Court of Federal Claims; Charles Greenleaf, former Assistant Administrator,
U.S. Agency for International Development; Lilibet Hagel, Trustee, Meridian
International Center; Reuben Jeffery III, Chairman, Commodity Futures
Trading Commission; Patricia Morgan, State Chairman for Rhode Island,
Republican National Committee; Gardner Peckham, Managing Partner, BKSH

& Associates; Roman Popadiuk, former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine; Bob
Schaffer, former Congressman representing Colorado’s 4th District; and
Morgan Williams, Director of Government Affairs, SigmaBleyzer.

IRI staff also served as observers and assisted in the mission.  IRI staff
were led by Georges Fauriol, Senior Vice President of IRI, Stephen B. Nix,
Regional Director for IRI’s Eurasia division and Chris Holzen, IRI’s Country
Director for Ukraine.

Since 1993, IRI has worked to help strengthen political parties and good
governance in Ukraine at both national and local levels.  IRI also works
with youth, women and civil society to increase their participation in the
political process.  In preparation for the March 2006 parliamentary
elections, IRI carried out trainings on campaign management, voter
education, youth mobilization, and political party poll watching.

IRI has monitored more than 140 elections since 1983.     -30-
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Contact: Chris Holzen, +380 (44) 278-2825, cholzen@iri.org, in Kyiv.
International Republican Institute, Suite 700, 1225 Eye St., NW
Washington, D.C. 20005, (202) 408-9450, (202) 408-9462 FAX
www.iri.org
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3.  UKRAINE: TYMOSHENKO STAKES HER CLAIM TO POWER
                        AFTER PARLIAMENTARY ELECTION 
By Stefan Wagstyl and Tom Warner in Kiev
Financial Times, London, UK, Tuesday, March 28 2006

Yulia Tymoshenko, the populist Ukrainian political leader, yesterday staked
her claim to head the government following her surprise success in Sunday’s
parliamentary election.

Ms Tymoshenko, who was sacked as prime minister last summer, was putting
pressure on President Viktor Yushchenko, her Orange Revolution ally, to
allow her back into office.

Mr Yushchenko has been put on the defensive by Ms Tymoshenko’s success at
the polls, where preliminary results indicated her grouping came out far
ahead of his Our Ukraine bloc.

The Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe yesterday judged
the elections free and fair – the first time in a decade it has given such a
positive verdict in the former Soviet Union outside the Baltic states.

However, the new government will face many challenges, including economic
reform, integration with the European Union and tense relations with Russia.

According to preliminary figures (with 51 per cent of the vote counted),
Sunday’s poll was a double defeat for Mr Yushchenko. The man who enjoyed
overwhelming support a year ago, saw Our Ukraine fall to third place with
just 16 per cent of the vote. He was beaten by both Ms Tymoshenko, with 23
per cent, and by Viktor Yanukovich, his Russian-backed rival in the disputed
2004 presidential elections.

By an ironic twist, Mr Yanukovich, who was widely condemned for allegedly
rigging the 2004 poll, emerged as the clear winner in Ukraine’s first free
elections, with his Regions party securing 27 per cent.

Mr Yanukovich’s camp fared best in its eastern stronghold, notably in the
Russian-speaking industrial Donbass region. Mr Yushchenko and Ms

Tymoshenko split the vote in the Ukrainian-speaking Orange heartlands in
the west. But Ms Tymoshenko beat her former ally in the centre, particularly
in the Kiev region, and made inroads in the east.

There was no sign last night when the coalition talks may start. But with
her glamour, her public-speaking skills and her tough line on corruption, Ms
Tymoshenko has managed to bridge Ukraine’s traditional east-west divide.
Andry Shevchenko, a Tymoshenko parliamentary candidate, says: "Her

message is clear. Black and white. The others talk in shades of grey."

Together with their allies in the Socialist party, Mr Yushchenko and Ms
Tymoshenko look certain to secure a parliamentary majority because the seat
distribution formula gives parties entering parliament a bigger share of
seats than their share of the vote.

But first they must settle their differences. The two leaders share their
Orange heritage, a commitment to EU integration and scepticism about the
Kremlin’s intentions. Mr Yushchenko is more positive about Nato than Ms
Tymoshenko. Far more important, however, are personal animosities and
divisions over the economy.

Ms Tymoshenko is ready to boost welfare spending and attack big business.

As prime minister she planned the reprivatisation of assets acquired by
business oligarchs under the corrupt rule of Leonid Kuchma, former
president. Now she is determined to renegotiate a controversial gas supply
deal struck with Russia that she says is expensive.

Mr Yushchenko’s policies have been less clear. As a former central banker,
he espouses market-oriented reform, but in the last year he has pursued
votes through public spending increases. He initiated reprivatisation, but
then stopped it and now insists it must stay off the agenda. He defends the
gas deal as the best Ukraine could squeeze from Russia.

The president is increasingly seen as a political pragmatist, who might
prefer to work with Regions party members, if not with Mr Yanukovich , than
establish an unworkable coalition with Ms Tymoshenko.

Moderate Orange Revolution supporters appreciate his dilemma. Inna Pidluska,
president of Europe XXI Foundation, a liberal think-tank, says: "Personally,
I would prefer an Orange coalition. But as an analyst, I see a coalition
with shades of blue [the Yanukovich campaign colour] might be more stable."
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4. AFTER VOTE, UKRAINE FACES UNCERTAINTY OVER COALITION

By Steven Lee Myers, The New York Times
New York, New York, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

KIEV, Ukraine – Ukraine was in political gridlock on Monday as the parties
that led in parliamentary elections jockeyed for advantage to appoint a
newly empowered prime minister and government under President Viktor A.
Yushchenko.

Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minister, said she hoped for an alliance
among the groups that rode the 2004 uprising to power.

With no clear winner – and one clear loser – in an election that
international observers on Monday declared the country’s freest since its
independence from the Soviet Union nearly 15 years ago, there appeared to

be little chance that a compromise would be found soon.

Mr. Yushchenko, who led the protests in 2004 against a fraudulent
presidential election, appeared to have been stunned by the election
results, which showed his party trailing in distant third place. With 55
percent of the ballots counted late Monday, his party, Our Ukraine, had

only 16 percent of the votes.

In brief remarks, he praised the vote as a victory for Ukraine’s infant
democracy. But neither he nor his aides discussed in detail the negotiations
under way – behind closed doors – over forming a government whose
composition could be decisive in carrying out the domestic and foreign
policy that Mr. Yushchenko promised when he became president. Among his
pledges were to integrate Ukraine into NATO and the European Union and to
revive the economy.

Yulia V. Tymoshenko, his former partner and prime minister whose bloc
outpolled Mr. Yushchenko’s, said on Monday that she remained confident

that an alliance could still be formed among what she called the democratic
forces that rode the popular uprising of 2004 to power. That coalition
splintered last year over policy disputes, ego clashes and mutual
accusations of corruption.

"The coalition had and continues to have a chance to be formed," said Ms.
Tymoshenko, whose party received 23 percent of the votes, according to the
partial results.

The Party of Regions, led by Mr. Yushchenko’s rival, Viktor F. Yanukovich,
so far has the largest number of votes, at 28 percent. The results
underscored the fractured nature of Ukraine’s ethnic, social and geographic
divisions, as well as the remarkable erosion of support for Mr. Yushchenko,
whose popularity has suffered from economic decline and infighting.

In a sign of the bitterness between him and Ms. Tymoshenko, one of her
advisers, Hryhory M. Nemyrya, said that Ms. Tymoshenko had called the
president after surveys of voters leaving the polls predicted her
second-place finish, but that he had not returned the call.

Instead, Mr. Yushchenko’s office announced in a terse statement that he
would meet with the leaders of all the major parties on Tuesday, leaving
open the possibility of a coalition that could include Mr. Yanukovich but
exclude his erstwhile ally.

At the headquarters of Mr. Yushchenko’s party, a spokesman announced at
midday that there would be no more announcements or briefings and that the
building would close early.

Ms. Tymoshenko warned against any parliamentary coalition that would include
Mr. Yanukovich, whose government was accused of rigging the presidential
election that Mr. Yushchenko ultimately won after a repeat second round. She
said that would be a return "to square one."                    -30-

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5.  POWER GAME STARTS AS POLL FAILS TO GIVE UKRAINE
                                            A CLEAR LEADER

Chris Stephen in Kiev, Scotsman
Edinburgh, Glasgow, Scotland, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

KIEV – INTENSIVE efforts to build a workable coalition government were
taking place in Ukraine last night as early election results showed no one
party with an absolute majority.

