Daily Archives: September 18, 2006

AUR#759 Sep 18 President Rebukes PM On NATO Stance; Telenor Communications Warns Of Threat; Baloha New Pres Chief-Of-Staff; FM Tarasiuk To NYC – UN

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               –——-  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
               Has five hour meeting with Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych
                   President gave Prime Minister his first political warning.
ForUM, Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, 16 September 2006
BBC News, United Kingdom, Friday, September 15, 2006

Agence France Presse (AFP), Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Sep 17, 2006

NEWS CONFERENCE: By Ukrainian Defence Minister Hrytsenko
TV 5 Kanal, Kiev, in Ukrainian 0915 gmt 15 Sep 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Friday, September 15, 2006

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, September 15, 2006


Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Sat, September 16, 2006

7.                      WHITHER GOEST THOU, UKRAINIAN?
By Klara GUDZYK, The Day Weekly Digest in English, #24
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, July 24, 2006

OPINION & ANALYSIS: Andrei Yermolayev for RIA Novosti
RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Friday, September 15, 2006

9.                                THE UKRAINIAN GAMBIT
                                      The price of the question
ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Valery Panyushkin
Kommersant, Moscow, Russia, Friday, September 15, 2006

Director of Institute for Economic Studies and Political Consulting, Kyiv
Eurasian Home, Moscow, Russia, Friday, September 15, 2006

OP-ED: By Marusia Hnatkevych, Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thu, Sep 14 2006

        Telenor, largest communications company in Norway, major international
           mobile operator, operations in 13 different countries serving nearly 100

       million subscribers, largest foreign investor in the telecom sector of Ukraine.
Ukrainian Times newspaper, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, September 18, 2006


Kostiantyn Druzheruchenko, Ukrainian News Agency
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, September 13, 2006

           Ukraine ranks first in the world in its use of open-hearth furnaces –
     a dinosaur technology that requires huge amounts of gas, in metal production.
Associated Press, Donetsk, Ukraine, Sunday, September 17, 2006

Ukrayina TV, Donetsk, in Russian 1800 gmt 11 Sep 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Monday, Sep 11, 2006

                Opens seventh restaurant in Dnipropetrovsk, next one in Lviv
Viktoria Miroshnychenko, Ukrainian News Agency
Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, September 11, 2006

Oksana Torop, Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Sep 15, 2006


        PM Yanukovych meets with US Assn’t Secretary of State Daniel Fried
Daria Hluschenko, Ukrainian News Agency, Thu, September 7, 2006


TV 5 Kanal, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1400 gmt 16 Sep 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Sat, September 16, 2006

UT1, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1800 gmt 15 Sep 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Friday, September 15, 2006


UNIAN news agency, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1931 gmt 16 Sep 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Saturday, Sep 16, 2006
UNIAN news agency, Kiev, in Ukrainian 0937 gmt 16 Sep 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Sat, September 16, 2006
Daria Hluschenko, Ukrainian News Agency
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, September 5, 2006
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, September 12, 2006
Mykola Yeriomenko, Ukrainian News Agency
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, September 12, 2006
Natalia Ivanenchuk, Ukrainian News Agency
Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, August 31, 2006
                            A Conversation with Professor Roman Serbyn
CONVERSATION: With Canadian Professor Roman Serbyn
By Fran Ponomarenko, Vanier College, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
The Ukrainian Weekly, Parsippany, New Jersey
Sunday, July 9 and Sunday, July 16, 2006
The Day Weekly Digest, Kyiv, Ukraine, July 18 #25 & July 25, 2006, #26
           Has five hour meeting with Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych
                President gave Prime Minister his first political warning.

ForUM, Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, 16 September 2006

KYIV – In a five-hour conversation with Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych,
Victor Yushchenko has voiced his concern over several steps taken by the new
government and said the Cabinet must observe the National Unity Pact in its

“I invited the prime minister to give him my first political warning about
some things certain government executives do, violating the [National Unity]
Pact and stabilization agreements. Our meeting resulted in a joint plan of
correcting such tendencies,” he told reporters at a mass media briefing on

He is convinced the National Unity Pact “gave all the political forces keys
to implement these major political, economic and humanitarian tasks.”

As President of Ukraine, he will thereby spare no effort to make sure that
the key principles of this document – among them the unitary form of
government, language policy and Euro-Atlantic integration – are secured not
only as “common political agreements reached at the phase of finding
political compromises and resolving the parliamentary crisis but also used
as an action plan by the new Ukrainian government.”

President Yushchenko and PM Yanukovych spoke about some dangerous social
and economic tendencies, nontransparent and often inexpedient dismissals and
appointments, delays in the formation of a broad parliamentary coalition,
violations of the rights of the opposition and attempts to revise Ukraine’s
foreign policy, the president press office informed.

“Disregarding the law, the plan to raise the minimum wage on December 1,
2006, has been put off although the country has enough resources this year.

This is a dubious and unnecessary revision of budget policy,” he said,
adding that VAT reimbursement and tax pressure considerably complicated
the dialogue between the government and businessmen.

“The 2007 draft budget has no signs of tax reduction whatsoever,” he said,
claiming such a move could have helped legalize the economy.

The President also censured the Tax Administration for being apparently
unfair in VAT reimbursement and said he had authorized Prosecutor General
Medvedko to study the situation within ten days and “develop a mechanism of
monitoring which would make it impossible to carry out such policies in the

Victor Yushchenko also insisted that the formation of a parliamentary
coalition should be faster.

“The healthy part of Ukraine’s political forces must understand one thing:
given the constitutional changes, which were passed hastily, political
forces and government should take responsibility for many economic,
humanitarian, and social issues,” he said.

“I urge all those who take part in the formation of positions of this or
that parliamentary faction to accelerate this process.”

The President and the premier also spoke about the inexpedience of putting
pressure on deputies. Yushchenko said the revival of the practice of forcing
parliamentarians to join the majority perverted the March 26 poll results.

“I would like to wish the deputies to be responsible for their voters and
positions they defended during the campaign and to face all attacks bravely
[.],” he said. “I clearly demand that the rights of the opposition should be
protected and observed so that they can control the government.”

He characterized the prime minister’s attempt to revise Ukraine’s foreign
policy as unacceptable and reiterated that the country’s course to join the
European Union and NATO would not change.

Victor Yushchenko also said it was vital to pass bills based on the
principles of the National Unity Pact and his anti-corruption laws. The
President is soon going to convene the National Security and Defense
Council to discuss all these issues.                    -30-
LINK: http://en.for-ua.com/news/2006/09/16/100117.html

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

BBC News, United Kingdom, Friday, September 15, 2006

KIEV – Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko has criticised new Prime
Minister Viktor Yanukovych for suggesting Kiev was not ready to join Nato.

The president said Mr Yanukovych’s belief that public opinion opposed
the move was “wrong, does not meet national interests and must be

His prime minister called for “a pause” on Thursday after talks with
top Nato and EU officials in Brussels.

Mr Yushchenko has pushed for membership of Nato following his election
in 2005.

Mr Yanukovych was named PM in August by his arch-rival Mr Yushchenko,
on condition that he followed his pro-Western agenda. The move capped

a dramatic comeback for Mr Yanukovych, who was ousted in Mr
Yushchenko’s “Orange Revolution” in 2004.
Mr Yushchenko told reporters his government had to abide by his stance
of integration with Western institutions as the “foundation, the credo
for foreign policy”.

The comments came a day after Mr Yanukovych said full Nato membership
had only limited support among Ukrainians, on his first visit to
Brussels as prime minister.

He said Kiev was taking a pause “because of the political situation in

“But the time will come when a decision will be made… For the time
being we are looking at enlargement of our co-operation with Nato,” he

Opposition to Nato membership is particularly strong in eastern and
southern Ukraine – the electoral strongholds of Mr Yanukovych’s party.
Russia has also voiced strong opposition to Ukraine joining Nato.

Kiev had earlier expressed hopes of joining the world’s biggest
defence alliance in 2008.
                                         EU HOPES
At the same time, Mr Yanukovych said Ukraine would continue reforms
aimed at bringing the country closer to the EU.

EU External Relations Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner said the
25-member bloc had no plans to offer Kiev membership “at this moment”.

Instead, she suggested the two sides negotiate what was described as
an enhanced agreement that would include a free trade pact.

Mr Yanukovych – who favours closer ties with Russia – was initially
declared the victor in the 2004 presidential polls, but the result was
then annulled by the Supreme Court, which ruled that the vote was

Mr Yushchenko was elected president in the re-run of the second round
ordered by the court. In March, Mr Yanukovych’s Party of Regions

polled the most votes in parliamentary elections, but failed to secure a
majority.                                             -30-
LINK: http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/europe/5350756.stm
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Agence France Presse (AFP), Kiev, Ukraine, Sunday, Sep 17, 2006

KIEV – Ukraine’s prospects of integrating with the West have been dealt
a blow by Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych in comments that cast
doubt on the country’s efforts to join NATO and highlighted a deep
rift at the centre of government.

An assertion by Yanukovych after he met the secretary general of the
North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), Jaap de Hoop Scheffer,
that a “pause” was needed in efforts to join the military alliance was
sharply rebutted by pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko.

Yushchenko, who came to power in an “orange revolution” that saw
hundreds of thousands of his supporters take to the streets, has sought a
fundamental reorientation of this country of 47 million people away from
Moscow’s historical dominance and towards NATO and European Union

On Friday he huddled with his arch-rival Yanukovych for over four hours
of talks, emerging to slam the prime minister’s stance and his refusal to
endorse a NATO Membership Action Plan — a key stepping-stone to
membership.The prime minister’s comments in Brussels had been “mistaken”
and had not accorded “with the national interest,” Yushchenko said.

Yushchenko had hoped that NATO would agree on the action plan at a
summit of heads of the member states in November in Riga, Latvia.

“The Riga train has left,” commented Olexander Sushko, director of the
Centre for Peace, Conversion and Foreign Policy.”

After this scandal, the Western partners won’t take a decision on the
membership action plan for Ukraine this year,” Sushko said.

Such a decision would only be taken by the NATO members in six months
at the earliest “provided the West sees a consensus between the president
and the government,” Sushko said.

The influential pro-Western weekly Dzerkalo Tyjnia said there might be a
way around the set-back for Yushchenko.Instead of the Cabinet endorsing
the action plan, it could instead be put forward by the Security Council,
which is dominated by Yushchenko allies, the paper said.

“The decisions of the Council are validated by
presidential decrees” that the government must then fulfil, the paper said.

The dispute between Yushchenko and Yanukovych throws a harsh light
on a problem that has been brewing ever since Yanukovych was approved
as prime minister on August 4, following months of coalition wrangling.

Yanukovych made opposition to NATO a fundamental plank of his election
campaign earlier this year and has argued that the public does not back
membership — choosing to ignore the fact that public opinion was also far
from unanimous in the seven ex-Communist countries that joined NATO
in 2004.

Given the fragility of the current government and the possibility that early
elections could be called, Yanukovych is unlikely to abandon his anti-
NATO stance, said Sushko.

In a sign of this fragility, while Yanukovych and his ministers have been
appointed by parliament, a coalition agreement has still not been formally
approved.Yanukovych, who is backed by powerful business interests,
continues to advocate membership of the EU.

But how likely EU membership is without Ukraine also joining NATO
is open to question, as the two things have tended to go hand-in-hand
for other ex-Communist countries.

As the fall-out continued from Yanukovych’s comments on Friday, a
senior official from Yushchenko’s Our Ukraine party, Roman Bezsmertny,
raised the possibility of dissolving parliament, signalling the possibility
of further turmoil ahead.                                -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]


NEWS CONFERENCE: By Ukrainian Defence Minister Hrytsenko
TV 5 Kanal, Kiev, in Ukrainian 0915 gmt 15 Sep 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Friday, September 15, 2006

KIEV – Ukrainian Defence Minister Anatoliy Hrytsenko has said that Ukraine
will implement the NATO membership action plan despite Prime Minister
Viktor Yanukovych’s statements to the contrary.

Hrytsenko said that Ukraine’s NATO bid will continue and that the state
should boost a campaign to improve Ukraine’s public opinion of NATO.
Hrytsenko also said that he does not intend to resign.

The following is an excerpt Hrytsenko’s news conference broadcast live by
Ukrainian television TV 5 Kanal on 15 September:

[Hrytsenko] Why do I think that this move is unfounded, illogical and even,
to my mind, erroneous? Actually, what the [NATO] membership action plan is

I can talk about this as an individual and a state servant who basically
initiated the development of this plan back in Vilnius in 2005, who was
directly involved and coordinated the development of this plan by the
Defence Ministry.

I want to remind you that in early March this plan was developed. Then this
work was extended to include other institutions, because all of us
understand that cooperation with NATO has not just a military component.

