Daily Archives: May 3, 2006

AUR#692 Men From RusUkrEnergo; British Connection; GAS FirtashEATURE; Follow The Money; New Coordinates Of Ukrainian Politics

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                                                  (Article One)
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.                     THE MEN FROM RUE (ROSUKRENERGO)
Commentary: By Roman Kupchinsky,
Investigative Journalist, Prague, Czech Republic
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #692, Article 1
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 3, 2006

By Stefan Wagstyl and Tom Warner
Financial Times, London, UK, Saturday, April 29 2006

                       May replace RosUkrEnergo as supplier of gas
NTN, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1400 gmt 28 Apr 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Friday, Apr 28, 2006

4.                                      GAS FirtashEATURE

Zerkalo Nedeli on the Web, Mirror-Weekly, No. 17, (596)
International Social Political Weekly
Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, April 29-May 12, 2006
5.                                    FOLLOW THE MONEY
ANALYSES: Transitions Online (TOL)
Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Associated Press (AP), Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, April 28, 2006

             Revised and extended version of an article first released on
          The Action Ukraine Report #653, Article 25, February 3, 2006
: By Stephen Velychenko, Resident Fellow,
CERES, Research Fellow, Chair of Ukrainian Studies,
Munk Center, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Action Ukraine Report #692, Article 7
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 3, 2006

COMMENTARY: By James Sherr, Fellow, Conflict Studies
Research Centre, Defence Academy of the United Kingdom [1]
Nezavisimaya Gazeta/Dipcourier in Russian, Moscow, Russia, 6 Apr, 2006
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #692, Article 8
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 3, 2006

      It doesn’t strike anyone, that there were NO candidates To vote for?  

Action Ukraine Report #692, Article 9
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 3, 2006

                President Bush intends to nominate William B. Taylor, Jr.
Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy Kyiv
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, May 3, 2006


                                RETURNING THEM TO FAMILIES
REPORT: By Konstantin Yakubenko, Director of Development
“ChildRescue” Charitable Organization, Kyiv, Ukraine
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #692, Article 11
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 3, 2006


Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #692, Article 12
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 3, 206


Associated Press, Sofia, Bulgaria, Friday, April 28, 2006

             Limited theatrical release in New York City, May 11-17th
 from Amy Grappell, Producer, Ukraine Documentary
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #692, Article 14
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 3, 2006


James Murphy, Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #692, Article 15
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 3, 2006
16.                    “IN THOSE SAD DAYS OF MARCH 1946”
             Letter from Pope Benedict XVI to Ukrainian Cardinal Husar
Zenit, Vatican City, Friday, April 28, 2006

REPORT: by Mariya Rogacheva, Izvestia

Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, April 26, 2006


                         THE DREGS OF SOVIET SOCIALISM
           In this debate about colour revolutions in the east, the left must
                   not confuse the right answers with rightwing ones
: By Timothy Garton Ash
The Guardian, London, United Kingdom, Thu, Apr 06, 2006
                   THE MEN FROM RUE (ROSUKRENERGO)

COMMENTARY: By Roman Kupchinsky

Investigative Journalist, Prague, Czech Republic
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #692, Article 1
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Forget the geopolitical arguments, the Russian threats to sell China gas

and oil and condemn the poor Europeans to a new ice age. The real story
in the Russian-Ukrainian gas business about is money and avarice.

Take the recent revelations in the Russian press about the hidden
beneficiaries of RosUkrEnergo (RUE), the mysterious gas trading company
forced upon Ukraine by the Kremlin during the January gas negotiations.

The entire episode seems to have an unrealistic air about it.

The simple fact is that there is no such journalist as “Vladimir Berezhnoi,”
the author of the article in the Gazprom-owned newspaper “Izvestia” which
first exposed Ukrainian nationals Dmytro “Dima” Firtash and Ivan Fursin on
April 26 as the hidden culprits.

The Izvestia article, according to the “Moscow Times” was commissioned

by a high level Gazprom manager who not only insisted that the US Department
of justice be attacked for involving itself in matters which, in his view, did
not concern them, but also demanded that an anti-Yushchenko spin be put
on the story.

The entire episode seem contrived and part of a sloppy scenario prepared by
incompetent former KGB operatives.

According to highly reliable sources, Firtash, the owner of 40 percent of
RUE, had been coached a few weeks before the appearance of the Izvestia
article on what to say and when to say it. He was instructed by Gazprom
managers and their comrades, former KGB officers in the Kremlin, who knew
about Dima’s role a long time before the creation of RUE.

It would have been absurd and unthinkable for Putin and his closest
collaborators to allow Gazprom to enter into a multi-billion dollar venture
such as RUE without knowing who all the players were. Anyone who believes
their hogwash should be sent to work in some inclement part of Russia to get
their heads straight.

Firtash appeared in the horrendously expensive Knightsbridge section of
Londongrad, the name most Russian businessman call the place, right on cue
and dressed for his role. Anyone who wishes can compare the photo’s of
Firtash posted on the Ukrayinkska Pravda website where he has a scraggly
goatee and is dressed in a greenish zoot-suit, favored this Spring by Kyiv
hoods, and the photo of the new, clean-shaven Firtash on the front page of
the Financial Times, dressed to kill in a pin stripe suit from Saville Row
and a haircut which must have cost at least 150 quid.

“Dima” Firtash did not avoid the ultra-sensitive topic of his relationship
to Semen Mogilevich during his interview with the Wall Street Journal and
was most likely instructed not to deny knowing the dreary overweight
Russian-Ukrainian-Jewish gentleman.

“Yes, we met a few times, and yes, his wife was a principle in one of my
companies, Highrock Holdings, but when I realized who she was (gasp!) I
bought out her share.” There you have it. Dima was as transparent as a
jellyfish in an oil spill.

Still, something was not right. Why did Firtash and Semen share the same
lawyer in Tel Aviv? Why did that particular lawyer play a key role in the
establishment of Eural Trans Gas, the predecessor of RUE.  Was Igor
Fisherman also a part of the Highrock empire of companies?

Why all the elaborate malarkey by Dima explaining that all he wanted was to
help Gazprom get into the middleman business of selling Turkmen gas to
Ukraine. One could imagine that without Firtash, Gazprom would be unable

to do its job.

Above all Firtash failed to explain why Vladimir Putin, Alexei Miller (the
CEO of Gazprom) Yuriy Boyko (the former head of Naftohaz Ukraine), and
Leonid Kuchma allowed him to and his buddy Ivan Fursin (who, in turn, seems
to be a buddy of Volodymyr Lytvyn, the man who is innocent of everything,
and who almost became a member of parliament on Lytvyn’s ticket) to become
part owners of RosUkrEnergo?

Why did Gazprom accept them as their partners in RUE? All the explanations
put forth by Gazprom till now stink.

Why did Gazprom decide to expose Firtash and Fursin now? It seems abundantly
clear that Gazprom was aware that the US Department of Justice already knew
who the two characters were and decided to pre-empt the Americans. They did
so in order to try and limit the investigation. “See, now we all know who
the bad guys are, so let’s get back to the business of defrauding the
citizens of Ukraine and Russia.”

Until the RUE scam is uncovered to everyone’s satisfaction, the US
Department of Justice investigation should continue full steam ahead and
follow the money trail from Firtash’s and Fursin’s accounts in Austria,
which, by the way is a haven for Russian money launderers, to the off-shore
accounts belonging to the men who are the real beneficiaries of RUE’s
millions. If this means exposing some of the most powerful men in Russia

and Ukraine then so be it.

If it means throwing Raiffeisen Bank out of Ukraine as punishment for its
sleazy dealings  – fine. Let them go complain to Putin and his pal Gerhard

It is time to begin telling the truth about who rules Russia and to ask why
almost every deal in the oil and gas business in Russia is run like a KGB
covert operation. The Yukos affair was a glaring example. Then the same men
in the Kremlin who produced the Yukos sitcom set up a phony company –
BaikalFinance – in an abandoned warehouse God knows where, and used it to
buy out Yukos’ main production unit.

Next were the photo’s in the New York Times of the run-down shack where

one of the managers of RUE claimed to live outside of Moscow. We cannot
forget the three unemployed Romanian’s who overnight became the principles
of a major gas trading company – Eural Trans Gas and the former Hungarian
state secretary for Culture who, in the twilight of his life discovered that he
really wanted to be a gas trader when he grew up.

The Russian energy business stinks like a brothel at high tide and if the
Russian government is too corrupt or inept to clean it up, then the US
Department of Justice, Interpol and others should expose it over and over
for what it really is – a feeding trough for the Russian elite.
NOTE: Comments can be directed to KupchinskyR@Gmail.com.

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

By Stefan Wagstyl and Tom Warner
Financial Times, London, UK, Saturday, April 29 2006

Dmytro Firtash, the Ukrainian trader who has emerged as a key player in the
European natural gas market, was unfamiliar to most western business people
until this week. But a small group of British businessmen have known him
well for years.

When he appeared last year at a Mansion House dinner at which the Queen
presented an award to Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko, the 40-year-old
Mr Firtash sat at a table hosted not by Ukrainians, but by JKX Oil and Gas,
a British AIM-quoted company with interests in Ukraine.

Its chairman is Lord Peter Fraser, a former Tory trade minister, and the
chief executive is Paul Davies, an oil man with extensive experience in the
former Soviet Union. Mr Firtash is one of the company’s biggest
shareholders, controlling a 9.7 per cent stake through a holding company
called Benam.

Few people beyond JKX’s immediate circle were aware of Mr Firtash’s
significance. This week he was identified as a key shareholder in
RosUkrEnergo, a trading company bringing gas from central Asia to Europe.

Half of RosUkrEnergo belongs to Gazprom, the Russian gas giant. The other
half is split between Mr Firtash, with 45 per cent, and Ivan Fursin, a
Ukrainian banker and associate of Mr Firtash, with 5 per cent.

Mr Firtash established his fortune by supplying food and other goods to
Turkmenistan in exchange for gas for Ukraine in the 1990s.

Among his earliest contacts with British business people was Robert
Shetler-Jones, whom he met through Mr Fursin. Mr Shetler-Jones lived in Kiev
in the early 1990s and later in Moscow, working for a series of property

Mr Shetler-Jones’s contacts included Viscount Raymond Asquith, a member

of JKX’s board who had worked as a diplomat at the British embassy in Kiev.
The contacts between Mr Firtash and Mr Shetler-Jones culminated in 2003 in a
complex deal that brought together Mr Firtash and JKX.

Benam bought a stake in JKX, which acquired a small stake in Eural Trans
Gas, at that time Mr Firtash’s main gas-trading company. JKX credited Benam
with helping it secure Ukrainian permission to export gas.

Personal loyalties seem to have mattered to both men. Mr Shetler-Jones sat
next to Mr Firtash in this week’s FT interview. Mr Firtash referred to the
secrecy that until this week surrounded his background. He said: “I once
asked Robert, ‘Aren’t you afraid I could embarrass you?’ He said, ‘No, I
know you very well’.”

