Monthly Archives: May 2006

AUR#702 May 30 Macroeconomic Situation Update By SigmaBleyzer; New Website:; World Cup Warmup; NATO Is The Enemy; NO To NATO:

                 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  
           –——-  INDEX OF ARTICLES  ——–
         Clicking on the title of any article takes you directly to the article.               
Return to the Index by clicking on Return to Index at the end of each article
1.               UKRAINE – ECONOMIC SITUATION – APRIL 2006
REPORT & ANALYSIS: By Olga Pogarska and Edilberto Segura
SigmaBleyzer Emerging Markets Private Equity Investment Group
The Bleyzer Foundation, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, May 30, 2006
                Westerners have discovered Lviv, a place of fine dining,
                    Baroque and Rococo treasures and excellent prices.
By Barry Zwick, Special to The Times, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles, California, Sunday, May 28, 2006


Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #702, Article 4
Washington, D.C., Tuesday, May 30, 2006

                           NUMBER 6 OF 10: KYIV, UKRAINE
By Rae-Jean Stokes, Staff,
Boston, Massachusetts, May, 2006

6.                      UKRAINE – A BRADT TRAVEL GUIDE
Author: Andrew Evans, Washington, D.C., January 2004
1st edition (reprinted with amendments 2005)
Bradt Travel Guides, 336 pages · 8 pages colour photos
30 maps, ISBN: 1 84162 084 X £13.95

        Visiting Hoffnungstal, Daughter Colony of the Glueckstal Villages
                     Visiting the village of Kassel, Glueckstal District
Michael Miller and Tour Members, Internet Cafe
Odessa, Ukraine, Saturday-Monday, May 27-29, 2006

Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #702, Article 7
Washington, D.C., Tuesday, May 30, 2006

         Embassy of Ukraine in Washington, Friday, June 2nd, at 7:00 P.M.
The Washington Group Cultural Fund
Washington, D.C., Tuesday, May 30, 2006

        A Ukrainian Dance and Music Spectacular, Saturday, August 19, 2006
          The gala evening will honor Mr. Anatolij Kryvokhyzha with the first
                       annual  STEPPES TOWARD LIBERTY AWARD
By Anne Ehrhart, Managing Director for Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble
A Ukrainian Summer, Supplement to The Ukrainian Weekly
Parsippany, New Jersey, Sunday, May 7, 2006


Chris Lehourites, AP Worldstream, Monday, May 29, 2006


                              TO UPGRADE TITANIUM PLANT
By Tom Warner in Kiev, Financial Times,
London, United Kingdom Sunday, May 28 2006

Associated Press (AP), Kiev,Ukraine, Monday, May 29, 2006 


Ukrayina TV, Donetsk, in Ukrainian 1800 gmt 29 May 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Monday, May 29, 2006

                                 IN UKRAINE’S CRIMEA
Centre TV, Moscow, in Russian 1550 gmt 29 May 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Monday, May 29, 2006

Interfax-Ukraine news agency, Kiev, in Russian 1325 gmt 29 May 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Monday, May 29, 2006


By Thomas Catan in London and Arkady Ostrovsky in Moscow
Financial Times, London, UK, Tuesday, May 30 2006

17.                                    STILL A GENOCIDE
                         There should be no ambiguity about Darfur.
LEAD EDITORIAL: The Washington Post
Washington, D.C., Tuesday, May 30, 2006; Page A16

18.                                 EXCLUDING FRIENDS
   The Senate moves to keep branding human rights victims as terrorists.
: The Washington Post
Washington, D.C., Tuesday, May 30, 2006; Page A16

           In Poignant Visit, Pontiff Prays In German at Nazi Death Camp
By Craig Whitlock, Washington Post Foreign Service
The Washington Post, Washington, D.C.. Mon, May 29, 2006; Pg A14

By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor
Reuters, Warsaw, Poland, Monday, May 29, 2006


REPORT & ANALYSIS: By Olga Pogarska and Edilberto Segura
SigmaBleyzer Emerging Markets Private Equity Investment Group
The Bleyzer Foundation, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, May 30, 2006
[1] The Ukrainian economy continued to revive; over the first quarter of
2006, real GDP grew by an encouraging 2.4% yoy.

[2] Over January-March, the consolidated fiscal balance posted a surplus of
0.4% of GDP; however, considerable recurrent social expenditures on the

back of decelerating budget revenues raise concerns.

[3] Since the government suspended the issuance of new debt instruments in
autumn last year, the stock of Ukraine’s total public debt continues to

[4] In March, consumer inflation decelerated to 8.6% yoy; however, this is

a temporary phenomenon, as the government has already approved price
increases on gas and electricity and is considering further increases in order
to bring service tariffs to cost-covering levels.

[5] The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) continued the policy of de-facto
pegging the hryvnia exchange rate to the US dollar. Since the beginning of
the year, the NBU’s gross international reserves declined by 11% to $17.3
billion, but were comfortably above the three-months of imports threshold.

[6] The merchandise trade balance continued to worsen, registering a $1
billion deficit over January-February 2006; however, some positive
developments were observed in the commodity structure of Ukraine’s foreign
trade flows.

                                     ECONOMIC GROWTH

In March, economic activity in the country continued to revive. Real GDP
grew by 2.4% yoy during January-March, significantly accelerating to 4% yoy
in March compared to 2.2% yoy in February. Unlike in previous years, the
largest contributors to economic growth were services.

In particular, value added in transport accelerated to 6.7% yoy over the
period, up from 5.9% yoy over January-February. Growth of value added in
distribution of electricity, gas, and water (utilities) decelerated to 7.4%
yoy (down from 9% yoy in January-February), but remained the second largest
contributor to GDP growth. Domestic trade continued to recover this year;
value added in the sector accelerated to 2.2% yoy over the first quarter, up
from 1.6% yoy over January-February.

January-March data signaled the revival of construction and the extractive
industry. For the first time since the beginning of 2005, value added in
construction increased by 5% yoy, a significant improvement from -0.2% yoy
in January-February. The acceleration occurred primarily on account of
higher growth in residential construction and infrastructure works, with the
latter enhanced by improved budget financing.

Following the price hike for imported gas, the increasing demand for
domestic energy resources contributed to the acceleration of value added
growth in the extractive industry (up by 3.4% yoy over January-March,
compared to a 2.5% yoy increase in the previous period).

Positive developments were also observed in manufacturing, which reported a
0.8% reduction in value added over January-March, a notable improvement
compared to the first months of the year (-1.8% yoy in January-February).
The improvement in industrial performance was primarily driven by
food-processing and machine-building. Food-processing demonstrated a solid
7.7% yoy increase in output over January-March, encouraged by 24.1% yoy real
income growth of households.

Production expansion in machine-building accelerated to 9.1% yoy, up from
8.6% yoy over the first two months of the year, which may reflect the
recovering external demand for Ukraine’s machinery and increasing investment
demand in the country stemming from the need for technical renovation of
existing production capacities.

Ukrainian metallurgy, which is energy intensive and vulnerable to changes in
external demand, showed signs of recovery after an increase in gas prices, a
fall of world steel prices and a shortage of gas supplies in the winter
months. In March, metallurgical output increased by an encouraging 2.7% yoy,
but fell by 1.7% yoy in the three months to date. Metallurgical production
may continue to rebound in the coming months as world steel prices have been
on an upward trend since mid-February.

On the downside, coke and oil-refining production fell by 21.3% yoy over
January-March, a reflection of lower demand on the side of metallurgical
enterprises and the reduction of import tariffs on oil products introduced
in 2005.

Despite recent improvements, GDP and industrial output are forecasted to
show moderate growth in 2006 – 2.8% yoy and 3% yoy respectively, according
to the recent forecast by the Ministry of Economy. The forecast looks quite
realistic as real sector performance this year will be negatively affected
by higher prices on energy resources, sluggish investment activity in the
first half of the year due to political uncertainty (related to
parliamentary elections and a formation of a coalition government), and
worsening of external conditions for Ukrainian exports.

On the upside, the driving force of economic growth in 2006 will be domestic
consumption stimulated by further increase in household real income.

                                         FISCAL POLICY

According to preliminary data, the consolidated budget posted a small
surplus of UAH 380 million ($75 million) in January-March, which is
equivalent to about 0.4% of period GDP. The consolidated budget usually

runs a surplus at the beginning of the year due to under-execution of
expenditures, turning to a deficit closer to the end of the year.

This year, however, the trend is much steeper, suggesting that the
consolidated budget balance may reverse into a deficit in the coming months.
Actually, for the first quarter 2006, the state budget has already reported
a deficit of UAH 1.6 billion (or 1.7% of period GDP) while it was in surplus
of UAH 2.1 billion (about 2.5% of period GDP) in the corresponding period
last year.

Consolidated budget revenues increased by a nominal 29% yoy to UAH 32.9
billion ($6.52 billion) at the end of March; however, their rate of increase
was slightly lower than expected considering the low base effect (amendments
to the 2005 budget, eliminating a number of tax privileges and exemptions as
well as free economic zones, became effective in April 2005). According to
State Treasury information, revenues of the general fund of the state budget
were just 2.7% above the target for the period.

Tax receipts, accounting for about 70% of total state budget expenditures,
was fully in line with target, while non-tax revenues were over-executed by
15.3%. At the same time, data suggests some deterioration of fiscal
discipline. In particular, revenues from enterprise profit tax (EPT) were
under-fulfilled by 21.6%, which may be attributed to sluggish economic
growth, reduction of enterprise profitability in the industrial sector and
increasing tax evasion.

However, the shortfall in EPT collections was compensated for by 17.1%
over-execution of value added tax (VAT) receipts. High growth of VAT
proceeds is primarily attributed to booming imports, stimulated by robust
domestic demand. In addition, fiscal authorities reported a decline in VAT
refund arrears by about 4% in the first quarter to UAH 616.3 million ($122

Over the period, consolidated budget expenditures grew by about 45% yoy to
UAH 32.6 billion ($6.45 billion), significantly up from 36% yoy a month
before. At the same time, the acceleration occurred on the back of
under-execution of expenditures (typical for the beginning of the year.)

According to State Treasury information, expenditures of the general fund of
the state budget were under-fulfilled by 8.7% over January-March 2006
compared to 7% in the respective period last year. The acceleration may be
explained by considerable social liabilities and a low base effect as a
number of recurrent social payment increases came into effect in April last

As the Ministry of Finance did not issue new debt instruments on both
domestic and external markets in the first quarter of this year, the stock
of public debt (guaranteed and non-guaranteed) declined by 3.6% year-to-date
(ytd) to $14.9 billion at the end of March, which translates into 15.8% of
forecasted full-year GDP.