Favourite to win was the charismatic Julia Tymoshenko, whose Party of Julia
Tymoshenko gained 23 per cent of the vote. The largest single grouping was
expected to be Viktor Yanukovich’s Party of Regions, which won 25 per cent
support, mostly through the votes of ethnic Russians.

"Today’s victory is a revelatory moment for both myself and the Party of
Regions," he said. "The people have managed to show their great support of
our political force."

But Mr Yanukovich’s policy of turning Ukraine away from talks with the EU
and NATO, in favour of alliance with Russia, has left him seemingly without
potential partners.

Instead, the focus is on whether Ms Tymoshenko can patch up her differences
with the Our Ukraine Party of president Viktor Yushchenko.

Mr Yushchenko, hero of the 2004 Orange Revolution, was punished by voters
for a listless first year in office, getting only 17 per cent of the votes
as the "orange vote" switched to Ms Tymoshenko.

Ideologically, little separates the parties, but the two leaders have a deep
antagonism after Mr Yushchenko sacked Ms Tymoshenko as prime minister.

Ms Tymoshenko has promised to get tough with tycoons with murky pasts,
threatening far-reaching anti-corruption moves.

With the small Socialist Party already declaring itself part of a
Tymoshenko-led coalition, she is hoping Mr Yushchenko will agree to join
forces.

"Together with the socialists and Our Ukraine we have the absolute
majority," she said. "People want those promises given after the
presidential elections [of 2004] to be fulfilled.

Ms Tymoshenko’s officials say calls for a coalition have gone unanswered.
"We have asked them to join us in a coalition, but we have not yet received
an answer," party official Nikola Tomenko told The Scotsman. Mr Yushchenko’s
party officials said no "formal agreement" was likely for days or weeks.

Western officials in Kiev say Mr Yushchenko wants to avoid becoming the
junior partner to a woman he dislikes. Yet he may have no choice. The only
other option open is for him to join Mr Yanukovich.

But such a deal would infuriate many of Mr Yushchenko’s supporters, many of
whom suspect Mr Yanukovich was behind the plot to poison him in 2004.

Mr Yanukovich, meanwhile, said his votes were stolen in election violations,
despite the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe saying the
elections were "free and fair".

On the streets of Kiev, celebrations by Tymoshenko supporters were muted by
day-long rain, freezing wind and uncertainty on whether she will manage to
form a government.

"She is my favourite," said secretary Anna, 25. "I don’t like Yushchenko any
more. He listened too much to other people, his own ideas were lost. I think
we need a tough leader. That’s why I voted for Tymoshenko."

On Maidan, the square in Kiev that was the centre of the Orange Revolution,
Larissa, a 30-year-old stallholder, was selling scarves for the leaders –
white and red for Ms Tymoshenko, blue and yellow for Mr Yanukovich and
orange for Mr Yushchenko.

"Everyone wants Tymoshenko scarves," she said. "I sold out hours ago, I

need to order more. I didn’t vote for her. I do not trust Tymoshenko."
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6.          UKRAINE’S DIVIDED ORANGE REVOLUTION TEAM
                          AT LOGGERHEADS OVER COALITION

Vladimir Isachenkov, AP Worldstream, Kiev, Ukraine, Tue, Mar 28, 2006

KIEV – Ukraine’s fiery former prime minister has called on her estranged
Orange Revolution allies to rejoin her in a coalition, insisting it is the
only option to protect the pro-Western and democratic ideals that formed the
basis of the 2004 mass protests.

Yulia Tymoshenko said President Viktor Yushchenko – smarting from his
party’s third place finish in Sunday’s parliamentary elections – agreed to
meet with her Tuesday, when full preliminary results are expected to confirm
that their pro-Moscow foe is the top vote-winner.

"I have not seen the president for a long time, and we have a lot to
discuss," Tymoshenko said Monday, adding that she believed they could reach
agreement that would pave the way for their parties to form a coalition in
parliament.

Yushchenko’s office later said in a terse statement that the president would
meet with leaders of all parties that made it to parliament, including the
party of opposition leader Viktor Yanukovych, whose ballot-stuffing attempt
to win the presidency triggered the 2004 Orange Revolution that forced a new
vote.

Yushchenko has said he would favor an Orange coalition, but he seemed
reluctant to accept the idea of Tymoshenko returning to the No. 2 job as
prime minister. He fired her in September, accusing her of waging a
behind-the-scenes battle for power that caused the much-vaunted Orange Team
to implode in a volley of allegations and recriminations.

With just more than 50 percent of the ballots counted Monday evening, the
Central Election Commission put the party of pro-Kremlin leader Yanukovych
ahead with 27.4 percent. Tymoshenko’s bloc came in second with 23.4 percent,
and Yushchenko was a distant third with about 16 percent.

Yanukovych was dominating in the Russian-speaking east and south, and
Tymoshenko led in the Ukrainian-speaking west and center. Yushchenko was
ahead in only two of Ukraine’s 25 regions.

Yushchenko’s job was not at stake, but the newly elected parliament will
enjoy vast new powers under reforms that give it the right to name – and
dismiss – the prime minister and much of the Cabinet. With no party getting
enough votes to dictate its will, the next step will be forming a
parliamentary majority of at least 226 of the parliament’s 450 seats to form
the government.

Both Tymoshenko and Yanukovych want the prime minister’s job. Neither,
however, seems to be a very inviting option for Yushchenko.

Analysts have suggested that Yushchenko might find it more palatable to
strike a deal with Yanukovych. But they warn such a union could erode
Yushchenko’s support base – handing more power and votes to the ascendant
Tymoshenko.

Tymoshenko challenged Yushchenko to quickly build an Orange coalition. 

She took a tough stance before the coalition talks, saying that her party would
also demand to take charge of at least one law-enforcement agency and
continue its push for reviewing privatization deals that violated the law.

Her pledge to review 3,000 privatization deals shook business confidence and
helped fuel the political infighting that led to her dismissal.

Yushchenko put Prime Minister Yuri Yekhanurov in charge of coalition talks –
a clear signal that the president was not ready to accept Tymoshenko’s
conditions, since Yekhanurov wants to keep his job.

Yushchenko, who retains the right to set the nation’s foreign policy and
appoint the foreign and defense ministers, pledged that Ukraine would
continue on its West-leaning path. Yanukovych has called for closer ties
with Moscow and an end to Ukraine’s bid to join NATO, but he supports
European Union membership. (Associated Press Writer Natasha Lisova
contributed to this report.)                       -30-
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7.    RIVALS WEIGH UP OPTIONS AFTER UKRAINIAN POLL
            Yushchenko forced between a rock and a hard place

Tom Parfitt in Kiev, The Guardian
London, United Kingdom, Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006

President Viktor Yushchenko of Ukraine was forced between a rock and a

hard place last night as his two chief detractors closed in on the country’s
premiership.

The party of Viktor Yanukovich, who was deposed during the orange revolution
led by Mr Yushchenko, is predicted to have scored highest in parliamentary
elections on Sunday, putting him in a strong position to claim the post.

But the bloc of Yulia Timoshenko, whom Mr Yushchenko sacked as prime
minister, seems to have come a close second. The result gives her the chance
to dictate terms in the event of a new coalition and even to insist on
retaking the post of prime minister. The president’s party came third.

Negotiations over a revived orange pact were under way yesterday, although
Mr Yushchenko hinted that no quick decisions would be made. His caution
suggested that a "marriage of convenience" between his party and the
pro-Russian Mr Yanukovich was still possible.

The orange uprising against a falsified presidential election in 2004
prompted high hopes for a pro-western future. But infighting and a stumbling
economy quickly led to disenchantment and a split.

Mr Yanukovich capitalised on his tormentors’ woes while nurturing bedrock
support in the Russian-speaking east and south. With 40% of votes counted
yesterday, his Party of the Regions had 27.5% of the vote, with Ms
Timoshenko’s party on 23.6%. President Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine bloc won
about 16%.

Parliament has one month from the publication of final results to convene,
another month to form a majority, and a third to nominate a cabinet.