Mr Firtash described Mr Shetler-Jones as “my partner and financial
consultant. He put the [UK] team together”. Mr Shetler-Jones said he would
soon be saying more about their future plans.

Mr Firtash’s British team includes two of Mr Shetler-Jones’s former partners
in the Moscow real-estate business, David Brown and Howard Wilson. Mr

Brown and Mr Wilson hold powers of attorney at Centragas Holding, the
Austrian-registered company that holds Mr Firtash’s andMr Fursin’s shares in

Mr Firtash also recruited Cedric Brown, a former chairman of British Gas,
who in 2004 took a post as chairman of Eural Trans Gas. Companies controlled
by Mr Firtash bought a British company where Cedric Brown was chairman,
Atlantic Caspian Resources. ACR was in debt and had been suspended from

AIM in 2003. Cedric Brown now works as a consultant to Mr Firtash’s group.

While some British business people might have had concerns about Mr
Firtash’s secretiveness, his powerful contacts in the former Soviet Union’s
gas business made him an attractive partner.

An aide to Mr Yushchenko said Ukraine might change the company that imports
its gas after Mr Firtash and Mr Fursin this week emerged as the beneficial
owners of half of RosUkrEnergo, Reuters reported yesterday    -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                        May replace RosUkrEnergo as supplier of gas

NTN, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1400 gmt 28 Apr 06
BBC Monitoring Service, UK, in English, Friday, Apr 28, 2006

KYIV – [Presenter] The Presidential Secretariat does not rule out that
starting next year it will not be [the Swiss-registered company]
Rosukrenergo that supplies gas to Ukraine.

[Correspondent] [Deputy head of the Presidential Secretariat] Anatoliy
Matviyenko has said that Ukraine may change its gas supplier in 2007. A

new company may replace Rosukrenergo after mass media revealed the
names of its Ukrainian owners [Dmytro Firtash and Ivan Fursin who
reportedly own a 45- and 5- per-cent stakes in Rosukrenergo].

Matviyenko believes that the presence of the Ukrainian nationals among the
company owners does not necessarily mean an advantage for Ukraine.

[Matviyenko] Firtash has started talking. He said that Rosukrenergo,

quote, is a supplement to [Russian gas monopoly] Gazprom. No need to
add further comment.                                     -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
4.                               GAS FirtashEATURE

Zerkalo Nedili on the Web, Mirror-Weekly, No. 17, (596)
International Social Political Weekly
Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, April 29-May 12, 2006
OK, you say coalition. You may not actually pronounce the word, but you do
think about it. Everybody thinks about coalitions these days. It is like it
was in January, when few cared about what kind of gas agreements and
protocols had been signed in Moscow and what kind of consequences they may
have for Ukraine. “Ninety-five dollars and you will have heat in your
 homes,” people were told.

And the good news was welcomed by the thankful people together with policy
makers who were absorbed in the election campaign at the time. The fact that
one winter was paid for in problems that might have long-term consequences
for decades seemed to be of interest to nobody.

This time around it came as a surprise to many to learn that the
RosUkrEnergo company is co-owned by Ukrainian nationals Dmytro Firtash

and Ivan Fursin.

Here, our readers should be reminded of what this newspaper wrote about in
January. RosUkrEnergo is registered in the Zug canton in Switzerland. The
company issued 1,000 shares, half of which were handed over to the
Austrian-registered Arosgaz holding and the other half to the Centragaz
holding, also registered in Austria.

Stakeholders in the two businesses and, consequently, those who gained
profits from RosUkrEnergo’s operations were companies and individuals well
hidden from the public.

What was sure was that Arosgaz is controlled by the Russians and Centragaz
by the Ukrainians. While identities of shareholders in Arosgaz were
disclosed by Russia and “closed on” [the Russian] state, the names of
shareholders in Centragaz had remained unknown to the broad public until
this week, at least officially. Now the cover of secrecy has been … no,
not ripped away, but raised a little.

True, the name of Mr. Fursin (the holder of a ten-percent stake in
Centragaz) – a friend and partner of ex-aide to ex-President Leonid Kuchma
Serhiy Levochkin – has emerged for the first time in the context of
shareholders in RosUkrEnergo. His name could not be heard in private
conversations, neither was it mentioned in the database on RosUkrEnergo
operations collected by [Ukraine’s Security Service] SBU.

I cannot say why, but mentioning Fursin’s name in RosUkrEnergo’s context is
reminiscent to me of the nice little old lady from the “Place of Meeting
Cannot Be Changed” movie.

Mr. Firtash, the owner of the 90 percent stake Centragaz obtained from
RosUkrEnergo, although keeping a low profile, is a well known figure among
certain little circles. It was precisely Firtash, a close friend of
FBI-wanted Semion Mogilevich and his partner in a number of businesses,
including Highrock, who generated much interest on the part of western
special services. This, in particular, is about his activities for
RosUkrEnergo’s predecessor company, Eural Trans Gaz.

Certainly, one would like to know how far closely Mr. Firtash is engaged
with Semion Mogilevich. How could he manage to hold a key place in
generating gas [supply] schemes under President Kuchma? What are the
relationships between him and the current Ukrainian bureaucracy?

What does he own in Ukraine, and which passports may he hold apart from
Ukrainian? Unfortunately, we could not get Mr. Firtash by any of his three
telephone numbers in Moscow that we knew. But recall that we, as before,
remain “open to discussion”.

But, as we believe, what is of most interest in this context is not the fact
of the publication by the Gazprom-owned newspaper Izvestia of the results of
RosUkrEnergo’s audit by PricewaterhouseCoopers that established the
identities of the stakeholders in RosUkrEnergo mentioned above, but, rather,
the statement made in an interview with Moscow-based newspaper Vedomosti by
Gazprom’s deputy head Aleksandr Riazanov that Firtash represented Naftohaz
Ukrainy in negotiations with Gazprom on gas supplies to Ukraine in 2006.

However, according to Vedomosti, the newspaper’s reporter with Naftohaz said
that “Firtash is not cooperating with the company’s new leadership”.

The reporter might have forgotten to tell Moscow journalists that a meeting
that took place in the building of the national joint-stock company (NJSC)
Naftogaz on April 26 was attended by Firtash, Voronin, Lopushanskiy and also
a certain Anatoliy Popadiuk – a figure with business roots in western
Ukraine that is so dear to [Naftogaz president Volodymyr] Ivchenko, and,
according to some reports, the latter’s possible successor whose candidacy
was proposed to President Viktor Yushchenko for consideration by Ivchenko

By the way, the meeting at Naftogaz was discussing the situation concerning
Turkmen gas supplies to Ukraine. But what concerns us is not as much the
meeting as such as the statement by Mr. Riazanov that Firtash took part in
the gas talks in December and January. In which capacity did Firtash
represent Ukraine?

And how successfully could he speak for Ukraine if he holds his major
offices in Moscow, if he admitted himself that he “concealed the fact of
having a stake in RosUkrEnergo in order to get a chance of doing business
with Gazprom” and also, as the Wall Street Journal said, quoting him, “to
avoid bringing political pressure to bear in Ukraine”.

One would be interested to now what kind of political pressure Mr. Firtash
is speaking about, if under the previous Ukrainian government he was de
facto co-owner of [ex-president of Naftohaz Ukrainy] Yuriy Boiko’s study and
frequent guest of [ex-president] Leonid Kuchma, and also the man who paid
heed to the needs of the then First Lady and the Women for the Future party
she patronized.

Dmytro Firtash did fear the moves of the new authorities, but not for too
long, however; precisely until the moment when Mykhailo Doroshenko arranged
for a meeting between Firtash and Viktor Yushchenko. He was a man to donate
to the election campaign budget.

The sum, though a thirty-percent fraction of what Boris Berezovsky had given
toward the development of democracy, was considerable enough, running into a
range of seven digits.

Hence the question: what kind of a Ukrainian stake in RosUkrEnergo is talked
about if its majority owner is linked to Gazprom in all his thoughts and

And what kind of protection of Ukrainian interests during negotiations with
Moscow can be talked about, if Ivchenko and [Fuel and Energy Minister]
Plachkov were de facto following not directives from the Foreign Ministry
and Economy Ministry but, rather, from Firtash and Voronin, whose interests
are closely interwoven by cooperation in RosUkrEnergo.

Here I recall that, according to RosUkrEnergo documents, Voronin and Boiko,
when working together for Naftohaz, were members of the RosUkrEnergo’s
Coordinating Committee, representing there the so called ‘Ukrainian’ holding

Therefore, these two acted in the Coordinating Committee for Firtash and
Voronin. What grounds did they have to be there? [Acting Prime Minister]
Yuriy Yerkanurov claims that they were mandated to enter the Coordinating
Committee by Naftohaz Ukrainy board of directors’ decision.

In this context I would dare to recall three details.

[1] First, the decision on the Coordinating Committee entry was made in July
2004, one day following the foundation of RosUkrEnergo, while the paper on
proceedings of the NJSC Naftohaz Ukrainy board meeting that delegated Boiko
and Voronin to represent Naftohaz in the Coordinating Committee dates from
October 2004.

[2] Secondly, the item on delegating Boiko and Voronin the right to
represent Naftohaz in the RosUkrEnergo’s Coordinating Committee is inserted
as a last paragraph in the October 2004 document of Naftohaz Board meeting
proceedings, the preceding item approving a decision on the provision of
funding for a 58th League’s soccer club, even though two of the board
members, in a conversation with the author, could not even remember the
board meeting discussing that issue at all.

[3] Thirdly, and finally, Voronin is a businessman (although representing a
state-owned company), indeed, but Boiko was a government office holder at
the time – namely, the chief deputy Minister of Fuel and Energy. What did a
government official do in the coordinating committee of a company that did
not contain property of Ukraine or Naftohaz? Did he act for Firtash there?
Or the other way around? Has he continued in this capacity to this day?

There are a number of other questions, part of which I don’t even know whom
to address. Still, I do hope that there will be somebody to respond to my
appeal and give answers.

1. According to documents, the fairly well known firm KPMG was appointed to
audit RosUkrEnergo instead of PricewaterhouseCoopers. Why? Why was the audit
eventually conducted by another company? Did KPMG conduct an audit of its
own? If not, why? If yes, where are the findings?

Is that true that among shareholders in Centragaz – the holding to which
fifty percent of shares in RosUkrEnergo were transferred – were Boiko,
Voronin, Tumanov, Firtash and a certan Aaron, allegedly a lawyer for Semion
Mogilevich? Is that true that Messrs Firtash and Fursin empowered a number
of citizens to dispose of their respective stakes in RosUkrEnergo? And is
that true that these citizens hold the option right to these stakes?