External debt declined by 4.4% ytd to $11.2 billion (or 11.2% of forecasted
2006 GDP) as the government met the interest and principal payments on
Eurobonds due in March. Domestic debt diminished by 1.3% ytd to $3.6 billion
due to repayment of domestic bonds (auctions of domestic securities were
suspended in mid-2005).

According to the 2006 state budget law, the government plans rather low new
borrowings (about $61 million and $230 million on domestic and external
markets respectively), while the forecasted full-year budget deficit of 2.5%
of GDP will be primarily financed by “Kryvorizhstal” privatization receipts
accumulated on the treasury account.

At the same time, considering faster than expected shrinkage of the
consolidated budget surplus and the sluggish privatization process (the
proceeds from privatization amounted to UAH 53.1 million as of the end of
March, or 2.5% of the targeted amount for 2006), the government may have to
resort to larger borrowings. In any case, the budget is likely to be amended
shortly after the new government is formed.

                                        MONETARY POLICY

In March, the consumer price index (CPI) decelerated to 8.6% yoy, down from
10.7% yoy a month before. The price growth slowdown was the result of money
supply growth deceleration, government measures to stabilize the situation
on particular markets (sugar and gasoline), and deceleration of service
tariffs, albeit temporary. By components, the driving force of the consumer
price deceleration was the descending prices on food products, which account
for more than 60% in the consumer basket.

The food price index decelerated to 8.5% yoy, considerably down from 11.4%
yoy in February, primarily thanks to lower price growth on sugar, meat and
milk. A surge in sugar prices by 25% month-over-month (mom) in February was
caused by an increase in sugar prices in Russia (which, in turn, were
affected by soaring world prices for white and raw sugar), which stimulated
Ukraine’s sugar exports to Russia.

However, due to licensing of sugar exports introduced by Ukrainian
authorities in February, sugar prices started to decelerate in March,
advancing by a moderate 0.7% mom. Meat and milk prices continued to
decelerate to 2.7% yoy and 11.6% yoy (down from 9% yoy and 14.2% yoy
respectively), which is explained by domestic market saturation after Russia
introduced bans on these products at the beginning of the year.

Non-food prices continued their moderate descending trend posting a 3.6% yoy
increase, down from 3.8% yoy in February. Despite soaring world crude oil
prices, non-food price developments are unlikely to change considerably in
the coming months due to a high base effect, the low share of this group in
the non-food consumer basket (about 4.5%), and an agreement between the
government and oil-traders to keep from abrupt increases in gasoline prices
during the spring sowing campaign.

Services tariffs decelerated slightly to 14.2% yoy in March (down from 14.6%
in February), but the trend will reverse in the coming months as the
government declared intentions to bring service tariffs to cost-covering
levels in two years. Gas and electricity prices, for instance, were kept
unchanged since 1999, at a level considerably below the cost-covering level.
The first wave of administered price increases will occur in May as the
government has already approved a 25% increase in gas and electricity prices
starting May 1st.

In March, the growth of the monetary base and money supply continued to
decelerate as a result of considerable sale interventions by the NBU and
slowing growth of deposits to the banking system. In particular, the growth
of the monetary base declined sharply to 25.2% yoy, down from 36.4% yoy in
February, while money supply growth decelerated more moderately to 49.2% yoy
compared to 52.1% yoy a month before.

The developments of monetary aggregates were primarily driven by NBU
measures to balance the foreign exchange market. During March, the NBU sold
$724.4 million to keep the hryvnia exchange rate stable at 5.05 UAH/$. As a
result, NBU gross international reserves declined to $17.3 billion, or 11%
since the beginning of the year. At the same time, the import coverage
constituted 4.1 months of future imports at the end of March, notably above
the three-month benchmark.

Commercial bank deposits continued to decelerate, advancing by 40.8% yoy
(down from 50.3% yoy in February), reflecting the effect of an increasing
statistical base, declining deposit rates (which are below the annual
inflation rate) and political uncertainty related to parliamentary

Despite deceleration, the growth of deposits, together with March’s easing
of monetary policy, was high enough to support commercial banks’ lending
activities. Slight deceleration of the growth of bank loans to the real
sector to 65% yoy from 66.1% yoy a month before is attributable to a high
statistical base (in the corresponding period last year, commercial banks
resumed their lending programs with the end of political instability).

According to NBU data, there is evidence of a growing financing gap in the
banking system (the difference between the banks’ loans disbursed to the
real economy and attracted deposits), which may signify liquidity
difficulties in the future. Already in March, the interest rate on interbank
credits, the closest indicator of banks’ liquidity and monetary stance,
started to rise and reached 4.9% per annum by the end of the month (up from
2.8% per annum at the beginning of the month).

This happened despite the relaxation of monetary policy in March through the
NBU’s fine-tuning instruments (since the beginning of the month, the daily
requirement for the amount of commercial bank funds to be kept on the
correspondent account with the NBU was reduced from 90% to 70% of the
previous month’s obligatory reserves). Thus, the NBU may take additional
measures to support commercial banks liquidity in the coming months.


Over January-February, Ukraine’s merchandise foreign trade performance
continued to deteriorate on the back of declining exports and booming
imports. In particular, goods exports declined by a cumulative 5.4% yoy over
the period, while imports surged by an impressive 39.6% yoy. As a result,
the two-month merchandise trade balance registered a deficit above $1

Exports was negatively affected by a weak industrial sector, declining world
steel prices, and bans on Ukraine’s meat and milk products exports
introduced by the Russian Federation at the beginning of the year. Export of
metallurgical products, the largest item group in goods exports (42%),
declined by 9.6% yoy due to weakening external demand and higher production
costs (mostly energy).

On the positive side, recovering external demand for Ukraine’s machinery and
transportation vehicles stimulated export of these commodities, which grew
by 10.4% yoy and 22.5% yoy respectively over the period.

The high growth rates of commodity imports were primarily driven by more
expensive energy resources, which account for more than one-third of total
merchandise imports, continuous expansion of domestic demand supported by
growing population income and extensive commercial bank lending activities.

Import of energy materials soared by 42.2% yoy over the first two months of
2006, which may be explained by a 41.5% price hike on imported natural gas
at the beginning of the year, larger volumes of imported gas due to very
cold weather, and Russia’s increase of export duty on crude oil in December

On a positive note, imports of investment goods have been posting a further
increase in 2006. In particular, imports of machinery and transportation
equipment grew by 35.6% yoy and 100% yoy respectively in January-February
2006 (up from 33.8% yoy and 29.1% yoy in 2005).

Tensions in the trade relations with Russia and higher prices for imported
energy resources drove the changes in the geographical structure of Ukraine’s
merchandise foreign trade. In particular, Russia’s share in exports has been
declining since the beginning of the year, constituting 20% at the end of
February (compared to 22% in 2005).

The CIS countries’ share in total merchandise imports increased from about
47% in 2005 to more than 50% at the end of February 2006, while the share of
goods imported from Russia slightly declined to about 34% from 35.5% in
2005. This development may reflect the substitution of Russia’s more
expensive fossil fuels with those from other CIS countries (in particular


                             THE INVESTMENT CLIMATE 

Ukraine continues to make progress in improving its legal environment and
bringing legislation to western standards. At the end of March, the
president signed the law “On Securities and Stock Market” adopted by the
parliament at the end of February.

The law improves regulation of professional activity on the stock market,
sets uniform requirements for organization of trading and disclosure of
information, describes procedures for IPO and private placement of
securities, tackles problems with insider trading and transferring the right
of ownership for securities. The law will encourage stock market
transactions, thus stimulating the development of Ukraine’s financial

At the end of March, Ukraine completed WTO negotiations with Panama.

It became the 43rd country with which Ukraine signed the bilateral agreement
on joint access to the market of goods and services. Ukrainian authorities
declared that Ukraine can still become a member of WTO in summer-autumn

However, Ukraine still has to adopt a number of politically sensitive laws
and complete negotiations with the remaining countries, the toughest of
which are expected to be with Australia. Due to the pause in the legislative
process (as a result of parliamentary elections) and the prolonged process
of formation of a government coalition, the more realistic date of Ukraine’s
entry to WTO looks like the end of 2006.                   -30-

NOTE: To see the entire SigmaBleyzer/The Bleyzer Foundation Ukraine
Macroeconomic Situation report for April 2006 in a PDF format, including
several color charts and graphics click on the following link:
CONTACT: Olga Pogarska, Economist, The Bleyzer Foundation,
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                Westerners have discovered Lviv, a place of fine dining,
                    Baroque and Rococo treasures and excellent prices.

By Barry Zwick, Special to The Times, Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles, California, Sunday, May 28, 2006

SATURDAY along Prospekt Svobody – Freedom Street – and here come
the brides. Granddaughters of Kulaks, Cossacks and Tatars, they promenade
from the grand Hapsburg wedding cake of an opera house down three
canopied blocks of chestnut and walnut trees, past chess players, balloon
sellers and street artists. They finish at the statue of Taras Shevchenko,
Ukraine’s most beloved poet and patron saint of the newly wed.

These are the best of times on the cobblestone streets of Ukraine’s Lion
City, named for 13th century Galician prince Lev Danylovich. In November
2004, the Orange Revolution against Russian influence bore fruit, and
Ukraine was free at last.

Lviv, a Polish or Austrian city for much of its history, is filled with
Baroque pastel Polish-style town houses, gingerbread-trimmed Austrian
university halls, heroic Russian statues and distinctively Ukrainian parks
as densely wooded as the thick birch forests to the city’s east.

Last summer, Ukraine dropped its visa requirements for Westerners, including
Americans, and tourists are visiting now. I came here in September to
explore the country where my mother was born.

During prime travel time, from April to September, there’s a three-month
wait list for the once-a-day 40-minute flight from Warsaw to Lviv. The
city’s elegant Grand Hotel, flying an American flag, must be booked months
ahead. As prices soar in other Eastern European cities, Lviv’s $2 taxi
fares, $12 five-course dinners with wine and hotel rooms half the price of
those in Budapest, Hungary, have become a potent lure.

Lviv, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and home to more than half of Ukraine’s
architectural treasures, was spared the bombings of World War II. It is the
Ukrainian city most often compared to Prague, Czech Republic.

In 1990, when Prague drew international attention, the city was ready for
backpackers, but not luxury travelers. Restaurants, for example, were noted
more for their Czech Budweiser than for their food.

There’s no such problem in Lviv. As I strolled down Prospekt Shevchenka,
a broad boulevard lined with turn-of-the-last-century luxury apartments, I
found a patisserie called Veronika under candy-striped umbrellas.