While a pact with Mr Yanukovich would be humiliating for the president, it
could be sold as an act of national reconciliation in a deeply divided
country. Mr Yushchenko might find working with the interventionist Ms
Timoshenko more troublesome after their split in the autumn. Ms Timoshenko
ruled out any cooperation with Mr Yanukovich’s party in a recent interview
with the Guardian.  ( www.guardian.co.uk/ukraine)
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8 . REVOLUTION IS REVERSED WITH A LITTLE SPIN FROM THE WEST
U.S. advisors Paul Manafort & Rick Aheran helped shape Yanukovych campaign

From Jeremy Page in Kiev, TimesOnLine
London, United Kingdom, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

KIEV – WELCOME to the Blue Revolution!" joked a Russian reporter yesterday
as staff at Viktor Yanukovych’s campaign headquarters celebrated their
electoral comeback. Around the refurbished press room, aides in blue scarves
networked slickly beneath plasma screens showing images of massive crowds
waving blue flags.

It is ironic enough that Mr Yanukovych’s pro-Russian Party of the Regions
won a third of the seats in parliament with the sort of Western-style
campaign that the Orange Revolution leaders used to unseat him in 2004. But
a greater irony is that the spin doctors behind this image revamp were not
Russian or Ukrainian but American.

Last year the Party of the Regions hired Davis Manafort, a top US political
consultancy and lobbying company, to help to shape its electoral campaign.

Spearheading the project was Paul Manafort, a veteran Republican adviser

who worked in the White House under President Ford and helped to manage
campaigns for Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush.

Alongside him was Rick Ahearn, who was event planner for Mr Reagan and
organised his funeral in 2004. They were hired to replace the Russians who
managed Mr Yanukovych’s disastrous attempt to rig the 2004 presidential
election.

"What happened was that (Mr Yanukovych’s camp) felt ill-used and very
aggrieved by what happened last time and clearly went in the opposite
direction," a Yanukovych campaign source told The Times.

Critics say that the Party of the Regions is still a front for Russia-linked
businessmen and criminals in eastern Ukraine, pointing to Mr Yanukovych’s
criminal convictions as a young man. The man who called in the Americans is
Rinat Akhmetov, a reclusive steel and coal tycoon who is considered Ukraine’s
richest man.

But the decision to bring in the Americans shows how the Orange Revolution
forced the Party of the Regions to evolve into a more legitimate political
force. It also suggests that Mr Yanukovych, while still pro-Russian, has
become more independent and open to co-operation with the West.

That, some analysts say, could lead to the biggest irony of all – a
coalition between him and President Yushchenko. "There are areas where they
could find a modus operandi," said Markian Bilynskyj, deputy head of the
US-Ukraine Foundation, "if the Orange team fails to resolve its
 differences."

Orange Revolution leaders are locked in talks on reforming a coalition but
no decision is expected until after official results are announced today.

The American advisers are wary of discussing their work – not least because
of strong anti-Western sentiment in Russian-speaking eastern and southern
Ukraine.

When The Times asked Mr Yanukovych about them in February, he said

only that he used a number of consultants from different countries. But their
influence is unmistakeable. He has abandoned the funereal black suits and
white shirts he wore for the 2004 campaign in favour of blue or grey suits
with co-ordinated shirts and ties.

He has given up addressing supporters in prison slang, and now speaks in
Ukrainian as well as Russian. His wife, who accused Mr Yushchenko’s
supporters of being high on "psychotropic" oranges, has been conspicuously
silent.He still says that he opposes joining Nato, but now backs EU
integration.

"Ukraine must become a bridge between Russia and Europe," is his new
catchphrase. But importantly, he has made between 40 and 50 trips around
Ukraine since January, meeting tens of thousands of voters. "He’s still the
same guy," said one Western diplomat. "but he is behaving like a real
politician."                                       -30-
—————————————————————————————-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

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9.                               PIECE ORANGE TOGETHER

EDITORIAL COMMENT: Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

It is a shock to see Ukrainian president Viktor Yushchenko, the Orange
Revolution leader, humbled in his country’s parliamentary elections. A year
ago he was counted among modern Europe’s heroes for his peaceful triumph
over an authoritarian regime. Now he is struggling to hold his own in the
post-revolutionary turmoil.

Mr Yushchenko’s party seems certain to have come a poor third in the polls,
behind the groupings headed by Yulia Tymoshenko, his former ally, and Viktor
Yanukovich, his opponent in the disputed 2004 presidential elections.
Although she came second to Mr Yanukovich, Ms Tymoshenko, the charismatic
populist whom Mr Yushchenko sacked from his government last summer, is the
real winner and the likely new prime minister.

But things are not as bad as they seem for Mr Yushchenko. Outside the tiny
Baltic states, the elections were the first in the former Soviet Union to be
free and mostly fair. The forces of democracy have consolidated the gains
made in the Orange Revolution.

Ukrainians have proved they can change their government through an election,
without going out on the streets. The point will not be lost in Russia,
Belarus and other states where authoritarian governments are suppressing
liberty. Nor are Mr Yushchenko’s pro-west policies threatened. Ms Tymoshenko
is equally keen on integrating with the European Union, though less so on
joining Nato.

But the country still faces serious difficulties. Mr Yushchenko is a former
central banker committed to liberal economic reform. Ms Tymoshenko is a
populist ready to increase welfare spending and to attack big business,
especially oligarchs who profited from the corrupt rule of Leonid Kuchma,
the former president. They must try to bury their differences, and Ms
Tymoshenko should forget about reprivatisation and focus on taming oligarchs
through the rule of law, fair taxes and good corporate governance.

She would almost certainly complicate Ukraine’s fraught relations with
Moscow. She has pledged to tear up the controversial gas contract signed
this year and has singled out Russian business for criticism.

If attempts to rebuild an Orange alliance fail, Mr Yushchenko may have
little choice but to hold his nose and look to Mr Yanukovich or at least
others in his Regions party who might make acceptable partners. Ukraine
needs an effective coalition to deal with pressing problems such as gas
supply.

The European Union and the US should encourage the formation of a solid
government, and maintain aid for Ukraine’s modernisation. Ukrainians would
love a signal, however faint, of possible future EU membership. If this is
impossible, Brussels should at least improve its current support by easing
trade and visa regimes. Nothing does more to cut off ordinary Ukrainians
from the European mainstream than the barriers to business and travel.
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[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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10. UKRAINE AND BELARUS SHOW LIMITS OF EU INFLUENCE

OP-ED: Quentin Peel, Financial Times
London, United Kingdom, Tuesday, March 28 2006

First Belarus, then Ukraine. Elections in the two former Soviet republics
that are the closest eastern neighbours of the European Union have produced
uncomfortable results for those who believe in peaceful democratic
revolutions.

In Belarus, the liberal opposition failed to make any inroad on the ruthless
machine of Alexander Lukashenko, the country’s irascible and autocratic
ruler. His massive security machine – employing an estimated one in 10 of
the population – ensured that the entire electoral process was heavily
skewed in his favour. Even if it had not, most observers reckon that the
maverick dictator would have won.

On Sunday, Ukraine offered a far more democratic alternative in its
parliamentary elections. They produced a predictable defeat for Our Ukraine,
the party supporting President Viktor Yushchenko and his platform of liberal
economic reform and ever-closer relations with the EU. His party came a poor
third, paying the price for his failure to deliver much progress with those
reforms, or bring the country appreciably closer to the EU.

The results in both Belarus and Ukraine demonstrate that the influence of
the European Union on its "near abroad" is distinctly limited. It can easily
be exaggerated – not least by suspicious Russians fearing interference in
their own backyard.

Take the Ukraine election. On one level, the result is rather good for
democracy in that country. Top of the poll was Viktor Yanukovich, the
candidate backed last time by the Russian government, and second was Yulia
Tymoshenko, the populist prime minister whom Mr Yushchenko sacked

last year. There was no attempt to fix the result in Our Ukraine’s favour.

On the other hand, the slump in Mr Yushchenko’s popularity raises the
question whether the EU could or should have done more to help him. Ever
since he came to power in January 2005, he has been unable to show many
tangible gains from his pro-EU attitude.

The answer is that the EU probably should have done more, but the politics
of the 25 member states make it almost impossible to do so.

For ordinary Ukrainians, the most relevant part of the relationship with the
EU is visa policy: the ability to travel more freely is a liberation in
contrast to the old days of Soviet rule. It is also an opportunity for
travellers and above all students to see what the rest of Europe is like,
including its institutions, its market economy, and its rule of law.

Progress in negotiating a more liberal visa regime has been painfully slow.
There is a danger that instead of getting cheaper and easier, visas will be
more expensive: EU ministers are debating raising the price from Euro35 to
Euro60.

Perhaps more ominously for the 2m-odd Ukrainians who cross the border on
visa-free shopping trips to Poland every year, that country wants to become
a full member of the Schengen zone from October next year: from then, full
Schengen visas will be required of Ukrainians.