US special services are known to be not indifferent to RosUkrEnergo’s
operations. [1] First, because they suspected Mogilevich, wanted by the FBI
in connection with possible involvement with that company, and, [2]
secondly, because they grasped, better and sooner than Europe did, Russia’s
strategy towards the gas sector, where RosUkrEnergo is not only a source of
profit but also a not an insignificant part of the “gas Kalashnikov
submachine gun”.

It is known that RosUkrEnergo’s transactions, including those carried out
via Raffheisenbank, are being monitored by designated services. I wonder if
any facts have been established during the monitoring of the cash earned
from RosUkrEnergo operations being transferred to bank accounts of some
policy makers or government office holders from former Soviet nations?

Have Firtash and Fursin been licensed by the National Bank to open bank
accounts and conduct business activities in Switzerland or Austria?
[National Bank Chairman] Stelmakh has expressed the opinion that “…they
[Firtash and Fursin] complied with all legal requirements.

I don’t think that a goof of that kind could be allowed in founding such an
organization: to create an international organization and siphon off capital
illegally involves a very high risk”.

“Any kind of relationships between banks and their customers constitute
banking secrecy, and this applies to the National Bank among others. If
there is a corresponding inquiry for information, then we will certainly
examine this,” The National Bank of Ukraine (NBU) Chairman said in a
statement on Thursday.

I had better omit the question why such an inquiry for information has not
come yet, as “highly professional and intensive activities” by our special
services and law enforcement agencies in looking for stakeholders in
RosUkrEnergo is known to everybody.

What is of interest in this situation is another thing: a high-ranked ZN
reporter with the National Bank said that the bank itself, acting on its own
initiative, has already investigated the fact of license issue to
individuals Firtash and Fursin.

It turned out that these two did apply for a license, but only for a minor
transaction in some of the Baltic nations. Therefore, no decisions regarding
Switzerland or Austria have ever been issued.

According to a Gazprom report, RosUkrEnergo’s net profit totaled RUR 14
billion (about $ 600 million), and half that sum belongs to Firtash and
Fursin. This raises a question: how will RosUkrEnergo’s coordinating
committee decide to dispose of the money, and where will appropriate taxes
be paid by the Ukrainian nationals?

This question is not idle at all, and not only because Ukraine’s national
budget is facing massive budgetary shortfalls. The trouble is that
RosUkrEnergo’s operational system itself is arranged in such a way that
either the company itself, or Centragaz or Arosgaz could pay almost no taxes
at all. But individuals are another matter.

Even in the Zug canton, where the size of taxes for corporate taxpayers is
established by agreement, i.e. is miserable, the taxation level for
individuals is high enough. By the way, it would be interesting to establish
where the taxes on profitable enough operations by Eural Trans Gaz – the
RosUkrEnergo’s predecessor company in which operations Firtash was
involved — were paid ?

Until all this buzzing began around RosUkrEnergo as a company whose
operations lack transparency, the Russian side did not seem to care much
about RosUkrEnergo’s profits going anywhere but into the Russian budget.

After the company’s operations began to be scrutinized by the West,
Gazprombank excluded its Cyprus-based businesses as shareholders in Arosgaz
and entered there as an independent stakeholder, thereby sort of having got
the system ‘purified’.

The Russian side got such an opportunity not only because stakes in the
company were held by Gazproms’ ‘granddaughters’, not ‘daughters’, but also
because this fact well explained the presence on the RosUkrEnergo’s
coordinating committee as Arosgaz representatives of some top executives
from Gazprombank and Gazprom, such as Medvedev, Riazanov, Shmelev and

It did not take long for Russia to set things in order in its own equity
there, and now it is prepared to take the final step: Gazprom is planning to
purchase RosUkrEnergo’s stake from its own bank (Gazprombank), paying it a
bit more than 2.3 million euros in compensation for “the historical
expenditures involved in setting up the company and maintaining its

But this opportunity seized by Russia does not at all mean to say that Putin’s
headache named RosUkrEnergo will end now. The probability is high that all
the story involving RosUkrEnergo’s transactions will echo back.

Meanwhile, the fact that Moscow did manage to provide for Arosgaz a system
that allowed stakes in RosUkrEnergo to be legally and promptly transferred
from dubious Cyprus-based offshore companies to the parent company, Gazprom,
suggests that for the Russians, RosUkrEnergo was not only a source of profit
but a means to boost Russian gas expansion into Europe and Ukraine, and also
a kind of a ‘stopper’ to deny access to Turkmen gas sources for ‘strangers’.

As for the Ukrainian side — which did not even bother to have Naftohaz’
‘daughters’ included among [RosUkrEnergo’s] stakeholders or provide legal
control of RosUkrEnergo operations by Naftogaz, but instead distributed
profits among individuals — its stake in RosUkrEnergo was not a tool for
securing national interests but solely a ‘golden goose’ for Firtash and
Fursin or the individuals behind them.

It was only as a result of this approach that a situation has developed in
which Russia’s fifty percent stake in RosUkrEnergo will be controlled by
Gazprom – a state organization, while the so called “Ukrainian” half will
belong to two individuals who, in the best case scenario, will possibly pay
some taxes to the Ukrainian budget from their colossal profits.

Why did it happen this way? We address this question to former President
Leonid Kuchma, who (we have every ground to think), meeting with the

Russian President in Crimea in 2004, discussed in detail not only objectives
for setting up RosUkrEnergo but also the distribution of profits from its

These are questions. But there are things about [five of them] which
we can speak today with a high degree of certainty.

One month following the signing of the [gas supply] agreements in January,
the Ukrainian government learned that highly disadvantageous accords on the
gas transportation rate and the price of keeping [Russian] gas in gas
storage facilities in Ukraine had been concluded over its head. Dmytro
Firtash and Ihor Voronin are known to have been key players in checking the
accords between the two sides. This is the [1] first thing.

Despite demands by a number of Cabinet members, the issue of a reshuffle
among the Naftohaz Ukrainy board members have never been included on the
Cabinet agenda by Yuriy Yekhanurov. This is the [2] second thing.

Despite personal contacts with Dmytro Firtash, President [Yushchenko] said
that there are no Ukrainian state organizations among RosUkrEnergo’s
founders (which is absolutely true), and at the same time demanded that the
Security Service (SBU) answer the question whether Ukrainians are among
RosUkrEnergo’s founders.

Yushchenko, an experienced economist himself, kept insisting on this,
despite our numerous calls to look not for founders who are well known but,
rather, stakeholders who hide themselves in lawyers’ registers of the Zug
canton. This is the [3] third thing.

Ukrainian negotiators, having quarreled with the only alternative gas
supplier, Turkmenistan, till the sparks flied, thereby played into Russia’s
hands, allowing RosUkrEnergo to turn into monopoly supplier of gas to

For that matter we should point out that Ukraine does not influence
RosUkrEnergo’s policies, de-jure or de-facto, while the presence in the
company of the two businessmen with Ukrainian passports makes it possible
for Russia to readdress all accusations of RosUkrEnergo’s operations lacking
transparency to the Ukrainian side, while having in fact total control of
stakes in the company. This is the [4] fourth thing.

[5] Fifthly,
and finally, the Ukrhaz-Enerho joint-venture company, the
decision on whose creation was made by Premier Yekhanurov despite

procedural violations, is known to handle natural gas deliveries to
Ukrainian corporate clients from the industrial sector.

The Ukrainian and Russian interests are supposed to be secured by the
Ukrhaz-Enerho board, which includes three men representing Russia and as
many representing NJSC Naftohaz Ukrainy.

But the feature of this situation is that mister Voronin, the member of the
Ukrainian trio who had been appointed to head of the joint-venture company,
can secure Ukrainian interests in disputes with Russia as well as Saddam
Hussein could do so for the United States. Therefore, the proportion of
those securing Ukrainian interests in the Ukrhaz-Energo board is not 3:3 but
4:2 at the minimum.

Therefore, it turns out that an intermediary supplying Russian and Turkmen
gas to Ukraine, but not controlled by Kyiv, has entered the domestic market
of gas distribution in our country and established control over the company
which mission is to distribute that gas among companies in the highly
profitable industrial sector.

Here we should point to the fact that the effort to sign the 2006
government-to-government protocol to secure the supply of the required
amount of gas and the transportation of a certain amount of gas [to Europe]
via Ukraine, and also to guarantee fair pricing policy in gas-related areas
of Ukrainian-Russian relations was not even started as of April 28.

If RosUkrEnergo remains monopoly supplier, and the situation does not change
within the joint-venture company’s board and Naftohaz, it is to be said with
certainty that Ukraine has altogether lost control of the mechanism for
providing itself with and distributing natural gas.

What makes the situation ever worse is the lack of political will which
could improve the situation to a considerable measure if not repair it
altogether. That the political will is lacking indeed is proven by the fact
that Ivchenko continues as Naftohaz president and Voronin still performs
as de facto head of the joint-venture joint-stock company.

At least it is clear now why the presidential decree appointing Vitaliy
Haiduk as deputy Prime Minister for the Fuel and Energy Complex, signed
[by Yushchenko] back on December 28, 2005, has died even before being
officially published. Certainly, Haiduk is no angel, and he does have business
interests of his own, but nobody can refer to him as a fool.

At least because it was Haiduk who secured the signing of the
Inter-government Gas Protocol with Russia, the most advantageous accord

to be ever signed in history of bilateral relations with that country.

If RosUkrEnergo — being pressured by the West which did not believe in
Gazprom’s defensive PR ploys, like disclosure of the identities of
RosUkrEnergo’s stakeholders from the Ukrainian side – is forced out of the
gas arena, Ukraine will get a little opportunity to begin everything from
scratch and secure its own interests, and – having revitalized the existing
gas transportation accords with Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, armed itself with
documents of the European Energy Charter, enlisted support from the EU and
USA which they would be glad to provide, and kissed the ground before
Turkmenbashi – conclude direct contracts for gas supplies.

If not, it could try – keeping in mind that there is no alternative so far
to its gas transportation system – and participate in the creation of a new
intermediary, but this time around, being guided by state interests, not
private. But it should be understood that in this particular case the gas
price could rise more quickly and much higher than it would do if
RosUkrEnergo remained in place.

A fundamental revision of the gas accords may have one more side effect –
the promulgation of not only the protocols signed in December and January,
but also of videos of the course of numerous contacts and the negotiating
process as such.

That the Russian side displayed much providence in treating the information
that it expected might turn out to be of much importance was said with
certainty by some of ZN’s reporters…

In any case, all the gas problems that are not going to disappear anywhere
will have to be sorted out by new Prime Minister and the government.  -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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5.                                      FOLLOW THE MONEY

ANALYSES: Transitions Online (TOL)
Prague, Czech Republic, Tuesday, May 2, 2006

Mercurial dictator Saparmurat Niyazov has a multibillion-dollar slush fund,
which he uses to maintain his personality cult in natural gas-rich
Turkmenistan, according to a report issued 24 April by the watchdog group
Global Witness. European Union nations, in particular Germany, are helping
conceal the way Niyazov is using Turkmenistan’s energy revenues, the report

Global Witness is a 13-year-old, London-based organization that investigates
the link between the exploitation of natural resources and human rights
abuses. Its report, titled “Funny Business in the Turkmen-Ukraine Gas
Trade,” estimates that Turkmenistan earns more than $2 billion per year from
natural gas exports, a large share of which goes to Western Europe via
Russia and Ukraine.