Veronika’s 40-page English-language menu read like the Escoffier-inspired
Queen Mary cookbook: spinach-stuffed breast of chicken Veronique in
pistachio sauce, escalope de veau Prince Orloff with liver pâté in cream
sauce, tournedos de boeuf Rossini with pâté de foie gras, a choice of black
or red caviar. The chicken was so good – my plate brimming with burgundy
Black Sea grapes – that I returned the following week and ordered it again.

Finding Ukrainian food in Lviv took more work. At Sim Porosyat (Seven
Piglets), a peasant-costumed three-piece band – violin, accordion and
xylophone – welcomed customers to a Ukrainian country inn. Water streamed
from an overturned earthen jar onto a pile of rocks, waitresses wearing
dirndls escorted diners to a whole-log balcony, and a giant pig wearing a
pearl necklace sat on a saddle, riding a chicken.

As I studied the leather-wrapped menu bound like an Orthodox monk’s holy
book, the band played “If I Were a Rich Man” from “Fiddler on the Roof.”
(Sholem Aleichem, the Yiddish-language writer whose tales were the basis for
the musical, was born and raised in Pereyaslav-Khmelnitsky, Ukraine.)

The feast had begun long before I ordered. My waiter brought me a glass of
honeyed vodka and dishes of marinated mushrooms and dilled onions. As I
sipped a bright and fruity Crimean merlot, a steaming platter of chicken
Kiev arrived, accompanied with crisp potato pancakes stuffed with veal in a
hearty mushroom sauce.

                             ACCESSIBLE LANDMARKS
NEARLY all that a visitor would want to see in this city of 800,000 is an
easy walk from the center. Rynok Square, just two blocks from Prospekt
Svobody in the heart of Old Town, has 44 Baroque and Rococo landmarks –
each with a documented history – built from the 16th to 19th centuries. Most
are three stories high and three windows wide.

All belonged to wealthy merchants who tried to outdo one another. Cluttered
shops at street level stocked vodkas, antiques, samovars and blown glass. I
wandered amid statues, reliefs and intricate carvings. Lions were
everywhere, on staircases, balconies and doorknobs.

The most visited mansion on the square is No. 6, the Italian Courtyard,
built by the Greek wine tycoon Constantine Kornyakt in 1580. The interior
court of this neoclassical beauty is enclosed by gracefully turned arches
and sculptured columns and filled with flowers, Greek statues and green
shrubs. It’s a popular lunch and snack stop.

The top of Town Hall’s neo-Renaissance tower, 213 feet high, is the best
place to view Lviv.

I followed three giggling teenage couples up the 289 steps. Halfway up was a
window and a fine view of Lviv, of red tile roofs amid the treetops and a
bit of ramshackle shabbiness as well. This is the city’s bell tower, and on
the hour we all were in for a surprise.

From the observation deck, I saw a panorama of domes and churches, of
spires and statuary. Many of central Lviv’s 40 churches, built as Russian

Orthodox or Roman Catholic, are today Greek Catholic, following the
majority faith of Lviv.

Of Lviv’s many old synagogues – the city was one-quarter Jewish before
nearly all its 100,000 Jewish residents were murdered during World War II –
the ruins of only the Golden Rose Synagogue survive.

Just three blocks east of Prospekt Svobody is one of Lviv’s oldest churches,
the Armenian Cathedral, finished in 1360.

Its dark stone exterior looks forbidding, but in the church’s cool, shaded
courtyard, young people strum guitars and sing and eat lunches of fat poppy
seed-studded buns stuffed with sausages. The Russians shuttered the church
in 1953 and turned it into an icon storehouse. After Ukraine became
independent from Russia in 1991, the government gave the building to the
Armenian Apostolic Church.

The Armenian community, substantial during the 18th and 19th centuries,
numbers only 1,000 now. Many left when communism made commerce

Many of the churches needed a coat of paint, but not the Church of the
Transfiguration, the largest one in Lviv. The Baroque church was in
beautiful condition – the golden iconostasis, the purple and blue interior,
the stunning light and the dazzling paintings of biblical scenes. It was
built by Roman Catholics in the 18th century, then Soviet officials gave it
to Lviv’s Greek Catholic majority in 1989.

Near the 17th century Gothic Boims Chapel one sunny afternoon, I stopped
for lunch with Slav Tsarynnyk, owner of Lviv Ecotours. The restaurant,
Amadeus, looked like a bit of Salzburg, Austria: fin-de-siècle oil paintings
crowds at cabarets, etched-glass paneled windows, delicate linen curtains
and a big clock with a pendulum.

“Mozart’s son, Franz Xavier, was a music teacher in Lviv, when it was
Lemberg,” Tsarynnyk said. He ordered a typical Lvivian lunch – vanilla ice
cream with blackberries, raspberries, strawberry jam, a mint leaf and lots
of whipped cream.

Tsarynnyk was my guide for three of my eight days in Ukraine. I found him on
Lonely Planet’s online Thorn Tree forum and reserved his services by e-mail
from home. For my day tour of Lviv, he charged $80, and for our later
two-day excursion into the countryside, it was $100 per day plus expenses.

In a country where English is not widely spoken, not even at customs, a good
guide – and Tsarynnyk was extraordinary, as well as good company – can be
indispensable. Most taxi drivers don’t speak English, nor do they know our
                                 A NIGHT AT THE OPERA
THE highlight of my visit was a night at the opera, officially the Ivan
Franko Opera and Ballet Theatre. You’ll see Franko’s name in places
throughout the city, including on its university and one of its bigger

Franko, who lived from 1856 to 1916, was a poet beloved by Ukrainians
because he was a nationalist and was acceptable to the Soviets because he
was a socialist. In 1905, he wrote “Moses,” a poem ostensibly about the last
days of the leader of the ancient Hebrews but actually about the
emancipation of the Ukrainians.

Ukrainian composer Myroslav Skoryk set an opera called “Moses” to Franko’s
words; its premiere was in 2001, when Pope John Paul II came here. The
city’s distinguished opera company has performed it periodically ever since
at the spectacular opera house. I had a ticket – front row center for $10.

Crowds gathered day and night in front of the Viennese neo-Renaissance opera
house, built by Austria in 1900. It’s heavy on the gilt and marble. Among
the fine touches: a majestic double staircase, Corinthian columns, a hall of
mirrors, huge oil paintings on the walls and ceilings, statues of the Muses
and, on top, large bronze statues symbolizing glory, poetry and music.

The season lasts most of the year, and you’ll find few more ambitious
schedules. Typically, eight operas and eight ballets are presented each
month, most of them standards.

Inside, the crowd was giddy. Teenagers snapped digital photos of one
another. Young couples craned their necks to take in the details on the
ceilings. As the lights dimmed, we took our seats, comfortably upholstered
in burgundy velvet. It was a full house – all 1,002 seats were taken. Swells
took their places in the boxes overhead and whipped out binoculars. Most in
the audience spoke Ukrainian, but I heard French, German and Italian and,
here and there, English.

The music was sweeping, stirring and heroic. Skoryk created a mood of
historic majesty not so much through melody as through chords, for a 1940s
Hollywood epic sound. Costumes and sets were lavish, and dances compelling.
Moses sang of a somewhat unfamiliar Promised Land, of “oak forests and green

Opera is an international comfort food for those of us who like it. The
rituals are universal: flowers for the soprano and shouts of “Bravo!” In
Lviv, though, the bass got the flowers. The applause, a do-your-own thing
elsewhere in the world, was in lock-step unison, clap for clap. And the
audience rose as one for the standing ovation.

At the opera, at the airport and on the teeming streets of Lviv, I ran into
Canadians and Americans who had emigrated from the city and were back in
town for weddings.

Traditionally, as the bride in a Lviv wedding leaves the church, she hurls
candies – symbolizing a life of sweetness – to the waiting crowd. At the
Dominican Church, Tsarynnyk and I caught a handful and shared in the
                                OPEN-DOOR POLICY IN LVIV
From LAX, Lufthansa has connecting flights (one change
of plane) to Lviv, Ukraine. United and American have connecting service with
two changes of planes. Restricted round-trip fares begin at $1,855 until
June 25, dropping to $1,765 until Sept. 5.

TELEPHONES: To call the numbers below from the U.S., dial 011 (the
international dialing code), 380 (country code for Ukraine), then 322 (city
code for Lviv) and the local number.

WHERE TO STAY: Grand Hotel, 13 Prospekt Svobody; 72-40-42, . Elegant rooms in a prime location facing the
Shevchenko statue. Doubles from $165, including breakfast buffet.

Hotel Dnister, 6 Mateiko St.; 97-43-17, . New
York Sen. Hillary Clinton and Vaclav Havel, former president of the Czech
Republic, stayed here (separately). Much better service than the Grand.
Doubles from $82, including breakfast buffet.

Lion’s Castle, 7 Glinki St.; 97-15-63. Friendly boutique hotel, 15-minute
walk to Old Town. Doubles from $91, with breakfast.

WHERE TO EAT: Amadeus, 7 Katedralna St.; 97-80-22. Beside the Boims
chapel, just off Rynok Square. Wonderfully seasoned Austrian dishes with
lots of fresh vegetables. Dinner with wine from $11.

Veronika, 21 Prospekt Shevchenka; 97-81-28. Haute cuisine in a festive
indooroutdoor setting, friendly service offering good wine advice: “Stick
with Merlot.” Dinner with wine from $13.

Sim Porosyat (Seven Piglets), 9 Bandera St.; 97-55-58. An over-the-top
Ukrainian theme restaurant with musical entertainment. Reservations a must.
Dinner with wine from $14.

GUIDE: Slav Tsarynnyk, 37 Tiutiunnykiv St., Lviv 79011, Ukraine; (067)
670-0840, In a country where English is not widely spoken,
a good guide is indispensable.

TO LEARN MORE: Ukrainian Embassy, 3350 M St. N.W., Washington, DC,
20007; (202) 333-0606, . U.S. citizens can spend
90 days in Ukraine without a visa.                    -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
     Valuable information resource for business and pleasure travel to Ukraine.

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

WASHINGTON – It gives me great pleasure to inform you that the U.S.-
Ukraine Foundation has significantly improved its Internet presence!

In order to further develop and expand the Foundation’s Business and
Economic Development Program and to promote a sector of Ukraine’s
economy previously ignored by our Business Links webpages, we are
now unveiling the comprehensive website, Travel to Ukraine
( ) , which will serve as a valuable information
resource for business and pleasure travel to Ukraine.