NATO is more of a community of states with high living standards and only
after that is it a military and political alliance which ensures the
security of these states and their high living standards. [Passage omitted:
more about NATO and the membership plan]

We are currently implementing this plan and I am very sorry that the prime
minister was not informed about that before his Brussels visit and that he
failed to find time to talk with the defence minister to understand what the
membership action programme actually is.

I want to stress that Ukraine and Ukrainians need the implementation of the
plan. NATO does not need it. They already have high living standards. We
need these standards.

Therefore to say that this is premature or that this should be postponed or
that we should consult people [changes tack] people want high living
standards. This plan is being implemented.

Therefore, I want to say that the Defence Ministry [1] was, is and will be
implementing the alliance membership action plan, regardless of any
statements made during any visits.

This is [2] what is required by the law, this is what is required by
resolutions of the president who under the constitution is in charge of this
area, sets guidelines and we will continue to do it.

Moreover, I want to say [3] that the membership action programme will be
implemented by the Yanukovych government, all ministers, all deputy prime
ministers and the prime minister personally for the sole reason that the
implementation of the plan means improving living standards.

When the prime minister says during a news conference in Brussels that
systemic economic reforms will be implemented, the judiciary will improve
and so on. This is what the membership action plan is about. It will be
implemented with immediate effect, otherwise we will be facing regress.

The [4] fourth and final point. As the defence minister and a member of the
National Security and Defence Council, I will raise with the president of
Ukraine the issue of Ukraine’s cooperation with NATO during a meeting of the
National Security and Defence Council to put an end to the dispute and to
make sure that all state servants are perfectly aware which directives they
should follow and how.

This will be a confirmation to our strategic course towards joining NATO and
to the tactics of joining NATO.

Unfortunately, after this visit it is 100 per cent clear to me that the NATO
Riga summit will not make a decision on Ukraine joining the membership
action programme. This is very unfortunate, because we had this chance and
we are actually prepared for this. This will actually benefit Ukraine and

[Question from the Interfax-Ukraine news agency] Mr Hrytsenko, does this
news conference mean that your vision of Ukraine’s defence security does not
match that of Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych and that you intend to

[Hrytsenko] I can recall a well-known Odessa anecdote. When asked how he
was doing, Rabinovich said that you will not live to see it. This is my
answer.I will continue to work as the defence minister until the president

makes another decision.

I will continue to implement the membership action programme because the
strong army and servicemen with appropriate pay and social benefits is what
Ukraine needs. I will not give up this policy. Currently, there is no reason
to say that anything will change here. I will remain in my position and be
as efficient as I can.

[Question from the ICTV TV channel] Mr Hrytsenko, why do you say that
Yanukovych has defied presidential instructions? The declaration of national
unity does not mention joining NATO. It mentions only a NATO referendum.

[Hrytsenko] Again, I want to separate political assessments from what should
be done in the state according to the law. The declaration is not a law.
This is a political document. I was not involved in coalition talks, I was
not involved in drafting this document.

I think that political forces which signed a declaration will give a
political assessment to the prime minister’s actions. This is not my mission.

I am not a member of any political party.

However, the president as the head of state and as the official in charge of
national security, defence and foreign policy, has clearly stated that
Ukraine should say that it is prepared and wants to join the membership
action programme, both verbally and in writing. This has not been done.

The president has this right under the current laws, he defines tactics, he
has decided, and this is right, that we have completed the current stage of
intensified dialogue and are prepared for the next stage. He said this in
public, he said this to the prime minister personally at various occasions.
These directives should be implemented.

If I am given this directives I implement them as the defence minister. If I
disagree I try to persuade. If I can’t and if it is a critical issue I
submit my statement of resignation. There is no other option.

[Passage omitted: answers question about what the membership action plan is
about, says that the National Security and Defence Council should meet to
discuss the situation, answers a question about the procedure of
conscription in Ukraine.]

[Delo newspaper] Mr Hrytsenko, opinion polls show that our public does not
support accession to NATO. Perhaps, this is because the public hears about
NATO from [Progressive Socialist leader] Nataliya Vitrenko and Communist
leader Petro Symonenko.

Perhaps, the state should hold a campaign to explain what the alliance is
about. Also, don’t these actions by Mr Yanukovych show that he is acting on
some order from Moscow in exchange for gas concessions?

[Hrytsenko] I hope that our public hears about NATO not only from Vitrenko
but from the president, the defence minister and the foreign minister,
servicemen and other officials. It is clear that this is not enough.

It is my strong desire that an important remark the prime minister made in
the NATO HQ that we should shape the public opinion in terms of positive
attitude to NATO is reflected in practical actions.

Unfortunately, this is not happening now. I talked with experts from the
Foreign Ministry before coming here and they told me that next year’s draft
budget which was proposed by the cabinet unfortunately allocates no funds
for informing the public about NATO.

It was this year but money has not been allocated for the next year. So
there are discrepancies between declaration and what is being done. This
situation should be improved.

About NATO and gas. It is my personal opinion that the independence of our
state, I mean political independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity
can be guaranteed if we resolve the issue of diversification and
transparency of fuel supplies, especially gas, using clear and transparent
procedures without any political concessions and resolve the issue of
security through joining NATO.

To my mind, these are two essential conditions. Without that we can just
pretend to be a sovereign and independent state and expect more live
broadcasts from Russia about Gazprom training to pull the gas tap.

[Passage omitted: says that he is not in a position to comment on Crimean
lighthouses used by the Russian navy, says that the army should be financed
properly, says that the 2007 military budget should be discussed by the
National Security and Defence Council and that it is premature to talk about
a NATO referendum.]                               -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
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Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, September 15, 2006

KYIV – Foreign Affairs Minister Borys Tarasiuk has said that Prime Minister
Viktor Yanukovych has no authority to formulate Ukraine’s foreign policy.
Tarasiuk was addressing journalists via a direct telephone link with the
Cabinet of Ministers.

Tarasiuk noted that the Constitution stipulates that the President of
Ukraine oversees implementation of Ukraine’s foreign policy and said that
the Prime Minister has no such powers.

Tarasiuk also said that the parliament has backed accession of Ukraine to
NATO and the European Union and that all the members of the Party of the
Regions’ parliamentary faction voted in favor of the relevant parliamentary

“This means that [Yanukovych’s statement in Brussels that Ukraine is not
ready to join the Action Plan on NATO Membership] can be considered as a
statement by the leader of a parliamentary faction.

As a representative of another faction and party, I can say that nobody has
cancelled the main priorities of the foreign policy of our country that the
president outlined,” Tarasiuk said. He stressed that Ukraine’s
foreign-policy course remains unchanged.

“It is a pity that the prime minister, as the head of the government,
expressed a position that differs from the foreign-policy course of our
country,” Tarasiuk said.

According to him, President Viktor Yuschenko can now exercise his power

and the relevant steps can be expected from him in the near future.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, the Presidential Secretariat has said
that it expected Yanukovych to state Ukraine’s readiness to join the Action
Plan on NATO Membership during his visit to Brussels (Belgium) on September

Defense Minister Anatolii Hrytsenko has expressed the view that Yanukovych’s
statement in Brussels that Ukraine is not ready to join the Action Plan on
NATO Membership was a mistake.

The parliamentary faction of the Our Ukraine bloc has said that it considers
Yanukovych’s statement that Ukraine is not ready to join the Action Plan on
NATO Membership a violation of the political agreements stipulated in the
Declaration of National Unity.                        -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Sat, September 16, 2006

KYIV – The Ukrainian People’s Party is calling on President Viktor Yuschenko
to ensure invariability of the country’s foreign policy aimed at integration
with NATO. This follows from a party’s statement, a copy of which was made
available to Ukrainian News.

As the message reads, during the Ukraine-NATO commission meeting, Premier
Viktor Yanukovych noted that Ukraine is not ready to join the NATO
Membership Action Plan.

‘UPP considers such statements by the Ukrainian premier as revision of
Ukraine’s foreign policies that were fixed in 1993 in the parliamentary
resolution on the main foreign policy directions and law on foundations of
Ukraine’s national security,’ the statement reads.

UPP also urges representatives of political forces in the parliament that
support Ukraine’s Euro-Atlantic aspirations to discuss changes in Ukraine’s
foreign policy set forth by Yanukovych.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, during the Ukraine-NATO commission
meeting in Brussels (Belgium), Viktor Yanukovych called cooperation with
NATO important for Ukraine, but said that only 12-25% of Ukrainians support
such participation.                                          -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
7.                     WHITHER GOEST THOU, UKRAINIAN?


The Day Weekly Digest in English, #24, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, July 24, 2006

Every day in the media we hear about some Ukrainian citizens protesting
against our country joining NATO.

At the same time, very few Ukrainians are aware of the advantages and
disadvantages this membership entails. The blame for this lies with the
Ukrainian authorities and the media.

I would like to draw attention to the fact that it is always the same
Ukrainian citizens – ethnic Russians and totally Russified Ukrainians – who
protest against NATO and rapprochement with the Western world.

If you filter out the political demagogy of these anti-NATO protests, you
will get sediment that constitutes a well-known historical feature of a
considerable proportion of the Russian population – closeness based on
ethnic and religious xenophobia and the perception of permanent danger
from the West.

Thus, to a large extent today’s Russia remains a medieval imperial state
that has only learned to deal with the nations it has conquered or which
fully depend on it.

Therefore, the mentality of Ukrainian Russians can be defined by the old
saying, “They have forgotten nothing and learned nothing,” and hence, they
only want to make friends with the East, i.e., Russia, irrespective of any
practical benefit that may be derived from other interstate alliances.

Meanwhile, true Ukrainians have always been in contact with Western Europe,
unless they were prevented by force, since the earliest years of their

Suffice it to recall (a sweet recollection indeed) that young people from
both western and eastern (Dnipro) Ukraine, from well-off and impoverished
poor families, began to travel-even walk-to famous Western European
universities as long ago as the 15th century, if not earlier.

There they obtained higher diplomas, learned foreign languages, and
sometimes stayed behind as instructors or even heads of those universities.

But more often than not, they would come home and teach students in
seminaries or academies. One such traveling student from Kyiv-Mohyla Academy
was Feofan Prokopovych, a well-known figure in the era of Peter I’s reforms.
In order to study in Western Europe he even briefly converted from Orthodoxy
to Greek Catholicism.

Yet no one ever went to the East, i.e., to Muscovite universities (with the
exception of the Stalin era, when Soviet institutions of higher education
began admitting students from Third World countries).

It would be worthwhile to recall an outstanding individual of the 17th
century, for whom the Western world became the continuation of his
fatherland. It is very difficult to imagine that such a personality could
have emerged in Russia.

Yuriy Kulchytsky was born approximately in 1640 in the village of Kulchytsi
Shliakhetski, near Sambir, in the Lviv region. At the age of 20, the youth
fled to the Zaporozhian Sich and became a Cossack.

It soon became apparent that the young Cossack had a special talent for
languages: he quickly mastered Turkish and Hungarian and then became a
brilliant translator, accompanying the Cossacks on their expeditions to
foreign lands and oxcart caravans to the Crimea.

During one of those expeditions the young man was captured, taken to the
Ottoman Empire, where he was imprisoned for several years. In captivity this
country boy improved his Turkish and, surprisingly, developed a liking for
coffee, then unknown in Europe. Some Serbian merchants, who needed the
young prisoner as an interpreter, purchased Yuriy’s freedom.

In Belgrade our hero, who was then fluent in Turkish, German, Hungarian,
Romanian, and Polish, was employed as a translator at a large Viennese
commercial company.

He was also well-versed in the customs of the peoples who populated that
part of Europe. In 1678 Kulchytsky moved to Vienna, where he launched his
own trading business.

In 1683, during the Austro-Turkish war, the vastly outnumbered Viennese
forces consisting of 16,000 Austrian soldiers and a militia of 6,000 men,
were besieged by 200,000 Turkish troops.

Among the Austrian troops was the former Zaporozhian Cossack Yuriy
Kulchytsky. Vienna was stricken with famine, a raging epidemic, and panic.

Messengers sent to deliver letters to the allied troops were unable to reach
their destination. The decision was made to dispatch another messenger to
the troops of Austrian Emperor Leopold I – a man who knew Turkish and could
penetrate the enemy defenses.

The choice fell on Kulchytsky, who was accompanied by his friend Mihajlovic,
a Serb. Dressed in Turkish clothing and bearing forged passports identifying
them as Turkish army merchants, they sneaked into the Ottoman camp during
the night and the next day walked bravely past the enemy tents.

The Turks took them for their own men. The messengers accomplished their
mission: they informed the Austrian government’s allies about Vienna’s
plight, organized light signals from the belfry of St. Stephen’s Cathedral,
and returned to Vienna a few days later.

After some time the Turkish army was routed, to a large degree thanks to
Cossack regiments led by Iskra, Hohol, Paliy, and others, who fought under
the colors of Grand Crown Hetman Jan III Sobieski.