It states that a significant portion of revenue never finds its way into
state coffers. Instead, Niyazov parks much of the money in foreign bank
accounts under his direct control. “A horrifying 75 percent of the state’s
spending … appears to take place off [the government’s] budget,” the
report says. It goes on to cite “several credible estimates” in valuing
Niyazov’s slush fund at over $3 billion, “some $2 billion of which appears
to reside in the Foreign Exchange Reserve Fund at Deutsche Bank in


The report states there is no effective way to track the Turkmen
government’s management practices. “Citizens have no information as to

where that money is going because revenues are managed in a completely
opaque way,” the report said. “It is clear that the money is not being spent
on them: Standards of health, education, and living quality have plummeted
since independence.”

Niyazov appears to lavish a large share of the revenue on “an increasingly
bizarre personality cult,” the report suggests, adding, “His picture is
everywhere in Turkmenistan: on public buildings, on packets of salt and tea,
bottles of vodka; [it] even floats eerily in the corner of television

The report characterized Turkmenistan as dysfunctional and in imminent
danger of becoming “a fully fledged failed state with massive unemployment,
widespread heroin addiction, and woeful education and health care systems.”

The report goes on to criticize the Ruhnama, the book of values supposedly
authored by Niyazov, for claiming that the country’s natural resources are
“the people’s natural wealth.” Such assertions sound “ever more hollow as
time passes,” the report states. “It is time for Europe, Ukraine, and Russia
to act.”

A large part of the report is devoted to examining the murky interactions
involving Western European states, Ukraine, and Russia in the export of
Turkmen natural gas. For over a decade, the exports have been controlled by
a string of shadowy intermediary companies. “These companies have often
come out of nowhere, parlaying tiny amounts of start-up capital into
billion-dollar deals,” the Global Witness report says.

The structure of these companies has been obscured by “complex networks”
of holding companies and trusts. “It is nigh on impossible to discover who
sits at the center of these corporate webs, and thus to whom the profits from

the transportation and sale of natural gas are going,” the report said. An
investigation of four intermediary companies raised “troubling questions
about transparency and governance,” the report added.

The latest in the succession of intermediary companies is RosUkrEnergo, of
which the Russian conglomerate Gazprom and Austria’s Raiffeisen Zentralbank
are shareholders. The Austrian entity acts as a manager for “a consortium of
Ukrainian businessmen who have refused, despite fierce controversy in
Ukraine, to disclose their identities,” according to the report.

It stressed that RosUkrEnergo has not been firmly tied to any illegal
dealings, yet unanswered question continue to hover over the entity’s

RosUkrEnergo played a central role in a pricing dispute in early 2006
between Ukraine and Russia that briefly interrupted energy supplies to
Western Europe. When the two sides settled their differences, RosUkrEnergo
ended up “becoming the exclusive supplier of Turkmen gas to Ukraine,” the
report said.

That deal deviated “sharply from industry best practices,” the report
asserted. The contract covering deliveries and pricing issues is “a mere two
sheets of paper” and is thus overly vague. The pricing of Turkmen gas, for
instance, appears open to broad interpretation, the report suggests. “The
possibility of further, unexpected price hikes is obviously not good for the
energy security of Ukraine or gas customers downstream in [Western] Europe,”
it said.

Global Witness called for greater transparency in Turkmen natural gas
dealings. It specifically urged Russia and Ukraine to adopt international
reporting standards established under the Extractive Industries Transparency
Initiative or the International Monetary Fund’s Guide on Resource Revenue

It added that the Russian parliament should ratify the Energy Charter
Treaty, which provides for “more transparent transit arrangements and a
rules-based approach to dispute resolution.”

The EU likewise must take “much greater interest in the problem of energy
and transparency than it has to date,” the report says. Brussels has a
variety of instruments at its disposal – including diplomatic pressure,
economic assistance, and trade incentives/sanctions – to encourage greater
transparency. “Europe could also do much more to build the capacity of
local civil society groups to monitor the flow of revenues,” the report

In addition, the report is highly critical of the German banking sector. “It
is hard to see how Germany’s vital interest in the security of energy supply
can be reconciled with a preparedness by Germany’s biggest and most
prestigious bank to act as a banker to an unhinged tyrant,” the report said.

It recommends that the EU condition its future economic dealings with
Turkmenistan on a move by Niyazov to “show measurable progress” in
promoting transparency.                             -30-
This is a partner-post from EurasiaNet. http://www.eurasianet.org/

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

Associated Press (AP), Kiev, Ukraine, Friday, April 28, 2006

KIEV – The Ukrainian president’s office plans to challenge attempts by some
regions to grant the Russian language special status, a top presidential
aide said Friday.

The eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk and the Crimean city of Sevastopol
approved measures earlier this month declaring Russian a regional language
that should be safeguarded and developed.

President Viktor Yushchenko’s deputy chief-of-staff, Anatoliy Matviyenko,
said the moves are in conflict with Ukraine’s post-Soviet constitution,
which declared Ukrainian the sole state language.

Matviyenko said the president’s office would forward a request to the
prosecutor-general to look into the legality of the declarations. He noted,
however, that the Constitutional Court, which would be responsible for
ruling on such a matter, currently doesn’t have a quorum.

Ukraine’s dueling languages – the pro-European west speaks Ukrainian, while
the pro-Moscow east speaks Russian -have become one of the country’s most
politically divisive issues.

The pro-Moscow opposition party, Party of the Regions, which won the most
votes in last month’s parliamentary election, campaigned on a promise to
make Russian a second state language. Yushchenko, whose support base lies

in the Ukrainian-speaking west, has vowed to oppose such a move.  -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
             Revised and extended version of an article first released on
          The Action Ukraine Report #653, Article 25, February 3, 2006

COMMENTARY: By Stephen Velychenko, Resident Fellow,
CERES, Research Fellow, Chair of Ukrainian Studies,
Munk Center, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Action Ukraine Report #692, Article 7
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Ukraine faces the challenges of globalization without having overcome the
legacies of its past.  Because independence came peacefully soviet
Russophile elites remained in positions influence and Soviet migration
policies that directed Russians into and Ukrainians out of Ukraine left them
a constituency.

This immigration and “ethnic dilution”, combined with deportations and
millions of unnatural Ukrainian deaths between 1917 and 1947, created large
Russian-speaking urban enclaves in the country’s easternmost provinces.

Educational and media policies, meanwhile, channeled upwardly mobile
non-Russian rural migrants into Russian-speaking culture and allowed urban
Russians to work and satisfy their cultural/spiritual needs in Russian
culture and language.

Second and third generation urban Russian immigrants and assimilated
migrants thus spoke in Russian and were Moscow- oriented culturally and
intellectually.  After 1991 most of the urban population accepted the
legitimacy of the Ukrainian state, but few changed their language-use or
Russian intellectual/cultural  orientation.

The neo-Soviet Russophile elite is now engaged in a campaign to make Russian
an official “second language.” The thin edge of the wedge is represented by
local assemblies giving Russian legal status in their provinces — as
Luhansk has recently done.

Although the language issue is overshadowed in the domestic media by
well-merited concern over poverty and corruption, and foreign neo-liberal
commentators ignore cultural issues because they think them irrelevant,
public language-use in Ukraine should not be overlooked as language-use is
closely related to political orientations and Ukraine’s future.

At a time when the educated in every country in the world, including China
and Russia, are learning English as a second language, because English is
the de facto world-language, a small group of Ukraine’s neo-soviet
Russophile politicians threaten to isolate the country from the rest of the
world with their Russian language legislation. If enacted on the central
level such a policy would throw Ukraine back culturally 100 years.

Scholars and intellectuals will learn whatever language they want whenever
they want to. But not everybody is either a scholar or an intellectual and
they have better things to do than learn languages. If Russian becomes the
“second language” it will mean that the average Ukrainian citizen who wanted
direct contact with the rest of the world would have to learn a third

Continued use of Russian for business and in the public sphere would also
send the message that “capitalism and modernity speak Russian.” It would
reinforce Russophile orientations and the notion that Ukrainian is only
suitable for domestic use.

Russian politicians with neo-imperial ambitions and their neo-soviet
Russophile allies in Ukraine consciously obfuscate between Ukraine’s
Russians and all Ukraine’s Russian speakers in an attempt to prove
“anti-Russian discrimination.” Anyone with elementary knowledge of either
everyday life or the academic literature realizes such claims are demagogy.

The legacy of over 200 years of direct Russian rule is reflected still today
fifteen years after independence as public life, business and the media are
largely Russian-speaking outside Ukraine’s three westernmost provinces.

At the beginning of this century, in a country where 20 percent of the
population were Russian speaking Russians, 33 percent were Russian speaking
Ukrainians and 47 percents were Ukrainian speaking Ukrainians; 10 percent of
Ukraine’s annual published book titles, 12 percent of its magazines, 18
percent of its television programs and 35 percents of its newspapers were in
Ukrainian. Even in independent Ukraine, Ukrainian remains a minority
language and, as such, according to EU norms qualifies for protection.

Although since the spring of 2004 national Ukrainian radio and television
broadcasters had to use Ukrainian, almost all of them have   continued to
use Russian. Much more than the legally permissible 50 percent of television
programming is in Russian. The head of the National Television and Radio
Council, Vitaliy Shevchenko, told Radio Free Europe that “Ukraine is
becoming a unique country in Europe because it is losing its own language,
which is being squeezed out by the official language of another country.”

The government does not enforce its current language legislation. According
to law, all government employees must speak Ukrainian, but most do not and
continue to be paid nonetheless.

As of 2004, many teachers still used Russian in “Ukrainian language”
schools, some of which also had separate Russian language classes. Parents
who sometimes have to seek their children from “Ukrainian language”
day-cares are shocked to approach their room and hear them singing Russian

Secondary and university students studying non-Ukrainian subjects still rely
overwhelmingly on Russian-language literature because there is little in
Ukrainian on their subjects and libraries cannot afford to buy
English-language publications. Attendants on Ukraine International Airlines
use Russian to address passengers and either do not have or run-out of
Ukrainian-language publications, while never running-out of Russian-language

The pre-2006 neo-soviet Russophile dominated parliament, for its part,
refused to follow the lead of the Russian government and abolish taxation on
domestic publications, thus keeping Russian-language products in Ukraine
cheaper than Ukrainian – or English-language products. Whether or not
foreign corporations use Ukrainian inside their stores is ignored.
McDonald’s does use Ukrainian on its menus. Baskin Robbins does not.