As you know, the Foundation has been promoting Ukraine’s economic
development through business promotion such as its Business Links web
pages, the business e-newsletter BizLinks, and the business e-journal,
Potential.  In addition, the Foundation has been a strong supporter of
professional travel exchanges between the U.S. and Ukraine.

Its major programs, such as the U.S.-Ukraine Community Partnerships Project
and U.S.-Ukraine Policy Dialogue, have conducted over 500 professional
exchanges during the past eight years. These programmatic connections make
Travel to Ukraine a natural asset for USUF.

We now hope that Travel to Ukraine will become the official travel website
and guide of Ukraine, serving millions of people seeking to discover
tremendous business, educational and travel opportunities in Ukraine.

Discover Ukraine by going to !    -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]


LETTERS-TO-THE-EDITOR: By Vladyslav Tsarynnyk

Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #702, Article 4
Washington, D.C., Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Lviv Ecotour is run by Vladyslav and Miya Tsarynnyk, a young
Ukrainian couple living in Lviv. One of our goals is to help develop rural
areas of southwestern Ukraine through environmentally friendly tourism.
We love skiing, hiking and biking in the mountains and would like to
introduce others to this beautiful part of Ukraine.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
    Send in names and e-mail addresses for the AUR distribution list.
                           NUMBER 6 OF 10: KYIV, UKRAINE

By Rae-Jean Stokes, Staff,

Boston, Massachusetts, May, 2006

You’ve done London, Paris, and Rome. You’ve been to “up-and-coming”
Prague and Budapest. Think you’ve seen the best of Europe? Think again.

While even Prague is pricey and crowded these days, there remain many
affordable European cities rarely visited by American tourists. Here are our
picks for the 10 cities that should make your “must-visit” list.

[1] Tallinn, Estonia; [2] Krakow Poland; [3] Dubrovnik, Croatia, [4]
Istanbul, Turkey; [5] Ljubljana, Slovenia; [6] Kyiv, Ukraine; [7] Briges,
Belgium; [8] Kosice, Slovakia; [9] Sarajevo, Bosnia; [10] Gdansk, Poland.

                                      KYIV, UKRAINE
Perched on a hill above the Dneiper River, the gold-domed city of Kyiv
(Kiev is the Russian spelling) is still reeling from the Orange Revolution
in 2004. However, Kyivans are equipped with a can-do attitude, having
successfully protested a bogus election, and it’s starting to show in the
local tourist industry.

Due to the lingering Soviet mindset in some establishments, don’t be
surprised by less-than-stellar service from some public employees, but at
the same time, you can expect some of the most genuine hospitality in the
world from everyday people. It is truly a city at a crossroads.

A trip to Kyiv would be incomplete without a visit to one of Christian
Orthodoxy’s most important sites, the Percherska Lavra. Expect to spend a
least a few hours exploring its 10th- and 11th-century churches and their
underground catacombs that hold the mummified remains of early monks.

To get a sense of modern Kyiv, take a leisurely stroll along Khreshchatyk,
the city’s main avenue. Perfect for shopping, grabbing a snack, or watching
street performers, it’s also famous for its part as the center of the Orange

One of the best and most economical options for accommodations in the city
is renting a private apartment. Former Peace Corps volunteer (and this
reporter’s husband) Nick Stokes, who spent two years living in Ukraine,
rented apartments when visiting the city with friends.

“Whenever we needed a break from our villages, we all met in Kyiv. More than
once, a large group of us rented a three-bedroom apartment, complete with a
Jacuzzi and sauna, just steps from Khrystchatyk, for about $75 a night.”

There are countless ads in the English language newspaper, the Kyiv Post, as
well as on the Internet. You can even arrange for a room at the local train
station by approaching any of the old women holding signs (they may not
speak English, however). Most rental agents are reputable-if you’re at all
wary, just ask to see the place before you commit.

Ukrainian food is cheap, and what it lacks in price is makes up for in
taste-if you like starches, fats, and meats, that is. If you’re not counting
carbs or fat grams, you should make sure to have at least one lengthy
sit-down traditional Ukrainian meal. This will cost about $10 for two people
at a touristy restaurant in the city center.

However, at a local cafes away from the tourist attractions, expect to pay
no more than $3 for everything. Don’t forget to wash it all down with a shot
of Ukrainian vodka, which you can buy by the bottle for less than $2
(although paying a little extra for higher quality spirits is definitely
worth it).

Before taxes and fees, flights from New York usually go for about $600 in
the winter low season and $1,100 during the summer. Cheaper deals can
sometimes be found with Aerosvit Airlines, the country’s national carrier.

Besides paying less, flying with Aerosvit has an additional benefit-or
danger, depending on how you look at it: “While domestic carriers will now
charge you for your vodka, Aerosvit will treat you to a litre of your own
for free,” says Stokes.                              -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
6.                     UKRAINE – A BRADT TRAVEL GUIDE

Author: Andrew Evans, January 2004
1st edition (reprinted with amendments 2005)
Bradt Travel Guides, 336 pages · 8 pages colour photos
30 maps, ISBN: 1 84162 084 X £13.95

The new Bradt guide to Ukraine is a travel manual to read before, during
and after a trip; it features comprehensive practical information, while
revealing the country’s personality through in-depth exploration of its
history, culture and natural beauty.

Traditional churches. monasteries and sacred sites provide a contrast to
the notorious, but compelling, landmark of Chernobyl.

Andrew Evans shows how Ukraine can easily be explored by rail, river
cruise or sea ferry, and also on foot, the ideal way to take in rustic
villages of old-world Eastern Europe.
                    AUTHOR’S NOTE, BY ANDREW EVANS
When I first set foot in Ukraine, there was no such country in my world
atlas, let alone anything like a travel guide. My first impressions were
stringent and few: the streets were too dark and the cars didn’t run. Public
payphones were free (if they worked) and you could buy bread and milk with
subway tokens.

In winter there was no heat, and in summer, no water. One chose to eat
cabbage, potatoes, bread and mustard, or nothing at all. I stayed two years
and cried when I left.

Ten years later, hope has overcome despair and I have witnessed remarkable
changes towards a secure society and better lifestyle for Ukrainians. Yet,
it is the memory of the darker years that keeps me returning to this country
again and again. Few countries boast a history so imminent as Ukraine’s, and
every little place bears such deep human meaning.

The timeless exercise of daily survival allows little room for show, and
that is why I love the bunches of dogs that roam the streets, the bundled-up
grandmothers selling pails of bruised apples and the silent white blocks of
apartments lined up in a row.

Ukraine is a land made from the simplest ingredients: wheat fields and wide
skies, green mountains and rippling rivers. The resilient Ukrainian people
complete the panorama, so that the child pulling weeds in a potato patch
matches the splendour of the lofty gold domes of so many painted cathedrals.

When I consider the famous sites people know and visit in Europe, I can only
think what they are missing in Ukraine: hidden monasteries, picturesque
mountain villages in the Carpathians, the rocky shores and sunshine of
Crimea, the inland beauty of the Ukrainian steppe and the most undisturbed
bits of old-world eastern Europe.

While most of central Europe gets swept into the backpackers’ circuit, and
the avant-garde start to ‘discover’ Russia, Ukraine remains a sort of
secret, in-between no man’s land. There are still not enough beaten tracks
near Ukraine to place it ‘off the beaten track’, but foreign tourists are
scarce enough that you should feel special having made it this far.

Ironically, Ukraine supports all the infrastructure needed for trouble-free
travel: a stable hospitality industry has emerged and efficient trains,
buses and planes allow travellers to go anywhere they choose with ease. In
fact, the Ukrainian landscape engenders a mood for overland travel with its
bustling stations and mesmerising views laid out between destinations.

I have never experienced anything quite like that feeling of gazing out
across the everlasting plain from a bus window, or staring at a white moon
from a slow night train. Hopefully, many others will get to know the beauty
and simplicity of this land that is ‘on the edge’. May all your adventures
be happy and unusual. Schaslivoyi dorohy.

Additional update (12 April, 2005)
And there’s never been a better time to visit Kiev! Not only is the city
still reeling with the positive energy from Ukraine’s exuberant Orange
Revolution, but the whole town is about to host Europe’s biggest party-the
Eurovision Song Contest.

In anticipation for the big event, and in a show of traditional Ukrainian
hospitality, from May and through the summer, visas will not be required for
citizens from the European Union, United States or Canada. It’s a great
opportunity to come and see Kiev’s famous chestnut blossoms, visit a myriad
of gold-domed churches and stroll though the historic streets of this
beautiful, ancient city.

Andrew Evans is a writer with a significant background in Ukrainian culture,
history and politics. He has lived in Ukraine and continues to travel there
regularly.                 -30-
FOOTNOTE: I have known Andrew Evans for some time but had not
seen him lately.  Luckily I ran into Andrew Evans at a dinner last night in
Washington.  He told me he has just returned from traveling around
Ukraine for several weeks and would be doing another update to his
outstanding travel book. You can contact Andrew at
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
         Visiting Hoffnungstal, Daughter Colony of the Glueckstal Villages
                     Visiting the village of Kassel, Glueckstal District

Michael Miller and Tour Members, Internet Cafe
Odessa, Ukraine, Saturday-Monday, May 27-29, 2006

Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #702, Article 7
Washington, D.C., Tuesday, May 30, 2006

ODESSA – Just a short note to let you know that we arrived safely in
Odessa from Prague! All is well with the tour members and in good health.

Some tour members left to visit the former German villages in Crimea near
Simperofol, Ukraine including a two-night stay.  Other tour members travel
for 27-28 May to the Gluecktal villages in Moldova with overnight stay.

Tour members on 27 May have visited with separate trips to Kassel, to
Hoffnungstal, and to the Kutschurgan villages including Mannheim, Baden,
Kandel and Selz. On Sunday, 28 May, tour members and I will go back to
visit Strassburg and Elsass with lunch at the home of Louisa Rielsing in

On 27 May, in Selz the room for the new Museum was opened for the first
time. This is most impressive and the first cultural museum in one of the
Kutschurgan villages. The items in the museum are most impressive and a
good beginning. The school director, teachers and community members attend
this event. They would like to add items of identified photographs from
Kutschurganers in North America. We were most honored and pleased to
participate with the opening and dedication of this Selz Museum near to
the former Catholic Church.

We will send another email in next day with text prepared by tour members
of their thoughts and memories visiting the villages of their ancestors
including the Glueckstal, Kutschurgan, Crimean, Liebental and other

For those who have joined us for past Journey to the Homeland Tours, you
will be interested to know that in Odessa progress with development and
construction is growing including new hotels. There is an impressive
indoor 5-story shopping mall developed by Greece near to the Black Sea.