Historians claim that among the many spoils captured from the Turks were

300 sacks of coffee beans, which Kulchytsky claimed as his reward.

He soon opened Europe’s first cafe called the Blue Cup, under a license
granted by Emperor Leopold I himself. Contemporaries recount that people
flocked in droves to Kulchytsky’s cafe, not so much to drink coffee, which
the Viennese were still unable to appreciate, as to hear the brave
Kulchytsky recount his “stroll” through the Turkish camp.

Some time later, in his free moments Kulchytsky wrote The Tale of an
Eyewitness Who, Disguised as a Turk, Went through the Enemy Camp

and Came Back.

In the 19th century when the grateful Viennese were celebrating the
anniversary of the victorious Battle of Vienna, they named a street and a
cafe after Kulchytsky. Eventually, a monument to our compatriot was

Still standing today, the monument depicts a sturdy fellow in an exotic
Turkish outfit holding a tray with cups in one hand and a coffeepot in the
other. At his feet are trampled Turkish gonfalons, dented scimitars, and a
sack of coffee.

This is the end of a story that has been recorded in numerous documents.

Looking back to the beginning of this article, I must note that many of our
ancestors would have been greatly surprised to see the anti-NATO slogans
that some so-called citizens of Ukraine are brandishing over the Ukrainian
lands. Why aren’t they defending the borders of Russia from the “corrupt
West?”                                               -30-
LINK: http://www.day.kiev.ua/165584/

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OPINION & ANALYSIS: Andrei Yermolayev for RIA Novosti
RIA Novosti, Moscow, Russia, Friday, September 15, 2006

The agreement on national unity (the fifth universal in Ukrainian history
since 1917), signed by the leaders of parliamentary factions and President
Viktor Yushchenko on the eve of the formation of the government in August
2006, became a symbol of political reconciliation and recognition of the
results of the elections, which had been won by the Yanukovych-led Party of

Although the party is generally perceived as “pro-Russian”, it used to be
consistently “post-Soviet” – a kind of restoration force in Ukrainian
style – with bronze miners, labor discipline in politics and idols with
janitor-to-general-secretary biographies.

Ukraine’s post-Soviet eastern project is good for elections (just like the
Orange one), but bad for practical policy. Having taken revenge on Our
Ukraine and the Tymoshenko bloc, and formed the coalition and government,
the Party of Regions is compelled to tackle the problems of Ukraine’s
integration. This is a formidable task.

The party has to prevent the parade of regions against the center,
consolidate the confidence of different parts of the country in its
position, formulate an effective foreign policy doctrine and refrain from
supporting corporate interests, which is typical for the eastern elites.

Meanwhile, there are more than 300 multimillionaires in the Ukrainian
parliament. They are members of different factions in accordance with the
purchased mandates.

The deputies representing big business, that is, export-oriented industries,
which are the backbone of the budget, have formed new centers of influence.
The industrial and financial groups, who prefer to stay away from public
politics, have their lobby in parliament as well.

Ukrainian capitalists – Akhmetov, Klyuyev, Taruta, Firtash, Kolomoisky,
Poroshenko, Martynenko, Boiko and Zhevago, to name but a few, have
become a real ruling force in the country.

Unlike the oligarchs in the last years of Kuchma’s term, they openly
advocate their business strategies, take an active part in government
policy, and make their own public initiatives. This part of the Ukrainian
establishment feels best in a positive economic atmosphere.

Therefore, the agreement on unity as a pact of the elites, based on the
ideology of stable development, is the most adequate response to the
requirements of oligopoly. This may explain the stubborn pushing of the
broad coalition idea, which has room for everyone, except, possibly, the
ambitious Tymoshenko bloc.

The dominant export-oriented groups also need a most favored status in
trade with Russia and access to international stock and credit markets.

As distinct from the contradictory middle class, these advocates of macro
integration have formed the political and economic basis for the policy of
the fifth agreement. It is more complicated to translate it into ideology
and practical steps.

Yanukovych’s first messages in Sochi during the EurAsEC summit and at the
international economic forum in Polish Krynica were predictable.

In Russia the Ukrainian prime minister spoke about strategic partnership and
a special relationship, and suggested returning to the project of single
economic space. In Poland he quietly omitted the eastern vector, laying
emphasis on pro-European choice and the need to promote EuroAtlantic
cooperation instead of straightforward membership.

Formally, Yanukovych does not seem to stray away from the Ukrainian
tradition with its eastern-western dualism and a balancing game. But there
are some nuances. Although the Sochi meeting was presented as the “first
success”, in reality it was a cold shower.

Old talk about single economic space did not produce the desired effect.
Russia made it clear that it is serious about its new Eurasian policy
(EurAsEC-CSTO+SCO, or Eurasian matryoshka doll), and is going to pursue
it in the long term.

Mikhail Fradkov’s invitation to join sounded ironical. Therefore Krynica and
the subsequent visit to Brussels were a good excuse for announcing
adjustments in foreign policy. It won’t be multi-vector anymore.

The idea of European pragmatism, even bordering on geopolitical egotism,
sounded as the new government’s credo. Ukraine will not be asking anyone for

It will work to get what it wants. European markets and the WTO, free trade
with the EU and protection of the spheres of influence in Europe and Asia
(including mutual investments in Russian and Asian economies) are the first
features of European pragmatism, Ukrainian style.

This line reflects on domestic policy. In the next three to five years (a
new period of transition) Ukraine is planning to carry out infrastructure
reforms and prepare its market for internationalization. There are several
directions to this policy – utilities, transport and communications, and
land reform.

The continuation of political reform is only viewed in the following
context: developed parliamentary structure, up to and including the election
of the president by parliament, and consolidation of local self-government,
which is closely integrated with regional business structures. Clearly,
centralized nomenclature capitalism is not a risk for Ukraine.

During the transition Ukraine will secure economic stability by reforming
its energy industry and searching for access to new pipelines, based on the
resources of domestic gas traders, long-term agreements with Moscow on the
joint use of gas transportation networks in exchange for guarantees of gas
supplies and balanced prices.

In relation to former CIS partners, Ukraine will lay special emphasis on the
bilateral format. As for European integration, paradoxically as it might
seem, the inherent conservative attitudes of the eastern elites from the
Party of Regions may hit the mark.

Growing pessimism, slowing European integration and revision of the federal
EU concept have come in very handy. Ukraine has got a chance to catch the

Ukraine is passing through a kind of Rubicon in its development. Power
belongs to those who have to move from the Eurasian to European division
of labor in the next 15 years.

This task requires integration of its Orange and eastern projects. The
coalition led by the Party of Regions and the Yanukovych government opens
up the second 15 year long period.               -30-
Andrei Yermolayev is the director of the Ukrainian Sofia Center for Social
Studies and a member of the RIA Novosti Expert Council.
LINK: http://en.rian.ru/analysis/20060915/53939095.html

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
9.                               THE UKRAINIAN GAMBIT
                                        The price of the question

ANALYSIS & COMMENTARY: By Valery Panyushkin
Kommersant, Moscow, Russia, Friday, September 15, 2006

Any head of the Ukrainian state will invariably follow course known in
advance. When he is fighting for power and political points, the (future)
head of state will surely play on friendship with Russia.

He will promise the voter friendship with Russia and official status for the
Russian language. He will promise friendship to his Russian partners as well
and probably even obedience and, secretly, the gas pipeline, as soon as he
gets to power.

But everything changes as soon as he assumes power. The ruling Ukrainian
head of state will make it known in his first month in office, with either
sharp or harsh words, that it won’t work out with Russian’s status as second
official language.

A few months later, it will turn out that Ukraine is striving for
integration with Europe, and not integration with Russia at all. In a few
years, of course we see that Ukraine wants to accede to NATO.

Viktor Yanukovich just hasn’t been prime minister long enough yet to admit
it. Those who remember his last term as prime minister recall that he took
several serious steps toward NATO membership then.

That is simply geopolitical reality. Objectively, Ukraine is moving toward
Europe and away from Russia. To reverse that natural trend would require
exceptional political will.

It would take a brave person to announce his Western leanings openly on his
way to power. And it would take a great historic presence, once in power, to
try to go against the geopolitical nature of his country and marry Kiev to

Theoretically it is possible. We will not deny the role of personality in
history. Theoretically, we can imagine a strong person at the head of
Ukraine who could, like Bogdan Khmelnitsky, who could swing Ukraine

around into the embrace of Moscow, come what may.

But the role of personality in history is proportionate to the strength of
the personality, and that’s the problem.

The Ukrainian politicians who are supported by Moscow have, by definition,
to be not independent and politically weak-willed, because Moscow expects to
dictate its rules to them.

Otherwise, there would be no reason for Moscow to support them. And to
change Ukraine’s political course from West to East would require political
will. It’s a vicious circle.

Russia has no need to support a strong-willed Ukrainian politician. And
supporting a weak-willed politician is dumb. He won’t have the will to stop
or reverse Ukraine’s natural attraction to Europe and NATO natural spread to

That is to say that there is no sense to a Russian policy in Ukraine at all,
other than to feed the Russian political advisers working in Kyiv. -30-
LINK: http://www.kommersant.com/page.asp?idr=520&id=705041
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Director of Institute for Economic Studies and Political Consulting, Kyiv
Eurasian Home, Moscow, Russia, Friday, September 15, 2006

When we speak about the prospects of the broad coalition in Ukraine we
should bear in mind several essential points. In terms of economic policy,
the positions of the Party of Regions and Our Ukraine Party are similar in
many respects because the both political parties are big business-oriented.

Big and very big business is behind the Party of Regions. Our Ukraine Party,
while also representing the big business, is backed up by a group of
businessmen whose business is no longer medium, but not yet big.

All in all, we can speak about the coincidence of the economic interests
underpinning activities of the two political forces.

Businessmen that back up these parties are interested in forming the good
and stable regulatory environment for they need macroeconomic stability
since high inflation strikes at everybody.

Besides, Ukrainian businessmen are also interested in the positive
international Ukraine’s image, since many big companies declare that they
are going to hold IPO. I would also note that the businessmen behind Yuliya
Tymoshenko Bloc have the same priorities.

It is another thing that position of the business in Ukraine is complicated.
On the one hand, all the stakeholders come out for the stable environment
and equal conditions.

On the other hand, everybody wants to have more rights than the others do,
to enjoy all sorts of favored treatment.

For instance, different businesses are proposed unequal conditions when
conducting the tender purchases whose amount is quite large in Ukraine.

Different conditions in holding the privatization tenders are also possible.
In short, there are many indirect ways to create the noncompetitive

If to speak about the broad coalition in terms of politics, de facto it
already exists. Our Ukraine Party has its representatives in the Cabinet of
Ministers. Now it is time to form the coalition de jure that will imply
distribution of powers and spheres of influence.

I would not call the current government the government of the Party of
Regions. It is the government of Viktor Yanukovych.
Many strategic decisions are made by the Prime Minister personally with a
glance to the opinions of the Party of Regions’ major sponsors.

The bottom line for the Prime Minister now is to strengthen his grip over
the energy and economic policies. This will make it possible to influence
the processes in the other spheres.

It is clear that the influence of the Our Ukraine Party’s ministers, for
example, in the humanitarian bloc, is not great.

As an example, Minister for Family, Youth and Sport of Ukraine Yuriy
Pavlenko is in the marginal situation, essentially due to the status of his
Ministry, which has little impact on the political course formulation.

Minister of Labor and Social Policy of Ukraine Mykhaylo Papiyev is a
representative of Yanukovych in the Cabinet’s humanitarian bloc.

The main problem impeding formation of the coalition is that the political
parties see the agreement’s contents in different ways. The Party of Regions
and the Socialists are interested in more general definitions, while Our
Ukraine Party comes out for concretization of the agreement, specifying
concrete actions of the government.

And probably, it is right, since everyone supports fighting corruption, but
the ways to solve the real problem can be quite different. Such things
should be specified well in advance.

It comes natural that while determining the concrete solutions the coalition
splits into factions. In this situation Yanukovych is interested in
prescribing only the general principles of the government’s policy in the
agreement, since then he becomes more independent as Prime Minister. And
Our Ukraine Party is against that, since a detailed plan will make the Prime
Minister more dependent on the coalition.

It’s hard to predict what the final resolution will be, since Ukraine
doesn’t have such precedents in its political history. I think that Our

Ukraine Party’s way is more forward-looking.

As to the President’s position, the signing of the agreement will not
liquidate the political crisis. In my opinion, the government is only to
proceed with the most challenging work, and they will have to find new
approaches different from those of the late Kuchma’s or the early
Yushchenko’s rule.

Nowadays the President has a lot of leverages.

[1] Firstly, it is the President’s quota in the Cabinet of Ministers. Here
the Justice Minister is the most important figure, which signs all the
orders of the Ministries and the Cabinet.