Yet liberalising visas looks very different from a west European
perspective. Ukraine is seen as a notorious source of cross-border people
trafficking into the EU. When Germany relaxed its visa regime in the late
1990s, the government was accused of causing an upsurge in prostitution,
although many probably came with false documents, not valid visas.

Ukraine will only be allowed an easier visa regime if it signs a readmission
agreement to accept back any illegal immigrants coming from or through its
territory. That is taking months to negotiate.

In the meantime Russia has succeeded in signing a much more favourable
arrangement.

The problem is even more difficult for Belarus, thanks to the frozen state
of relations between the government and Brussels. There is little chance of
an easier visa regime in the near future for the benighted Belarusans. At
least Ukraine is moving slowly in the right direction.

Poor Belarus looks likely to be lumbered with Mr Lukashenko for the
foreseeable future.                          -30-

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[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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11. U.S. SEES PRO-WESTERN PARTIES IN UKRAINE REMAINING STRONG

George Gedda, AP Worldstream, Tuesday, Mar 28, 2006

WASHINGTON – A State Department analysis says the Orange Revolution in
Ukraine remains a vital force despite a strong showing by the chief
pro-Russia party in Sunday’s parliamentary elections.

Offering that view to reporters on Monday, a senior department official said
the division in Ukraine between pro-Western parties and parties loyal to
Moscow is roughly where it was 16 months ago at the time President Viktor
Yushchenko, a U.S. ally, was elected.

The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because of what was
described as "ongoing diplomacy." The State Department said the official’s
comments reflected department thinking.

The pro-Russia party of Viktor Yanukovych won the most votes of the three
main parties but had less support than the combined vote of parties aligned
with the Orange Revolution.

The election was the latest example of a foreign election falling short of
what the administration would consider an ideal outcome of a newly
democratic country’s voting. Others that have gone badly in Washington’s
thinking include Bolivia, the Palestinian territories and Egypt, where an
Islamic fundamentalist group showed surprising strength in elections last
year.

President George W. Bush sought to give the Yushchenko’s party a boost last
week, signing into law the repeal of Cold War-era trade restrictions on
Ukraine. The move opened the way for the former Soviet republic to join the
World Trade Organization.

The State Department official would not predict the political leaning of the
next cabinet because he said bargaining over the makeup of the coalition
government is just beginning.

The White House commended on Monday the conduct of the elections,
contrasting it to the police crackdown on opposition groups in Belarus
during presidential elections there on March 19.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack called the elections a "vast
improvement" over the flawed elections held in 2004 that touched off
Ukraine’s revolution.

He did not comment on the voter rebuke delivered to Yushchenko’s "Our
Ukraine" party. Voters appeared to have been dissatisfied with continuing
corruption and economic stagnation.

Yushchenko has received steadfast backing from Washington since he took
office in January 2005, but there was no outward display of State Department
disappointment over his poor showing.

Celeste Wallander, an expert on Eastern Europe at the Center for Strategic
and International Studies, said Ukraine’s voters "sent a message of
disappointment and criticism to the Yushchenko government."

But, she said, the vote was "certainly not a reversal of voter sentiment
away from the parties that advocate reform, modernization and a European
integration course for Ukraine."
 

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========================================================
12.  FORMER UKRAINIAN PRIME MINISTER TYMOSHENKO SAYS

       SHE WILL MEET PRESIDENT YUSHCHENKO ON COALITION 
 
Daryna Krasnolutska in Kiev, Bloomberg News
New York, New York, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

KIEV – Former Ukrainian Premier Yulia Timoshenko said she will meet
President Viktor Yushchenko today to discuss creation of a coalition
government after parliamentary elections failed to give any party a
majority.

Yushchenko, whose party lay in third place with 15.6 percent, according to
official results, may have to turn to Timoshenko to form a government. With
63 percent of the vote counted, Timoshenko’s bloc had 23 percent, trailing
only the Regions Party of Viktor Yanukovych with 30 percent.

Five of 45 parties represented in the vote will probably enter the 450-seat
parliament after March 26 elections, results show. Timoshenko, who was

fired by Yushchenko six months ago after the two fell out over policy and
allegations of corruption within Timoshenko’s team, said she would welcome
a coalition with the president’s Our Ukraine party.

"I will make every attempt to create a coalition,” Timoshenko, 45, said
yesterday evening, according an interview broadcast on television station 5.
A coalition between Our Ukraine, the Socialists and her alliance would have
about 255 seats in the parliament, more than the minimum 226 needed for a
majority, Timoshenko said.

There was no announcement about what time or where the two would meet

and Yushchenko’s office had no comment on her remarks.
                                   REGIONS PARTY
Regions Party lawmaker Ihor Shkyria said in an interview with channel 5 his
party is prepared to told talks “with everybody.” He estimated Regions
will have more than 200 seats and would accept a coalition with Yushchenko’s
party. Any cabinet that doesn’t include Regions won’t be stable, he said.

Yushchenko, who swept to power 15 months ago in the Orange revolution along
with Timoshenko, lost the confidence of many voters who say he failed to
match promises to root out corruption and boost living standards.

With parliament being given the power for the first time to name a premier
and cabinet, Yushchenko must make a deal with one of the opposition parties
if he wants to retain a strong voice in government, said Katya Malofeeva,
analyst at Renaissance Capital in Moscow, in an interview yesterday.

"This is wrong to delay signing a coalition, even by an hour, because that
increases chances for a grand coalition between Our Ukraine and the Regions
Party,” Timoshenko said. "I understand that Our Ukraine is in deep shock
after the results were released. And still I would like to warn the powers
not to play with such things.”

Timoshenko wants to join the European Union and the World Trade Organization
and reverse some former state-asset sales conducted by former President
Leonid Kuchma. She has said today she wants to work with Yushchenko and not
Yanukovych, who favors closer ties with neighboring Russia.

Given Timoshenko’s problems with Yushchenko, 52, and her proposals to
regulate some consumer prices, some economists said it would be better if
the president looked past his former ally and reached out instead to the
55-year-old Yanukovich.

Yushchenko beat Yanukovich in a re-run of disputed presidential elections in
December 2004 that sparked massive street protests.         -30-

————————————————————————————————
To contact the reporter on this story: Daryna Krasnolutska in Kiev, through
the Moscow newsroom at greynolds1@bloomberg.net
Halia Pavliva in Moscow at  hpavliva@bloomberg.net.
————————————————————————————————-
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========================================================
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========================================================
13.                          THE FUTURE’S STILL ORANGE
           The Ukrainian president’s lacklustre showing in the parliamentary
          elections need not endanger progress made since 2004’s revolution
COMMENTARY: By Gwendolyn Sasse, The Guardian
London, United Kingdom, Monday, March  27, 2006

On the day after the Ukrainian election, with the official final results
still pending, there is widespread disappointment and an air of disbelief
among western observers. At first glance, the orange revolution seems to
have been turned upside-down.

President Yushchenko appears to have lost badly as his Our Ukraine party
polled only about 17% of the vote, while the Party of the Regions, headed by
Yanukovich, has emerged the main victor with about 26% of the vote so far.
The result suggests that the orange revolution has changed colour within a
little over a year.

However, just as the euphoria and expectations of 2004 in Ukraine and in the
west were disproportionate and unrealistic, the current feeling of disbelief
at the results misunderstands Ukrainian politics.

The immediate achievements of the orange revolution still stand: the
outburst of civic mobilisation; the exit of the corrupt and authoritarian
regime of former president Leonid Kuchma and his oligarch cronies; the
landmark decision of the supreme court to annul the rigged second round of
the elections; a notable increase in media freedom; a considerable personnel
turnover in the administration; and the first steps at limiting corruption
by simplifying business regulations.

Undoubtedly, the move from street activism to the nitty-gritty of normal
politics has proved difficult, as the rivalries and disagreements within the
orange alliance have demonstrated over the last year. But let’s pause to
celebrate the fact that none of the parties or election observers has spoken
of falsification in yesterday’s election – an important improvement compared
with previous elections in Ukraine.

In the run-up to the elections, fingers were pointed at candidates with a
criminal record or pending charges. Given that a seat in parliament
guarantees legal immunity, this is not a new occurrence, but what is
different is that this time these issues were publicised and discussed in
Ukraine during the election campaign, with the culprits spotlighted – surely
a positive development.