The Chorne More Hotel as improved significantly in many ways as well as
the airport. There is no longer need for a Ukrainian visa when traveling
to Ukraine only for USA citizens since August, 2005. This makes the
airport arrival much easier.

Special regards from tour members from the Black Sea port city of
Odessa and Ukraine,

Michael M. Miller,Bibliographer
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC),

Fargo, North Dakota
                            THE GLUECKSTAL VILLAGES

Darlene Brown Robertson, Hayward, California
Arlene Wagner Lundgren, Sartell, Minnesota
Internet Cafe, Odessa, Ukraine, 28 May 2006, Part II

We left at 8:30 am with our guide and driver. On the way to Hoffnungstal,
we stopped at the outdoor market near Kutschurgan. There were many
vegetables, clothering, appliances and more. We purchased sandals for our

When we arrived in Hoffnungstal where our ancestors lived from 1818 to
1902, we were pleased to see how much remained.

First we drove to the school. The original portion is 140 years old. The
addition was added in the 1850s. As luck would have it, we met the Head
of Studies. Her name is Oxanna who let us into the school. We visited the
computer lab and faculty room. In the hallway, we were able to see the
children’s artwork which is on display in the new school section. Our
grandparents likely went to this school before immigrating to North Dakota
and the Mercer area.

Oxanna gave each of us a copy of the book published to celebrate
Hoffnungstal 1804-2004. What a thrill!

We gave Oxanna pencils, pens, notebooks, candy and gum for the children.
Then we said good bye. “Remember who you are”, Oxanna said as she waved.

Next we visited with Rosa, a wonderful lady who lives in the village. She
came to Hoffnungstal in 1928 and attended the German School. She told of
the damage to the Jewish and German cemeteries. She remembered her school
days and her German friends many of whom she is in touch with today. She
is expecting many visitors for her 85th birthday. She described the damage
to the tombstones with tears in her eyes. She was very witty, very kind
and very generous with her time. Rosa is a Jewish woman born in Ukraine.

Rosa gave us a jar of homemade jam. We have Rosa flower and vegetable
seeds and a broch.

We drove by the cemetery and filled a bag with soil to be placed on our
grandparents and parents graves back home. We then drove by the German
houses. There are no Germans living there today.

Then we drove to Neuburg and saw more German houses traveling on to Berlin
on our way back to Odessa. Our driver found the cemetery near Berlin. He
helped us dig through the lilac bushes to find tombstones. We ere not able
to read any names.

We wish to compliment our guide, Lydia, and our driver, Alex. We had a
wonderful experience!

Natalie Weber Hansen; Marysville, Washington
Lavern Weber & Patrica Lewis; South Beach Oregon
Internet Cafe, Odessa, Ukraine, Sunday, 28 May 2006, Part III

“On May 27, we visited our main objective traveling to Kassel. Kassel is
about 2.5 hours driving from Odessa through beautiful agricultural land
and very green. It was a wonderful day. Kassel was much as expected. It
was Saturday and it seemed much of the population of 400 was not to be
seen. The post mistress was the only person we talked to. She named a few
families of German heritage who have immigrated back to Germany. She did
sell us some stamps to send a few cards.

We got a good look at the former German Lutheran Church today in ruins but
still impressive.

The countryside feels more like Tanzania than a developed country. Driving
to Kassel, the number of people walking, working in yards and fields was
impressive. We counted over 30 people in one field alone who were hoeing or
cutting hay using sickels. People were using horse power with wagons and
carts having auto tires. There are farm animals everywhere – chickens,
ducks, geese, turkeys, cows, goats and horses.

There are long houses that are German in origin with red tiles on the
roofs. The German houses in some cases were torn down for building

We searched the grave yard but it was impossible to identify gravestones.
There are thick patches of lilac bushes which have grown over the German
grave sites. Our efforts revealed no stones or other markers such as
German iron crosses.

Our guide, Tamara, said we could identify cemetery sites by the clumps of
iris nicely in bloom which we found a number in the old and new areas of
the cemetery.

We did see a number of old motorcycles with side car. Sometime the side car
carried a person but more often they acted as a trailer carrying many
items including hay.

We left Kassel just as it started to rain. We did manage to stop at the
outdoor market near Kutschurgan and purchased some strawberries – not that
we needed to eat after a great lunch of quantity and quality.”

Gary and Peggy Sinnemaki Haar; Boise, Idaho
Internet Cafe, Odessa, Ukraine, Monday, 29 May 2006

“We arrived at the Ukraine Hotel in Simperofol after traveling through
land that looked very much like South Dakota (where I was born). We had a
wonderful dinner and walked around the town of Simperofol. It was a very
cosmopolitan city – lots of young people in the streets.

On 28 May, our translator, Albina, found the way to Friedenstal where we
had located the cemetery. After walking through the Russian part of the
cemetery, we were told by a villager where the German graves were. Many
gravestones have been broken, some have been placed into a pile, but some
remained standing even through they are surrounded by trees and brush. We
photographed those we could see easily to try to interpret later.

After leaving the cemetery, we walked down the main street of Friedenstal
and discovered old German houses that had been deserted. They had walls
that were 12 to 18 inches thick. They were built to last forever. At the
bottom, were limestone blocks. The top were bricks made of some kind of
animal refuse and straw. The house we investigated was quite large – about
seven rooms.

After Friedentstal, we drove to Neutatz where we located the school that
was built by the Germans in 1878. Finding the school director was harder.
We did fine her and her name was Galina Bondarchuk. She was a very fine
lady who stopped to put on her finest clothing before she took us into the
school. We left two shopping bags of paper, pens, crayons and color books.

In exchange, we received a narrative of how the school was built and her
desire to teach the children not only of their history as a village, but
also to import the feeling of good will to all races and ethnic
backgrounds. Galina was a remarkable person – just the kind of person you
hope are teaching the children.

While at the school, it began to rain and then pour. We were not able to
see the rest of the village od visit the cemetery there. Also when we got
back to Simperofol, the streets had turned into rivers so we were unable
to visit the cemetery there.

On Monday, 29 May, we attempted to locate the village of Bulatsche on our
way back to Odessa. Our translator, Albina, did her best to ask the local
people where this village might be, and we were in the process of tracking
it down,but the roads were so muddy raining so hard that our driver could
continue now further on the country roads.

We discovered a lot and we enjoyed the trip gathering enough material to
keep us occupied awhile. We felt it was an excellent tip hindered only by
the weather.”                                  -30-

Michael M. Miller, Bibliographer
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection (GRHC)
Marie Rudel Portner Germans from Russia Room
North Dakota State University Libraries
P.O. Box 5599; 1201 Albrecht Blvd.
Fargo, ND 58105-5599 USA
Tel: 701-231-8416; Cell: 701-306-3224
Germans from Russia Heritage Collection Website:
Personal Home Page:
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
     NOTE: Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.
         Embassy of Ukraine in Washington, Friday, June 2nd, at 7:00 P.M.

The Washington Group Cultural Fund
Washington, D.C., Tuesday, May 30, 2006

WASHINGTON – The Washington Group Cultural Fund under the

patronage of the Embassy of Ukraine cordially invites you to attend a
Benefit Concert in memory of Daria Telizyn (1961-2005) featuring aspiring
young musicians performing works by Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Skoryk
and others.

Friday June 2nd, 2006 at 7:00 p.m at the Embassy of UKRAINE,
3350 M St. NW, Washington, DC, Suggested donation: $50.00

RSVP: 202 349-2961, Nataliia Holub,

All proceeds from the Benefit Concert will be used to assist qualified young
musicians from Ukraine with expenses associated with participation in the
University of Maryland’s William Kapell International Piano Competition or
any other international music competition in the Balt-Wash Metropolitan
area.                      -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
       A Ukrainian Dance and Music Spectacular, Saturday, August 19, 2006
          The gala evening will honor Mr. Anatolij Kryvokhyzha with the first
                       annual  STEPPES TOWARD LIBERTY AWARD

By Anne Ehrhart, Managing Director for Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble
A Ukrainian Summer, Supplement to The Ukrainian Weekly
Parsippany, New Jersey, Sunday, May 7, 2006

PHILADELPHIA – Join us for a gala summer evening at the prestigious Kimmel
Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia.  On Saturday, August 19,
2006, The Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble of Philadelphia will present

STEPPES, a Ukrainian Dance and Music Spectacular.

The evening will feature the well-known Dance Ensemble and the brilliant
violinist, Vasyl Popadiuk, in a captivating concert performance celebrating
the magnificence of Ukrainian performing arts.

Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble was founded in the Philadelphia area 35
years ago.  Known for its exuberant, richly costumed interpretation of
traditional Ukrainian folk dance, the 35-member Ensemble combines the
strengths of classical ballet with the vigor of Ukrainian traditional dance.

Its excellence has been recognized with funding from the National Endowment
for the Arts, The Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, The Philadelphia
Cultural Fund and the Pew Charitable Trusts’ Dance Advance program.  It is
also a current member of the artist’s roster of the Pennsylvania Performing
Artists on Tour (PennPAT).

Under the artistic direction of Taras Lewyckyj since 1995, the Ensemble is
among the most accomplished Ukrainian dance companies of North America,
and is in frequent demand for performances and workshops. In 2005, it was
selected to greet and perform for the new president of Ukraine, Victor
Yuschenko, during his visits to both Washington, DC and Philadelphia, PA.

Vasyl Popadiuk, a concert violinist who makes his home in Ontario, is well
known to international audiences for his mesmerizing, virtuoso performances.
Currently he is the premier performer of “Papa Duke”, a dynamic group of
highly talented musicians that performs a genre-defying fusion of gypsy,
classical pop, jazz and Slavic music.

Mr. Popadiuk has toured extensively, and has performed for various
international dignitaries, including Jordan’s late King Hussein. In 1988 he
was featured in a concert at the Calgary Winter Olympics.  He performs
regularly on Canadian public television, in concerts and at music festivals.
Voloshky is pleased to present Mr. Popadiuk in his first Philadelphia main
stage appearance.

At an accompanying ceremony, the first STEPPES TOWARD LIBERTY
WARD will be presented.  This award will be presented annually to an
individual or group in recognition of significant contributions made toward
cultural freedom.

Voloshky is proud to announce that the premier STEPPES TOWARD
LIBERTY AWARD will be presented to Mr. Anatolij Kryvokhyzha.

A highly respected and treasured choreographer of Ukrainian folk dance, Mr.
Kryvokhyzha served as a particular inspiration to the Ukrainian Diaspora
during his controversial tour to the United States in 1978.