[2] Secondly, Yushchenko has his representative in the Cabinet, who, at the
minimum, can inform the President about the situation in the government,
and, at the maximum, influence the government’s activity.

The other representative of the President is in the Parliament. He is able
to track the entire legislative process.

[3] Thirdly, Yushchenko remains Chairman of the Council of National Security
and Defense whose competence can be interpreted broadly.

The President to a considerable degree can control the Council’s governing
body which consists of the Minister of Defense, the Minister of the Interior
and the head of the National Bank. Together they form the Council that, in
principle, can make decisions obligatory for the Cabinet of Ministers.

[4] Fourthly, Yushchenko reserves the right of legislative initiative and he
showed that by introducing the package of bills on fighting corruption.
Thus, the President uncovers the MPs’ position on this problem and
determines the general attitude to the work with the President.

Apart from that, the President reserves the right of veto. This instrument
remains to be effective, until the government has the constitutional
majority in the Parliament. For the time being there is no such a majority.

On the whole there is no telling what kind of coalition will exist in the
long run. But shall I hazard a guess that a broad coalition, embracing
among the others the Communists, will be formed.           -30-

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OP-ED: By Marusia Hnatkevych, Kyiv Post, Kyiv, Ukraine, Thu, Sep 14 2006

Ukraine’s new prime minister, Viktor Yanukovych, has, in less than three
weeks in office, appointed a new cabinet and fashioned a new government
plan. Let’s not mention right now how badly it clashes with the presidential
government plan and course for the future.

Yet, Yanukovych acted fast, not because he is probably one of the country’s
better-prepared politicians these days, but because he didn’t have far to
look. To quote the local press, the new cabinet is full of last year’s
styles. The PM has simply recycled the previous governments under Kuchma.

Apparently, it’s full of old hands – and no new ideas. To be fair, given the
dozen or so governments coming and going since 1991, any experienced Cabinet
minister was bound to have served under ex-president Kuchma. Let us not
forget that Orange revolution leaders President Yushchenko, himself, and
Yulia Tymoshenko, both served under Kuchma.

But the plum jobs on Yanukovych’s staff went to supporters and those who
will have no problem following the new PM’s directions faithfully. There are
good friends of the ex-president like Dmytro Tabachnyk. Hardliners are many,
like Azarov, best known as the country’s former tax chief.

The new PM is also hoping that local oil barons like Yuriy Boyko can
cultivate his oil and gas contacts to get Ukraine out of trouble with Russia
and its eastern neighbors. The cabinet seats doled out to presidential
supporters, meanwhile, are in forgettable posts, like culture and

However, the new health minister may have a golden opportunity to make
orange juice from fallen oranges. The population has demonstrated that it is
ripe for social reforms.

The minister could gain praise from the PM and public alike with savvy and
substantial changes to health policy and social policy. The PM would only
welcome such initiatives as enhancing his reputation with the public as well
as the West.

On the other hand, the social portfolios will likely remain underfunded and
take a back seat to energy issues. And some appointments are just plain good

Tarasyuk is perhaps the most capable foreign minister and will keep the
foreign policy of the country stable. Like Yekhanurov, he could be appointed
to any PM’s cabinet.

As for the new government’s program, it is a good gauge of what to expect
from the cabinet. Yanukovych is already breaking the rules. The proposal to
make Russian an official language contravenes the Constitution and the
Universal signed with the president less than one month ago.

Tabachnyk has tried to appease fears by painting a European Formula, which
tries to address national minority issues. If the government cares for
minorities, as Tabachnyk maintains, then this cabinet could be good for
Crimean Tatars, who have given up on getting housing but would at least like
to use their own language in the Crimean legislature.

The great Ukrainian versus Russian language debate might appear
insignificant to foreign observers, but it reveals more about politics than
linguistics. It appears that Yanukovych has fallen back on bad, heavy-handed

Already he seems willing to break rules – huge rules like Constitutions –
with the intention of “amending legislation later” to get his way.

This behavior, combined with the failure to fulfill another part of the
Universal agreement – cooperation with NATO and the EU, becomes one small
step towards setting up a recycled Soviet union with brethren-in-arms Putin
and Lukashenko.

What the West can expect from the new cabinet is that the Ukrainian
government will be cozying with the East and throwing out platitudes about
important ties with Western countries at intervals just enough to hang onto
foreign loans.

So far, Russia is only giving out friendship and higher fuel prices, not
cash. Banning Ukrainian wines from Russian markets, as Russia did last week,
is not a good way to kick off a friendship.

Yanukovych might want to look for better friends elsewhere. On the other
hand, certain pragmatics may be at work here. Is the new cabinet just trying
to revive the old days of cheap Soviet-like goods to meet the basic needs of
the masses, while the elite flies to Paris for the weekend?

Although some might naively think Yanukovych cares about what the president
or the public might think of him, the kinder, gentler PM, who has taken to
smiling and getting pictures taken with war veterans, babies and women in
traditional costumes, is merely the work of some good image-making.

Yet, he has his admirers following a simple apology for his previous
actions – which at least included condoning corruption of officials under
his regime. Admirers come in the form of a growing number of Western critics
of Yushchenko, who have become skeptical of the Orange Revolution.

And they come from former colleagues, like ex-premier and newly-sentenced
Pavlo Lazarenko, who knows the new PM well.

Lazarenko endorses Yanukovych as a capable leader who can get things done.
Ostensibly not a glowing recommendation, the public does not need Lazarenko
to tell them that Yanukovych can single-mindedly achieve goals – his goals,
his way.

He has been patient, planned well and his thick layer of skin, primed during
a troubled youth, has helped to endure a little negative press. Now, he is
in the driver’s seat as PM again.

With such determination, it is a pity that Yanukovych will likely be
repeating the cronyism and corruption of the 1990s, rather than meaningful
change for even his part of the country.

But Yanukovych has already shown that he cannot deliver on his platform
argument – lower fuel costs from his neighbors. Energy costs could prove to
be his undoing as many PM’s before him, most recently his arch-rival Yulia

So far, Yanukovych has proven to be smart, wily and patient. He will likely
play the role of compromiser for a time – as his patron Kuchma did when he
became PM in the early 1990s. Yanukovych will butter both sides of his bread
and wait for the crumbs to fall.

At the same time, he will not be out to anger the supporters of the Orange
Revolution, but intends to woo them with actual reforms to demonstrate his
superiority over the Orange government.

Ukraine desperately needs its own plan for future development, be it devised
by Yanukovych or someone else. As 15 years of governments before them, the
new ministers appear to have chosen the well-worn paths of blindly following
either Russia, which is losing global friends fast, to make life cheap or
easy, or following the West, which also has its strategic interests in mind.

Where is Ukraine going? This question remains unanswered. Its own people are
grappling for an answer, most recently in 2004, while floundering between
the selfish interests of East and West.

Somehow in the last 1000 years, Ukraine fell far off the pedestal from being
the most progressive nation and economic powerhouse in Europe to sitting 10
centuries later on the street corner of East Road and West Avenue, begging
for small change.                                   -30-
Marusia Hnatkevych is an independent journalist and political analyst who
lived and worked in Ukraine for over a decade.

LINK: http://www.kyivpost.com/opinion/editorial/25055/
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       Telenor, largest communications company in Norway, major international
            mobile operator, operations in 13 different countries serving nearly
        100 million subscribers, is Kyivstar GSM’s majority shareholder and the
                      largest foreign investor in the telecom sector of Ukraine.

 Ukrainian Times newspaper, Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, September 18, 2006

KYIV – Jan Edward Thygesen, Telenor Executive Vice President, warned
against the possibility of a dangerous legal precedent being set in the
Supreme Court of Ukraine on October 3.

If this precedent is set, it may seriously undermine the legal rights of
foreign and domestic investors in Ukraine and damage the investment climate
and attractiveness of the country.

Mr. Thygesen has also sent a letter to the President, the Government, the
Parliament and businesses in Ukraine, informing them of a potential abuse of
Ukrainian legal system and asking them to support Telenor in defending the
investors’ rights in Ukraine.

Storm, a wholly owned subsidiary of Alfa Group and Kyivstar’s minority
shareholder, is asking the Supreme Court of Ukraine to make a decision which
would give equal representation to minority and majority shareholders on the
boards of directors of Ukrainian joint stock companies, regardless of the
size of their respective shareholdings.

This would set a dangerous legal precedent, legitimising a total disregard
for the property rights of numerous domestic and foreign investors in

Despite the fact that Telenor owns 56.5% of the Ukrainian mobile
telecommunications company Kyivstar, to Storm’s 43.5%, Storm has filed nine
lawsuits to Ukrainian courts in an attempt to gain equal control in Kyivstar
and overturn legally binding agreements through abusing the Ukrainian legal

In case Storm’s intentions were satisfied, these lawsuits could have serious
repercussions for investment in Ukraine. “Should the laws of Ukraine be
interpreted in such a manner, a precedent will be established that will pose
a serious threat to anyone investing in a Ukrainian company,” said Thygesen.

“In practice, this would mean, that a shareholder with 90% of the shares of
a company would have the same voting and ownership rights as someone owning
10%. This would obviously be a complete disregard of ownership rights seen
as a foundation of any market economy worldwide.”

Mr. Thygesen said that the Presidential Administration was well aware of the
potential impact, pointing to the remarks made by Oleg Rybachuk, former head
of the President’s Secretariat, during the recent business morning organised
by the European Business Association.

As reported, Mr. Rybachuk said, “In the whole world, this will be an
unprecedented occasion,” and that such a decision would make Ukraine
“exclusive in its interpretation of what is a minority and what is a
majority shareholder, and what are the rights when one possesses 10% of
shares and what are the rights when one possesses 90%.”

Telenor, the largest communications company in Norway and a major
international mobile operator with operations in 13 different countries in
Europe and Asia, serving nearly 100 million subscribers, is Kyivstar GSM’s
majority shareholder and the largest foreign investor in the telecom sector
of Ukraine.

“We are committed to Kyivstar and to helping its management continue to
build a world-class mobile communications company,” said Thygesen.

“We sincerely hope that the rule of law in Ukraine will prevail and that
companies like Alfa will not be allowed to use the national judiciary as an
avenue for appropriation of other companies’ property.

Legal precedents such as the one sought by Storm/Alfa will, if granted by
the Supreme Court of Ukraine, have a significant negative impact on the
attractiveness of investing in Ukraine.”                       -30-

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Kostiantyn Druzheruchenko, Ukrainian News Agency
Kyiv, Ukraine, Wed, September 13, 2006

KYIV – Adobe, a large producer of software based in the United States, has
decided to start fighting against illegal spread of its products in Ukraine.
Najeeb Khan, Adobe’s anti-piracy manager, told this to journalists at a
press conference.

As he noted, according to optimistic forecasts, the company plans to triple
its sales in Ukraine in the next few years. The company intends to actively
develop educational programs aimed at increasing the culture of using
computer software.

Apart from this, Adobe plans to cooperate with law-enforcement organs in
boosting fighting against software piracy. Adobe has not held any talks with
the Internal Ministry so far.

According to Adobe’s representative for the CIS Pavlo Cherkashyn, in two
weeks, the company plans to open a representative office in Moscow (Russia),
which will supervise Russian, Ukrainian and Kazakh markets.

Adobe did not disclose the amount of losses from software piracy or
investments into its anti-piracy program. Founded in 1982, Adobe (the United
States) is a large producer of software in the field of multimedia and
printing.                                              -30-

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           Ukraine ranks first in the world in its use of open-hearth furnaces –
     a dinosaur technology that requires huge amounts of gas, in metal production.

Associated Press, Donetsk, Ukraine, Sunday, September 17, 2006

DONETSK, Ukraine – Twelve times a day, the tap at the Donetskstal factory’s
blast furnace No. 2 opens and out plunges a river of fiery, molten metal.

The cast iron is part of the lifeblood of Ukraine’s export-oriented economy
and the first sign of success in this former Soviet republic’s race to wean
itself of its costly dependence on Russian natural gas.

This metal is produced using no natural gas, a first not only for Ukraine
but also for much of the region.

The furnace uses pulverized coal as fuel, a technology that was long ago
adopted in the West and Asia but was largely ignored in a part of the world
where few saw the point of investing EUR20 million-EUR25 million to
transform gas-guzzling furnaces into more energy-efficient beasts.

But last year, in what many perceived as political punishment for Ukraine’s
election of a pro-Western president, Moscow cut Ukraine off from the heavily
subsidized gas supplies it had enjoyed since the Soviet collapse.

Ukraine suddenly saw the price it pays for natural gas nearly double, and
could be facing another 40% increase next year.

“I would say that we managed to do this right on time,” said Borys Krykunov,
technology director at Donetskstal-Metallurgical Factory, which had been
using the technology for years, to varying degrees, but only this year
managed to complete the full transition from natural gas in production.