Despite apparent surprise among observers today, the election results were
not unexpected. Yanukovich’s party performed as predicted by the opinion
polls in recent months; it is misleading to talk about his "comeback". He
never lost his hold on the stable support base in the south-east of Ukraine
which he had during the orange revolution.

Yanukovich’s Party of the Regions, however, is far from being united. It is
still best described as a loose coalition, or a conglomerate of interests,
with a regional focus on Donetsk.

Overall, the only surprise in yesterday’s election was the underperformance
of Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine. What had looked like a neck-and-neck race with
Timoshenko’s bloc for second place ended in a clear victory for Timoshenko,
who polled about 23%. The result will strengthen her claim on the post of
prime minister in coalition-talks with Yushchenko.

What is most disappointing is that the election campaign remained as
personalised and populist as ever, despite a switch to a fully proportional
electoral system. The three main contenders and their respective parties
used the orange revolution for rhetoric rather than to commit themselves to
concrete policies. The election campaign avoided a number of fundamental
issues.

Among them is the uncertainty surrounding the new constitution that entered
into force on January 1 but can only be implemented in the aftermath of the
parliamentary elections. The constitutional reforms, hastily put together as
part of the deal to end the crisis after the 2004 elections, have not been
reviewed by the constitutional court.

Presidential powers are supposed to be transferred to the prime minister,
but the appointment of the prime minister and the cabinet (with the
exception of the foreign and defence ministers) have to be based on a
parliamentary majority. Such a majority has to be formed within 30 days of
the elections, otherwise the president can dissolve parliament.

This deadline should provide an additional incentive for Timoshenko and
Yushchenko to build a coalition and come to a mutually acceptable government
arrangement. Although Yanukovich will try to form a coalition with
Yushchenko, the most likely outcome at the moment is a second attempt at
making the orange coalition of 2004 work – this time with Yulia Timoshenko
in the driver’s seat.                                  -30-
———————————————————————————————–
Dr Gwendolyn Sasse is a senior lecturer in comparative European politics
at the London School of Economics.
———————————————————————————————–
http://www.guardian.co.uk/ukraine/story/0,,1740833,00.html
 

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[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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14.                        WHAT’S THE MATTER WITH KIEV?
Sunday’s vote wasn’t a rejection of orange revolution, was proof of its success.

COMMENTARY: By Scott MacMillan, in Slate
Oneline magazine of news and commentary on culture and politics
Washington, D.C., New York, Monday, March 27, 2006

It’s past midnight, and my hosts in Kiev have served up salmon and beluga
caviar chased with copious amounts of vodka. A crowd dominated by young
Eastern Europeans, including two ebullient Lithuanians and a gaggle of
Ukrainian women, has gathered in the flat.

After some jazz standards, the Lithuanians join the singing with a drunken
rendition of "Svetit Neznakomaya Zvezda" ("A Foreign Star Is Shining"), an
old Soviet folk song about being in a foreign city far away from your
beloved.

Everybody but me joins in-they all know the words, even though none were
adults when the Soviet Union collapsed-and for a moment I’m back in the
U.S.S.R.

This is the new Kiev, polyglot and approaching something almost like
cosmopolitanism. To be sure, the Ukrainian capital still has a dated and
provincial feel to it-it’s how I’ve always imagined East Germany must have
been in the Katarina Witt era-but foreign investors are pouring in, hoping
that post-orange-revolution Ukraine, neglected and mismanaged throughout the
1990s, will soon follow the growth path of new European Union members like
the Czech Republic and Poland.

I spent two weeks here in February, observing the mood in the run-up to
Sunday’s parliamentary vote-billed as the country’s first free and fair
European-style election.

For all the hype, I found too many people believing the orange revolution
changed nothing. Ukraine’s leaders are singing the same Bolshevik tunes,
they say-and not with the apparent irony of my reveling companions. The head
of a securities company that set up shop in Ukraine last year told me
Ukraine is liberalizing in a big way. More and more companies are playing by
Western rules so they can issue shares in London and New York.

It’s not geopolitical reorientation, he said, it’s because the high price of
Russian gas has forced major Ukrainian industries to restructure and look
for cash on international capital markets. When I asked the businessman what
he thinks of all the political changes going on, he replied, "What political
changes?"

The deadpan was so dry, it took a few seconds before I realized he’d just
answered my question. Ukraine’s economy might be going in a Western
direction, but its politics are still stuck in the corrupt post-Soviet era.

The hero of the orange revolution, President Viktor Yushchenko, has fallen
from grace, placing third in Sunday’s vote, with the party of his old
nemesis Viktor Yanokovich-a former petty criminal whom outgoing President
Leonid Kuchma tried to appoint as his successor in 2004-getting the most
votes.

Then there’s Yulia Tymoshenko, the former prime minister fired last year by
Yushchenko. She fared surprisingly well in Sunday’s election and might well
return as prime minister. Much of the outside world is smitten with
Tymoshenko, if only because she’s a babe. (Admit it: She’s totally hot.)

The problem is: Nearly everybody within the political elite-and much of the
general population, too-seems to agree that she’s a self-centered,
self-promoting control freak who is generally unpleasant to have around. "I
have yet to talk to a single politician who likes her," one lobbyist told
me.

Oddly enough, you’ll find almost nobody actually admitting to disappointment
with President Yushchenko. Most Ukrainians will tell you that most other
Ukrainians have been let down by the orange revolution-but not me, they’ll
say. (You’ll hear: Yes, I was out there on subzero Independence Square in
December 2004, but I didn’t actually think anything would change.) After two
weeks, this reluctance to concede disappointment was starting to make me
suspicious.

On one of my last days in Ukraine, I had drinks with political observer
Peter Dickinson, who edits a local English-language magazine. As an
outsider, Dickinson has little patience with those who dismiss the
revolution-and having spent most of the last 10 years in Prague, and thus
knowing a thing or two about the dour Eastern European disposition, I was
inclined to agree.

Sure, Yushchenko could have done a better job of investigating the murder of
journalist Gyorgi Gongadze, a crime linked to Kuchma himself, and he could
have done more to root out corruption. And Tymoshenko, well, she could be
nicer.

But politicians weren’t the real heroes of the revolution. Everyday
Ukrainians were. Political speech has been set free under the new regime,
and perhaps more important, Ukrainians are finally beginning to craft their
national identity. "They were passive and shit on for years," Dickinson told
me. "Finally they stood up, and they won. That’s ingrained in the history of
the nation."

Chalk the negativity up to the national temperament, but there’s no denying
things have changed. Sunday’s vote received a clean bill of health from
international observers and went off without a hitch.

Yes, corrupt politicians and sleaze-ridden oligarchs will likely remain as
easy to find in Ukraine as four-inch stiletto heels, but there’s no going
back to the stifling days of Kuchma and his cronies. Give them enough

vodka, and you can probably get Ukrainians to sing about that.
———————————————————————————————
Scott MacMillan is a freelance journalist who lives in Cairo.
———————————————————————————————
LINK: http://www.slate.com/id/2138756/
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[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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15.                             YUSHCHENKO LOSES

                          To a former rival and to a former ally
 
By Aleksey Nikolskiy, Vasiliy Kashin
Vedomosti, Moscow, Russia, March 27, 2006
 
The parliamentary elections in Ukraine has ended with a predictable
victory for Viktor Yanukovich. President Viktor Yushchenko has
already declared the start of talks on establishing an orange
coalition in the parliament – but the election results cast doubt on
these intentions.

The parliamentary elections in Ukraine has ended with a
predictable victory for Viktor Yanukovich. President Viktor
Yushchenko has already declared the start of talks on establishing
an orange coalition in the parliament – but the election results
cast doubt on these intentions.