Mr. Kryvokhyzha is currently a Professor of Dance History and Theory at the
Kirovograd Ukrainian Dance Educational Complex in Ukraine. He is perhaps
best known, however, for his 20-year leadership of Yatran Ukrainian Dance
Company, during which time it grew from an enthusiastic collection of
amateurs into one of the finest professional folk ensembles of Europe,
winning critical acclaim and many awards in Europe and North America.

Yatran’s 1978 tour included performances in the Philadelphia area.  By
responding to eager overtures from the culturally hungry Ukrainian-American
community in the Philadelphia region, he awoke in younger generations a love
for Ukrainian heritage, and dance in particular.

But due to the cold war climate of the times, this interaction entailed
considerable risk. And indeed, upon his return home to Ukraine, Mr.
Kryvokhyzha was relieved of his position with Yatran, then relocated, and
forbidden from working again in the field of dance.

Mr. Kryvokhyzha has accepted the invitation to travel from Kirovograd,
Ukraine in order to receive the STEPPES TOWARD LIBERTY AWARD.

For further information, contact Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble at
215-663-0294,, or visit the website at
Anne Ehrhart. Managing Director for Voloshky Ukrainian Dance Ensemble,  215-848-2068
The Ukrainian Weekly, Ukrainian National Association (UNA),
Parsippany, NJ, Roma Hadzewycz, Editor-In-Chief,
Ukrainian Weekly Archive:
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Chris Lehourites, AP Worldstream, Monday, May 29, 2006

Ukraine was the only team headed to the World Cup that looked like it may be
ready for the tournament to begin. Despite missing the injured Andriy
Shevchenko, the Ukrainians easily beat World Cup qualifier Costa Rica 4-0
Sunday in a warmup match.

Serhiy Nazarenko, Andriy Vorobei, Maxim Kalinichenko and Olexiy Belik all
scored for Ukraine, which will make its World Cup debut in Germany.

Four other World Cup teams also played Sunday, with the United States
beating Latvia 1-0, Croatia and Iran drawing 2-2, and Ecuador losing to
Macedonia 2-1. Also, Estonia and Turkey drew 1-1, and Mali beat Morocco 1-0.

Nazarenko gave Ukraine the lead in the 29th minute in Kiev by knocking in a
rebound off Costa Rica goalkeeper Wardy Alfaro.

Vorobei scored the second goal in the 35th off a pass from Vladyslav
Vashchyuk, and Kalinichenko made it 3-0 in the 40th. Belik scored the final
goal in the 56th with help from Andriy Husin.

Ukraine, playing in Group H at the World Cup with Spain, Tunisia and Saudi
Arabia, was without Shevchenko because he hurt his knee earlier this month.
He was expected to recover in time for the team’s first match against Spain
on June 14.

Before that, the team has more friendlies against Italy, Libya and

Costa Rica, which is in Group A with Germany, Poland and Ecuador, will face
the hosts in the World Cup opener on June 9 in Munich. Brian McBride tipped
in a cross from Steve Cherundolo for the Americans’ only goal against Latvia
two minutes before halftime in East Hartford, Connecticut. It was McBride’s
30th goal in 92 internationals, and left him four shy of matching the
American record.

The United States leaves for Germany on Thursday, play Angola on June 5 in
Hamburg, then meet the Czech Republic in its Cup opener on June 12 in

In Osijek, Croatia, Marko Babic converted a penalty in injury time to help
the hosts draw 2-2 with Iran. “It’s not a bad test. We dominated and could
have scored many more goals,” Croatia coach Zlatko Kranjcar said.

Ali Karimi put Iran ahead in the 22nd, but Dado Prso equalized nine minutes
later after Niko Kranjcar flicked a cross into his path.

Substitute Arash Borhani appeared to have given Iran a late winner in the
82nd, but Babic converted from the spot in injury time after Ivica Olic was
brought down in the box by goalkeeper Ebrahim Mirzapour.

“We were close to winning even though there are still some things we need to
work on,” Iran coach Branko Ivankovic said. “I am satisfied with the way my
players performed in this tough game against a tough rival.”

At the World Cup, Croatia will face Brazil, Australia and Japan in Group F,
while Iran takes on Portugal, Mexico and Angola in Group D.

Ecuador took the lead against Macedonia in Getafe, Spain, in the 18th minute
when Carlos Tenorio beat several defenders and scored with a deft shot.

But Macedonia equalized 10 minutes later when striker Goran Maznov took
advantage of some defensive uncertainty.
Tenorio left the field with an injury in the 64th minute and Igor Mitrevski
converted a penalty eight minutes later after Ivan Hurtado committed a foul.

Ecuador kicks off its second World Cup appearance against Poland in Group A
on June 9, and then meets host Germany and Costa Rica.

Frederic Kanoute scored the lone goal in the 65th minute to lead Mali over
Morocco 1-0 in a friendly in Paris, and Tarmo Neemelo equalized in the 85th
to give Estonia a 1-1 draw with Turkey in Hamburg, Germany. Gokhan Unal gave
Turkey the lead in the 53rd. None of those four teams qualified for the World Cup.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]


By Tom Warner in Kiev, Financial Times,
London, United Kingdom Sunday, May 28 2006

Dmytro Firtash, the Ukrainian tycoon who last month revealed his ownership
of RosUkrEnergo, the natural gas trader, has taken a further step out of the
shadows by revealing his other holdings, including a titanium plant in

Robert Shetler Jones, Mr Firtash’s British partner, told the Financial Times
in an interview that he was working on a plan to consolidate Mr Firtash’s
holdings in the chemicals sector, which include Crimean Titan, Crimean Soda
and the Rivneazot, Nitrofert and Tajikazot fertiliser plants in Ukraine,
Estonia and Tajikistan, respectively.

Both Crimean plants are currently owned by RSJ Erste, a German company in
which Mr Shetler Jones is the sole shareholder. But he said RSJ was an
“interim structure” and after the consolidation Mr Firtash would emerge as
main owner.

Mr Shetler Jones said the consolidation of Mr Firtash’s chemicals companies
was aimed primarily at attracting financing for an upgrade of Crimean Titan
to enable it to produce a broader range of titanium and titanium alloy
products for the aviation, space and defence industries.

He said it would take up to five years at a cost of $500m-$800m
(Euro392m-Euro628m) to upgrade the plant, which produces titanium dioxide
for paint production.

“One of the options we look at very strongly is the introduction of
strategic partners from the west,” Mr Shetler Jones said.
By revealing his ownership of the plants and his ambitions for Crimean
Titan, Mr Firtash is raising the stakes in his effort to gain acceptance
both in the west and in Ukraine.

Whether his efforts succeed will depend partly on the outcome of
negotiations in Ukraine on a new government. The leading candidate to take
over as prime minister, former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, has been an
outspoken critic of RosUkrEnergo and has vowed to cancel a deal with Russia
in January that made RosUkrEnergo Ukraine’s sole supplier of imported gas.

Mr Firtash’s plans for Crimean Titan come as Russia’s government is moving
to rein in VSMPO-Avisma, a Russian titanium producer. Russia’s powerful
state arms-export company, Rosoboronexport, wants to secure supplies of
titanium for Russia’s defence industry and has pressed the plant’s owners to
cede control.

“What we would like to do is create additional product to fill the supply
gap but one that is also not Russian-based,” Mr Shetler Jones said.

Mr Shetler Jones said Mr Firtash also owned other companies in the gas
industry including Russia’s Zangas, a pipelines builder, and an Austrian
sister company also called Zangas, which recently built a stretch of
pipeline for Turkmenistan in exchange for gas.

Separately, officials in Russia’s southern Astrakhan region announced last
week that Mr Firtash had taken control of an undeveloped gas field by
acquiring control of the Astrakhan Oil and Gas Company.   -30-

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    If you are receiving more than one copy of the AUR please contact us.

Associated Press (AP), Kiev,Ukraine, Monday, May 29, 2006 

KIEV – Dozens protested the arrival of U.S. and North Atlantic Treaty
Organization military equipment on Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, accusing the
military alliance of interfering in the ex-Soviet republic’s affairs,
Ukrainian media reported Monday.

The Sunday night protest was sparked by the arrival at the port of Feodosiya
of the USS Advantage, which Defense Ministry spokesman Andryi Lysenko said
was to take part in NATO Sea Breeze-2006 exercises, the Interfax-Ukraine
news agency reported.

Russia’s NTV television showed several dozen local residents trying to
prevent cargo trucks from unloading equipment from a ship, while others held
banners reading “Russia is a Friend! NATO is the Enemy!”

One elderly lady was shown trying to push away a large yellow military truck
as protesters applauded. NATO officials in Ukraine refused to comment on
either the protest or the operation.

President Viktor Yushchenko has campaigned for membership in the alliance,
but has met resistance from many Ukrainians, especially in Russian-speaking
provinces.                                         -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
             Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.
Ukrayina TV, Donetsk, in Ukrainian 1800 gmt 29 May 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Monday, May 29, 2006

DONETSK – [Presenter] A non-stop rally is under way at the seaport in
Feodosiya for the second day in a row. A new speaker addresses the rally
every hour. The residents of Feodosiya have only one demand – not to let
NATO to Crimea.

The protests erupted after the US navy’s military transport vessel Advantage
arrived in the seaport. The vessel has left the port in Feodosiya already,
but its cargo has been left on the quay. [Video shows a crowd chanting “No
to NATO!”]

[Correspondent] Such was people’s reaction to the arrival of a NATO warship
in Feodosiya. The vessel arrived in Crimea under the American flag and
unloaded technical equipment, construction materials and containers on the
quay. The Ukrainian military maintain that the Americans delivered
construction materials only. The residents believe that the vessel delivered
NATO arms to Feodosiya.

The leader of the [opposition] Progressive Socialist Party, Nataliya
Vitrenko, has come to Feodosiya to offer support to its residents. She
believes that the Americans are going to build a NATO military base in
Crimea. Nataliya Vitrenko has recalled again that Ukraine’s cooperation with
NATO should be put on an all-Ukrainian referendum.

[Vitrenko, in Russian] The worst thing that can happen to our country is the
dragging of Ukraine to NATO against the Ukrainian people’s will and the
occupation of Ukraine’s territory by NATO troops. This is what [President
Viktor] Yushchenko is working on.

This is what [Defence Minister Anatoliy] Hrytsenko is planning to do. This
is what [Foreign Minister Borys] Tarasyuk has sworn to do. Our people’s will
is protected by a referendum. This is the supreme expression of will, like
the referendum of 1 December 1991 [when Ukrainians voted for their

[Correspondent] The Ukrainian navy’s press service has said that the
Americans came to Ukraine to assist it with upgrading a training range near
Feodosiya. They allegedly are going to build barracks, bathrooms and dining
rooms. Ukrainian sailors are going to use them during the [Sea Breeze-2006]
military exercise. But the residents of Feodosiya do not believe this and
are ready to rally around the clock to prevent the NATO military from
setting their feet in town.