The factory in Donetsk, about 730 kilometers southeast of Kiev, is one of
several in Ukraine’s industrial east, a region where smokestacks and coal
mines dot the skyline and a change of wind brings a pungent smell.

“Today, many factories are starting to go down this path,” Krykunov said.

Ukraine is one of the most inefficient energy users in the world, using
almost as much natural gas as more advanced economies such as Germany and
Britain. For every dollar’s worth of industrial production, Ukraine consumes
about 2 times as much energy as its neighbor Poland.

Gobbling up much of that natural gas is the metallurgical sector, which
drives Ukraine’s economy, accounting for almost 40% of all Ukrainian
exports. Ukraine ranks first in the world in its use of open-hearth
furnaces – a dinosaur technology that requires huge amounts of gas – in
metal production. Forty per cent of Ukraine’s steel is produced using that
method, compared to 3% in other steel-producing nations.

For decades, such waste didn’t seem to matter. The Soviet Union was awash

in natural gas. After the Soviet collapse, newly independent states such as
Ukraine lacked the funds to modernize their industries, and Russia kept the
cheap gas flowing, so there was no real incentive.

Then came last year’s gas price dispute. Ukraine saw its foreign trade
balance slide from a net positive to a deficit of 2.9 million hryvna
($580,000) in the first half of 2006, with the biggest imbalances with its
two main energy suppliers, Russia and Turkmenistan.

Officials began talking about the need to reduce gas consumption by as much
as 60%. Ukrainian industry, led by the metal sector, has been the first to
respond, reducing its use of natural gas by more than 1 billion cubic meters
compared to a year ago, said Volodymyr Saprykin, an analyst with the
Kiev-based Razumkov Center for Political and Economic Studies.

“We definitely saw long-term investment programs being altered,” said Ildar
Gazizullin, an expert at Kiev’s International Center for Policy Studies. “I
would expect that we will be seeing more modernization and an increase in
efficiency in the next few years.”

Donetskstal’s furnace No. 2, tucked inside a large, gated compound, is a
model. A mix of pulverized coal and hot air are blasted into the towering
furnace to produce about 2,300 tons of cast iron every day.

In 2005, the furnace required 61 cubic meters of natural gas for every ton
of cast iron produced; today, it requires none. The more environmentally
friendly technology has also allowed the factory to cut back on the use of
coke, which has also been growing more expensive.

Donetskstal plans to bring a second furnace online with the same technology
within the next month.

“Coal is cheaper and very efficient, so the cost of metal production is
less, of course,” said Ivan Volovnenko, a blast furnace expert at
Donetskstal. “For a time, every blast furnace was blowing natural gas. But
about 20 years ago, the Europeans and the Asians stopped using natural gas
for the same reason we are now.”

Donetskstal won’t say how much it spent on renovations to switch to the new
technology, but has been open about sharing the advantages. The company

held a seminar for other metallurgical factories to show off its furnace,
Krykunov said, and many were sold on it.

The government has floated the idea of offering special incentives to
encourage the switch to energy-saving technologies, but so far hasn’t
offered anything specific. Metal companies, which had enjoyed healthy profit
margins, have largely been doing it on their own.

First Deputy Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said one thing the government
wouldn’t do is put an artificial limit on energy usage.

“Estimates that we may reduce by two times the use of gas in the next five
years are absurd,” he said. “We can’t reduce the use of gas because our
economy is going to keep developing and we are laying the basis for high
economic growth. Gas-using sectors account for 30% of our economy.”

Industry just has to become more efficient, officials said. “The one big
stimulus is the increasing price of gas, it’s really the big thing -the one
and only incentive that business needs,” Gazizullin said.        -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]

Ukrayina TV, Donetsk, in Russian 1800 gmt 11 Sep 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Monday, Sep 11, 2006

DONETSK – [Presenter] The government promises to create all the necessary
conditions for domestic investors who want to develop gas extraction abroad
in order to deliver gas to their plants, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych
has promised.

However, he pointed out that in Russia, for example, the transport system is
in state hands and it may be a problem to get permission to transport gas to
Ukraine. But if businesses can agree directly with Russian companies, the
Cabinet of Ministers won’t get in the way.

[Yanukovych, in Ukrainian] Whatever is good for manufacturers is good for
the state. This is a normal approach. We will follow this path and create
conditions for our investors who are able to take part in developing
deposits abroad, for them to invest money and produce gas for themselves,
and for them to deliver it to their plants.

Go ahead. This is excellent. This will benefit Ukraine, especially – because
if such agreements are concluded, this means that the price will be lower
than what they are paying today to Ukrhazenerho [joint venture set up by
state oil and gas company Naftohaz Ukrayiny and Swiss-registered gas
importer RosUkrEnergo to deliver gas to Ukrainian industrial consumers].

[The Korrespondent web-site reported on 8 September, quoting the Russian
newspaper Vedomosti, that the National Commission for Energy Regulation had
issued a license to Metinvest BV to deliver 2bn cu.m. of gas at an
unregulated tariff over three years. Metinvest belongs to Donetsk tycoon and
MP Rinat Akhmetov’s System Capital Management.]

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
              Opens seventh restaurant in Dnipropetrovsk, next one in Lviv

Viktoria Miroshnychenko, Ukrainian News Agency
Kyiv, Ukraine, Monday, September 11, 2006

KYIV – On September 9, McDonald’s Ukraine opened a new restaurant in
Dnipropetrovsk located at 2A Hlynky Street.

Ukrainian News has learned this from the company’s press service. According
to the report, it is a seventh restaurant in Dnipropetrovsk and 56th in

The company invested USD 500,000 into the construction. As the company

said, the new facility may service up to 2,500 people a day. According to the
company, in late September, it is planned to open another restaurant in

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, McDonald’s Ukraine plans to open four
restaurants this year. The total sum of investment in them will be USD 5
million.                                       -30-

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

Oksana Torop, Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Sep 15, 2006

KYIV – The United States’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has denied
reports that the funds illegally acquired by former Ukrainian prime minister
Pavlo Lazarenko are being returned to Ukraine. The head of the Ukrainian
bureau of Interpol, Kyrylo Kulykov, announced this to Ukrainian News.

According to him, the Ukrainian bureau of Interpol has received a response
to its relevant request from the FBI representative at the American embassy
in Ukraine. “That information does not conform to reality,” Kulykov said.

Earlier, the Ukrainian bureau of Interpol requested that the FBI confirm
reports in the mass media that funds illegally acquired by Lazarenko had
been returned to Ukraine. Kulykov also said that the United States earlier
promised to return USD 230 million.

According to the American embassy, several mass media organizations reported
that the FBI’s Director of International Operations Thomas Fuentes said on
September 14 that the United States had returned money embezzled by
Lazarenko to Ukraine. “That is untrue,” the embassy said.

At a press briefing in Washington, Fuentes provided information about the
US’ efforts to return illegally acquired money to the affected persons or

“During a general press briefing to the International Press Corps in
Washington, DC, outlining FBI international efforts and operations, Fuentes
discussed the U.S. effort to return criminally generated proceeds to persons
or nations that have been victimized.

This is done through highly formalized civil forfeiture procedures in U.S.
courts. Fuentes cited the Lazarenko case as an example of a matter that has
the potential for this type of restitution and stated that any money the
United States might recover as a result of civil forfeiture procedures would
be returned to Ukraine,” the embassy said.

Fuentes did not state that the United States has already sent forfeited
proceeds from the Lazarenko case to Ukraine, merely that the potential
exists to do so.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, lawyers for Lazarenko appealed to a US
Appellate Court on September 11 against the decision of the San Francisco
District Court (California) to sentence Lazarenko to 108 months in jail and
fine him USD 10 million.

The San Francisco District Court sentenced Lazarenko to 108 months in jail
and fined him USD 10 million on August 25 for money laundering and sale of
illegally acquired property abroad when he was Ukraine’s prime minister.

A court found Lazarenko guilty on the 29 counts of the charges brought
against him, including extortion and money laundering, in June 2004, but
presiding Judge Martin Jenkins was to make the final decision on the
individual charges.

The US court dropped 15 of the 29 charges against Lazarenko on May 20,

2005. Lazarenko is accused of laundering USD 4.5-5 million. Lazarenko was
initially accused of laundering USD 114 million through American banks. The
court started hearing the case against Lazarenko in mid-March 2003.
Lazarenko was detained in the United States in March 1999. He was released
on bail on June 14, 2003.                              -30-
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        PM Yanukovych meets with US Assn’t Secretary of State Daniel Fried

Daria Hluschenko, Ukrainian News Agency, Thu, September 7, 2006

KYIV – The United States supports Ukraine and Poland’s plans to extend the
Odesa-Brody oil pipeline to Plock, Poland and attract Central Asian states.

The Cabinet of Ministers’ press service disclosed this to Ukrainian News
with references to the meeting between Premier Viktor Yanukovych and US
Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Daniel Fried.

“The US government welcomes the intention of Ukraine and Poland to extend
the Odesa-Brody oil pipeline to Plock, attracting Central Asian states in
this process,” the statement reads.

Fried also praised Ukraine’s aspirations for creating a reliable system for
European security, which means diversification of energy supplies, creation
of transparent mechanisms for gas supplies and stability of such supplies to

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, experts from Ukraine, Poland and the
European Commission agreed the draft of the Ukrainian-Polish
intergovernmental agreement on extending the Odesa-Brody oil pipeline to
Plock on March 15.

An international consortium of companies is recommending extension of the
Odesa-Brody oil pipeline to Ozegow, Poland.                  -30-

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

TV 5 Kanal, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1400 gmt 16 Sep 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Sat, September 16, 2006

KIEV – [Presenter] The presidential secretariat has a new head today. He is
Viktor Baloha. His predecessor Oleh Rybachuk introduced him at a news
conference in the secretariat.

He said that he has resigned because he is tired. He said that he has coped
with all the tasks which the secretariat faced in the transition period and
now wants to get some rest.

Viktor Baloha thanked his predecessor and said that the presidential
secretariat will step up its work and that no major reshuffle should be
expected soon.

[Rybachuk] The president recognizes people who have their own strong sides,
their own professional skills which make them authoritative for the
president. At the time, he set me some objectives. When we had a talk a few
days ago he agreed that these objectives had been achieved.

[Baloha] He prepared me and told me that structural changes should be made.
I believe that his achievements will be followed up.

I believe that the main thing is that there should be no sharp turns in this
work and that no-one should say that any team that comes to Bankova [the
presidential secretariat] begins a serious reshuffle. This will not happen.

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

UT1, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1800 gmt 15 Sep 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Friday, September 15, 2006

KIEV – [Presenter] It has been more difficult for journalists to work in
Ukraine at present. This is the conclusion by the Mass Media Institute and
the Independent Media Trade Union of Ukraine.

They launched a protest called “Hands off freedom!” today. Journalists’
organizations are saying that politicians have increasingly been violating
the professional rights of journalists.

They made public several demands to the authorities. They demand bringing to
book MP Oleh Kalashnykov [of the ruling Party of Regions over an incident
with STB TV cameramen] and Kiev mayor Leonid Chernovetskyy.

They also demand blocking a bill tabled by Party of Regions MP Vasyl
Kyselyov, who proposed introducing criminal punishment for libel in the
media. They believe that the bill will be a tool for persecuting
journalists, and promise to compile a list of foes of the press.

[Mykhaylyna Skoryk, captioned as head of the Kiev branch of the Independent
Media Trade Union] We are clearly aware what and who prevent us from working
professionally. We want those guilty not to hide behind their MP immunity or
posts but want them to be punished in line with Ukrainian laws.

[MP Andriy Shevchenko of the opposition Yuliya Tymoshenko Bloc faction]

The [murdered journalist Heorhiy] Gongadze case and the attitude of politicians
to the freedom of speech in general is a diagnosis to the whole political
system, and this political system is doomed, if key politicians fail to
treat journalists as they should. I think that they should make the
conscious choice in favour of freedom and rights.
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
      Please contact us if you no longer wish to receive the AUR    
UNIAN news agency, Kiev, in Ukrainian 1931 gmt 16 Sep 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Saturday, Sep 16, 2006
KIEV – More than 1,000 people took part in a rally called Commemoration
Day to commemorate killed journalists in Kiev today.
The rally participants carried candles. They formed a symbolic Commemoration
Circle and observed a minute’s silence to commemorate killed journalists.
They then moved in a column to the presidential secretariat. At the
entrance, they left candles and their slogans demanding the investigation of
[journalist] Heorhiy Gongadze’s murder and criminal punishment for the
killers and organizers of the crime.
Six years have passed since Gongadze’s disappearance on 16 September. It
has been a tradition to commemorate killed journalists on that day.   -30-
[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
UNIAN news agency, Kiev, in Ukrainian 0937 gmt 16 Sep 06
BBC Monitoring Service, United Kingdom, Sat, September 16, 2006

KIEV – Ukrainian Interior Minister Yuriy Lutsenko doubts that the

Prosecutor-General’s Office will ever complete the investigation of the
journalist Heorhiy Gongadze murder.