There are 45 parties and blocs participating in the elections
for the Ukrainian Supreme Rada, held according to the proportional
system, competing for 450 seats. The prime minister will be
nominated by the parliamentary coalition. According to exit polls
done by the Public Opinion Foundation (Russia), as at 3 p.m. Moscow
time, the Ukrainian Regions Party got 31.4% of the, the Yulia
Timoshenko Bloc got 22.4%, and Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine party got
17%. According to exit polls done at 5 p.m. Moscow time by the
VTsIOM polling agency, the Regions Party got 31%, the Yulia
Timoshenko Bloc got 22%, and Our Ukraine got 14%. According to
preliminary information, other forces that made it past the 3%
threshold were the Communist and Socialist parties, the People’s
Bloc led by Speaker Vladimir Litvin, and the People’s Opposition
Bloc led by Natalia Vitrenko.
As at 6 p.m. Moscow time, turnout was 40%; but there were still
queues near many polling stations. According to Central Electoral
Commission Chairman Yaroslav Davidovich, the Supreme Rada election
cost candidates about $200 million.
Russian companies, according to a senior executive from a
Russian oil company, "assisted" all candidates. Though, the Regions
Party, in the list of which there is billionaire Rinat Akhmetov,
according to executive, "is not poor" itself, Our Ukraine did not
have any problems with money due to the administrative resource,
while the Yulia Timoshenko Bloc was funded by assets acquired during
Timoshenko’s time as prime minister.
According to a source in the Regions Party, which all forecasts
indicate will be the winner, after the elections, there will
probably be an attempt to establish a coalition between Viktor
Yanukovich’s party and Our Ukraine, regardless of whether Our
Ukraine finishes ahead of the Yulia Timoshenko Bloc. The starting
contenders for the post of prime minister would be: Nikolay Azarov,
former manager of the State Taxation Administration, from the
Regions Party, and Economics Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk from Our
Ukraine.
Yushchenko declared that talks about establishing an orange
coalition would begin on Monday. His advisor Boris Bespaliy admits
that the declaration was made paying attention to the expectations
of the Orange voters. He explains that Our Ukraine would not agree
with Yulia Timoshenko taking the post of prime minister. But,
according to a source in Timoshenko’s campaign team, if her bloc
gets more votes than Our Ukraine, "in the orange coalition, Yulia
Timoshenko would then claim this post." (Translated by Denis
Shcherbakov)                                      -30-
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[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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16.  "ORANGE" UKRAINIAN GOVERNMENT WOULD NOT BE STABLE"
                     SAYS RUSSIAN EXPERT GLEB PAVLOVSKY

RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Monday, March 27, 2006

MOSCOW – A Ukrainian government formed by former allies in the "orange
revolution" is unlikely to survive until fall, a Russian political scientist
said Monday.

"An ‘orange’ government in Ukraine, which would comprise the Yulia
Tymoshenko Bloc, Our Ukraine bloc and the Socialist Party led by Oleksandr
Moroz would be the least viable option," Gleb Pavlovsky, president of the
Effective Policy Foundation, told a news conference. The three blocs would
likely grow to hate each other and would split by autumn, Pavlovsky said.

Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko’s spokesman said earlier Monday that
Yushchenko had called on the country’s prime minister to start talks on
creating a parliamentary coalition, even though official results of the vote
are not expected until Tuesday.

Tymoshenko, the president’s flamboyant ally in the late 2004 "orange
revolution" and an ex-prime minister, said Monday she intended to sign a
memorandum establishing an "orange coalition" to include the three parties.

Pavlovsky, however, suggested Tymoshenko was open to coalition talks with
any party. "She is not tying her hands and is open to talks with any party,
including the one led by [Viktor] Yanukovych. She might use him to secure
more concessions from Yushchenko," Pavlovsky said.

Yanukovych and his Party of Regions represent largely industrial and
pro-Russian eastern Ukraine, and he was Yushchenko’s main rival in the
disputed presidential elections in late 2004. Latest preliminary reports
have put the Party of Regions out in front.

With 19.12% of the Sunday vote counted, Ukraine’s Central Election Committee
said Monday the Party of Regions was leading with 25.6% of the vote,
followed by the Yulia Tymoshenko Bloc ( 23.6%) and Our Ukraine Bloc with
17.22%. The Socialist Party has garnered 7.71% and the Communist Party
3.41%.

In any event, Pavlovsky said the future government would largely conduct
"reconnaissance" to assess the scale of economic problems facing the former
Soviet republic and find finance to tackle them.                  -30-

————————————————————————————————
LINK: http://en.rian.ru/world/20060327/44856047.html
——————————————————————————————-
[return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
17.                                DIVIDED REVOLUTION
                   Russia playing key role as Ukrainians go to the polls

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: By Oksana Bashuk Hepburn
The Winnipeg Free Press, Winnipeg, Canada, Friday, March 24th, 2006

RUSSIA will be a key player in Sunday’s election for the Rada, Ukraine’s
parliament. Its objective? Nothing less than control of Ukraine’s
government.

This was Russia’s goal some 14 months ago, when the people took to the
streets of Kyiv demanding Viktor Yushchenko for president rather than
Russia’s choice, Viktor Yanukovych. The people won by staging the Orange
Revolution. This time the choice is more complicated.

Although the pro-Russian Yanukovych defrauded Ukrainians twice in the
presidential elections of 2004, his Party of Regions stands to be one of the
biggest winners in the parliamentary election. It has the support of about
30 per cent of voters, according to the polls. The other two main parties — 
President Victor Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine, and Yulia Tymoshenko’s Bloc — 
are tied at around 20 per cent each. About 45 parties are competing for 450
seats in the parliament.

Tymoshenko was Yushchenko’s prime minister until he fired her last year.
Their breakup split the Orange supporters, forcing them to pick sides.
Tymoshenko led the protests that brought Yushchenko to power.

Yushchenko had promised to deliver what the people of the Orange Revolution
had demanded: An end to corruption, reprivatization of state assets amassed
through questionable means by fabulously rich oligarchs, and after nearly a
century of brutal Russian control, a decisive tilt to the West.

Why, then, is the party that wants to undermine all this, in the lead?

Unfortunately, the ideals of the revolution did not translate into political
success. The move towards the West fumbled during the summer parliamentary
session, preventing Ukraine’s entrance into the World Trade Organization.
There were several postponements of promises to clean up corruption.

Re-possession of acquired state property by oligarchs was halted after
Tymoshenko, as prime minister, reprivatized Ukraine’s largest steel mill
from wealthy businessman Renat Akhmetov, who is now running for parliament.
Tymoshenko delivered $4 billion into Ukraine’s meager coffers from the
resale at more realistic prices.

The oligarchs demanded her head. There were whispers that representatives of
Simeon Mohilevic, a notorious Russian oligarch with an Israeli passport and
on the FBI’s most wanted list, was talking with authorities. Yushchenko
fired Tymoshenko and eventually the entire cabinet.

Then Russia struck openly for control. In January, when temperatures dipped
to -30, Russia cut-off gas supplies. Had Ukraine succeeded in becoming a
member of the WTO, Russia might not have dared. Or, it might have backed off
had Ukraine threatened legal action for breaking a five-year energy delivery
contract. Russia played to the world’s media accusing Ukraine of
siphoning-off Europe’s gas from pipelines crossing its territory.

As the furor subsided, a new hush-hush energy deal between Ukraine and
Russia emerged. It was incredibly favourable to Russia and the go-between
company RosUkrEnergo. The owners were undisclosed, but they are believed to
be among the richest people in Ukraine and Russia. Despite an uproar, little
clarity was provided by Ukraine’s government.

Yanukovych is running a diverse and odd group of candidates. There’s the
discredited former head of the Central Elections Commission, who falsified
the presidential elections two years ago, thus precipitating the Orange
Revolution. Renat Akhmetov, Ukraine’s richest oligarch — Forbes names him
among the 100 richest people in the world — is on the party slate. Supreme
court justices are running, too, even though it’s un-constitutional.

Orest Rebman, a Kyiv journalist, says with the pro-democracy forces divided,
Russia sees a clear opportunity to exert influence and control in Ukraine.

"You can bet that Russia is in there with both feet," Rebman says. "It will
do everything to control Ukraine. It will use power, influence, money, gas
and whatever other means to manipulate Ukraine away from the West." "With
Ukraine, Russia is an empire, without it, a vast under-developed state with
vast energy resources."

Yet, despite all this and Ukraine’s complex parliamentary elections,
politically it is further ahead and more independent from Russia than it
ever was. The Orange Revolution was a tremendous political maturation
process. The people are no longer passive. They will be making difficult
choices, but the results of Sunday’s vote will probably reflect Ukraine’s
political reality — a pro-West tilt, with a pro-Russia tug.

In this scenario, it will be imperative for the West to support Ukraine’s
inroads into its institutions and cement the considerable interest in
foreign investments. Canada can help by being a close friend to Ukraine and
encouraging others, like the United States and Britain, to be likewise.
————————————————————————————————-
Oksana Bashuk Hepburn, president U-CAN, a consulting firm brokering
interests between clients and Ukraine, is finishing a novel set in Winnipeg
and the Ukraine about the Orange Revolution.