Members of the [Feodosiya] city council have sent an open letter to the
Supreme Council [parliament] to declare Feodosiya a NATO-free town. In the
afternoon, the city council adopted a decision to declare the delivered
technical equipment abandoned cargo and, therefore, communal property.

[Video shows a few-hundred-strong rally, participants carrying red, Soviet
Ukrainian flags, slogans reading “No to NATO!”, “NATO will not pass!”,
Vitrenko presented with flowers, addressing the rally.]

[In its 1600 gmt bulletin on 29 May, Ukrainian NTN TV broadcast footage of
what was said to be the cargo unloaded from the US vessel recorded from the
top of a nearby facility. The video showed a military Humvee vehicle, what
appears to be a mine-clearing vehicle, about a dozen personnel carriers and
a uniformed individual near them.]                    -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                                 IN UKRAINE’S CRIMEA

Centre TV, Moscow, in Russian 1550 gmt 29 May 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Monday, May 29, 2006

MOSCOW – [Female presenter] There has been popular unrest in Crimea. The
seaport of Feodosiya, which a NATO ship came into on Saturday [27 May], has
been blockaded by local residents. The demonstrators are preventing military
hardware and containerloads of weapons from being unloaded. The people are
furious that NATO service personnel are roaming around the town.

[Male presenter] The Feodosiya town council is expected to adopt the
decision to ban NATO hardware from the area. The spontaneous demonstration,
which began on Sunday [28 May] evening, is still under way. (?Darina
Koshelenko) reports.

[Correspondent] The Feodosiya seaport is under a tight blockade. Townspeople
have blocked off the gates and are not letting vehicles out. A rally is
continuing nonstop. Every minute new speakers come along. All their speeches
come down to one thing: not to allow NATO into Crimea.

[Protesters – chanting in Russian] No to NATO! No to NATO! No to NATO!

[Correspondent] What prompted this vehement protest was the appearance of a
NATO military [transport] vessel in the Feodosiya harbour. The vessel came
under the American flag and offloaded military hardware.

Army trucks and numerous containers are clearly visible through this gate.
The Ukrainian military insists that the American ship delivered building
materials and engineering works vehicles. But townspeople are convinced that
the Americans have brought NATO weapons to Feodosiya.

[Danyla Havrylov, Feodosiya town councillor, captioned, in Russian] Port
workers come out and say that the containers, which are sealed by customs,
hold grenades, pistols, M16 automatic rifles. Just how can this be called
humanitarian aid?

[Correspondent] Nataliya Vitrenko, the leader of Ukrainian Progressive
Socialists [Progressive Socialist Party of Ukraine], has come to support the
people of Feodosiya. She is sure the Americans are about to build a NATO
military base in Crimea.

[Vitrenko, in Russian] It’s an enemy. We know for sure: it’s an enemy. The
enemy wants to capture our country. The enemy wants to turn us into an enemy
of Russia. This is why they need Ukraine. They need a beachhead. They want
to torpedo Russia from Ukraine’s territory. By lopping off Crimea, they want
to add an insult to Russia’s injury.

[Correspondent] However, the Ukrainian military insists the Americans have
come to Crimea only to improve the training facilities at a training ground
outside Feodosiya. They will build barracks, shower rooms and canteens
there, for the exclusive use of Ukrainian sailors during exercises.

Nonetheless, Feodosiya residents do not believe these statements and are
prepared to stand for days at the gate to keep NATO troops out of their
town.                                           -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Interfax-Ukraine news agency, Kiev, in Russian 1325 gmt 29 May 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Monday, May 29, 2006

KIEV – The Our Ukraine bloc has condemned “populist” moves by several
members of the Russian State Duma who initiated an inquiry to the Russian
government about the possibility of annexing Crimea to Russia.

A statement posted on the Our Ukraine website today says: “Acts of political
provocation carried out by certain Russian politicians regarding the status
of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea ever since Ukraine gained independence
culminated on 26 May 2006. On that day, the Russian Duma decided to send an
inquiry to the Russian government about the possibility of annexing Crimea
(under the Kuchuk- Kainarji [Kucuk Kaynarca] treaty of 1774).”

“It does not befit Russia’s top legislative body to adopt political
decisions based on historical events that happened 250 years ago,” the
statement says.

International relations must take account of the modern-day political
reality, Our Ukraine believes. “Russian MPs who are so concerned about
‘history’ should be reminded that the Kuchuk-Kainarji treaty of 1774 was
concluded by the Russian Empire and the Ottoman Empire – two countries

which no longer exist,” the statement says.

“Such interpretations by certain Russian politicians can provoke radical
Ukrainian parties to make similar steps like [demanding] the annexation of
all Kievan Rus lands (Moscow and Kuban included) to Ukraine,” the statement

Our Ukraine supports “the development of friendly ties and partnership
between Russia and Ukraine, in particular, continued delimitation of the
border based on this approach”.

Our Ukraine condemned the practice of “historical manipulations” and said it
not only negatively affected relations between Ukraine and Russia but also
“paints an unbecoming picture of activities by Russian State Duma members”.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

By Thomas Catan in London and Arkady Ostrovsky in Moscow
Financial Times, London, UK, Tuesday, May 30 2006

Alexander Medvedev, Gazprom’s deputy chief executive, has rejected European
Union demands for Russia’s state-controlled gas monopoly to open its
pipeline network to access by independent producers and other countries.

He also called plans to bypass Russia with a gas pipeline from Kazakhstan to
Europe “unrealistic”.

The planned trans-Caspian pipeline has strong backing from the EU, which is
seeking ways to loosen Russia’s stranglehold on gas supplies from central
Asia. Dick Cheney, US vice-president, recently met the Kazakh president to
push for the project.

However, Mr Medvedev said Kazakhstan did not have enough gas to justify the
planned pipeline, nor Europe enough demand.
“I’m rather sure that without Russian gas, no projects in new supply will
fly,” he said. “Today, due to the absence for the additional markets for
this gas in Europe, it is absolutely unrealistic.”

The EU gets a quarter of its gas from Russia, the country with the biggest
reserves in the world. However, fears over its reliability as a supplier
were prompted by an interruption on January 1 after a spat with Ukraine over
gas prices.

Gazprom’s chief executive, Alexei Miller, deepened concerns by warning EU
ambassadors that if its European expansion plans were thwarted, Gazprom
would respond by shifting its investment focus to new markets in Asia.

Mr Cheney warned Russia against using its vast energy reserves to
“blackmail” neighbours.

Mr Medvedev said Gazprom had been unfairly portrayed and hit out at Mr
Cheney. “When Mr Cheney is saying that Russia is using blackmail [as a]
negotiating technique, that is nothing to do with our normal business

“I believe that Russia didn’t use gas supplies as a weapon, and didn’t
blackmail anybody. “We have done our utmost to secure transit routes through
Ukraine.” Russia will host a meeting of the Group of Eight industrialised
nations in July to discuss energy security.                      -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
17.                                  STILL A GENOCIDE
                         There should be no ambiguity about Darfur.

LEAD EDITORIAL: The Washington Post
Washington, D.C., Tuesday, May 30, 2006; Page A16

IT’S BEEN MORE than three weeks since a Darfur peace accord was signed,
bringing hope for an end to the genocide in Sudan’s western territory. Since
then the news has been terrible. The two rebel factions that refused to sign
the peace deal have continued to snub it. Violence between rebel factions
has generated blood-curdling attacks on civilians. Human Rights Watch has
reported fresh evidence of atrocities committed by government-backed
Janjaweed death squads across the border in Chad.

The cash-strapped U.N. World Food Program has been forced to reduce the
already meager rations it distributes to 6 million Sudanese, including 3
million in Darfur. And Sudan’s government has waffled on the crucial
question of whether it will allow in an expanded peacekeeping force, without
which violence, hunger and mass death are likely to continue.

The only external force at present is a 7,000-strong African Union
contingent. It is too small and ill-equipped to cover a territory the size
of France, and its mandate allows it to monitor violence but not actually
stop it. Gunmen in Darfur have learned that it is toothless. Even the
displaced civilians whom the African Union is trying to help have staged
violent demonstrations against the force out of frustration with its

There is no way that this contingent can oversee the implementation of
Darfur’s peace treaty, which envisages the complex demobilization of
combatants and the eventual repatriation of some 2 million displaced people.
Recognizing this, the African Union has agreed to fold its soldiers into a
larger U.N. peacekeeping force.

After much prevarication, Sudan’s government appeared to agree last Thursday
to allow in a team of U.N. military planners. But that concession came just
a day after the speaker of Sudan’s parliament ruled out a foreign deployment
in Darfur, and it was undermined by the foreign minister’s simultaneous
statement that “any forces, if that is agreed upon, would be a force for
supervision and not a force for peace implementation.”

In a repeat of its tactics toward humanitarian workers, Sudan’s regime
plainly means to stall peacekeepers for as long as possible — and never
mind that the aid workers and peacekeepers are trying to save the lives of
Sudanese civilians.

The U.S. government has described the killing in Darfur as genocide, a term
that Sudan’s government rejects and that the United Nations and Europeans
have also shrunk from using. The more that the conflict in Darfur features
infighting between rebel factions rather than just atrocities by the
government’s militia, the more observers may resist pointing the finger at
the government and accusing it of genocide.

But the reason that Sudan’s government is culpable, today as in the past, is
that it is deliberately creating the conditions in which thousands of
civilians from rebel-aligned tribes are likely to die. First the government
and its militia drove these people from their villages. Then it impeded
humanitarian workers so that thousands of them fell prey to disease or
starved. Now it is obstructing a serious peacekeeping deployment, with the
result that its victims will continue to face shortages of medicines and

This may not be genocide by gas chamber or machete. But it is still a
calculated policy of targeting ethnic groups and planning, meticulously, to
eliminate them.
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18.                               EXCLUDING FRIENDS
 The Senate moves to keep branding human rights victims as terrorists.

EDITORIAL: The Washington Post
Washington, D.C., Tuesday, May 30, 2006; Page A16

THE SENATE HAD an opportunity last week to fix the horrendous mess
Congress has inadvertently made out of the law governing the admission of
refugees to the United States. In an overwhelming, bipartisan vote, it
passed it up —  much to its shame.