Lutsenko was speaking to journalists before the mourning ceremony in
Gongadze’s memory near a memorial cross in Tarashcha District [not far

from Kiev where Gongadze’s corpse was found in 2000] today.

Lutsenko said that the recordings of former major Melnychenko [allegedly
made in former President Leonid Kuchma’s office in 2000-01], whose
authenticity has been proved by various international forensic tests,
contain voices of certain individuals who to this date “are alive, thank
God, and can give testimony provided the Prosecutor- General’s Office has
political will for this”.

“Will this Prosecutor-General’s Office have such will?” Lutsenko asked and
answered: “Not today.” He added: “I believe that sooner or later this will
happen because there are enough grounds to complete the investigation (of
the Gongadze murder – UNIAN).” [Passage omitted: Lutsenko speaks about
Heorhiy Gongadze’s historic role.]                            -30-

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

Daria Hluschenko, Ukrainian News Agency
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, September 5, 2006

KYIV – Foreign Minister Borys Tarasiuk will visit New York, the United
States, as the head of the Ukrainian delegation to the United Nations
General Assembly . Chief spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Andrii Deschytsia made this statement at a briefing.

Tarasiuk is expected to make a speech during the general debate and hold
around thirty meetings with foreign ministers of other countries.

The visit program provides for his participation in the meetings of the
Ukraine-Troika European Union, the GUAM Council of Foreign Ministers,
GUAM in the United States, and in the second meeting of the Clinton
Global Initiative [organized by former US President Bill Clinton].

The minister will also meet with Ukrainian diaspora and Jewish
organizations of America.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, the next session of the UN General
Assembly will start on September 12. In September 2005, Tarasiuk took
part in the 60th session of the UN General Assembly in New York. -30-

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

Ukrainian News Agency, Kyiv, Ukraine, Tue, September 12, 2006

KYIV – Ukraine intends to repeatedly declare the necessity to acknowledge
1932-1933 famine as genocide of Ukrainian people at the 61st session of the
United Nations General Assembly. Foreign Affairs Ministry press service head
Andrii Deschytsia has disclosed this to the press at a briefing.

‘We intend to make the report not only to explain that tragedy. The
acknowledgment of the famine as genocide of Ukrainian people would be
important for all countries, which provide democracy and respect to human
personality,’ Deschytsia said.

He said that Ukraine and its GUAM partners also intends to put new unit
entitled ‘armed conflicts in GUAM countries and their consequences for
international society, safety and development’ onto the agenda of the

Deschytsia said that GUAM countries had prepared corresponding memo
grounding the issue putting onto the agenda and sent it to UN secretary.

Ukraine says that the implementation of the initiative will assist
attraction of international society interest to the necessity to unite
forces on regulation of conflicts on the territory of Azerbaijan, Georgia
and Moldova.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, Ukraine hopes that Finland will support
Ukrainian striving for acknowledgment of 1932-1933 famine as genocide of
Ukrainian people.                                          -30-

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

Mykola Yeriomenko, Ukrainian News Agency
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, September 12, 2006

KYIV – The Our Ukraine Bloc and the Communist Party disagree on the status
of the Ukrainian Rebel Army warriors, idea of increase of the threshold into
the Verkhovna Rada to 5% and acknowledgement of the 1932-1933 famine as

Verkhovna Rada deputy and Our Ukraine Bloc faction member Volodymyr
Stretovych has disclosed this to the press. He forecasted that the talks of
the working group will be ineffective.

The talks are planned to take place at 5:00 pm on Tuesday, as Our Ukraine
had introduced a number of amendments into the draft coalition agreement. As
Ukrainian News earlier reported, the working group had failed to start its
work. Justice Minister Roman Zvarych had forecasted the signing of the
coalition agreement on September 11                         -30-

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

Natalia Ivanenchuk, Ukrainian News Agency
Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, August 31, 2006

KYIV – The Ministry of Culture and the Kyiv City Administration have
announced a competition to design a monument to American historian James
Mace, who made a research into the 1932-1933 Great Famine [induced
starvation, death for millions, genocide] in Ukraine. Ukrainian News learned
this from their joint decision.

The competition takes place from August 28 to October 28 and the winner will
be selected on November 2. The city administration will erect the monument
on the left side of the Kontraktova Square in front of the entrance to the
new academic building of Kyiv Mohyla Academy.

The design must include rational use of land and be in conformity with
architectural monuments in the area. A jury of 21 with First Deputy Minister
of Culture Vladyslav Kornienko at the head will select the winner, who will
be given the right to further implementation of the project.

There is a UAH 15,000 reward that will be divided among eight best

designers participating in the competition under the set terms. There is no
reward for the winner.

As Ukrainian News earlier reported, the Cabinet of Ministers ordered the
Culture Ministry and the Kyiv City Administration in June to conduct a
competition for the best monument to be built in Kyiv in memory of Mace.

The Cabinet ordered the city administration to find a good place for the
monument and said that the contest and design efforts will be financed by
the Culture Ministry while construction of the monument will be funded from
the Kyiv budget.

President Viktor Yuschenko conferred the Yaroslav the Wise Order II on
American researcher and public figure James Mace posthumously in November

The order was bestowed for his personal merits to the Ukrainian nation in
revealing to the world community the truth about the 1932-1933 Great Famine
in Ukraine, for fruitful research work and public activities.

In December 2005, Yuschenko directed the Cabinet of Ministers and the Kyiv
City Administration to ensure installation of a monument to Mace in Kyiv by
February 18, 2007, and name a street after him.

According to the presidential directive, the opinions of Mace’s relatives
will be taken into account during design and installation of the monument.
In addition to the monument, a memorial plaque is to be installed in Kyiv on
the house where Mace lived.

James Mace died in 2004, and February 18, 2007 will be his 55th birthday
anniversary. According to various estimates, between 3 million and 7 million
people died during the 1932-1933 famine in Ukraine.           -30-

[return to index] [Action Ukraine Report (AUR) Monitoring Service]
                       A Conversation with Professor Roman Serbyn

CONVERSATION: With Canadian Professor Roman Serbyn
By Fran Ponomarenko, Vanier College, Montreal, Quebec, Canada
The Ukrainian Weekly, Parsippany, New Jersey
Sunday, July 9 and Sunday, July 16, 2006
The Day Weekly Digest, Kyiv, Ukraine, July 18 & July 25, 2006

Roman Serbyn was born in 1939 in Vyktoriv, Western Ukraine. In 1948 he
and his family settled in Montreal.  In 1960 he obtained a B.A. in political
science from McGill University.  He went to France, where he first studied
French and then history on the Sorbonne.

In 1967 he obtained a licence en letters in history from the Universite de
Montreal.  In 1975 he completed his Ph.D. in history from McGill University.
He began teaching at the Universite de Quebec – Montreal (UQAM) in 1969;
he retired from this institution in 2002.  Prof. Serbyn is the author of
many scholarly publications. I had the opportunity to speak with Prof.

Serbyn on June 2 [2006].

[Subheadings have been inserted editorially by the Action Ukraine Report]

[Fran Ponomarenko] As a historian you’re often associated with the work
that you’ve done on the Famines of 1921-23 and 1932-33, probably because
you organized the first international conference on the Famine-Genocide at
UQAM in 1983.

Since then you have been very outspoken in your position that genocide is
the appropriate term to describe these calamities. You have also researched
and published materials on other historical questions.
                                 THE MEDIEVAL PERIOD
[Roman Serbyn] Yes, My first love was the medieval period. There was
something romantic about this era. And that’s the area my research began in.

By the way, I never called the medieval Ukrainian state Kyivan Rus’ but just
Rus’ because that is the term that was used then, as well as in subsequent

We don’t, for instance, say Galician Rus’ for the XIII-XIV centuries. Rus’
is sufficient. My doctoral thesis covered the period from 1140-1200. I
investigated such concepts as the “common old Rus’ nationality” and the
“transfer of the center of Rus'” from Kyiv to Suzdal/Moscow.

And by using old chronicles, archeological and linguistic studies (mostly
Soviet publications), I showed that there was no transfer of the center of
the state from Kyiv to Suzdal, no massive movement of population from the
Dnipro basin to the Oka region.

Pogodin elaborated this myth of a population shift in the 19th century and
some Russian historians adopted this idea. In fact, an examination of the
archeological documentation does not corroborate this theory in any way

[Fran Ponomarenko] Where did you do your research-in the USSR?

[Roman Serbyn] No, I used 19th century and Soviet material, which I could
access in North America and Europe. I never got around to publishing my
thesis, but I did publish a couple of articles on the topic, one (“Some
Theories on the Question of Rus’ Unity {1140-1200} Reexamined”) was
published in a volume edited by O.W.Gerus and A. Baran, Millennium of
Christianity in Ukraine: 988-1988. Winnipeg, 1989. pp. 105-25.

By the end of my work I realized that there just weren’t enough documents,
not enough written sources, on the Rus’ period for me to continue in that
field. And since I was primarily interested in the national question, my
attention turned to the 19th century, a crucial period for understanding all
of the 20th century.

Also, the 19th century was less sensitive for the Soviets than the 20 th
century. The Soviets published many interesting documents and some good
studies on the period, and I also hoped that I might even be able to go on
an academic exchange and work in the Soviet archives. I almost did.

My application to work in the Soviet archives was accepted by the Soviets,
but a couple of months before I was to leave for Moscow, the Soviet Army
went into Afghanistan, and Canada suspended our academic exchange program.
[Fran Ponomarenko] At this time, in the late 1970s, you were teaching
Russian and East European History. What aspect of the 19th century
interested you: the national problem in Ukraine, yes, but what aspect


[Roman Serbyn] Well, I became interested in how myths were created around
historical events in Russia. For instance, let’s take the War of 1812,
Napoleon’s invasion of Russia.

The expression “Patriotic War” first appeared in the Russian literature in
the first half of the 19th century, and then it was taken over by Russian
and later, Soviet historians.

The notion was applied not only to Russian history but also to Ukrainian:
the Franco-Russian conflict became a “Fatherland War” for the Ukrainian
people! This is nonsense. The fact of the matter is that even for Russians
it was far from very patriotic.

There is an interesting document written by a Russian merchant returning to
Moscow just as the French were approaching the city. He wrote that he saw
people running away from the city. They told him that the authorities had
decided to close the city gates so as not to allow people to desert Moscow!

Later, when Napoleon was fleeing, the “patriotic” peasants attacked the
remnants of the Grande Arm?e, but it does not take much patriotism to attack
a half-frozen and completely demoralized army in flight.

The myth of the Fatherland War had a political purpose in the 19th century:
to instill pride and loyalty to the Empire and promote Russian nationalism.
[Fran Ponomarenko] What other issues attracted you?

[Roman Serbyn] I became interested in the major transformations in Ukraine
during the liberalizing years of Alexander II’s reign. Did you know that on
the eve of the emancipation of the serfs in 1861, Kyiv gubernia had the
highest percentage of serfs in the whole Russian Empire?

Emancipation meant new opportunities for the peasants, including moving
into urban centers, where they joined the growing ranks of the working
population. This raised the issue of fighting illiteracy.

In the early 1860s, idealistic students in the universities and gymnazia
(high schools) began organizing Sunday schools for young workers and
children of the working class.

Since AS there were no Ukrainian textbooks, they had to be written. Some
were composed by university students, others by Ukrainian literati.
Shevchenko wrote one such book.

I began collecting textbooks used in the Sunday school movement. These
Sunday schools were quite different from our North American conception.
Their purpose was to teach the three Rs and not religion. Most of the
teaching was done by university students and in Ukrainian.

The texts these students prepared for the children revealed a great deal
about their authors and the spirit in which they imparted knowledge. What
was the message behind the teaching material? For example, what words were
used to illustrate particular letters of the alphabet?

The patriotic message behind these texts is often striking. For example, the
letter “k” can be inserted in the word “koza” (goat) or “kozak” (Cossack)
and illustrated appropriately with a drawing of a goat (a familiar animal
for the young pupil) or a Zaporozhian Cossack.

The latter word reinforces the young person’s national consciousness. When
these textbooks are compared with similar textbooks from the Soviet period,
one gets a good idea of how primary education can influence future
generations of citizens.
                         KHARKIV-KYIV SECRET SOCIETY
[Fran Ponomarenko] Did you do any other research on this period?

[Roman Serbyn] Yes, I did. At the same time as I was collecting textbooks, I
became interested in other student activities and came across the so-called
Kharkiv-Kyiv Secret Society, which appeared in the late 1850s and was broken
up by the police in the early 1860s.

The group was organized by some idealistic students as a study and
discussion circle; they read and generated subversive material and became
involved in student strikes at the University of Kharkiv.