————————————————————————————————–
————————————————————————————————–
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18.               UKRAINE AND UNITED STATES POLICY

INTERVIEW: With Celeste A. Wallander
Director and Senior Fellow, Russia and Eurasia Program
Center for Strategic and International Studies, Wash, D.C.
Nezavisimaya Gazeta in Russian, Moscow, Russia, Fri, Mar 24, 2006
Published by The Action Ukraine Report in English #680, Article 18
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

[QUESTION] How could you assess Moscow’s stance as far as the elections
in Ukraine are concerned? Why is Russia so careful about showing its
preferences now?

Russians officials have signaled a clear preference for the Party of Regions
led by former Ukrainian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych, and Ukrainian
oligarch Rinat Akhmetov.

This preference is rooted in several understandable factors:  the Party of
Regions is based in eastern Ukraine, which has close economic, cultural, and
social ties with Russia; the party leadership is on balance more interested
in developing economic and political relations with Russia than with Europe,
especially in the context of  the Single Economic Space involving customs
union and other mechanisms for reducing economic barriers between Russia

and Ukraine; and leaders of the Party of Regions are less committed to
transatlantic integration for Ukraine, and are not strong supporters of
Ukrainian membership in NATO and the EU.

However, I think we cannot forget that for the Russian Kremlin the other
parties competing in the Rada elections – those of the Orange coalition that
won the presidential election in December 2004 after the fraudulent results
of November 2004 were overturned – symbolize the failure of the Kremlin’s
attempts to aid the Kuchma/Yanukovych regime in carrying out a fraudulent
election process so that the regime would not have to give up power.

Since the Russian political leadership under Putin rules Russia by virtue of
similar fraudulent political technologies which deny Russian citizens the
opportunity to choose their leaders in free and fairs elections, and to hold
the leadership accountable for its actions and policies, the Kremlin sees
such failures in Ukraine and Georgia as a threat to its own rule.

While factors such as commercial and cultural ties between Russia and
Ukraine are, in my view, legitimate national interests which should be the
basis for Russian foreign policy, the Kremlin’s fear of free and fair
elections in the post-Soviet countries is purely a narrow interest of the
Putin regime, and does not serve the interests of Russia’s citizens.

That said, the Kremlin has been more restrained in its stance and policy on
the current elections than it was in 2004.  While it has expressed a
preference, it is not intervening as directly or massively in the current
elections as it did in the fall of 2004.  This is in part because of limited
opportunity:  its preferred leadership is not in office and so it cannot
work with it on actions to conduct fraudulent elections.

But it is also a matter of learning the lessons of 2004:  direct
interference in the election caused a backlash against Russia within Ukraine
and may have motivated Ukrainian citizens to oppose the fraudulent results.
That is, Russia’s actions far from preventing the Orange Revolution helped
to create the conditions for it.  Recognizing this, the Putin leadership and
its circles of political technologists have adopted a more low-key approach,
not wanting to motivate higher voter turn-out for the Orange parties.

[QUESTION] What results of the elections would the West be satisfied with?
What about Moscow?

The West’s hopes for the elections are in two areas.  The first and most
important is that the elections be conducted in a free and fair manner, that
international observers and domestic election monitors can freely observe
and report on their conduct, and that all Ukrainian election laws and
international standards are met.

To the extent that the United States has a long term interest in Ukrainian
development and Euro-Atlantic integration, that interest is served only if
and as Ukraine develops the institutions and procedures of a stable
democracy.  On this level – the level of American strategic interests in the
European and Eurasian region – who wins the Ukrainian elections is
irrelevant, just as who wins the German elections, or the British elections,
or the Polish elections, is irrelevant.

The U.S. has interests in and relations with countries first and foremost,
not with this or that leader.  As long as Ukraine continues on the path of
democratic transformation and therefore has a government chosen by and
supported by its citizens, long-term U.S. interests in the region are
served.

That said, of course it is the case that different democratically elected
governments matter for U.S. interests.  While it is enough for U.S.
interests that Ukraine be democratic, it is better if that democratic
Ukraine chooses to be globally and transatlantically integrated.  It is fair
to say that from the policy and campaign statements of Mr. Yanukovych, it is
unlikely that if he were Ukraine’s next Prime Minister that he would support
a strong policy for Ukraine’s global and transatlantic integration.

Although that would be an obstacle for closer economic, political, and
military relations, as long as the elections which might bring him to power
were truly free and fair, the U.S. would have to recognize that the
resulting government is the choice of Ukrainian citizens.

It is not clear to me that the Russian government cares whether the
elections are free and fair.  This perhaps seems harsh, but given that
President Putin immediately congratulated Alyaksandr Lukashenka for winning
presidential elections in Belarus which were so egregiously fraudulent and
which so obviously violated all the conditions of free and fair elections, I
think there is plenty of evidence that the Russian leadership only cares
about results.

However, I do think that the Russian government, while it would prefer a
Ukrainian government headed by the Party of Regions, would reconcile itself
to working with a new Orange Prime Minister.  After all, it was President
Viktor Yushchenko’s government that signed the gas deal this past January
2006 which was so beneficial to Gazprom and Russia.

[QUESTION] How do you assess the pre-election campaign in Ukraine, the
situation in the country in general?  Do you expect the elections in Ukraine
to be free and fair?

The conduct of the election campaign in the run-up to the March 26 election
has been very open and fair.  The Party of Regions and other parties out of
government (including, I might note, the party of Yuliya Tymoshenko, a
strong critic of President Yushchenko) have been able to campaign freely.
They have had access to media, they have been able to meet with voters,
their representatives will serve on election commissions and as election
monitors.

There may be instances of local failures to meet the rules for election-day
procedures, but there is no systematic, nationwide use of "administrative
resources" to create unfair advantages for the governing party, as there was
in 2004.  Unlike in Belarus, people can meet the candidates, candidates can
hold rallies, and political leaders are not being arbitrarily arrested or
detained.

If there are instances of violations of the rules, I very much hope that
international and domestic monitors will document and publicize them,
whoever is the guilty party, and whoever is the party that benefits.
Election monitoring is about keeping the government honest and accountable,
and that applies as much to President Yushchenko’s government as it did,
belatedly, to former President Kuchma’s government.

The situation in the country is positive in that citizens are interested,
active, and informed about their choices.  There is a great deal of
criticism of the current government for its policy failures of the last
year, of which there are many.

While I very much regret the failures of the government – primarily for
failure to create transparency, create the conditions for foreign investment
and economic growth, and attack corruption in the government and in
business – I think that there is no question in the long run that the
ability of Ukrainian citizens to criticize and hold their government
accountable will help Ukraine to develop as a prosperous and successful
country.

[QUESTION] What impact might the external factors (the gas crisis, the
elections in Belarus, the US and Europe’s constant signals of support
towards Kyiv) have on the elections in Ukraine?

External factors that you mention may have some affect on the elections, but
through their affect on the attitudes of Ukrainian voters toward their
leaders and their policies.  Some Ukrainian voters blame Russia for the gas
war, but others blame their own president.  Some Ukrainians are drawn to the
idea of Ukraine being an integrated European country, and therefore support
the Yushchenko government for progress toward NATO membership.

But many Ukrainian citizens do not want Ukraine to become more integrated
with Europe, and this is a source of their lack of support for the
government’s policies.  Many Ukrainians – perhaps more than many Russians
understand – do not favor policies that would harm Russian-Ukrainian
relations, and President Yushchenko has to find a way to assure those voters
that his support for Ukraine’s development does not have to harm the
country’s relations with Russia if he wants their vote.

At this point in time, my sense is that there still a divide between the
Ukrainian voters who see their choice as between Europe and Russia.  That is
very regrettable – I do not think that there is any such necessary choice –
but it is also understandable given the atmosphere of the Orange Revolution,
the very unfortunate confrontation over gas pipelines, and the rhetoric of
western "interference" in the "color revolutions."

However, as in elections anywhere, in every democracy, the most important
issues affecting voters in Ukraine are their hopes and beliefs about the
policies of their government and the opposition challengers on their
everyday lives:  the economy, social services, employment, schools, and
their hopes for a better life.

The big foreign policy questions affect those primary concerns of voters,
but they are not the keys issues for voters.  Leaders have to get their
domestic policies right, first and foremost, if they want the support of
their citizens.

[QUESTION] From your perspective, after these elections what would
be Kyiv’s foreign policy towards both Russia and the West?

To some extent, there will be little change in Ukrainian foreign and
military relations after the Rada elections.  Under the new constitutional
arrangement, the Rada will choose the prime minister and most of the cabinet
ministers, but the minister of defense and the minister of foreign affairs
will continue to be chosen by the president of Ukraine, and to be
accountable to him (or her).