The fact that Ukrainian speakers buy fewer books and audio visual products
than Russian speakers because they are poorer also plays a role, as does the
fact there is no Ukrainian low-brow urban mass-culture. Perhaps Ukraine’s
business moguls and tycoons could produce and sell Ukrainian-language
audio-visual products and books for less than Russian-language products and
finance a Ukrainian-language mass culture. But they do not seem to have

Ukrainian writers and producers and scholars, meanwhile, must accept the
reality that modern mass culture does not consist only of “the classics” and
that if Ukrainian is to win the market competition with Russian, trash must
be written, filmed and recorded in Ukrainian – just like it is in Russian or
in English or French.

The yellow press in all languages sells in millions of copies while the
quality press sells only tens of thousands. Ukrainians watch Russian
junk-films because there are no Ukrainian-language junk-films.

Ownership is also an important issue. It is thought that as much as 80
percent of Ukraine’s media is owned either by Russians or Russophile
Ukrainian citizens. Sixteen years after independence, however, no one really
knows who owns Ukraine’s media.

In 2006 the Ukrainian Helsinki Union, funded by George Soros’s Renaissance
Foundation, was able to reveal partial information about 10 stations.
Foreign companies, of which 3 are Russian, own all or part of at least 9.
Individuals unknown own all or part of 3. One channel is partly owned by a
Russophile Ukrainian oligarch.

Mass-circulation Russian-language dailies like Bulvar, Kievskie Vedomosti
and Fakty i Kommentarii are not merely sympathetic to neo-soviet Russophile
politicians. They regularly belittle, ridicule and mock things Ukrainian,
and highlight Russian rather than Ukrainian pop-stars, movies and television
programs. Ukrainian-language anti-Russian opinion is limited to low-run
fringe publications.

Russian popular newspapers and domination of the public sphere does not
promote political loyalty to Russia. What it does do is promote Russophile
orientations. This reinforces the old imperial Russian tie and impedes the
creation of new ties with the EU and the rest of the world – which speaks

Logically, there is no necessary correlation between language-use and
loyalties. Scots, Irish, Indians, Americans, Australians, and Canadians,
have all expressed their nationalisms in English. Corsicans and Bretons have
used French, and Latin Americans have used Spanish. Former Prime Minister
Viktor Yanukovych and Ukraine’s Communist Party leaders speak Ukrainian

when they must, using it as a medium for neo imperial and neo-soviet ideas.

It must be stressed  that few of Ukraine’s Russian speakers support
political reincorporation into Russia and that almost none have emigrated to
Russia since 1991. Ukrainian Russian-speakers can be as pro-European Union
as Ukrainian-speakers, Russian-speaking Ukrainians can be Ukrainian
patriots, and Russian-speaking eastern Ukrainian political leaders sooner
see themselves as representing a territorial region than a Russian-speaking

Russian-speaking Kyiv voted overwhelmingly for Viktor Yushchenko in the

2004 presidential elections and Russian speakers are as critical and
contemptuous of the pervasive criminality and corruption of Ukraine’s elites
as are Ukrainian speakers.

However, because of tsarist and soviet politics Russian never became a
medium for Ukrainian national ideas and today Russian is rarely used to
publicly promote Ukrainian national ideas or integration with the EU. For
this reason it is unlikely that Ukraine could become an eastern European
Ireland. A Russian-speaking Luhansk province is more likely to gravitate
towards Russia than the EU.

Consequently, to the degree that the correlation between Russian
language-use and pro-Russian political orientations remains high, Russian as
Ukraine’s second language would reinforce Russophile orientations. Russian
language-use in business and the public-sphere will return Ukrainian to its
pre-1991 status a second-rate medium suitable only for folk-culture and
market-place bartering.

Fostering public Russian language-use, in short, impedes Ukraine’s
integration with the EU and the rest of the world. Teaching Russian as a
second language in Ukraine’s schools will isolate it from the rest of the
world. Teaching English would not.                     -30-
NOTE: Stephen Velychenko is a Resident Fellow at the Centre for European,

Russian, and Eurasian Studies (CERES) and Research Fellow, Chair of
Ukrainian Studies, Munk Center, University of Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Contact: velychen@chass.utoronto.ca
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
     NOTE: Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.

COMMENTARY: By James Sherr, Fellow, Conflict Studies
Research Centre, Defence Academy of the United Kingdom [1]
Nezavisimaya Gazeta/Dipcourier in Russian, Moscow, Russia, 6 Apr, 2006
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #692, Article 8, in English
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 3, 2006

With the election of a new parliament and the imminence of a coalition
government, Ukraine’s political culture has come into its own.  By the
contemporary standards of the former Soviet Union, two striking
phenomena were on display:  a fully democratic election between full
blooded alternatives and a self-confident electorate that showed itself
quick to punish and slow to trust.

By contemporary Euro-Atlantic standards, all the ‘criteria’ were met.  Hence
the verdict of the former American Ambassador to Ukraine, Carlos Pascual:
‘Ukraine has come into the mainstream of European politics’.

But these contemporary standards risk misleading us.  The real lesson of
the 26 March elections is that Ukraine is returning to itself: to its
heritage of de-centralisation, pluralism, distrust of power and loathing of
absolutism; and to the attributes and faults bred by this heritage:
compromise, bargaining, manoeuvre, manipulation and the avoidance of
clear choices.

The ‘new’ coordinates of Ukrainian politics-a tempered presidency, a
stronger parliament, a demanding electorate and an inquisitive (nay,
inquisitorial) mass media-fit a much older pattern, and for this reason they
are unlikely to change.  Therefore, no one should be waiting impatiently
for the emergence of what both Russia and the West like to call a ‘clear
political course’.

A distinctive course there is bound to be, but it is most unlikely to bring
comfort to the technocrats in Brussels or the geopoliticians in the Kremlin.
In both places it is time for a little confusion and a lot of thinking.

Thinking in Russia must proceed from a premise that can no longer be denied:
‘Ukraine is not Russia’.  Disenchantment with Yushchenko has not dissipated
the ‘orange virus’.  Rather, it has led to a regrouping of Orange forces.

During the first round of the 2004 elections-well before there was any
Yushchenko presidency to be disillusioned about-Viktor Yanukovych
secured 36.31 per cent of the vote.

On 26 March 2006 he secured 32.1 per cent.  In the third round of the 2004
elections, when Yanukovych represented all ‘blue’ forces’, he secured 43 per
cent.  The combined total of all blue forces on 26 March-including those
which failed to clear the 3 per cent barrier-was also 43 per cent (and of
this, the once mighty Communist Party secured a mere 3.66 per cent).

The first challenge for the Kremlin is to come to terms with the fact that
the Party of Regions is not Ukraine’s natural ‘party of power’, but a
distinctly regional force.  The greater challenge is to come to terms with
the political forces that comprise the majority in Ukraine:  forces who do
not believe that Ukrainians and Russians are one and the same people, but
a different, albeit closely related people.

The route to cooperation with these forces lies not in stressing a ‘common’
history and heritage, but acknowledging and respecting what makes Ukraine
Ukraine.  Yet once this process is underway, the temptation will be to
replace ‘brotherly relations’ with ‘pragmatism’, i.e. toughness.  It is a
temptation best resisted, because whenever Russian politicians have yielded
to it, the results have been very different from what they expected.

Very soon, these points of principle are bound to prove relevant in
practice.  Should she return to the premiership, it is possible that Yulia
Tymoshenko will renounce the 4 January Russo-Ukraine gas accord.  If she
does, the bad news from Russia’s point of view is that many business circles
in eastern Ukraine will support her.

The good news is that she will need to sustain the support of parliament
through this or any other bold course of action. In these untidy but not
necessarily unpromising conditions, it would seem prudent for the Kremlin
to temper its own version of pragmatism-‘the firm promotion of national
interests’-with the Western version of pragmatism: reasonableness and the
effort to ensure that one’s own national interests are compatible with the
legitimate interests of others.

Like Russia, the West will have to live with indeterminacy and its two
inseparable companions: inconsistency and contradiction.  Despite its Orange
majority, indeterminacy exists in Ukraine because, beyond a commitment to
democracy, Orange does not define a consensus.  Indeed, it can no longer
mask disharmony and distrust.

President Yushchenko was not prepared for a result which put his party,
Nasha Ukraina, a distant third in the poll, but the fact remains that no
coalition can be formed without it.  His response to this state of affairs
is both clever and desperate: delay.  On impeccably Euro-Atlantic grounds,
he is insisting that the Orange forces first agree to a coalition and the
policies underpinning it and only then to the distribution of posts.

Yet few in the country will be impressed by this. Prior to the election-when
Yushchenko assumed that his party would trump Tymoshenko’s-he not only
agreed that the premiership should go to the strongest party, he actually
proposed this himself.  The 4 April statement of Nasha Ukraina points out
that, under the provisions of the new constitutional arrangement, the delay
can last up to two months.

But even if it only lasts days, what then:  a cohesive government, a
supportive president and a disciplined parliament?  In time we might be able
to count on two out of the three.  In the meantime, Euro-Atlantic
institutions will need to think carefully about what they can and cannot do.

But they will need to think imaginatively as well as carefully.  Today the
coordinates of the EU elite consensus are liberal democracy, market
deregulation, a rules governed approach to business and financial stability.
The emerging Ukrainian consensus could well be founded upon liberal
democracy, social justice, social welfare and, as uninvited corollaries,
financial indiscipline, economic uncertainty and lack of business

Must that consensus exclude Ukraine from the ‘European project’?  Can the
EU shape, let alone change that consensus without providing clear signals
that Ukraine is welcome to join that project when it is capable and willing?

The fact that attitudes inside NATO about Ukraine are more positive and
proactive than those inside the EU does not require  comment.  But these
attitudes need to come to terms with the reality of an Orange coalition that
has reached no consensus about NATO membership and with a country
whose citizens, on present form, are ill-disposed towards it.

From the start, NATO enlargement has been a demand driven process. NATO
is not in the business of recruiting new members.  Will Ukraine’s government
now take the lead in reshaping public perceptions and sentiment?  Or will
the imperatives of political struggle defer that essential task once again?

Ukraine’s answer to this question will decide when, and indeed whether
Ukraine joins MAP [Membership Action Plan] and the demanding process
of accession begins.  NATO cannot answer it.  Russia will be unpleasantly
surprised if it tries to do so.                           -30-
[1] The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those
of the Ministry of Defence. James Sherr, james.sherr@lincoln.ox.ac.uk.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

      It doesn’t strike anyone, that there were NO candidates To vote for?  