The police eventually discovered it and its members were expelled from the
university. I was interested in their attitude to the Ukrainian question.

Published excerpts from police reports show that some of them were quite
nationally conscious and patriotic. After the disbanding of the Kharkiv
group, some of its members were allowed to transfer to the University of
Kyiv and eventually became active in the Sunday school movement; others
joined Russian radical movements.

Besides ethnic Ukrainians, the group had Russian and Jewish students. One
of the latter, Veniamin Portugalov later started the first public discussion
of Jewish-Ukrainian relations.
                                       JEWISH TOPICS
[Fran Ponomarenko] This brings us to the Jewish topics you have also
researched. You gave a paper about the Sion-Osnova controversy at the
1983 McMaster conference on Ukrainian-Jewish relations. What brought
you to this area?

[Roman Serbyn] As I said, the 19th century fascinated me. The more I
pondered the national problem in Ukraine, the more I realized that this
dilemma was among other aspects also intrinsically connected with three
national groups-Russians, Poles, and Jews. I had already written about how
the Russians had created their “Kyivan succession” and “Patriotic War”

I dealt with Polish-Ukrainian relations in my article on the students at
Kyiv University around that period, and the return of Volodymyr Antonovych
and a few other young intellectuals from their Polonized milieu to the
Ukrainian national movement.

Jewish-Ukrainian relations were even more challenging because for the most
part they were for taboo in the Soviet Union.

And the Sion-Osnova controversy fell into the same time framework as the
Kharkiv-Kyiv Society, the Sunday school movement, and the “return” of
Antonovych and his group.

The controversy between the Russian-language Jewish weekly journal in Odesa
and the bilingual (Ukrainian-Russian) Ukrainian monthly journal published in
St.-Petersburg was started by Portugalov, mentioned above, who objected to
Osnova’s use of the term “zhyd”, which he considered offensive to him as a

Osnova published Portugalov’s accusation and entrusted the writer
Panteleimon Kulish to provide the rebuttal. In Osnova’s defence Kulish
explained that this was the only existing term in Ukrainian.

Sion rejected the Osnova’s position and wide public debate was inaugurated.
Eventually over a dozen Russian periodicals participated in the discussion.

From a confrontation on a linguistic issue, the controversy turned to the
question of Jewish integration: Osnova demanded that Jews living in Ukraine
integrate into the Ukrainian milieu, while Sion retorted that Jewish
interests were best served by integration into the Russian milieu. The
proceedings of the McMaster conference were published and my article is in
[Fran Ponomarenko] In the academic world your work on Serhii
Podolynsky is well known. Podolynsky is a remarkable thinker and

He finished medical school in Paris, he had Ukrainian aristocratic family
roots, and, in defiance of his father’s pro-Empire positions, he became a
socialist and nationalist. I believe your biobibliographic and biographic
work on Podolynsky is the most complete to date.

[Roman Serbyn] Podolynsky is one of the bright lights of 19th-century
Ukrainian intellectual history. Unfortunately, he became mentally ill at the
age of 32 and died in 1891 at age 41.

Currently, in the West he is linked with the ecological movement because of
his discussions on conservation and the use of solar energy. Ukrainians have
always treated him primarily as an economist.

In fact, by education, he was a medical doctor. For the Soviets he was an
enigmatic figure because of his connections with Marx and the socialist
movements in Europe and the Russian empire. We have Podolynsky’s letters
to Marx; unfortunately, we do not have Marx’s replies to Podolynsky.

Podolynsky liked Marxist socialist economic theories but did not like Marx
as a politician because Podolynsky was a democrat, and he was most
disappointed by Marx’s dictatorial behavior at the 1872 conference of the
International at the Hague, where Podolynsky went to meet the leaders of
European socialist movements. It was as a socialist that Podolynsky became a
“nationalist” of sorts.

Like Antonovych before him, who left the Polish camp to join the Ukrainian
people among whom he was living, Podolynsky left the Russian revolutionaries
to join Drahomanov and the Ukrainian hromada. As a young socialist, while
studying medicine in Paris and then Zurich, he helped the Russian socialist
P. Lavrov publish the emigre journal Vpered.

He was personally acquainted with Bakunin and the less familiar, but more
important, Tkachev. Podolynsky’s position was that socialism in Ukraine
would have to be built on Ukrainian roots and culture; this is why he found
the use of Russian traditions and Russian slogans irrelevant in Ukraine.

That is why he gradually moved away from the Russian socialists and joined
Drahomanov, Pavlyk, Shulhyn – the Ukrainian radicals of the day.

Podolynsky was an authentic democrat, and in the Russian dispute between
Lavrov and Tkachev (a Blanquist who believed in coming to power by putchist
methods) he took the side of Lavrov against this “Leninist before Lenin” –
Tkachev. It was the latter that most influenced Lenin.
                                    SPEAKING OF LENIN
Speaking of Lenin, do you know what Lenin’s training was in?

[Fran Ponomarenko] Law, I believe.

[Roman Serbyn] Exactly. His was a lawyer’s approach. He argued for a
position regardless of any kind of moral principle. The Ukrainian
socialists, I’m afraid, did not see through him at all. For instance, Lenin
gave a speech in Zurich during the Great War.

In Western and Ukrainian social democratic newspapers (which summarized
his talk) his speech seemed to support the nationalities striving for
independence. But when the speech was summarized in the party newspaper, it
came out that Lenin was a Russian centrist. The Ukrainians misunderstood
what Lenin was really like.
                           WORK ON FAMINE OF 1921-1923
[Fran Ponomarenko] When did you begin your work on the Famine of 1921
-23? In your book (Holod 1921-1923 i ukrainska presa v Kanadi. Materialy
uporiadkuvav i zredahuvav Roman Serbyn. Toronto, Ukr.-Kan. Doslidcho-
Dokumentatsiinyi Tsentr, 1995. (700 pp.) you published all the materials
about the famine that appeared in Ukrainian newspapers in Canada at that

You published photographs as well, and you have written several articles on
various aspects of this catastrophe.

[Roman Serbyn] I started to research the Famine of 1921-23 for a paper to
present at the 1983 UQAM Montreal conference that I mentioned earlier.
Later, to expand my knowledge, I worked in archives in Europe, the US, and
the UK, as well as at the Red Cross in Geneva. There is a lot of material.

This famine was not a taboo subject for the Soviets but the way it was
presented was really a perversion of the facts, especially with regards to
Ukraine. In 1921 and 1922 there was drought in Russia: along the Volga, in
the Northern Caucasus region, and in the southern half of Ukraine.

But in the rest of Ukraine the harvest was good, and there were enough
reserves to feed the whole Ukrainian population during those two years. Yet
food was taken out of Ukraine and sent to Moscow, Leningrad, and the Volga

Also, in the first year of the Famine, when Lenin, Gorky, Patriarch Tikhon,
and Chicherin made an appeal to the West for help, all of them specifically
left out any mention of Ukraine. Lenin denied, until the end of 1921, that
there was even a famine in Ukraine!

Until the end of 1921 Lenin denied that there was even a famine in Ukraine!
The US sent relief to Russia in August 1921.

Credit must be given to American Jews for opening up Ukraine to famine
relief. Jews in Ukraine were writing to their relatives abroad and outlining
the conditions of famine, and this mobilized the American Jewish community.

The Jewish Joint Distribution Commission, which was already involved with
the work of the American Relief Administration’s work in the Volga region,
insisted that a fact-finding mission be sent to Ukraine.

Eventually, Moscow agreed to allow Joint-sponsored ARA aid to be sent to
Ukraine. The ARA insisted that the food kitchens in Ukraine could not be
restricted to Jews.

A compromise was reached, and the kitchens were opened to everyone but
were set up in heavily Jewish areas. As a result, most of the aid did go to
Jewish citizens, but other people were also fed and this aid alleviated the
over-all situation.

After examining the circumstances of this famine, we cannot avoid the
conclusion that this tragedy could have been avoided. And I have argued
that just as with the Famine of 32-33, this was a man-made famine.

The difference was that while in the 1930s this was a direct genocidal
undertaking by the government, in the 1920s the Soviet government took
advantage of adverse natural conditions and used them to its advantage.
                       WWII: GREAT FATHERLAND WAR
[Fran Ponomarenko] When did you start researching the way in which
World War II was and is being presented in Ukraine? In commemorative
events this war is always called the “Great Fatherland War” in Ukraine
and in Russia?

[Roman Serbyn] I began my regular travels to Ukraine in 1990, and in 1994
I noted that that year Ukraine was celebrating the 50th anniversary of the
“liberation” of Ukraine.

Also May 9 is a statutory holiday commemorating the end of the war and is
always portrayed as a great victory of the Soviet and Ukrainian peoples.
And, of course, the war was referred to as the Great Patriotic War.

I found it outrageous that Ukraine should be celebrating the exchange of a
Nazi tyrant (Hitler) for a communist tyrant (Stalin), especially as the
second tyrant destroyed more innocent Ukrainians than the first.

I became interested in how the whole mythology got started and what it meant
for the Soviet Union and why it was taken over by independent Ukraine.

I asked historians in Ukraine when this expression the “Great Fatherland
War” first appeared. No one knew or cared! So I started doing some

The term was, in fact, invented on the first day of the war, i.e., on June
22, 1941. The next day it appeared in Pravda in an article by Emilian
Yaroslavsky, entitled “The Great Fatherland War of the Soviet People.”

In this article you can see the coalescing of various aspects that were used
for propaganda purposes and for forging the myth that this was a “war for
the fatherland.”

The three components of the myth are: a) the patriotism and elan of the
Soviet people, b) the liberation of Ukraine, and c) of victory of the Soviet

My research and reflections on the German-Soviet war have led me to
conclude that for the vast majority of Ukrainians it had little to do with
patriotism. It did not liberate Ukraine, and Soviet troops can hardly be
considered as the real victors.
                                     MAY 8 VS MAY 9
[Fran Ponomarenko] In Europe the commemoration of the end of the war
takes place on May 8. In Russia and Ukraine the date is May 9. Why the

[Roman Serbyn] I examined this question also. On May 8, 1945, Stalin
decreed that there would be a holiday on May 9, and so Victory Day was
celebrated in 1945, 1946, and 1947. But by 1947 (on Dec. 27 to be precise)
a decree was issued that May 9, 1948, was going to be a regular workday.

At the same time in 1947 all the invalids started to disappear from the
streets of big cities. They ended up on Valam Island, north of St.
Petersburg, and in other places of deportation.

They were removed in order not to remind the people about the war. Why?
In order to start changing the collective memory, to issue a new memory.

The revolution was the founding myth, and the way the war was remembered
would become the consolidating myth. In this regard there were two very
revealing toasts proposed by Stalin at victory banquets.

In the first one, at the end of May 1945, Stalin singled out the Russian
nation as the guiding nation of the USSR. Nations would now bow to the
Russian nation.

In the second toast, Stalin raised his glass to the “cogs” of the great
state mechanism without which the people in command could not accomplish
anything. How true, but cogs are not liberators or victors, they are just
cogs, and that’s the way Stalin liked it.

After Stalin’s death the “party” replaced him as the main focus of
authority. In 1965 Brezhnev brought back the May 9 holiday and monuments
started going up.

In Kyiv we have the deservedly maligned metal monstrosity of a woman
warrior, spoiling the graceful silhouette of Kyiv’s right bank. May 9
replaced Revolution Day as the Soviet Union’s main holiday. Independent
Ukraine took the holiday and the myth that went with it.
[Fran Ponomarenko] The struggle for the historical memory of the Ukrainian
nation is clearly still urgent. UPA does not have recognition. Divizia
Halychyna is not even on the horizon, whereas the myth of the Great
Fatherland War is alive. Who is promoting this at this moment?

[Roman Serbyn] The Communist Party, the Red Army Veterans, the Orthodox
Church of the Moscow Patriarchate, ethnic Russians and non-Russian Russian
speakers who may feel threatened are continuously bolstering this.

The myth of the Great Fatherland War is preventing reconciliation between
Ukrainians who fought in the three different military formations (even
though there were transfers between them): the Red Army, the Ukrainian
Insurgent Army (UPA) and those who fought in the Axis armies, especially
the Division Halychyna.

It is a disgrace to Ukraine and especially a shame on the Ukrainian
political elite that 60 years after the war Ukrainians are still divided on
this issue and a shame that must be shared by the president, the government,
and the parliament of Ukraine, that the only armed force that was
specifically formed to struggle for the independence of Ukraine is not
recognized by this independent state today.

There was no liberty for Ukraine after the war! There was liberty in Europe
when the Nazis were defeated but not in Ukraine.

Furthermore, victors get spoils and wouldn’t all the peasants who were in
the army get the spoils?