The body voted 79 to 19 to reject an amendment put forth by Sen. Patrick J.
Leahy (D-Vt.) that would have restored discretion to the government to admit
human rights victims bizarrely branded under current law as terrorists or
supporters of terrorism.

The vote followed gross misrepresentations of the proposal by Sen. Jon Kyl
(R-Ariz.) and Judiciary Committee Chairman Arlen Specter (R-Pa.). Indeed,
given their descriptions, it’s a wonder even 19 senators voted for it. Mr.
Kyl portrayed it as permitting the admission of Taliban fighters; Mr.
Specter warned of members of Hamas and other terrorists showing up on
American shores.

The proposal would have done nothing of the kind. The government has wide
latitude to exclude people who pose a national security threat. The problem
with the existing laws are that they define a terrorist group so broadly as
to include virtually any organization that has ever used weapons. And they
not only permit but also require the exclusion of all members and material
supporters of such groups — with no exceptions for people who acted under
the threat of violence.

So a Liberian woman used as a sex slave in her own house or a Northern
Alliance soldier who fought alongside American troops in Afghanistan would
both be excluded — the former for providing shelter to terrorists, the
latter for membership in a “terrorist” group. Tens of thousands of refugees
around the world are held up because of these strictures, many of them for
affiliations with armed groups this country has actively supported and
certainly never regarded as terrorists.

The Leahy proposal would have clarified that the bar applies only to groups
the government has designated foreign terrorist organizations, and it would
have created an exception for people who were forced to provide support to
such organizations. Its rejection puts a huge burden on the
administration — which also shamefully opposed Mr. Leahy’s amendment — to
exercise its very limited discretion under existing law aggressively.

Current law allows the government to waive the ban for supporters, though
not members, of terrorist groups. Following a lengthy intra-governmental
skirmish, the administration has finally begun using this power —
permitting one large group of ethnic Karen victims of Burmese oppression to
move forward in the process. But it won’t be enough. The Senate needs to
revisit this.                                              -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
            In Poignant Visit, Pontiff Prays In German at Nazi Death Camp

By Craig Whitlock, Washington Post Foreign Service
The Washington Post, Washington, D.C.. Mon, May 29, 2006; Pg A14

OSWIECIM, Poland, May 28 — Pope Benedict XVI, a conscripted member of the
Hitler Youth and the German army as a teenager, walked through the gate of
the death camp at Auschwitz on Sunday and somberly confronted the sites
where his countrymen killed an estimated 1.5 million people, the vast
majority of them Jews.

Dressed wholly in white, the 79-year-old pope strode slowly past a boulevard
of brick barracks as his entourage of dark-suited bishops and security
agents walked several steps behind. He passed under the infamous iron gate
wrought with the Nazis’ mocking slogan, “Arbeit Macht Frei,” or “Work Makes
You Free.”

 He paused to light a candle and pray silently in front of a stone wall
where the Nazis executed thousands of prisoners with bullets. Then he
entered a cellblock and descended the stairs to inspect an underground
dungeon where a Polish Catholic priest, Maximilian Kolbe, was left to starve
after he offered his life to the Nazis if they would spare a fellow
prisoner. Kolbe was made a saint by Pope John Paul II in 1982.

Later, Benedict spoke and prayed at a ceremony in front of a slate-gray
victims’ monument in the Birkenau section of the camp, near remains of the
crematoria and gas chambers where most of the Nazis’ victims were killed.

“To speak in this place of horror, in this place where unprecedented mass
crimes were committed against God and man, is almost impossible — and it is
particularly difficult and troubling for a Christian, for a pope from
Germany,” he said in an address delivered in Italian.

“In a place like this, words fail. In the end, there can only be a dread
silence — a silence which is itself a heartfelt cry to God: Why, Lord, did
you remain silent? How could you tolerate all this?”

Benedict also gave a brief prayer in German at the camp, the only time
during his trip to Poland when he spoke in his native language.

It was the third visit to Auschwitz for Benedict, but the first since he
became pope in April 2005. As Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger of Munich, he
accompanied John Paul on a historic visit to the camp in 1979 and returned a
year later with a group of German bishops. On Sunday, he recalled those

“Pope John Paul II came here as a son of the Polish people. I come here
today as a son of the German people,” Benedict said. “For this very reason,
I can and must echo his words: I could not fail to come here. I had to come.
It is a duty before the truth and the just due of all who suffered here.”

The ceremony began in a misty drizzle, but the sun broke out and a bright
rainbow shone on the horizon in time for Benedict’s address.

Unlike German political leaders who have visited Auschwitz over the decades,
Benedict did not explicitly apologize on behalf of his country or articulate
a notion of German collective responsibility for the Holocaust. Instead, he
lay the blame squarely on Germany’s Nazi rulers.

In that vein, he described himself as “a son of people over which a ring of
criminals rose to power by false promises of future greatness and the
recovery of the nation’s honor, prominence and prosperity, but also through
terror and intimidation, with the result that our people were used and
abused as an instrument of their thirst for destruction and power.”

The symbolism of the Auschwitz visit — intended to promote reconciliation
between Christians and Jews, as well as Germans and Poles — was undercut by
an assault Saturday on the chief rabbi of Poland.

Rabbi Michael Schudrich, a native of New York, said he was punched and
pepper-sprayed in Warsaw by a young man shouting “Poland for the Poles!”
Authorities with the Polish Interior Ministry said they were looking for a
25-year-old suspect and called the attack a “provocation aimed at creating
an image of Poland as an anti-Semitic country.”

Schudrich participated in Sunday’s ceremony at Auschwitz and chanted the
kaddish, or Jewish prayer for the dead, before Benedict’s speech. Schudrich
called the altercation in Warsaw a reflection of worsening anti-Semitism in
Poland but said he did not want it to overshadow the pope’s visit.
“Ultra-rightists who felt somehow constrained in their behavior now feel
they can do whatever they want,” he told the Associated Press.

John Paul was credited by many during his 26-year reign for his emphasis on
improving relations between Christians and Jews. He was the first pope to
visit a synagogue, and he established diplomatic relations between the
Vatican and Israel. He visited Jerusalem in 2000 and deplored “the terrible
tragedy” of the Holocaust.

Some Jewish leaders in Poland spoke favorably of Benedict’s work to continue
those efforts, noting that he also visited a synagogue in Cologne, Germany,
last August during his first trip outside Italy as pope.

“If the present pope follows the path shown by John Paul II, then we can
only be grateful and very proud about it,” Tadeusz Jakubowicz, the leader of
the Jewish community in Krakow, said in an interview. “It doesn’t matter
what origins or nation he represents. He will be the pope of all of us.”

For centuries, Krakow — about 40 miles from Auschwitz — had a thriving
Jewish population, numbering about 70,000 before World War II. Today,

there are about 200.

Jakubowicz, 67, was imprisoned by the Nazis in the nearby Plaszow
concentration camp as a child. He said 31 of his relatives were killed
during the Holocaust. It was both remarkable and proper, he said, for
Benedict to make Auschwitz the symbolic climax of his visit to Poland.

“The very fact that a German pope is coming to the concentration camp at
Auschwitz and praying, isn’t it a gesture of asking for forgiveness?” he
said. “I’m almost certain that John Paul knew that Ratzinger was destined to
become pope, and I think he knew what he was doing in helping to make that

Benedict’s stop at Auschwitz capped a four-day tour of Poland in which the
pope honored his popular predecessor, John Paul, at nearly every public

Earlier Sunday, Benedict led Mass for an estimated 900,000 people in a field
in Krakow, a place where John Paul regularly greeted huge crowds during his
papacy and his years as archbishop of the city.

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

By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor
Reuters, Warsaw, Poland, Monday, May 29, 2006

WARSAW – Pope Benedict’s speech in Auschwitz was the most
introspective and moving address of his papacy, but some who heard
it still thought he did not go far enough.

Ending a four-day pilgrimage to Poland on Sunday, the 79-year-old Pontiff
reflected on how hard it was for a German to visit the former Nazi death
camp and how challenging the evil committed there was for anyone who
believed in a loving God.

 His bold decision to ask at the infamous death camp the question that made
millions lose their faith after the Holocaust won headlines in many
newspapers around Europe on Monday.

“God, why did you remain silent?” Rome’s La Repubblica quoted him as
asking in reference to the killing there of about 1.5 million people, mostly
Jews. Germany’s Berliner Zeitung chose another of his blunt questions:

“Where was God?”

But just as many commentators focused on what he did not say, especially
about Catholic anti-Semitism and the role the Vatican played while the
Holocaust was raging.

Some faulted him for not clearly mentioning anti-Semitism, others for saying
Germany was taken over by criminals in the 1930s, as if Adolf Hitler had not
had any popular support.

John Wilkins, former editor of the British Catholic weekly The Tablet, gave
Benedict high marks for the speech but said he felt sensitive issues such as
the long history of Catholic anti-Semitism were left out.
                                     MISSED OPPORTUNITIES
“It was a wonderful speech, but I think some opportunities were missed,” he
told Reuters. “Something could have been said about how many Christians did
not act very well back then.”

“It’s symbolically important that Pope Benedict went to Auschwitz, but I was
expecting a different speech,” Abraham Foxman of the Anti-Defamation League
told La Stampa in Turin, noting that the Pope did not expressly condemn

Commentators also asked about the Vatican’s role during the Holocaust, when
Pope Pius XII did not speak out against Nazi oppression of the Jews.

One sore point is that the Vatican has not opened all its wartime files to
historians, who want to know what Pius knew, when he knew it and what he
discussed with his aides about it.

While the Pope made clear in Auschwitz that he did not want to close the
book on the past, the Vatican is not ready to open its archives from the war
years,” wrote the Rotterdam daily Algemeen Dagblad.
                                     VERY JEWISH SPEECH
The Paris Catholic daily La Croix said dwelling on what was not in the
speech “risks missing the great profundity of what he said” about God’s
absence or silence in the face of such evil. “Loyal to his calling as a
teacher, Benedict asked the question everyone — believer or not — asks.”

In Poland, where the media mixed some criticism with mostly positive
coverage of the visit, several commentators noted subtler tones than those
highlighted abroad.

“The Pope’s speech and visit were very Jewish to me,” said Stanislaw
Krajewski of the Polish Council of Christians and Jews. “The Pope quoted
the psalms, which are also part of the Jewish tradition, and that creates a

“It was moving when he said clearly that the Nazis, by killing the Jewish
nation, aimed to kill God,” he said. “Linking Christianity’s roots with
Judaism is a strong argument against anti-Semitism,” said sociologist
Jadwiga Staniszkis. “I think this speech should be read.”       -30-
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