Action Ukraine Report #692, Article 9
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 3, 2006
Morgan, I love these articles on Ukraine emerging as a democracy. 
It doesn’t strike anyone, that there were NO candidates TO vote for,
ONLY parties?  The parties assign the deputies.
Each pays not less than $2 million, up to $5 million to the party to
become an immune from prosecution deputy.  A perfect place to hide
or protect your business, which non-deputy businesses don’t have.
Yushchenko gave away any balance of power to become President now
only appointing the Interior, Defence, and Foreign Ministries. All other
ministers are appointed by the parliament. 
There is now Zero accountability to the people, which is what a
Democracy is supposed to be about. The western press seems to
believe simply a mostly clean parliamentary vote designates Democracy,
which of course it does not.
The next 6 months will unleash a new wave of power induced grab
for businesses, threats and extortion through tax authorities, increased
levels of bribes demanded, as the new ones need to catch up to the old
Take a few pictures of the parking lots at the various tax authority
buildings and wonder how $500 per month employees drive such
fantastic cars.
Who is going to police all of this?  The electorate of course……….
The reality is that the new position people have zero functional
experience which will lead the economy very much backwards.
I feel very sad for Ukraine. Who do international businesses complain
to, and to what effect?
I can tell you businesses are under constant bombardment today from
the tax authorities. Most will continue to survive, but is it worth the
It is getting so crazy, I am almost at a point for the first time in 10
years that I might go complain to someone, but who? US Ambassador?  
EU Ambassador? NATO representative? German Ambassador?
Yushchenko? Yulia? Yanukovych? Kuchma?
My hope is post new government, everyone will settle down. My fear
is, all the new young Turks are more crazy for power and we will enter
a time where non public extortion will re-enter Ukrainian business.
Imagine how thrilled everyone was with the orange revolution!  -30-
FOOTNOTE:  Name of writer withheld upon request.  The writer is
a substantial, experienced, successful businessperson with many years
of on-the-ground experience in Ukraine who is known to the AUR.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                President Bush intends to nominate William B. Taylor, Jr.

Public Affairs Section, U.S. Embassy Kyiv
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wednesday, May 3, 2006

KYIV – The White House Office of the Press Secretary released the

following announcement on May 1:

The President intends to nominate William B. Taylor, Jr., of Virginia, to

be Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of
America to Ukraine. 
Mr. Taylor, a career member of the Senior Executive Service, currently
serves as Senior Consultant to the Coordinator of Reconstruction and
Stabilization at the Department of State.

Prior to this, he served as the United States Representative to the
Quartet’s Special Envoy for Disengagement in Jerusalem.  Earlier in his
career, he served as Director of the Iraq Reconstruction Management

Office in Baghdad, Iraq.

In addition, Mr. Taylor served in Kabul, Afghanistan as Coordinator of
United States and International Assistance to Afghanistan and as Afghan
Coordinator in the Bureau of South Asian Affairs at the Department of State.

He also served as a Captain in the United States Army.  Mr. Taylor received
his bachelor’s degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point
and his master’s degree from Harvard University.           -30-
LINK: http://kiev.usembassy.gov/infocentral_eng.html
Public Affairs Section, United States Embassy Kyiv
4 Hlybochytska St., Kyiv  04050  Ukraine
(380 44) 490-4026, 490-4090, Fax (380 44) 490-4050
http://kiev.usembassy.gov/; info@usembassy.kiev.ua

FOOTNOTE:  The AUR sends its congratulations to Ambassador
Bill Taylor.  We have known and worked with Ambassador Taylor
for several years.   AUR EDITOR
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                             RETURNING THEM TO FAMILIES

REPORT: By Konstantin Yakubenko, Director of Development
“ChildRescue” Charitable Organization, Kyiv, Ukraine
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #692, Article 11
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 3, 2006

It is staggering to imagine: according to recent estimates voiced during a
large roundtable on at-risk children issues with President Victor Yuschenko
in November 2005 – –  there are about 200,000 homeless and without parental
care children, spending most of their time on the streets.

According to experts estimates  – – approximately 20 – 30% of street
children and youth are HIV positive!! Police raids have officially detected
50,500 street children during 2004 alone.  Every forth – is an orphanage run

As years are passing by, these children grow up and become homeless adults
having all rights to ask anyone of us: whose fault is it that they weren’t
properly and timely helped to get a chance for a real life?

There is still no national or regional qualitative welfare system to protect
children-in-crisis. Governmental shelters for street children in most cases
provide a simple temporary stay for street children and do very little to
qualitatively rehabilitate them.  Most importantly, they do virtually
nothing to return children to a family environment by working with
biological parents (if possible) or finding professionally trained (foster)

In practice, this problem is left with no solution and some private
charities, with no governmental funding, try to change this sad reality.
About 20,000 of all Ukrainian street children live or move to Kyiv, the
nation’s capital, where “ChildRescue” charitable organization operates.

We see many good-intentioned people giving street children food and money

on the streets with no vision for rehabilitation, which allows more children to
live on streets, teaches them to grow up as beggars and homeless adults.  At
“ChildRescue”, we are passionate about removing these “band-aid” types of
help and getting to the underlying issues of professional rehabilitation,
which we have done since 2001.

Having completed holistic assessment of the situation and studied practical
experience of street children intervention in other countries, we have
created a model protecting the rights of at-risk children specific to the
realities of today’s situation in Kyiv and hope to reach financial level
enabling us to expand it to other needy areas of Ukraine.

The main goal of “ChildRescue” is to remove children from streets,
rehabilitate and reintegrate them back into biological or professionally
trained families and help older children lead independent socially
acceptable living.  It’s possible via the following system:

1. Day Center for Street Children (Located in Vinogradar area of Kyiv) —–
This Center assists street children in urgent need of food, clothing,
medical attention, shower & social/moral support.  During the Day Center’s
daily in-take sessions, children are assisted by psychologists, care givers,
medical nurse and legal advisor. The main goal of the Center’s intervention
is to stimulate street children to change their street living.

Over 100 children have decided to change their lives and have been accepted
to ChildRescue’s Rehabilitation Center.  Another 19 children with little
experience of life on the streets were returned to their biological families
after intensive work with the Day Center’s psychologist in the last 3

2.  Medical Center for Street Children (Located in Obolon’ area of
Kyiv) —–
Tests and medically treats street children as virtually ALL street children
suffer from skin diseases, sexually transmitted diseases and other health
problems. Realistically, NO other hospital in Kyiv will accept unaccompanied
street child for any testing or treatment.  Today, we are able to admit &
care for up to 20 street children in our Medical Center.

3. Rehabilitation Center for Street Children (Located in Teremki area

of Kyiv) —–
The main goal of this Center is to prepare street children to live again
with biological or professionally trained families and prepare older
children for independent living.  The Rehab Center houses 20 street children
aged 3 to18 y.o. most of who have passed the Day Care Center and Medical
Center treatment from contagious diseases.

In order to live in the Rehab Center, children must express their desire to
change their lives and agree with the rules of the Center.  They live with
care givers round the clock and receive a full cycle of rehabilitative
services which include: in-depth psychological rehabilitation, social
workers’ supervision, legal assistance, and medical care.

Children also undergo individual education courses, participate in singing
lessons, practice sports, do hand crafts, draw and express their
individuality in other ways.

Psychologists and care givers daily monitor the progress of each street
child. Children receives 3 daily meals & snacks, enjoy their warm, clean bed
& bathrooms.  For older children, we do whatever training and assistance
possible to identify job opportunities including attendance of technical

Finally, in collaboration with the Center of Family Care, our psychologists
reach out to biological families of children (if available) endeavoring to
reunite the family as soon as possible. Alternatively, professionally
trained parents are sought to place the rehabilitated child with a foster
family or family type home.

In the last year, 83 children have passed through the “ChildRescue” Rehab
Center’s full rehabilitation course and were returned to their biological
families.  7 children were placed with foster families with previously
prepared guardians. 20 children currently in the Rehab Center fill it to its
capacity. Some of them will soon be ready for graduation to rehabilitated
biological and prepared professionally trained families

Today’s plans of ChildRescue include separating all work with biological
parents in crisis and foster families into a stand alone Center of Family
Care.   Center for Independent Living for Street Youth (Half-Way House type)
is planned to provide much needed continued social supervision for youth
graduating from our rehabilitation program and Ukrainian orphanages.  There
is a special need to create the first FTH in Ukraine for HIV-positive street
children – – very challenging project.

We believe our current activities are a beginning.  As many more children
reach out to us, we are looking for ways to qualitatively help them.  If you
are interested to become a partner in this work – – please, contact us at:
“ChildRescue” Charitable Organization, 9 Teremkivska St., Kyiv, Ukraine
Tel.: 38 (044) 466-9345 (Nikolai cell)
Tel.: 38 (067) 209-4333 (Konstantin cell, English speaker)
FAX: 38 (044) 526-9696; E-mail: ChildRescue@ukr.net

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
    If you are receiving more than one copy of the AUR please contact us.
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #692, Article 12
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 3, 206

RE: “Ukraine’s Orange Revolution and the Quest for omnilateral liberation”
Article by Chris Ford, published in “Education and the Spirit of Time:

Historical, Global and Critical Reflections,” Moisio, Olli-Pekka & Suoranta,
Juha (Eds.) Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. (2006)

Chris Ford, in his article, analyses Ukraine’s Orange Revolution the

reverberations of which continues to be felt.  Not only has grasping its
nature been problematic for analysts but it has also posed questions of
the meaning of freedom itself.
He examines the claims that ‘freedom’ has been established as the
culmination of the Ukrainian Revolution as an historic process.

A contention which he asserts fails to define the logic of the Ukrainian
Revolution. Taking the definition of Volodymyr Vynnychenko that it is a
quest for “omnilateral liberation”, he places the Orange Revolution against
the mirror of the revolutionary history of Ukraine to assess whether it has
reached its historical logic.

Ford roots the current complexities in the ability of the old rulers to
reconstitute themselves during the transition from totalitarian communism to
private-capitalism, a process eased by the abandonment of the quest for
universal liberty by the national-democratic opposition.      -30-
LINK: http://www.sensepublishers.com/books/bver/bver.htm#90-77874-17-8
Contact: Chris Ford, CFORDCPFORD@aol.com.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
             Send in a letter-to-the-editor today. Let us hear from you.


Associated Press, Sofia, Bulgaria, Friday, April 28, 2006

SOFIA, Bulgaria – Describing North Atlantic Treaty Organization
membership as an “irreversible” foreign policy goal, Ukraine’s Foreign
Minister Borys Tarasiuk said Friday reforms under way in the country’s
Soviet-style defense sector should ease concerns over its ability to comply
with NATO standards.

“The aspiration to NATO membership is natural (and) Ukraine’s course is
irreversible,” Tarasiuk told a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in the
Bulgarian capital, Sofia.

The push for membership by former Soviet states Ukraine and Georgia has
raised concerns in Moscow that the U.S. and NATO were seeking to encircle
Russia. Russia’s foreign ministry has warned such an expansion would force
Moscow to reorganize its armed forces in response.

Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Ukraine must meet a
set of stringent criteria before it can be considered for membership.

Tarasiuk said Ukrainian President Victor Yushchenko “had tasked various
security bodies to initiate defense sector reforms…mindful of the fact
that the defense industry preserved the Soviet approach and working style.”

According to general NATO requirements, Ukraine’s bloated post-Soviet
military will have to be brought in line with alliance standards and the
country will have to strengthen civilian control over the armed forces.

Tarasiuk said his government was already working to comply with alliance
standards through a joint NATO-Ukraine committee, describing this as “a
major step forward to substantial practical cooperation and enhancing of our

But he noted there was still “a lot of homework” to be done to increase
public support for the move. Ukraine hopes it could be invited to join by
2008, Tarasiuk said.

“We hope that this year the strengthening of NATO-Ukraine relations will
have its logical continuation in the framework of the main preparations
program -the membership action plan and…the invitation to accession
talks.” Ukraine hopes it could be invited to join by 2008, Tarasiuk said.

At a joint news conference with Tarasiuk, NATO Secretary-General Jaap de
Hoop Scheffer said Ukraine was increasingly pulling its weight in being a
security provider in regions such as Kosovo, Darfur and Afghanistan.

“NATO’s door remains open and Ukraine’s aspirations are ultimately
achievable,” he said.                                     -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
           Limited theatrical release in New York City, May 11-17th

REPORT: from Amy Grappell, Producer, Ukraine Documentary
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #692, Article 14
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 3, 2006

Morgan, my documentary “LIGHT FROM THE EAST” will be having

a limited theatrical release in NY at the PIONEER THEATER May
Discounted tickets and Q&A are being offered to student groups and
organizations who would like to make a screening night into an
educational event for their group.

Check out the PIONEER Website for further info
www.twoboots.com/pioneer/light.htm or contact me directly to discuss
further. Your suggestions in helping me do outreach in NY based
University Eastern European Studies programs or organizations is much

Thanks — Amy Grappell,  512-619-6025.

“LIGHT FROM THE EAST” The story of an American theater troupe
that witnessed the fall of Communism Opens in New York May 11-17,
2006 at the Pioneer Theater

“Personal, political, historical…I loved It.” – Richard Linklater, director

1991. Glasnost. Perestroika. The Soviet Union opens its doors to the
West. A troupe of young American actors from La Mama Theater in NY
travels to Kiev to participate in the first American/Ukrainian cultural
exchange theater project in history.

The play they are to perform is based on the life of Les Kurbas, a
revolutionary Ukrainian theatre director who was murdered in one of
Stalin’s purges. Two weeks into their trip, Gorbachev is kidnapped, the
Kremlin is overthrown by a military coup and the entire USSR is plunged
into volatile uncertainty.

As rehearsals progress, the play ironically begins to mirror action in
the streets. Kurbas and his company struggled to make art during the
revolution that ushered in Communism; the international troupe performs
the life of Kurbas as the walls of Communism come tumbling down.

During the massive political changes of 1991, including the fall of
Communism and the Ukraine declaring its national independence,

LIGHT FROM THE EAST takes viewers on a philosophical inquiry
into the meaning of freedom.

“Beautifully captures the spirit of the former Soviet Union and the soul
of its people.” – Albert Maysles

“After the recent, quiet Revolution in Ukraine, this movie is almost a
must see as it uses a cultural exchange theater project for the focal
point of examining a people who despite political realities are driven
by dreams that become realities.” – Louis Black, Publisher, AUSTIN

The Two Boots Pioneer Theatre, 155 East 3rd Street, between

Avenues A and B (closer to A), New York City, (212) 591-0434
Thurs May 11 9pm; Fri May 12 9pm; Sat May 13 9pm
Sun May 14 9pm; Mon May 15 9pm; Tues May 16 9pm
Weds May 17 9 pm

Advance tickets: click by showtime or call (800) 595 4849 (service
charges do apply) admission $9 (members $6.50)
URL http://www.twoboots.com/pioneer/europe.htm#Light
Film URL www.lightfromtheeast.com
Film Trailer http://www.lightfromtheeast.com/trailer.htm
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

James Murphy, Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada
Action Ukraine Report (AUR) #692, Article 15
Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 3, 2006
The Partnerships for Tomorrow Program Phase II (PTP II), funded by the
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and administered by
the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, is a small travel
grant mechanism designed to contribute to the democratic and economic
reform process in the countries of the Balkans, Central Asia and Eastern

The program supports small projects, up to a maximum of $10,000, which
aim to build and strengthen partnerships and linkages between Canadians
and citizens of the Balkans, Central Asia and Eastern European

These long term relationships will facilitate the capacity development of
individuals and institutions in the Balkans, Central Asia and Eastern Europe
\while developing Canadian expertise in working within the region.

Each project must respond to the following criteria including the
establishment of sustainable partnerships, the sharing of knowledge, and
ensuring that the activities complement CIDA’s programming priorities.

Who is eligible?

Representatives from all sectors in Canada and targeted countries in the
Balkans, Eastern Europe and Central Asia including institutions,
educational institutions, non governmental organizations, professionals,
businesses, individuals, youth (ages 18-30) and government (excluding
the Canadian federal government).

Organizations wishing to learn more about this program should visit our
website at www.ptp2.ca. The program processes a round of applications
each month.

If you have any questions about the program, please contact James Murphy
via telephone at 613-563-3961 ext. 335 or via email at jmurphy@aucc.ca .

Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 3, 2006
The Partnerships for Tomorrow Program Phase II (PTP II), funded by the
Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) and administered by
the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada, is a small travel
grant mechanism designed to contribute to the democratic and economic
reform process in the countries of the Balkans, Central Asia and Eastern

The program supports small projects, up to a maximum of $10,000, which
aim to build and strengthen partnerships and linkages between Canadians
and citizens of the Balkans, Central Asia and Eastern European

These long term relationships will facilitate the capacity development of
individuals and institutions in the Balkans, Central Asia and Eastern Europe
\while developing Canadian expertise in working within the region.

Each project must respond to the following criteria including the
establishment of sustainable partnerships, the sharing of knowledge, and
ensuring that the activities complement CIDA’s programming priorities.

Who is eligible?

Representatives from all sectors in Canada and targeted countries in the
Balkans, Eastern Europe and Central Asia including institutions,
educational institutions, non governmental organizations, professionals,
businesses, individuals, youth (ages 18-30) and government (excluding
the Canadian federal government).

Organizations wishing to learn more about this program should visit our
website at www.ptp2.ca. The program processes a round of applications
each month.

If you have any questions about the program, please contact James Murphy
via telephone at 613-563-3961 ext. 335 or via email at jmurphy@aucc.ca .

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
16.                 “IN THOSE SAD DAYS OF MARCH 1946”
             Letter from Pope Benedict XVI to Ukrainian Cardinal Husar

Zenit, Vatican City, Friday, April 28, 2006

VATICAN CITY  – Here is a Vatican translation of the Feb. 22 letter

Benedict XVI sent to Ukrainian Cardinal Lubomyr Husar, commemorating
the 60th anniversary of the Communist persecution against the Greek-Catholic

To Cardinal Lubomyr Husar
Major Archbishop of Kyiv-Halyc

“If anyone thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as
the Scripture has said, “Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living
water'” (John 7:37-38).

These words of the Lord re-echo in my heart as I think of the Ukrainian
Greek-Catholic Church, which is preparing to commemorate the sad events that
took place in the Cathedral of St. George in Lviv at the beginning of March,
60 years ago.

Notwithstanding the persecution, oppression and deprivation of their own
pastors experienced by Ukraine’s believers in Christ, brought about by an
ideological and inhuman state policy, they remained faithful to the
spiritual heritage of Olga and Vladimir when the baptism that they accepted
was made manifest, as the beloved John Paul II wrote in the apostolic letter
“Euntes in Mundum,” as a “decisive element for the civil and human progress
which is so important for the existence and development of every Nation and
State” (No. 5, 25 January 1988).

Unfortunately, in those sad days of March 1946, a group of clerics gathered
in a pseudo-synod who unduly claimed to represent the Church seriously
wounded ecclesial unity. Violence was intensified against those who remained
faithful to unity with the Bishop of Rome, giving rise to further sufferings
and forcing the Church to return underground.

But, although beset by unspeakable trials and sufferings, Divine Providence
did not permit the disappearance of a community which for centuries was
considered a legitimate and living part of the identity of the Ukrainian
People. In this way, the Greek-Catholic Church continued to give its own
witness to the one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church of Christ.

The memory of what took place 60 years ago must become an incentive for the
community entrusted to the pastoral care of the reorganized Greek-Catholic
hierarchy in Ukraine to deepen its profound and earnest bond with the
Successor of Peter. From that Church, purified by persecutions, streams of
living water flow not only for Ukrainian Catholics but for the entire
Catholic Church throughout the world.

In the patient journey of faith lived day after day in communion with the
Successors of the Apostles, whose visible unity is guaranteed by the
Successor of Peter, the Ukrainian Catholic Community was able to keep

sacred Tradition integrally alive.

To keep this precious patrimony of the “Paradosis” alive in all its
richness, it is important to ensure the presence of the two great streams of
the one Tradition — the Latin stream and the Eastern one — both with the
variety of historical manifestations that Ukraine has duly expressed.

The mission entrusted to the Greek-Catholic Church in full communion with
Peter is twofold: Its duty, on the one hand, is to maintain the visibility
of the Eastern tradition in the Catholic Church; on the other, to facilitate
the meeting of the traditions, witnessing not only to their compatibility
but also to their profound unity in diversity.

Venerable Brother, I pray that this anniversary may become, as venerable
John Paul II wrote in his apostolic letter for the fourth centenary of the
Union of Brest, “an appeal to the Spirit-Paraclete, that he may cause to
flourish everything which promotes unity, and may give courage and strength
to all those who commit themselves, according to the guidelines of the
Council’s decree “Unitatis Redintegratio,” to this work blessed by God. It
is a plea for the gift of brotherly love, and for the forgiveness of
offences and injustices suffered in the course of history” (No. 11).

I join in spirit the action of grace that will be celebrated in the shared
awareness of the common mission to obey Christ’s command: “Ut unum sint.”

I invoke Mary, Theotokos, and the many martyrs that adorn the face of your
communities, and I cordially impart to you, to the bishops, priests,
consecrated persons and the faithful of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church,
as a sign of my constant affection and thoughts, a special apostolic

From the Vatican, 22 February 2006, Feast of the Chair of St Peter, Apostle

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

Report by Mariya Rogacheva, Izvestia,

Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, April 26, 2006

The summer vacation is not far away. As in the past, many Russians will
opt for the traditional break in Crimea. But with each passing year the
treatment of Russian tourists and, indeed, of Russian-speaking residents
of Crimean changes. More and more one hears calls by Crimean Tatars,
whose numbers are growing all the time, to rid the peninsula not only of
Russians, but also of Ukrainians and other nationalities.