The commanders did – these spoils were shipped back to the USSR by the
trainloads. But not the cogs! Mostly of farmer stock, they would simply have
wanted their land back. They got nothing!
                                       FAMINE IN 1947!
[Fran Ponomarenko] They got another famine in 1947! When you first started
raising this issue and writing about it, how was your work received in
Ukraine? As far as I know, you are the only historian who is looking at this
aspect of the construction of historical myth in Ukraine.

[Roman Serbyn] Part of the answer would be in the fact that at first only
one paper in Ukraine agreed to take my articles on this topic. Now
publications on this subject abound and they are getting pretty close to my
perspective on the war. These interpretations are also spreading to academic
conferences and publications.
                     THE FAMINE OF 1932-33 AS GENOCIDE
[Fran Ponomarenko] Perhaps we could touch on the Famine of 1932-33 for a
moment. You have been over the years very outspoken on this tragedy.

You have published widely on this subject as well, including a recent entry
in the MacMillan Encyclopedia. Is there still resistance to the idea of the
Famine as Genocide?

[Roman Serbyn] Yes! No serious scholar would deny that the Famine took
place; most agree that it was man- made, and that the Soviet authorities
were responsible. Many Russian scholars accept this. They are primarily
interested in the famine in the RSFSR. Some in fact are suggesting that
Russians are also victims of genocide.

The question that is debated amongst scholars is: Can it be called Genocide?
If so, was it a national genocide, or was it against the peasantry. I
maintain that Ukrainians were targeted as a group.

The fact that Famine also occurred in Kazakhstan does not negate the
Ukrainian genocide. All it means is that there were two different groups
victimized in a genocidal attack by the Soviet regime!

A weakness in the Russian claim to national genocide is the fact that the
famine areas in Russia were inhabited by ethnically mixed populations, in
some of which the Russian population was in the minority.

In the Caucasus 1/3 were Ukrainians. In Kuban 2/3 were Ukrainians. Russian
sources call these people Russians.

What has not been done but needs to be done is to look at the census for
each region and break it down into a set of small units and see if in fact
there is a difference between the rates of death in Ukrainian and Russian
villages, as well as to look at the different policies or different ways of
implementing the same policies, and so on.

Russian historians don’t seem to be interested in this type of research, but
Ukrainian historians are not doing this either. This would give a more exact
picture of the ethnic composition of the famine victims died.

One problem with the Ukrainian presentation is that it often restricts
itself to Ukrainian state territories, but even there it does not give
national breakdown in the ethnically mixed area.

[Fran Ponomarenko] What were the conditions for Germans and Jews in the
Famine of 1932-33?

[Roman Serbyn] Apparently the Soviets allowed some German aid to get
through to the German settlements, so as not to antagonize Germany.

As for the Jewish agricuturalists, who were not very numerous, they also
received aid from Western Jewish organizations that continued to help Jewish
agricultural settlements after the 1921-1923 famine. But this topic needs
further exploration. For some reason, historians seem to be avoiding this
But to get back to the issue of resistance to the recognition of the
Ukrainian famine-genocide. No Western government except the Balts has, to my
knowledge, declared the Holodomor to be Genocide. That it’s man-made is a

However, we have enought solid evidence that it was carried out in a way
that fits the requirements of the Genocide Convention to be qualified as

New evidence is provided by the correspondence between Stalin and
Kaganovich. We also have an official document dated 22 January 1933 signed
by Stalin and Molotov which was sent to Ukraine and Bielorussia and to
regional Russian centers around Ukraine decreeing the closing of Ukraine’s

The document says that for the second year in a row peasants are fleeing and
they must be stopped at the borders and punished or sent back to their

There was to be no escape from hunger; within six months over two hundred
thousand people were apprehended shot, sent to the gulag or back to the
starving villages. Death becomes inevitable. The Genocidal intent on the
part of Stalin is clear.

If we couple this closing of the borders with the decrees (naturalni
shtrafy) issued in the fall of 1932 whereby foodstuffs were removed from
the houses of the villagers, ostensibly as a penalty for not giving over the
grain which they did not have, large scale death had to be certain.
[Fran Ponomarenko] But now I’d like to ask you, to what extent is Holodomor
becoming an important aspect of the educational process in Ukraine? Has it
become part of the common consciousness?

[Roman Serbyn] Not yet! The Italian historian Grasiozi made an interesting
comment. He said that great calamities are internalized by a society as they
happen and become part of the collective memory. But it is hard to
ressuscitate the memory of the Famine since it was so strongly denied for
several generations.

Most Ukrainians grew up without any personal experience of this atrocity and
with no outside information about it.

It is interesting to compare in this respect what is done by the Jewish
community to preserve and honor the memory of the Holocaust in Ukraine and
what the Ukrainian state and the Ukrainian nation is doing with regard to
the Holodomor. There are already several Holocaust museums and research
and study centres devoted to that topic.

The Ukrainian authorities so far have been spending all their energy on
discussion of various half-baked projects. At the same time they continue to
treat German occupation as the greatest evil and push the Famine-Genocide
into the background.

Nazi crimes are presented as being larger than Communist ones and the myth
of the Great Fatherland War is dominant.

In my opinion, this is bad for Ukrainians on all scores. Not enough
intellectual work is being done to bring the Famine into the consciousness
of the citizenry.
[Fran Ponomarenko] A resolution has been made to build and organize a
Ukrainian Institute of National Memory. What do you think of this project
and what do you think ought to be their priority task?

[Roman Serbyn] First of all, the combining under one roof of all the
atrocities committed against Ukrainians by various regimes, as it is
presented in the present project – Polish,Communist,Nazi – will have the
effect of diluting the central significance of the Holodomor, which was the
central assault on the Ukrainian nation. Yad Vashem deals only with the

The Washington museum also deals with the Holocaust. Remember that
originally there was some discussion of building a Holodomor complex that
would house a museum and a research center. This project seems to have gone
by the way side. This is a serious mistake.

There should be two separate institutions: a Famine-Genocide Institute and
an Institute of National Memory, say dedicated to the 20th century, which
would include material on all the repressions, in the various decades, that
were initiated by Soviets and Nazis.

The Famine was the central assault, however, and it must have its own
research center.
[Fran Ponomarenko] Should this Famine-Genocide center also include the
Rozstrilane Vidrodzhennia, the execution of the Ukrainian intelligentsia?
The terror?

[Roman Serbyn] The starvation of Ukrainian farmers was the part of the
genocide which was the most costly in human life, but it cannot be treated
in isolation from the rest of the genocide.

The assault on the Ukrainian nation included the decimation of the Ukrainian
cultural and political elites (Rozstrilane vidrodzhennia) and this must also
be included.

The Russification of Ukraine and Kuban is part of the genocide. Ukrainians
in the RSFSR must be included. Some mention should be made of the precursor
famine (1921-23) and the aftermath in the Great Terror.

[Fran Ponomarenko] Do you feel that there are currently good historians
addressing Ukrainian issues?

[Roman Serbyn] The problem is that there is not enough solid work bing done
by Ukrainian historians. The best work on the Armenian genocide has been
done by Armenians. The best work on the Jewish Holocaust has been done by

We are of course pleased if non-Ukrainians take up work on Ukrainian history
but there are not enough Ukrainians in this field doing the fundamental
work. That work urgently needs to be done.

[Fran Ponomarenko] You are one of the few diaspora intellectuals taken
seriously in Ukraine. One often gets the impression that there is some
negativity to the diaspora. What can be done to accelerate a more positive

[Roman Serbyn] Serious scholars in Ukraine take serious scholars in the West
seriously. Hunczak, Sporliuk, Subtelny, Kohut, just to name a few, are well
respected by historians in Ukraine.
                        STATE OF UKRAINIAN LANGUAGE
[Fran Ponomarenko] Please comment on your view of the contemporary state
of the Ukrainian language. What in your view is a fair resolution of the
linguistic situation in Ukraine?

[Roman Serbyn] To begin with I think that the Diaspora capitulated too
quickly in the face of the onslaught of Sovietism. The Diaspora preserved
some of the basic elements of the Ukrainian language. There was no reason to
accept the Soviet pravopys.

In Ukraine, the Russian language is the language of the former colonial
power, which has managed to maintain its status of a dominant imperialist
language. The problem is that the Soviet propaganda machine made the
Ukrainian people accustomed to accept their subordinate colonial status as a
normal state of affairs, and they have difficulty in shaking this mentality.

It is not normal that a member of Parliament not know and publicly use the
country’s state language, to say nothing of the arrogance of Ministers who
are too arrogant or linguistically challenged to learn and use Ukrainian in
fulfilling their functions in Ukrainian. Ukrainians no longer need to accept
this domination of the language of the colonizer.

The recognition of Russian as Ukraine’s second official (state) language
would be the beginning of the end of Ukrainian as Ukraine’s national
language. But until Ukrainians have pride and respect for their own language
things will not advance.
                       NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
[Fran Ponomarenko] Is it necessary to reform the National Academy of
Sciences? How likely is this to happen?

[Roman Serbyn] The very name suggests a lack of self-respect! In France it’s
the Academie francaise! In Russia it’s Rossijskaja Akademia Nauk! In Poland
it’s Polska Akademia Nauk! Why not simply call it the Ukrainian Academy of

It definitely needs reforms, but it is hard to expect this devalued
institution to reform itself, it would first have to purge its own ranks –
hardly something we can expect these people to do.

What has always puzzled me is why good scholars from the diaspora have
accepted to be nominated to this institution? If they expected to bring
about changes, I think they have been mistaken.
                      THE ONGOING POLITICAL REFORM

[Fran Ponomarenko] I’d like to ask you a few political questions, if I may.
What are your views about the ongoing political reform?

[Roman Serbyn] I would hardly call it “reform” if by reform we mean change
for improvement. Two months after Parliamentary elections and there is still
no government. This is as primitive as a political system can get.

I am opposed to proportional representation in such a situation as we have
in Ukraine. In my view it reduces citizen participation in the political
life fo the country, makes deputies dependent on the party bosses and
completely independent of the electorate.

You cannot buy a high place on party list in a system that does not elect
its members of Parliament by proportional representation.

Secondly, the source of the political illness in my opinion is the country’s
system of Parliamentary immunity, which should rather be called
parliamentary impunity.

Instead of being a guarantee for the elected representatives to fulfill
their responsibilities as representatives of their electorate, the system
has become a protection for dishonest elements against legal prosecution for
crimes committed before or during their tenure.

Political parties are not interested in promoting a genuine political
culture. The spirit of otamanshchyna dominates Ukrainian political life.
This means politicians want privilege.
[Fran Ponomarenko] There are still two major cases outstanding: the
poisoning of President Yushchenko and the Gongadze murder. Will there
ever be a just resolution to these?

[Roman Serbyn] I seriously doubt it. It seems to me that everyone at the
official level is tired of “solving problems”, including Yushchenko.
Yushchenko has become a Hamlet. The atmosphere in Ukraine is not one where
people feel support from the authorities in the resolution of such matters.

[Fran Ponomarenko] How would it be possible to interest Ukrainian financial
magnates and oligarchs to become cultural philanthropists?

[Roman Serbyn] This will only happen when they develop a sense of personal
dignity and a national consciousness! I suppose you need financial
incentives set up too, like tax deductions for pro-Ukrainian philanthropy.
But eventually, some Ukrainian robber barons will become Ukrainian
[Fran Ponomarenko] I wonder if you wouldn’t mind commenting on the 4th
wave of Ukrainians coming to the West.

[Roman Serbyn] I would say that the 3rd wave (which was strongly patriotic)
did not integrate well with the previous waves of immigration.

Because of this lack of fusion with the 1st and 2nd waves, many talented
people were lost to the community organizations. The same error is taking
place again. It is important to integrate this 4th wave.

This immigration has a much higher level of education but a much lower level
of national consciousness. In the Soviet Union, the state controlled
everything but it also paid for all the activities that it sponsored or
approved of.

This fourth wave had a lot of trouble accepting the fact that the Ukrainian
diasporan life was organized on voluntary basis and non-paid community
participation. We don’t have enough psychological studies addressing these
problems of assimilation and integration and adherence to ethnic origins.

[Fran Ponomarenko] What are you presently working on?

[Roman Serbyn] I am just finishing up an article using UN criterion to show
that the Famine of 32-33 was indeed Genocide. As you know, the UN
Convention recognizes only four groups as victims of genocide: these are
national. ethnic, religious, and racial.

Genocide exists where there is action with intent to destroy one of these
groups, in whole or in part. I’ll be presenting this paper at the Urbana
conference at the end of June.

I continue to write on the myth of the Great Fatherland War. I would like to
publish a French anthology of Podolynsky’s works, which is almost complete
but for which I have no sponsor for publication.

I am revising my article on the Sion-Osnova controversy for a publication in
Ukrainian and I also want to get back to the Famine of the 20s.     -30-
F. Ponomarenko teaches in the English Department of Vanier College,
Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
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