So it is likely, although not certain, that President Yushchenko will keep
Anatoly Grytsenko as defense minister and Borys Tarasyuk as foreign
minister, and thus there will be continuity in Ukraine’s foreign and defense
policies.  Since both of those leaders are very strong and successful
advocates of Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic integration, we should expect that
Ukraine’s progress toward global and transatlantic integration will
continue, whatever the outcome of the Rada elections.

That said, of course it will matter for Ukraine’s foreign relations who the
prime minister will be.  In order for Ukraine to join Europe, whether
through NATO, the EU, or some other route, there will have to be serious
and difficult reforms in its political institutions and economic policies.
These are the responsibility of the prime minister and his (or her)
Government.

If the Party of Regions were to win a sufficient plurality to form a
government without any of the Orange parties, the Prime Minister
(Yanukovych?) would have the power to block progress toward Euro-Atlantic
integration, if he (she) chose to use that power.

On the other hand, if the Orange coalition parties receive enough votes to
attain a majority in the Rada and thus choose the next prime minister, we
should expect a re-affirmation of the current government’s policies of
global and Euro-Atlantic integration.

Furthermore, I think it likely that the Orange coalition parties will learn
an important lesson for their failures over the past year:  that their
failure to live up to their promises to their voters from December 2004
nearly lost them this election, and thus nearly lost them the right to rule.

That should, I would hope, teach the current Ukrainian leadership that it
has to get serious about the reforms that it has promised in order to begin
to deliver the better lives that Ukraine’s citizens expect.  If they fail to
learn that lesson, and to act on it, they may have friendly relations with
the U.S. and Europe (and I hope with Russia), but there will be little basis
for strong integration or partnership with the transatlantic community in
the next few years.                             -30-
———————————————————————————————
CONTACT: Celeste Wallander: CWallander@CSIS.org
LINK: http://www.ng.ru/ideas/2006-03-24/10_ukraina.html
——————————————————————————————-
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
19.  ELECTIONS FAIR, DESPITE ORGANIZATIONAL CHALLENGES

        European Network of Election Monitoring Organizations (ENEMO)
Iryna Davydenko, Press-service of ENEMO Mission
Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, March 27, 2006

KYIV – ENEMO’s observation of the pre-election period and Election Day
on March 26 has shown significant improvements from the 2004 presidential
elections, with Ukrainian voters to exercise their right to vote freely.

The election environment surrounding the 2006 parliamentary elections was
generally free of pressure, intimidation or harassment against any political
party or bloc or any specific groups of voters. In stark contrast to 2004,
there were no reports of centralized misuse of administrative resources.

However, ENEMO reported significant organizational problems concerning
late opening of polling stations and violations or irregularities resulting
from overcrowding in the polling stations and missing citizens on the voter
lists.

"Having been in Ukraine during the 2004 Presidential elections" Peter
Novotny, Head of the ENEMO Mission stated "it is heartening to see the
radical improvement in the transparency of the election environment."

Novotny also noted "the only concerns we have are of a technical nature.
While those are significant, they should not cloud a genuinely competitive,
free and fair election. Ukraine has in effect proven its commitment to
European democratic values."

For the Ukrainian 2006 parliamentary elections, ENEMO deployed 42 long-
term observers covering all oblasts of Ukraine to monitor the pre-election
environment including the political campaign and preparation activities of
the election administration ahead of the March 26th parliamentary election.

For Election Day ENEMO deployed 389 election observers to 2040 polling
stations throughout all oblasts of Ukraine.
———————————————————————————————
CONTACT: Irina Davydenko irina@enemo.org.ua; 380 66 819 0481
(Russian, Ukrainian) or Peter Novotny +380 66 819 04 96 (English)

Website: www.enemo.org.ua for more information.
———————————————————————————————
[ return to index] [The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
========================================================
20.    INITIAL THOUGHTS ON UKRAINE’S 2006 ELECTIONS

ANALYSIS AND COMMENTARY: By Taras Kuzio
The Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #680, Article 20
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, March 28, 2006

1. The elections will be declared to have been held in a free and fair
manner, the first in Ukraine since 1994. This will be contrasted to
elections in Belarus and the generally poor democratic situation in the CIS.
The OSCE/Council of Europe/EU have given high remarks to the elections.

2. Yushchenko can take great credit for this progress.

3. The holding of free and fair elections will put pressure on the EU to
change its passivity which is in place since Yushchenko’s election.

4. Voting patterns resemble 2004, except Yanukovych will not obtain 44% as
he did then. But, its still early as only 20% of the votes have been
counted.

5. Yushchenko (and thereby Our Ukraine) is a "kamikaze" president. He made
countless mistakes in 2005, including sacking the Tymoshenko government and
dividing the Orange camp, signing a Memo with Yanukovych and keeping
Prosecutor Piskun until October, thereby not following through on
instituting charges against high level officials, and he mishandled the gas
contract.  Yushchenko also wasted a year when he had Kuchma’s powers and
failed to use them to stamp his authority on the country.

6. Tymoshenko came second because of Yushchenko’s "kamikaze" mistakes
that led to a Orange protest vote going to her, rather than to Pora. Our
Ukraine proved to be arrogant, both vis-a-vis Orange voters and vis-a-vis

Yushchenko himself.

Senior Orange businessmen accused of corruption in September refused to back
down from standing in Our Ukraine, ignoring Yushchenko’s advice. Political
parties in Our Ukraine refused to merge into a single pro-presidential
party.

7. Economics never did, and did not in these elections, drive Ukrainian
voters. Whether Ukraine has 2% or 12% GDP is not something that guides
Ukrainian voters.Negative voting s always a major factor in Ukraine’s
elections.

8. An Orange coalition was always the most realistic choice for Ukraine for
two reasons:

a) to send a signal to the West and Russia about the sustainability of the
Orange Revolution and democratic change

b) any deal with Yanukovych/Regions would have been the political death for
Yushchenko. This is what I have been saying for weeks and it is echoed by
comments from Lytvyn, Tymoshenko, Ryabchuk and others. Our Ukraine
coming in third have no political strength to do a deal with Regions which
have a lot more votes.

9. Yushchenko failed to understand an important, perhaps most important,
factor driving the Orange Revolution – the sense of feelings of injustice
against abuse of office, corruption and "Bandits" running Ukraine. Prime
Minister Yuriy Yekhanurov totally misunderstood this feeling, as seen by his
invitation to Ukraine’s oligarchs to a meeting in October where he described
them as "Ukraine’s national bourgoiese".

The Rule Of Law cannot move ahead without dealing with these issues from
the past – election fraud in 2004, high level corruption, who ordered the
Gongadze murder and Yushchenko’s assassination.

10. Yanukovych is not a reformed leader:
a) he sent greetings to Lukashenko on his "victory". Yushchenko and the
Ministry Foreign Affairs followed the Western position on the Belarus
elections.

b) he has never acknowledged his defeat in 2004. The top five in Regions
included Yanukovych, the crazy Taras Chornovil, separatist Yevhen
Kushnariov, and others who were a poor choice if Yanukovych wanted to
show a conciliatory position. Throughout the elections they have continued
to denounce the legitimacy of the Orange Revolution as a "illegal coup",
"Orange rats", etc, etc.

c) US comment on Regions is confusing: should we take their program for its
face value (Anders Aslund) or should we ignore the program as there are
pro-European businessmen ready to change the face of Regions (Adrian
Karatnycky).

If it is the former then Regions is (in addition to economic reform) against
NATO membership, for full membership in the CIS Single Economic Space,
and Russian as a state language. Regions voted against WTO legislation.

d) Regions will vote with the government on certain issues dealing with
economics.

11. Tymoshenko might become Prime Minister or Rada speaker. Her record in
office is mixed, not purely black. Much of what Yushchenko/Our Ukraine have
taken credit for economically was initiated under her government.

12. These elections show Ukraine’s democratic progress has consolidated
after the Orange Revolution. The choice of an Orange coalition makes it more
likely Ukraine will obtain a MAP in Riga in November. Judgments about
Ukraine’s democratic progress should not be influenced negatively by dislike
of the ensuing parliamentary coalition.

13. I doubt parliament will last its full term of five years. The
contradictions inherent in particular insides the Party of Regions will lead
it to implode.                                         -30-
—————————————————————————————–
NOTE:  Taras Kuzio is a Visiting Professor at the Institute for European,
Russian and Eurasian Studies, George Washington University
Washington, D.C., CONTACT: tkuzio@gwu.edu
——————————————————————————————-
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