Whereas before this dispute appeared local and not impinging on the bulk
of the population, now even the most apolitical holidaymaker might sense
people looking at him askance. It is conceivable that the Ukrainian
authorities’ tactics of using Crimean Tatars as a counterweight to the

Russian-speaking population will turn into a disaster for Ukraine itself and
lead to the development of a so-called Kosovo scenario on the peninsula.

The dispute between the Crimean Tatars and the rest of the Crimean
population has been bubbling under for 15 years — ever since the first
members of this deported people started to return to the peninsula in the
early nineties. They came in small groups and settled mainly in
Bakhchiseray. The locals welcomed them more or less with open arms.

The return was seen as righting a historic wrong and as a sign of the
general democratization of society. Later, when Crimea was inherited by

Ukraine, which had suddenly become a sovereign country, the process
speeded up significantly.
The authorities were hoping to use Crimean Tatars as a counterweight to
pro-Russian sentiments. The more Tatars there are in Crimea, Kiev reckoned,
the harder it will be for Russia separatists to make a mark.

The number of Crimean Tatars in Crimea is rising very fast. In 1944 half a
million people were deported; 250,000 have already returned. This is
one-tenth of the Crimean population. This year, according to Aleksey
Dobychin, leader of the Proryv public movement, which protects the
interests of the Russian-speaking population in Crimea, another 100,000
Crimean Tatars are expected to return.

They will buy up houses, take over plots of land, and built settlements
all over the peninsula — from Yevpatoriya to Kerch. According to
specialists, in five years’ time Crimea Tatars may constitute 40 percent
of the peninsula’s population.

 From the outset the Ukrainian authorities gave the returnees’ every help.
In the first four years more than 60 percent of the returning Crimean
Tatars were found jobs, pensioners were given pension top-ups, special
college departments and Tatar schools were opened. It is no exaggeration to
say that this policy may cost Ukraine Crimea.

“In Ukraine the danger of losing the island due to the increasing influence
of the Crimean Tatars is seen as minor,” State Duma Deputy Konstantin
Zatulin, director of the CIS Institute, told Izvestiya. “But the latter’s
demands are growing year by year. I believe that a new Kosovo is being
nurtured in Ukraine’s midst.

These days you can hear the “Crimea For Crimeans Tatars” slogan not
only in remote villages, but even on the streets of Sevastopol — a city
traditionally close to Russia.

“They are actually saying to Russians: Run while you can,” Aleksey
Dobychin said to Izvestiya, “all this is going to be ours anyway, they say,
and you won’t be living here.”

The Crimean Tatars unifying structure is the mejlis — an unregistered, but
currently highly influential body. Mejlis members have repeatedly hinted
that sooner or later they will demand Tatar autonomy status for Crimea. It
is no secret to anyone in the autonomous entity that amid the apparently
harmless propaganda of Crimean Tatar unity, strong-arm detachments are
being set up, comprising adherents of radical Islamic movements. Their
members publicly advocate Crimean independence from Kiev and call for

“Crimean Tatar organizations operate in two areas,” Aleksey Dobychin said.
“On the one hand, the mejlis, which cultivates nationalist sentiments. It
is not concerned with religion. On the other hand, the Hizb-al-Tahrir
Islamic liberation party, which is banned in Russia and a number of other
countries. Its members appeared in Crimea in 2003 and they have been
recruiting supporters ever since. This is done in the actual mosques.
Hizb-al-Tahrir never advertises itself, but it is already at work in every

It is no secret — the Crimean mufti has publicly declared that there are
around 30 Wahhabite groups on the peninsula. With weapons and
shooting ranges. They conduct exercises in urban fighting and they are
trained by Turkish, Jordanian, Moroccan, and Chechen instructors. To our
knowledge, the organization receives major financial backing from Saudi
Arabia, Oman, and, of course, Turkey.

The mejlis has found its closes allies in Turkey. According to the
Institute of Geopolitics Crimean Center for Humanitarian Studies, Crimean
Tatar representatives regularly attend various events and forums of a
pan-Turkic nature.

Ankara has repeatedly talked of Crimea Tatars who allegedly moved to
Turkey during the Russian-Turkish wars. According to Turkish studies,
they number two-three million in 34 Turkish districts. Many are openly
interested in moving to their “historic homeland,” so this might finally tip
the balance of power in the Black Sea Region.

Maybe holidaymakers coming to Crimea this year will not sense all these
undercurrents. One cannot exactly expect widespread nationalist actions and
ultimatums in the immediate future. But, according to Aleksey Dobychin, the
situation is irreversible and a Kosovo scenario could develop in two-three

And the strong-arm option is most likely, since it will not be possible to
secure a political decision on the peninsula’s becoming a separate entity.
But the boil is swelling, so it will burst sooner or later. It is hard to
predict how much blood will flow on the fecund Crimean soil.  -30-
[return to index] Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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                       THE DREGS OF SOVIET SOCIALISM
         In this debate about colour revolutions in the east, the left must
                   not confuse the right answers with rightwing ones

COMMENT & DEBATE: By Timothy Garton Ash
The Guardian, London, United Kingdom, Thu, Apr 06, 2006

In the last century, we used to have two big arguments: one about

socialism and Russia, the other about capitalism and America.
This century, we’re mainly left with the argument about capitalism and
America, as well as some big new ones.

But now and then the old ideological wrangles about Russia and socialism
make a shadowy reappearance, as they have recently on these pages. Some
writers have suggested that the Ukrainian and Belarussian election results
spell a turning of the tide against nefarious CIA-supported “colour
revolutions”, inhumane free-market neoliberalism, US propaganda, western
hypocrisy and other evils.

It’s impossible in a single column to unpick all the muddled thinking,
inaccuracies and half-truths that accompany such claims, but here are just
three sample threads.

[1] James Harkin argued in a column last Saturday that many of the

(unnamed) “western commentators” who had been ” curiously dewy-eyed”
about Ukraine’s orange revolution in 2004 are “lost for words” now that
the party of the pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovich “has triumphed” in the
recent parliamentary elections. Well, certainly not me.

Why on earth should I, who rejoiced with the people in Kiev’s independence
square, be lost for words now? The orange revolution was not about giving
power to any particular party. It was about using “people power” to give
people the chance to choose their own government in a free and fair

That’s what Ukraine has just done. One British election monitor from the
European parliament said he thought the voting procedures used by the
Ukrainians this time round were superior to those in Britain.

Roughly one in three Ukrainian voters, mainly in the more Russian-oriented
east of the country, chose Yanukovich. That’s about 10% less than he
probably got in the rigged presidential election of 2004 that sparked the
orange revolution.

The so-called orange vote was split between the now feuding leaders of the
orange revolution, Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Timoshenko, but their
combined vote exceeded that for Yanukovich.

Voters, except in the pro-western western end of the country, punished
Yushchenko for disappointed hopes, economic mess, continued widespread
corruption, dealing badly with the Russian gas squeeze at the beginning of
the year, and falling out with Yulia.

Fair on some counts, less so on others. But the essential point remains: the
people could choose in a free and fair election. They can bring an old rogue
back, if they want; then they can chuck him out again. It’s democracy,

[2] A second thread hangs on western double standards. “Even if we believe
the worst about Lukashenko (and it is widely accepted by opponents that he
has majority support in Belarus),” writes Neil Clark, “the democratic
failings of the former Soviet republic pale into insignificance compared
with those of other governments that the west, far from penalising, has
rewarded generously.”

Egypt, for example. Now there is an important point here, but it’s not the
point Clark thinks he’s making. Yes, the US, like all great powers in
history, has flagrant double standards. The dirty logic of “he may be a
sonofabitch but he’s our sonofabitch” is at work in the “war on terror”, as
it was in the cold war.

But the conclusion we should draw from this is not that the west is wrong to
support human rights and democracy in Belarus. It’s that the west should do
more to support human rights and democracy in Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

If someone witnesses two separate murders and only goes after one of the
murderers, because the other is his friend, we don’t say “he was wrong to go
after that murderer”. We say “he should have gone after the other one as

[3] A third thread is a variant of the old “iron rice bowl” defence: maybe
they don’t have western-style human rights and civil liberties, but they are
better off socially and economically.

Thus, according to a column by Jonathan Steele, Belarus under Lukashenko

has seen a 24% rise in real wages over the past year, cut VAT, brought down
inflation, halved the number of people in poverty in the past seven years,
and avoided social tensions by maintaining the fairest distribution of
incomes of any country in the region. What a paradise! Clearly Gordon Brown
should go to school in Minsk.

There’s a question of how far one can trust such statistics. And there’s a
question of how far those who did vote for Lukashenko did so out of economic
and social satisfaction, patriotism, love of the leader, etc, and how far
out of fear.

Given that there are few independent media outlets in Belarus, no rigorously
independent political opinion surveys, and we don’t know how many people
really voted for Lukashenko anyway, the question is strictly unanswerable.

However, I’ve talked to several experienced correspondents who were there –
including the Guardian’s Nick Paton Walsh – and they report a significant
element of fear, especially among the middle generation.

The larger issue – not of fact, but of interpretation – is whether the
economic and social achievement, such as it is, justifies or compensates for
the restrictions on civil liberties, intimidation and human rights abuses
that Steele, as a very serious and experienced correspondent, fairly
acknowledges later in his piece. Here we have old form, Steele and I.

Way back in 1977 he published a book about communist East Germany, entitled
Socialism with a German Face. He concluded that East Germany’s “overall
social and economic system is a presentable model of the kind of
authoritarian welfare states which eastern European nations have now

My question then was, and still is: presentable to whom? Presentable to the
outside visitor, engaged on his or her reportorial and ideological journey,
but free to leave whenever he or she wishes? Or presentable to the people
who actually live there? I think the East Germans answered that question in
1989. Bitterly disappointed as many of them have been since, they still
don’t want the Wall back.

All I propose today is that the Belarussians should be able to answer that
question themselves, without fear, in a free and fair election. If they then
freely choose to bring an old rogue back, as one in three Ukrainian voters
have just done, that’s their choice and their perfect right.

But if you think that’s what has just happened in Belarus – where the BBC
reports that more than 150 opposition supporters have been thrown into
prison – you really do need your head examined.

It’s fair and vital for people on the left to criticise western double
standards, the human consequences of neoliberal shock therapy, social
inequality and current US foreign policy, but that should not lead anyone
into weaselly apologetics for the authoritarian dregs of Soviet socialism.

Surely the first concern of anyone on the democratic left today should be
for those peaceful protesters now banged up in Lukashenko’s jails. Wanting
the people to have the chance to choose their own government is not a
rightwing thing. It’s simply the right thing.                -30-

LINK: www.timothygartonash.com
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